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Monday, July 30, 2007

Dresses and paper samples

At the moment, wedding planning stuff is kind of slow. Last week, I researched prices on my dress, and also ordered some paper samples so I can decide what I want to use for our invitations (which I'm also doing myself!).

I'm about 98% sure I'm going to end up ordering my dress online. I can save more than $200 off of what I would pay for the dress at a local shop. And hopefully I'll be able to save on alterations by going through someone other than the bridal shop. The online vendor is actually a bricks-and-mortar bridal shop in NJ that has started taking online/phone orders and shipping the dresses out of state. They are listed as an authorized retailer on the designer website, so I feel pretty confident. Plus, numerous people on The Knot have had good experiences with them. So right now, I'm researching seamstresses. I want to find someone I like and can trust to measure me before I place the order for the dress. Plus I'd like them to give me some idea of what they think they'll charge for the hem and bustle. We'll see. Oh, and by ordering online, I can also save each of my bridesmaids about $55. Amazing!

On Wednesday, I ordered 10 different paper samples. I need cover weight cardstock to make my pocketfolds, and I'm looking for an aqua color, which can be difficult to match with online swatches. So we'll see what happens. I also need white/ivory colored text weight cardstock for the pocketfold inserts. I won't need invitations for quite some time, but I'd like to get a jumpstart on them so I can work on them a little bit at a time. Making 125 invitations and copies of all of the inserts will certainly get old after a while. So if I can work on them until I get sick of it, take a break, then work on them again... that will be helpful.

We are getting our engagement photos taken on August 13. I'm excited about them, but also a little nervous, too. It's kind of weird to think about prancing around in front of a camera with your fiance. But I suppose we'll manage. Then, once we have the files back for those, I'll get to work on designing our save-the-dates.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Relief! Guest list is done!

We put the finishing touches on our guest list last night. We went over to Michael's parents' for dinner and went over it with them (I had already gone over it with my mom and dad). We added a few people, but all in all, it was pretty uneventful. And we're right where we want to be in terms of the number invited.

Now we just have to hope that "typical" holds true for us and we do get some percentage of "no" responses. Not that I don't want everyone there, but with the amount we have invited now, we'll be at the maximum number (for comfort, anyway) for our venue. We'd ideally like to end up with around 150 guests. But we'll see! We still have several more months before we actually have to worry about this. We just wanted to get the guest list done so I can start looking into Save-the-Dates and materials for the invitations. I needed to know how much of everything to order.

Anyway, that's a relief. It was the one wedding "project" that I really wasn't enjoying very much and I was ready to have it over and done with. And now it is!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

DIY Aisle Runner

I am a true DIY (do-it-yourself!) bride! I just completed my first project today. I decided to do a monogrammed aisle runner for the church.

I went to Joann Fabrics last week and bought my runner with a 40% off coupon (so it was only $19!). Then I went to Michael's on Thursday and picked up a bottle of aqua acrylic paint, a bottle of black acrylic paint, and a pack of all sizes and shapes of paint brushes (total $4--I used a 40% off coupon for the pack of brushes).
I designed our monogram in Microsoft Publisher. I was able to enlarge it to be three feet wide by about two feet tall. I then printed it using my regular home inkjet printer and then taped all of the sheets together. The monogram looked a little bit pixelated (blurry) from being blown up so much, but it was still usable since all I was doing was tracing it.

Here are step by step instructions, with photos (thanks to Michael!):
1. Figure out where on the aisle runner you want to paint the monogram. Our aisle runner is 100 ft, with a 100-ft. aisle. We decided to put the monogram about 10-12 feet from the end of the runner so that it will be situated at the back of the church.
2. Lay out the enlarged monogram on a table or floor, and tape down so it will not move. Lay the aisle runner over the monogram and line it up until you like its position. Tape the aisle runner down to the table/floor so it also doesn't move.
This is me lining up the runner with the edge of the paper.

3. Then, trace the design with a mechanical pencil. I went back and forth over it a couple of times so that it would be dark enough to see really well when I was painting. However, if you're using lighter color paints, I suggest doing it as lightly as possible (while still being able to see it, of course!) because the lighter colors won't cover the pencil marks as well.

Tracing away!

4. After you finish tracing, remove the tape from everything. You're now done with your print-out of the monogram.
This is my dog, Tessa, watching me. She's thinking "Come on, it's late, isn't it time for bed?"
5. Now, tape wax paper to the table/floor before repositioning your aisle runner to paint it. This will prevent paint from bleeding through onto your surface. I've heard some people have made the mistake of putting paper underneath--paint soaks through and gets the paper wet, and it ends up sticking to the back of the runner! Definitely use the wax paper.
Making good use of the wax paper and taping it down to the table.

6. Reposition the aisle runner over the wax paper and tape it down again so it doesn't move on you.
It's difficult to see in the photo, but this is my runner with my pencil tracings done, and wax paper underneath.

7. Start painting! I would suggest working on the lighter colors first, and also suggest working from the middle to the outside. I started in the middle of my "K" and worked my way out toward the edges. I used a variety of different brushes that had different sizes. And I was just patient--I took my time. If you smudge a little outside of the lines, it's OK--you can modify the letter a little bit by "smoothing it out" and making it look like the letter is supposed to do that! But there's really no room for errors like dropping wet paint brushes or smearing the paint with your hands!

Painting the "K" with our aqua color.

8. Allow your first color to dry before moving on to the next. I let the aqua K dry for a good 3-4 hours before beginning work on the black lettering.

The finished "K"!

9. Paint in the rest of your lettering, again working inside out.
Putting the finishing touches on our date!

10. Allow the whole thing to dry, and you're finished! Then roll it back up onto the roll and store in a garbage bag or somewhere else for safe keeping until the wedding.

Our finished monogram aisle runner.

I think it turned out great, and it's a cheap "decoration" for the church. One of those little details that guests will notice.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

To party all night long!

We booked our DJ this week. We ended up going with Fingerlakes Entertainment. Nate, the owner, was the DJ at our friends' wedding last year--Dave and Lynsay's. We liked him well enough, and the price was very reasonable--$695 for 6 hours. Unfortunately, Nate is unavailable on the day of our wedding, but he was able to hook us up with another DJ, Shaun, who works with him. Shaun apparently normally works for WBER radio in Rochester. So we're all set there.

I had also checked into Showcase Sound, but knew I didn't want them the minute they called me. It was SO obvious the girl was reading from a script, which absolutely disgusted me. It's a freaking DJ service and they feel like their employees have to read from a SCRIPT? No thanks. Plus, they were more expensive than Fingerlakes.

So there you have it. Now we just have to start putting together "Play" and "Do Not Play" lists on the website.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Guest list hell

I just want to invite everyone we've ever met in our whole entire lives.

It'd be a lot easier than trying to keep it below a certain number. You think you're good inviting close friends and family. But then, it starts happening.

So and so is coming from out of town, therefore they won't have anyone to watch their kids = kids have to be invited, too.

This person is invited, so this other person needs to be invited, too (can't have anyone getting offended).

This couple needs to be sent an invitation, but just out of courtesy. They probably won't actually COME. (But what if they do??)

The guest list is one part of wedding planning that I'll definitely be grateful to have DONE.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

My pretty church

I love old churches.

It bothers me that nowadays (and within the last 30-40 years, actually), when they build churches, they make them look like any other building. The churches I like have the bells, the big steeples, the steps leading up to the door. The stained glass, the long aisle, the wooden pews. For whatever reason, I just feel that much more "spiritual" in a place that LOOKS like it's spiritual--if that makes any sense, which maybe it doesn't.

Anyway, I went through the whole process of becoming Catholic this past year, so when Michael and I got engaged, the hunt was on for a Catholic church that fits my standards (haha!). I just wanted it to be beautiful. I did some research on the internet, on the Diocese of Rochester's website, looking up a bunch of churches and photos of the churches and such. Then I started contacting them to see where they would "allow" us (hilarious) to get married. The choice also revolved around where we ultimately planned to hold our reception. I figured I didn't want the church and reception to be on the opposite ends of the earth, so it was important. I looked into St. Mary's in Canandaigua (GORGEOUS, but the lady that worked there that I was talking to was a real bitch--I kept thinking, how can you work in a CHURCH and be that bitchy??), St. John's (I think? It's in Charlotte), but ultimately kept coming back to St. Patrick's in Victor.

We booked our reception in Macedon, which is sort of out in the middle of nowhere, so wherever we decided to have the church, it was going to be at least a little drive. Throughout the last couple of years, I noticed St. Patrick's every time I passed by it on my way to ski at Bristol Mountain. It's just one of those churches that I really love to look at. And I contacted them, and they had our date open. So far, so good.

Today, Michael and I went to look at the inside. And it's beautiful. Just like I thought it would be. And bonus: it has the double doors at the beginning of the aisle. I LOVE weddings where there are the doors. I just think it is so much more emotional (and dramatic!) when the bridal party all walks down the aisle, then the doors shut to prepare for the bride. Then the bridal music cues and the doors open for the big reveal. I cry every freaking time.

We have to make an appointment to meet with the priest there when he gets back into town next week. He has to give us the official "yes" in order for us to get married there. I asked the woman today whether there was really a chance that he would tell us we couldn't get married there. She said probably not.

Well, he better not. It's my dream church. Don't make me go all bridezilla on you, Father. :)

Monday, July 9, 2007

We're booked for June 21, 2008!

Alright, it's official now... we're getting married on June 21, 2008.

I went today to sign the contract and drop off the deposit at Blue Heron Hills, our reception venue. I feel so much better now that it's done. I was nervous all weekend that something was going to happen and we were going to lose our date. At this point, it was just signing a contract for the date... we have to work out all of the details (food, drinks, etc.) at a later date.

I also mailed the deposit and the signed contract to our photographers this morning, so that should be all set, too.

During my lunch break, I called the church to see how we move forward to officially book our date (they have already penciled us in). Turns out we have to meet with the priest there (even though he won't be the one to marry us), but he is out the rest of the week. I have to e-mail him to see when he can meet with us and probably put some kind of deposit down to make sure the date will be ours. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out... I don't like hurdles!

We are also ready to book our DJ, but I just have to wait until we actually catch each other to talk (we've played a little bit of phone tag).

I'll feel 100x better once these four things are all taken care of. These are the things that I think are most important. Then I can move on to less important things, like flowers, cake, and limos.

Michael and I bought a new HP laptop computer last week. We ordered it on Thursday night, and it's due to arrive at our house tomorrow... I can't wait! We have a desktop at home now, but it's hard because Michael and I both kind of wrestle over it each night. And our dog, Tess, hates to hang out in the den for some reason, so it's hard with her running all over the house causing lord knows what havoc while I'm on the computer. Now, with so much wedding planning research and do-it-yourself projects, I've been spending a lot more time on the computer, and will probably continue to. So the laptop will be convenient to have. We've been wanting one for a while and decided to just take the plunge and buy one.

Yesterday, we took a trip to Circuit City to purchase a laptop bag and a wireless mouse for the new computer. We figured we want/need these particular accessories right away. We thought we would be using gift cards we received, plus a little extra money, but... four rebates later, the two items will end up being completely free! Gotta love that! It made the selection during shopping that much easier. You can't argue with a price tag on the shelf that says "$-0.01"!! The bag was regularly $59.99, but there are two rebates, each for $30. So we'll get $60 back. The mouse was regularly $29.99, but there are two rebates for that, too, each for $15. So $30 back for that. Of course we have to wait for the rebates to process and the money to arrive (rebates really are so annoying), but hey. It'll work out for us in the long run.

I'm off to figure out what the hell to make for dinner.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Weddings and babies... oh my!

We had Megan's wedding last night. It was beautiful. And it just made me all the more excited for my own. Her dress looked beautiful on her, and the reception venue (Kloc's Grove) was pretty incredible. Since the weather was so nice, they were able to set up the DJ outside, and the bar was out there as well. The only time anybody was inside was during the sit-down dinner. During the cocktail hour before, everyone was mingling outside enjoying drinks and cheese, crackers, and fruit. As soon as the cake was cut after dinner, everyone was back outside! Which, unfortunately, meant that most guests missed the cake being served. :( That was one thing that was kind of strange... they never put out any of the extra cake for later... so as a bride-to-be, I'm wondering what the heck happened to all of that cake that they paid so much money for!

One really annoying thing about planning your wedding is that everyone has a freaking opinion... about everything. Moms, grandmas, friends, coworkers... you name it. The reception start time is too late, the wedding date is too busy a time of year, etc. etc. Ugh!! I wish people would just realize that it really is our day, and we can't work around everyone else's schedule. I wish we could, but it's just impossible and causes way too much stress. And it's just a DAY. Not a week, not a year... it's not like we're asking people to block out the rest of their lives. It's just one day. Which is another insane thing in and of itself... that all of this planning goes into one measley day. But I digress...

We went shopping at Target today for Michael's sister's baby shower. She is due August 28 and the shower is next Saturday. Boy are we already spoiling this baby. We pretty much cleaned out the rest of the registry, and then bought a huge box of diapers, too. So maybe we're actually spoiling the parents, not the baby itself, haha. They don't know what they're having, so it makes it all that much more exciting. I'm trying to think exactly what we bought--a boppy pillow and cover, bottles, pacifiers, onesies... and then yeah, the diapers. I can't wait to meet the baby! And my cousin is due any day now (Tuesday, to be exact) with a baby girl so I can't wait to meet her, too.

Back to work tomorrow...

Friday, July 6, 2007

Photographer: Check!

We went ahead and booked our photographer today. We met with another husband/wife team today, Gelfand-Piper Photography. Their work is beautiful, I absolutely love it. But they knew about our situation and trying to make a decision about whether we wanted the Krackes, so the whole meeting with kind of uncomfortable. Their coverage prices are very similar to the Krackes, but their albums are a bit pricier. Since we wanted to have the option of purchasing an album, and we had hit it off so well with the Krackes, we decided to book them.

Other photographers I love: Rachel Gracie Photography, Karin von Voigtlander, and Still Life Photography. So if you're a bride and you're still out there looking, I highly recommend taking a look at their work. We didn't end up meeting with them since we liked the Krackes and just booked them, but I have been looking at photography websites for months now and loved to visit all of these sites. All of them are really "my style," but obviously I had to pick just one.

So now we just have to send the Krackes our signed contract and our deposit money. Then we get to move forward and book our engagement session with them! I'm excited for that. Once we have the engagement photos done, it'll allow me to move forward with some other things, like save the dates and other do-it-yourself projects that I plan to use the engagement pics for. Who knows what else I will come up with?! :)

On a side note, I called today to try to finalize the booking of our reception venue, but the coordinator wasn't available to meet today. It makes me a little nervous because I don't think the place is really ours until we have signed the contract and put a deposit down, but she said she was putting our names in for our date. I hope to go in there ASAP to get it done so my mind will be at ease.

Tomorrow... Megan & Miller's wedding! Megan was one of my roommates in college. She's been engaged for two years now and is finally getting married on 7/7/07. We're looking forward to seeing everyone. Plus it will be our first wedding to attend since we've been engaged, so we'll be looking out for things we like and don't like. And it will actually probably be the last wedding we attend until we attend our own. Interesting!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

To capture the memories

One of the most important vendors, possibly the most important, in my opinion, is the photographer. I've been browsing photography websites for quite some time now. I've just always loved looking at beautiful professional photos, so when we got engaged, I already had a number of photographers in my head that I knew we would want to interview.

On Monday, we met with Annette at Annette Dragon Photography. Wonderfully nice woman, great work, GREAT prices, but not for us. I think I knew it right away, but since she was the first that we met with, we didn't make any decisions immediately.

On Tuesday, we met with Julia and Kurtis at Kracke Photography. They are so great! They're a husband and wife team, both went to school for photography, and now basically all they shoot is weddings. In the winter, when no one wants to get married in Rochester, they travel around the country and shoot weddings for out-of-state clients.

When we first started wedding planning, we thought we would get married on June 28. Unfortunately, Kurtis and Julia weren't available on that date (already booked!) so I didn't even think they would be an option. When we had to change the date to the 21st, however, I looked at the schedule again... and sure enough, they were still available.

At our meeting, we sat and talked with the Krackes for about an hour--they showed us so much of their work (all SO beautiful), showed us their basic pricing, showed us all the types of albums they have available, etc. Not only is their work fabulous, but they also seem to be really fun people. They're on the younger side, and both have great senses of humor. On the way home, Michael and I were actually talking about cancelling all the rest of our photographer meetings to book the Krackes. We just felt that we really didn't need to look any further. But we talked ourselves out it and decided to keep the meetings and give ourselves a little more time.

So the Krackes put a 72-hour hold on our date for us, and told us to call if we had made a decision. I asked that in the meantime, they let me know if anyone else inquired about our date. We figured as long as no one else was trying to book June 21, we could buy ourselves some more time to go through with the other photographer meetings we have scheduled for next week. Well, it didn't really work out that way. Julia called today to say that someone called her this morning wanting to meet about June 21. They set up a meeting for Sunday afternoon (way before our meetings with any of the other photogs). We don't want to lose them, so I immediately went into action to call the rest of the photographers and try to move up our meetings with them. We're about 98% sure we want the Krackes... but we wanted to meet with other photographers first to be sure we're sure.

Tomorrow night, after Michael gets out of work, we're meeting with another husband/wife photography team. After that, we may just make a decision. There are three other photographers who I would have liked to have met with just to meet with them, but I think I would have a hard time booking ONE photographer now that I know I could have TWO for the price of one.

This will probably be a really tough decision for us... out of all the things we need to buy and pay for, this is the only thing from the wedding that we'll have for the rest of our lives.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

"When are you getting married??"

That's the first question anybody asks when they find out you're engaged. Well, after "how did he do it?" :)

The funny thing is that it's not like you have an answer. I mean, people started asking me this less than 24 hours after the engagement as if we would already have set a date. So at first, the answer was really vague--"next summer." Then, as Michael and I discussed it more, it became "next June."

Then when we had started looking at reception places and contacted churches, we narrowed it down to June 28, 2008. But then the reception place booked the date because someone walked in with a deposit. Back to the drawing board.

Now, we are about 99.9% sure it is June 21, 2008. We will hopefully be signing a contract with our reception venue Friday afternoon. Then that will be one huge weight off of my shoulders.

And then the countdown officially begins.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Step One: Boy asks girl. Girl says yes.

Michael and I got engaged just a few weeks ago, on Friday, June 15. We were preparing to head out of town on vacation the next morning. I had worked until noon and then ran errands all afternoon. We had a "to-do" list a mile long, so when Michael got home from work, we threw a couple of baked potatoes in the oven for a quick dinner. When we were finished eating, I got up to do the dishes and clean up the kitchen before getting a start on the list. Michael disappeared somewhere, which I found confusing--he usually helps with the dishes and stuff after dinner. I was a little bit annoyed, since we had so much to do. After finishing clean up, Michael still hadn't come back, so I decided to walk down the hall and see where he had ventured off to. As I approached the bedroom, I heard him call, "Heather..." and when I walked around the corner, he was on his knee with the ring box.

I proceeded to freak out (in a good way) because I was completely shocked. Obviously, we had discussed it and I knew it was coming soon, but I in no way expected it to be that day. It was low-key (at home, I was in gym shorts and a t-shirt), but romantic just the same. I wouldn't change that moment in the slightest.

We left the next morning for a week's vacation in the Outer Banks, where we celebrated all week with friends. It was perfect. Now that we're back and settled back into normalcy, we've started to plan our wedding to take place in June 2008. Fun times! There is a lot to think about, which is a bit overwhelming, but I'm good at prioritizing so I think we'll do just fine. Especially with the help of family and friends.

Monday, July 2, 2007

I've joined the blogging world

Ah, yes, well--I've finally caved and started a blog, like everyone else on the planet. I started posting blog entries on my MySpace page last year, but not regularly. I didn't feel like there was much to write about. But since I'm bad at keeping journals these days, and I'm entering a stage that I will only go through once in my life, I feel the need to document my experiences.

I'm getting married. Sometimes it's hard to believe I'm even old enough to do so. When did I get to my mid-twenties? Seems like yesterday I graduated from high school. I spent my whole life wanting to grow up and now that I am (well, sorta--ha!), I don't know how I got here.

Anyway, the wedding planning has begun. And if you're really brave, you'll follow me through that journey--down the road to the aisle! :)