March 2007

This past weekend, I went with a friend of mine, K., to the Washington Bridal Showcase at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, VA. It was rather unimpressive in comparision to Washington Bridal Showcase’s Bethesda show earlier this year.

Thumbs Up:
Fiber of Her Being: Handcrafted wedding quilts and chuppahs. Kay was amazingly nice, creative, and light-hearted. I was so impressed with her personality and her work that I am going to set money aside to have either a wedding quilt or a custom chuppah made.

The Wedding Dance Specialists. I think the woman at the bridal show was Deborah Joy. She was very personable. She asked me what song D. and I would be dancing to, and when I told her that we would be dancing to Iron and Wine’s cover of The Postal Service’s Such Great Heights, she said that she’s only worked with one couple in the past ten years that has danced to Such Great Heights, and that a foxy (hybrid between a Waltz and a Fox Trot) would work with that song.

La Provencale Cellars: Le Mousseux Sparkling Cider. This non-alcoholic apple cider is so very good. When served really cold, the cider has a crisp apple taste that is not too sweet or too tart. Since I’m not a big champagne fan (and neither are my guests for that matter), I’m considering picking up several bottles of this cider for the champagne toast at the wedding. La Provencale usually has a table at Eastern Market every weekend (in good weather).

Thumbs Down:
Charles Jablow Photography. I do *not* like this photographer. Everytime I’ve encountered him, he comes across pushy and condescending. At the Bethesda show, he pulled me aside, brought out what appeared to be an iPod and said, “Have you seen this before?” *flashes iPod at me*
ManicBride: Uh, yeah, it’s an iPod.
Jablow: It’s a *video* iPod.
ManicBride: uh-huh, and?
Jablow: If you book your wedding with us, you get a video iPod with your wedding photos on it for FREE!
ManicBride: uh-huh, do you offer a package providing high resolution digital images instead of albums?
Jablow: (Starts chattering about his $4200 wedding day package with a standard album)
ManicBride: Okay, I don’t want an album or prints.
Jablow: Digital proofs are extra.
ManicBride: On top of the $4200? Even though I’ve already expressed that I don’t want or need an album or prints?
Jablow: Yes, but you get a free video iPod *waves iPod at me*
ManicBride: No thanks.
(With the money I’m saving by going with Rodney Mickle, I can buy a few video iPods. Not that I need one.)


I had trouble sleeping last night, and around four o’clock this morning, my mind started drifting off on to weird topics, like testing deodorants for the wedding. I don’t normally have a problem with excessive perspiration or body odor, but I want to be prepared. (I realize it’s a bit neurotic, but hey, you readers will benefit from my deodorant/anti-perspirant trials.)

Currently, I alternate between Degree Ultra Clear Pure Satin for Women and Secret’s Shower Fresh Invisible Solid 80’s Power. I used to religiously wear Secret’s Ambition scented deodorant/anti-perspirant, but it has been discontinued. 😦 Secret recently introduced some new “scent expressions” like Vanilla Chai, Arctic Apple, and Pothead Patchouli. (Ok, maybe not the last one.) I don’t want my pits to smell like fruit. I want to smell clean.
I prefer the Degree Ultra Clear over the Secret Invisible Solid because, like the commercial advertises, it seems to respond to my body and the deodorant lasts all day. However, I’ve noticed more underarm dampness with the Degree Ultra Clear than the Secret Invisible Solid. I’ve done a comparison and some research, and now I know why. Both Secret and Degree have Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly as their active ingredient. Secret has 19% while Degree has 14.8%. Just for frame of reference, Ban Intensely Fresh Invisible Solid has 19% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex, and CertainDri, “the doctor-recommended, non-perscription anti-perspirant” contains 12% of Aluminum Chloride. Supposedly, the Mitchum anti-perspirants contain 20% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly, but I can’t confirm that on the Mitchum website, and I’m not going to the drug store at 6:37 am to find out. Sorry.
Secret has just released a new product called Clinical Strength. It also contains 20% Aluminum Zirconium Trichlorohydrex Gly. I signed up for a free sample, so in six to eight weeks, I’ll post an update.
Before I get flooded with emails and comments regarding Aluminum compounds causing breast cancer, I’ve read articles regarding the studies. In my opinion, the results are conflicting and inconclusive. I can use the hippie crystal deodorant on non-critical days. I just want to be fresh and dry on my wedding day.

I found out about the American Visionary Art Museum from ScrittiKitty on Indiebride’s Kvetch forums. Although AVAM is in Baltimore, which is a bit out of the way for me and my guests, I really liked it because of the unique character of the location. According to AVAM, “Visionary art as defined for the purposes of the American Visionary Art Museum refers to art produced by self-taught individuals, usually without formal training, whose works arise from an innate personal vision that revels foremost in the creative act itself.” (I had to chuckle when I read that because it reminded me of the Ceci N’est Pas Une King of the Hill episode of King of the Hill when Peggy builds the Probot.)
I had my hopes up because the facilities rental information on the website says that “AVAM is capable of hosting events from small intimate dinner parties to large scale receptions.” Awesome! My 50 guest wedding is like an intimate dinner party, right?
I contacted Alicia Karoll who is the Facility Rental Coordinator at American Visionary Art Museum (and apparently the President of National Association of Catering Executives, Baltimore Chapter) about rental fees.
She said that AVAM does host weddings and that the Sculpture Barn and the Wildflower Garden would be suitable locations for a wedding ceremony and reception. The Barn may be a bit big (its capacity is 125 people), but should work fine.
Sculpture Barn

We could get married either on the staircase in the museum or out in the Wildflower Garden.

This looked like the perfect place. Unfortunately, it charges a not-so-perfect fee. The 2008 facility rental fee for the space is $3,000, which includes rental of the Sculpture Barn for the reception, the ceremony either on the staircase or in the Wildflower Garden, and access to the exhibit in the main building for all guests. Also, you can only use caterers from their approved caterer list. (I hate the restriction of the approved caterer list, so much potential for kickbacks.) I asked if we could just rent the Wildflower Garden or limit access to just the Barn, but AVAM doesn’t have that flexibility. $3,000 is a fair price for a wedding with 125 guests, but not for 50. Once again, I’ve been thwarted by the one size fits all pricing.
I asked Alicia if she knew of any other unique venues that would be suitable for my small wedding. She referred me to The Elm. I haven’t contacted them yet, but based on the advertised rates on The Elm’s site, I don’t believe it will work out either. 😦

Last night, D. and I met with Rodney Mickle of Rodney Mickle Photographer to talk about photography for our wedding. Almost three hours later, we emerged from the meeting really pleased. It is always a bit nerve-wracking meeting vendors for the first time and trying explain the concept of your wedding which is over a year away. I am always afraid of dominating the conversation or being too spastic. Rodney wasn’t condescending, flippant, or cocky about his services.
He arrived with a wide screen laptop, DVDs of his portfolios, and an external hard drive with RAW images. For us techies, that was quite nice. He discussed his photography technique, lessons he’s learned, and not only showed us his best work, but also the not so great shots in between. For example, he showed us a great macro shot of the detail work of a wedding cake. Then he showed us the six other shots he took at different angles and distances. Seeing the RAW files was very helpful. I was able to see his progression and how he evaluates the composition. He also showed us how he can digitally adjust the photos as well. I was impressed. I’m a very process oriented person. I don’t want to just see the end result; I want to know how one got there.
He asked questions about us, how we met, what is the tone of our wedding, what style of images are important to us, trying to get a sense of who we are and how to portray that in our pictures.
We spent the least amount of time talking about the price sheet. Never did we feel any sales pressure. He understood our reasons why we didn’t want an album, why we wanted digital copies of our pictures, and we ended up coming up with a great idea for an artistic photo collage print.
What I like most: I like the fact that he is highly technical, and he is also creative and flexible. I want the pictures from our wedding to capture D.’s and my personality and the liveliness of our families. I definitely believe that Rodney can do that.
The only “disappointing” thing I can say is that I wish that I had more money to spend on his services.

So, yay! We have one aspect of our wedding figured out, only eleventy billion more things to go.

D. and I have talked a lot about the “soundtrack” of our wedding. Music is very important to us. I feel like I used up most of my instrumental favorites at my first wedding. I had my maid of honor walk in to “Winter” by Vivaldi. I proceeded into my wedding to “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming”, and the recessional was “Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light” performed by a string quartet.
This time around, I’m stumped for a processional. D. and I have pretty much decided on the PM’s Love Theme from the movie Love Actually. I considered the Glasgow Love Theme from Love Actually for the processional, but it is a bit short and a touch wistful and melancholy. I think I’ll figure out what the processional will be once we’ve settled on a location.
D. and I also discussed what music is verboten at the wedding. We both agreed no Chicken Dance or Hokey Pokey, but I wanted to hear the Electric Slide, and he was not for it. We agreed to a compromise though. Instead of the Electric Slide, he’ll allow You’ve Dropped a Bomb On Me by the Gap Band, and if I can find someone to mix it, a mashup of traditional Jewish hora songs which will lead into Chori Chori Gori Se from The Guru. I would love to choreograph a dance with my bridemaids to Chori Chori Gori Se. Why? Because we’re weirdos. That’s why.

You can’t have a happy ending without a choreographed dance.
Happy Ending

Other couples who’ve opted for choreographed dances at their receptions:

Wedding Thriller Dance (YouTube Video)

I Had the Time of My Life/Dirty Dancing Dance (YouTube Video)

I’ve been reading a lot of wedding books and magazines lately, and they all describe shopping for wedding dresses the same way: looking for The One. I thought your fiance / husband-apparent is supposed to be the only thing described as The One at your wedding. Women describe being so moved at the sight of themselves in The One that they burst into tears. I guess they *know* they’ve found The One because birds start singing and sparkles rain down upon them.

When I shopped for my wedding dress for my first wedding, I never had an OMG! This is The One!!11!1! moment. I knew I wanted a dress that had a corset-style bodice, and that’s all I really cared about. I tried on dresses at Bridal Mart in Burlington, NC and at David’s Bridal. I eventually found my 100% polyester corset-style bodice tulle nightmare at David’s Bridal.
This time around, I’ve put some serious thought in to what I want to wear. I want something of much better quality that doesn’t make me look like a sausage trimmed with lace. I want something that looks classy, reflects my fun personality, and does not cost an arm and a leg.

As much as I like cake, I do not want my dress to look like it is made of frosting either.
I saw this dress in Modern Bride magazine and wondered whether it was strawberry or bubble gum flavored.
Frosting Dress
Maybe the designer was inspired this cake:

One of the dresses in the running for me is actually a bridesmaids dress by Watters and Watters.
I like the halter top bodice in black. Halter tops and A-line skirts are flattering on me. Also, I think the black will provide an elegant contrast to the white veil and white skirt. When I first showed D. this dress, he surprised me by saying that he’d rather see me in a more traditional (i.e. all white) dress. (He doesn’t think black is appropriate for a bride.) We’ve both been married before, and we’ve been living together for more than a year. There’s no virginal mystery to me anymore.
We will see what I’ll end up with. I have months to go before I start visiting bridal salons. I’ll let you know if and when I find The One.

Vendors have been chuckling when D. and I tell them our wedding date. We’re getting married on Friday, June 13th, 2008. We aren’t morbid or gothic. I tend to wear black because it makes me look thinner, not because I practice witchcraft.

Thirteen is an important number to me. I was born on the 13th (on a Thursday). My grandmother was born on a 13th. D.’s sister and his mother were both born on the 13th. Friday the 13th has never been an unlucky day for any of us. Actually, thirteens have been lucky for us. Inspired by the date of our wedding, we are going to give out traditional lucky charms: lucky rabbit’s feet, horseshoes, pennies, etc., as favors. Instead of having our guests throw rice or birdseed at the end of the wedding, they’re going to throw Lucky Charms cereal at us.

There are some benefits to having your wedding on Friday the 13th.
1. D. will be less likely to forget our anniversary.
2. It’s not a popular day to get married for traditional brides. This is good for my price and service negotiations with vendors.

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