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Friday, May 30, 2008

Experimentation

I had a spray tan done today. Not the kind where you go into a booth (I always think of Ross on Friends), but the kind where you get "airbrushed" by someone who manually sprays you.

It all started two weeks ago when I was at my hair trial. While I was getting my hair done, a girl came in to get her makeup done for her prom. Everyone got to talking, and the makeup artist lectured her about going tanning. The girl said she hadn't gone tanning--she had gotten a spray tan. Everyone was in disbelief that a spray tan could look so good. She said she got it done at a nearby spa, and that it was only $20. This piqued my interest.

I hate tanning beds, and will absolutely never go to one ever again. Not only are they bad for your skin, but I can't imagine spending that much time in one of those hot boxes. I was never the kind of person who thought tanning was "relaxing." I was always counting down the seconds until I could get the hell out of there.

I thought for the wedding... hey, it's in late June. I'll be outside, get some natural color. And even if I don't, oh well, I'll just be pale. Well, the weather has been unseasonably cool here this May, and add to that my extremely busy schedule... I haven't had time to be outside at ALL.

So enter the spray tan. I definitely wanted to try it out before the wedding. I wanted to see how long it lasts on my skin, how it looks on me (hopefully not orange), etc. I called yesterday, scheduled an appointment for today, and I went.

(Side note: Prior to the spray tan, I went with my mom to see the Sex and the City movie. If you're a SATC fan, run! Go see it, now! I was pleasantly surprised by it. I went in with mediocre expectations since I was scared they might "ruin" SATC by making the movie. But it was good. Really good!)

OK, back to the tan. It was... interesting, to say the least. I think my favorite part was when the woman said (in an accent, she was from someplace exotic sounding), "You might want to spread apart your butt cheeks." I actually bust out laughing! She said, "No, I'm serious! One time I had it done and didn't do that, and I went home and the crack of my ass was all white!" I'm not kidding. That is a direct quote. I love it.

Anyway, aside from the butt crack comment, it was uneventful and so far, I like the results. I feel disgustingly sticky and it's killing me that I can't shower until tomorrow morning. But she said it will look really good tomorrow after I shower and get the residual stickiness and some of the coloring stuff off. We'll see what happens. I'm hoping all goes well.

Only thing is that I posted about the spray tan on The Knot, and someone told me that they used to work at a Hollywood Tans, and she said that this stuff WILL come off on my dress. She says it doesn't matter how many days ahead of time I get it done, some of the stuff always stays on your skin. So now I'm seriously reconsidering having this done for the wedding. I'd rather have my pale, pasty self than have orange marks on my dress (obviously).

But I'm kind of confused because I talked to them at the spa specifically about doing it for my wedding, and they made it sound like that was a pretty common thing. I expressed concern about the color on my white dress, and they said that if I came in on Thursday night to get it done for my Saturday wedding, it would be perfect. But how can I chance that? My bachelorette party is tomorrow and I planned on wearing white capris... I'm even afraid to do that in fear of ruining them. Sunday, I can throw on an old undershirt and really test out the spray tan/white clothes combo, but until then, I'm going to be really nervous. My friend gets spray tans regularly and told me she has never had it come off on her clothes, but... I don't know.

Anyone out there have any spray tan expertise to share?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rehearsal Invites

I finally got around to making our rehearsal/rehearsal dinner invitations this week.

Actually, I suppose "got around to" is the wrong way to say it. Let's face it: I realized we have three weeks left and had to get my ass in gear.

Earlier this week, I confirmed everything with the church and restaurant. I wanted to make sure all of the times were finalized before I printed anything.

I designed the invitations in Microsoft Publisher. I decided to make the dinner invitation and the rehearsal invitation separately, since there are people (mostly grandparents) invited to the dinner that don't need to be at the rehearsal itself. Because some people would only be getting the dinner invitation, I decided to make that the main focus. I concentrated on designing that, and then simply made an insert card with the actual rehearsal info on it.

The design was centered around two things: 1) Being easy to put together, and 2) To use some paper that I had left over from both the wedding invitations and the shower invitations, as well as extra envelopes I had. I didn't want to have to have to buy more supplies when I still had stuff left that could be utilized.

Anyway, here is what I came up with. Don't mind the black/white boxes. I had to use them to block out personal information.


I cut all of the paper myself this time around. I only had to make 25 invitations, so it didn't take too long. I used rubber cement to adhere the three layers of paper together.

I'm happy with how they turned out. They are a bit more casual than the other invitations I have done so far--which is what I was going for--but they're still nice.

I still have to address and stuff them all, but my goal is to get these in the mail on Saturday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Denial

Now that we are just a little more than three weeks out, I keep getting the question, "Are you stressed yet?"

In large part, the answer is no. I really wouldn't call myself stressed at all. A little overwhelmed at times, but while there is still a lot left to do, it's not THAT much left to do. I guess I'm confident in my ability to get it all done.

Hopefully I'm not overconfident.

Honestly, though, I think the reason I'm not stressed yet is because of a little thing called denial. Ah, denial, how I love thee.

I absolutely, positively cannot get my head around the fact that we're getting married in three weeks. No matter how many times I say it or remind myself, regardless of how fast I know three weeks go by, the wedding still seems so far away. It is strange. Three weeks seems like a lot of time, and yet I know it's not. And so I can only attribute my feelings to denial. Maybe it is my brain's defense mechanism against having a nervous breakdown. Who knows?

(Just about) three weeks. 24 days. Three more weekends. 14 more work days until I'm officially on "wedding vacation."

Weird. It's just so weird.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Annoyed.

People are annoying.

As of tomorrow, we will be a week past our "due date" for our RSVPs. We still have 13 outstanding RSVPs. Well, it's actually more than that, but I started marking people off as "no" if I felt I could safely assume they weren't coming.

Last Wednesday, when we didn't receive all of our RSVPs, I decided to give people through Saturday to get their cards in to us. When we didn't get any cards on Friday or Saturday, I knew we had some following up to do. I e-mailed a bunch of people last night, asked Michael's aunt to follow up with her family, and asked Michael's mom to track down her stragglers. Today, we heard from a few, but not all.

I'll say it again: People are annoying.

We're expecting several of these people to say yes, and we expect a few others to say no. The answer is pretty obvious to us, so why isn't it obvious to them? Just send in your damn card! How difficult is it? It's pre-addressed, pre-stamped, even pre-filled-out. Just check a "yes" or "no," check a meal choice (if you're even coming) and stuff it in the envelope. Put said envelope in your mailbox with the flag up. You don't even have to leave your freaking house.

COME ON, already. I have seating charts to tackle, placecards to make, and favors to assemble.

So figure it out, people. Just figure it out.

Monday, May 26, 2008

DIY Bridesmaid Jewelry

Hallelujah! I am finally done with my DIY bridesmaid jewelry (necklace and earrings).

There were a few times today when I wondered what the hell I had signed myself up for. I had completed three sets of the jewelry throughout the past week, but I did the other three today. I didn't have to, but I was bound and determined to finish them. I'm so excited to have this done and be able to check it off of my list. Now that we are under four weeks, I really need to be completing this stuff!

Here are some photos of the jewelry:



I got the idea for the design from knottie DennisBride08.

At first I was going to do the light aqua blue (that I did end up using) and a more turquoise-like blue that was darker like the dresses. However, when those beads came in, I didn't like them, so I decided to use leftover clear crystals that I had from my DIY lariat necklace. I really like how they turned out. It took me about an hour to an hour and a half to do each one.

I ordered all of my supplies from Fire Mountain Gems. Including the white cotton-filled boxes that I purchased to give the jewelry in, each set cost $17.60 to make. They are all sterling silver and Swarovski crystals, so I think that's a pretty damn good deal.

Here is a list of my supplies:

- 4 packs (of 12) Swarovski Aquamarine round beads (6mm) - Total of 48 beads, I used 7 per set of jewelry
- Leftover Swarovski Crystal AB bicone beads (4mm) - I used a total of 36 beads, 6 on each set of jewelry
- Leftover Swarovski Crystal AB bicone beads (3mm) - I used a total of 36 beads, 6 on each set of jewelry
- 18 Swarovski Aquamarine briolettes (11 x 10mm) - I used 3 for each set
- 2 packages (of 5 ft.) sterling silver wire, half hard, round, 24 gauge - I have no idea how much I used per necklace, but for the six necklaces, I used almost all of both packages.
- 2 packages (of 5 ft.) sterling silver 1.0mm round cable chain - When I purchased it, I figured on 18" of chain per necklace, just to be safe. I have a little bit of leftover, but I definitely needed the two packs.
- 2 packages (of 5 pairs) sterling silver earwire fishhook flat with coil - I used six pairs to make the girls' earrings, one set to make mine (obviously)
- 6 sterling silver lobster claw clasps (11 x 6.5mm with loop)
- I also used leftover jumprings (sterling silver, oval, 4 x 3mm) - I used two per necklace

Here are two tutorials that should explain everything you need to know in order to make this jewelry:
Simple Loop Instructions - To make the chain links that hold the beads
Wire Wrapped Triangle Bail - To make the "drops" at the end of the earrings and the necklace

I'm almost done with all of the bridesmaids' gifts! I have a little bit more shopping to do, but I'm in good shape. Today, I also picked up their flip flops at Old Navy to give to them so they can wear them to be more comfortable at the reception.

Checkity, check, check!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Family Time

We drove down to Michael's sister's to spend time with his family yesterday. It was a lot of driving for one day (about 5 hours roundtrip), but it was worth it because we got to see them. Especially the little guy: our nephew, Brendan. He is just about 9 months old now and is as cute as ever. He has just started to crawl so watching him try to improve his new skill was pretty amazing.

Several pics that I can't help but share:







This last one is of their dachshund, Max. He's bigger than Tess (he's about 18 lbs., Tess is only 11 lbs.), but other than that, it is amazing how similar they are. Every time we're down there we can't get over how similarly they act. They do look similar, too.

Of course, all day there was a lot of wedding talk. With only four weeks to go, we're all trying to figure out the logistics of everything. It was cute--at one point, we were talking about what time the families should arrive at the church and stuff, and Michael's mom got all teary-eyed! So funny, if she's like this now, I don't know if she'll make it through the wedding day! :)

I still don't know if I'll make it through the wedding day (without crying, that is). We shall see.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Happy Birthday, Lindsay

I promised a photo of the special birthday cake I made for my cousin and matron of honor, Lindsay. Today is her 25th birthday!

Unfortunately, I didn't have much time AT ALL to ice and decorate the cake, so it didn't come out as well as I was hoping. However, everyone still loved it... big hit at the party. And it tasted good, too.

And so I present... the giant cupcake!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Big Weekend

Lots of stuff going on this weekend. Well, for the first half of it, anyway.

Since we're on summer hours at work now, I got out at noon and ran a few errands. I came home and started baking--I made a couple loaves of banana bread to bring to Michael's sister's tomorrow.

Tomorrow morning, we're getting up early and driving 2.5 hours to visit with Michael's sister, our brother-in-law, and nephew. They are having a barbecue, so a lot of Michael's other family will be there as well (mom, dad, younger sister, possibly aunt, etc.). We'll hang out for several hours, then head back the 2.5 hours home. It's a long haul just to spend a few hours, but it's convenient since we don't have to worry about what to do with Tessa, and we get to be home in our own bed at night.

Once we get back, we are heading to my cousin Lindsay's house for ANOTHER barbecue, for her birthday. She is my matron of honor. I'm making her an awesome birthday cake... I will post pictures sometime this weekend. It's currently in the oven (I'm doing MORE baking!). I hope it turns out as well as I think it will. So we'll go and hang out over there, have more food, a few drinks, and celebrate her birthday. We're going to bring Tess with us since they just fenced in their backyard recently. She'll love running around back there. But we're a little concerned because they have a black lab... hopefully they'll get along. We'll see; we're going to give them a test run.

Tonight, we drove out for a meeting with our DJ to try to finalize a lot of the details for the reception. Unfortunately, we were largely unprepared because we can't make decisions. We have no idea what we're doing for the parent dances, intros, garter/bouquet tosses, or cake cutting... any of that. Really, the only one we had an answer for was the first dance. Oops. However, he gave us several suggestions, so now we kind of have something to go on. We're going to try to narrow some stuff down and make some choices this weekend.

I was happy to finally have a timeline worked out for the reception--to know when we do intros, first dance, toasts, etc. It's exciting to work out all of those little details.

Anyway, so the weekend has been busy so far, and will be crazy busy tomorrow. Sunday and Monday? We really have nothing going on. Yay! I'm excited to have some time to relax and catch up on some wedding-related things. I really need to get cracking on the rehearsal dinner invitations, as well as the morning-after brunch invites. Considering this crap is four weeks away, I don't think I can procrastinate any longer.

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Snafu

This afternoon, the plan was for Michael and I to meet over the lunch hour and get our marriage license. We were all prepared (or so we thought). Birth certificates in hand, driver's licenses, etc.

Around 11:40 a.m., about five minutes before we both would have been leaving our offices, it occurred to me that we were going to have to pay $40 for the license, and that I had not gone to the bank for cash. I called the town clerk's office to find out if they could take a check or a card. She said they could; good news all around.

But then she started asking me questions about whether we had this, and whether we had that. She asked about our birth certificates, and I said yes. Then she asked if they had raised seals. I explained to her that no, mine doesn't have a raised seal because it's from Washington State, and they don't do that there. She said that was acceptable. And she said, "What about your fiance? Was he born in New York State?" I said yes, and she said, "Well, does his certificate have a raised seal?" I had left it in the car, but I knew that it didn't. I said no.

Sooo... to avoid the risk of boring you with the rest of the conversation, I'll make it short. As it turns out, Michael doesn't even have a copy of his birth certificate. What he has is a "birth registration," which I guess is commonly given to new parents (instead of a certificate) in our county. It's good enough to get your child into school, to use as identification, etc. And I guess Michael even managed to get his driver's license with it. But you can't get a passport without a raised seal, and as we found out yesterday... you certainly can't get a marriage license.

*sigh* This was supposed to be easy. Now we have to jump through yet another hoop just to be allowed to be married! Michael has to submit a request for a copy of his birth certificate (which is NOT free, by the way) before we can go get the license. Luckily, it sounds like if he submits the online request this week, he'll get the certificate next week because they process them within two business days and mail them out. So it's not a TOTAL disaster.

Just a little snafu.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One month to go

As my Dilbert desk calendar reminded me this morning, we are truly in the homestretch now.

Wow, it's weird to think that this is my last "XX month(s) to go" post. I didn't do them every month, but it's especially strange to look back at November posts and see "7 months to go." Yikes. I don't even know how I made it! With the anticipation and excitement I feel now, it's hard to fathom even going through one more month of this... I can't imagine being back at seven months.

This milestone was "celebrated" with yet another wedding dream last night. And of course, it can't ever be a beautiful wedding dream. No, no. It's always gotta be a total catastrophe, everything-you-can-think-of-goes-wrong dream. Except this time, the focus of the dream was on things not being done in advance like they should have been.

Favors? Not done.

Table assignments? Nope, we hadn't even discussed it.

Placecards? Non-existent.

Table number luminaries? Well, we had table #3, but that was it.

Programs? Nada.

Bridesmaid jewelry? Sorry.

So you can easily see where my mind is at. I don't need some fancy dream interpreter to tell me what this stuff means. Clearly, like any good bride-to-be, I'm anxious about the things I have left to do.

The good news is that when I woke up this morning, I had a renewed sense of urgency to get it all done. A fire under my ass, if you will. And waking up also brought a tremendous sense of relief because I realized that no, it is not the wedding day, and yes, it is the one-month-to-go mark, but don't slack, because there's really only 4.5 weeks left to do all this. So get it done, Heather. Or as Michael and our brother-in-law like to say (jokingly, people):

Git 'er done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Prepping and Pampering

Tonight, I had another dress fitting. She wanted to check the hem again before she made any permanent changes to the dress (i.e. cutting!) and she also wanted to figure out the bustle. The first time I went, she said the dress really needed to be pressed to see the true length of it. So today, she made a few adjustments for the hem, and then showed me a couple of potential bustles. We're going with a three-point underbustle; I think it'll look nice. I go back on June 7 for my final fitting. Whoa!

Also tonight, Michael and I sat down and went over a little bit of music for the reception. We got a start, I guess, but it feels like we didn't really make any progress. Our DJ has an online planning system, so we were able to electronically go through his music and select songs for "priority," "additional," and "do not play." We also decided that we don't want to play boring jazz or classical music during cocktail hour and dinner, but instead just want to play songs that we like that just might not be ideal for dancing. So we wrote down a few ideas for that, too. We have a meeting with the DJ on Friday and the big things we need to figure out are all of the "special selections"--bridal party intro, our intro, first dance, father/daughter, mother/son, cake cutting, bouquet toss, and garter toss. The only one we have figured out for all of that? The first dance.

We're screwed.

Tomorrow we meet with the priest performing the ceremony to go over the nitty gritty details with him. Fortunately, the ceremony is one thing that I think we actually do have figured out already. Readings and songs have been selected, thank god. Well, there is one thing outstanding... we still need to ask our readers. Whoops. We should probably get on that, given that the wedding is 4.5 weeks away.

The other thing I have accomplished this week is to set up pre-wedding pampering! I made an appointment to have all of my bridesmaids, my mom, Michael's mom, and two out-of-town close friends (one of my mom's, one of Michael's mom's) to meet at a nail salon and all have manicure/pedicures. We found a salon that could accommodate all of us at once, their prices are reasonable ($35 total for both mani and pedi!), and they said they would pretty much shut the place down for us. They're still obligated to take any walk-ins that may come, but they're not going to schedule any other appointments during the time period we'll be there. Since this is all starting at 11:00 a.m. the day before the wedding, and we'll likely be there until around 2:00 p.m., I'm going to have lunch brought in for everybody (my treat). I guess this is sort of my version of "bridesmaids luncheon." It should be really fun, I'm excited for it.

32 days! That's all for now.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Personalized Napkins

Our personalized napkins arrived late last week. I'm really pleased with how they turned out. The colors are good, and they are soft and of good quality.

I ordered them from eBay seller "memorablewedding." They had the best prices I could find. Including shipping, I believe it was about $38 for 300 cocktail napkins. We did 150 black and 150 aqua.

A totally unnecessary expense, for sure, but given that we're spending next to nothing on decor at the reception, I felt like it was another one of those special touches. And they were relatively inexpensive, too. We're going to split them up... some of them will be passed out with drinks at the cocktail hour, and the rest will be on the cake table and given out when cake is served.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Casey & Landon

Here are two banners I recently completed for Casey and Landon, who will be married on June 14. Casey designed the monogram herself and sent it to me to paint on the banner. She also wanted a bride banner, so I did that as well.

The ribbon looks pretty dark in these photos... it is really a rich purple.



Good luck, Casey and Landon!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Hair & Makeup Trials

I had my hair and makeup trials today. So fun! It was really exciting to finalize what I'll actually look like on the wedding day. I think I have everything figured out now. Five weeks to go!

Here is my hair from the back--My stylist kind of curled it quickly and threw it up... it will be neater and the curls will be a little tighter on the wedding day:

Here is the view from the side (with veil). Again, kind of messy, but you can get the idea. It will also be a bit tighter/flatter on the top and sides. He threw it up kind of loosely and we all decided (my mom was there, too) that we'd like it pulled back a little more tightly:

After the hair, we went over to my makeup trial. She went a little heavier on the eye makeup so that the eyes will pop. The rest, we kept pretty neutral. I don't wear a ton of makeup normally and I didn't want to look UNlike myself. Sure, a better version of myself, but still myself.

Once I got home, I took some pics with my jewelry on so I'd get the full effect. Front view:


The obligatory eyes closed shot:

Sort of a side shot so you can see more of the hair:

My hair started falling out before my makeup trial was even over. I'm assuming it's because he didn't do it "all of the way" because it was just a trial. It makes me a little bit nervous that my hair wasn't EXACTLY what I wanted (a little too messy), but I'm going to trust that he knows what he's doing and it will be perfect on the wedding day.

When I was at the my makeup trial, I was at the salon one of my close friends works at. She's a hair dresser and wanted to see my hair. I showed her, with the disclaimer, "it's already falling out!" And she said, "oh, I know, but it's just a trial... you can totally tell what it's going to look like. It's beautiful!"

I guess professionals have a vision. They can see what I can't. The potential, I suppose. :)

Overall, I'm really happy with everything.

What do you think?

Friday, May 16, 2008

Color Catastrophe

Wow, it is really crazy--all of the bumps in the road you encounter during the planning of a wedding.

What a day I had.

Let me start at the beginning of this lovely tale.

First, let me say that we ordered the bridesmaids' dresses back on January 18. We were told back in the fall that the dresses would take 12-16 weeks, and we were trying to wait as long as possible to order because one of my bridesmaids (Bethany) was trying to become pregnant. Ultimately, it was a good thing we did wait--Bethany is in fact pregnant and is due October 29. She'll be about 21 weeks along at the wedding. Anyway, we ordered from Lee Philip Bridals, and it wasn't long after that I received an e-mail letting me know the estimated delivery date was between May 1 and May 15. If you do the math on that... it's a little bit longer than we anticipated. However, I had heard really good things about Lee Philip getting dresses in early all of the time, so I figured we'd probably have them a few weeks early.

Wrong. The beginning of May hit, and I e-mailed Stacey asking her about the delivery date. The dresses were due to get to her on May 8, and she said she'd ship them the next day (May 9). I was supposed to have them in my hands on Tuesday. Well, Stacey experienced a delay with UPS, and didn't get my dresses on Thursday. In fact, she didn't get them on Friday, either. On Monday, I talked to her again and she let me know that the shipment had come in--but for some reason, my dresses weren't in it. She said she called to check up on the status and my dresses weren't going to be delivered to her until Thursday (yesterday). I explained to her how I was going to be seeing Bethany, who lives out of town, on Friday (today), and I really needed to have the dress to give to her. With five weeks out, we don't have too much time for alterations. She offered to overnight them to me for no extra charge, and even went as far as to schedule it for an early morning delivery. Stacey was great--really accommodating.

From my perspective, these dresses had certainly already caused me enough stress. Little did I know what else the wedding planning gods would have in store for me.

Today I went to work and waited anxiously for the arrival of the dresses. Now that we're on summer hours, I was scheduled to get out at noon and I planned to hit the road to drive to meet up with Bethany right after work. Around 10:30 a.m., my boss came into my office with the box. As soon as she set it down and left the room, I went over to it with my pair of scissors to take a peek. I hadn't seen the dresses in person in six months and I was anxious to see them. I cut open the box, popped it open, pulled out a dress, and...

Proceeded to begin flipping out.

You see... the dresses? They were the wrong color.

Instead of this beautiful aqua/turquoise hue that I was expecting:

I got this:

I snapped that second photo with my BlackBerry so I could send it to Michael and Bethany to show them. I also showed the girls on The Knot, who confirmed I was not crazy. That was, indeed, baby blue, and it was nothing like the color shown in the first photo.

I checked the order form again. Yes, I had put down Bahama Breeze. I checked the stickers on the outside of the dresses. They all said Bahama Breeze.

So what the hell had happened??

I tried not to panic, but I'll admit that once I got on the phone with Bethany, I cried. For months, I've been planning a wedding around the aqua color of the girls' dresses. And that baby blue? That baby blue was not going to cut it. And the dresses are not really a small detail. They're not centerpieces or food or something stupid. They're in every. single. photo. involving the bridal party. And I hate baby blue.

I decided not to call Lee Philip Bridals and flip out. First of all, I knew it wasn't Stacey's fault. The order was correct. There was just something REALLY wrong with this color.

With the help of the ladies on The Knot, I was encouraged to go into my local bridal shop. I knew that they carried the exact dress in the exact color because that shop is where we found it. We just ordered from Lee Philip because it was $60 cheaper.

I could not wait to get out of work. The longer I sat there and stared at that color, the more and more I hated it.

At noon, I jumped up, stuffed the dresses back into the box, and went out to my car. Once there, it occurred to me to take one of the dresses out of the box again to look at it in the daylight. So I did.

And I was amazed. It looked soooo different in the daylight. Still a little different than I remembered, but BETTER than the nasty baby blue. Much better. Yet I was still not completely convinced.

I immediately drove to the bridal shop. I explained the situation to the lady at the front desk--we didn't buy here, but the last time I saw it in person, we were here, and can I please go back there and compare the sample dress to this dress?

To my surprise, she was super nice. She took me back, we found the dress, and she said, "OK, now let's take them out into good lighting." We went out into the main part of the shop and we held them side by side. Sure enough, they were nearly identical.

In my defense, my dresses are a tad lighter than the sample in the shop. But the difference is subtle--it is obviously just due to a slight discrepancy with the dye lot. Nothing major. I was totally relieved. A huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. For that two hours, I had been in a complete panic (sound familiar?), but in the end, it worked out.

Here are a few photos I took of the dresses once I got home from delivering Bethany her dress. The first was taken right by our sliding glass door in the daylight. The other was taken just in the normal light inside of our house.



As it turned out, the shitty lighting in my office (I never believed it could have made such a difference), coupled with the fact that I hadn't seen the color in six months, almost caused a complete nervous breakdown.

It's still so unbelieveable to me. Let's look at them side by side, shall we?

"Bahama Breeze" in my office; "Bahama Breeze" in natural light.

What the hell? Seriously, how could lighting make THAT big of a difference?

Now I'm really wondering what kind of lights I'm sitting under for eight hours every day. They must be hell on my complexion.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Ladies' Night

Well, I guess it's actually a ladies' day.

My bachelorette party is officially planned for May 31. We've had the date booked for a while, but we have been slowly working out the details. I realized this week that I really needed to get the final plans out to all of the girls invited since, as of Saturday, it's only two weeks away.

We're starting off the festivities with a wine tour from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. We rented a 14-passenger van through a limo company. We wanted to go with a traditional limo first, but they were just too expensive. The van is cheaper, and we figure it's a designated driver... it's just as good.

We're going to ride down to one of the Finger Lakes and tour as many wineries as we can fit in. Then, once we get back, we're going straight to dinner. There, my mom and future mother-in-law will join us, as well as a few pregnant friends who didn't want to go on the wine tour (understandably). All in all, I estimate that the big bachelorette party will end at maybe 7:30-8:00 p.m.! My kind of night.

No, seriously.

I'm not into the bar scene anymore. By the end of college (and the ripe old age of 21), I was pretty much over it. I love to enjoy drinks and get together with friends. But I prefer to do that over dinner somewhere, or at someone's (or our) house. It's more relaxing, you can actually hear people when they talk, it's more personal, and it's less expensive. And we're usually home by midnight. :)

I knew right away that I really didn't want to do a bar crawl or anything like that for my bachelorette party. I have friends coming in from out of town and the last thing I want to do is take a huge group out to bars and not even get to spend time with any of them. We did a wine tour a couple of years ago for our friends' joint bachelor/bachelorette party and I thought it was a great idea. So here we are.

And honestly, I could do without the silly bachelorette games and props and all of that jazz. But I'm pretty sure there will probably be some of that. The obligatory veil and penis straws and God knows what else. But I'm going to suck it up, likely embarrass myself, and just go with the flow. Because what the hell--you're only the bachelorette once.

Michael's bachelor party is the same day, except his is more traditional and they are going out at night. All night, in fact. They have a limo rented for an ungodly amount of hours with way too many guys invited. Big bachelor party. But it sounds like they're going to enjoy themselves and that is all that counts.

On May 31, we'll be only three weeks from the wedding. We'll deserve to cut loose and forget about things for a while.

And we'll have a good 21 days to recover from it all. ;) Just in time to get married.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Do me a favor

Favors. I hate favors.

From the beginning of wedding planning, I have been against doing favors. Frankly, I just don't understand the point of them. I hate hearing people say things about how we "owe" our guests favors, and how it really shows them that you "appreciate" their attendance.

Bullshit.

Come on. Admit it. They're stupid.

Let's review some of the favors we've received over the years:

- Ceramic roses. Where are they now? In a landfill somewhere, that's where. In fact, they went to the big black hole/giant mountain of garbage about 12 hours after that wedding.

- Shot glasses with the couples' names on them. Sure, they're useful. But we have about a dozen other shot glasses. Therefore, we wouldn't have died if we hadn't received shot glasses.

- Rock candy. Yummy, but we also had an abundance of cake and a chocolate fountain with all of the fixings at that wedding. Did we need rock candy? No. We ate one of them. The other one sat in our snack cabinet for two years. We finally chucked it a couple of weeks ago.

- Personalized M&Ms. Sure, a tasty treat. But there's no way in hell we enjoyed them as much as you paid for them. Those bitches are expensive. They're M&Ms, not gold.

- Coozies with the names and date on them. Again, cute. And totally fit the personalities of the couple. But they are up high in a cabinet somewhere in our kitchen, and I can honestly say we've never used them.

- A ceramic candlestick with some kind of ugly bow on it. Another donation to the landfill.

- Photo coasters. These, we actually did take home and we love them. Each person got a pair of them, so between the two of us, we ended up with four. We put a different picture of Tessa in each of them. We break them out fairly often. They are probably the only favor I've actually really enjoyed.

The fact of the matter is, we've been to weddings before where there have not been favors. And we certainly haven't been looking around screaming "WHERE IS OUR FREE CHOTCHKY? WHERE IS IT?! NO FAVORS?! HOW DARE THIS COUPLE! DO THEY NOT APPRECIATE US AT ALL?!?"

I don't say these things to offend anybody. Sure, favors are a nice gesture. And if you have the money for them, by all means... include favors in your wedding planning.

Ultimately, we have decided (begrudgingly) to do favors. Just because we can. And I'm going to be the first to admit that they're nothing special, not necessary, and not memorable. But they're affordable, and I've come to the realization that a lot of people do really like favors. Let's face it: People like free stuff. Period.

What we decided to do is pretty much fail proof. Chocolate. We're going to buy chocolate in bulk--probably Hershey's Nuggets, along with some Hershey's Kisses--at BJ's, and put several pieces in little organza bags for each person. I'm going to have monogram favor tags made by an eBay seller, and we'll attach them to each bag. Bing, bang, boom. Done.

Here are the organza bags I ordered from YourOrganzaBag.com. They were $20.35 for 180 of them, including shipping. I ordered 60 light blue and 60 white. They came in pretty quickly. Not only that, but I was pleasantly surprised about the color of the blue. I thought they were much lighter. When I opened the package, I found that they're actually much closer to the aqua blue we're using. Awesome!


We'll probably wait another couple of weeks until we buy the candy. I don't want to have it sitting around the house in danger of melting as the weather gets warm. Also, I haven't ordered the favor tags yet, so it's kind of pointless. We're still waiting on 63 RSVPs, and I'd like to have a more accurate count before finalizing the favors.

At the reception, we'll put a bag of chocolate at everyone's place setting. The smart ass in me wants to include a note: "To our guests--Here is your $0.40 token of our appreciation. The dinner, drinks, dessert, and music we're providing mean nothing. This candy? This is a true sign that we are grateful you could be with us this evening. Yes, this. Nothing else."

I kid, I kid.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The state of things

Less than six weeks to go, and I find myself starting to get just a teensy bit stressed. I guess you can say that I'm just starting to feel the crunch. So much to do, so little time.

It's weird when we lay our weekends out in front of us:

Next weekend--Hair and makeup trial on Saturday.

Memorial Day weekend--Meeting with DJ on Friday night. Visiting Michael's sister on Saturday. Parties on Saturday night.

May 31--Bachelor/bachelorette parties.

June 7/8--So far, nothing. But I'm sure we'll be busy.

June 14--Final haircut/highlights before the wedding.

And then the wedding is here. Umm, hello! Five more weekends?? That's IT? Do you know how fast weeks and weekends go by??? And there's only five left?? WHAT??

Breathe. Just breathe.

I know it'll all work out, but it's just amazing to think about.

Currently, we have nine days left until our RSVP date and we're still waiting on 73 responses. I hope they start rolling in, because I really don't want to have to make those calls. Speaking of RSVPs, we got our first unexpected no responses today. It was from a friend of mine from college. His girlfriend apparently has grad school that weekend, but I was disappointed that he's not coming. His parents live right here in the area and it just seems like he could have easily come out by himself and at least dropped by the wedding for a few hours--and spend time with his parents, too. But you know... you can't control what people choose to do. And I can see not wanting to come solo. I understand it, and I respect it--but it's disappointing, nonetheless.

On Saturday, we went over to my mom's house and spent a few hours there picking out old photos to use for the photo slideshow we're going to put together for the rehearsal dinner. Yesterday, we had lunch with my mom and brothers for Mother's Day, and then we went over to Michael's parents' to have dinner with them. While over there, we spent some time going through old albums to get photos of Michael, too. I was able to scan them all today. Now we have to start editing them together. Only problem is that we're having trouble with the Nero software that we have. I did a test burn today, and we couldn't get it to play in either one of our DVD players. And it's supposedly "compatible with all DVD players." Yeah right. Why can't anything be easy?

I'm also freaking out a little bit about the bridesmaids dresses. We ordered back in January. Supposedly, they were going to be shipped out to me today... but I didn't receive a UPS tracking number like I was supposed to. So now I'm not even sure if they shipped. I have plans to meet up with one of my out-of-town bridesmaids on Friday afternoon to give her the dress... but obviously that can't happen if I don't have the damn dress! We're cutting it close now, all these girls still need to get alterations! I'll feel a lot better once everyone has their dresses and I know that they fit. Until then, I'm a little on edge.

Summer hours started at work this morning. Normally, I work Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. From now until the end of August, I have to go in earlier--8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.--but only Monday through Thursday. Friday? I only have to work from 8:00 a.m. to noon. I love my half-day Fridays! It helps take a little bit of the stress away to know that I'll have those extra hours to help me get things done leading up to the wedding.

Oh! While we were at Michael's parents' yesterday, we were also able to pick up Michael's birth certificate. So now we're all set to go get our marriage license. Just need to figure out a good day to do it. We're going to meet up over the lunch hour one of these days. In New York, the licenses are good for 60 days... so we've been eligible to get it for quite some time now. It'll be nice to have the certificate that makes it all official!

OK, enough rambling for tonight. I'm making my own head spin, I can't imagine how you all feel. :)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mom

Happy Mother's Day!

Since I'm scanning photos for our rehearsal dinner slideshow, I just happen to have a few oldies to share... of my mom and me. Awwww...



I <3 my mom!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Things Remembered = Big Fat Ripoff

I hate Things Remembered.

Sure, I buy things from there and use their services sometimes, but that's mostly because there's no where else to do it.

So, when we were given our Lenox Jubilee Pearl toasting flutes and cake serving set for the wedding, I figured I'd be taking them there to get them engraved. I looked up prices online, which didn't seem too bad, and on Tuesday, I drove to the mall to go and drop the stuff off for engraving.

When I walked in, they told me that I'd have to pay $10 for each item right off the bat, just for carrying them into their store (as opposed to buying them there). In addition, the engraving prices they quoted me were more expensive than those I had found on their website. It would have cost me like $70 just to have this stuff engraved.

I turned around and walked right back out of the store.

I ended up calling around and found a couple of other little shops in town that might be able to do the engraving for us. Well, I say "might"--they said they could--but I want to go in and check them out, see what fonts they can use, etc.

All this work because Things Remembered is a big fat ripoff.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Tired Today

The Bryan Adams concert last night was so much fun. I had never seen him before, but love so many of his songs. He's doing a solo, acoustic tour to promote his new album, so it was in a really small venue.

We didn't even know we were going to go. We didn't hear about the concert until probably Monday or Tuesday, when we heard it advertised on the radio. At the time, we checked Ticketmaster and saw that tickets were still available, but we were busy with other things and kept putting off buying them.

Yesterday morning, Michael IMed me and let me know that they were sold out. And of course, that was when we decided that we really wanted to go. Figures! We kept checking Craigslist throughout the day, and I called on a couple of ads, but they had already sold the tickets. When I got home at about 5:20, I checked again... and there was a new ad, just placed at 5:05. The guy was trying to get rid of two tickets. I called, and he said we could have them. Michael was at a dentist appointment and didn't even get home until almost 6:30... and we had to meet the guy outside the venue door by 7:00. It was quite a rush, but we made it.

And it was well worth it! Great, great show. He played probably 3-4 songs off of his new album. The rest were old, the hits! The stuff I wanted to hear! "Run to You," "The Only Thing That Looks Good on Me," "Straight from the Heart," "When You Love Someone," "Please Forgive Me," "Let's Make a Night to Remember," "Cuts Like a Knife," OF COURSE "Summer of '69," and more. He pretended he was done two different times, and ended up coming back on stage for more when stomping, clapping, and chanting ensued. Because of the acoustic setting and smaller crowd, he did a lot of talking about the songs, telling stories, etc. which was really cool. He ended with "All for Love," the collaboration he did with Rod Stewart and Sting. Well, except Stewart and Sting weren't there. That would have been quite the surprise, huh? :)

I'd like to see him again someday, playing with the full band. Hopefully he'll come through this area again sometime in the next few years.

The show was extra special because we're using a Bryan Adams song for our first dance at the wedding. He didn't play it last night (we didn't expect him to--it's one of his lesser known songs), but still--to see him in concert only six weeks before the wedding was pretty cool.

Today, I can't get his songs out of my head. And in 43 days, we'll be dancing our first dance as husband and wife to "I'll Always Be Right There." Exciting!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

More B.A.

One of the first songs Michael and I called "ours."




Crappy quality on my BlackBerry, but you can still hear him at least!

Tonight? We're at Bryan Adams

And he rocks.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Booked solid.

At least it feels like we are.

I've started to realize that all of the things I've procrastinated on? All those things I said could wait until closer to the wedding? Well, I can't use that excuse anymore. We are close to the wedding.

We have so many upcoming appointments. Our schedules are already busy as it is. Monday and Thursday nights, I have aerobics classes. Tuesday nights, Michael has karate. So usually, during the week, the only nights we have available to run errands or meet with wedding vendors are Wednesdays and Fridays. I can do some things on my own on Tuesdays, but other than that...

Tonight, we went and met with another organist. The first one we met with was not affiliated with the church we're getting married at. He's in Michael's karate class and we thought he would cut us a deal since they know each other. Not so much. It turned out he was more expensive than the guy recommended to us by the coordinator at the church. So I called him and booked him instead. I talked to him today and we were looking at schedules and trying to figure out when we could meet to hear some of the music on the organ in the church and finalize our selections. Things weren't looking good for having it done by the end of May--so he said, "What about tonight?" And there went our relaxing, "nothing-going-on" night.

Next Wednesday, we have to meet with the priest at the church to go over the results of our FOCCUS evaluation that we took a few weeks ago. That will be the last hurdle we have to jump over before we can officially be declared OK to get married in the Catholic church. On May 17, I have my hair trial. On May 20, I have a dress fitting. On May 21, we're meeting with our priest--the one who will perform the ceremony--to go over the details of the wedding and finalize everything with him. I'm also trying to see if I can squeeze in a makeup trial on the same day as my hair trial, but we'll see how that works out.

And there are other meetings to schedule for the beginning of June--DJ, photographers, reception venue walk-through, baker, etc. It's seemingly never-ending. But you know what? Being this busy will certainly make the time fly between now and the wedding. I just hope I don't go crazy.

It's a good thing we have wine. Lots and LOTS of wine, in fact.

You see, my boss gave us our wedding gift early. She came into my office last week and asked if it was OK to bring it into the office some day to give to us. She's the kind of person that gets everything done early (she finishes her Christmas shopping in September/October), so it didn't surprise me that she had purchased a gift already. And I guess she just wanted to get it out of her house. We don't mind; we get to reap the benefits of it early.

And what is it? Our wine fridge.

Hell yeah! So now, including our eight bottle wine rack, we could have as many as 14 bottles of wine on hand at all times. Love it.

I brought the wine fridge home last night. Today, during my lunch break, I took a ride to the liquor store and bought six bottles of wine to stock it up. I mean, come on... if you're going to get a wine fridge, you have to fill it! (And of course, Tess is helping... like always.)

Completely unrelated to the rest of this post, but--seriously--how cute is my dog?? This pic is from Saturday night. She was exhausted and I guess she thought the remote control made an excellent pillow. Honestly, I think she was delirious.

No matter how stressed I get, she never fails to make me smile.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Marta & Todd

Here is an aisle runner I started on Sunday and finished last night. It is for Marta and Todd, who will be married on June 15.

The pink color is a little different in person. My unnatural lighting doesn't do the color justice.

Congratulations, Marta! I'm sure you're starting to feel the crunch (I know I am!). I'm going to try to FedEx this out to you tomorrow. :)