Jun 30, 2011

Hair Trial

Remember when I was crazy and did my makeup trial one year prior to the wedding? It appears I have done the same thing with my hair.

See, the hairstylist works with my makeup artist and I was warned she tended to book up fast, which seemed plausible given her glowing reviews online. Nothing gets me more panicky than hearing that, so I decided to go for the trial.

I wasn't in the mood to think about wedding hair or spend the money, but again, I'm glad I got it out of the way. I tend to be a person who gets stuck in beauty ruts, so I don't think I'll change what I want for the wedding, and I'm thinking maybe I won't even need another trial. It seriously looked perfect, exactly what I had in mind. My MOH and mother, who joined me, agreed. 

So without further ado...check out the style after the jump (unless you are Mr. B in which case, don't click that link!)

Jun 27, 2011

A Jumble of STDs

So I do have some good news, my job transfer went through and Mr. B and I found an apartment!!  Lots of changes for me up ahead. It’s a blur of excitement, furniture, new job paperwork, and some not-so-minor freakouts.

But despite all this craziness, I've been trying to squeeze in some decisions on our STDs, since we want to get them out by the the end of the summer. My inspiration is all over the place: Should I do something crafty and creative? Use a photo? Coordinate them with the invite suite? (Hence my previous post on invite styles).  There’s so many options!

I initially fell in love with two really cool ideas, but nixed them both on the cost. The first were these gorgeous vintage handkerchiefs- different and elegant to me, although I think receiving a glorified snot rag in the mail may confuse people not regularly immersed in wedding blogs (so like, 95% of our guest list):

I also LOVED these vintage looking matchbooks below. The ornate gold and baby blue one fit perfectly in with our wedding style, and a matchbook is unique. Again though, they were just too expensive. Good thing, since I believe the Etsy seller no longer makes them anyway.

So now I’ve moved onto stickers. They’re functional, as guests can peel them off and pop them on the calendar, without having to look at our grinning faces on a magnet every time they open their fridge. Plus, stickers are very cost effective. Vistaprint sells a roll of 500 for around $75. Having all those extras would allow me to use them in other wedding elements for a nice cohesive look- and I like carrying a theme through.

The downside of this would be that I couldn’t just pop the sticker on its backing paper in an envelope and mail them. I’d have to come up with some kind of little info card and tie it all up in the envelope, like Mrs. Giraffe from Weddingbee did with hers:

See, the magnet goes onto that little card. Source

I love this, and the opportunity they afford to be creative, but I’m concerned that with everything else going on in life now, I might not be able to devote the time to executing it perfectly.

So the next choice is the photo postcard. It's a good way to use our engagement pics, but I’m just not in love with this, and neither is Mr. B. But it is so quick and easy to execute, all we'd have to do is stop by Minted or whatever and upload a picture.

Finally, I love the look of an STD that coordinates with the whole invite suite though, even if it is the simplest option. Of course, that means we have to choose invites now, which I’m not sure we’re prepared to do.
These Martha Stewart for Crane "Crown" invites are the closest copy I can find to the ones I posted last week. Unfortunately they still aren't cheap, and they're lacking that awesome gold border.

What do you guys think? Something different like a sticker, something that matches, or a good ol’ photo card? Leave some links to your STDs on your blogs if you want!

Jun 21, 2011

I Love Fancy Invites

A few weeks ago, I was browsing through a bridal magazine and stumbled upon what I consider the most perfect wedding invitation ever created:

I love the rich paper, elegant gold border, understated script, and rounded corners. They remind me of something from a more genteel era. I'm sure they're boring to some, but to me, they're exactly what a wedding invitaiton should be. I'm not into all the letterpress, kooky vintage designs, and wild colors that I keep seeing.
Unfortunately, they come with an extremely big price tag, something in the neighborhood of 3-4 grand, so they are not even remotely an option for Mr. B and I.

I tried a search for custom invitation designers, hoping to have these cheaply copied. But of course, instead of finding budget-friendly alternatives, I found even more gorgeous, and just as expensive, invites from designer Ceci New York. I venture to guess most of us don't have invitation budgets that start at $3k, but let's ogle these beauties anyway (all pics below from Ceci New York):

The Erin and Peter design

The Gold Room design from her Breakers collection

In case your taste doesn't venture to vintage gold the way mine does, here's a bolder design, inspired by the royal wedding (oh yeah that! Anyone else forget it even happened?)

The Catherine and William design- Love those blue flowers!

In love does not even begin to describe my obsession with these invites. The company does have some ready made designs, but I'm still not sure they'd be in our budget. But just in case it works out, I'm feeling the Elizabeth:
What did you guys fall in love with that was totally out of your budget?

Jun 20, 2011

Living Together

Right now, Mr. B and I don’t live together. We grew up in the same town, and we’re still at home with our parents.

I’m still here for a lot of reasons: my job is local, I love where I live, I hate change, and I’m not big on New York either. Plus, I’m kind of old fashioned. So I stayed put. And Mr. B stayed put too, and that’s how things have been for the past three years since we graduated college.

I always planned to wait until marriage to live together. I thought it attached a lot of symbolism to our wedding, as only after it will we get to begin our lives together. I liked the idea of having a genuine honeymoon period, rather than experiencing our first few happy months together before we’re married, only to come back from the wedding and feel like nothing was different.

Plus, I didn’t have complaints about living at home. It’s been great for our finances and nice to spend time with our families. I felt pretty content with everything.

But it turned out I had to wrestle with the decision earlier than planned. My job was transferred to Maryland recently, and I was lucky enough to get a transfer to an office in North Jersey. It's too far to commute from where I live currently so...we’ve decided to begin looking for apartments together!

Given my stubbornness about not living together, I did struggle with this decision a lot. I was afraid it might take away the meaningfulness of our wedding. I worried that it wasn’t traditional or respectable to move in together. Plus, I wasn’t sure if it was hypocritical: I have some friends with a ‘boyfriend-won’t-propose/will moving in make that happen faster’ situations going on. I always advised them not to move in, and I wonder if my moving in earlier sent some kind of bad message. (I’ve decided no, we're engaged with major wedding plans underway, it is not the same thing as settling for living together because he refuses to propose. Besides they’re grownups and I doubt they care what I do!)

I’m really excited about this new development, and I’m surprised by how right it feels. As our relationship and engagement progresses, I am feeling the pain of not living together more often than I used to. I’m tired of waking up at 2 am from hanging out at his house and driving home. I miss him when he isn’t there. I’m sick of going to his house to see him and having to spend an hour chatting with the fam, petting the dog, etc. Our lives are beginning to change, and we can’t hold those off just because the party is 11 and a half months away. As much as I don’t mind being home, I am really ready to be on my own (I mean, come on, I am kind of old for it at this point!) I look forward to all of the little things that come along with us taking this step, and while it is not at the timing I had always planned or expected, I am really, really excited and hope that soon I have some concrete job and apartment news!

Did anyone else obsess about moving in together or is everyone else normal and just went with it? Anyone have any advice? I feel like Monica on Friends- "I have to live with a boy!"

Jun 14, 2011

Questionable Advice

Getting engaged compels people to share lots of unsolicited marriage advice.  Sometimes, it can be really helpful, but in my case, it’s mostly been sort of odd. I figured I’d share some with you:

From Linda, the woman who owns the salon where I get haircuts:
“Wait, you’re engaged? But you’re so young! Are you old enough to drink? Look, I tell all the girls marriage is big- make sure you guys have more going on than the bedroom- his junk’s not going to work one day. You know that right? Be careful!”

I don’t know what about me made Linda think I was a barely legal slut marrying for sex, (the fact that I barely talk at haircuts? The professional outfits I show up in that clearly state I am a working professional?) but I rolled my eyes at that one. 

From my grandma, married around 50 years, although the marriage was of questionable quality, according to my dad:
“Fight him on everything!”

I think we can all agree this is the worst advice ever.

From Bob, my sort of morbid 72 year old cube mate at work. Bob advises me, unasked, on almost a daily basis:
“Get a prenup.”
“You should have a friendship first. That’s the most important.”
 “Figure out that religion thing NOW. In case you need to call off the wedding.”
“Don’t spend a lot on your dress. I got my daughter's for $100.”
 “You want to move to New York? That’s a waste of money. Don’t live there. Terrible idea.”
“Don’t have a TV in your bedroom- has an adverse impact on a marriage.”
“You clean the inside of the house, and he should take care of the outside. But you might have to change jobs sometimes.”
“Have you started saving for retirement? Start saving! I bet gas goes up to $11 soon.”

Bob definitely means well, and some of his advice is solid, it is just all so full of a glass-half-empty angle of it.

From Jess, a close friend at work who got married two years ago:
“Keep things a surprise still. If you’re getting ready to go somewhere together, get completely ready in the bathroom. Don’t let him see you with your hair half done, running around trying to scramble an outfit together.”

I’m pretty high maintenance so this works for me! It’s not a bad idea I think to have a little mystery, and this is one way to accomplish it.

Anyway, I don’t mind hearing advice from people, although sometimes I wish it was more useful!
Have any good (or really bad) pearls of wisdom been dropped on you guys?

Jun 6, 2011

Engagement Party Recap

Our engagement party was this past weekend, and it was so much fun! We had a backyard pool party, with 75 family members and our bridal party in attendance. Most people just hung out, ate, and chatted, the little cousins swam, and the always classy bride to be owned at flip cup.  A little photo recap:

Me with 3 of my bridesmaids

With our respective future bros-in-law

A nice view of the deck

I think this shot of my little cousins in the pool is so cute!

Another party candid..bored yet?
 What's a party without drinking games?

We had such a good time! Mr. B and I joked that the party, in a lot of ways, was good practice for the wedding. For starters, it required a bunch of advance planning for things like the menu, music, and my outfit(which happened to be a white dress!) But even so, some last minute work, like setting up tables and making our sangria, was unavoidable:

We had tons of family there, and unfortunately didn’t get to spend enough time with anyone! We were running around thanking people for coming, catching up quickly, and making the rounds.

We also barely saw each other!

And we had almost no time to scarf down our casual yet delicious spread of gigantic 8 foot subs, ziti, meatballs, wings, and copious appetizers.

We did a little cake-cutting. This was sort of thrown on us, so hopefully we are less awkward when we do this at our wedding!

And we had a cool cake with our engagement picture printed on it: 

People encouraged us to open gifts, so I had some bridal shower practice, with my maid of honor handing me gifts and a good family friend writing everything down. We got such nice stuff, but opening them in front of people is something I'm going to have to get more comfortable with.

Afterward, we snuggled, read our cards, and then I went home around 2 am. I was so wired from all the excitement (the party went on for almost 10 hours!), and from pumping my body full of Coors Light all day, that I barely slept at all.

The best part was how happy I felt after all of it. Ever have a great weekend, or a great vacation, and then feel bummed when it’s over? That’s what I expected after the party, but it wasn’t like that. We both felt so lucky to have tons of family members that traveled from all over, even as far as Chicago, just to be able to celebrate with us. I was so happy people stuck around for hours too. I guess I was nervous that with all the family and small amounts of people from my age group, that my friends would be bored. But they were the best of all! I just assumed at least my girlfriends would leave early, but they raged on, playing drinking games and hanging out all night. My MOH and her fiancĂ© being the very last people to leave- they’re some of my faves, and having them stick around with so long was unexpected but a great way to celebrate! 

Did you guys have engagement parties?

Jun 1, 2011

Ahead of Schedule: Makeup

It’s clear from my doing things like seeing sample centerpieces or thinking about hotels with over a year to go that I am a Type A person with an obsessive need to cross things off the to-do list, no matter how early it seems.  So it follows that I did something that I thought was the ultimate in wedding planning crazy: I went for my makeup trial exactly 367 days before my wedding.

Before you think I’m totally nuts, let me explain. After my engagement picture makeup fiasco, and other makeup artist fails over my lifetime, I got nervous that it would be really difficult for me to find someone whose work I liked. So on a quiet day in the office, I looked at makeup artists on Wedding Wire, and contacted a few of the top people in my area, just to get an idea of prices.

I got a big surprise when it turned out that people were already booked for my date! And many artists commented that while they were free for my date, they’d booked plenty of other summer 2012 girls.

So maybe I’m not crazy?  Or maybe I am, but I don’t care. My first choice artist was free, and since she’s kind of well known in the area, I immediately scheduled a trial, which went down last night.

I liked her right away- she was warm and friendly, with a house full of cute little dogs and kids running around the backyard on a Slip n Slide. She talked a mile a minute, sharing kooky stories, shouting outside to the kids in the yard, and simultaneously doing some genius shaping to my eyebrows.  I liked her laid back attitude and knew that it would be fun to work with her on the day.

And the results were great:

My skin looks tan and glowy!! It’s not, normally! I went to Mr. B’s house after the trial and he kept saying he liked my “skin color.” His mom complimented the look as well. I liked that my eyes weren’t over done, although we did talk about doing a little more drama and adding fake lashes for the actual wedding. Regardless of the small tweaks, her talent is definitely there, and I’m relieved not going to get caught up in the heavily contoured eyes and orangey foundation that initially made me fear makeup artists.

Obviously I will have to go for a real trial much closer to the date, but I wasn’t going to book someone without testing them out first. Glad I did, and crazy or not, I like having this off my list!