Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shoes = Done!

Sometimes it just all works out...

After my many shoe posts, I've found the perfect pair! I've spent a good amount of time trolling Zappos and Piperlime for yellow flats. I didn't want patent leather, because there's just something about patent yellow that feels like rain boots. And I didn't think satin would be the best choice, because I'd probably never wear them again.

Then, I stumbled across a pair of Belle by Sigerson Morrison yellow leather flats. On sale. With only two sizes left in stock, one of which was actual mine.

They are a tiny bit big but super comfortable and look great with the dress. And the clutch? My sister found it at a church yard sale! Can you believe the luck? It's almost like it was meant to be...

Now I just need to find some earrings.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hats Off To You

The past few days have been a little unnerving. Not because the wedding is quickly approaching (which it is, and there are still many details to sew up) but because I'm starting to once again feel like my wedding is the source of pain or conflict for my family. That is, of course, the absolute last thing that I would want. But with my sister's recurring cancer and her checking back into the hospital, I can't help but feel like my wedding is a giant inconvenience for everyone.

I try to remind myself that with so much turmoil in our lives, that our wedding is a much needed bright spot. And I truly, truly hope that is how my family sees it...because that is what I want it to be. Sure, travel can be taxing, but I hope everyone takes it as an opportunity to relax. No need to fret about the details -- just spend a couple of days soaking up the beauty of San Diego and come to our party while your here. I hope that's how everyone else is feeling.

That was a really long, drawn out way of introducing today's post: hats! I just recently started browsing for hats that my sister could wear at the event that might compliment her dress. The bridesmaid/maid-of-honor dresses will be from J Crew. I'm asking the ladies to select whatever style they prefer, so long as it is in the "Bright Alpine" silk taffeta. Here's an example, from the recently launched Fall collection:

Finding cute hats is a challenging task for many reasons, one of which is the reminder that my sister is experiencing my wedding in the worst context possible. She's been so positive about the whole thing, so I'm trying to be that way too and enjoy the cute hats for what they are -- cute hats! Here's one from Anthropologie that incorporates the others colors from our wedding scheme:

This one from Etsy seller NadineNewYork is darn cute too.

Got any good hat tips for us?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Groom Guest Blog: I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)

*The second installment of JT's suit shopping adventures!
The second leg of the Great Suit-Finding Journey brought us to Orange County, specifically to South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, as its selection of designer stores makes it stand out from the usual crop of shopping malls. Because of this, it's one of a very short list of reasons for us to actually go to Orange County. Nonetheless, we were met with significantly more options than we had during the first go-round, making this part of the search far more promising.

First, we hit up Ted Baker, a designer known for designing shirts with bright, garish colors, and stylish, hip suits for gentlemen who prefer a fitted, slimmer look. I tried on four suits there, two of which were eliminated quickly, and two that were immediately selected as finalists for the big purchase.

In particular, a charcoal suit with a unique pattern, almost pinstripe-meets-herringbone. Not sure if that makes sense but the picture might give a better visual.

In any case, it was rather eye-catching, and Candice and I both were impressed with its look.

Next came John Varvatos. JV has a reputation for making a damn fine looking suit, and we did find a selection of sharp looking suits. Unfortunately, they were clearing out inventory and mostly had sizes that were far too big for an understated gentleman such as myself. Nonetheless, I bet they'll have some awesome stuff later on.

Hugo Boss came next, a designer whose selection had been recommended to me from a handful of different parties. I was feeling optimistic about Hugo Boss, and let's be honest, it's a name synonymous with making sharp suits. When we entered the store we certainly found a broad selection of suits, though none of them looked quite right on me. And after taking a look at the price tags, they also proved to be among the more expensive brands. The combination of high price and underwhelming appearance (on myself, though they'd likely look great on someone else) eliminated them from the running.

After Boss, we hit up Nordstrom, another promising source, with a department of skilled salesmen to match. I used to work at Nordstrom and have seen how well trained they can be, so I had a good feeling going in. Immediately, a salesman greeted us, told me he'd find my size without asking, and sure enough, he went straight for 38, which I had previously discovered to be the right fit. He brought out quite a few different looks, some of which were a bit too big, some of which were closer to being just right. This Joseph Aboud seemed promising, but the cut of the pants' legs was far too wide.

It was around here when I discovered just how unusual a suit size I am. As I've said before, I'm a pretty slim guy, but proportionally sound, or so I thought. Apparently American men are supposed to be triangle-shaped, because I began to find discrepancies between the jacket sizes and the pant sizes that I was trying on. After going through the 38s, the salesman suggested I might possibly be a 36 in certain designer cuts, and handed me a fantastic-looking John Varvatos three-piece suit that quickly became my top pick. The jacket and vest fit like a dream, but the pants...and this is where it becomes a crushing disappointment...were a size 29. I'm a skinny guy, but there's no way in hell I could squeeze into a 29. Needless to say, that suit was out.

After Nordstrom, we regrouped and headed to Theory on a whim. Interestingly enough, they had one suit. And that one suit was awesome. Clean look, good fit, a solid choice all around. Granted, it wasn't the cheapest suit, but sometimes you have to weigh whether or not spending a little more for a finer look is worth it. And it was still a good $500 less than Hugo Boss!

Lastly, we went back to Banana Republic, out of the feeling that, perhaps, a different location might bring about a different selection. And sure enough, we did find quite a few different suits that weren't stocked on our prior BR shopping trip. One in particular was a brand new suit—-I was told I was the first one to try it on—-a gray striped number that looked surprisingly good on me.

At the end of the day, we did, in fact, find the right suit, but I'll save that for another post.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Guest Blog: Bridal Bizarre

Guest Blogger Laura returns with her recap of the San Diego Bridal Bazaar! As a fellow off-the-beaten-path kind of bride, I knew she would be both amused and shocked by some of the wares being paraded, and her summary says it all!

When I heard commercials on the radio for a San Diego Bridal Bazaar at the SD Convention Center, I knew I had to get tickets. The complete list of vendors was listed online, and included chocolate fountains and dove releases. That's right, doves.

Walking into the convention room was quite an experience. Upon entry, a cascade of bubbles showered over you, and you were given a respective "bride" or "groom" name tag to wear. I chose not to wear mine, thereby keeping a bit of mystery as I flitted through the vendors.

To be fair, the Bazaar wasn't all bad. I was very excited with the gift bag I received from the local representative from The Knot. It contained Crest whitestrips, coupons, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and an edition of the Southern California Knot magazine. I also enjoyed the plethora of free cake samples and the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park booth. The zoo was another venue I'd been interested in and it was very cool to just be able to walk up and ask questions instead of emailing back and forth or playing phone-tag.

On the flip side, there were....well....some duds. One part I'd been looking forward to was the fashion show. I was bummed to see more of what I'd seen online at mainstream bridal gown stores. There weren't any dresses that smashed tradition or hinted of innovation. Sequins, ill-fitting busts and miles of taffeta crisscrossed along the runway.

This was one of the few dresses that I thought was at least a bit cool, and it was in the "mother-of-the-bride" section.

Here was another dud. As a modern chick, I cringe when I see images like these where the groom gets dragged off into marital horror. But if you dig the association with being a terrible she-orge, this cake could work.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Guest Blog: Laura and the Great Venue Search

I'm still across the coast, in the state that they claim is for lovers, so for today's post, I'm very pleased to welcome guest blogger Laura! Laura is a good friend who recently got engaged and is just starting to begin planning her wedding. I hope having another bride's perspective on the process will be helpful and entertaining!

For my fiance and me, one of the first steps in planning our wedding is finding a great venue. We really want to pick a spot that had a lot of personal meaning for us. We're also not religious, and since that means we won't be having a church ceremony, we wanted to find a place where we could hold the ceremony and reception in the same area.

My first venue idea was a local organization I'd contacted earlier in the year for a birthday party rental. While the birthday party didn't end up taking place there, I still had their price list and was excited to set up a meeting with their event staff. When I contacted the event coordinator, however, I was given a whole new price list, the special "wedding" price list. Basically, because the event was now a wedding, their venue rental went up by 30% along with other misc. charges. Sadly, the price increase didn't come with any new perks either. I have to admit I was tempted to say it was a birthday party and I'd just happen to be wearing a white dress ;)

For some couples, the idea of paying extra to hold their wedding in a meaningful place might be just fine. For my fiance and me, however, we opted not to. We're leaning toward another local venue that has a flat fee for birthdays, company parties, and weddings.

Here are some of the resources for cost-savvy SD venues that we've been using:

- The City of San Diego website. They have this wonderful list of parks and other public areas that are popular for wedding sites: of parks and recreation areas. Best of all? They’re super cheap.

-The Balboa Park website. It’s not as detailed, but still gives some good ideas. The site also lists all the museums/venues in Balboa Park, and you can contact the venues individually for their rental options.

Check back soon for Laura's summary of the San Diego Bridal Bazaar (with pictures)!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

'Til Tuesday

Hi folks,

I'm off to the other side of the country for a few days, so there won't be much blog posting from me. However, my good friend Laura may contribute a guest blog or two while I'm gone!

In the meantime, please enjoy this photo, courtesy of Aaron Thompson.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Details, Deposits, and DIY

With less than four months to go, we are spending a lot of time buckling down on details. I've been flooded with fabric swatches lately -- for the bridesmaids dresses, for the table runners, for the ceremony accessories. Of course no two greens could ever match, right?

Speaking of table runners, that bring me to another point: DIYing stuff. Earlier I posted my concern about DIYing, specifically who can set up all your DIY stuff when you are getting ready. Friends and family have generously stepped forward to handle things. My buddy Laura will be setting up the beverage service at the ceremony (not sure she knows the extent of that yet!). My sister-in-law to-be has offered her help sitting up items at the reception, as has my florist.

One thing that we are not DIYing is setting up the ceremony chairs and tables. When I started getting quotes for the rental items, I asked how much more it would cost to have them set up by each company. The cost was usually minimal, 40 cents per chair, one dollar per table. Oh wait, you want your tables and chairs delivered? Well, that's gonna cost you. Oh, and you want them delivered and picked up at a specific time? That's gonna cost you even more! But ultimately we decided it was worth the couple of hundred dollars to have the piece of mind of not worrying how to schlep 80 chairs down from a rental warehouse the day before the wedding.

What will not be worth the extra cost? Having the table runners sewn for me. The quote that I got was more than three times the cost of the fabric itself, for sewing a very simple item. That one will definitely be DIY, even if my sewing machine isn't that good.

Finally, we just confirmed that we will be having our rehearsal dinner at The Linkery -- yay! I need to get them a deposit check, so I'm off to take care of that now.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

In the Bag

Holy cow, how amazing are these purses by Eclu? And at such great prices, I would totally buy some of these just for "everyday" special occasions. Like dinner on a Wednesday.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Groom Guest Blog: Suit Up

*This is the first in what will (hopefully) be a series of Groom guest blogs by JT!

When Candice and I began planning our wedding, I had decided early on that I would be wearing a suit, rather than a tuxedo. In fact, I had pretty much decided that even before proposing. I have two brothers and a sister, and I've been in all of their weddings. And at each of their weddings, I wore a rented tux. The first two times, I didn't think much of it, maybe because I was younger. But by the third time around, I couldn't help but notice how uncomfortable tuxedo pants are. And on a summer evening, the last thing you want to be wearing is a pair of pants made of a synthetic fabric that doesn't breathe (granted ours will be a fall wedding, but comfort is comfort no matter the season).

Beyond comfort, however, I like the look of a suit better, and Candice would wholeheartedly agree. There's something more stylish about it, more classic. A tux seems a bit too formal. If I were to rent one, I'd feel like I wasn't putting enough effort into how I looked on our big day, and if I bought one, I'd feel like I was wasting money on something I'd never wear again, and quite frankly, probably wouldn't want to. If I were to buy a suit, however, I would have numerous occasions to wear it, making it more practical. When it comes right down to it, it's a pretty easy decision. Stylish look + practicality - itchy polyester pants = win.

This weekend, Candice and I went on our first excursion to shop for a suit, starting with Banana Republic and J. Crew. At Banana Republic, I tried on two styles: the modern fit and the tailored fit. As a slim gentleman, I fit into what was essentially the smallest size in both.

The modern fit wasn't a bad start, and came in a broader variety of colors. However, the jacket seemed a bit too wide and boxy, which is a problem I notice in a lot of men's suits. As I said, I'm on the slim side, and a more tapered fit is more flattering on me.

With that in mind, the tailored fit was a much better option, making my torso look far less square shaped. Yet while the fit was good, the colors left something to be desired. Blue pin stripes just aren't going to cut it for our needs.

After Banana Republic, we went to J. Crew. They had nothing. Not one suit. Not even a proper pair of dress pants. Some faded khakis if I recall, a few casual dress shirts. That's about it. We suffer the misfortune of living in a city where CEOs and attorneys can feel comfortable wearing Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops apparently, or so you would believe by the terribly limited selection at some retailers. Nonetheless, I expected more from J. Crew.

From there, we went to Barney's Co-op, which had a few suits, but they were either too large or the wrong color or pattern (plaid might be fun for another occasion, but not our wedding). And after that, we called it a day. Next time, we plan to tackle some designers' stores, which should yield better results. If nothing else, we have a better idea of what looks good on me.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Well Suited

This weekend, we'll be checking out the suit options for JT at those staples of classic clothing, Banana Republic and J Crew. They've got some promising looking options online, but I suspect shopping for a suit will be a lot like shopping for my gown - what looks good on the model in the ad doesn't always look good on you.

The one above is from J Crew, and the one below from BR.

This one is from John Varvatos, available at Nordstorm.

Three pieces for $795? Not too shabby. I love the look of a three-piece suit, but JT has a long torso, and the vests he's tried on in the past didn't work for him. The most important criterion with finding a suit will be finding something that doesn't look boxy. Boxy = bad. Boxy = unattractive. JT is a slim, small framed guy and won't want to look like a linebacker on our wedding day.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Engagement Pics, Part Deux

JT and I are running off to take our first official dance class tonight (we've taken a few "drop in" classes before), so I'll leave you this evening with a few more shots from our engagement shoot with Aaron Thompson.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Piece by Piece, It All Falls Into Place

We officially have only four months left to go. The little details, like when chairs will be set up at the ceremony site, are starting to become the focus of our attention.

On Monday, a found a woman through Craigslist that had 120 assorted mason jars that was willing to sell them all to me for a low price. They are all different shapes and sizes, and as you can tell, some are very, uh, antique, shall we say. Which will be really cool, once they have been cleaned off, that is.

Going over the schedule for the ceremony, getting my dress altered, finalizing the wording for the invitations...these are all on the upcoming to-do list for me now. Crunch time is going soon, I can feel it.*

*On a pleasant note, JT says that the closer it gets and the more details fall into place, the more exciting and great it feels. And I really love hearing that.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


For some reason, finding just the right pair of shoes is proving much more difficult than I thought. I've already expressed my discomfort with buying certain items online, and I'm having a hard time finding the kinds of shoes that I'm looking for in stores, so that's been causing me to delay purchasing anything.

Nonetheless, I've got a few more finalists. But I need help narrowing down some options. First, suede vs. satin:

Both of the above are from Steve Madden. Satin gives me more ability to perfect the color, because I can dye it myself. I always thought that there was something that felt icky and tacky about dyed shoes, but these Steve Madden options have such nice lines that I think they would actually be quite cute. However, suede would definitely be more wearable after the big day.

OK, next challenge: low heel vs. no heel:

As I've mentioned, JT is about the same height as me. So anything above a one inch heel means I will be taller than him. The first option is from Steve Madden and has a nice, low heel. The second from Nina is just over the too-tall border (a two inch heel), but the design is so cute and can be customized to be ordered in yellow.

So what do you think? Suede or satin? Low heel or no heel?

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sharp Dressed Man

With my ensemble mostly in place (I still need jewelry and shoes), JT and I are turning our attention to his wedding attire. We both think that it's completely ridiculous that women are expected to spend thousands of dollars on a dress that they will wear only once, and yet on the "biggest day of their lives," men are expected to wear an ill-fitting tux with all the comfort of a burlap straight jacket that they rented from the Men's Warehouse for $60.

It's not simply the fact that women are held to incredibly high standards of beauty that bothers's the fact that men aren't expected to follow suit (pardon the pun). JT is very much looking forward to being sharp dressed on our wedding day in a designer suit. And the plus side is that he will be able to wear it again and again!

I'm enjoying these options from Ted Baker right now:

When we start suit shopping, JT will give you the play-by-play, much like I did with my dresses.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I've Been Looking So Long at My Pictures of You

We just got our first engagement pics back from Aaron Thompson! Here's a few to sneak peeks.

You can see a few more on Aaron's blog, too. And I'll post more when we get the full set, so check back soon!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

There's some tired words that would carry the meaning, but I'm still choking on the first one

In my day job, I do a lot of writing. And public speaking. And writing for other people who will do public speaking. But when it comes to having to write something deeply personal that expresses my love for my husband-to-be publicly (as in vows), that gives me some major writer's block. Actually, you couldn't even call it writer's block because I haven't gotten that far yet. JT is, being a professional journalist and all, and amazing writer (seriously, have you read anything he's written? If not, you should. Blows my mind.). But he also agrees that the idea of trying to write out our very intimate feelings for each other will be difficult.

We don't embrace any religion, so there's no guide post there for us. And I pretty much detest any kind of "traditional" vows because they are at best trite and at worst anti-feminist.

So where's a modern girl to turn for examples of great vows? Seriously, I'm asking you. All suggestions are welcome!