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...