Monday, May 25, 2009

I'm Alive!

It has been a very long time since my last update. The firm where I work had another round of layoffs and the good news is I made it through another round. The bad news is that I got transferred to a different group where I am insanely busy every second of every day. I am exhausted by the time I come home from work - hence, why the updates have been few and very far in between. The plus side is I feel like I have a lot more job security - which is great!

Now on to wedding related news...

The bridesmaid dresses have come in. The flower girl dresses are in. The paper for our DIY invitations have come in so we can start printing those bad-boys up soon. We bought the gifts for our bridal party (well, most of them anyway).

My dress has finally come in and I am going for my first fitting in about three weeks. I have scheduled my hair trial for earlier that day.

That is all for now! I just wanted to briefly update anyone who follows. No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth (at least not yet)! :)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Third Time is a Charm!

Or in our case - third choice is a charm.

Brian and I haven't been indecisive about too many things relating to the wedding. Much of what we have chosen thus far was relatively easy. We both have essentially the same vision for the day and everything else has fallen into place smoothly.

My facebook status a few weeks back said something to the effect that picking a first dance song has been the hardest part of wedding planning. My sentiments are still the same. Our initial choice for our first dance song was changed when we realized that there was no way that we could comfortably dance to it. We then settled on a different song that was beautiful but not really "us". So now - our third (and FINAL) choice is "Pistol" by Dustin Kensrue. It isn't a cookie-cutter first dance song or a popular Top 40 artist but it is a bit funny and contains a whole lot of truth and sentimentality. Brian played it for me a year or two back and it has stuck with us and we're finally content with our first dance song. Thankfully, the Amish Outlaws are a bunch of the nicest guys one would ever meet and have been overly patient with us as we changed our minds again and again.

Here are the lyrcis:

I love how you curse when I wake you up
And sweetly demand that I fill your cup.
Your smile or your cool gun powder glare
Honey, you lay me bare.

You're the girl of my dreams
And a pistol it seems,
but you shoot me straight and true
Time to lay down my bets,
Oh, I put all my money on you.

When I'm in the dark, girl, you bring me to light.
It seems like you're almost always right.
So keep boxing my ears when I sew them shut.
Baby, you sure are tough.

You're the girl of my dreams
And a pistol it seems,
but you shoot me straight and true
Time to lay down my fears,
Honey, I feel so safe around you.

If the tiller man taught me anything,
It's that a hard-headed woman is what I need.
To help me to always do my best.
Baby, my life is blessed.

You're the girl of my dreams
Darling, please wear this ring.
You're an angel through and through.
Time to lay down my life,
Honey, I'd do it gladly for you.

Time to lay down my life,
Honey, I'd do it gladly for you.

Here is the video (though ours will be performed by the Amish Outlaws):

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Ever the Same


We have finally picked our first dance song. We really came down to the wire on this one as our band is learning the song so they can perform it for us and they needed to know well in advance. Our first choice (Red Hot Chili Peppers - Hard to Concentrate) didn't quite work out because really, how the heck were we supposed to dance to that? So, this was a song we had in mind in the beginning and stuck with us throughout the tedious song selection process.

The notable thing about this song is that Rob Thomas wrote it for his wife who was suffering from an illness at the time. She has since recovered but the expression of love within the song itself is really remarkable. It isn't all mushy gushy (let's face it - that just isn't "us") but it is romantic in its own right. I'm pretty excited about it.

Here are the lyrics to Ever the Same, by Rob Thomas:

We were drawn from the weeds
We were brave like soldiers
Falling down under the pale moonlight
You were holding to me
Like a someone broken
And I couldn't tell you but I'm telling you now

Just let me hold you while you're falling apart
Just let me hold you and we'll both fall down

Fall on me
Tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you forever in me
Ever the same

We would stand in the wind
We were free like water
Flowing down
Under the warmth of the sun
Now it's cold and we're scared
And we've both been shaken
Hey, look at us
Man, this doesn't need to be the end

Just let me hold you while you're falling apart
Just let me hold you and we'll both fall down

Fall on me
Tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same

Call on me
I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me
Forever it's you
Forever in me
Ever the same

You may need me there
To carry all your weight
But you're no burden I assure
You tide me over
With a warmth I'll not forget
But I can only give you love

Fall on me tell me everything you want me to be
Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same
Call on me
I'll be there for you and you'll be there for me
Forever it's you
Forever in me
Ever the same

Forever with you
Forever in me
Ever the same (Ever the same)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wedding Day Jewelry

I was very excited to mark another check off of my list for the wedding (ok, maybe a partial check because I still need to get a headpiece whether it be a veil or comb). As a combination Valentine's Day, birthday and wedding gift - Brian gave me the most beautiful pearl necklace and matching earrings. It will match my dress perfectly which is funny given that he has yet to see it. So, my wedding day jewelry will be the following (the necklace, earrings and my engagement ring and wedding band):
We were also able to pick up Brian's wedding band this weekend (although I couldn't take a decent picture of it - this is my best shot):

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Almost a Year's Worth of Wedding Planning Experience!

At the end of this month, Brian and I will be engaged for a year and have about seven months to go before the wedding. The last few weeks have been productive as far as wedding planning goes and we're thankful to have a few less things to worry about.

Brian picked out his wedding band from Omega Fine Jewelry in Ramsey, New Jersey. We will be picking it up this weekend so I can post pictures next week.

We reserved a block of rooms at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Nanuet, New York for our out-of-town guests and friends.

We have booked bridal party transportation and a hotel shuttle for guests of the hotel to and from Patriot Hills with Royal Crown Limousine.

We designed the save-the-dates ourselves and are having them printed through VistaPrint. We did standard postcards with travel information on the back. Hopefully we will get them back soon so they will be in our guests' hands by the end of February. Here is a picture of the front of the postcard:

I had my makeup trial with Christine of Color Makeup Studio and booked her on the spot. She did a wonderful job and when she was done, I still felt and looked like "me" - just a slightly more upscale version. Apparently I wasn't in the picture taking mood that day as all but one picture taken that day came out pretty terrible! Here is a picture taken a few hours (ok, seven hours) after the trial:

Unfortunately you can't really catch the details from this far away but she did focus a lot on my eyes and it showed.

The moms have picked out and ordered their dresses. My mom is going with a Daymour Couture (Style Number 3001) in aubergine. Here is a photo of the dress in champagne:

Brian's mom is going with a David's Bridal (Style Number 34382) in brown. Here is a picture of the dress in eggplant:

We made our first appointment with a florist (Dykstra Florist) for Saturday, February 21st. I finally know what colors I would like for the flowers and hope that someone, somewhere is within our budget!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Charcoal, Champagne, Ivory and Blush

A big concern in planning the wedding so far has been my color scheme. When I found my dress - I fell in love with it in the light gold color thinking that it gave the dress an antique and elegant feel. Add that to the fact that I was pretty set on having charcoal grey bridesmaid dresses and it all threw me for a loop when it came time to narrow down a color theme.

I tend to be attracted to muted and subtle color combinations and I have finally found one that I am happy with. Our colors will be charcoal grey, champagne, ivory/white and blush pink. The pink will be used very sparingly in our bouquets and on the paper products. I don't think I could have gotten Brian to agree otherwise. Here are the colors side by side (our grey is a tad bit darker than what is shown here):

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our Honeymoon Location is Picked!

Initially we were just going to do a mini-moon for a few days after the wedding. However, Brian and I do short trips (long weekends) all the time and we wanted our trip after the wedding to be different. We sat down and talked about where we would want to go if money were no object (which it certainly is but it can't hurt to dream, right?) We both really wanted to go to Hawaii and were concerned that with our limited budget, we wouldn't be able to. We reached out to Rhonda at Travel by VIP (recommended highly on the Knot's honeymoon board) and she put together a package for us that far exceeded our expectations.

Before I get into any details on the trip, I just want to insert a plug here for Rhonda. I was a bit hesitant at first to work with a travel agent, let alone one that predominantly does her business on-line and not face-to-face. We gave it a shot anyway and am so glad that we did. Within hours of my initial email inquiry, she responded back with some very helpful information, collecting details of exactly what we wanted and got started putting together packages right away. She's very friendly, attentive and has kept us updated every step of the way. We have no hesitations going forward and feel as though we are in good hands. If anyone is in search of a travel agent, I would suggest at the very least dropping Rhonda a note and seeing what she can do for you. Her email address is Travel by VIP does not charge you for helping put together your honeymoon package - they get paid directly by the resorts.

Now on to the really good stuff...

We are getting married on a Saturday and have allowed ourselves a day to recover. We leave on an early flight Monday morning, have a brief layover in Phoenix and arrive in Maui at 2:23PM in the afternoon (which is really 7:23PM EST). We will be staying at the Royal Lahaina Resort on Kaanapali Beach for five days.

We will then be staying for five days on Hawaii's Big Island at the Outrigger Keauhou Beach Resort on the Kona Coast.

In 8 months and 13 days, we'll be on our way!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bridesmaid Dresses Picked Out!

After much consideration, we have narrowed down the choices for the bridesmaids dresses. The girls had their choice of floor-length gowns from Bill Levkoff in european satin material and the color European Grey. These are the current front runners for each of the girls:

We will be ordering the dresses from Helen Bohn as well. I got my gown there and was able to get a discount for the girls.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Engagement Pictures!

Brian and I had our engagement pictures taken in Cold Spring, New York on October 14, 2008. Our photographer, Rick Helman was great! Our photos were uploaded to his website by that evening and we are extremely happy with the results. Here are a handful of our favorites:

Friday, September 26, 2008

We Are Officially at the One Year 'til Our Wedding Mark!

On this day next year we will be getting married. Anyone who ever told me that the time flies sure wasn't kidding. As a re-cap, this is all that we have done in the first six months of our engagement:
  1. We have booked our reception and ceremony sites (which includes catering and the bakery for our wedding cake).
  2. We have booked our band.
  3. We have booked our photographer and videographer.
  4. I have ordered my dress.
  5. We have chosen the wedding party.
  6. We have decided on our centerpieces and purchased the majority of the supplies (minus the flowers and mirrors).

There is still some ridiculous number of tasks that need to be completed but all in all, I say we're in pretty good shape for the most part. In the last few weeks, we have accomplished or at least started several other tasks as well. Here are the most recent updates on what we are currently working on:

Engagement Pictures: We have scheduled our engagement pictures for Wednesday, October 15th with Rick Helman. They will be shot in Cold Springs, NY in the late afternoon. We are hoping for some good light as the sun starts to set.

Officiant: We would really love to have Judge William Franks officiate the wedding ceremony. Judge Franks not only knows my Uncle but also used to be the Chief of Police for Stony Point before being appointed judge so he and Brian's father knew each other pretty well back in the day. The connection to both of our families makes us feel a bit more comfortable than going with someone who has no ties what-so-ever to either one of us. (Thanks to my Uncle Bill for help arranging this!)

Ceremony: We were able to visit Patriot Hills last week as they were tearing down their afternoon wedding set-up. We wanted to go as close to the one year mark of our wedding date as possible to get an idea as to what it looked like in the fall. The last time we visited, it was at the tail-end of winter so the landscape was a bit dreary. I LOVE how it looks in the fall. We were hoping the leaves would have started to change but it's a bit too early for that. Nevertheless, the grounds are beautiful. They have mums in these large urn-like pots and ficus trees surrounding the patio. I'm almost thinking that minimal decorations for the ceremony would be best - a less is more mentality. It really is beautiful all on its own. Once I get the chance, I will upload the photos.

Ceremony Music: We really don't want to spend money on ceremony musicians given that (1) they aren't cheap, and (2) it doesn't seem worth it for the short amount of time that they would play. Luckily, Patriot Hills has speakers set up on their patio where the DJ (that comes along with the Outlaws) can play the music off a CD for us.

Centerpiece Supplies: We got GREAT deals on our centerpiece supplies and I'm pretty proud of myself for being so thrify. As mentioned below, our vases came from Linens 'n Things at 50% off. The river rock was more than 50% off (got each bag for less than $1.00) and the votives were on sale in twelve packs for 50% off as well (worked out to be roughly $0.33 per votive and holder). Both were bought at Michael's. The newest excitement came when I found the floating candles for dirt cheap at Quick Candles. Even with shipment, they came to less than $1.00 per candle. So the only thing left for the centerpieces are to find cheap 12" round mirrors and pick which stems we want to submerge. I'm really excited about these.

That is all for now! We will be looking for hotel blocks, florists and limo companies next. Before the end of this year, we hope to have created and mailed our save-the-dates.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Second Centerpiece Mock-Up

Over the weekend, I decided to test out another option for our centerpieces. I stuck with the candle theme and ended up really liking the end result.

I always thought that flowers submersed in water in cylinder vases with floating candles look very elegant. After finding an incredible deal on cylinder vases (each set of three was only $10.00 at Linens 'n Things) - I decided to give it a go. We stopped at a local florist and picked half a dozen or so random stems to see how they would work out. We used a handful of the river rock from the first centerpiece mock-up to line the bottoms of the vases. Then, we added the stems and water and topped it off with the floating candles.

Here is the result:

I think this centerpiece affords us more options price-wise as we can forgo flowers all together, choose silk stems or real stems. Luckily, we have a connection with a wholesale flower distributor so we can try to price out what the most affordable option will be.

After a few hours driving throughout New Jersey, countless issues with Mapquest, an almost dead cell-phone and visiting 4 Linens 'n Things stores, I was finally able to stock up on the amount we needed by clearing out their Totowa and Butler store shelves. It was a productive, wedding-related Saturday.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Memorial Candle Mock-Up

As a tribute to those of our close relatives who passed before us, we will be setting up memorial candles at the reception. It is our way of reflecting upon the great impact they had in our lives on account of their love and unwavering support.

The actual candles will be placed in large cylinder vases. I will be creating a wrap to go around the cylinder vase in translucent (or vellum) paper. The front part of the wrap will be the same layout for all relatives. It will contain a picture and the name of our loved ones, along with various other sentiments. On the back part of the wrap will be a saying or poem, personalized to the individual. The translucent paper works nicely as it is heavy enough to hide the candle in the vase but is light enough to allow the glow of the candle to shine through to the outside.

Here is a mock-up of the first wrap that I did. I have blurred out my grandfather's last name for privacy purposes. There is still some minor tweaking to be done (maybe some font changes) but this is the basic format for the candles:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

I Ordered My Gown!

One big item was checked off of my wedding checklist today - I ordered my dress! The most I will say about it is that it is a Maggie Sottero. The turnaround time on getting Maggie Sottero dresses in-store is roughly 10-12 months so I'm not ridiculously crazy in ordering this early. I'm very excited to get this out of the way! In the interest of being discrete (i.e. keeping it from Brian), I will not post pictures but if you want to see a picture I took at the bridal salon, let me know!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dress Shopping

Let me start by saying that I can be a very indecisive person at times and not because I don't know what I want but because I have the tendency to overanalyze just about everything in my head. I take into account all possible scenarios before making a final decision that I am 100% confident in. If I have to make a quick decision, I will. If I don't have to make a quick decision (i.e. not in a time crunch to order my bridal gown right this moment), then I won't.

Straight off the bat, I knew I wasn't going to be one of those brides that just "knew" when they found the dress (for all the reasons stated above). With that said, I didn't have this earth-striking moment where the stars aligned and I realized I had found the perfect dress. In my world, what I felt, was enough to know that I found one that made me very happy and any other dresses I tried on afterwards (and before) just did not compare.

Without getting into too much detail about the gown that is the current front-runner, I will say that it is more elegant than princess-y and more simple than extravagent. I didn't feel like someone I wasn't when I tried it on - maybe just a slightly upscale version of myself. I would have ordered the dress right then and there but my friend Gary would have killed me if he didn't get to see it first. My plan is to go back within the next two weeks and put my deposit down. I'll feel much more relaxed once that is done.

The only issue is the dress throws me a curveball for my color scheme. Back to the drawing board for colors! Luckily, time (until the wedding) is something I have plenty of.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mock Centerpieces

On Saturday, while Brian was out on the bike, I took advantage of the time and made craft store runs with my mom to try and get inspired for wedding related things. We were walking around Michael's and came upon a display of candles that did just that. I've had a really hard time swallowing the costs associated with floral centerpieces given that flowers only last for a few days so the fact that this particular arrangement was both cheaper and longer-lasting than a floral centerpiece, made me very eager to try and make it work. With a little tweeking, we developed a front-runner in our quest for centerpieces.

The supplies needed for this particular centerpiece (per table) would be three pillar candles, three glass pedestal pillar candle holders, three votive candles, three glass votive candle holders, river rock and a large glass plate. What is under consideration (due to cost) is mini-gerbera daisies which we would need three stems per table.

Here is a picture of the mock-up: