Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Expressing gratitude...

With gifts and cards appearing in our mail now that the invitations are out and the open house in Michigan has taken place, I've started working on thank you cards.

Our thank you cards were made by Janie of We Heart Paper, who did the rest of our invitation suite as well.  She created a flat card for us with our names at the top in the font from our invitations, and included the knots, of course.

Thank you cards! / Design by We Heart Paper

To keep track of thank you notes that need to be sent, I added a column on our invitation spreadsheet to note what gift each invitee has sent to us, and another column right next to it to note when I've sent the thank you out.  I have also decided to keep the volume of thank-you note writing under control by writing thank you cards at the end of each week.  So far this has worked out pretty well!

Thank you cards for this week, in progress.

I'm also sending thank you notes to everyone who signed our guestbook (in the photo above) at the Michigan open house, whether they brought a gift or not.  The open house wasn't meant to be a gift-giving event, and just the fact that they came out to show their support and break bread with us is plenty enough to warrant a thank you!

Along the same lines, I'm looking forward to writing thank you cards on our honeymoon to everyone who attends the wedding.  I know it will remind me of the fun times we had that day and it will be a fitting end to all the celebrating.  Instead of using our invitation suite thank you notes, we have decided to send each guest a postcard from a stop on our honeymoon sail, so they can all share in the adventure we'll be having after the big day.

Image from The Maryland Store

Am I the only one who thinks writing thank you notes is actually fun?  I totally love knowing that the recipient will find our happy little note in amongst the junk mail and election contribution solicitations.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

More fun in Michigan...

After a fun afternoon at Mr. C's mom's house, we headed over to his dad's house for more food and festivities.  This time it was a small family gathering, with Mr. C's dad and his wife, Mr. C's brother, sister-in-law, and niece, and Mr. C's stepsister and her husband.

Everyone hanging out on the patio before dinner.

Mr. C's stepmom gets the buffet ready.

Mr. C and his niece.  He's clearly contemplating what it would be like
to have his own little tyke! 
Mr. C, me, and Mr. C's brother, discussing who knows what.  Mr. C's brother
appears to be amused by our discussion, though.
Having a low-key gathering was a great way to end our day.  We definitely enjoyed seeing so many family and friends in one day - but wow, was it a lot of socializing!  Still, it was a great way to kick off  wedding-related events as the countdown to the big day continues.

Did you have any pre-wedding gatherings of family and friends that weren't "showers" per se, but were  centered around your upcoming nuptials?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pure Michigan...

We recently took a quick weekend trip to Mr. C's home state of Michigan to see his family.  Our first stop was his mom's house, where she hosted an open house for us.  Mr. C's extended family is pretty big (his mom is one of seven!) so it was great to get to meet a lot of his aunts, uncles, and cousins, as well as neighbors and family friends.  We also hadn't seen Mr. C's mom and her husband since we got engaged last fall, so it was fun to catch up and celebrate in person.

I didn't get a lot of photos at the open house, as I neglected to bestow upon someone the dubious honor of photographer...but I did manage to capture a few.  It was a gorgeous day, with a nice breeze and a comfortable temperature in the shade of the trees.

Here's one of Mr. C laughing (always!) with his aunt and uncle, while guests are starting to arrive.

There were a lot of people once things got going (40-50 or so?) but I totally missed getting a photo of the whole crowd, since I was busy getting introduced to everyone and mingling and stuff.  Anyway, here's Mr. C and his mom, talking to another aunt:

Pretty cake!  It was delicious, too. 

Here's one of the two of us with his mom and her husband:

And then we dragged in Mr. C's brother, sister-in-law, and niece: 

That was about all the photo taking that Mr. C could handle, plus we had to wrap it up and head out to his dad's house for dinner.  I have a few photos of that visit to share as well - stay tuned! 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Cowboy up!

I had an idea recently I thought guests might get a kick out of, and it won't take a lot of effort.  I'm going to hang photos of Mr. C and me when we were little kids on the ladies' and men's room doors at the reception.

In keeping with the theme, I set out to find photos of each of us in western attire, of course.  Mr. C's mom sent me this one of Mr. C:

He's so cute I can't even stand it.
And I dug this one of me out of a very old photo album:

Full cowgirl getup.  That's my family nickname on the belt.   How
do you like that avocado green carpet?  
What a great pair we make!  And I find it funny that we were both blondes when we were kids. 

Are you putting up photos of yourselves as kids anywhere at the wedding?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Man's best friend?

Mr. C has been relentlessly teasing me since last fall about how he realllllly wants Bosley to be the ring bearer at our wedding.

Image via MyWedding / Photo by Paul Johnson Photography

The teasing drives me crazy, as he's kind of half-serious.  But I just can't see myself managing to deal with the dog on our wedding day, to be completely honest.  Just one more thing to worry about.  Bosley might be Mr. C's best friend, but I had to put my foot down - no doggie ring bearers.  Or random aisle-walking dogs:

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photo by Studio Impressions Photography

Bosley will be chilling at the Stay n' Play for the weekend back home instead.  He will be coming with us on the honeymoon, though!

Hi!  I'm cute and I love to sail! 

What do you think about involving pets in the wedding?  Is your canine companion going to trot down the aisle with your rings?   Or accompany you as you walk toward your future husband? 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A dapper gentleman...

We have finally wrapped up Mr. C's hunt for wedding attire.  I asked him to meet me at Lord & Taylor after work, where I had already pulled a handful of suits he could try on (in order to stave off the I-hate-shopping monster)...and after trying on just three jackets, bingo!  We had a winner.

Hugo Boss - Modern Fit "The Jam/Sharp" Suit in Dark Blue 

We went with Hugo Boss, as I thought we might.  The other suits he tried were too big and boxy and this one had a nice line to it.  Lord & Taylor was a great experience, too.  (Shout out to Keith at L&T - thanks, man!)

Here is Mr. C giving me a goofball look (don't worry, those sleeves are being shortened): 

Hi.  I'm rather sunburned from my weekend of sailboat racing.  But I look handsome, don't I?

Then we waited for the tailor to arrive:

Looking quite dapper, no? 
The view wasn't half bad: 

Classic New York.

At last Joan the tailor showed up to work her magic: 

A nip here, a tuck there...all good. 
Hooray!  Mr. C has a suit to wear on our wedding day.  And he's going to look mighty handsome.  (I'm not biased or anything.)  Now the man just needs some new shoes and a new belt, and he'll be all set. 

Did you buy or rent your groom's attire for the big day? 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A little boot-scootin...

I just sent an email to my dad with some options for father/daughter dance songs.  I used to dance with him at company parties when I was little, and I'm looking forward to dancing with him at the wedding.  I won't be standing on his feet this time, though.  

Dad and me back in the day.  I was Rainbow Brite for Halloween - that wasn't an everyday outfit.
I picked lots of old and semi-old country songs, since that's what we used to listen to in the car: 

Patsy Cline - "Today, Tomorrow, and Forever"
Johnny Cash - "I Love You Because"
Kenny Rogers - "Through the Years"
John Denver - "Sunshine on my Shoulders"
George Strait - "I Cross My Heart"
Bellamy Brothers - "Let Your Love Flow"
Randy Travis - "Deeper than the Holler"
Patsy Cline - "Always"

It was kind of tough finding songs that weren't super sappy or way too slow.  Dad and I have had our differences as I was growing up, and some of the really saccharine songs like "Butterfly Kisses" are just not our speed.  I'm not sure what Dad may have already thought about or planned in his head, either, so I asked him if one of these sounded good to him or if he had any other suggestions.  I can't wait to hear back!  It will be a nice moment to share with him at the wedding.

Are you planning to dance with your dad or someone else significant in your life at your wedding?  How did you pick the right song?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bee-yond excited!

Y'all, I got picked to be a bee!  I am so excited!  

I'll be blogging on WeddingBee as Miss Cauldron; I was just introduced on the site today.  

My intro on WeddingBee.

You can still follow my blog here, of course - there is plenty more to write about, so my posts will keep on coming, and many of my new and old posts will be re-posted on WeddingBee.  

I just had to take a moment to share my excitement at being chosen to play an important part in such a fun community.  And I'm sorry it's been a bit quiet around here this week - I've had a busy week of work and after-work commitments.  But I promise to "bee" seeing you again soon with a regular blog post!   

Monday, July 9, 2012

Signed, sealed, and (almost) delivered...

I went back to NYC J's apartment a day after our stuffing extravaganza, this time with stamps in hand, to finish sealing and stamping all the envelopes.   After some delicious Epicerie Boulud egg sandwiches (yum!), we got down to business.  It took a while, but we got it done!

All done!

Because I love the stamps we used, I wanted to showcase them all here:

For the domestic invitations, we went with a 65 cent stamp, as our invitations were just on the verge of being over one ounce in weight.  I chose a butterfly rather than the wedding cake stamp that the USPS currently advertises for weddings.  It seemed fitting since Baltimore is likely where we'll commence our honeymoon sail!

Baltimore Checkerspot; Image via USPS

For the international invitations, there were these pretty stamps of Lancaster County:

Lancaster County, Pennsylvania; Image via USPS

And I added extra postage for the international ones just in case, because of the envelope weight:

Birds of Prey; Image via USPS

For the reply card envelopes, we used the same stamps that we used on our save-the-dates, which are absolutely my favorite:

Edward Hopper's "The Long Leg"; Image via USPS 

All right, enough about the stamps - let's get these invitations to the post office!  

NYC J obliged me with a photo of me and the bag of invitations on my way out the door (can you believe they all fit in that bag?!):

I headed over to the USPS office on 60th and Broadway and left the invitations in the good hands of a lovely postal worker who seemed to think I was a little nuts for asking for hand-cancelled envelopes.  But she took my money and assured me they would get done.

And with that, this shindig is ON!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Party attire for the bride, part two...

I posted recently about needing to find something to wear to the open house that Mr. C's mom is throwing for us.  As it's my first time meeting a lot of the folks who will be there, I'm feeling the need to look pretty, fresh, and put together.

I finally made it over to Anthropologie last week to check out this dress:

Mona Dress from Anthropologie
Sadly, I wasn't as much of a fan of this dress in person - the fabric was thick and stretchy.  Plus, they didn't have it in my size.  I also read in the online reviews that the front neckline was realllly low, and I'm a small-chested girl, so I have a feeling it wouldn't have worked out.

What I did find instead, however, was this dress!  I'm not sure what the name of it is, as I can't find it on the Anthropologie website. 

Pretty blue and white sundress!
Cute, right?  The wide scoopneck and narrow waist look nice on me.  The back is really cute too, with two wide bands across the middle back...but do you notice something wrong with this picture? 

I just noticed that the security tag is still on the dress!  Womp-womp.  Guess I'll be taking it back to the store this week to have that removed.   But at least I found something pretty to wear!  

I think I may wear the white lace dress to my bachelorette party/shower instead.  I'm trying to avoid getting any bizarre tan lines this summer, so a strapless sundress for a picnic in the park would be smart.  Yay for me for thinking ahead!

Do you have any wedding events coming up?  What are you wearing?  Am I the only one worried about weird summer tan lines?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The write stuff...

NYC J's awesome and very talented sister A offered a while back to do the calligraphy on our invitations as a hugely generous gift to us for our wedding.  Check out this gorgeousness:

Bam! A totally rocked it.  And yes, of course we're sending an invitation
to the White House.  You never know; maybe they will be craving barbeque in late September.

A dropped the full set completed envelopes off when she was here in NYC recently, so NYC J and I had an invitation stuffing party at her apartment!

NYC J multitasking.
NYC J is so amazing, she is simultaneously placing stamps on our RSVP envelopes while breastfeeding her baby.  No, seriously.  She started cracking up when I told her I was definitely going to blog about this amazing feat.

I promise there is a baby in her lap.
Anyway, after baby was fed, we got a bit of an assembly line going.

Setting up for envelope stuffing.
In this photo, you can see the inner and outer envelopes on the top right (with some of A's practice envelopes stuffed in between the rows), my spreadsheet of guest info, the invitation and reply card, stamps for the RSVP card envelopes (which are hiding in the Crane's box), and two sets of miniMoo cards.

(Side note - I love the miniMoo cards!  I also used a miniMoo card in our save-the-date, with a photo on the front and our wedding website info on the back.  This time, one card has the Friday night party information on it, along with a reminder about our website, and the other card is actually an RSVP for Friday night, to be returned with the wedding invitation reply card.  We put both miniMoo cards in the reply envelope so they wouldn't get lost inside the bigger invitation envelope.)

I won't tease you any longer: here's a view of the full package.

Invitations by the lovely Janie at We Heart Paper / miniMoo cards by Moo / Amazing calligraphy by A

You've already heard about how we decided to use knots on our save-the-dates, and we carried that through to our invitations for a cohesive set of paper goods.  I also chose some cheeky RSVP options, which hopefully will make our guests chuckle.  I absolutely love how the full package turned out, and A's calligraphy is truly the icing on the cake.

So we managed to finish stuffing all the envelopes that day, minus one thing: stamps for the invitations.  Total idiocy on my part - I bought stamps and somehow managed to leave them at home.  So, after another day delay to get the stamps finished up (more to come on that), these precious envelopes hit the post office!

It was kind of freaking me out that once the invitations were out of my hands, the land of wedding-related craziness would officially be wide open to all of our guests.  Before they were mailed, it was all just my own craziness, mostly.  Now the guests would get to contribute their craziness too, and I wasn't sure I was quite ready for that...  But, as NYC J wisely said, there will be a surreal moment at the wedding when I look out at all the awesome people at the party and I will think "All you people are here because I asked you to come!  And you came!"

So, do you love the invitations as much as I do?  Who else thinks NYC J is an amazing multitasker?  

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Sweet anticipation...

As the wedding date creeps ever closer (87 days, yikes!), several wedding-related events are also coming up:

July 21P's mom is throwing an "open house" party in Michigan for friends and family who might not make it down to Texas to meet me and celebrate us.  We'll also be seeing his dad and dad's wife, and his brother and sister-in-law.  It will be great to have a chance to spend some time with all of them before the big day.

August 3: My first dress fitting, probably.  It's yet to be scheduled, but I'm waiting to hear from the salon and this looks like the best date for me at the moment. I cannot wait to see my dress again!

August 4NYC J and Chicago J are throwing me a fun and fabulous shower/bachelorette party in NYC, involving a picnic in the park, desserts and games at NYC J's apartment, and a dinner out on the town.  The evening may also involve some drinks. *wink*  We've invited girls from all over the country, in the hopes that they will want to come have a fun weekend in NYC with us.   I cannot wait to see both of my favorite Js together, and everyone else who decides to join in!

August 25: I'm flying down to Austin for a hair and makeup trial, and meetings with the florist, day of coordinator, and site coordinator.  My mom will be joining me in Austin, and I am so glad we'll get to spend the weekend together, as I know the wedding weekend will be pretty hectic.  I think that weekend will also be the one that makes wedding finally feel really "real!"

When I think about these events, I'm filled with anticipation and excitement, but also a little bit of sadness.  It seems like time is going by so quickly that these celebrations will all be over before I know it.   (And how on earth have we been engaged for more than eight months already?!)  

Has anyone else felt the same way?   How are you planning to hold onto these special moments as much as you can?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Suit up!

Originally Mr. C and I were thinking that we would order a custom made suit from Indochino for him to wear at the wedding.

Essential Navy Suit from Indochino

However, they no longer sell the cotton/linen version that I was betting would be perfect for a rather warm day in Austin.  Boooo.

So, we decided to stop by J. Crew one day after work last week to check out their options.  They have two suit cuts, the Ludlow (trendy, skinny lapels, slim cut) and the Aldridge (more of a classic cut).   They do a cotton version of both.

Aldridge suiting from J. Crew - this comes in navy too. 

Bummer, though, to find out that 1) they don't carry the Aldridge cut in stores, and 2) they don't carry a jacket with a chest size large enough for Mr. C in stores either (he's 6'4" and wears a 46L).  He tried on some pants in the Ludlow cut anyway, but we didn't like them.  So, totally a bust. 

Then we walked over to Saks, where I tried to get Mr. C not to look at price tags and instead just try stuff on.  (It's his wedding.  I think he should get a nice suit.)  Don't mind the price tag, dear.  Keep breathing.

We looked at the most breathable (no pun intended) navy fabrics they had to offer, and Mr. C tried on a few different brands, including Zegna, Canali, and Hickey Freeman.  I don't have any good photos, but the Zegna was beautiful, but crazy expensive.  That's crazy expensive in comparison to the others; admittedly they were all rather pricey.  Hickey Freeman was too boxy and didn't fit Mr. C well.  The overall winner was the Canali, which fit him beautifully and was a really nice light cool fabric.  We left with the salesman's card and decided to take a little while to think about it.

I've suggested we go check out a Boss suit before deciding.  Boss is at an even lower price point, where I think Mr. C might be more comfortable.

Boss Black Pasolini in Navy / Image via The Style Cure

So much for the cotton suit idea - now we're just going for a nice navy suit.  He'll sweat in it no matter what, so I guess he'll just have to deal!  I'm excited though - he looked so awesome in the Canali, like it was made for him.  I know he'll feel great in a suit that fits well, no matter what we wind up with.  As long as he doesn't spill bbq sauce down his front, he should be all set!

Did you shop with your fiance for his attire?  How did it go?