Monday, March 30, 2009

Invitation Wording: Thoughts, Suggestions, Editing

So, we're writing our wedding invitation text, per request of our designer, and we're like, um, what do we say? I have two options here, below. We prefer the first, as it's more "homey" but the formal etiquette suggests the latter. Suggestions? Preferences? The first fits better, not to bias anyone.

Our first option:

Together With Their Families

Mary Allyson Armistead


Christopher Clayton McClinch

request the pleasure of your company at their wedding

Saturday, The Third of October
two thousand and nine

At Five Fifteen In The Evening

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens
Leesburg, Virginia

Our second option:

Gary Armistead and Jeanie Brandt
request the pleasure of your company
at the marriage of their daughter

Mary Allyson


Christopher Clayton McClinch

Saturday, the third of October
two thousand and nine

At a quarter past five in the evening

Oatlands Historic House and Gardens
Leesburg, Virginia

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Thursday, March 26, 2009

6 Months to Go!

So, are we married yet? My goodness. And still six months more to go! And two WHOLE seasons left to experience. Time is a good thing, though, as we have a lot more to do.

March was a productive month. Chris and I accomplished quite a bit, from rings to music to cake to honeymoon to the registry. It's been busy, but we're proud at all we've done. Take a look:
  • Rings. Chris' wedding band successfully made the trip from Ireland. It really is an amazingly cool ring, and very Chris.
  • Cake design. We fell in love and selected our cake design.
  • Stationary. We also fell in love with and ordered our wedding invitations, reply cards, envelopes, etc.
  • Website. We drafted our wedding website--photos + all content (but the Chris & Ally page). We are still tinkering on the design, but we're getting there. If you have any suggestions, let us know! The purpose of the site is to provide all the information that guests might want to know, and that it's too expensive to print on our invitations.
  • Favor boxes + materials. We explored a few options for how to box the pies: paper, wrapping, ribbon, labels. Still in progress.
  • Musicians. We found another band (since our last one bailed on us!), and signed the contract. They've played the Kennedy Center and elsewhere in DC. The samples online aren't really reflective of what we're going for, since we're only opting for a violin, a mandolin, and a guitarist--more on the Irish side, less on the Celtic. Our singer hails from Ireland, though, which is awesome. More to come on the band!
  • Reception decor (branches). We reserved ten lighted tree branches as decorations at the reception! We're currently exploring LED options + inverters to avoid having wires on the floor.
  • Jen's dress. We found a dress that Jen loves, though I returned both on account of her big news! We'll hold off on buying a dress until her due date gets closer, so we can determine what size she'd be most comfortable in.
  • Wedding Night B&B. We booked our bed and breakfast in Leesburg (10 minutes from Oatlands) for the wedding night, next day, and Sunday night (two nights so we can catch our breath!)
Next Steps for April
  • Bouquets: Book florist for bridal bouquet and/or Jen.
  • Boutinneires: Explore flowers for men--do we make boutinneires or purchase them?
  • Fresh cut flowers: Decide on local grocery store or florist for fresh cut reception flowers.
  • Lighting logistics: Resolve lighting for tree branch decor--LED? Use lights on existing branches? Get an inverter? Buy strings of LED lights?
  • Votives: Create eyelet votives for testing at Oatlands.
  • Escort cards, table numbers: Continue brainstorming about how to make escort cards (stationary to include personal letters to guests) and how to display them--old door, clothesline, little pumpkins?
  • Decorating: Continue to explore rustic wreath options, lanterns, garlands, and benches for Carriage House.
  • Decor testing at Oatlands: Test out linen, flatware, etc. samples from We Party at Oatlands + any decor on hand + flowers, now that Oatlands is open to the public.
  • Attire for the guys!: Begin looking at suit options for Chris, groomsmen, dad. Chris is going with a three-piece suit in black. More details to follow.
  • Hairstyles, hair stylist: Book a stylist in Leesburg; consider hairstyles.
  • Shoes: Find a pair!

Our Stationary, Our Website in Draft

So, we've officially placed our order with Bella Figura for invitations, reply cards, envelopes, and more!

We're working with a designer on fonts and using expresso ink on ivory 1-ply stock paper, and we're thinking that will be lovely. The paper is eco-friendly, and is so soft to the touch; I've never felt anything like it. Plus, the letterpress engraving is wow (!) and has the right antiquity and authenticity for a wedding at a 250-year-old Virginian estate. The invitations suggests a genuine warmnesss, an elegance, a bit of whimsy, and these are all chords we're hoping to strike.

We're also exploring options about where to feature a note about our wedding website URL, which is where guests will go to find directions, information about the evening, dress code, and the online registry.

We've taken a first crack at designing our website, and we hope it conveys a sense of playfulness, genuineness, and rustic beauty, much the way we hope our stationary does as well. However, I'm not sure if we'll change the design or not, as I can't help but tinker and I'm not sure whether it goes with our invite enough--maybe that's not really important. Who knows. It's just a website. Hmm... But still. Thoughts?

We welcome all of your suggestions--for content and design--and apologize if it's all a bit drafty; it's in serious need of editing, and Chris still needs to write his bio!

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're Registered!! A Miracle

Holy wow, we did it. Chris and I actually registered some gifts for the wedding. It took a lot of inertia, and there was even talk of just asking for cash (!), but we did it: a la Crate and Barrel and Sur La Table. While we are open to gifts off the registry, we'd really, really prefer gifts on the registry, as we have a new household to furnish for two people, instead of one!

The registry URLs will be available in our invitation packet, surely, but for now, here they are below. Just go to a URL, click "Give a Gift" and search on "Chris McClinch" or "Allyson Armistead." Some of these items we may purchase ourselves ahead of time to help accommodate Chris' move (!). But nonetheless, we've got another wedding duty we can cross off our lists and that's a truly awesome thing.

Crate and Barrel Registry

Sur La Table Registry

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Our Honeymoon Cabin: Shenandoah With Style

So, we've found and booked our honeymoon getaway in the heart of our beloved Shenandoah! It's name? River Bend Retreat, and it's all ours October 5-October 9.

Nestled in the heart of Luray, Virginia, River Bend offers amazing mountainous views, two fireplaces, log canopy beds, a telescope for viewing the stars on its upper most tier, an outdoor hot tub, a screened in porch with a wood-burning stove, and (most important to Chris): a gourmet kitchen for his cooking!

The location is ideal for a week of fun and whimsy: local vineyards, yoga classes, hikes and hidden waterfalls, the George Washington National Forest, rafting, the Shenandoah National Park, Skyline Drive and caverns, airplane glider rides, and historic downtown Front Royal, only 15 minutes away.

In a word, we are STOKED to have found this place, and we can't wait!! Can we, like, skip ahead 6 months and just go here? Wow. I
can feel myself unwinding already.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Wedding Night Bed and Breakfast!!!

Only ten minutes away from Oatlands, the Norris House on 108 Loudon Street is the perfect venue to stay the night on October 3 (the evening of the wedding) and October 4 (the day after, just to catch our breath after the whirlwind of the wedding)!

Built in circa 1776, the inn is quaint and old school Virginia--the perfect respite from a long day at Oatlands!

Love it, and love it more that we can cross yet ANOTHER thing off of our massive wedding to-do list!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pie Boxes--Who Knew There Were So Many?

So, right: if we're going to have little 4-inch pies as favors (courtesy of Mom's Apple Pie Bakery in Leesburg), we'll need pie boxes. About 80 of them--roughly 4 x 4 x 2.

I've ordered a few samples so we can play with them, and try decorating them. I think it's probably best we don't wrap them, but rather tie them with twine, string, or ribbon, maybe even fun fabric or lace--something warm, rustic, and cozy. Samples are on their way!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Blog is Back Up & Running

Lots on tap in the world of wedding planning and decisions galore this week:

...4-inch pies as favors
...ivory cake with flowers and ribbon
...Cartoccio invitations by Bella Figura
...a honeymoon cabin in the Shenandoah.

Stay tuned for more updates, pictures, and details!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Think We've Found Our Cake Design!!!

Holy wow, this cake is amazing. I've been searching, searching for the right design, and then POW(!), there it is--and the beautiful sugar flowers even match those on my wedding dress. What more could a girl want?! I absolutely adore the illusion of fabric trim around the base of each tier, the fact that it's all white, and that the whole cake is whimsical and festive. I ADORE it.

Our next step is to send this image over to Carolyn Taylor, our cake maker and pastry extraordinaire, to see if she might be able to replicate it. We'll ask her, too, about whether we could do this in ivory or white--what would look better. Either way, because it's neutral in color, we'll be able to use buttercream for the frosting instead of fondant, which is a wonderful thing.

We'll send it her way this morning and keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Cartoccio: A Real Stationary Contender!!!

So, wow. I adore the Cartoccio invitation design by Bella Figura. It has a historic look, a vintage flair--the feeling of an old-fashioned hoedown in a decked out barn. I love it. Did I mention I love it?

The pictures here feature the invites in white and some color called "Xanadu," but I ordered a few samples with white and expresso, and ivory and expresso, just to see. I also ordered a few different kinds of envelopes and folders--white, ivory, and expresso as well. I can't wait until they get here!

We'll keep you posted.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Coco Wedding Invitations--Not Quite What We Expected

So, a few days ago we ordered this "Coco" wedding stationary--which we fell in love with for the dark brown texture, the dried flower on the front, the recycled paper inlet, and the do-it-yourself component of assembling the invitations. However, much to our dismay, the sample doesn't live up its online presence. Sigh.

Part of the problem is that the brown color is almost too "rust" colored, whereas we were hoping for a more dark, rich brown. The dried flower is "eh" and the inside is sloppy, misaligned and the paper a bit too "see-though." It's got about 70% of what we're looking for, though. Close, but no cigar. We're back on the hunt!

Here are a few others that we've ordered samples for! On some of these we can order different colors that would match our event, but the samples only come in a stock palette.

The other option is to make our own, using a cool image or paper and accessories. I'll explore a bit more on this. Another trip to Michael's is in order. We welcome other suggestions! So send 'em along.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

March Appointments: Updated!

Lots to do in March!!