Saturday, May 30, 2009

Holy crap, four freaking months to go

So, yeaaaahhhhh. Where did the last TEN months go? It feels like only yesterday that Chris was kneeling in front of me, holding out an arctic diamond, asking me to marry him. Time, as they say, freaking flies.

Wedding planning, I've decided, is one hell of a time suck, a black hole of quantum proportions you don't realize you're lost in until it's too late.

The only cure, really, are LISTS. Lots and lots of lists. Items I put on lists only to cross them off in the name of completion, satisfaction.

So, in the spirit of calm, I'm placating myself with yet another list: what we've accomplished in May. Indulge me. Or not.

Here we go:
  • Finalized booking with Judy Gerow, florist. Sent in first payment.
  • Sent Judy color swatches of purple and browns to help design the wedding flowers. She'll handle all glass for reception and cocktail hour, in addition to bouts, pin-ons, bouquets, and all sprigs for favor boxes and napkins.
  • Purchased more lace + electric candles for votives/favor boxes.
  • Booked horse and carriage at Harmon's for wedding day.
  • Received wedding invitations, reception cards, envelopes, table cards, and they're all beautiful.
  • Sent table cards, wedding envelopes, and specifications to calligrapher at The Blooming Quill. Plan to get them back on 6.4.
  • Selected stamp design for wedding envelopes.
  • Designed sample rehearsal dinner postcard invitations.
  • Purchased a few sample wedding shoes to try on with dress.
  • Booked dance lessons; had first session on 5.28.
  • Eliminated need for place cards at reception tables.
  • Decided on expresso paper leaves and purple flowers for escort cards.
  • Began brainstorming on escort card presentation via trees or canvas of trees and easel.
  • Created beverage matrix; sent to mom and dad for selection and purchase.
  • Selected wedding beer: Octoberfest + big jugs 'o beer from MA
  • Selected reading passage for ceremony.
  • Decided on cover design for ceremony programs.
  • Chris picked out a possible suit for the wedding.
  • Received Jen's dress in the mail.
  • Ordered sample table card holders (vintage frog pins).
What's left for June? A whole hell of a lot:
  • Make glass votives.
  • Order more lace for favor boxes. Almost there, but not quite.
  • Continue dance lessons. Work on first dance.
  • Stuff and stamp invitations! Mailing date? 1st week of July (three months before).
  • Send florist sample favor box + napkin for design concept.
  • Drop off glassware + twine with florist.
  • Send Washington Post engagement announcement.
  • Chris needs to finalize suit; inform groomsmen of size, make, color.
  • Purchase fabric for bouts and pin-ons + give to mom to start sewing.
  • Purchase ribbon for bouts and pin-ons.
  • Chris needs to write his damn bio for the website.
  • Finish registering: Target (we totally need a vacuum cleaner).
  • Test out decor in dance hall of Carriage House: signs, table measurements, styles of lights, branch placement, escort leaves, etc.
  • Secure a screen and projector for the rehearsal dinner.
  • Show McClinch 'rents rehearsal invite options.
  • Finalize table card holders.
  • Finalize number of signs needed at Oatlands, in Carriage House--either make ourselves or work with Willie in NYC again.
  • Purchase fiddlehead fern--for possible table card holders and for bouts + pin-ons.
  • Decide on display of favor boxes.
  • Decide on display of escort cards.
  • Think about an after party and/or brunch the day following the ceremony.
  • Send Somer all invitees to bachelorette party.
  • Send mom and grandma all invitees to bridal shower.
  • Continue work on logistics plan, schedules, etc. for ATrendy and Oatlands coordinators.
  • Make a planning appointment with our musicians; continue selecting music pieces.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beautiful Passage

"Set me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; for love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave. Its flashes are flashes of fire, a most vehement flame. Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it."

Displaying Escort Cards

I ordered two 2-foot bare branch arrangements today to test out this beautiful way of displaying escort cards. The only con I see in doing this is the challenge of finding your seating card! With only 70-80 guests it might not be that bad, but still, I'd like to try it out and see, both with cards and with my adorable brown paper leaves.

Lots and lots of baubles and light

I adore this photo. The baubles. The glass ware. Votives and light. I'm thinking on Oatlands Testing Day 2.0 I may bring a variety of glass baubles and electric tea lights and paper, and see what all of these look like in front of the white rail at the Carriage House (both in front and on it), as well as spread out elsewhere.

I adore light, and it's amazing how the simplest of venues can become instantly whimsical with the right touches.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Hanging Favor Boxes

Martha Stewart poses a good alternative to displaying our favor boxes--however, we'd need to secure the ribbon just right to ensure that the little pies hang flat and don't fall apart! Of course, it helps that the pies will be wrapped in cellophane by the baker, and secured snuggly.

I plan to try this out, just to see what happens! If it works, we'll definitely go this route, and just pick one kind of pie--most likely apple--for our guests to take home.

More Ballet Flats

Also an option!

Ballet Flats!!!!

Cute flats by the Dessy Group!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Decisions in The Name of Freaking Sanity

I'm panicking; I need to make decisions, I need answers. Bear with me.

A few choices I've made in the last five minutes.

Like I said, bear with me.

We're not doing them. Reasons?
  1. It's impossible to seat every individual while accommodating their needs: rightys, leftys, clautrophobia, an intense fear of red heads, name whatever bizarre thing you can think of.
  2. Assigned seats are stuffy and go against my nature.
  3. I'd prefer folks just find their way, once they've reached their assigned table. It's not that hard, and we've only invited intelligent people (we hope). If you're not intelligent or can't independently arrive at a place to seat yourself, then I hate you and you're officially uninvited. Seriously. This is not a joke.
  4. I don't have the energy.
  5. Did I mention I don't have the energy? Great, moving on.
Programs At The Ceremony
We're having one.
  1. Going with Bella Figura's design, the cover, NOT the panel.
  2. We'll write the text as we finalize the flow/plan for the ceremony.
  3. We'll need the text finalized by August, so Bella Figura can print.
  4. I'd like to include thank yous to friends and family, a brief personalized note to each "group" of significant people in our lives.
  5. I'd like to include a memoriam.
  6. I'd like to include the wedding party.
Escort Card Presentation
We're getting closer.
  1. Don't want to use a table. I'm trying to limit the amount of tables we have in the dance hall area. At the very least, we'll have a bar table (We Party rental) and Oatlands' pretty dark wood table for the guest book table.
  2. Would prefer to display the escort cards more uniquely. Thinking of purchasing a dark wood easel, getting a canvas/surface of some kind and either pinning the leaves on it, or painting watercolor tree branches and pinning the leaves on them (creating a bas relief effect).
  3. Easel would be to the left of the guest table, and take up far less room than another damn table.
  4. Did I mention I'm trying to limit the amount freaking tables in this space? Great, moving on.
Favor Box Presentation
A huge freaking question mark
  1. Again, want to eliminate the need for a table.
  2. Other options: (a) hang on the back of each guest's chair, write "eat me" or "take me" (probably the latter) on a little tag or card (which has an Alice in Wonderland effect, which is cool) or (b) stack them in a basket, bucket, or some other cute barrel thing.
Okay, I feel better. Some decisions made. I can breathe. I can sleep. I need to do both.

Over and out,


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Adventures in Rehearsal Dinner Planning: Chicken and Fish & A Whole Lot of Stationary

So, our rehearsal dinner venue JUST informed me that we need to have our rehearsal dinner guests select their entree option (either chicken or fish) before the event. AND that we'll have to figure all this out. AND that we have to set out freaking place cards for each guest with their names and selected entrees so that guests know where to sit and waiters know what to serve whom. Because god forbid someone get the wrong flipping entree.

In short, I'm grinding my teeth right now, mostly because I'm trying to work out the stationary situation, which is like wedding stationary planning, but twice as annoying. It's like having to cook up a side dish after you've spent hours perfecting the entree. I'm just plain worn out.

Okay, so, my bitching aside, the postcard option will still work, we'll just have to add "chicken or fish, freaking pick one," to the verbage. Another option is to go with this cute design from the Inviting Company peeps, who have cool looking invites but a website that is sure to give you a 24-hour migraine.

This design works with our colors, theme: it has the oval center, the expresso accents, and a bit of purple thrown in. I received a sample today, and hope to show KaJe the postcards and this sample as well. Maybe it will help resolve the chicken and fish situation.

Stay tuned. More to follow. As always. I put the F-U into the FUN OF WEDDING PLANNING.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Program Design: Panel or Cover?

As if we don't have enough to design, someone recently brought to my attention the need for ceremony programs. This person shall remain nameless, as I want to hurl something at them, but I have to concede: they're absolutely right.

Part of the reason we're going to need a program is because we're having an Episcopal ceremony, which will entail the Lord's prayer and a marriage prayer, and since around 50% of our attendees are agnostic, Buddhist, atheist, or otherwise undeclared, having these prayers available in written form is a necessity--should attendees want to join in on the service.

Another reason for programs? Here are several:
  • Thank yous to family & friends!
  • Memoriam to those who've past, those we'd like to remember: Aunty Beck, Grandpa Armistead, Grandpa Brandt, Grandma Brandt, Grandma McClinch, Grandpa McClinch, Grandpa Rice, and Booman (we can't forget him).
  • Listing the wedding party.
  • Giving guests an overview the ceremony itself, what it will involve.
  • Providing Bill a cue for when he needs to stand up and read to us.
So, since we need a program, the next step is design. Bella Figura offers a lovely option that coordinates with our invites and table cards. One version is a PANEL program, the other is a COVER, both pictured below. The cover is probably more traditional and easier to handle while the panel is more modern, long, and potentially cumbersome.

What do you think? Send me suggestions!!!



Thursday, May 14, 2009

Calligraphy Time: Choices, Choices

Horse and Carriage, Horse and Carriage, Go Together Like Love and Marriage

Yes, it's true. We're renting a horse and carriage. Don't judge me. My reasoning is sound:

1. Grandma Pansy and Granny Alice need assistance with all that walking.
2. A horse & carriage is better than a golf cart.
3. Horses are cool.
4. Carriage are cool.
5. End of story.

So, today I booked Harmon's Carriages for 5-7 on October 3. A little before 5, a horse-drawn vis a vis carriage will pull up to the Carriage House, ready for pictures. It will escort Jen, Granny, and Grandma to the ceremony garden, and then dad and me just after--or maybe all together? We have much to work out. After the ceremony, Chris and I will take a spin around the grounds so we can catch our breath. After the cocktail hour, the carriage will escort Jen and Grandma back to the Carriage House for our 7 p.m. reception, and maybe come to collect Chris and I after. I'd prefer to walk arm-in-arm with Chris and with our guests to the beat of a fiddler, but again, we have much to work out!

But in short, we've got horseys,

May 21st! Our First Dance Lesson

So, we're all signed up and ready to boogie at Now & Then, a quaint studio in Merrifield. Our first lesson is trial-based, free, and hopefully will give us a taste for what's to come.

I have to say that their package deals are very reasonable, and I approve of their approach to couple's dance instruction: private lessons, group lessons, and "application" performances, whereby couples attend Friday night dance gatherings and show off their latest moves.

For $250, we get
  • 3 hours of private instruction
  • 3 hours of group instruction
  • 3 hours of party dancing nights
If all goes well, we'll get to work with our private dance instructor to help us choreograph a few moves for our first dance--which is thousands of dollars cheaper and a lot quicker than 6-7 months of consistent instruction. Plus, Chris and I can always practice, which I'm TOTALLY looking forward to.

We'll keep you posted! Our first lesson is the 21st, next Thursday at 8 p.m. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Interweaving Lilac and Brown Rules

So, rather than go through the whole hassle of ordering formal stationary for our rehearsal dinner invites, I whipped up a few samples of postcards on! I've purchased them, so we can actually see what they look like in real life, but for now here's a few font samples and picture options. The best part? Try only $30 to make these for 30 rehearsal dinner guests versus $100 for formal stationary.

The only way these wouldn't work out is if the Lightfoot restaurant wants guests to pre-select their menu options. In this case, we'll need to work with Bella Figura again (since they're offering us a discount) for formal stationary and reply cards. I'm waiting to hear back from Chris' mom before we go any further. For now, I'm collecting stationary samples, but I have to say: of everything I've looked at, these postcards rock the house.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Delegation = Sanity

So, we're at that part in our planning where delegation has become NECESSARY for the preservation of sanity. So far, I've recruited dad, mom, Somer (duh), Chris, Patrick, Jen, and Grandma for tasks because, well, they're AWESOME.

The trick, I'm finding, is to assign folks tasks they're passionate about--that way, they feel less like tasks, and more like a creative, fun contribution. Except, of course, where Chris is concerned--as there are (sorry pea!) a few tasks that just HAVE to get done, even though they're not a lot of fun.

So, here's the plan, thus far. I probably need to delegate more, but here's a start. Not too shabby.

  • Music: Assemble play list of songs for ceremony, cocktail hour, reception, send-off, first dance. If possible, find MP3s or iTunes of songs so that we can demo to Elise when we meet her in June/July. Contact Elise about dance leader.
  • Website Bio
  • Suit: Find suit to wear, where to rent, shoes, accessories. In charge of communicating specifics to groomsmen to ensure matching suite. Let Ally know so she can pass this along to dad and Pat.
  • Reading Passage for Ceremony
  • Alcohol: Pick wedding beer; communicate selection to mom and dad.
  • ATrendy Walk-Through: Accompany Ally on ATrendy designer walk-through at Oatlands.
  • Toast: Rehearsal dinner?
  • Dance Lessons
  • Boutonneires: Sew fabric leaves (13 total)
  • Escort Cards: Assist with construction, writing, assembly.
  • Jen's Dress: Work with Jen on finding a great tailor! Perhaps order a few sizes?
  • Lace Votives: Assist with lace around glass votives.
  • Bridal Shower: Help Grandma plan! Select and send invitations to guest list (provided by Ally).
  • ATrendy Walk-Through: Accompany Ally on ATrendy designer walk-through at Oatlands.
  • Alcohol: Select wine, champagne, liquor, and port for cocktail hour and reception. Arrange to have all + beer delivered to Oatlands. Keep Ally in the loop!
  • Toast: Will follow Best Man's at reception.
  • Transportation for Grandma: Review Ally's recommendations/research.
  • Escort Cards: Assist with construction, writing, assembly.
  • Lace Votives: Assist with lace around glass votives.
  • Flower arrangements: Help Ally with flower pick-up + arrangement in mason jars with twine on Thursday of wedding week.
  • Favor boxes: Help Ally pick-up pies from Mom's Apple Pike Bakery; wrap in parchment paper; seal in boxes; label; fix lace; tie in twine. Have them ready for Kate on Saturday (to add floral decor)
  • Twine for napkins: Help Ally measure out twine for napkins, have ready for Kate.
  • ATrendy Walk-Through: Accompany Ally on ATrendy designer walk-through at Oatlands.
  • Bachelorette Party: Plan day/evening. Invite guests.
  • Slideshow for Rehearsal Dinner
  • Bridal Shower: Help mom plan! Select and send invitations to guest list (provided by Ally).
  • Accessories: Find shoes, jewelry, etc. to go with expresso gown.
  • Dress: Attend fittings.
  • Lace votives
  • Escort cards
  • Favor boxes
  • Flower arrangements
  • Purchase all lace for votives
  • Purchase fabric for bouts.
  • Rehearsal dinner invitations
  • Website proofreading, final lookover, launching, email flashes.
  • Wedding Program: verbage, ordering, design, assembly.
  • Schedule meeting with Nicholas for final run-through of vows.
  • Complete address compilation for calligrapher.
  • Purchase postage.
  • Send out invitations.
  • Schedule dress fittings.
  • Find manicure, pedicure, hair stylist in Leesburg area.
  • Book cabin for week of wedding.
  • Finalize contract with Judy on flowers.
  • Finalize decor and all materials and furniture placement for dance hall.
  • Finalize final guest count for caterer, rental event planner.
  • Finalize logistics plan, decor placement for Kate at ATrendy; attend walk-through in September.
  • Schedule dance lessons.
  • Arrange music selection for first dance, father-bride, mother-groom, groom-grandmother dances.
  • Arrange golf cart transportation for Grandma, Alice, and maybe Jen.
  • Find table card easel stands.
  • Consider decor for bar tables--flower chains.
  • Select invitations for bridal luncheon--possibly.
  • Write toast for rehearsal dinner.
  • Purchase shoes and accessories.
  • Purchase gifts!
  • Write thank you notes as gifts come in.
  • Arrange for projector and space for slideshow at rehearsal dinner.
  • Rustic signage.
  • Seeds/flowers to toss at wedding.
  • Purchase decorative umbrellas in case of rain.
  • Mail color swatches to female family members.

Our Escort Cards!

So, after a long, long think and trial and error, we've decided to go with these lovely escort cards~! Yes, it's more arts and crafts, but I just love them, and think they'll go beautifully with our expresso and lavender color scheme, our rustic fall feel, the lighted tree branches, and the whimsical design of our other decor elements. I also feel that we need to bring out the expresso color a bit more, and had we gone with the lavender bunches as escort cards, it would have been too much purple, and too much floral!

So, next steps for our awesome leaf-making project:
  • Cancel lavender order with Judy (this will save us $160)
  • Purchase expresso and purple stock paper
  • Borrow Somer's cool white pen!
  • Determine how to display the leaves--either (a) on a table, (b) arranged and pinned in a wreath, on an easel, (c) hanging from a lighted tree branch, (d) hanging from potted tree branches, (e) pinned on ribbon on an easel.
  • Distribute Martha's awesome instructions.
We welcome your thoughts!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Did Someone Say Alcohol?

So, we're in charge of buying and bringing all the liquor, beer, wine, and champagne, as our caterer only covers mixers, soda, iced/hot tea, water, and coffee. I found this breakdown in Real Simple of what to buy and how much of it, so below I've listed out their recommendation.

Dad is in charge of wine and champagne, and Chris and I can cover the liquor and beer. Chris has LOTS of great ideas for autumn/October-themed brands, so stay tuned (!) for details. We also welcome any beer favorites with a fall, harvest flavor.

Here are Real Simple's recommendations--one estimated for 50 guests, and one for 100. We're probably somewhere in between for 70-80.

Serves 50:
  • Red Wine: 10 bottles
  • White Wine: 6 bottles
  • Champagne: 10 bottles
  • Beer: 60 bottles
  • Vodka: 2 bottles
  • Gin: 1 bottle
  • Rum: 1 bottle
  • Bourbon: 2 bottles
  • Scotch: 1 bottle
  • Port (TBD by Chris): 2 bottles
Serves 100 guests:
  • Red Wine: 12 bottles
  • White Wine: 12 bottles
  • Champagne: 20 bottles
  • Beer: 120 bottles
  • Vodka: 4 bottles
  • Gin: 2 bottles
  • Rum: 2 bottles
  • Bourbon: 2 bottles
  • Scotch (blended): 1 bottles
  • Port (TBD by Chris): 3 bottles
To keep in mind: Planners estimate one drink per person per hour. For example, a bottle of wine or champagne contains five drinks; a liter of spirits contains 22. For each bottle of spirits you need three containers of mixers--club soda, tonic, juice, and so on. Bump up the numbers for a Saturday-night affair. Warm-weather or outdoor weddings call for more clear liquors (for vodka gimlets and gin-and-tonics), cocktail parties might prompt guests to order martinis, and sit-down dinners will necessitate plenty of wine.

Inventory of Decor Supplies


Here's what we have:

1. 12 quart-size mason jars, 6 pint-size mason jars
2. 2 glass milk jars
3. 36 glass votives (2 for each table, 16 left over)
4. 2 bags of twine for mason jars, favor boxes, napkins
5. 6 yards of wide ivory lace for favor boxes
6. 4 yards of medium ivory lace for votives
6. 4 ivory electric pillar candles
7. 1 strand of C-7 bulbs
8. 100 natural brown favor boxes
9. 1 wooden "Wedding" sign
10. Table cards (will be shipped to Debi 5.12)
11. Typewriter
12. 36 electric tea lights

We still need:

1. Another bag of twine
2. More wide lace for favor boxes
3. Liquid hem
4. 7-8 strings of C-7 bulbs
5. More wooden signs (TBD)
6. Escort card materials: expresso card stock, purple paper.
7. Escort card presentation materials: easel? Canvas?
8 Table card holders: frogs.
9. Typewriter paper