Aug 31, 2011

Really Good Advice

 A while back I posted some questionable marriage advice I’d gotten from random people. Now I want to post the only useful advice I’ve gotten, courtesy of my dad (who has been married to my mom for 37 years).

(Photoshop skillz)

It sounds so simple, but I find it deceptively hard. I mean, don't we often automatically and subconsciously put ourselves first? Take our second week of living together: Mr. B had his last softball doubleheader of the year, and he planned to play. When I found that out, I freaked a little bit. I was nervous being home alone in a new place (I know, I know, grow a set) and offended that he'd want to play when he could be home watching me blowdry my hair and go to bed early.

We argued back and forth a little, he played, I stewed for a day or two, then we moved on. But if we were thinking about each other, not ourselves, I'd realize it was fun and important to him, and he'd realize I felt unsettled and just needed a little extra support. Maybe we could've compromised on him playing only one game: he'd get to play, and he'd be home before I fell asleep. It's maybe a silly example, but these are the kinds of little things that come up all the time, and I do think these little, everyday things are often what your relationship builds on.

Anyone else find this easier said than done sometimes?

Aug 27, 2011

How to Be An Awesome Guest at an Engagement Party*

1. Show up with smiles, mucho congratulations, and a camera.
2. Tail party guests with said camera, snapping candids, group shots, and capturing party decoration details. 
3. Print pictures, assemble into an album, and mail to the future bride and groom.

My cousin Pam did this for Mr. B and I at our engagement party, and I was so, so happy when I received the album in the mail! I am a person who photographs everything I do, but obviously there was no time to hang out behind the lens at my own party. I was bummed about not getting enough pictures, so it was awesome to realize that someone else had taken care of this for us. Plus, she included a CD of the pictures too, so we could print some out on our own as well.

My best friend, BM Kelly, is having an engagement party at the end of October, and I will definitely pull a Pam and act as party paparazzi.

What thoughtful things did people surprise you with for your engagement?

PS: Posting could be erratic this week, Hurricane Irene is set to pummel my state in a matter of hours (eek) and I have no idea what the power/Internet/other situation will look like afterward. Hope anyone in its path stays safe this weekend!!!

Aug 24, 2011

Bridesmaid Dresses Begin...

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the bridesmaids' dresses. For years (literally), I  envisioned the girls in the champagne colored Bow Monde, from J. Crew:


But we all know how these things go, right? I'm no longer in love with the Bow Monde anymore. I still really like it, but I can't justify making my friends spend $250 on a short dress, particularly when so many other awesome designers exist at lower price points.

Like my beloved Jim Hjelm:

I'm really, really feeling these two dresses, and the color is perfect- a dark enough gold to work on everyone's skin tone. Plus, I bet the girls would feel a little sassier and less bridesmaid-y in a short look.

That said, we are having a black tie optional wedding, so there is a part of me that's thinking I should at least consider long dresses. (That's the part that listens to my mom repeating over and over that the girls should go long!) Long dresses definitely up the fancy factor, and I really love the slim, elegant silhouette they provide. Some of my favorites:

My favorite is the Lazaro in the middle, but it doesn't come in gold, only ivory, which I'm actually not opposed to doing. I've loved the idea of the bridesmaids in a shade similar to white since Charlotte married Trey on SATC, and Kate Middleton and her royal wedding only confirmed it.

So now I just need to get my girls together for some shopping, which is where you guys come in: I want to know, did you take everyone, or did you choose a style with one or two girls and tell the others what to do?  I'm trying to keep this as stress free as possible, but I don't want people to feel left out!

Aug 22, 2011

Vacation Recap

I apologize for my weeklong lack of posting; I went on vacation last week and forgot to set up my scheduled posts!

But I'm back now, with a recap of our trip, since I think it would make a great honeymoon destination! (Definitely got me, a very nervous traveler, super pumped for our honeymoon).

Mr. B and I went to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, with 9 of our friends. After such a hectic summer, the vacation was EXACTLY what we needed: sun, sand, friends, and free mojitos.
We spent our days lounging by the hotel's amazing infinity pool:

And took a boat ride over to the swimmable Lover's Beach (rip tides make much of the water around Cabo too dangerous to go in, as we learned the hard way during a water taxi fiasco):

We had an amazing dinner at the Mona Lisa restaurant, which is built into a cliff overlooking the ocean. It was especially awesome that we got there in time for sunset!

And we hit up some bars in town, including Cabo Wabo and Squid Roe, the big tourist spots: 

We stayed at the Riu Santa Fe, which was beautiful, clean, and very inexpensive (just under a grand for 5 days all inclusive, plus airfare and daily restocking of the Dos Equis in our minibar. The Santa Fe is the slighter lower end Riu resort, and I would recommend it if you are on a budget. If you can spend a little more, it might be worth it to find a place with better food- while I loved the resort, the food was just awful (granted I am a food snob, but even my vulture guy friends barely touched it).

Anyone thinking about Cabo for a honeymoon?

Aug 10, 2011

STDs: I'm So Lazy

I'm surprised at myself, but I can't get interested in save the dates. I never thought I could lose enthusiasm for something like this, but here I am, doing another 180 on my previous convictions, shamefully admitting that I'm just not on the ball with STDs. 

We have a few invite suite ideas in mind, so we've decided our STDs will be a simple, classic card that would coordinate with any of them. (I'm completely obsessed with everything coordinating. It's so classy!). We’re thinking something like this, except in all black font:

But taking the lazy way out means that I had to give up my favorite idea: save-the-date stickers, for guests' calendars! Functional and cute. 

 (Mine would definitely have a much plainer, elegant look, but you get the idea).

I gave this up since you can't just put a sticker in an envelope and expect people to get it.  We'd have to design a little card with our date and an explanation ("Put me on your calendar!"), complete with slits cut in the card to attach the sticker. That's just too much graphic design and formatting for me, I had enough of that with the e-party invites! But should you be more of a champion bride than me, feel free to take over the idea, if you like it.

Here's some sticker sites options to get you started:

With pre-made designs or the option to upload custom work, this site offers sheets of 24 stickers starting at $3.99 per sheet. Not bad, considering you'd barely hit $50 if you ordered 100. Costs increase, of course, based on number of colors, paper quality, etc.   

Same deal as Vista, but more shapes and the ability to get your stamps too, though they have a very slightly higher price tag. 

My top choice, since they do stickers in bulk rolls of 500 (for only $125!) I like the bulk idea so the stickers could reappear in other wedding elements, like OOT bags or to seal thank you card envelopes (like I said earlier, I love when stuff coordinates!). (Also I guess then you couldn't actually write "Save the Date," you'd have to just put your names and the date and let the card say "STD").

Anyone else give up a good idea because they just didn't feel like working on it?

**As an FYI, these prices are all estimates- obviously it depends on many design factors. I also have not actually USED any of these sites, so I can't vouch for quality, just sharing some research I did on an idea I loved but had to discard.

Aug 8, 2011

Giving Up My Morals for a Photo Op

I always planned to skip the bouquet toss. As a wedding guest, I hate awkwardly running out on the floor, pretending like I care, or getting shoved out there if I try to hang back and skip the whole deal. And as the bride, I feel like there's something sort of demeaning about making your single friends desperately clamber all over each other like they just can't wait to get married. It’s a little unbecoming.

But, um. My venue has a Juliet balcony:

And I LOVE the idea of getting to stand up there and throw the bouquet. Just look at these pics (both actually are at my venue)

So without a second of hesitation, the bouquet toss is now in. I will totally admit I completely backed away from what I still think has a cheesy meaning just to get a picture op. Hopefully the ladies at my wedding don't have the same feelings I did (do?) on the bouquet toss. Because this balcony thing is so happening!

(And hey, it’s not like I’m asking my MOH to give her speech up there!)

What did you say you'd never do, then promptly changed your mind on?

Aug 2, 2011

Dress Shopping Tips

I’ve finally found my dress!!! My lips are zipped on this one though- I don’t want any details to leak to the B-man!

Dress shopping was easily my favorite part of wedding planning, despite the overwhelming amount of choices out there. It’s a big decision- it’s one time where everyone actually is looking at you. And unlike buying a dress in the mall, you can’t just return it if dress regret sneaks up on you. So I thought I’d put together some tips I came up with from my shopping experiences:

  1. Make appointments to try on. Lie and say your wedding date is 2 weeks earlier, just in case.
  2.  Try on every style at least once, even if you think you hate it. The results will surprise (maybe confuse) you!
  3. Wear your favorite outfit shopping. The consultant will look at your clothes to size up your style, so help her out by wearing an outfit that’s very “you.”  I wore my uniform of a cardigan/skinny jeans/ giant pearls and was surprised at how many consultants got my style (classic and simple) right away. They brought me some great dress options, including the one I bought, which I would have never looked twice at on my own. Bringing pictures helps too!
  4. DO NOT GIVE IN TO ANY PRESSURE TO BUY THAT DAY. Seriously. Don’t rush this decision because they offer you a deal that they say only lasts for 24 hours! I promise you that they want to make the sale, and if you come back a week later and ask for it, that discount will miraculously reappear.
  5. Sneak pictures if you can, because you might forget what your favorite dress looked like. Some shops let you take pictures, but many don’t, so keep an eye out for when the saleslady steps away and jump on the chance. Don’t be stupid and forget like I did, and have to go back a billion times to try the same thing on because you can’t remember exactly how it looked.
  6. Don’t bring too many people, because it clouds judgment. Trust your sense of style, and remember that surprising everyone with your dress is better than letting them all see it in advance! 
  7. Once you’ve found your dress, call a few salons for price comparison. I found mine priced at $3100, $3500, and $3800 in different stores.  Take into account alteration costs and accessory discounts when determining the best deal- the lowest priced dress might not be the best overall deal.

And here’s just a few things to make sure go on the receipt, just in case:
  • Exact designer, style number, color, and store’s size recommendation.
  • Delivery estimate
  • Any special requests you may have – ie, if you are adding buttons to the back and the dress has to be made with button loops, get it in writing.
  • Alterations estimate and the number of fittings
  • Any discounts- for example, my bridal shop is giving me a discount on bridesmaid dresses, so I had that printed on the receipt. It’s a reputable store, but they’re not immune to forgetfulness, and I don’t want any issues  when I bring in the girls.

Okay, I should show some kind of picture, so I will leave you with the dress I was thisclose to buying. It was between this one and the one I actually got. I tried them both on three separate times, but the last time it was so clear to me that this one was the wrong choice. It’s still gorgeous though:

I cannot wait to wear the real dress!