Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Confessions

I'm linking up with Katy again for Thursday Confessions!

When Sean and I have kids someday my dream is to have twins.  (Even though I'm pretty certain Sean's head would explode with the thought of not one, but two babies at the same time.  Seriously--EXPLODE!). My mom is actually a fraternal twin (the kind that runs in families) and so I'm hoping I have good odds.  This video has been all over in the past couple of days but I had to share.  When I saw it, my urge for twins increased times a MILLION!  Adorable.

Even though I grew up in Chicago I hate the cold.  Everyone always says that since I grew up in the "Windy City" I should be used to it.  I'm not, ok.  (PS the cold is NOT the reason for that name-it's because there are a lot of politician's blowing hot air.  And there's your winning Jeopardy answer.  You're Welcome)

Anyway, I hate the cold and so the fact that the weather here has been more January than March (almost April, damnit) is really grating on me.  GET IT TOGETHER MOTHER NATURE!

What are your confessions on this gloomy Thursday.  Share them below and brighten my day.  Extra points for witty responses!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wedding Bells Are Gonna Chime

To continue with the theme of the week, I give you my friend Marisol's wedding.  Marisol is one of my favorite people.  This is obvious considering I braved the drive through Midtown Manhattan and through Queens to attend her lovely wedding.  If you've never driven through Midtown...DON'T.  I'm convinced the drive cut at least 2 years off my life. But, she flew out to snowy Chicago on a moment's notice for mine, so I'll say we're even. 

She married a wonderful man who really is perfect for her in every way.  It's obvious that he adores her, and I am so happy that they found each other. 

Now, enough of the mushy stuff, and onto the pics!


Oh yeah--those are bobble heads. 

My favorite part was that during the ceremony, they used a laptop to update their facebook statuses..stati..(what the heck is the plural of status anyway).  Because, let's face it, nothing is official until it's facebook official.

Now, I know I'm a bad blogger since I didn't get pics of the centerpieces, or the extensive dessert table, or 1 of the 3 different pasta stations during the cocktail hour.  But hopefully through the shots above you can see how full of love the day was, and not chastise me too much. 

As far as weddings go, this one is pretty far up there.  Amazing food (seriously: 3 pasta stations, 2 carving stations, Asian food, seafood, chicken, fruit, veggies, AND passed appetizers.  And that was just the cocktail hour).  The centerpieces were lovely (take my word for it) and the signature cocktails : The Haitian Sensation, and the Dacocarican were yummy and tropical and made me wish I went with them to Puerto Rico for their honeymoon.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our Wedding Story: Part 3

Today is our actual anniversary! Happy 2 years to the love of my life.  I got to marry a man with the patience of a saint, and who loves me more than I ever thought possible.  Who's a lucky girl, this girl, that's who.

The night before our wedding, I stayed in the hotel with my Maid of Honor and Sean suprised me with a whole bag of pampering treats from Lush.  I actually slept pretty well, and woke up to find that it was snowing.  SNOWING!  Luckily, it stopped pretty early and didn't infringe on the day's plans. 

I started the day by sneaking off to see Sean.  Yeah yeah, bad luck I know, but I just couldn't not see him all day.  At least I was in a sweatshirt with no makeup on and not in my dress.  I was so anxious in the morning and he has this ability to calm me down instantly and so for my sanity, I had to see him.  I knocked on his hotel room, and we just hugged and talked about how excited we were for the day.  It was one of my favorite moments of the day and I'm so glad I didn't listen to the superstition. 

The morning was lovely and relaxing: hair and makeup and getting dressed.  My parents were there the whole time with me in addition to my bridesmaids and it was great to share such special moments with the people I love the most.

Sean opening my gift to him

My MOH, Julie, is daughter #2
 Now, the day was not without a giant mishap but hey, what good wedding story doesn't have a plot twist?!

The one job I gave Sean in all of this (besides helping me DIY a TON of stuff...scroll down to see the list) was to book the limo.  I had taken care of everything else.  Unfortunately, that was the one thing that went horribly wrong.  Apparently, when the guys went down to head to the church it was there.  When I went down it was not.  So rather than flipping out, I just asked my makeup artist if she would mind dropping my parents and I off at the church.  My bridesmaids were already there, and my photographer took my Maid of Honor.  So, we just shoved my dress in the car and went.  Same story to get to the reception.  Hilarious yes, and I still get to bring that up when Sean and I argue.  GOLD!

Our wedding day was everything I ever could have wanted and more.  I got to marry the man of my dreams, and had all my closest friends and family with me including my father who held my hand as he gave me away.

 In three months we planned a wedding with unique details and personal touches.  In my eyes it was a perfect day.

And now, since pictures speak louder than words I will leave you with some of my favorite shots from the day as well as our day after shoot downtown.
Both of us trying not to cry...FAIL

DIY Programs

We couldn't be serious ALL day

Boring we are not.

Yes, the guys totally went down the slide


The whole crew

Traditional, no.  Delicious, yes.

Enjoying some cotton candy--best idea EVER!

DIY Menus

DIY cardobx & Poloroid Guest Book

We even took a dance class so Sean could spin and dip me
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

Knowing our dance is next

Unforgetable sung by Natalie Cole and her father Nat King Cole

Did my mom look beautiful or what?

Think we had a fun party?

Soldier Field, baby!

Sweet Home, Chicago

Da' Bears

The Bean

More BAMF shots.
My mom made my veil--12 feet long.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Our Wedding Story: Part 2.5

2.5 is an account of the way our wedding miraculously fell into place through amazing interventions by the universe.  It's rather detailed and so if you want to skip this post and just wait for all the pretty pretty pictures tomorrow, I understand.  But if you're a glass half empty kind of person, the story may just restore your faith.
All photos by Copper Photography
Intervention #1

After hours of Internet research, I had narrowed my reception sites down to only a few but I just KNEW that a conservatory would be perfect.  And so in the middle of a damn blizzard, my father and I drove all the way downtown from our house in the suburbs to get a tour of a particular Chicago conservatory which shall remain nameless.  We got the tour and I was smitten.  It was perfect and it was perfectly in my price range.  So at the end of the tour I asked the manager to confirm the price and it was double...DOUBLE...the price I was told.  Apparently I had been told last year's price and I was getting married next year so there was nothing they could do.  REALLY?! Lies.

I got in the car and sobbed while calling my mom.  It was December 23rd and I had visited all of the other options already and none would work. (Not enough seats, too expensive caterer, stairs instead of an elevator-- and with a father with heart problems that certainly wouldn't work).  So my mom called around and every place in the area was booked up, but one person happened to refer her to the park district of the town right next to ours.  Apparently they had just renovated a mansion in and were hoping to book events for the spring.  A park district rep met us at the mansion, even though they were closed, in the middle of a blizzard!  And it was perfect.  And actually perfectly in my price range without any funny business.  It was literally 5 minutes from our church and we never knew. 

Intervention #2

My bridesmaid Amanda and her family were very involved in their church.  Because of their relationship with the priest, I was able to get married on a Sunday (UNHEARD OF!) and their family served as my cantor, and alter servers.  This helped alleviate stress on my part since I knew that I wouldn't have to worry about anything "church" related, and because they were all there with us for our vows, it helped fill the room with that much more love.

Intervention #3 (and 4, and 5 really)

One of my bridesmaids, Leen, is one of those people who is so nice it hurts.  So consequently, she has a million friends in all different walks of life.  She was one of my first calls when all of the crazy went down because I just felt like she'd know what to do.  Turns out she hooked us up with our brilliant photographer who was so wonderful through the whole process, and truly took some beautiful photos.  Leen and Copper had been friends for a long time and somehow we had never met.  She was able to sit with me over some coffee while I was home and I was sold the minute we met.  She was calm, happy, and wonderfully creative.  I only wished she lived closer so that we could hang out!

Leen also has a friend who "DJ's on the side"...what?!  So for a ridiculous amount of money (read: practically nothing) her good friend, and all around good guy, DJ'd our wedding. I danced all night so clearly I was happy with the results.

Finally, Leen had a friend who recently got married and had some extra fishbowls and candles she wasn't going to use ever again.  I figured they would work well for the centerpieces (more on them in Intervention #6) and so I said I would take them. I didn't see them (or even know how many there were) until the week of the wedding.  When I unpacked them not only were they painted in my color scheme (purple and orange...who else does purple and orange? *cue creepy coincidence music*)  But there were the number of bowls I needed.  Not one more, not one less.  And my bride twin gave them to me for free! FREE!

Intervention #6

My father went to flea markets every weekend morning for as long as I can remember.  So along his shopping adventures he made lots of  contacts with the different vendors.  One such vendor happened to sell orchid plants.  Orchids are my favorite flower, but they can get very expensive.  The plants regularly sell for $30 at stores near me.  However, this vendor agreed to sell me all the orchid plants I wanted for $10 each.  Yep.  That's it.  So I now had centerpieces.  He delivered them the day before the wedding (in all my specified colors) and even picked out a special double plant for mine and Sean's sweetheart table.  Leen, my other bridesmaid Amanda, and I put together all the centerpieces at the ass-crack of dawn the day before the wedding.  It was a bonding experience for sure.  So that means that my centerpieces cost me a total of $10 each.  For a beautiful plant that my guests took home.  Many are still alive 2 years later which makes my growing green heart very happy.  I love sustainability!

Intervention #7

I wanted cupcakes for our wedding cake, and have even before they were trendy--I swear!  So again, I did Internet research and found the bakeries in the area best known for their cupcakes.  I had my good friend Ian pick up a sampling on his way to visit one day and we gorged ourselves on the sweets. They were all terrible!  Frustrated I was flipping through a local wedding magazine, and happened upon an add for a bakery--only 15 minutes from my house.  I called and asked if they made cupcakes and they told me to come in that afternoon for a tasting.  Well you can guess where this is headed--BEST. CAKE. EVER.   You'll have to take my word that they were delicious, but you can be the judge of how fantastic they looked:

Intervention #8

While munching on my cake a lady next to me asked me how it was since it looked so delicious.  I looked up to answer and saw her name tag: "Linda" both mine, and Sean's mom's name.  I also saw her smock: Phillips Flowers.  Turns out her shop was 2 doors down and she had time for a consultation that afternoon.  I told her my colors, and said the rest was up to her.  They turned out EXACTLY as I imagined.  Perfect.

All of these things happened in a matter of days.  The details for our wedding fell into place as if it was meant to be that way the whole time.  

Our Wedding Story: Part 2

In December of 2008 I still only had a contract for our reception site, despite knowing each vendor I wanted for everything else.  Thank you universe, God, karma, or whatever else it was that kept me from signing any other contracts.

My father's heart problems started when I was twelve, and so receiving the news that he was finally on a transplant list was really very bittersweet.  Obviously, no one wants someone they love to be so sick that they require an organ swap, but at the same time the thought of a transplant gave hope to my parents and I that SOMETHING could be done to help my dad, SOMETHING could happen that would allow us to enjoy more time with him.

I called his cardiologist later that week, and this is how the conversation went:
Me: Look, Doc.  I'm supposed to get married in July.  Out here.  In New Jersey.  I need my father to walk me down the aisle more than anything else.  What's the deal?
Doc: Well, your dad will probably be very tired come July, and may not be able to travel.  Plus, being on the transplant list means he could get a call at a moment's notice and needs to be ready to go in Chicago to get that transplant.
Me: Thanks, Doc I got what I needed to know.  Looks like I'll be rescheduling my wedding plans.   

And so, we decided to move the Chicago.  That gave us exactly three months to replan our entire wedding long-distance with the holidays in between.  So when brides complain of having too many decisions and too little time I pretty much want to tell them to bite me.  You can plan a wedding on short notice, you can make it everything you want it to be, and you can do a lot of it yourself. 

I had already planned to go home for the week of Christmas, and so I began doing some furious internet research, in addition to asking all my friends and family for any help/advice/suggestions they had.

During that ONE WEEK (which included Christmas) I did the following:
Booked our church, chose our ceremony details including music
Booked our reception site
Booked our caterer
Booked our bakery, picked cake flavors
Booked our photographer
Booked our DJ
Booked our florist
Found orchid guy for our centerpieces (more on that later)

This change of events also meant that I got to hang out with my dad for all of that week.  He came with me to visit sites, taste cake, and negotiate contracts.  The decision to continue planning my wedding allowed my family to have a wonderful distraction, something to look forward to, and a terrific reason to get out of bed in the morning during a very stressful time.

In February, Sean and I flew in to finalize our menu, and took some lovely engagement photos.  We killed two birds with one stone and had our photographer join us on our final site walk through.  Multi-tasking is the key, folks.

Sean HATES having his picture taken, and so it was crucial to have engagement shots to get him used to our photographer (Hi, Copper!).  Anyone out there with a camera shy husband hear me: TAKE. ENGAGEMENT. PICS.  Proof:

 Sean and I did some unbelievable wedding planning and a ton of it we made or put together ouselves.  A lot of it was done with help from our parents, and even more was done through some incredible intervention on behalf of the universe.

Part 2.5 will be this afternoon with the details on those amazing interventions!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Our Wedding Story: Part 1

Hopefully by now you've read our Engagement Story, and so of course you're all waiting with baited breath for our Wedding Story!  With our second Anniversary on March 29th, I thought it only fitting to make the next few days a celebration of the day that made us husband and wife.

So Sean proposed in February of 2008, and of course I began wedding planning immediately.  That night I bought my first wedding magazine (or 5...).  We decided to get married in July of 2009 since we were both still in graduate school while I was working for a university and so summer would really be the only reasonable time of year without both of us taking off at a crucial time for work or school.  We also wanted to get married on a Sunday since we both liked the calm, relaxed feeling of a Sunday wedding, and um EVERYTHING wedding related is cheaper on a Sunday.  So that was settled, and July 12, 2009 was set!

I did a lot of research, became besties with, and loved everything about the thought of spending the rest of my life with Sean.  I wanted a church wedding and so we decided to get married at the beautiful cathedral in Camden.  Yes, I know Camden is not where most brides would want to be married but seriously--look at this badboy and tell me it's not gorgeous:

The reception would be held at a winery in South Jersey. We decided on a bakery, and even won a huge discount on a great DJ at a bridal show.  Everything was falling into place.  Our only argument was over the color scheme.  I dreamed of hot pink, lime green, and orange!  Sean insisted the pink was too girly--the man is color blind people.  Yes.  Seriously.  Wouldn't this have been dreamy?

I  purchsed my dress right away.  I had gone home for Easter shortly after getting engaged, and my mom and I went dress shopping.  Since she wouldn't be with me for much of the planning, I really wanted to do something fun and wedding-y while I was home.  I had NO intentions of finding a dress.  Of course, it was one that my mom picked out and it looked terrible on the hanger, but I had promised I would try on anything she wanted.  As she zipped me up she started to cry and said, "This is it, this is the dress!" Of course then I started to cry and yes, it was definitely the dress.  We went home with it that day and I never looked back.  This is the dress the day I bought it, standing in my friend's living room.  Don't worry--better pics to come!

As the months went on I poured over magazines and theknot and watched wedding shows religiously.  (Thank God Sean and I were still long-distance at that point or he would have lost his mind!)  He finally did move in with me in July of 2008, and we continued to plan. 

We gave the winery a deposit, but for some reason I wasn't ready to put any money towards anything else.   Despite the fact that the wedding was getting closer, something in my gut told me not to commit.  Now, anyone who knows me will tell you that this it totally uncharacteristic.  I ALWAYS have my i's dotted and t's crossed way before any deadline.  But I just couldn't bring myself to sign any other contracts.

It turns out that the universe was telling me to hold off, and for good reason.  In December of 2008, just SIX MONTHS before our wedding date, I still only had our reception hall officially booked with a deposit!  Thankfully, that was the best decision I ever made.

Stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Wahoo Weekend!

This morning I woke up and broke not one, but two glasses.  One of them was a wine glass--even more of a travesty.  Mornings like that make me SO glad it's Friday!

Tonight, Sean and I will be hanging out with some of my work friends at a poker night, and I will be bringing the pepper jelly we got in our farm share and putting over some brie.  Thank you for the suggestions!

I think tomorrow while Sean is interning the day away I will head to the Pennsy Flea Market.  I haven't been, and it sounds like a lovely way to spend a Saturday morning.

Do you flea?  What are you up to this weekend?

And don't forget to pop-in next week.  It will be a week of wedding posts to celebrate our Anniversary!
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