Saturday, March 31, 2012

I'll stand by you...

At first, Mr. C said he'd prefer not to have any bridal party at our wedding.  Just us, up there together, on our own.   I had to think about that one for a while.  While I could see his point (no drama, no one else to worry about, just ourselves), it made me a little sad to think we wouldn't have our best friends standing up for us on this very important day.

So, we talked about it a bit more and ultimately decided a small bridal party would be nice - just two attendants on each side.  My two long-time best girlfriends would stand up with me, and Mr. C decided one of his very good friends (who he just knew would throw a fabulous bachelor party!) and Mr. C's younger brother would stand up with him.  If we had thought about asking any more people, it would have started to venture into "groups" of friends, where you really feel like you can't ask one and not another, and it quickly would have turned into this: 

Image via / Photo by Clary Photo

Um, yeah, that's not really what I was going for.  Ten bridesmaids and thirteen groomsmen?  More power to those of y'all who are going for big bridal parties, but between the corralling of twenty+ people, the expense of an exponential number of bouquets and boutonnieres, and the fact that our wedding wasn't going to be a gigantic affair, this just wasn't an option for us.

Instead, our bridal party will likely look more like this: 

Image via The Knot / Photo by Q Weddings

But of course, in our colors and such.  More to come about the bridal party attire soon!

How did y'all decide on the size of your bridal party?  

Friday, March 30, 2012

I wanna be a billionaire... freakin' bad....

Or maybe just $640 million would be okay, too!  

P bought 20 quick picks today - the first time he's ever played the lotto.  I had fantasies of opening up the guest list to everyone we can think of, adding more details and more flowers, buying some blue Louboutins, and booking an exotic honeymoon!

But, alas, we did not win the lottery.  Back to reality!

Did you get caught up in lotto fever today?

Thursday, March 29, 2012


As much as I dislike it, wedding planning does seem to come with a dollop of drama mixed in.  No decision seems to be as easy as you'd expect it to be, and once you think you've made a decision, you always seem to come back around to a different conclusion!  Sometimes other people are the influencers of that change, and that adds a whole other level of "stuff."

A couple of months back, we were having some back-and-forth about our plans for the rehearsal dinner on the Friday night before the wedding.  We're not actually rehearsing before the wedding, so the whole point of the "rehearsal" dinner for us really became our parents getting to actually meet each other.  (His parents are in Michigan and mine are in Texas, so the opportunity has really never presented itself until now!)  Somehow between the origination and the execution of that idea, though, things went sideways.  I discovered Mr. C had one view of the plan (dinner for family only, then bar hopping to separate after-parties for our parents' friends and our friends), and I had another (dinner for anyone involved in ceremony, then bar hopping to separate after-parties for our parents' friends and our friends).  I won that "discussion" (ha), we decided to invite everyone involved in the ceremony, and I sent a note to Mr. C's dad outlining the plan, in order to get his buy-in on the idea.  He said that all sounded fine.

Then shortly afterward, Mr. C's dad sent over an alternate request - dinner and drinks on Friday night for everyone invited to the wedding.  No separate dinner for a small group, no bar hopping afterward to separate parties.  Everyone all in one place for the night.  

Well.  Mr. C and I were really not fans of planning what seemed like two weddings in one weekend (ha! I might jump out a window!), so the "dinner for everybody" option just seemed like too much.  But then we started thinking about how many people are traveling to see us that weekend, and we started to warm to the idea of having another gathering, with less pressure and time constraints than the actual wedding day.  We didn't have to make it too structured - maybe a Mexican buffet?  Yum, margaritas...

So, we decided to go with Mr. C's dad's idea, and plan an event for Friday night for everyone.  More to come on those plans later.

Did you have your heart set on any plans that someone then convinced you to change along the way?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

If the shoe fits...

One wedding item I started thinking about right away was shoes.  I love to shop and I love a fabulous pair of shoes, so this was really no surprised.

I first thought about donning some cowboy boots under my dress, since we're getting married in Texas (yeehah!), but I'm not sure that's the direction I want to go.  I can picture myself wearing them at the reception, but not at the ceremony.

Makes for some fun pictures, though!
Image via / Photo by Anna Kinchen Photography

I've also been encouraged by people to wear comfortable flats, but I've thought about that too, and bottom line is, flats are just. not. me.  I am a tall, proud, heel-wearing woman.  I wear fabulous heels all the time - to the office, out at night, on weekends...and I really like them.  It seems like heels would be the most "me" way to go.

I'd also like to get heels that I'll be able to wear again - as opposed to ivory satin wedding heels that will be worn just once.  (I could say I'll dye them black, or whatever, but the reality is they will go in a box and that will be that.  No fun!)  Besides - there are so many great colored heels out there!  Right now I think these Kate Spade Karmen pumps are my front runner:

Kate Spade Karmen / Image via Endless

Not only are they fabulous heels, they could also be my something blue - bonus!

Since bright colors are blooming all over the stores, I'm keeping my eyes out for new shoes that might compete with these.  I may just go ahead and order them when they go on sale, and return them if I find something I like even better.

Are you a heels girl or a flats girl?  How did you decide on your wedding shoes?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Save it for a rainy day...

I spotted this today on A Practical Wedding - some beautiful words from bride Elizabeth, on whose wedding day it was cold and rainy out.  She was disappointed, and worried that her photos wouldn't reflect the joy of the day, but when she received the proofs, she realized they reflected something even bigger than that:

"And there we were: Doug and I, tucked under a big umbrella in the cold rain, laughing.

What is this mysterious thing we’ve agreed to, I realized, if not a shared umbrella? It says that when the days are uglier than we’ve hoped, we’ll hold close and keep each other warm. We’ll be together at the funerals and the doctor’s offices and the windy shores. Stormy days are the days that matter. The sunny ones are easy.

On the cover of our photo album, Doug has his arm around my shoulders, holding our umbrella as the rain comes down. I wouldn’t have anything else."

Well said.  

Paper craze(d)...

I have always been a fan of stationery.  My girlfriends and I used to send cards to each other on a regular basis, back before email was communication central!  So it's no surprise that I was really looking forward to picking out our wedding invitations.  With so many options, it was going to be a difficult choice!  How could I make a decision?  Wouldn't they all start to blur together?  Letterpress or thermography?  Envelope liners or belly bands?  I started bookmarking websites left and right, and squinting at the pictures online every night, keeping lists of contenders to try to decide what I might like best.

Then I stumbled onto an option I never knew existed.

Y'all, I never knew you could order samples.  SAMPLES!  What a fabulous idea!  It's like the wedding industry looked into my stationery-crazed little bridal mind and struck gold. Yep, I totally went on a sample spree.  Every day when I came home for about a three-week period, there was a sample pack of some sort awaiting me.  (So much more fun than bills and junk mail!)

A little fuzzy, sorry, but I had to stand on my couch just to capture the full effect.

I eventually made my choice, which I'll share with you soon, and while it definitely helped to have lots of fun hold-em-and-feel-em samples to help me narrow the field of options....I may have had too many options.  It was hard to choose.

Did you order samples before choosing your invitations?  Did you go overboard on ordering samples and have a hard time deciding?  Or was that just me?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The (wedding) revolution will be televised...

I have to say, there sure are a lot of wedding-related shows on television these days.

Say Yes to the Dress - New York (and there's also one set in Atlanta)
Four Weddings
Platinum Weddings
Amsale Girls
My Fair Wedding with David Tutera
My Big Redneck Wedding
Amazing Wedding Cakes
My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding

That's TEN shows, and I don't even know if I have managed to list them all!  Seems like TLC and We are dominating, with CMT contributing two shows capturing a country angle.

P stumbled on an airing of Four Weddings one night after tying one on, and when he told me later that he had watched it, his commentary had me cracking up.  Boys and wedding shows don't really mix well.

I haven't seen all of these shows, but my favorite is probably Say Yes to the Dress or Amsale Girls - I loved shopping for my gown and I love watching other brides find their perfect fit.

Do you watch wedding shows on television?  Which one is your favorite?

Put a ring on it!

In a twist on tradition, I actually had a hand in Mr. C's selection of my engagement ring.  (No pun intended.)

When we finally started seriously talking about getting engaged, Mr. C was concerned about shopping for a ring.  He isn't much for shopping.  This is a man I have to drag to the store a couple of times a year to get new jeans, or whatever.  I had actually had my eye on a ring I had spotted on an antique jewelry website, and it turned out the office for that store was in the diamond district, not too far from where we both work in Manhattan.  So we decided to go there together after work one day in August.

We went down some back hallways in the bowels of one of the big stores on 47th Street until we found the right office, and scooted inside a room smaller than our closet, to meet with Stu.  After introductions and confirmation of what we were there to see, Stu pulled a folded piece of paper out of a filing cabinet, unfolded it over the desk, and out spilled the ring.  I almost gasped out loud - it was even more beautiful in person!

The band size was too small for me to slip it all the way on, but I could picture it fitting properly.  The cushion cut diamond actually looked bigger than I expected, but not in a "too big" way, and the trapezoids on either side seemed so unique.  I kept picking it up and looking at it, then putting it back down.  And then picking it back up again...and putting it back down.  It was so pretty!

While I was mesmerized by the ring, Mr. C and Stu chatted about the ring's value, diamonds in general, and looked at a couple of settings without diamonds, and a couple of loose stones.  Then we left.  Mr. C said he wasn't really sure how to rate the ring, since it was the first he'd seen.  I told him I thought it was beautiful, and tried to keep my crazy "cake" face from overtaking my body.

Image via Hyperbole And A Half, which cracks me up every time. / Drawing by Allie Brosch.

Since Mr. C wanted a bit of "comparison shopping," for kicks, we walked down to Tiffany's.  We went to the engagement floor, which was neat, but the salespeople seemed rather disinterested, they only had one setting for cushion cut diamonds, and the markup was totally crazy.  Still, it gave Mr. C an idea of what else was out there.

Later that week, I popped over to Michael C. Fina to try on a bunch of rings on my own, and couldn't find anything I liked better than the first one.  I told Mr. C so when I got home.

That was pretty much the end of it, until about six weeks later, when I noticed that the first ring was showing up marked as "sold" online!  I asked him casually if he had bought the ring yet, and he told me he hadn't.  When I pressed him, he stuck to his guns and said no, he really hadn't bought the ring.  I couldn't believe it!  After all that, it was gone?!  I tearfully informed him the website said it was sold, and he sighed and told me that he had quibbled over the price with Stu, and they weren't able to reach an agreement.  He figured Stu must have sold it to someone else in the meantime.  He assured me that he had some other jewelers bidding to make a replica, but I was sad.  It had just felt like that ring was meant to be my ring.  I apologized to Mr. C for making a mess of things, and for acting totally crazy, and reassured him that I would love whatever he chose.

Fast forward to our proposal in October - when Mr. C got down on one knee, I was completely shocked to see "my" ring in his hand!   Turns out he had completely pulled one over on me, and his story about the ring being sold to someone else was all a big fat lie!  He had gone back to purchase the ring the following week, and had been waiting for the right weekend to propose ever since.

So sparkly!  I snapped this with my phone the day after we got engaged, just before we got on the road back to NYC.  That's Ford F-150 upholstery right there, y'all.  :)  I am also hiding a completely destroyed manicure (remember all that teak sanding?)

So now you've all learned I'm totally gullible, not to mention I act like a bower bird when presented with sparkly things.  But boy, do I love my ring.

How did your engagement ring come to be yours?  Did you shop with your significant other, or did he/she go it alone?

Saturday, March 24, 2012

This must be the place...

After we decided that Austin was the city we wanted to get married in, I embarked on a mission to find the right location.   Though we didn't know too much about what we wanted, one thing I knew for sure - we are not ballroom people.  No beige walls, hotel carpet, or uplighting necessary.

Ixnay on the allroombay.
Image via / photo by Ars Magna Studio

If we were gonna do this thing in Texas, I wanted it to feel like Texas. Mr. C and I also agreed we wanted the ceremony and reception to be held in the same place, and I was hoping for an outdoor ceremony.  After much internet research and finding some locations that had available dates in the fall, I decided to visit four locations in Austin:

Cedar Bend - This beautiful tucked-away house on the outskirts of Austin had a lovely yard with a pretty ceremony site, great property, and a rustic feel.  The proprietor, Jillian, was sweet as could be, and she and her husband were the first to get married here a few years ago.  They also offer all-inclusive packages including florals Jillian does herself!  The space seemed to me like it would be great for 100-150, but with 150 or more, some tables would wind up being outside the covered locations.  Rain plan = renting a tent.  Since we didn't really know how many guests we'd be expecting, but we were thinking right around 150, that was something to think about.  In addition, the tables would be outside - no air conditioning or heating if it the weather is too hot or too cold.

Image via Cedar Bend Events / Photo bPaige Newton Photography

Image via Cedar Bend Events / Photo by JWG Photography

Vintage Villas: Though I thought I would love the lake-side location of this venue, when I saw it, it all felt a bit too wedding-ish for me.  I know that sounds ridiculous - I mean, we're planning a wedding, here!  But do you know what I mean?  Maybe it wasn't "rustic" enough for the feel I was looking for?   Hmm.  Also, the location just didn't wow me like I thought it would.  Our guests would also have been divided into two rooms that were quite separate, and I really wanted everyone to be all together.

Image via / photo by Ku Photography

Image via / photo by Urban Grey Photography

Pecan Grove (formerly known as the Salt Lick Pavilion): Pecan Grove is just down the road from the Salt Lick BBQ in Driftwood, about 40 minutes from downtown Austin.  The ceremony would be held under a grove of pecan trees, and the reception (with famous Salt Lick BBQ!) inside a glassed-in wooden pavilion.   We saw a rehearsal underway while we were there, and the unique layout and "aisle" made the site seemed rustic, comfortable, and pretty.

Image via / photo by Elizabeth Jayne

Image via / photo by Studio 563

Three Points Ranch:  The last venue we saw before we left town, this ranch is out in the middle of nowhere.  Literally.  Dirt roads and trees, brush, and rock everywhere - such an experience getting there!  The locations were beautiful, and the owner, Sally, was just adorable.  She had built this place as a home to retire in, and then she decided to start having events there, and living in one of the fleet of Airstreams that sit on the property!  Not an all-inclusive site, we'd have to find caterers, rentals (tables, chairs, etc) and all that stuff.  And the ceremony and reception would again both be outside, but the idea of a night under twinkling lights, in the middle of ranch land in Texas, sure was enticing...

Image via / photo by Nessa K Photography

Image via / photo by Nessa K Photography
At the end of the trip, it came down to a few things, in no particular order: easy accessibility for our guests, close enough to Austin that they could have fun downtown and also attend the wedding, reasonable costs, and easy to work with/plan from way up here in NYC.  Vintage Villas just wasn't what we were looking for, and Three Points Ranch, while beautiful, would have presented a big challenge to coordinate from afar with all the components we'd have to manage (plus it was quite far away from downtown Austin).  So, that narrowed us down to Cedar Bend and Pecan Grove.

Once I got home to NYC I talked with Mr. C about those two options.  And we chose....

Pecan Grove!  The site coordinator, Ashley, was super on top of things and seemed like a great girl to work with.  I loved both the ceremony site and the pavilion itself, and they had a few changes lined up for the winter to make it all even better.  The food couldn't be beat, and the location would be comfortable for us no matter how many guests we wound up with.  We would have to figure out some transportation options, but we were okay with that being part of the deal.  And with Austin being a destination for us and so many of our guests, we figured why not give them something to talk about after attending our Texas wedding?!  A meal of famous Salt Lick BBQ is an experience everyone should have!

I called Ashley as soon as we decided, and we locked in our date in late September.  Not quite October, but close enough...a September bride I would be!

How did you choose your wedding venue?  Was anything too "wedding-y" for you?  Did the guest experience factor heavily into your decision?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Friday fun

I know I haven't gotten too far yet with sharing all the fun planning I've been doing for our wedding, but I'm so excited about this, I have to share: I stopped for a bit of shopping on my way home tonight, and stumbled across this little beauty at the jewelry counter.

And just like that, I have a wedding necklace!

It just might be the easiest thing I've done so far.  (Aside from saying "yes," I suppose!)

Did you find your jewelry easily, or embark on a long search?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

First things first...

Mr. C and I kept our engagement to ourselves for that night, and most of the next day, and then started to call our parents and friends to share the happy news.   The first question they would ask us was usually about when and where the wedding would be.  We quickly realized we needed to figure that out, or we'd be hearing that question a LOT.

Deciding on the time of year was pretty simple.  We wanted to avoid the main sailing season, and I've always loved autumn, so October would generally be our target month.

Deciding on the location was a bit more of a discussion.  We started with our current hometown: New York.  We thought about having the wedding in New York for about, I don't know, .2 seconds.  We both agreed that as much as we love living here, it isn't the most "us" (nor the most economical!) so we crossed it off our list.  Based on our love of sailing, next we thought about Newport or some other coastal town on Long Island Sound, but they all seemed like they might be kind of hard to get to for our guests.  So we turned to our home states.  Mr. C's home state of Michigan, while beautiful, didn't seem quite as "us" as mine, the Lone Star State of Texas...but then my hometown of Houston didn't hold that much appeal for us.  And then we thought of Austin!

Image via Flickr / photo by Philip Kromer

Austin is a city that Mr. C and I haven't actually ever been to together, strangely enough, but we've both visited on separate trips.  Cool city with great music, fun activities, easy to get to via car or plane...and most of all....awesome barbecue!  Oh, it just seemed like the right choice.  Thus began the journey of planning a Texas wedding from all the way up here in NYC.

Did your friends and family demand details right away?  How did you pick your wedding location?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Popping the question...

Our engagement was a very special day indeed...but before I tell you about that day, you should know that during the four-year period between when we met and when we got engaged, we moved in together (a year after we met), experienced job changes (both desired and undesired!), cooked many great meals with each other and our friends, and spent lots and lots of time sailing.

Mr. C has been sailing since he was a kid, and he introduced me to sailing the first summer we were dating, by taking me out for a week on his sailboat on Lake Michigan.  I absolutely loved it, and convinced him to ship his boat out to NYC so we could enjoy it more often.

First sailing adventure was a success, and boat is ready to ship to NYC!

After she made it to the east coast by way of an 18-wheeler (!), we spent two summers sailing her in the waters of the Hudson River, Raritan Bay, and Long Island Sound, and then in the spring of 2011, Mr. C sold her to a friend of ours.  But we couldn't go without a water-going vessel for long...within two months, we had found and purchased a larger sailboat, together!  Osprey is our new boat, and we spent last summer sailing her all over the NYC/Connecticut/Rhode Island area.  We even took her on an extended racing trip that included stops on Block Island and Martha's Vineyard.

All that back story is to explain what we were doing when we got engaged.  At the end of the sailing season, we had spent all day in the boatyard in Rhode Island on October 8th, sanding Osprey's teak toe rail.  Sanding teak is dirty work - the dust gets everywhere.  At about 4:30, Mr. C told me to wrap it up, but I wanted to keep working!  We were so close to being done...  He somehow convinced me that we needed to finish up while it was still light out, and he suggested we head to our yacht club's clubhouse on Narragansett Bay for showers, drinks and maybe some dinner.  Not suspecting a thing at this point, I agreed that sounded good, and debated whether or not to spend time washing my (very teak dust-filled) hair - y'all know when you wash your hair you take so much longer than a guy does to get presentable!  He stealthily managed to suggest that I might want to wash my hair, again without raising suspicion!  I was totally clueless as to what was about to take place.

While I was still getting ready in the women's showers at the club, I heard the cannon go off signaling the end of the day and the lowering of the flag, and I rushed to wrap it up and get out to the lawn before the sunset disappeared.  Sunset is my favorite time of day, and I knew the view would be incredible overlooking the harbor.  Mr. C and I got glasses of wine and headed out to the adirondack chairs on the lawn to enjoy the view.  Shortly after we sat down, Mr. C began to talk to me about our life together and how happy he was...and then he said "so, I was wondering"...and suddenly there he was, down on one knee in front of me with a beautiful ring in his hand!  The words "will you marry me?" came out of his mouth, and I immediately started to shake and cry.  I was so utterly, completely surprised, I even said "are you serious?!" more than once - and he likes to remind me of that repeatedly.   I finally said yes, after what felt like forever, but Mr. C says wasn't really all that long (I'm glad one of us was calm!)

Also unbeknownst to me, he had arranged for friends of ours to be behind us photographing the whole thing, so we have a whole series of happy photos to document the event:

Surveying the harbor:

In shock as he puts the ring on my finger:

Many, many hugs: 

I have to say, Mr. C isn't usually a romantic, but what an amazing memory he created for both of us by proposing the way he did.  The photos make it all the better - he knew just what I would love the most.  

How did your engagement happen?  Was it a planned event?  A simple question?  Do you have photos, or just sweet memories? 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Time flies for flying pigs!

Wow, I can't believe how fast time has gone by.  I had every intention of starting this blog off back in January, but alas, it was not to be.  I'm back, though, and ready to regale you with wedding planning tales.

Where to start?!  I suppose at the beginning would be best.  How did two crazy kids like us find each other, anyway?  Yep.  P winked at me online four and a half years ago, and we are one of those success stories.  He likes to say we met at a bar, which is technically true, but before we met at a bar...we met online.  We did have a fabulous first date at a bar, which followed P's dating formula - wine at the first bar, location change to bar with bench seats, sweet kiss on the curb.  Seems like it worked...because here we are, engaged to be married!

Now, if you go to the blog, they will show you all the fun success stories of couples that met on  (We're not listed - maybe I'll send in a note!)   In 2011, they published statistics that said that 12 couples who met on get married or engaged every day.  I wonder how that compares to people who met in college, or at a bar?

I'm hoping to incorporate a humorous profile writing activity into our wedding, for kicks.  Maybe a mad-lib style profile, on the back of the ceremony program, or at the dining tables?  Could be fun!

Do you know any couples who eventually married after meeting online?