Wednesday, June 30, 2010

meet my dress

my dress - sketched by Megan Hamilton (she's amazing...look what she did with my mom's dress here!)

My dress.  There is a lot of back-story there.  20ish days before the wedding I wasn't wearing this dress...  I was going to wear a simple silk JCrew dress... and some interesting things happened.  (I will obviously share...but this is not the post for that.)  

I just wanted to take a moment to love on my fancy shmancy bridal gown

I loved wearing this freaking dress.  Loved it.  I have never felt so beautiful.  In my entire life.  It had sparkly glittery stuff all over it...and beads....and pearls... and pretty LACE.  It had a sweetheart neckline.  A mermaid-ish cut....and a freaking train.  Every single bridal gown element that made me roll my eyes while planning my wedding. Who knew?  

I loved everything about wearing this dress...and when the end of the night came, and the gown had to come off, I stood in front of the mirror in our hotel for a few solid minutes.  I wanted to remember the weight of the fabric, the sparkle of the beads, the delicate swirls of the lace.  I admired it on my curvy body...and maybe twirled a few times.

I felt like the belle of the ball all day....and I was.

Thank you, dear dress, for being such a beautiful addition to my wedding experience.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

how recaps will roll

Soooo...obviously I want to get these snippets of our magical wedding moments out!  Except, it's harder to do than I ever imagined.  It almost feels like divulging these intimate details exposes some kind of vulnerability.  Those moments were so sacred, so special, it feels slightly uncomfortable to dissect them, explain them and justify them.   Does that make sense?  However, I will do my best  :-) 

My "recaps" will be more like a walk down memory lane...a stream of consciousness if you will.  Yes, it will be a tad will skip around...I'll probably tell the same tale a couple of times, and might forget to include others (though I hope I don't!).  It will be more like my real life - scattered and a tad random.

Today I just want to share with you the crazy happiness that engulfed my soul that day.  I was on cloud nine...all day...all night...every moment.  It was our perfect wedding!  Quite literally, the BEST day of my life.  I wasn't even shooting for perfection, OR for the best day of my just happened that way.  Don't get me wrong, it wasn't exactly how we planned, or even how we imagined it would be.   It was   better... (but I feel obnoxious admitting that...except it's true...sooooo....)

Thankfully, to us, it was totally joyful in every sense of the word.

I've never smiled so hard in one day in my life.  I couldn't help it!  It was a high that lasted that entire weekend.  It was surreal to see all of our friends in one place, mingling together like they've known each other for years...and to witness our families intertwined to a degree that his family and my family appeared as one.   My poured and oozed towards us from every crevice in that mountaintop lodge.  I never expected to feel that.  I knew people would be happy for us, and that people would have fun, but the support and love graciously given to us on that day was unbelievable and entirely precious.  I'm so glad that we experienced that network of community...I'm so glad that we ended up inviting a couple dozen more people than we initially intended...I'm so glad that everybody came...I'm so glad we didn't take on any more DIY elements....I'm so glad that the women of our family graciously helped in so many way...I'm so glad we ended up having lots of bridesmaids and groomsmen... I'm so glad our close friend officiated... I'm so glad we composed our own ceremony... and I'm so glad we didn't elope!! 

Our wedding was so incredibly special.  To us.  And to to our family.

Monday, June 28, 2010

20% off whispering pines *sale*

they have some new *cute* things like dishtowels and aprons!

Whispering Pines is having their summer sale!

20% off!
Until July 1st!

use checkout code - "summer"

and sweet summery jewelry too!

etsy insight: symbolic intereaction studio

(I want this.)

Let me start by saying, I'm currently obsessed with pearls.  Perhaps it's because I wore them for my wedding, or it's because I've rediscovered their classic beauty....but whatever it is I can't get enough.  AND THEN this incredible jewelry shop comes along and gives these little beauties a new fresh modern design, and I'm hooked.  Let me introduce you to one of our newest sponsors...Symbolic Interaction Studio.

Symbolic Interaction Studio offers dozens of unique and stunning designs.  And the best part - wicked affordable.  Lots of beautiful textures and colors and forms are explored in their pieces (and I'm talking WAY more than just pearls here....I just happen to be going through some sort of "pearl addiction"!).

Ahhh...really....these are only $14!?  Soooo pretty...and wedding perfect.  
(umm...or work perfect...or life perfect)

See - more than just pretty pearls!

I just love where Etsy takes me. Check out Symbolic Interaction Studio here.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

getting bridal buff with interval training

Sasha, from, contacted me to do a guest post related to physical fitness for brides to be....I was just bummed I didn't get this information soon enough for my wedding!!  I battled with body image and trying to work out/be healthy in the months and weeks leading up to my wedding (as luck should have it, those were the busiest months of my medical school career, so I wasn't able to devote more than 20 minutes or so to physical fitness a few times a week!)  I will share what kinda worked for me soon.  Thanks for this advice Sasha!

The time between your engagement and wedding are no doubt a whirlwind of planning, and even having a lot of help from other people still leaves most brides-to-be wishing to add more hours to the day. In addition to the many appointments, there is still gym time to be logged, and unfortunately for many of us, this may get pushed down the list. Weather you work with a trainer or on your own, there's always the need to get more results in less time.

Lately, experts have been reminding us about interval training, which gives the busiest among us hope for even better gym pay off. Although fitness advice seems to change all the time, serious athletes and Olympians have been doing interval training for decades, and seeing about twice the results of a regular cardio workout. It's beginning to come into the spotlight again, with people having less and less time to fit a traditional workout into their day.

An article from NY Times online says experts believe adding interval training just a few days a week will show great improvements in fat burning and endurance as opposed to a long continuous cardio workout. These studies have been done with young adults (in varying degrees of physical fitness) using stationary bikes and treadmills. The results showed that all subjects saw about a 36% increase in fat burned in a short interval training session as opposed to longer moderate cardio session.

Experts believe results like these can be duplicated on various pieces of  fitness equipment and outdoor activities. While there isn’t an exact plan to stick to, you could cut your hour or so moderate session to 25 minutes, consisting of 4minute bursts with 3 minutes of recovery in between. It could also be 1 minute bursts with 3 minutes recovery. What's important is that you experience intense times of working at about 85% capacity, and then moderate to light exertion to get the heart rate almost back down to normal before starting the cycle again.

The fat burning and cardiovascular results are shown to be evident in just a few weeks, so even if you are in the final wedding countdown, you could surely benefit from the boost switching to intervals would provide. Remember that it's important to warm up beforehand, and that while you should feel breathless, you don’t want to work your self to exhaustion. Those of you who work out on your own or have home gyms can consult a doctor or trainer for further advice and recommendations that are personalized to your fitness level, schedule, and goals. 

- By Sasha Britton

Saturday, June 26, 2010

love words weekend

"I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. 
There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. 
But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived:
I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough."
- The Notebook
note: when I saw this picture it totally reminded me of those scenes in The Notebook... I love that movie.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

i heart mountains

I love the mountains...big time.  If I had to choose between an ocean view or a mountain view, I'm pretty sure I'd pick the mountains (and I might be the only person to choose that way!!!).  Today, The Hindsight Bride tells us why she "hearts" the mountains....and points out some drool-worthy mountaintop nuptials!

When Jes first started this blog, she mentioned being sick of mountain weddings being all about pinecones “I realized the huge void in finding mountain/forest/outdoor specific ideas. Especially on a very conservative budget. Or when I did find them, they were almost always pine cone themed.” 

I hear ya sister. And while I happen to like pine cones, I like other things too. So here is a tribute to mountain brides who march to the beat of their own drum and show that mountain weddings are not always about pinecones!

The Berkshires from Snippet and Ink

Nothing says mountains to me like mismatched anything. The rugged, make-do tradition of the mountains is best reflected in “found objects.” Little scraps of  paper and fabric, mix-matched vases, old books and ephemera, and yes, sticks, and twigs, and the occasional  pinecone.

British Columbia from 100 Layer Cake:

 You got to love  couples that incorporate unique venue features, like, well, llamas. I also found the literary references sweet. You really feel like you know what a couple is all about when they put this kind of thought into their wedding and décor.

Sundance Wedding from Green Wedding Shoes

Talk about rustic elegance. I find it nothing short of amazing that this couple made the old-school paneling of their venue look perfect with the rest of their décor: burlap, wooden cake stands, and yellow wedding shoes.

Pacific Northwest wedding from SMP

 Isn’t this venue amaaaazing!? And the snow cats add the right pop of color. I love it when the photographer can capture such whimsy from such an industrial-looking piece of machinery.

The Rockies from Martha

There is so much I love about this mountain wedding, least of all the chair lift bridal shots. I love, love, love the vintage “top-of-the-world” design on the invitations. Suggesting mountains without being obvious gets a big thumbs up in my book. I also have to point out the intense blue of the sky. It actually looks like that in the high western altitudes ladies; that’s not photoshop!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

our precious lil wedding video

Here's a little taste of our beautiful day.  The best day of my life.  The day I married my best friend in front of all those we love most.  The day that changed my world forever. 

I'm more than excited to revisit those precious moments, and to share them with you!  I'll begin my recaps next week.  

I've watched this sweet lil video about a ZILLION times since our videographer, Ben, sent it over.  Like - literally a ZILLION times.  Every time I watch it my heart gets stuck in my throat and I find myself smiling bigger than I thought was humanly possible.  To me, it's sooo beautiful.  

Get ready.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mrs. PhD: how to plan your wedding and complete grad school without losing your mind

Big thank you to my bloggy friend Elizabeth of A Barefoot Bride, who was among the very first bridal blogs I followed.  I adored her journey of environmentally conscious wedding planning and her overall love for life and her partner.  Plus, she was also completing her graduate school education, so I could relate to her on so many levels.  Then her wedding came and it wow-ed my pants off!  Just wait till you see her bodacious dress omg!

 In the past 18 months, I completed a doctoral degree, planned a wedding for 100 guests, got married (yay!), and started my first academic teaching job. I really can't recommend cramming that number of life changes into such a short amount of time (especially as it puts you at risk for developing stress related illnesses.) However, it seems rather inevitable since the years when one is most likely to be in graduate school are also the years when one is most likely to get married. I even think there's something about being in grad school that prepares you for marriage (more on that shortly...)

 So when Jes asked me to write a guest post, I thought the most useful thing I could do was to reflect on what I learned while planning a wedding and finishing grad school simultaneously (I'm sure she has thoughts on this topic, too), in hopes that my crazy year might benefit those of you working on the same juggling act. Do come visit me at Walking Barefoot for further musings on weddings, marriage, academia and living green (and to see why the blog was originally called One Barefoot Bride).

 The most important thing I learned was to let go of perfection. It was not going to be humanly possible to produce a perfect dissertation and a perfect wedding at the same time, while maintaining my relationships and my health! Letting go of perfection applied equally to the wedding and to grad school. In my dissertation, there are sections that are kind of boring (even typos in the final draft! shhhh.... don't tell my advisor) and there are a few B's on my transcript. 

The old joke goes: What do they call the PhD graduate with the lowest GPA? "Dr."

Important caveat: This attitude may be less appropriate in law school or med school, where class rankings are important for future jobs. Nonetheless, there's probably some place where perfection is less important.

 Letting go of perfection was just as important in the wedding. It's so easy to get caught up in the gorgeous images all over the internet (I believe my entire first six months of planning were spent stalking Style Me Pretty) - but wonderful weddings come in all shapes, sizes and degrees of decor coordination. Decor was the major area where we punted: we just didn't have time or creativity to DIY a ton of details, and we didn't have the money or vision to get someone else to do them, so they didn't exist. No one seemed to miss them. And we were still got married.

The second key to success in wedding planning and grad school is values clarification. That is, taking time to actively reflect on what is important to you, and why, and what you're willing to sacrifice to acquire it. This is why I think being in grad school actually prepares people for marriage: by choosing a grad program and a topic to study intensively, you have connected with a passion (or at least a strong interest), and have committed to sacrificing your time and energy to pursue it. 

 Throughout grad school, and especially near the end, I found myself continually asking "Is this what I'm most interested in? Is this what's most important to me?" and then working to shape my research around my values. Being in touch with your values makes you more interesting, more real, and more ready to build a life with a partner. 

Second caveat: I'm not sure whether this applies to professional programs, or only to research-based academic programs. MBAs, JDs, what do you think?)

In wedding planning, clarifying your values about what a wedding means: deciding what feelings you want your wedding to provoke, what sort of atmosphere you want to create, how you want to celebrate the meanings of love, marriage, and partnership with your community, defining who your community is all contribute to simplifying the choices about details and logistics. 

As environmental professionals, being in an outdoor setting that had personal meaning to us was incredibly important. Similarly, we wanted the wedding to have a relatively small environmental footprint (ideas here...).

These values shaped our hunt for a venue, and subsequent decisions about food, flowers, and transportation (no limo for us!)

We were fortunate to find a florist who works with local, seasonal, organic flowers, and was willing to prioritize those aspects of the bouquet and boutonnieres. Her job became even more difficult when we realized that the National Park where the ceremony would take place restricted the kinds of flowers that could be used outdoors, lest non-native plants be introduced into the park!

In wedding planning, grad school, and life in general, it's essential to prioritize. At the beginning of the wedding planning process, a friend told me to choose three aspects of the wedding on which to focus my time, energy and money, and to let the rest go. 

Three Things - location, food, dress - became my mantra throughout the rest of the planning process. (The Mr. had his, too: location, food, music. So I guess we really had Four Things.)

When we were tempted to stress about some aspect that was not on that list, we just reminded ourselves that it wasn't one of our priorities. You'll notice that flowers and decor did not make it on to our list of Three Things. We had a tiny budget for flowers, and, after suggesting a general color scheme and a few flowers that I particularly like, I left the rest of the design up to the florist. I didn't have time or energy to worry about a trial run or specific flowers.

Balancing wedding planning and writing my dissertation meant that I truly had to prioritize my life. The Three Things for grad school were: writing, staying healthy (harder than it seems when sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day!), and maintaining my relationship with the Mr. Anything that didn't contribute to these three priorities - including, sadly, seeing friends, going to departmental meetings, reading for fun - was out. Yoga, going to the gym, and watching reality TV were in, as they all contributed to the first two priorities.

In an odd way, planning the wedding also contributed to finishing my dissertation: I could use wedding planning tasks as a break from writing and thinking hard.   When I got tired of dresses, flowers and menus, grad school work became a break from wedding planning. Embracing the two very different hats I was wearing made each one more special and enjoyable. The writing I did on my blog helped keep the words flowing, which, in turn, contributed to my ability to articulate weighty concepts in the dissertation.

Fortunately, the wedding planning burden did not fall solely to me. Early on, I realized that we would have to work as a team to divide and conquer the wedding tasks, especially as the Mr. was facing his own work stresses, which culminated right before the wedding. The Mr. is mightily organized, and we used his ability to rapidly breeze through lists to our advantage. He was the main point of contact for the venue and caterer, as well as the ceremony musician and DJ. Establishing our household and shared responsibilities under the stressful conditions of wedding planning and dissertation writing forced us to establish egalitarian patterns of shared responsibility that I hope will last throughout our marriage.

We found that it was important to celebrate small victories and have fun together. When the Mr. received a prestigious award, I chucked my writing plans, and made dinner reservations to toast his success. We made a point of cracking open a bottle of Champagne or cava at any milestone, no matter how small, so that we could recognize the progress toward our goals.

Finally, I would say: Do NOT schedule your wedding for the first semester (or first few months) of a new endeavor. Much better to schedule the wedding for the final months of school than the first few months of a new job. For a variety of scheduling reasons, we ended up getting married just two months after I started my teaching job. Needless to say, I was not an especially focused professor in the fall, nor was I as communicative with our guests, and families as I would have liked to be. I would have liked to be more present and less scattered in the weeks leading up to the wedding.

My first semester of grad school, another student told me not to try to finish a dissertation and plan a wedding at the same time. I blithely ignored this advice, and lived to tell about it.
You can, too! 
All images by the sublimely talented Kate Harrison.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

finding beauty, saving money and learning to love diy projects

I love the blog Chic 'N Cheap Living...she has the most impressive finds and ideas...not to mention quite a fine collection of DIY projects posted to her site.  I think this post is particularly interesting, and will hit home for many of us who struggled with how to create a beautiful wedding on a budget.  She was particularly savvy and diy-ed her own incredible veil!!  Such a inspiration to DIY brides everywhere!

 Pink peonies.
Delicate lace trains.
Gilded letterpress invitations.
Towering crystal centerpieces.

We are presented, or rather bombarded, with many images of beauty in planning weddings.  The pressure and the desire to possess, create, and present beautiful things is pretty immense.  Some of it can be yours, but the rest can run counter to many modern wedding budgets, especially since many couples are footing the bill themselves.  Here is what I learned and a few DIY projects I conquered along the way…

First, remember that there are many types and ideas for beauty.  I will argue that good quality silk flowers can also be gorgeous.  Letterpress is lovely, but so is heat embossing.  Concentrate on what you and your partner find to be cool.  Let go of just one idea of beauty and find one which will really make your heart sing (and leave you comfortable about what you spent); as difficult as it is, make aesthetic decisions that will make you and your partner happy (appeasing the rest of the family could be a whole other post). 

Second, like many Chic ‘n Cheap brides, I would always unknowingly hone in on the most expensive and luxe items even though my budget was a mediocre one.   Where there is a will and an internet connection there is a way…the DIY way.
If really want something, have time and or help, give DIY a try because it will most likely save you a lot of money (though also remember to be realistic about your DIY projects, it’s not worth it if it’s not fun anymore). 

One of my first projects was creating an alencon lace waltz length veil (tutorials here and here).  I tried on a $1000 alencon lace veil at Kleinsfeld and was in love (though not with the price tag).  I wanted alencon lace trim that was a least 3” wide and silk tulle – both the priciest items in their categories. 

Finally, I managed to save money and obtain my dream items by:
-          doing my research and asking other bloggers and friends for fabric store suggestions
-          stalking eBay (set up saved searches)
-          hitting the streets and making friends with fabric store salesmen who eventually led me to a wholesaler
I ended up making my own alencon lace veil and was incredibly happy with it because I created it with my own hands.  I also ended up creating all our stationary, some fascinators, and our cookie favors myself.  Perhaps they could have been prettier or more polished, but it was a labor of love and they were meaningful and lovely to me.

I would have loved to have a DJ, baker, and artist as friends, but we only had us and that was ok (and my husband DJed – I’ll have him do a tutorial soon).  But we researched, found beauty, DIYed, saved money, and most importantly had the best party ever.

Congratulations Mountain Bride, good luck with the move, and thanks for having me!

Monday, June 21, 2010

CSN + flatware = happy newlyweds

By now many of you know that Tommy and I have moved to New York.  We didn't move with much, and we left lots of our goods back in Phoenix with my sisters.  I'm clearly on the prowl for some sweet new stuff like bathroom vanities, rugs and lamps.

Except there are a couple BASIC items that we forgot to add to our registry, and we didn't pack....things that surely take precedence over the fun stuff.  Namely....Flatware.  We forgot to register for it.  We did have some pieces, but left them behind.  And now, well, we wish we had them, because we're currently eating from plastic picnic utensils.

CSN to the rescue.  CSN is a huge online shopping experience with 200+ specialty shops to choose from.  I did a quick search for flatware and literally tons of hits came up.  They have about a zillion rad patterns and quantities to choose from. 

 I'm a huge fan of pretty hammered metal handles, so I'm pretty sure that's what we are going to end up going with...yet I'm loving the smooth simple modern handles too.  How does one select such a thing!?? Or quantity?   How many should we get??  8 sets?

I will let you know how this goes.  I'm excited to use something other than plastic sporks!!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

love words weekend

Love's Philosophy

The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In another's being mingle--
Why not I with thine?

See, the mountains kiss high heaven,
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister flower could be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;--
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?
- PB Shelley

Saturday, June 19, 2010

finally - we are new yorkers

Friends....we made it.  Despite some moving drama (which I'm sure I will share with you at some point),  lots of miles, getting wicked sick, and a few tears spilled after good byes were given, we have finally landed in our new home. 


Upstate New York is absolutely gorgeous.  I keep squealing at all the lush greenery, colorful flowers, and occasional sprinkles from clouds overhead - it's Heaven.  Our new apartment, though completely barren and devoid of any furniture, is spacious and homey.   But good lord there is a lot of "stuff" to do when you move.   SO MUCH.  Not to mention the paperwork I've gotta harness before my residency starts next week.  Wow. 

Our drive was fun - as all cross country road trips tend to be.  We each drove a vehicle, loaded down with vacuum sealed bags of clothes, a couple camping chairs, and tons of Tommy's sporting equipment. It wasn't ideal for us to each drive a car (it's not very honeymooney!) but it's what had to be done.  We stopped and shared meals with family along the way, and even managed to stay with some old college friends on our journey.  I love that part of our road trips...connecting with dear ones.

I have a few more amazing Guest Posts that I will be sharing this next week, as Tommy and I settle into our new space, and get our lives in some sort of order before "doctoring" begins. 

I have slowly been collecting some pictures from our wedding from Facebook albums, and relatives, and will be starting to sift through my colorful memories of our very special day.  I'm excited to live in those moments again, and I'm getting crazy excited to get the pictures from OneLove!! 

Friday, June 18, 2010

hindsight bride: things i wish i hadn't done

Today, The Hindsight Bride shares with us some things she wish she hadn't done!  It's hard to admit to some of these things sometimes...but I feel that it is valid advice to those planning their weddings.  Thank you for sharing so candidly with us!

1)  Pressured myself to include another bridesmaid:
My maid-of-honor brother was engaged to a wonderful woman. They had been together for 5 years, and I adored her. On a whim, I asked her to stand up with my brother. She accepted. Two months later, she ended her engagement to my brother. Ouch! While I still adore her, she is no longer in my life, and many our bridal portraits serve as a painful reminder of the breakup.

2)  Grew our own flowers
What a stressful project. Flowers are just not my forte. In the middle of winter, harvesting spring flowers from the Hindsight in-laws property sounded brilliant (and economical.) The week before the wedding, my in-laws were trying to figure out how to make 250 Irises be in full bloom on May 23. Think about that for a moment. The week before the wedding, we were stressing because we might not have had enough flowers in time. In hindsight, I wish I had simply bought the flowers, even if from a flower farm or farmers market.

3)  Played Pachebel’s Canon in D
I didn’t turn my attention to music until a couple of days before the wedding. Luckily, D. had compiled play lists for the dinner and dancing, and we had long picked out “our song.” Our recessional song was “Send Me on My Way,” by Rusted Root. But I was responsible for the ceremony music and had waited until the last minute. Burnt out and low on creative steam, I chose Pachebel’s Canon in D for our processional music. It’s very pretty, but not really “us.” While this is a very small regret in the grand scheme of things, I still wish I had paced myself, started on this project earlier, and managed my time a bit better.

4)  Stressed about the size of the guest list:
I freaked out about our ever expanding guest list. We were getting married in D.’s home town and there were a so many people his mom thought to invite. We had originally imagined 50 people. The guest list ballooned to 130 people. I was stressing about this right up until I walked down the aisle and saw that approximately 60 out of the 130 we invited had attended. In fact, 20% of those who sent an RSVP did not show up. The reason: Our venue was an hour’s drive for most people and our area was a destination weeding for the rest. Had I paid closer attention to this detail, I would have relaxed about the guest list more. In hindsight, I also wish I had compiled A,B, and C lists. The best one I’ve found is on My Wedding Workbook, because of the language. Instead of A list and B list, the wording is “definitely invite,” “would like to invite,” and “invite if able.” This more closely matches the sentiment we felt while compiling our guest list.

5)  Hired a student photographer:
In hindsight, I realize that wedding photographers are a special breed. They know weddings. They understand the rhythm of weddings and how to anticipate and capture special moments. Even if I had hired a professional photographer that knew her camera a bit better, she may not have a feel for when to get a shot, where to position oneself for the best photos, and what details are important. I wish I had hired a professional.

My overall hindsight advice
Weddings are complex things. Your wedding day should be both perfect and imperfect. To make sure the important things are perfect and the imperfect things are unimportant, be honest with yourself and honor who you truly are throughout every step of the planning process. It’s easy to get caught up in all the wedding inspiration and trends, but at the end of the day, you are part of a process of joining two families (and perhaps two cultures) together.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

hindsight bride: things i wish we'd done

Yesterday, The Hindsight Bride shared with us some things that she LOVED about her wedding.  Today, she shares the things she wish she had done.  I think we could all write up a list like this :-)


1)  Stayed true to my original priorities
When I wrote out an initial list with my top five priorities, photography was #5. As time when on, and D. and I spent countless hours on DIY projects, photography had climbed to one of my very top priorities. I wanted to remember every little detail. I emphasized this to the student photographer I had hired in an effort to save money. I took a real chance hiring a student photographer and lost. The pictures did not come out--at all.

2)  Pampered myself a bit more
The week before the wedding I was a DIY-ing fool. I was baking cakes, ironing bunting, and setting up the venue. I had no time for my hair or nails. The day of, I was running around piping frosting on my cake, decorating the ceremony site, and setting up tables. I had no time for hair and makeup. Not only did I not have a more polished bridal look, I also missed out on having some girl time with the Moms, my niece, and my bridesmaid.

3)  Spent more time with my mom
For 15 years, I have lived over 1000 miles away from my family. I see my mom once a year at best and once every three years at worst. It is a rare treat to talk to my mom face-to-face. Although my parents stayed in NC for nearly a week, the flurry of wedding day preparations prevented us from spending much time together. In hindsight, I wish I had spend some alone time with my mom. Maybe a spa day, or just going out to lunch together.

4)  Written our own vows
We recited the classic vows from the common book of prayer. In many ways I liked the formality and tradition of this type of ceremony. However, there are so many things that make D. special to me. I wish I had taken the opportunity to declare in front of our friends and family exactly how and why I love my husband so much.

5)  Kept a private journal of the process
As I talk to family and friends and reflect on our wedding for blogging purposes, I realize that I am fast forgetting some of the smaller details. I wish I had kept a small private journal to chronicle the process. For example, I wish I would have written down my thoughts the day I made the cake, or the day after the wedding when D. and I woke up in a lux B&B. The stuff that wouldn’t immediately go on a wedsite or a blog. I wish I had taken the time to write so my future self could enjoy and remember some of the smaller moments.

6)  Sent out save the dates:
Like Jes, we had a Memorial Weekend wedding. We thought about sending Save the Date Cards, but so many of our guests were from the area, we figured they weren’t really needed. Approximately 35% of our guests sent regrets, saying they had already made plans for Memorial Day. It was a bit disappointing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

hindsight bride: what i'm glad i did

Over the next few days, my friend over at Hindsight Bride, will be sharing some of her wedding details...things she liked, things she would have done differently, and lots of goodies about mountain weddings.  Thank you for sharing these tidbits with this community...while I'm off moving across the country with my new husband!!

Preparing for this guest post has brought me on a wonderful trip down memory lane. There are so many things--little things, big things, almost forgotten things, and life-changing things--that go into and come out of a wedding. Here is a few things I wanted to share:

1)  Shopped for my wedding gown with the Hindsight Groom

Shopping with the ladies is one tradition I’m glad we ignored. D. and I enjoy shopping together. Like a best girlfriend, D. gives perfect advice on what looks good on and what doesn’t. So when it came time to shop for a dress, he and I stole away to the city one snowy afternoon, and made a day of gown shopping. It was sweet, and fun, and intimate. I can think of no other person I wanted to get teary-eyed with when we found The One.

2)  Stopped stressing about what people would wear.

My FMIL bought a Maxi Dress with a busy print. I told her the print would look bad in pictures and asked her to exchange it for something else. Then she came back with a white linen dress suit. I freaked out. I didn’t want her white linen to make my ivory gown look dingy. She was just trying to make me happy, and my constantly encouraging her to return her dresses was frustrating for everyone. In the end, I just let it go. My mom ended up wearing a cute black and white polka dot dress, my brides maid was in a cream and orange linen dress, carrying blue irises. LOL, no one really matched, but we all felt beautiful, comfortable, and happy with our outfits. What more could I really want?

3)  Made my own wedding cake.

 I wouldn’t recommend this for most brides. It doesn’t really save money unless you are already a professional cake baker and have all of the equipment. However, I personally come from a long line of cooks. As an Italian-American, my childhood has been steeped in food-based traditions. And my grandmother used to make the most fantastic, elaborate, multi-tiered cakes when I was a little. It meant so much to me to make my own wedding cake, to honor my family, to cook for my guests, and to remember my grandmother. My mother graciously gave me grandma’s cake pans. Thanks Hindsight Mom!

4)  DIY-ed together 

D. and I are both creative people so it made sense that we would hand craft much of our wedding. He played art director, being closely involved with most of the design decisions, as well as doing test arrangements for our DIY flowers, sewing our bunting, and creating our fabric-wrapped vases. It made tackling the enormity of a DIY wedding fun and manageable. Go team Hindsight!

5)  Had both parents walk us down the aisle 

This was one of my favorite parts of our wedding, and I’m tearing up writing about it. Hindsight Mom called,and casually asked who would walk me down the aisle. It’s a valid question given my feminist sensibilities and the fact that my brother is my best friend. I think my mom was wondering if my father or my brother would walk me down the aisle. My brother was already my Maid of Honor, and I wanted my mom to walk me down the aisle, but also couldn’t imagine slighting my dad in that way. “Both of you!” I announced. Well, D. is very close to his parents as well, so we decided to throw out tradition completely and had both sets of parent walk both of us down the aisle. It was so incredibly wonderful.

6)  Hired a day-of-Coordinator.

The week before the wedding, I hired a day-of coordinator to manage the wedding day schedule, serve as the iPod MC, organize key players such as the servers, photographer and wedding party, and mitigate any disasters that would invariably arise. I gave her a checklist, a timeline, and list of contacts. I told her that as soon and my gown was on, she was not to come to me with any questions or problems. I didn’t have to keep track of the schedule. I spent my wedding day in blissful ignorance that my videographer left before our first dance, or that there was no salt and pepper for the S&P shakers. Good deal though; I was able to enjoy myself.

I asked the Hindsight Groom the Same Questions:
7)  Glad our wedding was outside: He likes being outside and we’re both outdoorsy people.

8)  Liked that we put our wants over tradition. He’s glad I had my brother as my Maid of Honor and did things our way rather than let tradition dictate what to do.

9)  Glad we bought a suit instead of renting a tux. While he was excited about wearing a tux for the first time in his life, he’s glad to now have a nice suit.

10)          Happy we made own cake because the tasty.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

update: half way to our new home

Bloggy's been so long!  Do you miss me???  I have a couple zillion stories to share...'s been the craziest whirlwind of celebrations these past couple weeks. 

I focused so much energy on our wedding, on our new marriage, and on completeing all of the requirements for medical school and wrapping up all of those loose ends, not to mention the insanity of packing up our belongings for a big move across the country, that I neglected to analyze the emotional impact of saying goodbye to my family.

It was hard.

Because we don't know if we will ever move back to Arizona.  And the reality of moving away from my family hit me in the face as I hugged my mom for the last time. 

Anyhow...for now just know that Tommy and I are chuggin' away in our gorged vehicles...enjoying the landscape of our beautiful country.

I LOVE ROADTRIPS....with my husband :-)

Monday, June 14, 2010

something old, something new: incorporating family traditions through new food ways

One of my newest fave blogs is The Hindsight Bride...she had a truly lovely, beautiful, handmade wedding celebration (on a serious budget...but you'd never know it!)  She will be guest blogging this week while my husband and I are busing driving from Arizona to New our new our next adventure.   Thank you for sharing!

I love the whole idea behind weddings. And by the “whole idea,” I mean the idea that two separate families are coming together and essentially becoming one. Food ended up being the unifying theme when our families met for the first time. I knew this would be the case. When we announced our engagement (and our tiny budget) both moms immediately began talking about a family potluck wedding. Woohoo! All the family members would contribute! On the menu: Baba’s dinner rolls, lasagna, coleslaw, portuguese sweet bread, carved ham and turkey (It’s an old-school Italian-American thing), chocolate tofu cake (his parents were hippies,) Dean’s famous black beans... We had quite a smorgasbord planned.

But after the initial rush of excitement, we trembled with awe and terror at the logistics (and stresses) of planning a 100-person wedding on a shoestring with like a bazillion other DIY projects planned. You see, making a couple dozen of Baba’s dinner rolls is manageable. But a couple of hundred? And do we have enough kitchen space to make and entire dinner for 100? Yikes! The answer ended up being an unequivocal, resounding, “No!” In the end, we had a catered BBQ dinner (Still highly appropriate for the Southern mountains.

But family food-ways manifested in other ways. My in-laws threw a down-home rehearsal dinner with their specialties: chicken and apple sausage, coleslaw, and black beans and rice. While it’s not a typical “southern-themed” dinner, it highlighted some of their signature dishes. For desert? Tofu Chocolate Cake. (It’s delicious. And the trick to fabulous tofu chocolate cake is not telling the guests it’s made from tofu until after the oohs and aaahs have subsided.) My family also chipped in.

My Mom made  well over 100 Italian Wedding Cookies and 12 loaves of Portuguese Sweet Bread for the wedding. I made the wedding cake with my grandmothers cake pans. And the day after, my-brother-the-chef made his signature ratatouille--we call it Craig-a-touille. For our favors, I made giant Italian wedding cookies and gave them to guests along with my Great Grandma Brescia’s traditional recipe.

In hindsight, I wish I had done more to celebrate and honor the importance of food in our families. With out (of course) trying to self-cater a 100-person wedding reception. Two ideas that come immediately to mind:

1. Family Recipe Book Favors: When Hindsight Groom and I announced our engagement, the Moms were so excited to share their recipes and food-ways. I wish I had honored their enthusiasm with recipe book favors, adding short family bios and histories where appropriate. Perhaps it would have given the guests something to talk about. At the very least it could have been an intra-family ice breaker. 

2. A Tasting Buffet for the Rehearsal Dinner/ Day-after dinner: Scale was the biggest obstacle for incorporating family foods into the actual wedding. But we had a more manageable 15 people for the rehearsal and day-after dinners. While we certainly took turns cooking our specialties, it would have been more fun to plan out a family potluck or tasting buffet. I can just imagine, in my DIY craze, creating a sign-up menu on a wiki or Google Docs and designing labels for each dish.


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