Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mardi Gras Masks and the Fold, Part 2

For those of you who have never heard of the Carter Family Fold (affectionately referred to as "The Fold" by those who know it well) let me introduce you to a rich piece of Appalachian and country music history. 

The Carter Family: A.P., Sara, and Maybelle, are regarded by many as the founders of old time country music. Maybelle Carter is the mother of June Carter Cash, wife of Johnny Cash. In fact, Johnny played his last-ever show at the Fold shortly before his death. 

The Fold was established in an effort to keep old time music alive, both in its practice and in its enjoyment. The venue is open-air in the summer and toasty warm with the help of space heaters in the winter. The large concrete dance floor is always full of flat-footing folk (flat-footing is a type of clogging, practiced by men and women alike, with no synchronized choreography), and the sound of their clogs on the floor is music in and of itself. There are weekly concerts at the Fold every Saturday night. Admission is $5 and the show always starts at 7:30, even in those Southwest Virginia snow storms. 

Our bachelorette loves the Fold and pretty much everything about it: Old Time Music, Flat-Footing and the Appalachian heritage it represents. It was only fitting that we take her to the Fold for her bachelorette party. And she loved it. 

We finished up the evening with an old-school sleepover complete with a viewing of 27 Dresses, reading Cosmo and answering Girls' Night questions. (There were also shots of liquor and a penis cake. If you need someone to make some phallic baked goods, Love's your girl!)

So her party wasn't a wild drunken night out on the town, but it was very Her. We were out to celebrate the bachelorette and that we did! 

Anyone else ever been a part of an "unconventional" bachelorette party?


Friday, July 25, 2008

Mardi Gras Masks and the Fold, Part 1

This past weekend, Love & I celebrated the upcoming wedding of a mutual friend with a bachelorette party. This was my first-ever bachelorette party, and I was helping to plan it! The four of us that were there all contributed to the planning and execution of a very personal bachelorette party. 

None of us really had a lot of money for a huge bash, so we chose to spend our budget on some fun bach finds from Party City.

First, we found some fun-looking truth-or-dare games to play. This first one looked really fun--lotto-style truth or dare! Scratch off one pair of lips from each row and do what the card says. Unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and at $1.99 for 12 cards, we ended up rubbing through the dare, rather than to the dare. Oh well. Obviously, I would not recommend this product...

But aren't they so cute?!

The other game we had was more think about. This was the truth or dare card deck from Party City. Players draw a card with a dare and a point value and decide whether or not they will complete the dare. If you chose to accept, you have 10 minutes to complete the task. If you are successful, you keep the card. Once you've gone through the whole deck, the player with the most points wins. We were at a restaurant rather than a bar, so it was a little difficult to participate. But reading through the cards was enough entertainment on its own, really. We've decided to keep the deck and bring it back out for a future bachelorette party at a bar. This is a great game, particularly for the price.

The last game we purchased from Party City was by far my favorite. We played this at our old-school (except this time there was alcohol...) sleepover. Pin the Bow Tie on the Bachelor was a fun game, and who knew that such a classic would be THAT much more entertaining once you're tipsy?! And at $2.99, you just can't beat it. (Also, you get to decide where on the bachelor the bow tie is "supposed" to go.)

In addition to our fun games from Party City, we also provided some bachelorette wear. We included the obligatory Bach Sash, as well as a fantastic engagement ring headband and veil that the MOH found in Birmingham. We didn't leave the bachelorette alone in the silliness, though: we joined her with Mardi Gras masks (bach party style) and miniature tiaras. Here we are all decked out--and in a packed O'Charley's!

That's Love on the left, then MOH, Bachelorette, Bridesmaid, and Amoré on the right

And here's the bride's model shot

Next up: what the heck is the Fold?


Tragic Gifts, Gracious Brides

While in Bluefield, VA for the bachelorette party of a friend (more on that in a later post) I received my first wedding gift! I was so excited when the bride-to-be plopped a great looking package down on my lap in her living room. This was the first time I'd seen her since my engagement, and though we were there to celebrate her impending nuptials, I was thrilled to get a gift myself!

image source

So, as any good bride would do, I ripped into my fabulous package. What I found there...I wasn't quite expecting. It was a green box with the words "Faerie Glen" scribed on it. Now, the bachelorette is not much of a fairy girl, much less a fAErie girl, and neither am I. So I was a bit surprised. Thinking perhaps this was just a repurposed box, I proceeded to open it. As I did so, the bachelorette and her mother both burst out laughing and proceeded to tell me that this was a gift she had received at a shower the previous weekend. Luckily for her, the gift-giver was not at the shower. The bride and groom (it was a couple's shower) burst out laughing (and tears, in the groom's case) at the sight of this gift:

image source

Somewhere out there a bride collects these faerie statues. I am not such a bride. It turns out, this gift was a test to see how I would handle receiving an unfortunate gift at a shower. I smiled and said, "Thank you, it's LOVELY!"

Evidently that was enough to pass the test.

What has been your most unfortunate wedding gift?


Rules of Engagement

Love's rules for engagement:
Disclaimer: These are simply my rules for engagement and are certainly not universal.

  • The engagement cannot come on my birthday, holiday, our anniversary. It cannot replace a gift that would be otherwise purchased.

I wear a crown on my birthday. That day is already special and so are holidays. I don't want my engagement to be on a day that is already special. For me, holiday engagements are predictable. Both of my best friends got engaged over Christmas and it was wonderful for them, but it's not for me.

  • No proposal over the Jumbo Tron, on the Today show, on any 50-yard line, pitcher's mound, or center court.

I can be a very out there with my feelings and a very "public person," but I don't want my proposal to come in front of thousands of others. There's something very personal about asking to spend the rest of your life with someone that I think could be very different if that request came with thousands looking on.

  • I must be in an English speaking country, close to a phone, or friends and family to immediately share my exciting news!

I know I just said that I didn't want to be in front of a lot of people, but I also don't want to be on a deserted island and unable to share my good news. I am a bridesmaid in August for a couple who got engaged in front of the Eiffel tower (I promise to tell their story soon). As romantic as their story is it's not for me. As an English only speaking woman I can't imagine roaming the streets of Paris simply pointing to my finger unable to relay my excitement in French to those around or be near my friends and family to show off my new bling. I want my moment to be personal, but I also want to be able to share my news!

  • The proposal must come on one knee.

Call me old fashioned, but I've dreamt of the moment when my future husband will get one one knee, take my hand, and request that I spend the rest of my life with him. It's on my list.

These are my rules for engagement. What are yours?

The face of being engaged is changing. It's a legal promise now: Jilted bride calls $150,000 jury award ‘justice’


Monday, July 21, 2008

Save My Date, Dangit!

Ok, so my STDs are not quite that forceful...But that's my thought, anyway. :) I'm a self-professed design geek, though my formal training is limited to a few courses in college. However, I love it, and so the chance to design my own wedding stationery pretty much makes me want to burst with excitement. Enter my first wedding stationery project: Save the Date postcards!

C told me about VistaPrint, so I decided to check it out. You can get ALL KINDS of print products there: business cards, magnets, post cards, invitations, even tshirts! So, after browsing around and playing with their "design-your-own tool," I decided that postcards made the most sense for C & me. The reason? Postage prices. It's 15 cents cheaper to mail a postcard than it is to mail an enveloped card. Postcards it is! Plus, since the overall feeling of our wedding is casual and fun, a postcard fit our style perfectly. I designed the card using Adobe InDesign, then I uploaded a PDF to VistaPrint. I love the result!
I've always pictured my STDs to look like this. For some reason, I love the calendar with the date of the wedding called out graphically. For us, that meant a circle in our sage green, and the number in navy. Our names are in navy, with our ampersand in green, and the little A&C in the corner is our logo. That's right. I made us a logo. C said I could, I promise! The rest of the text is in black. I chose two fonts (actually 3, the ampersand is a third font), which is a pretty big deal. I'm all about branding and consistency, so that means that I'll be married (excuse the pun) to these fonts for the rest of the wedding stationery. But I'm really happy with the way they turned out.
The postcards are shiny, which was definitely a requirement. The backside is matte, so it was easy to address the cards. I addressed them myself using an ultra-fine point Sharpie. The Sharpie wasn't necessary, I could have used a regular pen, but I love the look of Sharpies. I didn't try to use a fancy script or handwriting, just my own. I could have had VistaPrint print my return address on the back of the postcard for a small price, but I opted against it. I'm glad that I did now, because when I was designing/ordering the cards, I completely forgot to list the wedding website. So, I went back to VistaPrint and ordered a small rubber return address stamp with my parents' address and our website. The best part about all of this? For the stamp and the cards, I paid less than $40. For 250 cards. So, that means per-card, I spent approximately 16 cents; add the 27 for postage and the grand total is 43 cents a piece!
I've heard from several recipients already and so far they've gotten rave reviews! What do you think?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It's Back!

Say Yes to the Dress, season 2 premiers tonight!

If you missed out on season 1, it's time you joined in for season 2. Watch as brides search for "the one" (dress, that is) in one of Manhattan's most exclusive and fabulous bridal salons: Kleinfeld. These aren't buy-it-off-the-rack dresses, either. Kleinfeld offers the ultimate in couture. Whether you're looking to spend five grand on your dress, or you just wish you could, this is a show you won't want to miss! Enjoy!


Monday, July 14, 2008

"If you want complete control...

"You'll have to take complete financial responsibility."

I'm sure every couple who has had someone other than themselves footing any or all of the bill for their wedding has heard this at least a hundred times. Chalk up Time #1 for Amore' & C tonight. The issue in question: Meeting with the Church's wedding coordinator for the first time.

C works at the church that he & I are getting married in. We've both grown up in this church, and we're excited to exchange vows there. Since C works there, he & I have decided that all things church-related (that is, scheduling, our reception location options, etc) will all fall to C. He's perfectly capable of handling such things, and, let's faces, he's got friends in High Places.

Enter the first meeting with the church's wedding coordinator. C & I opted not to hire a wedding coordinator, but the church has one on staff to make sure things go smoothly and to act as a liaison between the church and the couple. C & I have yet to meet with the coordinator due to scheduling. We have our first meeting with her tomorrow. I imagine that we'll talk about the ceremony, our big ideas, where we'll have the reception, if it's possible to have it at the church in the location we want, etc. Should be a short, casual, let's get started meeting.

Now, Enter MOB, stage right. MOB, C & I are all going to visit caterer #1 tomorrow. So MOB asks if she can come to the meeting with the coordinator. I tell her, as politely as I can, that C & I want our first meeting to be just with the two of us. Cue "If you want complete control..." line. Cue giant exasperated sigh from the bride-to-be (I've never called myself that before! I like it!)

In my head, we're not making any decisions tomorrow, so it's not even necessary for MOB to be there. We're just chatting about what we want, and I'd like to give C the chance to talk. He barely gets a word in edgewise with me around, and he's got a snowball's chance if MOB & I are both there. I'm not trying to deny her any decision-making. I'm not going to sign her up to pay for lots of things we can't afford. I just want my fiance' & my first meeting with the wedding coordinator to be something that we do together--and alone.

Mom just came into my room (I'm still living at home, or rather, living at home again, after being away for college for 4 years) and assured me that she's ok with C & I meeting with the coordinator by ourselves. I hope for all of us that she means it.

When was your first who's-paying-for-what tiff?


Thursday, July 10, 2008

May Afternoon


My color palette!

We will be using navy, a lighter blue (called "Marine" at David's Bridal) a clover/sage-y green, yellow & white.

I created this color palette at ColourLovers. But be's addictive!



So I told you the story of my engagement, but failed to show you the ring! My apologies! I've attached pictures below.

Also, to take a minute to brag on my man, I wanted to tell you what lengths C went to for my rock. We ventured to the mall to jewelry stores together in February of this years. I was, of course, ecstatic. Anyway, we hit all the major jewelry stores (there were at least 5, if not 7...I can't remember). At each store, we browsed, and even tried on a few we liked. C wanted to get an idea about what I liked, what different sized stones looked like on my hand, band width, etc. We also learned a new vocabulary word: Tiffany setting. This is a lower setting than the cathedral, and it's great because it allows you to see the lower point of the diamond = more sparkle. Also, the prongs are set just on the corners of the princess cut, allowing maximum light onto the stone, also = more sparkle. We both really liked the Tiffany setting for all these reasons (and I secretly loved it because it's called Tiffany, and what girl doesn't want a little Tiffany in her diamond???)

So, it came time for C to buy a ring. We really liked the sales person at one of the stores when we shopped in February, so he decided that was where he would buy the ring. So, the morning he wanted to purchase he arrived at the mall at 9. Too bad it doesn't open till 10! So, he occupied himself for an hour, then made his way to the store. He found out that the sales person we had talked to before no longer worked there, so he tried working with another sales person. However, this person was very rude and not at all helpful. So C took his money elsewhere.

Enter Kay Jewelers. "Every kiss begins with Kay," and now I see why! C spent over an hour with the sales person looking at different diamonds through their scope. He finally found the one he wanted, but it was in a setting he didn't care for. C then picked out another ring that had the band width he wanted. Then he told the sales person that he wanted a Tiffany setting, with the prongs cut down so that the diamond would sit as low to the ring as possible, while still being able to see the lowest point of the diamond. He made the purchase at 11:30 that morning, and they called him to tell him it was ready to be picked up at 5 p.m. Talk about service! He picked up the ring the next day and gave it to me a week later.

Size 4, princess cut, F color, I clarity, .8 carat. perfect.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The best toast ever. Ever.

This is the best wedding toast ever:
Calling it a toast simply doesn't do it justice. It's a production! Amore and I have a mutual friend, MM, and this is certainly the kind of "production" we expect at her wedding someday.

The video is a little slow getting started, but believe me it's worth it.


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Meet Love . . .

I'm Love.

First, I should warn you that I'm not planning my actual wedding now. I won't be buying my shoes anytime soon. I'm not married or engaged. I am simply wedding and planning obsessed. I have been in a serious relationship for the past nine months with B.

In fact, my current job is scheduler for a statewide political campaign. I spend my days planning someone else's schedule and events (that have recently resembled a wedding reception--only celebrating the Democratic party instead of marriage). I have a massive wedding file already saved that's ready for when I am.

Yes, my current status is that I'm not ready for marriage. I love weddings, but I realize that although I'm very much in love with B I simply am not ready for a marriage of my own (although his mother is ready for ours). Somehow, in my mind, I can separate the wedding planning from the need for marriage in my near future. I am not in a hurry. I want to get married very much someday, but I realize that day is not today or tomorrow or the next. . . .

I am also a professional bridesmaid. Nearly all of my closet friends are married and I have been blessed to share with them on their special days. I have a closet full of dresses and swear that 27 Dresses is the movie of my life (I'm not quite at 27 yet, but I'm still collecting dresses). For now I am content with playing the supporting actress in weddings.

So I'm here to offer thoughts from my perspective (which is often very different from Amore's). I won't be purchasing a wedding dress, but I promise I'll look.


My first official wedding purchase: SHOES!

I know, it seems like a strange place to start, right? But let me explain. My dress (which I will refrain from showing online, lest C read the blog and sneak a peek) required a "hollow to hem" measurement before it could be ordered. That means that the lovely seamstress from White Lace & Promises measured me from the hollow of my neck to the floor. Therefore, I needed the shoes I was planning on wearing the day of so she could get an accurate measurement of how tall I will be that day. 

So, once Mom & I decided to go with the dress we fell in love with at White Lace, it was time to search for shoes. Now, let me say to start with that I'm working on a budget. We're talking $8,000 max with a guest list of about 360. That's intense. Let me also say that my feet are microscopic. If I want a dress pump, I need a size 4. That's right, a 4. C likes it because my shoe size and my ring size are the same, so it's fewer numbers to remember. Finding shoes in such a tiny size is near impossible. I typically end up going with a 5 (if I'm lucky) or a 5 1/2, and trying to deal. Sandals typically fit better than pumps, too. So, while I could have gone with some gorgeous white heels from the bridal salon, I opted to check out some of the less expensive shoe stores first. Insert quest for inexpensive, cute, tiny, white sandals. And where did I find them? Rack Room. But the smallest size they had was a 6--way too big for my tiny peds. I asked them to check the surrounding stores for the shoe in a smaller size, with no luck. After I 
went home and talked with my mom (Yes, I live at home, I'm a boomerang child and at peace with it...but that's another post), we decided to look for them online. And though you can't buy from Rack Room online, you can search their inventory & call the store to ask them to ship the shoes to your local store. My wedding shoes came to me from Florida, and they arrived the day before my measurement appointment. The price tag? Including the almost 10% Tennessee sales tax: $32.48. Not too shabby. Have you had to go to great lengths to get what you want and/or save a buck?

My size 5s! Photo from Rack Room


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Amore' and Her Other Half

To start things off, I thought I'd tell you a little bit about my other half andme. C is a second-semester junior in college. I just graduated. He's working part time at a church, as the Youth Worship Coordinator. I work technically part-time, though it's 40 hours a week, as a Web Traffic Analyst for a media company.

We met in high school. Our parents have been friends for 16 or 17 years. We didn't get to know each other, though, until we were both in the senior high youth group at our church. We went to the same school, and C would start to show up near my locker between class changes. He was a sweet guy, even if he was a freshman. We became good friends, and though I got the impression that he liked me, I was scared off by the fact that I was a junior and he was a freshman. Roll another school year over, and in October of my senior year, my girlfriends trapped me for a relationship intervention. Though I bold-face lied to them about my feelings for C, they saw right through me (they always do!). Soon, they had me confessing my feelings for him, and before I got out of the driveway that night one had called C to tell him that I, indeed, "liked" him. (Can I get an "Amen" that we're not in high school anymore?!)

Within a week we had our first date (and first kiss). The rest, I suppose, is history. I went away to college the next August. We spent four academic years in a long-distance relationship. While we tried to see each other every couple of weeks, schedules often forced us to wait up to four weeks between visits. That may not seem like a big deal, and I know couples have spent much longer durations apart, but it was tough.

Finally, in May of 2008, I graduated, and moved home to be near the love of my life. We'd been talking marriage for years at this point, but we knew we were really getting close to the big day. We set a date before he proposed, and we even booked the church! He insisted every time I asked that he hadn't had time to get to the jewelry store yet, so I sat waiting, sure it would take weeks to get a ring sized down to my tiny 4 ring finger.

After C had been gone for a week, he took me to dinner. I, of course, harassed him about going to the jewelry store, and he apologized for not having time to get there yet. After dinner, he suggested wandering around one of the many beautiful parks in West Knoxville. Though it was hot, we decided to investigate some new piers at a park near my house. Out on one of the piers, I was staring at the water when I felt a tap on my hand. When I turned around, C was on one knee with a ring box in hand. He asked me to marry him. I cried and said yes!

We told our parents, my sister, and then began a long night of calling our friends and relatives. I was actually going to be able to plan a real wedding! Talk about bliss...

C&A in November of 2003. We'd been dating for a little over a month. Look how little!