Friday, February 26, 2010

Friday Finds - Rosy Outlook

Just as soon as you thought you couldn't handle anymore pink or romantic collections from me, I dig up some more.  I wondered today if it was all my subconscious wishing that I had been married in the spring.  And made the Palindromaids wear pink.  If I had to do it all over again . . . As soon as the thinking went down that road, I got the sweats in my arm pits and had to calm back down by reminding myself that it's all over.  I'm married and I never have to plan another wedding as long as I live (Lord willing and creeks don't rise).  TGIF to my fellow pink lovers of all things romantic!
Clockwise from L:
Toccata - Rambling Rose Wedding Dress
Chyrls - Miniature Cards
edor - Rose Pebbles
Long Winter Farm: Travel Soap Bars

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mine at Last: It's BEEn Real

As I wrap up my recaps (still a few more up my sleeve), I wanted to find a small way to commemorate my time blogging the wedding.  Being picked up as a writer for Weddingbee was such an awesome experience and I wanted a sweet reminder.  When I was in high school, I was cast as Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker."  My parents gifted me a lovely necklace featuring a key and lock, symbolic of Annie's teaching relationship with Helen Keller.  I cherish that necklace and still wear it at times to remember my cast mates and the overall lessons and themes in my life at the time.  After toying with several other ideas (like this cute trinket box), I came back and settled on idea of a necklace. 

I typed "bee necklace" into  and holy moly - 68 pages worth of results were returned!  I combed through pages and pages, finally organizing my favorites into a few categories.  Some of these I thought would be the icing on the cake for several lovely wedding related outfits (garden weddings, showers, etc.!)

First, the obvious and understated necklaces featuring bee charms:
Top Row L-R:
Everyday Glory - Honey Maker Locket
Charms4Life - Honeycomb with Bee
Cognitive Creations - Flight of the Traveling Bumble Bee
Bottom Row L-R:
Elena Grace - Bee Happy
Beth Millner - Reversible Radial Silver Bumble Bee Necklace
Made by Moe - Humble Bumble Necklace
Ruby Ann Bertram-Harker - Bee Loved

Then I thought, maybe I want a little bling:
Top Row L-R:
Voleur de Bijoux - Bourdon Parisian Bumblee Necklace
Mykonos - Lovely Twinkle Little Bee
Something Blue - Carmel Drop Necklace
Bottom Row L-R:
Sula Blu - Swarm
Dancing Mooney - Aunt Bea Brass Necklace
My Cellar Door - Smoking the Hive

Or maybe if I wanted to go bling, I should go for the whole kit and caboodle with a statement necklace?
Top Row L-R:
Talulabelles - Fields of Corn
The Trinket Box - Brienne
Persimmon - Buzzing Bee Necklace
Bottom Row L-R:
Ectectrix - Bee Mine Flower Necklace
Hypho - Drama Queen (Bee)

Hmm . . . maybe that's too much though, and I want something more casual and flirty?
Clockwise from Top L:
Peapod Treasures - Bee Keeper
Made by Moe - Lilly's Flower and Bee Locket
Carmaneque - Modern Bouquet Necklace
Proteales - Custom French Poetry Necklace

The sampling of alternatives proved to be nearly endless with clay, anime, and beading!
From L-R:
Alona Lahav - Little Bee Necklace
Piggy's Little Shop - I LOVE Gothloli Kitty Necklace
walkonthemoon - Polarity Necklace

After nearly going cross eyed, I explored one more option that reverted back to my original train of thought, simple and understated - this time with a non-bee twist:
Top Row L-R:
Purple Pigeon - Silver Honey - Four
j^2 - Honey 3
Elizabeth Scott - Honeycomb Necklace
Bottom Row L-R:
j^2 - Honey Sway
Alona Lahav - Free Bee Necklace
Contrary - Honey Bee Hive Locket

I ended up ordering Honey Sway from j^2 and can't wait for it to arrive in my mailbox!
Do you have a favorite?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mine at Last: The Palindromaids!

Since I haven't been a bridesmaid myself before, I didn't really know what they should do except for all sorts of contradicting notions thrown about the interwebs.  I thought about what I wanted, which was ultimately to be surrounded by friends who would understand me when I had an emotional meltdown, who would laugh at my jokes, who would hold my hand, and who would tell me if I had a boogie hanging out my nose.  My Palindromaids were all that and a bag of chips.
The ladies chose their own black dresses, helped throw me a lovely shower, and acted as my ridiculously fun posse for the entirety of our wedding weekend.  If I had any expectations, they certainly exceeded them and set the bar quite high for me as I attempt to be co-MOH for Palindromaid of Honor E.  (Check out this hilarious e-card from she sent to me to ask if I would be in her wedding party!)  Each of the Palindromaids brought a little something different to the wedding table and my heart full.

I already posted a little about E, as she was crucial to my sanity.  E ironed my veil, had answers for everything, held my dress when I peed, delivered a perfectly sentimental speech, held my hand when I had a momentary hyperventilation, and made sure everyone knew what to do.  I can't wait to return the favor!
A . . . which always seems weird to type, because I call her by her last name, brought class (so Jackie-O!), sarcasm, orders for me to nap, a willingness to eat stacks of pancakes with me, the stamina to walk 1.5 miles to get said pancakes, and all around fun.  We're planning some devilishly fun girl time in the Big Apple over the summer - woohoo!
S was the first person to ask me, "Ummm . . . you talk a lot about Jason, do you think you like him?"  I probably said, "No." But we all know the first stage is denial.  At least for those of use going the whole Pride and Prejudice love route.  S and her husband just crack me up.  They're like my life mentors - which makes sense since S was a pscyh major and her husband is in the ministry.  It's a dynamic duo of sound counsel with a hint of humor and shenanigans!
From office mates to friends, L has been a constant in my life since I called her in a panic not knowing how to get to my first day on the job.  We traversed the Pacific ocean (ask her sometime how much paddling I was doing) and pulled through master's programs together.  L made sure I was hydrated, helped me pick out my shoes, and debriefs with me nearly every day.  Instant messenger fun on all levels!

My SIL J!  We've been getting to know each other better as we both have been moving all across the country.  Since neither of us grew up with sisters, it's that much more meaningful to us to have a sister now.  J treated me to a divine mani/pedi and overflowed the dancefloor when she led everyone in the Cha-cha slide!
I think the most fun aspect of the weekend was having all of my ladies hanging out together.  They even wanted to arrange for a Palindromaid Reunion weekend next year!

Did you think your bridesmaids will hit it off on your wedding weekend?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Finds: Felted Romance

I'm quite anxious for spring, especially after our brisk winter even as far south as North Carolina.  The birds flitting about the trees in my backyard also think it's high time for spring.  Especially the woodpecker trying to nest in our wood siding.  He's given me quite the headache!  In anticipation of all the twitterpation occurring in the spring, here's some lovely floral inspiration with just a tinge of warm felt to make it feel cozy in these chilly last moments of winter.
Clockwise from Top L:
Hey MieMie: Romantic Wedding Ring Bearer's Pillow
Princess in Pink Designs: Afternoon Tea Necklace
Sewn Natural: Felted Heart Love Pebbles
Shanon Medley: Hand Painted Rose and Hydrangea Invitations

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mine at Last: Bands (plural)

Just like the cakes, one band wasn't enough.  I didn't start out thinking, "I'm going to have two bands at my wedding."  Actually, I didn't think we'd have live music at all.  However, through the generosity of my in-laws, we were able to get our groove on with live music.

For our cocktail hour, we found a great local jazz quartet.  Gregory Weaver's Jazz Congregation set the tone for a very cool and relaxed time of mingling and imbibing.  I found an ad on Craigslist, passed it on to my planner, and she solidified the plans from there.  I was really glad that our receiving line was stationed so close to the band because I was able to enjoy all the music and my guests at the same time.  The quartet was on time, did an amazing job, and we received compliments all around on their performance.  A brilliant success, I'd say!

For our cocktail hour, it worked perfectly.  If we had an afternoon wedding, I think it would have also been the perfect choice, especially if we had decided to forgo dancing.  The rates were extremely reasonable.  I really could not have been more pleased.

For the reception, we booked Gentlemen and Their Lady through East Coast Entertainment on the recommendation of my friend Christine (who helped me with my veil).  The band played at Christine's wedding and brought down the house, so we had high expectations!  We weren't disappointed!

I even got in on the act and fulfilled my dreams of "singing" on stage.  The floor was packed all night.  They took requests from our guests.  One of our guests made her husband promise to book them for a 40th birthday blow out dance party . . . and her birthday is still 4 years away!

Here we are getting "a little bit softer now."  The band got everyone on the floor and kept them there.  I had THE BEST time dancing, surrounded by my best dancing buddies and rocking to the classics.  I couldn't have asked for a better experience with our bands. 

Do you want to incorporate live music into your wedding day plans? 

*All photography by Sam Hughes Photography

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mine at Last: The Cakes (plural)

We didn't just have a wedding cake.  We had wedding cakes.  And we put them in the middle of every table so that our guests could feast with their eyes first.
I wish I could give you each tastes of this cake . . . if you're ever in Norfolk or Virginia Beach, go to No Frill Bar and Grill and order a piece of the 4 Layer Coconut Creme cake.  Moist, flavorful, perfect - these are all understatements.  Just eat the cake and become a believer like me.  I made one call about the cakes.  No Frills put me in touch with their baker, I gave the name and number to my wedding planner, and 12 beautiful cakes met me when I saw our reception set up.
I just loved my little vintage find of a cake topper and it was a great size for the small cake. We used the same knife my parents used 30+ years ago.
The cakes were smaller 8 inch double layer versions of the cake served at No Frills.  They fit perfectly on my handmade cake stands (which worked out awesome, until they were washed and the epoxy on two of them wore off). 
Three different guests, who we knew disliked coconut, went out of their way to tell us that they not only loved our cake, but they had two pieces.  Like I told you before, this cake will make you a believer.
I'm not a cake smasher at heart - why waste perfectly good cake??? So we fed each other with forks.  We're civilized like that.
Our amazing caterer (who didn't charge any cake cutting fees!), sent a lovely picnic basket with all sorts of goodies as well as a whole cake that was leftover.  Since we sneaked off to our hotel room, the hotel staff delivered the basket to my in-laws suite. 

The morning after the wedding, we were visiting with my in-laws and they brought out the basket.  We oohed and ahhed.  Then my mother-in-law asked if I was planning on freezing a cake.  I wasn't sure what to say because we didn't really have the means to freeze it (we were driving directly to our mini-moon) and I wasn't planning to, but I didn't want to hurt her feelings if she had been kind enough to arrange for it.  I told her it was a lovely idea!  Funnily enough, she was asking because one of the cousins had discovered the cake after the wedding and she had to hunt it down a few floors down!  She put it safely back in the fridge, only to discover my father-in-law eating a huge piece a few minutes later!  She had frantically tried to put the half eaten piece back, but there was already too much of it eaten.

My father-in-law really enjoyed himself at our reception, so we didn't blame him for looking for a midnight snack.  I feigned anger for a little bit to tease him, before I burst out laughing and ate a big slice for breakfast.  It was delicious with some coffee to wash it down!

*all photographs by Sam Hughes Photography

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mine at Last: Dressed to Impress

I used to believe in "the one," of the wedding dress variety.  After shenanigans, heartbreak, and subsequent laughter (read about it here, herehere and here), I let go of the "the one," and said, "Hello" to a beautiful dress that served me well.  I was not in love with my dress, but wearing it on my wedding day, and now looking back at photographs, I realize that she was the right dress for me.

I love the dress in black and white.  Time seems to stand still and the date seems ambiguous. 
After putting my dress on, I couldn't really move without some help.  I was so nervous to bunch it up and carry it, but I got over that hesitation later when I realized that no matter how careful I was, the dress was going to get dirty (it just sweeps all floors like a giant mop).
The train was particularly wide and unwieldly.  Even my seamstress* commented on the difficulty of laying it down.  Sam** was a pro though, and expertly fanned it out for this shot that showcases not only my dress, but the beautiful stained glass window of our church.
Even though I couldn't use my mom's and grandmother's dresses for my own gown, I still really wanted to incorporate them into the wedding somehow.  I thought it was a shame to just cut a small piece of them, so I decided to display them on dress forms near our "Generations" table.  We showcased wedding photographs up to four generations back along with the two dresses.  Here, I'm adjusting the tags I made for each form to denote the owner of the dresses.
I think the best part about my dress, aside from the heavenly cascades of organza, lacy top, and full back of real buttons, was the ability to wear the dress two ways.  I wore the full dress for the formal pictures and ceremony, through the cocktail hour.  Then, right before introductions, I shed the top layer and wore the sleek and fitted satin underlayer. It was just so much lighter and more agile.  Additionally, not going to lie, I really enjoyed the "wow" factor of wearing two outfits.   In the end, my "wardrobe change" was cheaper than if I wore the top layer the entire wedding because of the saved cost of only putting one bustle into the under layer (as opposed to the 12 point that the outer layer would have required).

My only complaint about the dress is that it didn't have an elastic waistband, so I couldn't stuff myself quite as full as I wanted to with all of the delicious food!

Do you believe in "the one" in the dress world?  Or has your dress love grown over time?

*My dress was altered at Maya Couture on Military Highway in Norfolk.  I was very pleased with their seamstress and would recommend them.  I did pay a pretty penny, but I thought it was worth it considering the service and quality of the alterations.
**All photographs by Sam Hughes

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mine at Last: Notes of Rejoicing

Music is not my forte.  I love to listen and dance to it, but I've never been one to remember band names, composers, etc.  Thankfully, I was able to outsource all of the music decisions for the wedding.  You already know that the music at the reception was rocking, and when it came to the ceremony music, I punted the issue to my planner.  Ms. P found a local violinist, Lauri, for us to use as the backbone of our ceremony music.  We worked with Lauri and chose traditional pieces for the majority of the ceremony, which I'll blog about more in a future post about our programs.

Palindrome cousin, J, also plays the violin and we requested that he play a special piece for us.  He suggested Meditation from Massenet's Thais. 

J played during the seating of the grandparents and thought I couldn't see him from the back of the church, the music filled the sanctuary perfectly.

A dear friend of mine from Bucknell, E, also graciously agreed to sing with her boyfriend, S.  S is a professional opera singer, so we were really looking forward to their participation.  E offered two options for music selections.  The first was a selection that could be played as special music, Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme by Bach. 

The text for the chorale is based on the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25: 1-13 and she would sing it in German. The traslated text is:

Wake, arise, the voices call us
Of watchmen from the lofty tower;
Arise, thou town Jerusalem!
Midnight's hour doth give its summons;
They call to us with ringing voices;
Where are ye prudent virgins now?
Make haste, the bridegroom comes;
Rise up and take your lamps!
Prepare to join
The wedding feast,
Go forth to meet him as he comes!

The other option was for her and S to sing a duet together of The Lord Bless You and Keep You, Peter C. Lutkin. This song is the traditional blessing that the Rooke Chapel Choir sings at the end of significant services at Bucknell. The text is from Numbers 6:

The Lord bless you and keep you
The Lord lift His countenance upon you,
And give you peace, and give you peace;
The Lord make His face to shine upon you,
And be gracious, and be gracious;
The Lord be gracious, gracious unto you.

I wasn't sure how I could ever choose and thankfully E suggested a third option of singing them both! Yeah, E is awesome that way.
Hearing their beautiful voices was one of my favorite parts about the ceremony. I was so happy to be marrying Mr. Palindrome and the music was like an extension of that joy.
We also had the best seats in the house as we stood on the stage since E and S sang from the balcony at the back of the church.  For the minimum amount of effort on my part, we ended up with absolutely lovely music during the ceremony thanks to Ms. P, Lauri, J, E and S. 

How is your ceremony music coming togther?  Are you being proactive, or are you taking my approach and letting others do the legwork?

*Photographs by Sam Hughes