Mar 28, 2012

Ceremony Readings

Choosing our readings was my favorite part of planning our ceremony, although it was tough- there's so much great wisdom in the Bible that it was hard to narrow down just two passages to share with a group of people who most likely never pick the book up. If I had my way, there'd be like eight readings (and an audience that actually pays attention).

We used the collection of standard Catholic readings, and did one Old Testament reading, something that would appear in the Torah to represent Mr. B's Jewish heritage, and one New Testament reading to rep my Catholic heritage. 

I wanted to avoid the beautiful but overused 1 Corinthians, so I decided to hunt down a reading that would explain the type of lifestyle Mr. B and I would strive to live with each other and within our community. I had options from Hebrews, Colossians, Phillippians, but we finally settled on Romans 12:9-18, text below:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil;
be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.
Mr. B made the final call on our Old Testament reading, and chose the classic Genesis 2:18-24:
The Lord God said: “It is not good for the man to be alone.
I will make a suitable partner for him.”
So the Lord God formed out of the ground
various wild animals and various birds of the air,
and he brought them to the man to see what he would call them;
whatever the man called each of them would be its name.
The man gave names to all the cattle,
all the birds of the air, and all the wild animals;
but none proved to be the suitable partner for the man.
So the Lord God cast a deep sleep on the man,
and while he was asleep,
he took out one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
The Lord God then built up into a woman the rib
that he had taken from the man.
When he brought her to the man, the man said:
“This one, at last, is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
This one shall be called ‘woman,’
for out of ‘her man’ this one has been taken.”
That is why a man leaves his father and mother
and clings to his wife,
and the two of them become one body.
I'm glad he picked this, as the idea of us leaving our families and becoming a unit is a lesson we've been learning firsthand as we settle into living together. I like that the reading is directly applicable to us.

Okay, and I'm including a bonus reading (woo hoo!), this was my favorite from the OT. It's Tobit 8:4-8:
On their wedding night Tobiah arose from bed and said to his wife,
"Sister, get up. Let us pray and beg our Lord
to have mercy on us and to grant us deliverance."
Sarah got up, and they started to pray
and beg that deliverance might be theirs.
They began with these words:
"Blessed are you, O God of our fathers;
praised be your name forever and ever.
Let the heavens and all your creation
praise you forever.
You made Adam and you gave him his wife Eve
to be his help and support;
and from these two the human race descended.
You said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone;
let us make him a partner like himself.'
Now, Lord, you know that I take this wife of mine
not because of lust,
but for a noble purpose.
Call down your mercy on me and on her,
and allow us to live together to a happy old age."
Isn't that what we all want? To live with each other happily until we're old as hell? So nice!

 Did you go secular or traditional with your readings?

Mar 27, 2012

Our Ceremony Plan

I am sure I've shared this before, but Mr. B and I are having an interfaith Catholic/Jewish wedding, which basically means that we have to create our ceremony plan from scratch. It can be kind of overwhelming- not only do you have to learn your own traditions (which, let's face it, most of us don't know those in quite as much detail as we should), but you have to learn someone else's. And then you have to combine them in a way that is fair to all religions, doesn't offend your officiant or old fashioned relatives, and works for you as a couple.

Sticking to tradition made things easier for us. I used a book called Celebrating Interfaith Marriages to figure out the most important elements of a Catholic wedding and the most important parts of a Jewish wedding, and different ways to order them. We structured everything like a Mass, got everything approved by our officiants (a Catholic deacon and Jewish cantor), and now we're good to go.

For other interfaith Catholic/Jewish brides, here's what we chose to do:

Opening remarks

Opening blessing

Acknowledgement of Separate Faiths
This is a short statement that will acknowledge that we're bringing together two different religious traditions- just in case anyone doesn't know. 

Blessing over wine
This is a standard Jewish tradition.

First Reading, Old Testament 
Second Reading, New Testament

Our version of a homily. Still working out which officiant will do this, but whoever it is will give some personal remarks about us as a couple and hopefully relate them to our readings.

Prayer of Faithful/General Intercession
For you Catholics, this is the "Lord hear our prayer" part. I'll include the text of this since I really like it:

For leaders of Church and State, for heads of institutions, for heads of homes and households… that they will lead us and guide us in the search for goodness, joy, and love among us- Let us pray to the Lord.

For all married people:  for those who married yesterday, for the new couple Tracy and Brad, married today, for those who will marry tomorrow… that they may savor the joy of being together, warm love and children, a long life, friends, and a new day, every day- let us pray to the Lord.

For our relatives and friends who walk with us on life’s journey, and for those who have gone before us to the other side of life.  For the fulfillment of all their unfulfilled desires- let us pray to the Lord.

We'll be using standard "Do you sickness and in health, etc" vows.

Exchange of Rings
In the Jewish faith, this is the part where you are really bound before God.

Pronouncement of Marriage


Closing blessing

Glass Breaking
A Jewish tradition that marks the end of the ceremony- Mr. B will stomp on a glass, everyone will scream Mazel Tov, and we'll recess on over to the partay.

The big thing we left out was the Sheva Brachot, or seven blessings. I think it's a good thing to do if you have a lot of family or friends that you want to include in the ceremony, but we left it out in the interest of keeping the ceremony to only 30 minutes.

So that's our interfaith mix. Other interfaith brides, how did you design your ceremony? Were your officiants laid back about things?

Mar 20, 2012

Apparently I Need a Million Dresses

It's amazing how many new outfits we need for wedding events. I put all my energy into finding the perfect  wedding dress (success!) only to forget that I need dresses for my engagement pictures, engagement party, bachelorette, bridal shower, and rehearsal dinner. In real life I'm a serial outfit repeater but the same people are at all these super-photographed events, so I must shed my repetitive ways and drag my butt shopping.

Finding outfits is made harder by the fact that I've been to basically zero bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, so I have no idea what's appropriate. My mother also insists on making my shower a surprise, and the only outfit guidance I've gotten is "You better wear heels" and "Consider leopard."

Right now, I'm planning to wear this dress from Express for my shower:

In all honesty I don't LOVE it, the material is only of mediocre quality, but I'm pretty sure the shower is fast approaching and I really haven't found anything else. I do plan to accessorize it better- a neater black cardigan, giant pearl necklace, giant pearl bracelet- so hopefully that'll help.

What I did really love was this, but cannot justify spending $400 on a dress. Also it's not leopard:

For the rehearsal dinner, I bought this pretty dress on a major sale in J.Crew. I'm not totally sold on it either though. 

I had wanted a more retro silhouette:

Or something just more sparkly/bright/fun:

Badgley Mischka Orion shift, Halston confetti dot dress, Theia fuschia party palm dress- pics from Rent the Runway

These are all from Rent the Runway, I can't afford to actually buy any of these. I have never used the site before but am definitely considering experimenting with it for one of these events.

Such as my bachelorette. I love the Herve Leger bandage dresses, they scream bachelorette to me. I would DEFINITELY never buy or rewear one, so a rental option is a great idea for that. I love this new spring shade:
 The only thing I'm set with? My morning after brunch dress, which will definitely be repeated during my honeymoon:

I have wanted a Lilly dress forever and finally found one that fits. It's a little pricey, but I think Lilly is classic- those fun patterns and prints are in style every summer.

What are you guys wearing for all the events surrounding your wedding? Send some inspiration my way!

Mar 19, 2012

Command Central

My life lately looks like this:

My dad calls this "Command Central," and it's my set up of Excel to-do lists, tasks in my planner, my wedding binder, and a much-needed cup of coffee. We're two and a half months out, and I woke up crazy early Saturday with a compulsive need to organize our growing list of tasks.

It's huge. We need to print and assemble programs, meet with our band, choose ceremony music, finalize ceremony plans, I need accessories, I need more fittings, he needs groomsmen's gifts, menus have to get printed, but tasting has to happen first, flowers need to be finalized, my mom needs accessories, my dad insists I take dance lessons, must make a cardbox, must stuff invites, need stamps, only one girl has picked up her bridesmaid dress, and on and on. I assume most of my readers are brides- you know how it goes.

I love planning my wedding and am usually pretty levelheaded, and insanely advance-prepared about it all, but I have to admit that as I thought about all this, a knot began to squeeze itself around my chest. I felt stressed and overwhelmed. Luckily it was St. Patrick's Day, and Mr. B and friends dragged me out to spend the afternoon boozing it up in the West Village:

And then on Sunday, Mr. B and I began to tackle some open items. We finally ordered wedding bands (and saved $250 thanks to a gift certificate from BM Kelly!) and our favors. My glorious saint of a mother went through our guest list and every single envelope, carefully typing out any errors (mostly people I left off the guest list, ack) and sending a neatly packaged box of spare envelopes and new instructions down to our calligrapher.

And now I feel a lot better. It's a lot of things to do, but most of it is extras that I'm choosing to do, because I want to- which means I shouldn't allow myself get stressed about it- I don't have to do any of it.

And the other thing I realized is that this is all really fun to me. Yes, it's a lot and that can make it stressful at times, but honestly I'm shocked at how fast 16 months went by, and I really want to savor and enjoy these last two. 

How are you guys handling a gigantic to do list?

Mar 15, 2012

Bridesmaids' Dresses

BM Kelly surprised me this past Saturday by being the first bridesmaid to go try on her dress. I didn't even know she was going, so I was very excited when I randomly received a text message picture of her in the dress!

If you recall, I was a little nervous about the dresses. I had only seen my chosen champagne shade on a small swatch, and I was nervous that in an entire dress, it might be super close to white. Well, I am very happy I went with my gut and original design inspiration, because they look GREAT:

On BM Kelly (Personal Pic)
 Dress is Alvina Valenta 9866, not yet altered.

Admittedly, the photo's color is a little off, but I think we can all tell this doesn't look white. I love how the light shade really allows you to see the detail in the neckline, and I love the fitted look. I can't wait to see the finished product when it's actually altered, and to see the color in person, not just a yellowed out iPhone shot. I'm thinking when we're all together, we'll look something like this:

We have similar color dresses, a similar junior bridesmaid dress, and very similar flowers planned. I love having this picture as a "preview" of my ideas. 

It's so excited to start seeing everything coming together!

Mar 13, 2012

We Have a Honeymoon!!

And it is beautiful Hawaii!

We plan to spend 10 days on the islands of Maui and Kauai. Neither of us has ever been, and we're looking forward to this:



We have absolutely nothing planned for the trip at the moment. We figure we'll hit up the road to Hana, and take in that early morning sunset hike that everyone suggests, and enjoy lots of amazing seafood, but other than that, I think we're winging it and relaxing. I can't wait!

Have you been to Hawaii? Anything we should make sure we do?

Mar 12, 2012

Gifts for the Girls

Even though I've had 15 months to think about it, I have not been able to come up with any wildly creative and awesome ideas for bridesmaid gifts.
I know I'm definitely doing a "survival kit," that will contain a jumble of Advil, Pepto, gum, fashion tape, shoe cushions, and a bottle of wine. Something like this:
This picture is by Mrs. Lace on Weddingbee, and I definitely plan to do a riff on her cute packaging too- love it!

But for the "meat" of the gift, I'm a little undecided.
My current frontrunner is monogrammed robes:
From Etsy seller Oak Embroidery Loft

I would love to receive this as a BM, and I think we would look cute taking the getting-ready pictures in matching robes. But I'm not sure if this might be a smidge boring to people.

Going with the monogram vein, I considered monogrammed blankets as well:
From Etsy seller Ezembroidery

I'm also thinking about clutches. Not a wedding day clutch to match the dress, but just a regular bag for going out, something they could wear with jeans and heels on a date with their guys. It would be fun to pick out a bag to suit each girl's personality.  I know BM Laura would love the one below:

I'm just not sure if a clutch they'll use for one or two seasons is that great of a gift- maybe it's more appropriate for a birthday.

My last idea is a little offbeat, but it is gift certificates to The Fragrance Shop, a make your own perfume store in NYC. It costs $10 for the formula, and $36 to get a 1 oz bottle of perfume made. If you didn't want perfume, you could make home fragrance, bath salts, lotion, etc.

My hesitation with that is I am not sure if it's the kind of thing that people will think is cool but never wind up using. The bulk of my girls live within a 20 minute train ride to the city, but that doesn't mean they necessarily get in there a lot. It's a cool idea, but I don't want to saddle them with a day of travelling or have it go to waste.

So what would you guys like to receive? Or, anyone have better ideas? What are you getting your girls?

Mar 7, 2012

An Awesome Calligraphy Discovery

I am picky about how things look, and my wedding invitations are no exception. So the idea of computer printing the envelopes, or, God forbid, hand writing them myself, is horrifying. (Well it wouldn't be horrifying if I could do calligraphy. But I can barely even print legibly).

However, I am not a bride on an unlimited budget, which means paying $4.00 an envelope for calligraphy wasn't going to happen.

And that's why I'm grateful to have discovered Carmela Mazzarulli, a South Jersey based calligrapher with a huge amount of talent and an affordable price tag. She charges $1 total for BOTH inner and outer envelopes! Combined! Carmela was also really sweet. I'm sooo happy for this discovery. Silly as it may be, calligraphy matters to me, and I love hers.

Check out some of her font styles (All pics are from Carmela, via email):

Spoiler alert, Mr. B and I chose Formal Script (second image) for our invites.

Carmela is also doing our table numbers and placecards, and can create signs and other custom work. She doesn't have a website, but you can email her at . And you can check out some reviews and additional pictures at Project Wedding.

Carmela is based in southern New Jersey, but I believe accepts work from all over, you'd just have to ship your invites (which may or may not offset the low price).
We'll be picking our envelopes up at the end of March, and I can't wait to share them (and the invites) with you guys!

Mar 6, 2012

DIY: Lace and Pearls Placecards

Honestly, I lose my mind for beautiful paper goods. The stationary is my favorite part of the wedding decor, and that's reflected in the detailed collection of placecards, menus, signs, and programs that I designed for our wedding. I plan to unveil them as we race towards the big day, but first, a word of warning- some of my DIYs are involved, so they're not all for the crafting faint of heart. Or those on a budget. Turns out "Do it yourself" doesn't always equal "do it cheap." I'm not even keeping track of what I'm spending,  I'm just enjoying the crafting.

We'll start small, with placecards. Anyone can tackle these - my mom and I knocked out 165 in two hours.

Opal Stardream 2 x 4 folded cards from Cards & Pockets
Lace trim* (I needed a little over 9 yards to do 165 cards)
Really good scissors
Modge Podge
Brush or Popsicle stick for spreading glue
Optional Embellishment: 400 3mm flatback pearls (can find on Etsy, Ebay, etc).

1. Line the lace up against the edge of your placecard, and make a tiny pencil mark so you know where to cut. (Tiny is key- the pencil mark will show if you're not careful). You can, of course, use a ruler to to actually measure. But I am lazy. If you can't get the size exact to match your placecards, it's better to err on the side of making them just slightly too long.

2. Cut the piece of lace, and use it to measure and cut 165 (or however many you need) additional pieces. Experiment with different scissors. Some I used sort of cinched the lace, and using a razor frayed the edges. I had success with an extremely high quality, never used set of kitchen shears.

3. Dip your brush or Popsicle stick in Mod Podge, and smear it along the edge of the card where you want to apply the lace.

4. Press lace on top of Modge Podge and nudge into place. If the lace is too long for the card, let the excess fabric hang at the bottom, not over the fold.

5. Repeat 1,000,000 times until your place cards are done. It helps to have a partner- I cut the lace, my mom glued, and we got this done pretty quickly, and had a nice chat over it as well.
6. Let dry overnight, and then snip any edges that hang over. Here's the finished product:

Personal Pic- The calligraphy was a sample done by our calligrapher, and I will post about her very soon.

If you want to add the optional pearls, just get mentally prepared, because that takes this DIY from easy to pretty tedious. (But it looks SO good).  You need a tiny pair of tweezers and more Modge Podge. Figure out where you want your pearls, dab the spots with glue, use tweezer to apply the pearls, and let dry. It looks like this:

 My mom's awesome handiwork

Either way, pretty! And of course this DIY can be adapted for any type of fabric, lace, ribbon, etc.

*I purchased my lace at M&J Trimming in New York City. I unfortunately cannot find the exact lace on their website, but you can check their site here for other lace options, or visit the store at 1008 6th Ave.

Mar 5, 2012

Pearl Patrol

MY DRESS IS IN!!! Nine months after ordering, it's finally here and I am SO excited. I get to try it on in two weeks and I really feel almost physically sick with excitement. I love that dress so much.

Of course, this means I can no longer put off my search for bridal accessories. I've got the shoes and underwear, but still need jewelry. I'm definitely wearing pearls, because I am obsessed with them. Observe my little corkboard of favorite jewelry, this is only part of the collection:

Unfortunately, out of six strands there and more in another closet, nothing works for the wedding day. So now I'm on the hunt for more. I'm looking for a big statement necklace, and recently discovered Miriam Haskell jewelry, which has a lot of great, if somewhat expensive, options.  I'm loving this one:

Haskells' return policy makes me nervous (you pay a 15% restocking fee, which, when the necklaces are near $300, can get high) so I"m considering maybe hitting up Rent the Runway for this bad boy:

Only issue with that is, what if I get the necklace on the day of and it doesn't work?

This four strand by J.Crew is beautiful but I'm not sure if it will be too long for the neckline of my dress. It's hard to judge because it's not like I can carry my dress with me when I shop! This one is also a bit pricey:

From J.Crew

I keep thinking I should be able to find pearls cheaper, but a scan of JC Penney and Macy's turned up no luck. It's seriously amazing how I can turn something as simple as buying a pearl necklace into a huge project.

At least I'm covered with the earrings and bracelet- I'll be wearing a plain pair of small pearl studs from my uncle Paul, and a bracelet Mr. B got me from J.Crew for Christmas.

What are you guys doing for wedding day accessories?