Tuesday, December 23, 2008

merry christmas

Am really enjoying this compilation by WFUV, in my new very own office (complete with door). Enjoy!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


thinking about only getting a boutonniere for FH and no one else.

cuz currently we would need 15 bouts. 1 groom, 6 groomsmen, 2 ushers, 1 ringbearer, 2 bro in law, 3 fathers.


also currently thinking about only FH wearing a tux and everyone else just wearing their best blue suit. get rid of the matchy matchy. but...it makes me nervous. and then do I have to think about ties.

these are the thoughts that distract me from analyzing NY state's budget. ugh. work for the next 10 months is going to be difficult.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


As part of the Catholic wedding process, we have to take a Pre-Cana course. Imagine my non-surprise when I see the $195 price tag. Thanks Archdiocese of New York!

Upon seeing the price, I immediately stopped listening to one of my favorite Christmas carols.

Also, imagine my non-surprise to find out that they are the ones behind the "Abortion Changes You" billboards on the subway. Really? There are schools and churches closing all over the city and they are spending money on advertising.

Catholicism is a tricky thing, as any religion, and I've struggled with it, but in a v. passive way. I've been spoilt by my awesome priest uncles who have made Catholicism a wonderful thing for me and my family. One of my favorite holiday memories is that of the whole extended family gathering at my uncle's Harlem church for Christmas mass, getting into a yellow school bus headed down to Rockefeller Center and singing Christmas carols as a family in front of the tree and St. Patrick's.

Back to pre-cana. Friends have said it was a good experience for them, kind of like therapy but with a catholic twist. Older married couples usually lead the sessions, which is a good thing, because what does a priest really know about marriage? nothing. Two full days of marriage therapy? sounds like fun! Natural family planning? smiles!

I'm thinking I don't mention that we're "living in sin".

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ode To Joy

If you haven't seen it already, you must do so right now:

Monday, December 15, 2008

ho ho ho

FH doesn't read this blog (something that I'm sure I'll talk about with the therapist this week), so I feel free to share the triumphs and mostly failures of presents that I've gotten for him in the past.

1. Ipod - he called apple and returned it because it "is too expensive for just a regular old birthday and I have a shuffle"
2. Beer of the Month Club - I thought I really scored with this one, but he canceled it because "I don't have a doorman to receive the package and I don't want to look like a drunk at work" a common city problem, I have all my packages delivered to work b/c they won't leave them at the door...anyway, point is, he canceled it
3. Coldplay tickets - Bought them for the sentimental value, we re-met at a Coldplay concert and I thought he would really enjoy it. I think he secretly did enjoy it, but to this day says that I bought the tickets not for his birthday, but for myself.
4. Tennis racket - We had resolved to be more active. We played once between last christmas and this christmas. At least we played once.

So, what to do for Christmas? Buy that which he trys to steal from me, my aviator sunglasses. image via nordstrom

I'm sure he'll return them, but at this point, I know that my soul has recognized it's true match in another. Cuz I'm just as bad...

Sunday, December 14, 2008


these earrings could make good gifts...ah, etsy.

So You Want To Get Married At...New Leaf Cafe

The New Leaf Cafe is the cutest cottage restaurant nestled in Fort Tryon Park, at the highest elevation in Manhattan. It is also almost at the northern most point in Manhattan before you hit the Bronx, which was a plus for us since we're getting married in the Bronx.

photos via New Leaf Cafe Website
It is so GORGEOUS but in a semi-wild kind of way. The closest you would get to having a party in the shire without feeling like you are throwing a medieval themed wedding. Which I've been to. I kid you not.
guests arriving from a ceremony in the park

Pros: really pretty in an understated way (which to me is gorgeous), tree consecutive rooms for good flow, plenty of parking, park nearby with views of the Hudson river and the George Washington Bridge, affordable, friendly people to work with

Cons: the bathroom is the public park's bathroom, which they clean up for you, but at some point, it's still a public bathroom, you are responsible for renting a tent for their patio, and for us, it was too small.

I recommend and picture an afternoon brunch with a little 3 piece jazz band. our crowd is just a little too big.

oh, and it was profiled by nymag a while back, story here.

and one of our favorite photogs, who was unfortunately too much $$ for us, photographed a wedding there, pics here.

Friday, December 12, 2008

something blue

hello loverly. $269 via barney's co-op sale. mmm.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

still kickin'

So, I've been safely outside the bride blogosphere. It's nice out here. I encourage brides to remove themselves from other people's wedding plans for a while. Get some perspective. breathe.

My break was actually pretty busy with vendor appts and booking the photographer (yay!), florist (yay!) and dj (yay!). Yep, all done. I did wonder why I was spending a lot of time picking out a florist when in comparison, I spent one hour to pick out my dress. At first it seemed like I SHOULD agonize about what flowers and the aesthetic, and in the end, it mattered, but not as much as that click you have when you realize you can trust someone to do right by you. And do an awesome job.

We hired the first photographer, florist and dj that we met with. That said, we interviewed 6 photographers, 3 florists and by the time we got around to the dj, we were so tired of meeting with people that we just said f* it, let's trust our instincts and since he was in our price range, and all of his past customers *glowed* about him, we booked him.

We did seek out other customers' feedback on each of the vendors. That was key. Sending in deposits hurt (him more than me), but I guess we'll be paying out a lot more in the near future.

It's nice having this all done, so now we get to focus on the holidays.

Friday, November 7, 2008


We are on a pretty tight budget. Mostly because we decided to get married in one of the most expensive cities in New York. Yes, yes, I know, I could have totally indied it out and had a super budget wedding, but in the end, I don't want my last memory of my elderly relatives to be their continual harping that their boxed lunch didn't have chips. They shall have dinner. Just no favors. or save the dates. or other little things that end up increasing the costs.

Now, about the photography. I have been known to cry when viewing online galleries of friends' weddings (esp when set to Feist's Limit to Your Love, geez, waterworks!). So, we wanted someone good. But then you contact photographers and all of these terms start floating in your head, high res cd, low res online gallery, art edits, full resolution, blah blah blah.

I had no idea what to ask for. After interviewing numerous photographers, we went with someone affordable but awesome and I'm really excited.

Here are my helpful hints/questions when interviewing a photographer:

1. Make sure they bring a sample of their books
2. Look for the photos that you want yourself to be in
3. Ask what their timeline is to getting you photos after the wedding
4. Ask what their timeline is to getting you the completed package you sign up for
5. Ask that those timelines be included in the contract
6. Ask for contact information for at least 2 of their former clients, get their feedback before you sign anything
7. Do they have liability insurance (required by most venues)
8. Do they mind having a list of "must have" photos
9. Do they require a second photog for over a certain amount of guests? ours doesn't and i find it odd that a few do
10. How long have they been photographing?
11. Look for pictures in all sorts of light
12. Do they ENJOY what they do and can you tell from meeting with them that this isn't just a way for them to make money when they really want to shoot fruit for a magazine all day
13. Would you want to be friends with them? because you want to be comfortable with the person caputuring some of your most intimate moments.
14. Are they confident enough to handle your most annoying relative? you know, the one with the disposable camera ruining your professional pictures with their interference?
15. Do you get rights to all of your photos? you'd be surprised, some make you pay
16. If albums are your thing, how much will they help you?
17. What is their payment structure? I'm not comfortable paying the full balance until I see the product. I find it to be a huge leap of faith.

Just my thoughts.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Bright Spot

Regardless of my job drama, my day had a great bright spot. I LOVE voting in New York and will rue the day when they switch the old machines to some horrible computerized thing. The lever is the best. You really feel like you've exercised your right to have a say in this great messy ridiculous democracy. Check out this ridiculous video: http://www.vote.nyc.ny.us/img/votenyc.mpg

there's the lever!

I left feeling all fired up and ready to go!

Job Dilemma

I know that other brides-to-be have struggled through career related decisions/crises while engaged and though I didn't think it would happen to me, it has. I thought I was in a good career place when I got engaged. I had just gotten a big promotion at work and a new boss 6 months prior to engagement. Well, the new boss got fired, the founder/president has turned into a full-on egomaniac and they hired someone senior to me who only has one more year job experience. And today, to add insult to injury, I was completely humiliated in front of all of my peers by being overlooked completely by the executive director.

So now the question is, do I stay? And kind of coast in a position of relative comfort but guaranteed aggravation depending on my ability to Zen it out day to day? Or do I leave for (possibly and as yet undetermined) greener pastures in a time of economic crisis? The year before my wedding when everything is sure to hit the fan? Ugh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Dreams v. Reality

I've noticed an ongoing theme of brides in the blog world coming up against reality, armed only with their dreams. I can't say that I had any real dream-vision about my wedding. I just want it to be stress free. I want to not get the knot of anxiety in my throat that makes my voice quiver.

So, when the FH proposed, I floated the idea of a surprise picnic wedding, to be catered by Dinosaur BBQ, held at a lovely hudson river side retreat center, with the only people in on the surprise my marrying uncles who would conveniently already be there for the annual big irish family reunion.

But, surprise, he wanted the church, not so much for the church but for the connection to our college, a place of great memories for both of us. However, the church is costing at least $1100 because as an institution of higher learning, they squeeze money out of you any chance they get. ie the perfectly clean refridgerator that my six roommates and I had to pay $40 each to "clean".

Part of that cost is the organist. Who is the only organist allowed to play the organ. Who I have to pay an EXTRA $100 because I want my cousin the professional opera singer to sing with the organist. one song. ARGH.

In the vein of bride-blogdom, I will try to stay on the positive side, it will be beautiful, it's in the Bronx, near my parents' home and the neighborhood I grew up in. And we will get great pics. And possibly stop by Pugsley's for some chicken rolls right after! I can't think of a better way to start a marriage...


We're all moved in to the new place. It's so WEIRD. to live in the place we are going to be husband and wife in. where we are going to come home to after our honeymoon. OUR place. Yikes!

It's so nice. There's no garbage collection outside our window. Actual rays of sunshine come through the windows. Heavenly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Project Runway Goes Bridal

All of you fellow Project Runway brides out there had to have been as excited as I was to see that their last challenge was to design a wedding dress that represented their final runway line. I personally love Tim Gunn so much that if he were at my wedding, I'd have to dance the first dance with him, just to see his awkward/potentially awesome dance moves.

Anyway. My favorite was Leanne's.
This was Korto's original dress below. It did not make it to the final Bryant Park show, from what I can tell. Probably because Nina Garcia made her cry over it.

This was the semi-wedding like dress that made it into Korto's Bryant Park show and I LOVE IT.

Kenley's dress. Yeah yeah yeah, it's all the rage. But you know what? I just can't get over her bad attitude and how she snaps at Tim and Heidi. Say what you will, but I'm a big respect your elders/those wiser than you believer.

The losing one, Jerell's. Which honestly, I didn't think was that bad.

Great night of television. I love me some project runway. All photos from Bravotv.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Movin' On Up

movin' on up! to the east side! to a DE-luxe apartment in the sky-iii! Anyone remember the jeffersons? I loved them. Made growing up in an apartment seem normal.

Anyway, we're moving!

When I first moved into my rent-stabilized apartment, I thought it was manna from heaven. Until the first Monday, then the first Wednesday, followed by the first Friday. Why those days? Garbage collection for a 700 unit apartment building. right. out. side. my. window. Well, not right outside, but 7 floors down, but the sound just reverberates off of the buildings and it is a narrow street. Starting at 5 in the morning. For 4 years. My sister happily, to this day, still reminds me that she told me to take the apartment facing the courtyard. I didn't want to because of the old italian lady looking at me from across the way.

Thankfully, Bloomberg passed a noise ordinance a few years ago banning the collection of garbage before 7am, but that doesn't stop the guys from putting out the large metal containers at 5, and the garbage truck from coming just a tad earlier at 630.

When FH moved in with me about 4 months ago, we decided to ask about a change. So began our saga with the crazy rental agent who is prime example of old crazy New York. She operates in an office with a desk, typewriter, filing cabinet and pencil. That's it. No joke.

Long story short, we're moving, we were told this morning and will move into a loverly apartment on the 9th floor, facing the courtyard if all goes well on Thursday morn. We were told to show up with two blank checks. hello! shady!

I'm excited to move into a place that is truely "ours" not just my old apartment that he moved into. And...one year EXACTLY before we take the plung down the aisle. So begins the countdown. 368 days, 23 hours, 17 minutes.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Birthdays and Bagpipes

Life is so hectic busy that sometimes it takes a special day to realize just how lucky you are. My birthday was yesterday and despite some major work drama, it was great. I was overwhelmed with how happy that future husband of mine makes me, how much I love him and how lucky I am.

We went to Del Posto for dinner. YUM. From the blackberry martini, to the light-as-air gnocchi, to the prosciutto de parma, to the fancy fried donuts, we were in heaven. We ate in the enoteca part, because I freaked when I saw the prices in the main dining room. One of the funniest parts was walking into the restaurant with a bunch of DEA officers. Did Mario Batali get busted for dealing? Was Lidia stuffing the gnocchi with a little extra something something? No, just their annual dinner. With bagpipes and drums.

I love me some bagpipes and drums. Had a cousin who got escorted down the aisle by a full on 6 person pipe and drum set. Note to self: make sure to get a bagpiper. Lucky me, my sister is friends with two.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Greetings from New York!

I'm warming to the idea of save the dates. Early in the engagement someone mentioned that I shouldn't do save the dates because then people would make plans for the weekend and not come to the wedding. I know, that is totally horrible and mean, but when staring at a guest list of 247, you want to start cutting people. And thinking that the people that mean the most will obviously know the date from talking to you. Crazy aunts and horrible cousins will not.

After talking to a lot of guests, seeing some really cute projects and even email save the dates, I kind of fell in love with the postcard save the date. Especially these post cards.

Maybe the horrible cousins will just be scared off by the prospect of a wedding in the Bronx. Totally possible. crossing fingers...
With the wedding in the Bronx and reception in Brooklyn, we could take a more universal New York City theme.
Not sure about this one because it has a random pic of the state capitol...that's in albany, not that anyone would notice but me.

This one might be my favorite because of the bridge and outline of the city.

Friday, September 19, 2008


We have 13 months to go until the wedding. And, so far, we have taken care of
  1. The Church
  2. The Restaurant for the party aka reception
  3. My dress (impulse sample sale, still feeling good about it)
  4. His tux (already had one, he's so fancy)
  5. Wedding party
  6. Priests (2 of my uncles, one of the perks of the big irish family)
I think that's a lot. To have done so far ahead of time. We've spent time moving in together and enjoying our engagement, talking about our future lives.

So I don't know where this is coming from or why I'm expected to hand over the rehearsal dinner to the future in laws. Because they are asking us every. chance. they. get. about the rehearsal dinner. and what do we want. and usually the parents of the groom handle that. and you need to MAKE. A. DECISION. RIGHT. NOW.

Where did this come from? We don't need this pressure. The rehearsal dinner will be just that. A dinner. At a restaurant. I'm pretty sure restaurants know how to handle 40 people for dinner and we don't need to do much else. And I'm pretty sure that the restaurants we are thinking about don't need to be booked 13 MONTHS IN ADVANCE.

I'm trying to understand where they are coming from, but FH has two sets of parents, so we have to consult with everyone, yet one set of parents is dominating the conversation right now. I feel bad doing this, but because my initial reaction was to say 'F-off' (don't worry, I didn't do that, I just pointed out that we had 13 months), FH is going to have to handle communication with his family for now.

It was a piece of advice I got early on from a coworker: If the future in laws start asking you too many questions about the wedding, just tell them, 'I'll mention that to FH and he'll get back to you' or 'FH is handling that, why don't you ask him'

priceless advice. and free!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

So True

This article on money matters: The Key to Wedded Bliss? Money Matters. While the couples they site are totally in a different income bracket, as one who has struggled with debt and came from a household that stuggled with bills from time to time, I can't agree more.

Agreeing with is easy, putting into practice is a whole other matter. I think planning and paying for a wedding definitely sets up how you talk about money for the rest of your marriage. For that, I'm grateful that we are picking up the majority of the bill, it will give us experience and provide challenges that will hopefully make us a stronger team.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Best

My nephew is the cutest and part of the reason I moved back to NYC from DC. He inevitably had one of the best reactions to our engagement, as follows:

Connor Monster: DEE DEE, ConGRAulations!
me: Thanks Connor!
CM: When are you gonna get mawwied?
me: When you are 5, I'm going to get married and you are invited to big party!
CM (confused look, furrowed brow, look of excitement): DEE DEE! I'll be 5....TOOMOWWOW!
actual age: 3yrs and 9 months

So, it was no surprise that he, of all of my immediate relatives, had the best reaction to learning his aunt and uncle are living together. The following conversation took place when discussing a pending sleepover. Can anyone say "test child"?

CM: I want to sleep over at Aunt Dee Dee's house
Sis: Okay, but it's Aunt Dee Dee and Uncle Rob's house
CM: What?
Sis: Aunt Dee Dee and Uncle Rob live together
CM(high squeaky voice): Aunt DEE DEE and Uncle WOB live to-GET-her?!?!
**look of utter amazement**

then complete silence

i heart that little man

Thursday, September 4, 2008


There is something about asking a few of your friends to stand up with you and leaving some people out. Wedding parties always seemed superfluous to me, in fact, I always thought I would only have my sister. Until the case of the friend with only her sister in her wedding party and the almost no shower/selfishness incident. And until my wonderful FH announced that he was considering 10 T-E-N men as groomsmen. oh hell no.

So, I thoughtfully picked out friends who have seen me through camp, school, bad hair dyes, bad boyfriends, good decisions, bad bosses, working for the devil, gore/bush, kerry/bush, my early 20s and whom I am very close to presently, without baggage or hesitance, knowing that they each individually would drop what they were doing and save me Batman style from becoming a crazy bride or a shower surprise ambush. I am very happy with my picks.

However. There are two outliers, including a cousin, who I feel SO GUILTY about not asking to be a bridesmaid. I know I will involve them in one way or another, but....still. damn irish catholic upbringing.

and the FH is not having 10. because that is just inexcusable. even if he does have four brothers.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Holiday Weekend Weddings

We're getting married on a holiday weekend. More significantly, it will also be the fourth anniversary of our first date, which makes me feel a whole lot better about the holiday that is being celebrated. I never had a soft spot for Columbus. I do, however, have a soft spot for fall foliage and that crisp feel to the air in October.

The thinking/decision making behind picking our date went something like this:

everyone: When are you getting married?
me (dreamily): I like fall...
everyone: So, October or November?
me (cornered): I like October
everyone: This year?
me (calculating cost in head): oh hell no, prob next year

It is strange to look back on that first month of decision making, as I'm not sure I would have made the same decisions. Lately I'm antsy and just want to have the wedding next month, not next year.

When we both started thinking about weekends, and FH very much liked Columbus Day weekend, because people would have off from work and could make it into a long travel weekend. Thing is, not many people I know outside of the Northeast or the banking industry actually have off for CD. I don't even have off for CD. Nor did I 3 years ago on our first date when he had off the next day and I had to go to work all starry eyed from the night before. We were also considering having a Sunday wedding to save $$$, so that weekend made more sense to us. We're not doing Sunday, however, our place was the same price for Sunday as Saturday....

Now my fear is that everything in NYC will be more expensive because it is CD, including flights, hotels, etc. I wonder if other people think about this when they are picking their holiday weekend wedding dates. Seems to make things more complicated, doesn't it?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

So You Want To Get Married At...Lake Isle

Immediately after the tour of the most improbable wedding reception site ever, my sister (MOH) yelled at both me and my betrothed (just trying something other than FH) for looking at possibly the most expensive wedding reception site in all of the Bronx (we'll get to Wave Hill later). She then packed up her car, her child, my betrothed and myself into her car for a whirlwind tour of the catering halls of Westchester County. Our first stop was Lake Isle.

Sidenote: Lake Isle is more a community pool and golf course than country club, but their community happens to be Westchester, one of the wealthiest counties in NY State, if not the whole country.

I have to say, that for someone coming off the high of Abigail Kirsch and her loverly set up at the Botanical Gardens, I was pleasantly surprised by Lake Isle. The catering manager was friendly and nice. More importantly, he was willing to NEGOTIATE when he heard we didn't want everything included in their standard package. Johnny Walker Black means nothing to me, as I'm a beer and wine kind of girl...maybe a mojito, definitely a margarita, if the season/location allows.

The space was ample and recently updated and honestly, again, nice. And that is fine. But we weren't looking for nice, we were looking for a place that would be US. For a little over $100 per person, you can get the cocktail hour, full open bar, apps, salad, main and dessert. This is reasonable for New York and Lake Isle is a nice place. If you want the traditional country club like wedding, but don't have dad's membership to Winged Foot to fall back on, go for it.

Surprising also in this visit was the fact that Autumn wedding dates are the most popular in the North East. I thought it was the summer, with the June bride phenomena and all. Turns out most of my summer weddings have been of teachers who just happen to have the whole summer off after their June weddings.

Came across this nifty website for couples looking for a reception site in Westchester. Anything that strikes your fancy, be it castles, country clubs, mansions, etc.

Friday, August 22, 2008

i'm lovin' it

duh na na na NA... I'm lovin' this dress, but not the teal color for the October wedding. I also love the idea of everyone just getting their own dress (possibly black) and just having the team hold flowers.
dress by Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique via Nordstrom's

Thursday, August 21, 2008


The fat me and the skinny me have very different reactions to this. The Google krispy kreme bacon cheeseburger. I'm not saying people should serve this as part of their receptions, but wouldn't it be fun if they did? Prob not for the old people with heart problems. egg whites on bran muffins for them.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Day-Of Coordinator Swap

I'm a frequent checker of the indie bride board, kvetch, and noticed something interesting. Swapping your services for that of another bride in need. What made it interesting to me is the possibility of hiring a day-of coordinator for the price of your own labor.

I'm not sure that I would be comfortable with a total stranger doing this for me, but then I got to talking to a good work friend about it and she mentioned a friend who took advantage of all of her friends' talents by assigning them tasks for the wedding, including a party coordinator. The party coordinator made sure that everything happened on time by checking with the restaurant staff and dj. This worked because it was an informal wedding...like mine...

This seems interesting to me. I know that the traditionalists will say that guests should be guests, but I know some of my friend-guests would be great at helping out with a few things, and it would make them more involved in the wedding itself.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Snap out of it!

Exactly. Thanks Cher, aka Rachel. In that vein, sometimes, when I'm walking to work I like to have a really kick ass song to get me pumped up for my day. Like "Beverly Hills" by Weezer, "Lost" or "Viva la Vida" by Coldplay, "Celebration" by Kanye (I heart me some Kanye), "Do You Realize" by the Flaming Lips. Then I had the great fantasy of walking down the aisle to a kick ass song. And strutting down the aisle. And the scandel it would cause. and I laughed. heartily.

So, I've also been thinking about what songs I would want to hear during the party/reception that would automatically make my guests want to dance with the raging loon of a bride who is already sweating uncontrollably on the dance floor. I've come up with the following:

Escapade - Janet Jackson
Rock With You - Michael Jackson
Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
Friday I'm In Love - The Cure
Heaven Is A Place on Earth - Belinda Carlisle
Young American - David Bowie
Just Fine - Mary J. Blige
Sweet Escape - Gwen Stefani
Touch the Sky - Kanye West
Girlshapedlovedrug - Gomez

any other suggestions?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


Reading around in the wedding blogosphere can get you a little down sometimes, especially when you inevitably start comparing what you yourself are doing to others. Whether your ring is too big, or too small or not politically correct. Whether you are gocco'ing and hand-stamping your invites. Whether you are arranging your own flowers, or hiring the most in the know floral designer recommended by the martha stewart blog (i'm starting to almost hate that blog).

I know that most of these posts are meant to share and be informative, but sometimes I get just plain jealous of the backyard wedding, the bride wearing cowboy boots, the handmade invites, the beautiful nature backgrounds and the flower arranging relatives. I have no backyard to have my wedding in, as New York is my backyard. And none of my relatives would want to camp out the night before or after my wedding. I've never owned cowboy boots, but would love a pair of blue satin numbers. I know I do not have the patience or ability to do my own invites. I am getting married in a concrete jungle. And most of my relatives have been spending most of energy trying to dissuade me from doing my own bouquets.

and my wedding is not going to cost $10,000. sadly. ugh. at least i can live vicariously through others and try not to let the green monster take over.

Friday, August 1, 2008

So You Want to Get Married At...The Bronx Zoo

Because who wouldn't want to get married and have a party amidst all of the wonders of the animal world? I wouldn't suggest for the summer, but we had picked our date (Mid-October) and thought the animal smells wouldn't be that bad. Maybe a whiff here or there.

After searching around for the right person to contact, starting with the Wildlife Conservation Society, patched through to the Central Park Zoo, I finally got in contact with Jacqui Dauphinais, Reservationist, Catering and Events Services (718)741-3836 at the Bronx Zoo. Helpful and full of information. In fact, I'm not sure why we didn't go with the Zoo other than we feel in love with the place we ended up booking.

They have a variety of packages and things you can do, including a cocktail reception, which is what I intended to do in the beginning. A cocktail reception with a cash bar starts at $50 per person with 10 hors devourers, go for their basic bar feature and you will add $27 pp. In fact, I'm really seriously shaking my head wondering why we didn't pursue this. If you do sit down dinner, one nice thing they do offer for a sit down dinner are centerpieces for all the tables. I've never been offered that before.Elephant House! They no longer house elephants, by the way.

Could do something fun with this print, ala save the dates (if i was doing save the dates)
from allposters.com

Post Script: This post is almost a year old, and while I've fulfilled many requests for information, at this point, my information is dated. Please contact either the Bronx Zoo or Central Park Zoo for more information!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

pretty invites

Etsy is amazing. Perusing that site makes me happy. Found some pretty invites, although I'm not sure I would be brave enough to order over Etsy. It might be where the neurotic in me beats out my lazy side.

via evapaul

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

So You Want To Get Married At…The New York Botanical Gardens

The Dream. The New York Botanical Gardens, located in the Bronx, New York. Being a Bronx native, and knowing when they changed it from Bronx Botanical to New York (around the same time that the Bronx had to give up the 212 area code for 718), I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with the Gardens. Growing up, I attended their farming for youth program very very early on Saturday mornings, would come home with a Ziploc baggie that contained two radishes and 6 leaves of lettuce and wanted to make a salad right away.

Every couple wants to have a celebration that they have an emotional tie to, or in the very least, is convenient to the location of their wedding. The Gardens were both for us. So we booked an appointment, thinking that at the very least, we would know what we were up against in terms of cost and standards, as Abigail Kirsh is the gold standard in New York, if you care about those things. At this point in the engagement, two weeks in, we didn't know what we cared about just yet.

I left with jelly knees, wanting to curl myself up into the fetal position in their conifer forest.

For a Saturday wedding, as our church does not do Fridays, the cost is $250 per person, not including tax and tip, so add about 30% on top of that 250. And they only take cash or check. Now, I don’t advocate credit card usage for weddings, but sometimes you gotta go to the mattresses, the amex mattress specifically. Jelly….knees. If you can afford it, go for it. The food looked amazing, the service they provide you is not to be matched and I have it from good authority that the food tastes amazing. It is the cookie that all cutters were made to copy.

You should also know that Abigail Kirsch catering is the sole caterer of some of the most high profile locations in New York, if you can afford them. The prices vary, but not by much. Also, they restrict you to specific florists ($$$$) and require a pretty hefty location fee, that is not tax deductible.

My great MOH, my sister, quickly scolded me for even going to the Gardens and then made me go to almost all of the catering halls in Westchester County (to the north of the city) on the VERY SAME DAY. Well, let me tell you, that was the mother of all reality checks. But it did give me a sense of what was out there, and there are some affordable options to be had. I didn’t want any of them, but at least they were there. In the end, we are planning a non-cookie cutter wedding, that represents us, not the wedding industry that places like Abigail Kirsch founded and helped foster.

My advice to newly engaged couples: Do not go to your dream location without a firm sense of your budget and alternatives already in line, with appointments made, otherwise you are in for a world of inflated expectations and high levels of disappointment.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Showers - Epicenter of Drama

This will be a complaining post. Because I hate wedding drama. It seems to be that if there was a graph depicting levels of drama, it would spike around the wedding shower. Numerous women, different interests, tastes and preconceptions, AND all of those things for what they think the bride-to-be should have/would want.

I have a friend, we'll name her...Grace. She is getting married and her sister has dropped the ball, planning nothing for her shower. Being a friend, and having Grace as a bridesmaid, made me want to do something for her, so a friend and I planned a weekend of girlie fun with just friends.

Lo and behold, the sister gets up in arms and the sister in law (who may or may not be a recovering bridezilla) wants to plop a shower in the middle of the weekend o' fun. Fine! Let me help! I'll do whatever you want! Somewhere along the line I was shamed for not planning the shower myself. I...didn't...know...that as one of many friends somehow I would be responsible.

I really don't understand the drama around showers, a bunch of women getting together to give the bride gifts and well-wishes, that's all it should be. Make some tea sandwiches and call it a day. *sigh*

This does make me grateful that I have great bridesmaids, a great MOH (my sister) and mom. I know that my friends won't be stressed out about the shower. I, however, will be stressed opening lingerie in front of elderly women, there's something just naughty about that.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wedding Dreams/Nightmares...Literally

Last night I had my first wedding dream/nightmare. It took place in a house my family was renting, which looked very similar to my FH's dad's house, we were all getting ready and as I was getting ready and putting on my dress, I noticed that it wasn't my actual real life non dream dress, but a brown slip dress that in my dream, I was very disappointed about.

Then the house started flooding because there was a monsoon outside and I was running around the house in a panic looking for everyone. And then, the kicker of the dream, my Uncle Jimmy, my godfather, walked out of the kitchen to calm me down and talk about life and the wedding.

The freaky part of this dream is that my Uncle Jimmy passed away a few years ago, but even in my dream, it was so comforting to see him again that everything else didn't seem to matter. I don't have an opinion as to whether those who have passed visit you, but it was still nice to talk to him, even if it was just a figment of my imagination.

If these dreams are going to start this early (15 months till wedding), you bet I'm keeping a log. I have a dream book at home and am going to look up some of this symbolism, the flood, passed relatives, weird colored dresses...

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Unmarried's Advice to the Marrying

I'm always amazed when people who have never been married are the ones with the good marriage advice. Usually I take it with a big old grain of salt. But in the case of Maureen Dowd's recent article, I have to say that Father Connor has some good marriage advice out there along the lines of who you should and shouldn't marry. It should be repackaged as dating advice...but who am I, the lapsed catholic, to give advice to a priest.

If you haven't read it yet, you should, it's a great article.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Dress Story

Okay, I’ll admit it. I already bought my dress. It was the first one I tried on and I made the decision in under an hour. Now, I’ve come to compare my engagement ring to the One Ring, the Ring of Power, the ring that made Frodo see through and crazy. Because sometimes, when I put my ring on, I go see through and crazy. Part of that craziness early on in the engagement was a need to find out everything I could to save some money and make this a practical, sane wedding that reflected us and that would just be a really fun party.

Then I heard about bridal samples sales. We’ve all heard about the crazy Filene’s Basement sale in Boston and that wasn’t my style with the plotting and the running and the crazy and the bartering (yeah, you know you watched that TLC special too). My sample sale crush focused on wedding dress outlets and designers in New York. Simultaneously, we knew that we were getting married at our university chapel, thereby setting a certain tone if you will. Now, I usually say that tone is bullshit and you can wear whatever you want to wear, but this will come into play later when making my decision.

I immediately called around to dress shops to find out when their sample sales were, because I had heard from the grapevine that they are usually held in the Spring and Fall. Low and behold, Bridal Atelier by Mark Ingram was holding one as was Kleinfeld’s. I booked appointments thinking, hey, this will be fun, I’ll see what’s out there for real and not those hideous things in the wedding magazines (of which I by this point had 10 of thanks to the future MOH along with a coordinating binder/totebag/umbrella/book set…oh yeah I did). I figured it would be a nice outing for my mom and sister, my sister who has been planning my wedding since I started dating FH (I need to get a better reference for him – suggestions?).

Now, you know and I know that there are nightmare stories out there about Kleinfeld’s. My experience was great. My mom and good friend Beth (sister couldn’t make it) met me on a Sunday morning and immediately we met my sales associate who was a fabulous French woman. I told her why I was there, “Sample Sale”, what my (imaginary at that time) budget was and that I really wanted to try on as many dresses I could in the hour I was allotted to see what was out there and what I looked good in.

We set out to the racks, all four of us, pulling things in the reasonable and unreasonable price ranges as they set out the sample sale dresses by price. We even picked up some regular stock items so I could see those as well. My only rule was it had to have straps of some sort, I don’t look good in strapless and also don’t see how having a 25lb+ dress depending on your boobs to hold it up all day is comfortable. We’ve all seen brides try to hike up their dresses by the boob/armpit. Not pretty.

I won’t go through all of the dresses I tried on, but I did get to try on an amazing Christos dress and a Monique Lhuillier (because you know you want to too). Christos was truly amazing, Monique, not so much, and I couldn’t afford even their sample sale prices that were over 50% off the original price. The dress I thought I wanted, a simple Grecian flowing beauty with a flower appliqué on the back, was amazing…but….didn’t feel…special. I went back to the first one and needless to say, it fit me to a t and just looked, sigh, like the one.

Being a Libra, indecision took over. My friend noted that the dress was over 50% off the original sale price and that for the detail involved in the dress, it was a great price. My mom, based on a 2 dress experience with my sister, withheld her opinion unless she hated the dress, see Christos. My sales associate talked to me a little, and finally busted out with “you are having 250 people in a church in the evening in October, I understand the simple dresses, but those are for beach weddings and sometimes you just want a BRIDE to be a BRIDE” Imagine hand motions and a beautiful French accent from an older black woman.

Normally, if I wasn’t wearing the Ring of Power, I would have said, “lady, get out of crazy town and meet me in Normalville.” I’ll be honest, I got excited and thought “Hell yes!” In my heart of hearts, despite my sarcasm, intermittent aversion to bridal magazines and the whole bridal industrial complex, I do want to be bride. Not a crazy cookie cutter bride, but…special. Sidenote: Whenever I see David Dinkins speak, he always refers to his wife of 50+ years as “his bride” and that makes me swoon.

And I do want to wear this fabulous, beaded, halter, satin beautiful dress, not because I’m having 250 people in a church in the evening in October, but because of how amazing I felt in it. So I decided to buy it. A good year and a half before I’m getting married. Slightly ridiculous? Maybe. A relief to know I have an amazing dress already? Definitely.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Good Gift Idea

Love the MOMA store. They are a great resource for gifts. Not sure who I would give this to...

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Not Lazy At All

The part of me that isn't lazy is usually motivated by my frugal side. I can't bring myself to spend thousands of dollars on flowers that will die the next day. That said, I could bring myself to spend a few hundred and put them together myself. Several brides before me have done so and I think I could do a good job. I mean, dedicate some time the week of the wedding, even though everyone has warned me that this will be the busiest week of my life, visit the flower district in New York, buy some beautiful flowers and spend some time with them the day before the wedding.

My sister, and maid of honor, has taken a vigorous stance against this point of view and for some reason nothing I can say will dissuade her. She's a force, but I think I can do this.

What I will not attempt to do is the venue decor. That seems insurmountable to me in terms of logistics, especially because the venue won't let anyone set up until they are done with brunch service for the day, which will be when we are getting married.

I'm considering using the following vendors, if anyone knows anything about this/has experience in NYC, let me know!

Fisher & Page Ltd.
134 West 28th Street
New York, New York 10001

G. Page Wholesale Flowers
120 West 28th Street
New York, New York 10001

I'm thinking of doing a test run this October to see what is in season and what I can get. There is nothing I love more than some ranunculus and peonies, but I don't think they go together. G. Page lists the flowers that were available the year before by week, which is a great resource. I've dabbled a bit in the ordering "Wedding Flowers in a Box", but the idea of being stuck with something the day before your wedding that might be blooming, might have wilted in the truck or might get lost just gives me anxiety. But it's a great idea!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Lazy about color decisions

Ugh, decisions. They haunt me like the haunt no other Libra out there. I'm feeling pressure, and by pressure I mean I've fielded a few questions from the future MIL, about picking a color scheme. My only rule is no brown. My mother had brown bridesmaids dresses in 1970 and for some reason, they're back. I made fun of her then and my words to one recent bridesmaid were, "at least you can use it as a costume later" but that was for a very specific trend combination: brown + material gathered randomly in the skirt. horrid.

Thanks to Kathryn at Snippet and Ink, my favorite color schemes thus far are:

Pumpkin and Wheat

Burgundy and Blue

Green, White and Black

I'm too lazy to come up with my own!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bridal Party Gifts

I know it is way too early to be thinking about these things, but after my daily read of wedding blogs, I found some very interesting takes on wedding party gifts. I've only been a bridesmaid twice and both times was just happy to do whatever the bride told me because I was so happy to stand up for my sister and my close friend. I didn't care so much about the horrid dresses and the stupid sizes they made me order (that could not be taken in because of excessive ruching). The gifts I received reflected the tastes of those brides: a tiffany cross and a kate spade monogrammed bag.

So, if I were to follow that same vein, it would be something like this gem of a necklace from chookmook's shop on etsy:
It can be hand stamped with different words and I would have the words associate with my bridesmaids: Sister, Camp, Laugh, Friend or one word for all of them like: Heart. I would shy away from something silly and conventional like Love, but that would be nice too... you can barely make it out, but the necklace in the picture says Believe.

This is way in the future...or like 12 months away. While on a budget, I don't think that you have to give gifts, but I do think it is nice.

Sidenote: Groomsmen gifts always suck. For example, the massive (engraved) Cleveland Browns mug living in my apartment and taking up half of the glass space in my cupboard. Totally leaving that up to FH.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm lazy...and a bride to be

There are many bride blogs out there. Written by some very over active brides. While I am not judging their need to hand stamp 150 envelopes because it looks nicer than the way regular mail looks, I do, sometimes, question their sanity. Just as I question my own for reading why one would hand stamp their envelopes, where, how, and what it would cost.

I will not be hand stamping my invites. I also don't plan on gocco-ing my own invites. There are professionals out there who can do it for you. and for cheap.

My vision of a wedding is a simple party, with those who you love enjoying themselves on some good food at an adequately sized location. I am also on a budget, as the FH (future husband, took a lot of blog reading to figure that out) and I will be paying for the majority of the wedding.

Complicating factors include a large guest list made up of my insanely large extended Irish Catholic family and good friends made over the course of high school, college, two moves and 5 jobs since graduating college, and our location in New York City. The most expensive city in the world.

I hope to share what I've learned in the first few months of wedding plans, hope to be a resource for other NY brides and maybe learn a thing or two. Because while I want a simple party, it would be nice if it looked nice and ran smoothly...things that a lazy bride like myself recognize the need for other people to help out with.