Thursday, January 29, 2009

Our Giant Trip to Target: The Game Plan

One of the things I've most been looking forward to in the whole planning process is registering for gifts. It's not because I'm greedy, but simply because I can't wait to pick out things for our house. I've probably spent way too many hours poring over Target's Home Design Event (there's still 30% off, people!) to not be excited.

But, I've always had a secret dread about registering, because I thought that Tom would absolutely hate it, and therefore, make it quite the ordeal. So imagine my surprise when the following conversation ensued:

Me: "So apparently some of my family members would like us to register so they can start buying us gifts."
Tom: "Oh, really?"
Me: "Really. I know you don't have much time, but maybe we can take a few hours on a Sunday and knock out some of the big stuff, and then I'll go back and pick out the kitchen stuff."
Tom: "Well, I was thinking we could go next Saturday. I have the whole day off, so we could spend it at the store and maybe checking out more apartments."
Me: "What? Did I hear you correctly?"
Tom: "Well, yeah. I have the day off, let's go to Target."
Me: [blinks eyes in disbelief.] "Umm, okay."
Tom: "I still get to pick out the vacuum, right?"

Considering we are starting from scratch, with our only possessions being a bed set, a bookcase, a desk, and Christmas decorations, Tom and I have a lot of stuff to pick out. Naturally, I've mapped out a game plan. I have domain over pretty much everything kitchen, dining and accessory. Tom gets to pick out all the electronics and small appliances, except for the coffeemaker, which is totally mine! Then, we'll attempt to come to a consensus over bedding and linens.

If I left the bedding decision up to him, this is what he would pick out:

If it was left completely up to me, I'd go for something more feminine like this, but with lots of colorful toss pillows:

I have a feeling that we'll end up with something like this:
It has clean lines, fairly neutral colors, will match our existing bedroom set, but has enough stylish touches for me to be satisfied.
Sadly, one of things I'm most excited for is our flatware. I've had my heart set on this pattern for quite a while, and am soooo glad that Target still carries it:

Tortola by Oneida

And when it comes to dishes, I'm pretty undecided. I want something traditional, since we'll have these for many years before we replace them, but I would like something a bit more stylish than Corelle.

So I've found these, but I'm nervous I'll get bored of the color quickly:

And of course, Tom's vacuum. He's been drooling over this Dyson since we got engaged, practically. When I pointed out Dyson's newer, bigger and more powerful vacuum, Tom said it wasn't good enough because it was purple.
At least he's putting thought into it...

Friday, January 23, 2009

A Must-Have Picture...

Even though it's pretty corny, I can't help but to love pictures like this! I definitely hope we can get some fantastic ring shots!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ceremony Details and Whatnot...

Update: Totally bought the coat yesterday! Thanks for the advice!

So below is a picture of the setup of the ceremony site. My apologies for the pixelation and blurriness --- it was originally a small 75x75 size shot, so I enlarged it...

As you can see, this setup has an aisle runner (which we're foregoing) and subsequent petals on the aisle (which we're also thinking of nixing).

Our florist, creative genius that she is, has tons of suggestions and ideas for me! Her first thought was to line just the sides of the aisle in white petals. It's a little different than the traditional scatter, but for some reason, I'm just not in love with the idea.

Then I found this picture:

As Kristen (the florist) put it, it's like petal carpet! I just think it lends a very ethereal, romantic look to it...

Then, she had another brilliant idea: adding chair sashes to the unfortunately ugly chairs we'll be working with. Like this:

(From the archives of Kio Kreations)
Our sashes are being custom-matched to our "apple green," by the fabulous Czarina at The Chair Couture. Coincidentally, this is the same fabulous linen place I referred to for the '10 wedding plans. To cover all of our chairs, it will cost about $100! Plus, we're not even being charged for the custom color!
So, with all that in mind, does anything strike you in terms of petal decor or the arch (in the top picture)?

PS - Here's a picture of the conservatory at Wilder Park. Talk about fabulous picture opportunities!!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shopping Dilemma: Do I Buy?

So I've been on a miniature, self-imposed unnecessary spending ban lately. I've been doing pretty good, actually. :-)

I've actually been trying to be proactive with my spending. As an example, after Christmas, I went forth and conquered all the 70% off sales and bought $300 worth of holiday decorations and miscellany for less than $75, including a Christmas tree!

So, when I ran across this $100 coat on sale at New York & Company, I started drooling over it. I kept thinking to myself, "Okay, you haven't bought a new coat since your freshman year of college. This is totally worth it."

Marked down to $50, is it worth it?
(It's fully lined, 100% wool, the works.)

Now I ask you, if I told you I had a coupon that brought this coat down to $35, is it worth it?

I'm obviously leaning towards worth it here, considering the price and the fact that my coat really is 4 years old. (And please, no comments about will you still want it next year. I can say "Yes" emphatically, as my current coat is a pea coat. I love the style, just not the pattern/color).

Talk to me, goose. Yes or No?

I Love Signs!

First and foremost, I'd like to wish a very happy Golden birthday to my sister and Maid of Honor, Nicole. May many, many happy adventures come your way this year!

Second, I'd like to discuss my unnatural infatuation with wedding signs. I love them.

I actually stole this picture from Colleen at The Everyday Bride, who has also confessed her love for wedding signage, so thanks Colleen!

This one, and I know I've posted it before, is still one of my favorites. I just love a little humor to break up the sappiness of weddings! :)
And this one that I just discovered, is completely awesome. They didn't get a picture of it, but they eventually tied balloons onto the sign to look like she's holding them in her right hand. I would LOVE to do something like this, and I'm pretty sure I could convince Tom to do it... :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Medals & Petals: A Weekend Summary

So the medals part of this might be a little misleading, but I couldn't find anything else that rhymed, so bear with me.

I'd first like to issue a very hearty and happy congratulations to Tom, as he became a National Qualifier in the weight throw this weekend. This was his team's first official meet of the season, and he threw far enough to hit the provisional mark. He is the first athlete in the history of Aurora Track and Field to qualify for Nationals at the first meet. He's currently ranked 3rd in the nation!! There's a difference between the provisional mark and the automatic qualifying mark, so maybe I'll explain that more another day, but for now, we are all so excited and proud of Tom for all he's accomplished. And to think that almost 2 years ago he was in emergency surgery and not able to walk for 3 months! It's amazing where some determination and a lot of hard work can get you!!

On to the petals part: Yesterday I met with our florist to review arrangements, bouquets, etc. Right now, all the bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and flower girl wands are decided and done for. She's also making us a fantastic card holder that I'll be able to post pictures of soon, along with some sort of arrangement for the seating card holder/area thingamajig. When the weather's warmer, we'll be taking a trek down to Wilder Park to see what decor, if any, is needed. I know there is a permanent arch, but it's usually grown over with ivy, so we'll have to suss it all out.

Overall, a very satisfying weekend for both of us!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Save the Date! (No, Really, Save It!)

So I'm happy to report that our crazy date saga has come to a resolution! We are pleased and sooo excited to announce that our wedding will be taking place on Sunday, August 9th, 2009.

Our lovely photographer, Kara, who has been with us since the beginning, has saved us the date. I will be meeting with our prospective florist, Kristen with Kio Kreations, on Monday to discuss options and sign the contract. Our ceremony will be held at a lovely park/garden/conservatory in Elmhurst, IL, called Wilder Park. We will be hosting a brunch reception to follow at the always delicious and sophisticated Maggiano's.

We are also extremely excited to announce that one of Tom's good friends from school has agreed to marry us! We have the utmost faith in him to write and officiate a fabulous ceremony that will be tailored to us.

So while we have the big things out of the way, we still have a few more things to check off the list, including:
  • Purchase wedding rings (I've been eyeing a few, just haven't jumped yet!)
  • Finalize brunch menu
  • Choose ceremony music and figure out logistics
  • Choose and create reception playlist
  • Choose & book rehearsal dinner location (we're leaning towards a good old-fashioned BBQ at our apartment, or possibly a fab "crosstown classic" themed dinner @ Harry Caray's)
  • Register!!
  • Take engagement photos
  • Reserve convertible for the wedding day (one of Tom's friends works at a rental place, so he was more than eager to take this task on!)
  • Decide on favors. (Do we bother?)
  • Design invitations, programs and menus.
  • Print invitations, programs and menus.
  • Assemble invitations, programs and menus. (I think you get the picture!)
  • Research and book honeymoon! (We're deciding between a Mediterranean cruise or a land excursion of Scotland, London & maybe Paris!)
  • Apply for marriage license
  • Buy ties & pocket squares for the groom, groomsmen and fathers
  • Assemble the bases for the flowergirl flower wands (PS - Congrats to Becca and fam -- we're officially adding little Charlotte Joanne to our wedding party in May!)
  • Create seating chart and have it printed at Kinko

I can't really seem to think of anything more, though I'm sure there's plenty I'm forgetting! Anybody else have any suggestions about what I've forgotten so far?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Attire Examples (aka Pretty Pictures!)

I LOVE the simple, sweet dresses the girls are wearing in this picture:

Bonus because they're our colors, so it gives a really great representation of what I'm looking for... (don't mind the ring pillow, I didn't feel like separating the pictures to crop them all...)

And, check out these handsome gentlmen in suits:

I LOVE the pop of color that the ties give. Definitely the style we're looking for...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Solid Wedding Advice

I'm copying today's post from Meg over at A Practical Wedding:

An excellent wedding rule:

Do have fun. It might be more work when you DIY or have to really search and barter, but the fact is it's not just one day! It can be a whole little journey where you connect with your family and friends and rediscover just how exciting it can be to say "I Love You!"

Do you know that in Judaism, your wedding starts the moment that you get engaged, and only ends a year after your wedding? I love this, because for me the process has been so enlightening, and the journey is perhaps as important as the destination.

As we really start to get into the meat of the planning, I hope to hold this advice close. And, since most of you here are family and friends, I'm cordially inviting you to continue on this journey with me (us, really, I guess).

Quick planning update: We're still working on finalizing the date, but once we do, we'll sign the contracts for the ceremony site, reception site, and florist, and I'll be able to feature all of them! In the meantime, I've completed one DIY project, and am starting to add plenty more onto my list, so I hope to showcase these, too!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Photographer! (A Re-Post!)

I posted this previously, but because I wrote a draft, saved it and came back later, Blogger posted this when I began the draft (aka posted it about 7 posts back from when I wanted it). So basically this was overlooked, and I decided that Kara's work was much too amazing to just gloss over. So I'm re-posting all of it:

Please meet the amazing work of the lovely Kara Schultz, owner of Karatography:

(All images from Karatography)
I think it's pretty easy to see why once we saw her work, we just had to book!! And, it's also fairly evident what a sucker I am for photojournalism and fine art photography!
She has a great eye for style, she's unbelievably responsive and flexible, and we have the utmost trust that she'll capture everything we want for the day.
We'll be doing an engagement shoot sometime in late May/early June, so I'll have the opportunity to post more of her fantastic work!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I'm Glad You Asked...

Running off Marie's comment to yesterday's post, let's discuss the potential attire for the flower girls.

(Side note: flower girls --- weird word, huh? Repeat it to yourself 3 times. See. I told you it was weird.)

I can't imagine putting a 1, 3 and 6 yr. old in black dresses (plus my mother would have an instant coronary), so that leaves us with the options of ivory, blue or green. I'm pretty sure it's going to be quite impossible to find dresses that match in blue or green to fit all of them because of the age gap. I've been thinking it would not only be easier, but would look nicer, if we had them all wear simple ivory dresses and attach a sash in either blue or green.

(A close example. Minus the sash color. And ivory, not white.)

I'm pretty sure we would be able to find simple ivory dresses during all the Easter sales in Feb./Mar., and sashes (which are in abundance at virtually every bridal shop or pretty easy to make) could be easily implemented.

Yes/No/Maybe so?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Attire: Take 2

My mantra throughout this planning process is "Simplify." While I know that I am a fiend for details, this may not always happen, but I'm working on being mellow when it comes to much of the decisions.

For the bridesmaids, I'm being a bit unorthodox. Instead of having them debut in some snazzy aqua taffeta number with a matching sequined hairpiece, I've informed them to arrive wearing a plain-ish black dress, preferably cocktail length. Bonus if it's sleeveless. I don't even care if they've already worn it, as long as it's in good condition. How zen-like of me!

(An example dress from the ever-lovely JCrew.)

I think this idea is going to be best on several different fronts. First, it cuts down on the stress of trying to find a dress that flatters each of them. Second, it prevents the unnecessary spend of $200 on a dress that they won't wear again. Third, I think it will still provide a cohesive, sophisticated look without making them look like they're runaways from a show choir competition gone wrong. I haven't really given much thought to shoes and jewelry, but I'm assuming they'll all just wear simple black shoes (again, bonus if they're strappy or peep toe!), and either pearl jewelry or simple necklaces that I can have my lovely MOH and younger sister, Nicole, design and create for them. In terms of hair/makeup, I decided early on that I won't be using a stylist or makeup artist. I've had bad experiences with the professionals, and always end up re-doing it myself anyway. They're under the same direction. Do what looks best and dress it up a bit.

For the gents:

We're looking into the gents just wearing simple black suits instead of renting tuxes. We'll provide them all with matching (go figure!) ties and pocket squares in our signature blue or green. I like this idea a lot better than tuxes, since I've heard horror stories (and witnessed) wrong orders, ill-fitting tuxes, and mismatched shoes. Since Tom already owns a suit that has been tailored to fit him perfectly (those athletic shoulders mess everything up!), I know that this will be the best option for him. We're going to have to take a poll of the guys and see who already owns suits before we make any decisions, though. :(

As for me:

Le sigh. I still love my dress. Possibly even more than when I first ordered it. So what if it doesn't exactly fit yet? Me and my new buddy Jillian Michaels will fix that problem in no time! :) In late February/March, once I've bought shoes, I plan to visit a seamstress and evaluate what alterations will be needed. I have a sinking feeling that it will need to be hemmed, which I'm not looking forward to. Here's to hoping I grow 2 more inches this month! :-)

Anyone out there with additional thoughts/opinions on attire, jewelry, suits/tuxes, etc.?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Logistical Nightmare (Sort of!)

In light of the wedding move, Tom and I have had a fairly frenzied approach to planning. Our motto? Get it done!

Even though I had put hours of thought, research and effort into the '10 wedding, planning this one is more time-consuming than either of us had thought. Since we are so very in love with our photographer, finding a date which worked for her became a priority. We had more date issues with some family obligations, most of which are turning out to be immovable. We were hoping to have a June wedding, but have pushed back to August. With Tom starting school in late August, our choice of dates are significantly narrowed. Add in a few graduation parties, birthdays, medical issues, cousins returning to college, and we have a bona fide mess.

So, our approach to the date has become this: We're not going to please everyone, so we might as well figure out when our vendors are available and take the winning date. I'll let you know how that one goes.

Our other major issue is the guest list. (Who doesn't have problems with the guest list??). The ceremony site we're attempting to book holds 130 guests. If we really squish everyone together, we're up to 150. With our current list inching close to almost 220 people, we're facing some serious chopping. People keep mentioning that not everyone will attend, but the fact is, the majority will, especially since more than half the guests are family. It's unfortunate that we can't make any decisions in regards to dates or ceremony sites until we have this list finalized, since that will take at least another week.

I'm very much looking forward to taking care of the logistics, so I can spend much, much more time in the future planning the details.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Happy 100th Blog Post (& a Very BIG Announcement!)

So today's post marks an important milestone for every blogger -- 100 posts. I knew this post was coming soon, so I will admit that I waited until I had some exciting news to share before posting. I certainly didn't want to use this post to discuss linen colors.

Before the announcement, let me just quickly say that I very much appreciate you readers, from the ones who happened to stumble upon my blog accidentally to those family members who were threatened with the silent treatment if they didn't leave valid comments. I have a lot of fun writing this, and it definitely is sweeter knowing there are people who actually read it!

On to the big announcement:

We're moving the wedding to this summer!!

Those of you who have been around since the beginning may recall my purgatory post. With 18 months to go before the wedding, both Tom and I were continuing feeling a significant amount of angst. The idea of eloping was thrown out, semi-seriously, but was nixed on account of all the family and friends we're so excited to share this day with. We've taken a few weeks to think, discuss, and decide upon our options, which explains my lack of enthusiasm towards the end of December. With so much up in the air, we couldn't, in good faith, continue to plan a wedding which neither one of us wanted.

This isn't to say the wedding we were planning wasn't spectacular, just that it wasn't worth waiting for. As the days pass, I'll begin to reveal more clues about our upcoming nuptials. Since we have significantly reduced our planning time, most of this is coming together rather quickly, so stay tuned! :)