Monday, March 28, 2011

Two Things Every Bride Needs: Girlfriends and a Great Pair of Shoes

Okay, so I can’t claim intellectual rights for this next idea, but you can bet I will be copying this UtK bride when I walk down the aisle.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with my wedding locale, the aisle is treacherous.  After walking down about twenty uneven stone steps, I get to trek down a very steep hill covered with gravel.  All of this is before I even get to the actual gauntlet of guests.  I guess it’s the price of getting married outside.

I’m already having nightmares about sliding on my bum all the way down that hill.  The on-site coordinator keeps telling me in his oh-so-sassy way to “not even play it.”  Thanks for the advice to not go there, Monroe, but while you and the rest of your gender get to skip on down the path in your flat bottomed shoes, I’ll be wobbling in heels, thankful for the tree line that keeps the guests from having a completely clear shot of me trying not to fall on the biggest day of my life.

It may not keep me from taking a tumble – that’s what Dad’s arm is for – but having all of my girls there with me as I take those very important steps will make the day even more special than it already is. After all, isn't that what having girlfriends is all about?  To keep you from falling.
Image Credit: Ashley Palmero

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Make Your List, Check It Twice... Then Check It Again

I completely intended to give you the rest of my invitation advice today, but alas, it isn't going to happen.  I figured the timing couldn't be better.  After all, I picked up my own invitations today - and they're stunning, if I do say so myself.  However, the MOB and I ran some other errands after our 9:00 AM meeting with the printer whose office is 45 minutes away and after several hours of fruitless errand running with no end, emotions started to run a little high.  You see, shower number one is tomorrow, and yours truly still didn't have a dress and MOB still hadn't gotten a gift.  We thrive under pressure.  Well, one mall, seventeen stores and a nervous breakdown later, neither of these things were accomplished, but I did walk away with a minor horror story for you all to learn from.

Oh, Girl, I've been there.

Registering for gifts is wonderful.  You and your fiancé fighting over who gets to hold the little scanner gun and trying to pick out what color kitchen aid mixer you want.  What could be better, right?  I'm also told that it helps prepare you for little marital squabbles when you try to decide what toaster to get when you want two slice, but he demands four.  Was that just us?  Anyway, once that nice, little registry is made, go back and check it online... all the time.  Seriously.  Check it at least once a month, and as shower season starts, once a week.

It's not to see what people are getting you.  It's to make sure nothing has been DISCONTINUED!  Here's my story.  MOB and I registered for my fine china months ago at Macy's.  When The Fiancé came into town, I happily trotted him off to the mall to show him what I'd picked out.  It was no where to be found.  We looked and looked... and then found a few pieces hanging out on the clearance table.  My $70 plate was on sale for $11.  I was upset that no one had told me at the store two weeks before that they were discontinuing the china.  So upset, in fact, that we moved our little registry right on over to Belk where I registered for a kind of boring, but safe china that would never get discontinued.  When I got home, I logged onto my registry to show MOB, and, wouldn't you know it, the store clerk signed us up for the wrong china.  I nearly gave up then and there.

My pretty china.  Yes, I mix and match!
It eventually got sorted out, and we have registered for a beautiful china that I wrote about here.  I love it and couldn't be happier with it.  But back to my story from today.  MOB and I went into Belk hoping to get a few pieces of our stemware for the shower tomorrow.  What does the guy tell us?  Not only does my registry have me signed up for the wrong stemware (platinum rimmed with my gold china?!), but they're discontinuing that style, regardless of rim.  I could feel my fake smile tightening, Bridezilla threatening to bust out of her cage for the first time.  We decided to say screw it.  We got the nice man to fix it -although he only signed me up for one wine glass and that's all.  What I liked is what I like.  We'll see how much of it we get and the rest can be bought at my new favorite website.

In the meantime, I decided to peruse my registries one more time, just to make sure nothing was a miss.  I'm sure glad that I did.  Half of the stuff we registered for at Pottery Barn is on backorder until a month after the wedding!

Lenox Firelight is a classic!  How could the be discontinuing it?!

Learn from this so you don't have to have a nervous breakdown in a Belk dressing room like I almost did.  And remember to put it in perspective.  When I told The Fiancé, he was actually almost pleased.  He figures we'll get more of it because it will be on super sale.  See?  Perspective.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bridal Support System

Were you expecting more invitation tips today?  Well, you're just going to have to wait.  I have to keep your interest piqued somehow, and giving away all my best stuff too early in the game wouldn't keep you coming back for more, now would it?  Manipulation?  What are you talking about?

Anyway, today I'm going to give you some advice that I wish someone had given me starting way back in the sixth grade when I was voted "Most likely to get married first" in our all girls bible study.  If you can help it, NEVER be the first girl in your group of friends to get married.  In addition, try to have at least one already married bridesmaid.  Why, you may ask?  Simple.

Your single friends just don't understand the whole wedding process.  They just don't.  They don't understand why you're suddenly gone ever weekend to go pick out invitations or bridesmaid dresses (Can't that be done online?) instead of going out with them like you used to.  They can't sympathize with the inevitable tears that are a part of planning any wedding, and they certainly do not want to hear you venting about the caterer, florist, printer, etc... One of my twenty two year old bridesmaids is dating a college freshman who still goes by "Billy."  She has zero interest whatsoever in what my wedding dress looks like - we're just living in different worlds.  It's not wrong of either of us, it's just how it is.

Fortunately, because of where these girls are, they love a party.  You mention cocktails, and they come running.  So while they may not be your go-to girls during a wedding crisis, trust that they'll throw you a great shower and bachelorette party.  In the meantime, find yourself a married friend who doesn't mind being your life coach for a while.  You're going to need someone who remembers the horrors of the invitation color printing three shades darker than the sample you were shown, but also can calm you down and remind you about how worth it the whole wedding day is.  Find this woman (or group of women, if you're lucky enough) and cling to her.  She will save your sanity.

PS - Remember all of this when the second girl in your group gets married.  Don't leave her out to dry, but be her bridal support group.  After all, you've been there.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Wedding Invitations, Part One

Planning a wedding has made me an expert in things that I never had any desire to know anything about.  For example, when I met with my wedding planner this past weekend, I found myself staring at a random wedding invitation in her office.  Would you believe that I not only knew the brand of said invitation, but I knew the style as well?  In fact, I knew everything about that Ceci New York Mali invitation that there was to know.  So what if peacock feathers happen to be the farthest thing from my taste?  A good bride does her research, and I did plenty when it came to stationary.

I never thought that I would be the kind of girl to sit up at night, pulling my hair out over whether or not I should go with 100% cotton paper.  But there I was, for a solid month, visiting stationary presses every weekend and agonizing over things like paper weight and ink dyes while simultaneously judging myself just a little bit.  But it wasn't entirely my fault!  The wedding industry has hyped up stationary until something as trivial as paper weight soon becomes the center of your world.  The wedding invitation is the first thing that your guests will see to inform them about your wedding.  Some would argue that this makes it one of the most important expenditures of your big day – your fabulous gown excluded, of course.  Unfortunately, due to paper and ink costs, stationary can quickly become one of your most expensive purchases as well.  I refused to spend a bigger chunk on the budget on pieces of paper that wouldn't actually make it to the wedding than my actual wedding dress, but after seeing a letterpressed Wiley Valentine invitation, you try walking away with prudence and frugality on the brain. 
They're gorgeous, right?

I'm now going to let you in on a little secret that I learned from my tortuous journey through mountains of wedding stationary.  Just like with anything else in life, you are paying for the name brand.  Not only that, you are also paying for the overhead of that fancy little boutique that you are ordering from.

When we priced out our modestly sized invitation suite at the boutique, you could have knocked me over with a blue Ceci peacock feather.  Really, it was insane.  Then, we got smart.  We went online and dealt directly with the designer (Wiley Valentine, at the time) and the price went down significantly.  Granted, we were going to have to do a little bit more leg work ourselves instead of letting someone else handle the ordering process, but still, it's totally worth it.

If bypassing the boutique for directly designer is enough for you, brava!  I, however, decided - after many days, maybe even weeks of thought - to go a different way.  To get my dream Wiley invitation, I was having to sacrifice paper quality and was stuck with thermography instead of letterpress.  Stay tuned for the next installment of wedding invitations to find out what I did to get the perfect, custom made invitation at half the cost.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Welcome to UtK

As a bride-to-be, I have enough wedding planning resources to fill an entire room.  The second that The Fiancé proposed, I started my vast and ever expanding collection.  (Okay, so maybe I had a few things before he actually popped the question...) Between the websites, the books and the stacks of magazines that are taller than I am, one would think that I would have found all the answers.  But even with all of the "help" I had, I still found myself with so many questions that were not covered.  Was I just supposed to know the answers?  Was I a bad bride because I didn't?  I was going to have to give back my pearls!  Why hadn't my mother trained me well enough?!

Alright, so maybe I am embellishing a little, but the truth is, there is a lot that these so-called "complete" wedding resources just don't cover.  Granted, some are little nitpicky issues, but some are pretty major snafoos to find yourself suddenly tangled up in.  Through this blog, I, along with the helpful advice from some other brilliant bride-to-be's, hope to shed some light on some of these ignored issues.  I'll be sharing things I've learned along the way, including maybe a horror story or two.  Don't worry - most have happy endings!  Together, we can untangle all of the crazy knots of wedding world on the way to the big day!
Image Credit:  AForestFrenzy