Friday, September 11, 2009

Our Dream Wedding

First, let me just say that I know the title sounds a little cliched...but honestly, I couldn't find better words to describe my wedding and honeymoon. I tried thinking of something a little more creative and it just sounded forced, so I went with what came naturally. It's been three weeks since our wedding now and it literally feels like it was just a dream. Every night I have thought about the events of the day, the big and small moments, and I try my best to memorize each and every image, conversation, and taste. It's already fading. I'm so happy we have photographs that help us hold on to these very special occasions. I've spent a ridiculous amount of time on Facebook since returning from my honeymoon - searching for all of the albums that friends and family have posted, tagged and commented on until my heart felt full and my memory was strong once again. I loved my wedding. I only wish that I could've sat down and had more conversations with all the people I love. I know it's ridiculous to think you will get to sneak off and have 5 minutes with everyone but for some reason, that's what I had hoped for. If you think about it practically, 5 minutes with each person at a 150 guest wedding would come to about 12 and half hours. Hmmm...that would be the longest reception ever.

I think I experienced all of the good emotions a person can enjoy in one day. There were moments of nervousness, panic, and self-doubt...but once the doors opened at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and I saw my future husband waiting for me at the end of the aisle, I couldn't take my eyes off of him and I felt like I was at home in his gaze. My bestie, Jordyn's voice sang sweetly as I walked down the aisle to a Les Mis medley, a favorite musical and story that Adam and I both love. I continued to keep my eyes on him as my dad and I slowly walked forward. A long time family friend, Pastor Dave, was there to welcome us and perform a beautiful ceremony. I was very moved by the reverent way in which he delivered the message and walked us through our vows. As he spoke, Adam and I looked into each other's eyes and I could see that we were both so connected and confident that this is truly the person we had both been waiting for. As tradition goes, the ceremony ended with a kiss and a festive song as we departed, followed by the rest of the wedding party. We were greeted by so many hugs from our friends, full of joy and moved by the promises we had just made to each other. The wedding bell chimed and everyone cheered. It was like a blanket of warmth, love, and support.

We stuck around Port Gamble for a few minutes as our guests headed out to the reception house. We loved our photographers, Crystal and Jason, they made us feel so comfortable and had so many wonderful, artistic ideas for capturing all of the special moments of our day. Please go check out their blog to see a few of their favorite pictures from the wedding. I've looked at them several times already!

As we drove out to Hansville for the reception with Crystal, I had an idea to stop by the Point No Point light house to capture a few, last minute, beachy pictures (like the one featured at the top of this blog post). The sun was starting to set, the fisherman were out trying to snag a catch, and it was just lovely. I'm a big fan of the ocean and large bodies of water so I'm very happy we were able to get a couple of photo's in that setting.

After arriving at the house and seeing a few of the decorations in the front, Adam and I made our way upstairs to the balcony where we would be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. and greet our guests. But first, I made a quick hair piece switch and replaced my veil with the lovely, modern-styled birdcage that my dear friend Jordyn had made for me by her California Designer friend, Shawntel. Katrina, my new sister in law, the lovely lady who gave me a fabulous updo, helped position the birdcage in place and away we went.

It was magical standing up on the balcony, peering out over the entire backyard at all of our beloved friends and family...all smiling and waving back at us. That was one of my favorite moments. Standing up there and making eye contact with each and every person. I think my eyes watered...but it was hard to tell with the thick lashes that I was wearing. After greeting the guests, we made our way downstairs and around the house. Elaina was my day of coordinator and florist and she executed the set up and decor arrangement to perfection. I remember getting all of the decor set up and ready the night before and thinking to myself, I really want to be out there setting all this up. I couldn't have left this job to a more capable lady, Elaina's eye for design, her sense of structure and her easy-going nature make her every bride's dream for a designer and day of reception coordinator. She is also a singer and along with the band, serenaded us during our first dance to the song, "At last".

We were immediately directed to the buffet line where we loaded up on fruits, salads and cheeseburgers (I still wish I could've had french fries). I however, could hardly eat. I was so excited. I just wanted to hug and squeeze and talk to everyone there. I think I ate a quarter of my hamburger...yep, just enough bites to let everybody see the famous "cheeseburger face" that Adam is so proud of (he captured this horrible picture of me eating In & Out and saved it as the picture that pops up when I call him on his cell - aka cheeseburger face).

From there we had to take care of the logistics so we went inside and signed the marriage certificate to make it all official. From there we went right into cutting the cake. Early in our engagement Adam and I had a conversation about the tradition of feeding cake to each other. I said I thought it was a little silly and that I really didn't like it when couples smash cake in each other's faces. I just don't get the humor. He was replied by saying, you are definitely getting cake in your face. To which I replied, I better not or I will be mad. He pouted for a while and then commented about how only the fun couples smash cake in each other's faces. I told him look, I'm going to spend 2 hours putting make up on my face (not really) and don't want to get all messy wearing the fanciest dress I will ever wear. Well, I mentioned this in front of him and several friends to get opinions and everyone agreed that cake face was lame. When the actual moment came for me to feed Adam his piece of cake, I gave him his wish and fell prey to the crowd saying "do it, do it". I followed this up with a large kiss intended to remove the majority of the cake near his mouth. When it was Adam's turn to feed the cake, he lovingly and gently popped a small piece right in my mouth. He's such a sweetheart. And now according to him, I will always be thought of as the fun one and he, the boring one. I say not the case. The fun one is the person who allowed the cake smashing in the first place, right?

After cake we moved on to the toasts. Amy Richardson, my matron of honor and lifelong friend started it off by wishing that all of our ups and downs happen between the sheets:) I was afraid there would be several embarrassing, younger Melody stories - but to the dismay of the guests - she was kind of enough to only say some of the sweetest things anyone has ever said about me. Jordyn, my new sister-in-law and co-best friend followed Amy. I will never forget hearing Jordyn's perspective and version of the Adam and Melody story. I have already thought of her last words and sound advice on two occasions, "Melody, take care of my brother. Adam, take care of my best friend." It's really as simple as just taking care of each other, isn't it? Adam's two brothers and co-best men followed the girls, hard acts to follow. Simon, the family comedian, entertained us with several stories that sound very familiar - the older brother and younger brother stories. It made me smile to hear Simon recount growing up with Adam as a big brother - Adam is such an academic, he actually had a project for Simon to read a book and write a book report and for that he got to go to a baseball game or some such reward, I can't remember. And lastly David, the middle boy in the family...with similar funny stories about Adam being so private (romantically) and wandering off to get married and then randomly showing up one day at a family event with a wife and two kids! Luckily that didn't happen though (it wasn't really an option), and we all got to enjoy a nice big celebration!

From there the night is kind of a blur. We spent the next hour dancing beneath the cafe lights that covered the deck and softly illuminated the dance floor. Adam and I to our song, "At last," inspired by the lovely Barack and Michelle at the inaugural ball. We had a couple of twists, spins and a dip but otherwise, it was just a basic side to side dance and we both managed to not stomp on each others toes - so it was a success. My father and I followed (neither of us dancers) to a bit of a lengthy song (we both agreed): "The Way You Look Tonight," but it was a beautiful moment with my dad where memories of playing catch in the back yard, him taking me around the block on a sled when it snowed and all of the fond memories I have ever had with my dad flooded my mind. I love him so much, he has spent his life taking such good care of me, my mom, and my brothers. For my wedding, he made all sorts of beautiful furniture that you can see in the pictures on my photographers website. From Adirondack chairs, to a small love seat, coffee table, end tables, cupcake table and arbor, he really showered my reception with beautiful furniture and went to incredible lengths to help set up the candy table, lights, and other decorations so that it would be a dream wedding. And it really was dad, thank you.

Adam and his mom followed up the dancing with a great song from The Beatles, "In My Life". I can't believe Michele made it through that song without crying even a bit. I know it was such a special day for her, to see her eldest son get married...a man who has become an inspiration to her in many ways. I love how much Michele loves Adam. I love her so much for the love that she has for all of her family. It was such a sweet moment that they shared. Adam and I were blessed with two fine examples of family and marriage. I am so thankful to my parents for teaching me about love, about compromise and being selfless, and of course, about giving and being generous. Anita and Hank, you are the best parents God could've given me. Mark and Michele, you are the best new parents a girl could ask for.

There was a lot of dancing afterwards, mostly by the Cook clan, and I tried to make my rounds and spend time with everyone and also see the decorations and sweet details like the candy table, and the family wedding portraits and the beautiful furniture. This was especially wonderful to view in the candle light which made everything so much softer and magical.

Finally it was time to go. I remember pouting about this and asking Adam if we could stay. I didn't want to say goodbye to everyone! But the sparklers and luminaries were lit, so off we went, around the house, past all of our lovely tables and decorations, through the pathway of candles and luminaries, friends and family, cheering for and wishing us well. What a perfect send off. Very magical.

And now we're back from our honeymoon and making plans for our life together. It's so fun to discuss the future with someone. To know that they are permanent, that they are for sure going with you. In case any of you are wondering, I've have decided to take Adam's last name, I'm now Melody Cook (not officially). I like the sound of that.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just a few short days now...

I woke up this morning filled with excitement for the day's activities - I'm going to take my bridesmaids, sister in laws, and mothers to have high tea at the cutest, sweetest little tea room followed by mani/pedis, some reception setup activities and last minute projects, and finally a small cozy bachelorette party over wine and dinner later tonight. It is going to be an amazing day, I can't wait to have all these amazing ladies surrounding me. Their love and encouragement have definitely helped me through all those years of dating duds, lonliness, and now to finally being with the man of my dreams, they have each taught me how to be a more loving and considerate partner.

Here's to all of my special ladies, I love you! Cheers!

Ps. I finally am so EXCITED!! What took so long??

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eight Days A Week...I Love You

Many of you know that I have been feeling a little on edge, nervous, cold feet, anxious, overwhelmed, etc...with the realization that my upcoming nuptials are just a few days a way. I think the tipping point was last Saturday at my friend Joni's wedding when I realized in fullness, the magnitude of this decision as I listened to their wedding vows up close, and in person.

I'm happy to say that my nerves have cooled down and I currently "feel" so in love and ready to be married. With only 8 days to go and nearly one week away, I am experiencing more clarity than I did throughout the entire engagement period. I guess it's mostly because like many brides, I became obsessed with the planning (which I had a great time with) and the details, that I started to feel a bit distant and I started to lose perspective of the things that really matter.

It was so refreshing to walk through everything with my parents last Friday (in a 6 hour cram session before I had to rush over to Seattle for Joni's rehearsal) - they have really picked up the last minute odds and ends and have made my heart feel so at peace, I am such a lucky girl. I got to see all the TLC that my dad put into making adirondack chairs, a cake table, a coffee table, ends tables and even an arbor (which I didn't get to see)...all to add an extra homey, crafty, unique experience for the guests at my wedding. But mainly just for me. Because he loves me so much. That's how it has always been. My parents, doing things for me and my brothers, sacrificing their own desires for me and my brothers.

I'm feeling really loved right now. Now if only I had my dress. Wait...back to what's important!! I'm feeling really loved right now.

I'm feeling so in love with Adam, my family, my new family, all of my friends who are coming into town for the event...Trish & Hans flying all the way across the country along with several of Adam's groomsman, my friends from California, Jesse and Kelly who I haven't seen in forever and would've never thought that they could make it...there are so many people are going above and beyond to say they love us and support us that I am just floored and totally humbeled by all of this love and generosity. My friends Lindsey, Laura and Jess who have driven me to Priscilla of Boston 6+ times to support me, shop with me, and encourage me when I have a melt down.

I'm not entirely sure what the Beattles meant when they wrote the song, 8 Days A Week - I'm guessing by the lyrics that they wanted even more time with the person they love - 7 days/week was not nearly enough. I want a lifetime with Adam - 8 days a week aren't enough for me :) And one wedding day will not be nearly enough time with all the people I love, but I'm really looking forward to it. I will be there. Thanks everyone - I can't wait to see you.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Yeah, I'll Just Suck It Up & Go With UPS or...What's In A Last Name?

All - after serious discussions this morning with my colleagues (most of which are Navy guys and Government employees), I decided to suck it up and pay the extra $$ to have my breakables shipped via UPS. One of the guys was telling me a few of his Grandma's horror stories with airlines damaging things in her suitcase...apparently she won't even travel without sending her things via UPS ahead of time. It does make the prospect of heading for the airport via public transportation so much more appealing. I'm still bringing a lot of extra stuff with me, but it's a manageable amount. Anyhoo, just wanted to give you an update in case the last email was seriously alarming. I was tired and venting. The sun rose this morning and I felt so happy because I know the next couple of weeks are going to fly by and then I will be Mrs. Melody Cook. It's kind of fun to have a name change, right? I was having some serious reservations about ditching "mathews" - it has served me really well and does seem to be so much more special now that I have decided to take his last name. Mrs. Melody Mathews-Cook is just too long and I don't want to lose my middle name, Joy. It was funny to see so many people raise their eyebrows when I told them I was considering keeping my last name - what's the big deal anyway?? So much of our identity is tied up in the last name - it's really difficult to pull off the whole switcheroo. I still call some of my closest friends by their maiden name. It wasn't until I changed their info in my address book that my brain clued in to the fact that they had new names. I guess it takes some brides nearly a year to officially change all of their records. Yikes. I have a hard enough time notifying everyone when I move...

Maybe I should rethink the switch...What do you think?? Are you raising your eyebrows as you read this? No offense or anything, I'm just curious because it doesn't bother me and I always wonder why it bothers some people.

Ps. I'm so happy that I don't have to lug a huge suitcases to the airport and worry the entire plane ride that everything is broken. Now I can just sit back and enjoy several hours of P&Q along with a few episodes of the Closer (new fav). Homeward Bound!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Why did I decide to get married all the way across the country? This decision has made planning our wedding so difficult in more ways than I originally imagined and tomorrow will be another frustrating obstacle as I attempt to fly with three suitcases that are overweight, full of glass and breakable items - and land in Seattle without any damage. Sure, just like any bride planning a wedding across the country, I used the Internet for several purchases, especially the extra large ones...but, you can never account for all of the little items that you will stumble upon as you wander in and out of your favorite stores and must purchase because they will definitely make the decor THAT much more preppy-chic! Or what about the 10,000 little votive holders that you had to buy in Virginia because the Seattle IKEA was all sold out and oh how delightful, IKEA does not ship glass...So, instead of sleeping, I am merely taking a break from packing to grumble about this unfortunate and daunting task ahead to the two readers who occasionally check my blog. Notice - it is nearly 12PM - and yes, I am feeling quite sorry for myself. Although I shouldn't be. I had an amazing day which included a stop at Tiffany's where I purchased this incredible necklace to wear on my wedding day and hopefully pass on to my daughter someday. I have a feeling a necklace is a little more classic than my dress leaving her more inclined to participate in my sappy tradition. The question now is, what earrings do I get? I'm not all about the matchy-matchy; I like things to look like they naturally go together without looking like a set. Anyhow, I sort of got sidetracked there - the point of this post is to say that getting married across the country is hard, I wouldn't recommend it unless you have a full time coordinator.

Well, I'm going to finish packing - wish me luck with the airlines tomorrow :) Can you just imagine me on the metro with all of my bags? And yes, for all of you who are wondering why I didn't just mail everything...duh, I thought this would be the least expensive way to go and the safest - after all, who would you trust more with your breakables? USPS or the Airlines?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shabby Chic Signage with a Personal Touch

I honestly love - I really can't sing it's praises enough! It has come in so handy for adding personal style elements to the decor that I honestly don't have enough time nor enough creative juices to pursue myself. Since my reception is at a private residence, we knew that it would take bringing in a lot of our own style to make the venue say preppy-chic. This has been tricky living across the country - thank goodness for the internet, right? Now, if only I could avoid the shipping costs...Anyhoo, I was thinking a lot about including signage around the property that welcomes, thanks and again, adds a personal touch to the layout. I was originally planning on finding a few pieces of old wood, making a sign and painting myself (this would be fine if I wasn't a perfectionist and didn't have only one day of free time before all of the wedding festivities start) - instead, I found a solution and a lovely artisan on called The Back Porch Shoppe - I think I was actually hunting for picture frames when I found their sweet list of items. Anyhow, I asked them to do a small collection for me and they were so easy to work with and friendly. I haven't seen the signs in person yet, but here is a sneak peek that they just sent me (*the lettering is navy blue). I'm excited to use these signs (a couple of them) as decorations in our house after the wedding - I think they make a nice keepsake!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Dress Disaster Averted

I have returned from the dress fitting and I'm happy to say that it was successful! It turns out the alteration lady is pretty awesome at what she does - thank goodness! There are a few kinks that she has to work out, but I think it will all turn out okay in the end. I really do love the dress and can't wait to wear it! Melissa Sweet's Reverie label is so incredible, I recommend checking it out if you haven't already! For all of you who said a little prayer for me after you read the previous two blogs, thank you - your support means a lot. I promise the next blog that I post will be a little more heart warming and not so stressful! Well, I'm off to boot camp! Cheers!

Wedding Dress Alterations Disaster or Should I Say, Potential Disaster

For all brides who have trusted the lady who sold them their wedding dress - this story is definitely for you. As I mentioned in my last post, my gown is a little snug around the hips. This past month I have been working out and eating light in an effort to loosen the dress up around my thighs a bit. As is the case with many woman and definitely the case with me, my body likes to store up little extras in the thigh/hip/backside region. If things worked the way they were meant to work (in my perfect world) - my body would be happy to get rid of that extra baggage first. But NO!!! I lose my weight in my upper body first, especially my face and arms leaving me (in my opinion) extremely disproportionate to my lower half.

When I posted the last blog, I felt confident that I would be able to lose a little weight in time to allow my dress to lay flat and fit properly. The fabric is a silk chiffon - so it bunches up when it's a little snug and that is really distracting, in my opinion. When I left Priscilla of Boston the last time, I felt confident that my alterations lady would be able to work her magic and that the dress would fit and we would be good to go. But my concern was heightened yesterday when I received a voicemail from her asking me to call her back. The connection was really bad so I could barely understand who she was or what she was saying on the voicemail that she left. So I called back the last number just to find out. A lady answered, "Priscilla of Boston," - so I connected the dots and realized it must have been my alterations lady. She transferred me to my alterations gal who hurriedly explained a couple of things, non of which I could understand until I heard her ask, "have you lost any weight?" That I heard and understood as clear as night and day. All I could think about was, she must be extra concerned, why else would she be asking? I told her that I had been toning up and that it was hard to say if I'd lost weight per say but perhaps I had lost an inch or a little less (which is more relevant to the dress fitting, wouldn't you think?) She didn't say anything, so I continued to assure her (for some strange reason I felt that I needed to - shouldn't the tables have been flipped in this situation) that I had barely ate anything and that I definitely had not gained weight.

The next topic she brought up was that of her manager calling all over town to the other couture boutiques to find my dress in a size larger. This officially set me into panic mode - why is her manager stressing out - if there is give in the inseam (which is what she told me last time), what's the big deal. So I asked my alterations lady about that and it turns out there is less than 1 inch of fabric to help them loosen it up a bit. Noticing that I was beginning to get worried, she tried to reassure me. She said that she would go to the store and get fabric and they could remake the skirt. Well, I know this is going to sound pretty high maintenance - but I hated this idea! I paid extra to have a couture gown and I went to Priscilla of Boston because I heard that they are experts in the business and would make sure the appropriate size was chosen for me based on my measurements. My alterations lady started saying something about the woman who took my measurements (mentioned in the last story) and it sounded like she was blaming her a bit. Towards the end of the conversation I asked her, why did you call me to ask me these things before my fitting today? To that she replied, I was just calling to see if we could reschedule for an hour later - apparently her shift had changed and she wanted to make sure she was the one helping me out because she had worked for me before. That was very thoughtful of her - now if only we could have avoided the entire first half of the conversation, I wouldn't currently be dreading my appointment to try on my dress this afternoon. To make things even worse, my friend who was supposed to go with me is not feeling well so I might be all alone in this.

One thing I know for sure, if things get a little emotional this afternoon - I am dialing my Bestie, Jordyn, one of my two MOH, and she is going to help me get this sorted. She used to work in one of the fanciest bridal boutiques in Orange County - I'm sure she can help me understand what the situation is and help me work through this with the manager and alterations lady. Stay tuned for part II - after the appointment this afternoon....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Odwalla Superfood for Lunch

Approximately three weeks ago I had my very first dress fitting. As I drove to the Priscilla of Boston in Tyson's Corner and parked in front of the Tiffany's - I imagined myself stopping there after the fitting to buy something beautiful that I could pass down to my daughter's and they could pass down to their daughter's. But let me stop right there - that's not what this story is all about. This story is about my dress not fitting properly.

Yes, at my very first dress fitting - where I was on cloud nine and couldn't wait to see MY dress, my very own dress...the dress was tight around the hips/thighs. At 5' 10" I had to get extra length, so the lady working on my alterations told me that we should focus our attention this fitting on making the dress the appropriate length. She also mentioned that most brides cry on their first fitting because the dress doesn't fit perfectly. As she told me this, my thoughts went back to the very petite (approximately 4'11" and 90 lbs) lady who took by measurements and said something along these lines, "you need to work on your hips, I'll write down one inch smaller on this chart to give you some motivation." Talk about stealing my joy after I found the perfect dress. I remember swallowing and taking a deep breath, then saying, is that easy to do? She said, "for you, no problem...10 pounds".

Fast forward to my dress fitting - I was so mad at that little lady and her tiny self - what does she know about thighs anyway? I can lose ten lbs quickly - but it all comes off my arms and stomach - the thighs are the LAST to go (a curse, I would say). After the dress I ordered did not fit, I started to dream about that second dress that I hadn't gotten and decided it was time to try it on again. This is something the folks that work at the store should not allow! Once a dress comes in for a bride - that's it - no trying on other dresses and then changing your mind. That dress of course fit perfectly which lead to 4 days of tossing and turning at nights trying to decide which dress to get. If I bought a whole new dress, I would forfeit my dress and lose the deposit - and then I would have to pay an additional $3k to have the new dress of my dreams. At the end of the day I rationalized with myself, "Self, you picked out that other dress first - don't be crazy and get this other one now, just get into shape for crying out loud!"

I happened to watch the movie Bride Wars a few days later - I know, I know, terrible movie - but if you are interested in watching all things wedding right now, it's filled with updated styles and fashions and it's pretty amusing at times. At one point in the movie, Kate Hudson is trying on a very pretty Vera Wang and the sales lady says something along the lines of you can't gain weight if you buy this dress - which kind of shocks Kate Hudson because why would a sales lady be so rude. She follows that up by saying, "You don't alter a Vera Wang to fit your body, you alter your body to fit a Vera Wang." Now, I didn't buy a Vera Wang - but as I was standing up there in my Melissa Sweet gown, I thought, if this gets altered too much, we will undoubtedly lose the beautiful shape and I can't have that. So, what did I do? I enrolled in yoga and boot camp - long and lean baby, that's the goal! I've been going for 3 weeks now and I'm already noticing a difference in my arms ( big deal).

My second dress fitting is on Wednesday and because of this, I am going to have Odwalla Superfood for lunch these next two days and try not to eat anything too salty which puffs me up. Silk chiffon is not forgiving if it's tight - it bunches in the front in a way that looks terrible!! And there isn't any fabric to work with here - she'd have to pull the gown up to get a little of the volume that is found lower in the dress (it's a very subtle trumpet fit). In doing so, I'm concered that, A) the dress will then be too short, B) the dress will lose it's beautiful, soft curved, long and flowing shape. Ugh.

Superfood it is. Cheers! (can't even believe I'm making an Odwalla pitch on my wedding blog - desperate times call for desperate measures...)

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Find me a Vase!

It's a little ridiculous but...I've spent hours and hours looking at vases online. I like flowers in very organic arrangements and so I thought it would be lovely to have several different bouquets on each table in different size and shaped vases.

  1. My first solution for this was to just gather as many vases as possible from friends and family - regardless of color, shape, size - and see how creative we could get with arranging them as centerpieces. I haven't completely let go of that idea because it is a really thrifty way to do it and I'm sure that Elaina (my florist) will be able to make it come together and look very preppy chic.

  2. On the other hand, I love the idea of using mint julep cups as vases - I like their southern, traditional look and feel. I could get three different sizes of these silvery vases, maybe add ribbons to soften them up, and get a very preppy/romantic feel.

  3. Lastly, and this would be a heck of a lot easier if I were in Poulsbo - I could go shopping at Antique Malls and Flea Markets and really get an assortment of vases that look vintage and shabby-chic (have I gone overboard and used the word "chic" way too many times in this post??). Honestly, I arrive in town the Tuesday morning before my Saturday wedding, I could easily hit up three antique stores that I am familiar with on my way home. If I go this route it's a tad bit risky because I won't be able to budget for the vases - on the other hand, it seems so much more personal and interesting per table.

  4. I also like the idea of incorporating old mason canning jars - this idea kind of ties into option number three as I think you are most likely to find these old jars in antique shops.
When asking my beau about this dillema he said, "Bud, do you think everyone is actually going to notice the vases you choose?" I know he was trying to be helpful and his statement actually made me crack up and release some of the stress I was experiencing over this decision. The flower's are what make the centerpieces lovely, I guess I'm putting way too much time and thought into what we put them in. Which option do you like? Do you have any recommendations for places to find great deals on vases?


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cake Toppers -

I spend way too much time on Etsy these days! But I can't help myself, there are too many sweet crafts and accessories that are so unique and professional that could potentially add the personal touch that I want to achieve without looking too "DIY". Here are a few cake topper options that have caught my eye...let me know what you think! We are doing cupcakes because I spent half of my time at Cupcake Royale when I lived in Seattle - but there will still be a small cutting cake so we can take part in the tradition of feeding each other cake. Speaking of tradition, someday I plan to write a book of new, revitalized traditions...there are some traditions that should really cease to exist. That however, is a totally seperate blog for when I have a little more time to elaborate. Anyhow, check out these cake topper ideas, all found on

If the cake topper idea is too cheesy, we can always use some flowers to dress the cutting cake up a bit. I really love these little yellow flowers called billy buttons, they are precious!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

7 Weeks to go...

For some reason I was feeling really good about the wedding plans - until I realized that I am no longer in front of the 2 month mark by a few weeks, but actually, just past it by one. I stopped by TJ Maxx yesterday to get a yoga mat for my new ultimate boot camp class that I'm now taking 3 days a week. Afterwards, I came home and had just enough time to walk through our engaged couples class assignment from last week with my fiance before I fell asleep from exhaustion. How does one work full time, plan a wedding, get into shape, take a pre-marital counseling course, and oh yeah, just find time to enjoy your fiance -- when the list of wedding to do's are insane. And I don't think as brides, it's entirely our fault. Sure we decide what to take on, but from the day you get engaged there is this month by month list of things you ought to do in order to prepare for this wedding and since you have never actually been married, you kind of assume that you should do everything on the list when it tells you to. I recently subscribed to a blog called A Practicial Wedding, that has a very interesting perspective on really made me laugh and put it all into perspective.

Today, I'm happy to say that I'm throwing the list out the window and making my own list. So there!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Enough About the Women...What Will the Men be Wearing?

I've spent a lot of time writing about what the bridesmaids might wear and just realized that I haven' t mentioned what my groom and his guys will be wearing. This is partly because we didn't make a decision about this until last weekend and because there are a lot more dress options out there for the ladies making the experience of IR (internet research :) a lot more interesting. Adam looks so great in a black tux that I'm starting to have second thoughts about his ensemble but the formal black tux really doesn't mesh with the theme and overall tone we are looking to set. I imagined him looking more like one of the JCrew grooms and so this is the outfit that we concocted (*NOTE: this is the exact suit that we will be renting - he wont' be wearing a vest or a bowtie)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Shawntel Designs a Beautiful Headpiece for my Wedding!

I am in love with the modern birdcage that is very popular this season. I had to find a way to incorporate the look into my wedding without missing the opportunity to wear the veil - afterall, this is my one chance to wear a veil! My bestfriend, Jordyn, had the idea to talk to her friend Shawntel who is an incredible, up and coming designer. This is what she came up with, I hope you like it! You can find Shawntel on Facebook if you have questions about her designs! She is also an incredibly talented sketch and watercolor artist who can produce a beautiful painting of your wedding dress! Let me know what you think about the birdcage - my sister-in-law to be, Katrina, helped me with the positioning and the updo!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Yellow Shoes and Billy Buttons

I love infusing bright and cheerful elements into the wedding details whenever possible. Since my staple color is a classic and calm navy blue, I want to add hints of color to liven things up a bit. My Bestie Boo found these yellow shoes from Victoria Secret for a great price and I think they will look lovely with the navy blue and ivory dresses. I was already planning on the bridesmaids carrying white bouquets, but now that we have found yellow shoes, what if I added a few billy buttons to the equation? I love the fullness and whimsy of ranunculas...which I think will be in season at the end of August (unfortunately the fluffy peonies will not) coupled with the pop and pizzazz that the billy buttons provide. Take a look and let me know what you think :)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Engagement Photo Session Results

Adam and I had a great time in Seattle over Memorial Day weekend! The weekend was jam packed with lots of wedding planning events and festivities, but well worth the extra energy and mild cold afterwards from sleep deprivation. As most of you know from my previous post, I was trying to coordinate a few cute outfits for us to wear during our photo shoot. I ended up using the navy, JCrew swiss-dot dress and the jeans with the long sweater and scarf number. We walked around the eclectic and nostalgic Fremont neighborhood getting our picture taken for a couple of hours! It was definitely a little awkward at first; I think the last time I had my picture professionally taken was high school senior pictures...and I actually wore a pair of tan overalls in that photo shoot (ugh). If you'd like to check out more pictures you can visit our photographer's blog where they have posted their favorite shots. I really enjoyed their company, they are a young, creative, carefree couple with a lot of patience. I'm glad we took some time to have an engagement photo session because I now feel so comfortable about having them up close and personal on the big day. I am also happy that I get to see their products with us as the subject, ahead of time! I highly recommend the extra time and money for an engagement photo session with your wedding photographer!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bridesmaid Dress Chosen...On To The Engagement Photo Shoot Outfits

Well, most of you who follow this blog already know that I chose dress option number 1 for my ladies to wear and I'm very happy about this decision. For some reason, that was the only dress that I could envision the full ensemble perfectly. Now on to more pressing matters - Adam and I are heading to Seattle next weekend for fun with friends, a couple of bridal showers and an engagement photo shoot with our photographers. I am so excited about this because Adam and I don't have a lot of pictures together and the ones we do have are self know the ones where Adam doesn't smile because he thinks I'm obnoxious/vain for holding the camera up and requesting that he make all sorts of faces.

The tricky thing is, I have had a hard time deciding what we should wear. On one hand I want to have a clean/classic look so that 20 years from now we don't say...yikes, what were we thinking. On the other hand, I want to look youthful and stylish which happens when you pick out some funky trendy pieces and incorporate them into the outfit. I have already picked up a couple of things so far and could use some opinions. Take a look at these pieces and let me know what you think:

First outfit:
I went into this store called South Moon Under and fell in love with this long sweater - I like how creams and whites colors look fresh and clean in pics so I thought I would pair this with a cute white tank and dark hudson's, scarf (since I love wearing these with everything) and a pair of wooden wedge-sandals:

To go with this look Adam would wear this light blue Quicksilver button down, dark rinse Lucky jeans and his light brown Rainbow flips:

Okay, on to outfit number 2: I bought this dress from JCrew - in navy blue and I was thinking I'd just keep it simple by wearing t-strap sandals and maybe a long necklace (kind of like the model in the picture). To go with my navy blue dress, Adam would wear a bright grass-green half zip sweater from Banana Republic that has a few thin navy and white stripes (I couldn't find an image for this one) and the same jeans and flips combo.

For the final outfit, and this is the one I am a little unsure about - I have picked out this top from French Connection. I loved the color although it's kind of hard to see the red/orange that it really is in person. I want to pair it with white capris, the wooden sandal wedges and a brown belt that hangs a little looser. For Adam, I am going to have him wear a soft navy v-neck with some dark khaki cargo shorts - something kind of simple to tone down my funky top.

So...that's all I've really got so far. Any thoughts? Thanks!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Bridesmaid Dresses: The Showdown, Part II

I have narrowed down my dress options for my lovely ladies in waiting/bridal party. Option #1 is this little Alfred Sung number: I love the big box pleats, the bow, the belt/sash, and color combo. I could see this pairing nicely with ponytail, white bouquet and fuchsia shoes. One idea is for all bridesmaids and matrons of honor to wear this dress and with this color scheme. The second idea is for my matrons of honor to wear the same dress with a reversed color palette (ivory dress, navy trim and sash).

Option #2 is to go with a JCrew fabric and allow the ladies to pick out their dress style preference. I like the cotton cady fabric, I think it is light and summery and will work well for a late August wedding. Plus, there are 5 styles to choose from so one of these cuts has to please each of my 8 girls! I also like how different styles look a little more organic in pictures as if they all just happened to wear the same color of dress that day :)

Option #3: My final option is one that my dear friend and bridesmaid, Kara found for me! When JCrew came out with their summer collection, I totally forgot to look at the regular dresses outside of the wedding party page. She found this navy blue, swiss-dot, soft, sweet and summery little number that might be the answer! I like it because it's a little less "bridesmaidy" and I definitely think you CAN wear this one again. Ladies, I know we have heard that several times from the weddings we have been in but, I think this dress it would actually work!'s also the most affordable of the three options.

I love all three of these options and think each of them would work well in our preppy-chic wedding :) I just can't decide!! Thoughts?

Bridesmaid Dresses: The Showdown, Part I

I waited the entire month of April for JCrew's big summer preview to find THE perfect dress for my ladies and the best they could come up with is the Silk Dupioni Rosette Dress??? Seriously, this dress was the only new bridesmaid dress that I saw! I am a big fan of the whimsical rosettes that are popping up everywhere this season from fancy dresses to t-shirts, it's definitely a sweet accent...but this dress is absolutely out of control. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Outdoor Lighting

Okay...what do you call these outdoor, clear, bulb, stringy lights anyway? I have been conducting search after search trying to locate these bulbs that I have seen featured in tons of movies, pictures, etc. and I finally found a set at World Market! I really doubt they are the only store that carries these lights!

Anyone out there know what they are technically called and where to find them for a smashing good deal?

Thursday, April 16, 2009


My friend Jordyn had the best idea for her wedding: she rented lounge furniture and made things so cozy for her guests by bringing/ordering blankets, pillows and heat lamps (it was outdoors in December, CA - not too cold, just mildly chilly).

I think I'd like to piggy back on that idea for my reception by adding outdoor furniture that will make you feel like you are at a fancy, east coast beach/garden party. I'm not quite sure where to rent furniture that looks like this, but this picture from Restoration Hardware's Nantucket collection is my inspiration...very preppy, right?

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Registry Dilemma

I've spent every night this week, approximately 3 hours per night, trying to decide on the 15 things that I finally have in my registry. That is pretty much an hour per thing. There are a couple of things at work against me...1) I'm using an online registry from that was appealing because I could shop wherever I wanted and all items could be stored in one location. However, there are two problems with this - first, if you have the opportunity to look at every website out there for the perfect duvet cover and you are me, you will spend 3 hours looking for a duvet cover. If you are limited to the one store you are registering at, you will probably just pick that thing and be done with the process.

I have now spent an insane amount of time looking at different types of silverware, not because I wanted to so much but because I thought I should since I have that capability from Second issue is that I love Crate and Barrel and I can't seem to find a way to make Crate & Barrel get into my registry basket. It's supposed to be easy: you go to the website, pick the thing you want and then click on your little icon to capture that thing and it automatically asks you how many and you can add notes, etc. For some reason, does not like Crate and Barrel and will not allow me to have it.

I realize that I have now said 'thing' a billion times. That happens to be another issue. My fiance doesn't particular like things and stuff - so maybe I should just ask people to donate money to our honeymoon and fun trips that we could do if they'd like to get us gifts? The thing with that is neither of us really have any kitchen things, so I feel like we need a good foundation. Maybe it would just be easiest to go to a store and pick up things and put them in our registry?

What to do friends? Stay the course and continue the never ending, online hunt with Or just pop by Macy's and Crate and Barrel this weekend and knock the whole thing out in one pop? Or just ask guests to donate to our honeymoon if they'd like to give us gifts and worry about things later?

Please help!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My Worst Nightmare

I woke up really late this morning after the most memorable, terrible nightmare! I had a dream that I was at my wedding reception and no one was there. It's true, after sending out 170 invitations, not even my closest friends showed up. The entire dream was spent hastily searching this enormous reception site for the people that I thought should be there, bumping into someone strange who would then tell me that so and so isn't there! Even my best friend Jordyn showed up late and just kind of shrugged her shoulders about the whole situation. To be honest, I have no idea where this nightmare even came from! I don't have some strange, subconcious fear that people won't show up to the wedding festivities...or do I? It could be a result of the conversation I had with my mom last night where she told me that my 99 year grandfather won't be able to make it. It's hard for him to travel, I expected him to miss the occasion.

Still, I might send out double the invites now that I had that dream...just to be safe. Please come to my wedding friends!! :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fine China...

Okay, I went online to start the registering process and was immediately stumped on the china. I looked at every piece of china I could find and it just wasn't clear to me...should I order fine china or not? I tried my hardest to remember whether or not my last couple of friends who just got married ordered china and I couldn't quite remember. I'm not trying to step on any toes here but, china seems like one of those things that the younger generation is caring less and less about. So what does one do? Order china because you ought to order china and it might be the only time in your life that you purchase such fancy dining accessories?

There are a couple of sets that I really like - I like the first set - classic, traditional, Kate Spade (June Lane) has a small touch of whimsy with the tiny little firefly design.

I also like the Kate Spade Wickford Dinnerware collection - it's technically white not china, right? Anyhow, I like the texture on each piece which adds interest and I love how this setting would look nice with any decor you would use to accompany it. Could this be considered china, it's a little more affordable...

And finally, a very elegant set from Vera Wang...I love the blue and fresh, clean and crisp. What do you all think? What would the "preppy-chic" bride to be do? :) Thanks ahead of time for steering this lost girl forward.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Shoe Hive

I love fancy shoes and I love the combo can be quite lethal. I can rarely make it out of a fun boutique without splurging. Such was the case today! I stopped by The Shoe Hive in Old Town Alexandria to check out potential shoes to go with my wedding dress and found a pair that I like a lot (above).
But...I of course wanted to post the bridal shoe option on my blog for feedback before purchasing them and was somehow persuaded myself to buy these in the meantime (I guess I was on a magenta/fuschia kick). Shoes always fit and there is nothing better than a bright color to cheer up the old black and gray work clothes, right? So, I stand here justified...I think. My friend Kara had a great idea for the JCrew dress - she recommended that if I don't pick it out for the bridesmaids I can always wear to the rehearsal or maybe I can wear it as my going away dress? Any thoughts on the shoes? Did I mention the brand is for the pink bridal shoe is Something fitting is that?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Where's the love JCrew?

I've been waiting patiently for the perfect bridesmaid dress from JCrew to arrive and lo and behold, the dress pictured here has arrived on scene. Isn't it precious? I love the simplicity of the front which really balances the excitement on the back. However, I really want my ladies to wear navy blue and the only available colors are tea rose and pewter. I emailed "Ashley" who assists with wedding parties and ordering at JCrew to find out if they would be releasing this dress in other colors for summer and she of course said that they did not have plans to do so at this time. I guess I will just have to wait until the end of April to see what they come up with for the summer collection. It seems a little late in the game to be releasing the summer bridesmaid dress collection, you know? Anyhow, I love this dress. Maybe I should just change my current color scheme from magenta and navy blue to tea rose and navy blue? It would still be really preppy and cute. The bridesmaids could carry white bouquets that would look so fresh and cheerful. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes!!

I'm really not unique from other women in my obsession for shoes. In fact, I would even go so far to say that I don't have nearly as many pairs of shoes as some of my friends out know who you are (Kris). But, I do have a few pairs and I must say that I typically head to Nordstrom, the mecca for shoes, which many of you know actually started as a shoe store, and is now a grand department store. Let's just say that I go to Nordstrom for my Tiffany's fix.

Lately I have not been happy with the Nordstrom selection...nothing has inspired me during my weekly drive by, nothing. I thought for sure that I would find my dream wedding shoe there, after all, that is where I have found so many shoes that mean a lot to me. Doesn't it seem only fitting then that I would find my dream wedding shoe at a store that holds so much sentamental value? I even searched through the salon shoes thinking hey, it's my wedding...why not splurge a bit. Nothing.

And Nordstrom is not the only place that is disappointing me - Zappo's, JCrew, Banana, Piperlime...all great stores where you think a preppy-chic bride would find a fun, magenta, satin, unique, irresistible shoe and nada! Listen, I want to find something that is colorful - it could be magenta, green, yellow, navy stripes or a fun pattern. If any of you ladies see something curious and smart, please...send it my way! For now, this was the only thing that kind of intrigued me. I think you'll agree, we can do better than this little Stuart Weitzman number.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Somebody's Getting Married...

I've tossed around the idea of creating a blog for a while now, wondering things like - what exactly will I say and what ideas/thoughts/content do I want published on the world wide web? I think that in my current job I have been socializing this need for collaboration and more interaction with colleagues, peers, friends, family and the like so it only seemed natural that I would eventually find myself with a blog.

In the midst of planning one of the biggest events in my life, if not the biggest (my wedding), I realized that it would be way easier to display content and get feedback from friends by storing pictures and links all in one location instead of emailing people over and over again with the same stuff. I love hearing other peoples thoughts and ideas so I thought the purpose would be even better served by opening up the planning process to the entire public.

So where am I currently in the wedding planning process? We
ll, we have officially set the date - August 22nd in the beautiful state of Washington! I've decided on colors - Navy blue as my staple color with magenta accents and touches of yellow and green (think lemons and limes here). I've always been in love with jcrew clothing, I've grown up playing sports, and I've always added (or attempted to add) a touch of glamor or something trendy to the outfit so that I didn't look like a tomboy (I wasn't always successful, just ask high school friends). This has been the inspiration for the preppy-chic wedding theme that I have also named my blog after.

The wedding planning has been a blast so far...I can hardly stay away from sites like theknot,, and instyle weddings and of course, every site they recommend. If you have any preppy elements that you think I should add - please, please, please - send them my way :)

For now, I will leave you with my idea for the flower girls...cute, right? I love seersucker on little kids and actually think they are cute as bermuda shorts for ladies but I start to get a little creeped out when guys have the full seersucker suit on. This little girl dress is from Macy's...Ralph Lauren Little Girl Illyana.

I want to pair it with little ballet slippers, perhaps in magenta and one of these great flower headbands that I found from this wonderfully sweet and talented designer who makes a line called "little lovelys on