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It’s been one year since D. and I got married. I’ve had some time to enjoy married life and reflect on the whole chaotic wedding planning process.

Here’s a couple of lessons I learned:

1. Don’t make friends with your vendors. Be clear in what you expect from them. If you are afraid of being perceived as a bridezilla, hire a coordinator or designate someone as your “heavy”. Your contract outlines your expected deliverables. Don’t be afraid to cite it.

Yeah, I wanted to support small businesses and artists. However, I have to admit I was disappointed by a few of my vendors.  My florist worked out of her home, didn’t have access to the high-end flowers I really wanted, and wouldn’t listen when I told her that I didn’t care that she was saving me money by suggesting gerbera daisies. (I don’t like daisies, at all. They were on my Do Not Use These Flowers list.)

I still have outstanding deliverables from another vendor. I must say I’m disappointed about the delay and lack of communication.

2. Don’t get wrapped up in making your wedding unique or offbeat.

Of course, you want your wedding to express the personalities of you and your fiance. I know you don’t want a cookie-cutter wedding. However, it’s not a contest. Offbeat weddings are trending towards this bigger than life, let’s make it weirder than the last couple, reality tv show-esque mess. Do you really want guests walking away from your wedding with memories of how much it reminded them of the Jim Rose Circus, or do you want your guests remembering how much your wedding showcased your love for each other, quirks and all? All those quirky little details need to be tied together somehow, and due to the lack of time, you may end up scrapping or forgetting them at the last minute. You don’t want to be up at 1:30 am the night before (well, technically, the day of) your wedding, burning CDs of your wedding soundtrack as favors.

3. Don’t let your family (or friends) affect, dictate, or ruin your big day.

If you’re paying for your wedding, like D. and I did, don’t let people who aren’t paying make demands. It doesn’t hurt to be flexible where you are willing to be, to avoid big blowups over small things, but don’t back down on the things that mean the most to you, or would cause you to incur crazy debt. Speaking from experience, if your mother bought an inappropriate dress from a thrift store to wear at the wedding (without a bra), be prepared to drag her kicking and screaming to the department store and buy her a bra and a dress. I’m all about creative and unique clothing, but wearing a yellowed slip with no bra is not appropriate attire in which to meet my future-in-laws, let alone to wear to a wedding.

Are there things I would change if I could go back in time and do it again? Yes.

Am I happy with the way it all came out in the end? Absolutely.

Do I secretly want to wear my wedding dress around the house? Yup, the only thing that stops me is that the dress requires another person to lace me up.

Tomorrow will be four months. I know I’ve been a terrible blogger, leaving you all hanging like that.

The wedding was lovely. It was a lot hotter than I expected, but my stellar wedding coordinator made sure we had umbrellas and water for our guests.

I was so nervous. I recited the Shema before starting my trek up the hill. My maid of honor was my awesome friend Alyson. Doesn’t she look great?

This is the secret path up the hill to the processional stairs. I was wearing flip flops instead of my crazy heels and Alyson was a great help with my dress.

I’m too excited/nervous to get married.

Alyson processing.

My processional.

David waiting for me to make it to the bridge in one piece. (With the heels I was wearing, there was a very high chance of me busting my ass on the way down.)

There are many many more pictures. I’ll post some more soon.

Here is the video of our ceremony. It’s compressed all to hell, but I hope you enjoy it.

My processional was Cat Power’s cover of “Sea of Love”. The recessional was “PM’s Love Theme” from the Love Actually soundtrack. (Remember the scene where Liam Neeson’s son, Sam, was running through the airport? Yes, that song.)

The first wedding presents have arrived:

Our friend Allez and The Smit got us these pretties from Crate and Barrel:

Bamboo Salt Keeper
Oxo Mixing Bowls: Large and Medium

Our friend RavenRose sent us a set of Riedel O Sauvignon Blanc/Riesling Wine Tumblers.

We really wanted practical kitchen items for gifts, and you wouldn’t believe how nice those bowls are. I know they don’t sound exciting, but they are.

Thank you, guys!

Eek. I didn’t expect everything to come together, but it is.

I touched base with the baker, Cero at Cake Expressions, and he is looking forward to creating our cakes. I need to send the final payment out today. We’ve paid the final payment for the florist and worked out the details for centerpieces and the bouquet. I need to make the final payment to the caterer, but she was out of town on Friday.

Instead of a DJ, D. and I decided to take advantage of our vast music collection and create MP3 playlists. I’ve been trying to find a decent sound setup for us. I was considering renting speakers, a sound board, and a microphone, but rentals don’t provide the flexibility as bringing your own setup does. We’re going to play music at the ceremony and the reception, so we need to be able to move the gear.

While I was flying back from a business trip earlier this week, I found this portable iPod PA system in the SkyMall catalog. Amazon.com also sells this product and the reviews are very positive. We ordered it last night, so hopefully, it will be here in time.

At this point, it’s all about tying up loose ends.

I had a makeup trial at my local MAC store scheduled for Monday, but I missed the appointment. (I’ve been crazy busy lately.) I originally wanted to have a makeup artist do up my face on the day of the wedding, but my friend Allez said that I should I do my own makeup since I am capable of makeup awesomeness (which is true). What she doesn’t know is to achieve makeup awesomeness, I need at least an hour and a half to execute. I think I’ll have enough time to pull it off, but I can’t have any dramatic distractions. I may banish my family to the downstairs while Allez and I do makeup with the aid of nerve-numbing Scotch upstairs. We’ll see. (D. says makeup and scotch is a bad combination. He does have a point.)

I went to Sephora today to talk with my favorite salesperson/makeup artist, Gary. He worked with me last December to come up with a twist on a 1940s retro glam look which was awesome. I monopolized his time, and we came up with a bronzey-brown eye, plum cheeks, and a light coral gloss lip. It doesn’t sound like that would go together, but it does. We were able to incorporate products I already own, which is great because I know how they look, and I saved money too.

To start, he said to use eye cream and moisturizer. I already had the Fresh Lotus Eye Gel and Boscia’s Oil-Free Daily Hydration lotion. Then apply the foundation. We picked out the Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet+ Matifying Foundation in shade No. 40 – Natural Beige. For eyes, Lorac Starry-Eyed Baked Eye Shadow Trio – in Superstar (golden beige/golden tan/deep bronze) for the lid, crease, and brow highlight, and Stila Smudge Pot gel eye liner in Bronze to line the upper lid. Gary lined my lower lid with a deep matte brown shadow from the Stila Smoky Eye Palette, but I didn’t want to buy the whole palette just for one shadow. Plus, I have the Espresso eye shadow, which according to MAC, is a “muted golden brown” matte shadow. I also picked up a tube of the Diorshow Waterproof Mascara in black and an angle eye liner brush. We paired this bronzey eye with the Lorac Plum Eye Shadow and the Lorac Tropical Dream Mocktail Lip Gloss (sheer peach champagne). You wouldn’t think the plum blush would work with my eye and lip color, but it does. I have the Lorac Mocktail limited edition sampler, so I can play with a few other colors to make sure there isn’t something better. Gary suggested I also pick up the Urban Decay De-Slick Mattifying Powder compact. I have to say, the De-Slick powder is very impressive. I feel pretty confident that I’ll be able reproduce the look for the wedding. If I can’t, well, I’m not going to think about that right now.

No, I’m not going to post pictures from today. I’ll keep the look a surprise until the big day.

Two weeks ago, our rings from West Coast Jewelry arrived.

D.\'s ring

D.’s ring looked great. The ring has a nice bit of heft, a much better feel than titanium. There aren’t any scratches on it (there’s lint on the ring in the picture).

However, when I opened the box containing my ring, I was surprised and disappointed.

Copper ring

That ring doesn’t look right.

Copper ring

Yup, that’s definitely not the ring I ordered. I emailed West Coast Jewelry, and they quickly responded with an apology and a promise to ship out the correct ring right away.

Less than a week later, I received the correct ring, a padded envelope and a postage paid label to return the copper ring.

The ring looked pretty promising.

Unfortunately, it just didn’t feel like a wedding band to me. It was too wide and looked too much like hematite. 😦 However, some of the benefits of purchasing a ring online is that it wasn’t very expensive and this particular vendor has a decent return policy. I was a little sad though because I wanted to get the rings checked off my list.

On Saturday, I went to my local jeweler to have D.’s grandmother’s engagement ring and ornate wedding band appraised. You see, I don’t want to wear the fancy wedding band all the time. It’s beautiful, but it’s too much bling for me. Plus, I’m really hard on jewelry. That’s why I’ve been looking for a durable band. The jeweler pointed out some repairs that it needed and suggested I have the repairs done before the appraisal. One of the small diamonds in the band was shattered and another diamond was chipped. Also, the tiny prongs holding in the stones needed retipping. I wasn’t expecting this extra expense, but long term, it is definitely a good idea. I’ll be getting the rings back on Friday, so I’ll take pictures of them then.

While I was at the jeweler, I tried on 2.0 and 2.5mm wedding bands. I also compared the white gold, palladium, and platinum bands. To be honest, they all look the same. White gold is too soft for me, and platinum is too expensive, so I’ve ordered a palladium band from e-Weddingbands.com. Palladium is in the platinum group, so it’s close enough, and who’s gonna know, right?

You know, Men’s Warehouse has some really decent suits. We ended up picking up a really nice black Calvin Klein suit for D. The European cut of the Calvin Klein suit was really flattering. We both didn’t want him in a tux for the wedding because the wedding is in the early afternoon, and we’re in a garden setting. Also, why rent a tux when you can buy a suit? We were looking for a warmer, possibly brown, toned suit, but everything looked too casual. Black is always formal and very versatile. So, with the help of a very nice old salesman, D. decided on an ecru dress shirt and matching classy tie. All he needs now are a pair of shoes, a belt, and some alterations. We’re holding off on altering the waist of his pants, just in case he loses weight before wedding.

I still need to get my dress altered and finish paying off the vendors, but for the most part, everything is taken care of.  It’s scary.

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