Friday, August 31, 2012

Take me out to the dancehall...

I attended a large Texas college (whoop!), and my friends and I spent many nights out at the dancehall practicing our two-step, waltz, polka, and jitterbug.  Country & western dancing was a big thing when we were in school.  I am guessing maybe it's not quite as popular now, but there is still a student organization at A&M that is all about really awesome partner dancing - the Aggie Wranglers.   Here they are at a high school pep rally - they do some pretty sweet moves.  (I took dance lessons from them, but never got up the nerve to try out for a spot as a Wrangler - it was highly competitive.)

Seriously, how cool is that?  (If you didn't stick it out until around the 2 minute mark, you missed something really awesome!  And the group routine starts up around the 5 minute mark.)

Anyway, I love to dance, but sadly have found little opportunity for it since moving to the northeast 12 years ago.  I've gone out dancing every now and again when I'm back in Texas, but boy, am I rusty.

As great as I think he'd be at a good ol' two-step (and he'd look mighty nice in a cowboy hat and boots!), Mr. C, on the other hand, does not so much love to dance.  He probably needs a little liquid courage to even get out on the floor!  There's no way I was going to pass up a first dance at our wedding, though, and thankfully, Mr. C is totally game.  No fancy steps required - just him and me on the dance floor together.  I'm thinking I might have others join us out there mid-way through our song, so we're not the center of attention for longer than a minute and a half.  That should be plenty of time to get some good pictures, right?

I'm definitely looking forward to dancing at our reception, as I know I'll have some friends there who can really tear it up!  I plan to get some two-stepping in with my old college buddies.  Maybe Mr. C will even humor me and give it a try.  (I'll be pulling him along during the cotton-eyed joe, that's for sure!)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A little preview...

I took a trip to Austin this weekend to do some final pre-wedding prep work, which included meeting with both of the coordinators (day-of and on-site), the florist, and the hairstylist and makeup artist.  I had my fingers crossed that all my internet research had really paid off, particularly when it came to hair and makeup - no time for do-overs!

First up was a trip to the hairstylist, Mandy Silver of Propaganda Hair Group.   Mandy took a look at some of my inspiration photos and got right to work.  She kept up a steady stream of conversation throughout the appointment and I could just tell she was going to be awesome to have around on the day of the wedding.  Fun, friendly, and skilled - excellent combination.

Mandy working her magic to make my curls awesome.
The finished product was exactly what I was looking for - and I had brought my hair combs along, so we even got to try a few options out for those as well.

Pretty curls!
From the side.
Happy girl, but in need of some makeup.  

After my hair was prettified, it was on to makeup with Maris Malone Calderon, who just had a baby girl four weeks ago and was already back at work!  Given my own very minimal makeup had been applied at 4:45 that morning before my flight to Austin, I was in dire need of a makeup boost (see photos above).

Maris had won me over with photos of her previous brides I, so I knew this was going to be fun. I looked through her portfolio and pointed out things I thought were more "me" (natural blended application, rosy glow) than some of the other looks (darkly lined eyes, colored eyeshadow).   We decided on medium length falsies with a couple of longer ones on the corners, and airbrushed foundation for staying power in the Austin heat, and she got to work.

Maris was laid-back, professional, and relaxed, and again, I found myself thinking "what a great person to have hanging around with me on the day of!" She started me off with a Round One application of "lighter" eye and lip makeup, just to set the bar, and promised she'd pump it up in Round Two.

Round 1: the "lighter" version.
The airbrushed foundation was amazing - so light, smooth and comfortable!  I liked the false eyelashes, and the natural lip color, but the overall color palette and look felt a bit underwhelming (aside from the fact that it was a thousand times better than my own makeup application; hallelujah for professionals).

Round 1 from another angle.
Then it was back to the chair for Round Two - with a slightly darker eye and different lip.  First we actually went darker with the lip color, but immediately decided that came across a bit "old."  So then we went brighter with the lip, added some more blush...and I think we hit the nail on the head.  What do y'all think?

Glammed up even more in Round 2.  Woohoo!
I felt like I looked so much more special after Round 2, and the heavier eye makeup and brighter colors on my cheeks and lips really made my green eyes pop. I am definitely going to buy that lip color post-haste (it's MAC's Ultra Darling, if you are wondering).

At the risk of making you really tired of looking at photos of my striped cardigan, here are the final snaps we took out by the car, after hair and makeup were both complete:

Fancy, huh?  I'm so glad I scheduled these trials, as now I can cease worrying about whether or not I picked the right vendors from thousands of miles away - I have proof that they are in fact fabulous!  I can't wait to look this pretty again on the big day.

Did you do hair and makeup trials?  How did yours turn out?

Monday, August 27, 2012

One ring-a-dingy, two ring-a-dingy...

(Cool points for you if you know what that's from!)

Remember how I said Mr. Cauldron wasn't too keen on wearing a wedding ring?  Well, he wasn't too keen on shopping for one, either.  So I decided to make it super easy on him.

First I ordered a free ring sizer from Blue Nile.  Yup, totally free.  And so worth it!  Way better than dragging him to a jeweler to be sized.  They mail it to you in 7-10 days, and you just pop the little rings out of the plastic card and slip them on your finger to see what size you are.

Handy little ring sizer thingy.

Once we determined Mr. C's potential ring size, we talked metals.  He said he thought he wanted a tungsten ring.  I quickly found that Amazon had a variety of those, with good return policies, and I decided to order a couple of tungsten options, in different finishes/shapes (flat vs. round, etc).  I also had read that tungsten was a bit heavy, which I thought he might not like, so I ordered a couple of cobalt rings too (which are lighter than tungsten), just to compare.

I had a handful of rings shipped to our house (I so love internet shopping!)  When they arrived, Mr. C tried them all on.   Turns out we got his ring size just slightly wrong, so once he picked his favorite, I re-ordered it in the right size, and it arrived the other day:

It clearly doesn't fit me (and of course I didn't get one of it on his hand!)

He surprised me by going rather traditional with a slightly rounded plain band.  He also picked the tungsten version over the cobalt - I think he liked the dark grey shade better than the lighter shade of the cobalt.

Mr. C now has a wedding band - yet another to-do item crossed off the list!  And maybe he'll grow to love it and decide to keep it around (just like me).

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

All wrapped up...

Earlier, I showed y'all my attempts at making a yarn-wrapped word sign for our cards box... and now I've finally wrapped it up!   (pun totally intended...)

Hello!  I'm a fun yarn-wrapped word!

I think it's looking pretty good, and I can't wait to see it propped up on our cards box at the wedding.

What do y'all think?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

License to wed!

Y'all know Mr. C and I are doing a bit of a destination wedding in Austin.  This has definitely been the right decision for us, and in general it's all gone pretty smoothly, planning-wise.  Where it has caused a little consternation, though, is with regard to the marriage license.

The state of Texas requires a marriage license to be obtained no more than 30 days in advance, and also imposes a 72-hour waiting period once you have the license.  When we found this out back in January, we scratched our heads a little bit about how we could manage that time window.

We did some research and discovered the following things:

  • In Texas you can get your license in any county, not just the one you're getting married in.  However, that didn't really make much of a difference, as we weren't planning to be in Texas together within 30 days of the wedding for anything but the wedding!   
  • If you take a marriage preparation class sponsored by the state, the 72-hour wait period would be waived and we'd get a discount on the fee.  But again, we had no plans to be in Texas in 2012 at all, so paying for flights, hotel, car, and attending a prep course just so we could pick up our license the day before the wedding seemed a bit expensive and maybe not the best option.  Hmmm.  
  • The last thing we found out is that you can appeal the waiting period by going to a judge's office and asking for a waiver.  That seemed a bit risky if we decided to do that the day before our wedding - what if they decided our reasons for waiting until the day before to pick up the license weren't good enough?!

We ultimately decided that in order to meet the 72-hour waiting period requirement, I will go down to Texas on the Wednesday before the wedding to get the marriage license on my own.  I can pick it up on my own by bringing an "Affidavit of Absent Applicant" to the County Clerk's office, which is basically a notarized form saying Mr. Cauldron is who he says he is, and that he wishes to marry me.  Mr. C will join me in Texas later that week, as he's wisely saving every day of vacation he can for our honeymoon.  (Yay honeymoon!)

Though I'm a little sad Mr. C won't be there with me to pick up this very important piece of paper, I am also just glad we were able to make it work!  Whew!

Did any of you have scheduling challenges for picking up your marriage license?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Making the call: band vs. DJ

Mr. Cauldron and I started out thinking we'd hire a real country band for our wedding, to play all our favorite music.  (I have no idea how I met a guy from Michigan who loves the same music I listened to in college deep in the heart of Texas, but I did.)   A true red dirt country band would fit right into our idea of getting hitched in Texas, plus we would really love the music!

Mr. C actually wanted to go so far as to invite one of his favorite bands to play for our wedding reception:

That's Micky and the Motorcars.  I like them too, but I had to remind him that as cool as that would be, our wedding is not actually a concert.  He agreed.  (That didn't stop me from looking into it anyway!  But alas, it was not meant to be.)

Then we started thinking about it a bit more, and having a country band, Micky and the Motorcars or otherwise, started to sound less ideal.  Here's why:

1) The majority of our guests won't know any of the music.  They are traveling from all over the world, and most of them haven't ever listened to country music for any period of time.
2) I know how to dance to country music (and love it!), but Mr. C doesn't.  Nor do most of our guests.
3) We like a lot of other kinds of music, too!  And some of that music is really fun at weddings.

So, we turned our attention to DJs, who were starting to sound like a better fit for our party.  Here's why:

1) They can play a wide variety of music - and by the original artists.  It won't be a concert - it will be a mix tape!
2) They can get the crowd out on the dance floor and keep them there, just by changing up the music a little.
3) Our guests are more likely to enjoy the music just as much as we will.

I was lucky to find Byrne Rock during my period of DJ internet research.  Byrne's website claims he is "the ultimate badass DJ of the world" - and he pulls that off with zero cheese factor and the perfect amount of tongue-in-cheek.  After talking with him about our needs and concerns, he seemed like a great fit.  He's also gotten solid feedback from others who hired him, and my coordinator has worked with him before and loves him (which I found out after we hired him, actually).

Though a live band was what we thought we wanted, we are so excited to have Byrne working with us!  As long as we can mix it up and Byrne stays away from pop country (which shouldn't be an issue, since it will be on the do-not-play list!), we should be all set.  We're planning to play a lot of our country favorites during the cocktail hour and dinner, and then I look forward to seeing how Byrne gets our guests up and dancing to all kinds of tunes after we open up the floor!

How did you decide - band vs. DJ?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Predicting our numbers...

Our invitations have been out for some time now, and we've been raking in the responses.

A precarious stack of RSVPs.

It's been so fun to get all the little envelopes in the mail!  We've also discovered we were pretty good at predicting the responses, at least so far.

This is what we thought would happen when we sent out our invitations:
  • We sent out 125 invitations, inviting a total of 252 people.  
  • We expected about 80 people would "definitely" be there, about 110 were "possibles," and the rest were unlikely to attend.  It's a destination wedding, pretty much, so there are a lot of folks who won't make it.
  • We figured we'd be slightly off on our predictions on the "possibles" - potential child care issues, pregnancy announcements, cost-prohibitive travel, conflicting events, or other circumstances might prevent their attendance - so we estimated that in the end, we would wind up with somewhere around 150 guests.  
So far, this is what we've seen:
  • We've received 69 out of 125 responses (at the time of this writing, we have three weeks left until our RSVP deadline). 
  • Those 69 responses include 24 nos (48 guests) and 45 yeses (83 guests).  4 of the nos were originally on the "possibles" list but the other 20 nos were on the "unlikely" list.  Everyone in the 45 yeses was originally a "definitely" or a "possible."  
  • We are still missing responses at the moment from about 20 guests we know are attending (they have booked flights and/or hotels, but haven't sent their cards in). 
  • About 25 of the guests who haven't yet responded were on our original "unlikely to attend" list. 
  • The rest (~70 guests) are all wildcards. I'm guessing about half will accept.
It still seems like we're pretty much on track for our target guest list of just depends on how many of those wildcards decide to come to the party.   Could be fewer, if I had to guess?  I'll definitely let y'all know where we wind up once all the RSVPs are in.  For right now, though, all I can think is "83 people are going to come see us get married!"  It's pretty cool to see things start to come together.  

How many people did you invite?  Did your response rate turn out the way you predicted?

Monday, August 6, 2012

Bachelorette weekend!

This past weekend Chicago J and NYC J treated me to a fun Saturday of events to celebrate the upcoming wedding.  It was great to see a number of friends from near and far who came to join in the festivities.  Three out-of-towners stayed at my house, so it was like having a giant slumber party for three nights!   I miss them already. 

Saturday was the big day of bride-oriented fun.  First, we had a lovely picnic in Central Park.  It was a beautiful sunny day, and we found a perfect shady spot to lay around and munch on sandwiches and fruit.  A light breeze kept us cool while we were there, which was fabulous!

Setting up for some fun!
Miss C hanging out with four moms and a mom-to-be. 
Then we headed back to NYC J's apartment for some air conditioning (totally awesome after hoofing it back to her place!), yummy sangria, and delicious desserts:

Yum, desserts!

Delicious bites from Le Pain Quotidien.
More tasty treats - tarts from LPQ and rectangular pastries from Epicerie Boulud.
NYC J knows me so well - dessert definitely comes before dinner!  So, after dessert, we headed to dinner at a great spot called The Smith.

Feeling full after a delicious dinner at The Smith!
And finally, after parting ways with NYC J (who had a sweet little baby and very patient hubby waiting for her at home!), we headed out to The Dove Parlour, a kitschy lounge downtown that has some mighty tasty cocktails.  My favorite was the Fig & Black Pepper Elixir!

Miss C and Chicago J at The Dove
Houston B and Miss C 
Our whole crew of gals at The Dove
We had such a fun day - everyone made me feel so special.  Nothing like hanging out with some of your favorite ladies to brighten up your weekend and make you really realize you're a bride.  (No greasy male strippers or questionable accessories required!)

Did you have a bachelorette party?  What did you do?