Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Well...Have You Sent Yours Yet?

Once out in the world, our RSVPs started steadily pouring in, between 2 to 4 each day for the past 10 days. I suppose the natural progression is to get a lot right away, then nothing for a while, then many more right around the RSVP deadline. Since we didn't have any in the mail yesterday or today, I think we've hit that mid-point lull.

This is our RSVP card clothesline. Is your card hanging there? Don't assume "Oh, they know I'm coming, so I don't need to send it!" Even if we know you'll be there, we still want your beautiful response gracing this line, so drop it in the mail! We've only received about 30 responses from the nearly 100 people that we've invited, so send yours in and you can feel good knowing that you are helping alleviate my fears that no one will come!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Weekend Update

Now begins the crunch -- just 40 days to go! Both JT and I knew that after this past week, it was gonna be nothing but appointments and errands, so we had scheduled this weekend to be filled with only fun stuff. Like a sailing trip around San Diego Bay with JT's parents. Little did I know that much more had been planned for me.

My two friends at work had warned me about a special surprise on Saturday, though they gave me very little indication of what that surprise would be. They simply told me to be ready at my house at 11 a.m., at which point they picked me up and whisked me away for an afternoon at the spa! It was pretty darn awesome, and exactly what I needed after a stressful summer. After a massage, a eucalyptus steam, and some poolside cocktails, they dropped me off at home.

But the fun didn't end there. Later that night, JT and I showed up for what I thought was going to be quiet night at our friends' house only to find a surprise party waiting for me. While the guys hung out at home, the girls whisked me out the door and down the street to Lips, a drag dinner theater in North Park. Much hilarity ensued. I told my friend Laura that she could take pictures so long as they didn't end up on the internet. Of course, here I am now sharing a few with you...but only a few.

I'm not a big fan of they got me a really tiny one!

These shots tasted terrible, by the way.

Come Sunday, we hit the seas with JT's folks for a gorgeous sail around the bay. After all the excitement of the previous day, it was a fantastic way to finish off the weekend. to the races! Figuratively, of course, since racing season is over.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Which I Publically Vent My Fears

Six weeks this Saturday -- that's how long we have until the big day. With it so close, I'm starting to get overwhelmed by fear. Not of marriage or any of that, but of the many things that could go wrong. My biggest fear was that my sister wouldn't be able to attend my wedding. Now that it seems that won't be the case (thankfully!), my brain is being held hostage by lots of tiny little fears. So in the interest "maybe if I share them, they won't happen," here's my current list of wedding fears:

-No one will come.
-Those who do come won't have a good time.
-The Ipod or PA won't work at the reception.
-The chairs or flowers or cake or whatever won't be set up on time.
-Our wedding party or families won't be ready on time.
-I won't be ready on time.
-We'll forget some small but important detail, like chalk for the chalkboards.
-It will be really hot on the day of the wedding (interestingly, I am less concerned about rain. I find rain to be fun).
-Our "first look" won't get timed right and will be spoiled.
-We won't get the processional cues right with the musicians.
-There won't be enough room to dance at the reception.
-There will be so many pre-wedding activities during the week that by the time Saturday rolls around, I'll be really exhausted.
-I won't be able to properly pack for the honeymoon, because I won't have any time to do laundry and won't have any clean clothes to pack (yes, I'm serious!).

And the biggest one weighing on me right now: my dress, which is already very tight, will not zip up. Or will be so tight that I'll be majorly uncomfortable all day.

There's probably more, but for now, let's deal with the dress. I'm picking it up on Saturday from the seamstress. Think good zipper thoughts for me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hey, Let's Cross the Sea

A few years ago, JT and I made a pact that we would take one trip out of the country every year. It started with France. The next year, since France had been a pretty pricey trip, we played it a little closer to home and went to Canada. Last year, we went to Curacao in the Netherlands Antilles.

For our honeymoon, we're hitting up two countries in one trip: Spain and France. We'll be spending 4 days in Barcelona and 3 days in Cannes. The combination of cities basically came from indecision about what kind of honeymoon we wanted to have: did we want a cosmopolitan, urban honeymoon filled with shopping and fine dining, or did we want a relaxing beachside week? I'd never thought of myself as a beach vacation kind of girl, and I'm generally not the kind of person that can lie around doing nothing for very long, but Curacao changed my mind. We had a fantastic time, and I realized that I do enjoy beach vacations...just not the tequila fueled Cabo Spring-Breaky kind.

Usually, for our out of the country excursions, I like to come up with loose itineraries. I don't want every minute planned, but I like to come up with general outlines of what I'd like to see (and eat!). Barcelona obviously has no shortage of great food options. Since I don't speak any Spanish, I'm a little nervous about looking like a giant idiot trying to get around. Especially because I prefer to hit up the un-touristy restaurants where menus are unlikely to have English translations. And eating is one of the most important parts of the trip -- in case you didn't already know, I'm a major foodie.

While I'll probably have a good list of restaurants and attractions to hit while in Barcelona, I'm keeping the schedule for Cannes very unstructured. The Cannes half of the week is meant to be the decompression time. Just wandering wherever the day takes us, and sitting by the beach whenever it's not too cold.

Man, I am really looking forward to this. Time to get some new luggage.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Makeup Dilemma Finally Solved

The third time was definitely the charm.

The first time was too dramatic. The second was too natural. I was really holding out hope that my third makeup trial would leave me with an easy decision about whether or not to do my makeup myself, and it did.

When I got to the counter, the makeup area was buzzing with people. It was Saturday, and there were plenty of people shopping, not to mention other brides getting their wedding makeup done at the surrounding counters. One woman at a neighboring counter was wearing a rhinestoned "Bride" tank top and had a tiara in her hair.

While the first artist I tried at Laura Mercier was talented, she didn't do onsite makeup and recommended her colleague Catrina. As Catrina worked, she told me about how she will only work with brides that are relaxed and aren't giving off a "stressed" vibe. She patiently worked with me, creating a look that I thought was a perfect balance between that old-school glamor and natural. I was really, really happy with the result. It was the look I wanted, and executed much better than I could do myself. What sealed the deal? A reasonable rate to boot.

I had also done my hair trial earlier that day (like my feathers?), so the look you're seeing is pretty darn close to my look for the big day.

Across the way, the princess bride was finishing her appointment when a passerby asked her if she was getting ready to go to the prom. Catrina whispered "I would never want to be mistaken for going to the prom on my wedding day!" And I knew she was the artist for me.

By the way, a big thanks to my good friend Laura Coburn for being my personal photojournalist documenting the process with these beautiful shots!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Check Your Mail

There is a lot of space in wedding blog land devoted to showcasing amazing wedding invites. Over the past six months, I've seen so many beautiful invitations featured on other blogs. But I'm happy to say that creating our invitations was one of the easiest things to take care of. We had a designer in mind from the start, and she did awesome work from start to finish, with very minimum direction from us (I love working with people who just "get" us!).

So a big thanks to Tere Mendez at Inkfancy! Our invites are breathtaking (at least in my humble opinion). And also, my apologies, Tere, that the color on these photos isn't great. I snapped them super quick trying to get this post done before heading to bed.

We've had so many ups and downs, especially recently, with the wedding planning, there were times I wondered if we'd ever get to this stage. But here we are, with invites in the mail. And it feels wonderful.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Makeup, DIY Style

My search for someone to do my makeup has been complicated for two reasons: 1. I'm very self conscious about my skin and the appearance of my face, as the result of having acne for many years. This usually means that I'm unhappy with my makeup when anyone other than myself does it. 2. Money seems to be flying out the door, and paying for professional makeup seems like a great waste if I'm not 100% in love with the results.

Looking at the photos of my first two trials, I have mixed feelings. While the first one did create the "look" that I thought I wanted, in person, it was just way too heavy. The second looked more natural and more appropriate to daytime, but was it any better than something I could do myself? I'm pretty good with makeup, so I decided to have an at-home-trial day.

I did my best to create the first look -- red lips, black eyeliner, a "classic glam" -- just more toned down than this version. In person, I thought it looked OK. It looked pretty heavy but not TOO heavy.

I think it's OK, though not anywhere near perfect, which is what we all hope to look like on our wedding day, right? Also, when JT snapped this photo of me, what looked moderately heavy now looked almost nonexistent. Clearly balancing what looks good in person and on film is going to be difficult. I just didn't feel like my eyes popped enough -- maybe what was missing was some false eyelashes.

I've got another professional trial this weekend. I'm hoping that it will go amazingly well and my problem will have a clear solution. But if it doesn't, should I plan on doing it myself? Would this be acceptable wedding makeup? And am I simply being much too hard on both myself and the professionals by thinking that the results so far aren't that great?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Best. Thing. Ever.

I know I've been doing a little too much complaining lately, as the stress of everything has been pretty overwhelming and I've been feeling, well...overwhelmed. But on Saturday, we came home and opened up a small box containing our custom cake topper from Jennifer Murphy, and suddenly all felt right with the world.

At first, I wasn't going to post this picture, because I wanted everyone at the wedding to be surprised and taken with how cute it is. But it is just too darn cute and made me too happy not to share it right away.

Also, I love working with all the independent artists that I've purchased wedding items from. Jennifer included this adorable and sweet little handmade note in with the topper. It was so touching, and not the first note of this sort that we've received from a vendor. It's so nice to see people who are really connecting with their customers, even when the transactions are taking place across the country through email conversations.

I've got lots more coming up this week: more makeup experiments, a hair trial, invitations in the mail, and much more. So hopefully that means I'll have lots more posts to share with you as well.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Coming into Focus

I'm not a big fan of blog-as-confessional. Generally, I don't think baring your soul on the internet will lead to good things. Just ask that girl from Gawker. But bear with me as this post will be partially personal.

I don't like relinquishing control of anything, and right now, with my sister being sick, there's a major element of my life that I can't control. Both she and I are afraid and worried, and know that it's a possibility that she may not be able to attend the wedding at all, what with planes being major germ incubators. Heck, even a healthy person usually can't set foot on a plane without catching a cold. So needless to say, I'm having a hard time balancing the whole joy about getting married with the worry about my sister. Sometimes it causes me to freak out. So the first part of my blog-as-confessional is to say to anyone who may be or has already been subject to a wedding related freakout, I'm sorry. Just know that I'm trying to cope, and it's not always easy. So if I seem unusually worried about a particular detail, it's just because I'm trying to hold on to whatever it is that I can control.

My whole philosophy as a bride from day one of our engagement was to be the anti-bridezilla. To roll with the punches, not stress on the details, and encourage everyone to just have fun with the whole thing. So descending down this path of stress and worry, I ask myself everyday, "Am I turning into a bridezilla?" My biggest fear is becoming "that" bride, the one that everyone dreads. One of my friends recently shared her thoughts about the whole bridezilla moniker with me. She pointed out that every bride (and groom!), no matter how cool, no matter how grounded, will have moments that freak them out. Stress so bad that it seems to dwarf everything else. And that's OK. Having a momentary freakout is OK, so long as you don't yell at anyone, call them an idiot and make them cry. Which I haven't done, so I think I'm still safe.

Part two of my blog-as-confessional is to a plea to our friends and family that are attending: have a good time. Have a blast. Help me stay true to my original vision of the event. Remember that a wedding is, despite all the emphasis on how it is the "most important" day of our lives, a party. An expensive party, sure, but a party nonetheless. The important part, the marriage, lasts well beyond that day. So along those lines, if you are not able to attend for whatever reason -- you can't get time off work, can't get the kids out of school, it's too much of a financial burden -- that's OK. We understand. And to those of you that can attend and will, we are thrilled and hope to show you a really good time. And I hope that you'll also help remind me of this as well, when I start falling back into the state described above.

So, what will be a part of that really good time? I was hoping that it would include a photo booth. Rather than the traditional guest book, guests would step in front of one of our venues massive chalkboards, write a message to us, stand in front of it, and snap a picture. My initial idea was to have a user-friendly Polaroid 600 camera, so that guests could snap pictures of each other easily. But since the film has been discontinued, it's selling for a lot online, making it too cost prohibitive. My next idea is to use this old-school Laminex camera (pictured above) that I got for free with some Fuji instant film. This camera, however, is NOT user friendly. It's hard to pull the film out of the camera, and then you have to let it sit, peel it apart, and try not to get developer goo on your hands.

We first thought about assigning one of our friends to man the camera, but then didn't want to burden one of our guests by having them be tied to one spot all night instead of enjoying the party. So we're thinking of trying to find someone, a friend of a friend or a student or what have you, that we could bribe with a small sum and a free lunch to do the job. Know anyone that's interested?

Monday, September 7, 2009

Working through the Weekend

What better day to spend Labor Day weekend than, well, laboring. That was pretty much exactly how the last three days have been spent. We knocked out a lot of crafts and tackled a lot on the to-do list. It was pretty darn productive, and frankly, I'm feeling a lot better about what's left to be done. There are still a few big unknowns, but I've got my head around the next 8 weeks pretty well at this point (that's right, we're just shy of hitting the 8-weeks-out mark!)

My friend Laura came over to help me tackle several craft projects, including our escort card tree and flower girl baskets. She and I spent the afternoon cutting, hot gluing, arranging, stringing, and any other craft related verb you can think of. Her keen eye and advanced crafting ability made everything about 100 times better than I could have done alone. Here's the tree she expertly arranged, complete with a little owl that she found for me at Michael's.

I made the leaves. They aren't quite as impressive, but they'll serve as the escort/place cards (whichever you prefer to call them), with the guest's name on one side and their table number on the back.

Next, she set out crafting our flower girl baskets, which look insanely adorable. Plus, with the moss, they perfectly match the ring pillow I made.

The next day, JT and I headed up to his mom's house. There, we went through every single thing on the giant wedding task list, up to the day-of. She amazingly volunteered to take on several projects, which I could not be happier about. There are very few people that I would find more trustworthy than her to help pull off the wedding details.

So while Thanksgiving maybe still be nearly 3 months away, I'm feeling pretty thankful for these wonderful women in my life that are helping me keep it together. Kudos to you, ladies!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

License to Wed

Ever wondered what the process is to get a marriage license in San Diego County? Well, I can tell you!

First, you have to call the County Assessor/Recorder/Clerk's office and make an appointment. Walk-ins are not accepted. They only take appointments between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, but we had no trouble getting one for 8 a.m. the next day when I called.

You have to go online to the County's website and download the forms first. When you go to the appointment, you have to bring the completed forms, IDs for both people, and $50 for the fee. Your appointment will go something like this: You'll walk up to the counter, excited, expecting something important to happen. They'll ask you your names, check you off the appointment list, and tell you to take a seat. You'll sit in a gray waiting room, half decorated with white lattice stapled to the wall for that "wedding" look, for 15 minutes.

Then someone will call your names and ask you to take a seat at Window Number X. There, someone will check your IDs, type all of the info from your paperwork into a computer, print it out, have you check it, have a supervisor check it, have you sign on the dotted line, hand over your money, and PRESTO! You now have a marriage license in your hands.

Your wedding must take place and your officiant must complete and return the license has to be completed by your officiant within 90 days of being issued. Regarding the officiant, I learned something interesting in this process. We don't belong to a church, so we didn't want to get married in a church or by a clergy member. So we asked a good friend of ours to officiate. We had known other people who did this, and they had their friends get ordained online (there are several sites that do this -- our friend went through Universal Life Church). However, I discovered that you don't even need to do that. There's a form that you can complete with the County to become a "Deputy Commissioner" for the day, entitling you to perform marriages on that day only. It's just a simple form and a small fee, and any person of your choosing can officiate!

So that's it. Pretty quick and painless. No waiting period, no blood test, just some very light paperwork. It's kind of anticlimactic, the actual process, but seeing that marriage license in your hands is just a little bit thrilling.