Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Shoes... but more importantly Spreadsheets

So I don't know if you've noticed this about me before, but I'm really excited about my wedding. And planning it. And organizing it. :) The week I got back from my vacation (Mike and I were engaged for 3 days before I went on a 9 day vacation without him), I created a google spreadsheet with a to-do list 60 items long. Mike was horrified.
(click for larger image)
With 78 items on the list now, we're not deleting things we've accomplished, just shading them differently. This is mostly just so I can feel good about my accomplishments. :) The spreadsheet now includes different sheets for the to-do list, vendor payments, day-of schedule, dj options, dress shops, reception site options, reception math, everything we've worked on to date. I thought I was good.

Then Leah sent me the most amazing thing ever. (click for larger image)

This is a detailed and intricate spreadsheet listing 34 possible wedding shoe options with links, sort-able by designer, name, price, heel, toe, style, fabric, and color. And asked me to insert my comments on each to help her adjust her search accordingly. Not only is this a feat of bridesmaidly wonderfulness, it is an organizational and research marvel that I just had to share with the internet!

And... I think I found my shoes! And best of all, has a 365 day return policy so even if I change my mind, buying them more than a YEAR before my wedding is still totally acceptable!

Monday, August 18, 2008

What Wedding Dress Shopping Taught Me About Love

The image of the bride-to-be, emerging from her dressing room, her face glowing with happiness as she looks in the mirror, she knows it's the one. This fantasy scenario, one that actually happens to a lot of people (Hi Steph!), did not happen to me. I was not blessed with this clarity, with this magical experience. Dress shopping was a process for me, but I wouldn't have had it any other way.

I guess it makes sense that I didn't emerge from a dressing room bathed in heavenly light and know the dress was "the one." That certainly didn't happen when I was searching for the much more important "one," Mike. On the surface, our story sounds fairy-tale happy. Boy meets girl during girl's second week of high school. Boy turns to best friend, says, "I'm going to marry that girl." Fast forward 13 years. Boy and girl marry.

The reality of our relationship is far from what it appears on the surface. Over the 12 years that we have known each other, I never had a flash of clarity, the sudden realization that Mike was "the one." And other than that first moment that he saw me (true story), I doubt Mike has either.

That's not to say I don't desperately, completely, deeply, madly love Mike. I long to spend the rest of my life with him. I am so excited to grow old with him, to have children and a family with him. I am so thrilled to be marrying him.

To get to this point, to get to the I Do's, has taken a lot of WORK. It's been a process. And I wouldn't have had it any other way. Over the past twelve years we've dated, broken up 5 (maybe 6) times, dated other people, moved into 3 houses, out of 2 (and not always at the same time). We've said hurtful, awful things to each other. We've cried.

We've also fell more deeply in love than we ever could have imagined. We've learned, grown into adults, become the type of people who can be there for another person wholly and completely without losing themselves. We've bought a house and adopted four cats, and developed a family of friends that will be with us for the rest of our lives.

This process of learning, growing, loving has taken twelve years. And I don't think we'll ever finish. For us, or I suppose I can just say for me, love is not a stagnant thing, something that happens instantly and then exists in perpetuity. Love is a living, changing thing that has to be nurtured the same way as any other living thing. Work is needed to keep it alive and growing, and I'm excited to get my hands dirty!

So now that I've babbled on, I'll get back to what I was talking about.... dress shopping! Amazing how I can make a post about picking out a wedding dress this long without even mentioning anything about actually GOING dress shopping...

I guess what I'm saying is that even though I didn't have that moment of "OMG this is the one," I'm completely thrilled to have picked my wedding dress this past weekend. And just like with everything else, it took work. Over the past month, my wonderful bridesmaids, my mother and my future mother in law accompanied me to three different bridal shops across New Hampshire. I tried on all SORTS of dresses, some of which I liked, others that I really loathed. In the end, at each place I found two that I really liked. Going into this weekend, I was down to my top three choices.

I thought I had a front runner in mind when we started, but I wanted to make sure I didn't just have a proximity crush on it because it was the last dress I tried on. But sure enough, after slipping into all three, I was completely confident I found my dress. And when I put it on, a huge smile burst onto my face. No heavenly light, but confidence that I'd found exactly what I was looking for.

Kinda like the wonderful man who will be by my side when I'm finally wearing it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The DJ and the Dress (unrelated topics)

When last we spoke, I was talking about how important I thought the DJ decision was. And that I was a bit nervous about finding "the right one." Well as luck would have it, we got it on the first try!

To be completely honest, I'm not sure if luck had much to do with it. Mike and I looked at a lot of DJ videos and were very selective about who we met with. And it was a very successful process! May I introduce you to our DJ, Mr. Kevin Sawler.The minute we met Kevin, we were very impressed with his professionalism, his honesty and his directness. He spoke about how important it was for a DJ to manage the flow of the wedding, to take a very strong Master of Ceremony role. He spoke about how accommodating he is to the bride and groom's style and wishes and his commitment to his job. Mike and I were very pleased. Kevin hadn't even made it out of the door of Panera before we turned to each other and said, "Let's book him."

We're very excited. Kevin was very open with his opinions, but is happy to defer to us. That's absolutely critical, I think. We want someone who will share their expertise, especially on things we don't have strong feelings about. But we're confident that the things we DO have strong feelings about will be handled exactly to our liking.

In other news, I've narrowed my dress selections to three possible options. I'll be going with a smattering of my bridesmaids tomorrow to try them on in succession to make a decision. I've got online pictures of two of them, so if you'd like to see them let me know. I shan't be posting pictures of them here because, on occasion, my fiancee does visit this site.

Wish me luck!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hey Mister DJ, Put a Record On

Hiring a DJ is, I think, one of the most important decisions you make about a wedding. This is the person who will be responsible for the entire flow of your reception. (S)He will be responsible for setting the tone, pace and attitude of the evening. If he (let's just assume he) is cheesy, corny, rushed, too excited, boring, slow, forgetful, or just annoying, he will have a huge impact on the evening.

"I guess," you say. "But Kristin, isn't the most important thing that the people you love are with you to share in the joy of your wedding?"

Of course. That's the most important thing. But I've already picked Mike and our friends, and our families kinda came with the package. But the DJ, the all powerful man with the microphone, will be in charge. And that's a little nerve racking.

So what am I looking for in a DJ? I suppose it's easier to talk about what I'm NOT looking for.
There will be no props. None. This means no leis,
no silly hats,
no bowties on ladies (or the macarena for that matter),
and you will not see me rocking an inflatable guitar in my wedding dress.
Now I'm not trying to suggest that these things aren't fun - or that for some brides and weddings, they really add to the evening. But for me, they remind me of a fourth grade birthday party. If I wouldn't have these things a regular party that I was throwing, I'm certainly not going to have them at a really big, fairly expensive, life altering party that I'm throwing.

So I guess what this all means is that the tone of the reception is important to me. I want it to be fun - I want it to be a TON of fun. I want it to most definitely be a party. But I want it to be a party that is characteristic of who we are. And we are not people who play with inflatable guitars in formal wear. Now if it was a Rock Band guitar... well that'd be a different story.

Mike and I looked at two different companies, and probably 50 DJ videos. Some of them we turned off after a few seconds, others we watched in abject horror. But there were a smattering of DJ's we liked. With consideration to availability and how much we like them, we are meeting with the ONE DJ from both companies that fits the bill. We're meeting him on Monday. If he shows up with a lei I can't guarantee I won't burst into tears.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

My Fiance is Amazing

As a newly engaged person, I have to say that my fiance is amazing. He did, after all, just get me a very pretty, very shiny piece of jewelry. But the amazing-ness that is my fiance goes well beyond bling. It includes quotes like this.
I will do whatever you decide is best.
Now Mike is by no means a push over when it comes to wedding stuff. He's a far cry from the non-involved grooms-to-be that just show up at their weddings. When asked, he offers opinions on everything from photographers to bridesmaid dress colors to table numbers. Not only does it make it more "our" wedding, it also helps me decide if my opinions are crazy, or if I am actually invested in them. Which, when you're considering things like $1,000 chair covers and $6 a bag M&M's, is very important! (Don't worry, you won't be seeing either of those at our wedding, cooler heads prevailed)

What's most amazing about my fiance is that he knows when to say these things. He can tell when I actually need his opinion about something, or if I'm just asking out of courtesy. And he knows the absolute best ways to calm down my occasionally frazzled self.

I realize I'm mostly gushing, and this has almost nothing to do with the wedding and is probably not very interesting. But he's awesome. Thought you should know. :)

Friday, August 1, 2008


So this is SUPER premature. I know. Unlike the reception site, the photographer and the DJ, our centerpieces are not going to book up before we decide what we do. Nonetheless, I'm thinking about it. Cause, well, I'm a little loopy.

So. Centerpieces. I've known since I started thinking about my wedding (which, contrary to popular belief wasn't a full 11 years ago) that I didn't want big elaborate floral centerpieces. I didn't want anything too high or too cluttered. They just aren't my style. If I was going to do floral centerpieces, they'd be simple. Like this:
Pretty, simple, classic. I'll likely do red flowers, but this would be the gist. Maybe a clear bowl instead of the white vase, but just that.

But what if I don't want floral centerpieces? After all, wedding flowers are expensive, complicated, fragile, easily ruined, wilted or destroyed. What if I did something else? Like candles...
A wider view of this type of arrangement:

I think it's so dramatic. It's still simple in its concept but I think it's just so darn elegant. If I did do candles, they'd have to be unscented (all those candles would overpower to food). The reception venue permits candles as long as they're in glass - so this would be totally allowable.

I still have PLENTY of time to decide what I'm going to do for my centerpieces. So if you have any ideas - let me know!