Monday, December 22, 2008

Our wedding colors are ... all of them?!

This Saturday I met with a florist in Denver who I'm pretty sure will be doing our wedding! I loved Sue from the moment I saw her website. Her portfolio was vibrant and gorgeous, and she helpfully listed several sample budgets to illustrate how couples had spent floral budgets from $200 to $2500. She also had rave reviews on I went to the meeting with high hopes and I wasn't at all disappointed!

This is the bouquet I showed her for inspiration:

Image from

I did want to make some changes -- yellow instead of orange, take out the green orchids, add some touches of blue and white. Sue gave it the thumbs up and suggested bouquets of roses, gerbera daisies, freesia, delphinium, and some white stephanotis. (Did I know what freesia, delphinium or stephanotis looked like before our meeting? No. But thankfully there were pictures!) Sue also didn't laugh at my tiny budget for centerpieces and thought it would be no trouble to fill a 4" cylinder vase with a mix of inexpensive flowers and place it on top of a mirror.

This was what I had
in mind for the centerpieces,
only with more colors!
Image from

The rest of the meeting was a total blur. I'd only thought about centerpieces and bouquets. Boutennieres, corsages, ceremony flowers? No clue. But Sue had some wonderful ideas (she's worked at our venue before) and we pulled together a preliminary list of what everything could look like, with the understanding that it can all change between now and the wedding.

So now that I've met with the florist, it appears that the concept of "wedding colors" has more or less gone out the window, at least as far as the flowers are concerned. In the end I wasn't a monochromatic sort of girl. I'm still toying with the idea of using a slightly more muted color scheme inside the mansion -- somehow hot pink daisies feel like a mismatch with the mansion's interior. But we've got lots of time to work that out, and for now, I'm just happy to have one more vendor booked and ready to go!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Talk about bad timing!

Yesterday was the 3-year anniversary of my first date with Econo Boy. We had a romantic evening in all planned: we splurged on nice cheese to make fondue, bought some champagne, put up Christmas lights around our apartment, and were ready to indulge ourselves with melty Gruyere and a bottle of Blanc des Blancs.

At 4:30 yesterday, I got a call from a woman we'll call "Janey," who works at my bridal salon.

Janey: "Good news -- your dress arrived today!"
Me: "Yay!"
Janey: "You have 2 weeks to come try it on and verify that it's what you ordered..."
Me: "Oh NO! I'm leaving tomorrow for Colorado and I won't be back until January!"
Janey: "... oh. [Clearly not thrilled, but coping.] Well, if you're going to be out of town, that's OK, when can you come in?"

So an appointment was made for January 8. And now I'm all tied up in knots, anxious to see my dress and regretting not driving to the bridal salon right away to see it, and double regretting not trying to squeeze in an appointment before I went to the airport today. Neither of these were very practical (I didn't want to be late for our last "dativersary" or cope with East Coast rush-hour traffic, and making a trip today would have been a tight fit time-wise), but I still feel like I should have tried harder.

This isn't just a case of "OMG THE DRESS is here!!" Ever since I ordered the dress, I've been a bit nervous about what it will look like in my size. The gown has a subtle trumpet shape to it, and I wasn't able to get a great idea of what the back would look like when the dress wasn't three sizes too big. I'm also nervous about whether it will fit. Yes, a professional took my measurements twice to verify that I should order the 6, but after all I'd heard about tiny bridal sizes I'd expected to order an 8 or a 10. And now I'm worried that if something is wrong with the gown in January it will be too late for me to return it.

Well, nothing to be done about it, I guess (except for stopping with the stupid obsessing -- I promise I'm trying!). I shall take the following steps to make myself feel better.

1. Call Gateaux and arrange for a cake tasting.
2. Post a picture of my dress, which I'm sure will be beautiful and will fit perfectly (once the chest is taken in to accommodate my total lack of cleavage).

La Sposa's Melodia -- I didn't order the jacket
and I'm undecided on whether I'll wear the little bow,

but otherwise it should look pretty much like this!
Image from

Happy Holidays, safe travels to everyone, and oh yeah ... Sweet T, have an amazing wedding!

Monday, December 15, 2008

On polite disagreement over the Internet

Let me be clear as I start this post: I've been really psyched by the comments people leave me on this blog! Everyone who's posted something here has been cool and thoughtful, and I haven't had a single spam post offering to enhance the size of my non-existent male anatomy. On the internet, that's pretty dang good.

So I'm not writing this because someone hurt my delicate feelings on this blog. But lately I've noticed several comments on other wedding blogs that are ... less than supportive. Think things that Regina from "Mean Girls" would write in her slam book. Things like, "You're stupid for buying into the David's Bridal 'white dress' fantasy, no wonder you don't like how you look" or "Ugh. Your invitations are lame and cheesy, and I hate cheesy." Tragically, there are many women who prove that John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory holds true for both genders: Normal Person + Anonymity + Audience = Total Fuckwad. (For the original illustration of this equation, visit Penny Arcade.)

To combat this phenomenon (however futile my efforts may be), I hereby present: Bride in Exile's Guide to Polite Disagreement Over the Internet.

So you've encountered a blog post, or comment on a blog post, that horribly offends your sensibilities? You're not alone. And you are almost certainly typing up a witty, scathing response to said post or comment. But before you hit "submit," I humbly suggest you take the following steps:
  • Pretend the person who wrote the blog post or comment is a real person. (This should be easy, since they are real people!)
  • Remember that we all have different tastes and different preferences, and that no one can be reasonably expected to agree with you about absolutely everything.
Then, when composing your comment:
  • Don't type anything you wouldn't say to someone's face. Instead of phrasing what you have to say in the nastiest way possible, think about what you'd say if you were sitting across from this person at a dinner table. Would you really say, "Brown and blue weddings are utterly hideous. Picking those colors shows you have no creativity" to someone in person? (If you would, uh ... I commend your blunt honesty, but don't expect to get invited to many dinner parties.) Often, the best thing to say in situations like this is nothing at all. Just because someone said their colors are brown and blue doesn't mean YOU have to like brown and blue.
  • If you can think of a gentle, polite way to express your disagreement, go for it! Honest, courteous discussion is a great thing. But something along the lines of, "I was uncomfortable with that option for X reason" or "I did Y instead of X, I think it was better because of Z" will get you much further than saying "Ugh, Option X is so cliched and cheesy."
  • If what this person has to say is so offensive that you can't possibly be polite, go ahead and leave your nasty comment ... and then go read something else. Don't be a troll. It just ratchets up your blood pressure and wastes valuable time.
So there we have it -- my advice for politely expressing disagreements of opinion. Not to get all soapboxy, but I think this is a skill we really need more of in the US. To be frank, the last thing that will convince me to vote for John McCain is being told that anyone who votes for Barack Obama clearly doesn't read newspapers. (Actual line said by someone at my grandmother's funeral. Ugh.)

Phew! OK, now to cleanse the palate, here's a gorgeous photo of a short-haired bride I just spotted on

As a short-haired bride myself, I'm always looking for inspiration like this -- I do want to wear a veil during the ceremony, but now I'm super-tempted to find a sparkly comb or hair clip to wear during the reception!

Belated/early Wine Wednesday

Yikes, what a week! The last week of the semester brought the end of the course I was teaching, no less than three holiday parties, and a massive headache that's still kind of throbbing in the back of my head.

As far as the wedding blogging goes, inspiration is failing me a bit. Should I write about my upcoming meeting with a very cool-sounding florist who will hopefully not laugh at my complete ignorance about all things flower-related? (I can tell a carnation from a calla lily. After that things get shaky.) Our upcoming engagement party and bridal shower? Or my frustration with invitation software and templates that don't have enough room to list divorced parents on separate lines? (I can't be the only person having this problem. Why on earth Wedding Paper Divas assumes you can always squeeze the bride's parents onto a single line is beyond me. And don't even get me started on Jean M.'s delusional belief that all you need for any invitation is 12 lines.)

Nah. Instead I'll blog about my recent wine-buying adventures, and a fantastic $8 Cabernet that's gone on the short list for wedding wines.

I recently had the delightful task of buying lots of alcohol for a holiday party, and I put a lot of thought (probably too much) into providing a well-balanced selection of wines for the guests to enjoy. (Good practice for the wedding, I figure.) After the party I was so thrilled to overhear people praising the great variety of drinks! Here was the list:
* Pillar Box White from Australia -- this is a great blend of unoaked Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. A bit sharp and citrusy for some, but Econo Boy and I love it.
* Sagta Torrontes from Argentina -- Torrontes is a great grape for fruity, slightly fuller-bodied white wines. This one was new to me, but I thought it was very nice, although not quite as good as the Las Brisas white I mentioned in my last Wine Wednesday post.
* Smoking Loon Pinot Noir from California -- an old standby, light and drinkable, a great inexpensive wine.
* Wishing Tree Shiraz from Australia -- I'm not a big fan of Shiraz, I find it too heavy, but Econo Boy assures me this is a balanced and pleasant one.
* Xplorador Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile -- a home run! Spicy and dry, just like a good Cab should be in my book. And at $8 a bottle it's a huge steal. My friends who've been urging me to drink more South American wine are on to something!

I did, however, learn a lesson: buy half red and half white. I did 2/3 red & 1/3 white, and by the end of the party the white was almost gone while we still had plenty of red. For a July wedding, we might even consider buying slightly more white than red. (Now how am I going to explain this to my white-loathing father? Maybe if I promise no Rieslings ...)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dude, labels are, like, everywhere

I must be kind of psychic or something. Very shortly after posting about how I was refusing to use labels for our wedding invitations, I made a visit to Weddingbee and was hit with not one but two posts from brides using labels, and countless comments in support of said practice. Using computer-printed labels seems to be much more common than I thought -- in fact, it seems downright fashionable!

Image from Martha Stewart Weddings
Invitation suite by Hello! Lucky

OK, uncle, I give! I will admit it: the labels above are very, very pretty. And no, my handwritten addresses will probably not be as pretty or flourish-y as the ones people print using computer script fonts.

But somehow, I just can't see myself using labels, even ones as pretty as these. There's just something about a hand-addressed envelope that I think is kind of, well, special. Almost everything I get in the mail these days has a computer-printed label on it -- 90% of my mail is either junk mail or financial documents, pretty yawn-worthy. But when I see something that's been hand-addressed, I get excited, because I know it's a card from a family member, news from a friend, or something else out of the ordinary.

I'm not crafty; I won't be hand-weaving any tablecloths or painting any murals for our wedding. But I do love pens and paper and getting old-fashioned letters in the mail. And so come April, I'll be busting out my fountain pen, turning on some music, and addressing my envelopes by hand. Yeah, I'm a square. But I'm OK with it :-)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Miss Manners and invitations

The other day, Econo Boy and I were filling addresses into our guest list on Google Docs (yes, we have a spreadsheet. Yes, we are nerds), and we returned to a topic of conversation we've discussed before: how we will be addressing the invitations.

Econo Boy: "This spreadsheet will make it so easy for me to do the mail merge when we print our invitation envelopes." (Note the sneaky tactic of pretending I've already agreed to doing this!)

Me: "Nice try. We need to hand-write the addresses. If we use the tea-length envelope, printing the address on a laser printer will make it look like junk mail."

Econo Boy: "People will know it's not junk mail. The paper is too nice."

Me: "How would we feed the envelopes through the printer? The paper's too thick and soft, the printer will chew it up. Besides, feeding the envelopes through one by one will take almost as long as just writing the addresses by hand."

I foolishly believed I had unveiled my trump card, the "we'll ruin the expensive paper and/or it won't save time" argument. Then Econo Boy uttered these words.

Econo Boy: "I have a bunch of white labels, I was just going to print the addresses on those and stick them on the envelopes."

What?! Ugly, mass-mail, laser-printed-in-Times-New-Roman white labels on our beautiful ivory, hand-milled Italian paper envelopes? I managed to control the twitch in my eye. "That would look awful and tacky and we will not be doing it," I told him primly.*

In search of support, I Googled "Miss Manners handwritten invitations," certain she would have just the right pithy sentence to explain to Econo Boy that printing address labels on a computer was not the way to go. Instead, I got a shock: apparently, our invitations will violate proper invitation etiquette before they're even addressed!

From Miss Manners' Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, page 391:
"The world is full of nasty people who examine the backs of wedding invitations and run fingernails over the front in order to tell whether the thing was properly engraved. Miss Manners is one of them. Handwriting and engraving are equally correct; fake engraving and computer-generated fonts are imposters."
Well then!

I've always been skeptical of people who say "we're not bothering with that stuffy old 'etiquette' nonsense." Personally I'm a fan of old-fashioned etiquette. What's so awful about writing prompt thank-you notes and not treating your guests like ATMs or robots whose sole purpose is to produce presents? But I have to say, in the above passage, Miss Manners does come across as a bit behind the times, not to mention financially clueless. Engraving is incredibly expensive! Is it really "incorrect" to spend less than $10 an invitation? (Miss Manners, I'm sure, would tell me that if we cannot afford to have the invitations engraved, we ought to hand-write all of them. The mind boggles at the thought of hand-writing 102 invitations.)

So I guess our invitations will be falling somewhat short of "excruciatingly correct." But I've decided I'm OK with "mostly correct." In other words, we're still using flat printing, but Econo Boy will not be spoiling our lovely envelopes with laser-printed white labels!

Which probably means I'll be hand-addressing all 102 invitations myself. Ah well. I can pretend I'm actually DIY-ing something!

In other invitation news, I'm in love with the White Aisle's new printed vellum inserts, like this one for the Hong Kong invitation set:

Image from

I haven't decided yet if I'll splurge and add them to my own invites, but how pretty are they?

* Note: If you and your sweetie laser-printed labels to address your wedding invitations, and calling it "tacky" hurts your feelings, my apologies. I just prefer hand-written envelopes, and you should feel free to ignore me and my opinions as you see fit!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wine Wednesday 3: Las Brisas white

A few weeks ago, Econo Boy and I treated ourselves to a mixed case of wines. We threw in a few old favorites, but the majority of the bottles we picked were new to us -- and among the few bottles we've opened we've already found some new favorites!

On Thanksgiving, we broke out two bottles of Cabernet to go with the dinner -- our old favorite Annabella Cab and a Rodney Strong 2006 Sonoma Cab (which I thought tasted too strongly of vanilla, but was nice with the food). But my favorite Thanksgiving wine was the white we opened to serve with the appetizers: the 2007 Las Brisas Rueda white from Spain.

Image from

This white is absolutely wonderful -- slightly sharp and citrusy, but not too dry, and with just enough body to stand up to the cheeses we had out for pre-dinner snacks without feeling heavy. And at $8-10 a bottle it's a great value. In fact, it's gone on the short list for wines we might serve at our wedding!

Monday, December 1, 2008

some random wedding planning observations

Is it just me, or does wedding planning come in waves? One minute I'm ignoring everything wedding-related (except for the chance to ramble on my blog), and the next it's all wedding all the time. Thanksgiving weekend definitely fell into the latter category. Between ordering the bridesmaids' dresses (which shipped today! Nice work, J. Crew!), discussing the guest list with Econo Boy's parents (more on that soon), showing off my gorgeous White Aisle invitation samples (the tea-length Blossom invitation is the front-runner), and trying to coordinate both a shower and an engagement party with the hosts of said events, I'm kinda wedding-ed out.

Here's my favorite invitation so far!
Image from;
click the photo to see this invitation set
on the White Aisle website.

Ah yes ... the guest list. Based on my totally scientific reading of 3 wedding magazines and various bridal blogs, it seems that the major source of stress for most wedding planners is the dreaded guest list. Econo Boy and I knew going in that it was extremely important to his parents to invite not only Econo Boy's sizeable family, but also their sizeable social circle (we both grew up in Colorado and so it's a hometown wedding for both of us).

So practically the first thing we did after getting engaged was ask both sets of parents to come up with a list of all of the people they might want to invite to the wedding. The final tally, including our own pals, was 190. Based on that number, we estimated that we'll have less than 150 guests, but we chose a venue that can hold up to 200 people so we don't have to stress about getting enough "no" RSVPs.

So we're happy, our parents are happy, it's all good, right? Well, sort of. A fair number of our married friends are horrified that we're letting our families have any say at all in the guest list. "You don't have to give in to that," they say. "It's stupid to invite a bunch of people you barely know just because your parents want them there. Trust us, we've been through this wedding thing. Your parents' friends don't belong at your wedding."

Hmmm. On the one hand, yeah, in my ideal world we'd have an expected head count closer to 80 -- I'm worried about our wedding feeling giant and impersonal. But on the other hand, this is important to our families as well, and many of our parents' friends have watched us grow up, helped us with school projects, given us graduation presents, and generally been part of that whole "takes a village to raise a child" thing. Plus, Econo Boy's parents gave us a very generous gift towards the wedding fund to ensure that inviting their big guest list won't mean everyone is eating bulk-purchased pretzels for dinner. So I'm OK with the "big tent" approach to our guest list. Not thrilled, per se, but I think everyone will be happier with this strategy.

How much say did your parents have in your guest list? Was this at all influenced by who was paying? Are we insane for throwing open the doors and letting our parents invite whoever they want, or smart for prioritizing family happiness?