Friday, January 9, 2009

Avoiding the "War"

I love weddings. I'm particularly excited about mine, but I love all of them. I love silly ones, serious ones, off-beat ones, all sorts. I read far too many wedding blogs, I go to wedding expos for fun, I adore Martha Stewart Wedding.

And yet, I have absolutely no interest in seeing Bride Wars. None. At all.

The plot of the film is that two best friends, who have dreamed of their wedding at the Plaza in June all their lives, accidentally schedule their wedding for the same day. "Funny" things ensue.

I couldn't put my finger on what, exactly, I loathed about this wedding movie before I even saw it. I think it was a combination of the cattiness, the selfishness, the seeming absence of the grooms in the preview, the whole tone of the movie.

I read the review for the movie in the New York Times, because I do that with movies I am confident I don't want to see and like to feel vindicated when smart people also hate that movie (even though they're making an informed critical judgement and I'm just being judgmental).

“Bride Wars” is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). Dangerous acts of consumerism.

I giggled to myself. The ratings blurb at the bottom of NYT reviews are always one of my favorite parts, mostly because I'm a nerd. But it hit the nail on the head. This movie was all about dreams of a wedding at the plaza with the big dress, best spray tan, biggest bouquet. It barely mentioned the grooms, let alone the entire concept of marriage.

And then it hit me. This movie isn't about marriage, it's just about the two weddings of two very silly women. Two women who have a completely different view of their wedding than I do. Not that I wouldn't love a June wedding at the Plaza with all the splendor that comes with it. But that's not the point. The point is that we are going to be surrounded by the people who love us as we pledge ourselves and our lives to each other and create a new family. I love futzing with the flowers, picking out pretty dresses, looking at limos, but in the end, at least for me anyway, that's not the point at all.

I can flip past the opulent dresses and over the top centerpieces in Martha Stewart Weddings and simply admire them for their beauty. Maybe I can do the same with the main characters of this movie. Maybe...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Being cheap, but in a fun way.

So there are some things I think a lot of money should be spent on for the wedding...

And then there are things that I have a tough time spending piles of money on.

So for the past few months, I've been doing a LOT of research. (Shocking, I know) I've looked at what I thought was every single limo company in Southern New Hampshire and Northern MA. I've looked at the website for every salon in the greater Manchester area that has one. I wasn't really terribly excited about anything I had found. Everything seemed overpriced to me. I felt like I was getting ripped off, and I really, really hate that feeling. I wasn't despairing, because, well, we've got time. But I was a little downhearted.

Last weekend, Leah and I went to the WZID Wedding Expo at the Radisson. A mere 5 blocks away from my favorite breakfast place, it was far from an out-of-the-way excursion.

I attended the Expo last year as a bridesmaid with Steph and we had a lot of fun. This year was no different! It's definitely an overwhelming experience. There were a bunch more vendors this year than last and we found some really great stuff. But you do find yourself saying, "Oh, thank you. Yes, in September. Yes, we're really counting on the weather. Yeah, I'm excited about the chapel, it's beautiful" over and over again because all of the vendors ask you the same questions.

Despite the fact that I had a lot done already, there was more than enough to see and do that was actually relevant and worthwhile. Sure, we looked at dresses even though I already bought mine. And stationary even though I already picked mine out (and is a FRACTION of the cost of what they were selling, but also, honestly, a fraction of the awesomeness). But we also looked at a bunch of beautiful accessories (I'm in need of jewelry and a brooch for my dress), a bunch of salons, 3 limo companies, a few dance places, and said hi to my DJ and the coordinator at the Puritan - a freaking doll of a woman, so nice.

We looked at three limo companies, only one of which I'd already heard a lot about (and seen their prices). After investigating the car and talking to the driver, we decided on a great deal with Odyssey Rides. They're awesome! The car is beautiful, and the price is almost as pretty. :-) We'll be riding in style to the ceremony and reception in this.
You can't really tell from the picture, but it's a 10 person car. It's huge. And all fancy on the inside with three DVD screens and a touch screen climate control and instrument panel.

One of the funnest parts of the day was the fashion show, which was a mixture of really horrible designs, uncomfortable models, snarky remarks from Leah and me, and some really beautiful dresses, gorgeous models, and ogling from the peanut gallery. The company who sponsored it, Sposa Atelier, will get a visit from us to look at accessories.

The last thing we were looking for was hair and makeup. I know it's kind of a splurge, but I really want someone to do my hair and makeup for me the day of the wedding. I just don't want to have to worry about it. And despite the fact that I acknowledge it's a splurge, I'm not really interested in paying splurge-like prices on it.

Enter 26th on Hanover, a fairly new salon in Manchester.

For a very reasonable price of $58 a person, myself and the bridesmaids will each get a manicure (day before) and formal hairstyle. And for a slightly unreasonable travel fee of $50, they will come to us. Makeup is also offered through a partnership they have, though her prices are slightly less amazing. But I have a consultation with her next month, so we'll decide if it's worth it then.

I think I'll always struggle with spending this much money, but I'm balancing it with being frugal in places I think are slightly less important. Because in the end, how I get there and what my hair looks like matter much less than what I'm going to do once I'm there.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A rose by any other name

On Tuesday, I received my test shipment from 2G Roses. I'd ordered a mix of 25 roses for our "test" bunch. I knew I'd have some free time now that the holidays are behind us so I figured I'd grab a couple of bridesmaids, test out their bouquet making skills, and investigate the quality of the flowers I'd be getting.

The test met and exceeded my expectations! It went really super - well until the fire. But we'll get to that. I'm getting ahead of myself.

New Year's Day - Amy (sister and maid-of-honor), Kirsten and Steph (bridesmaids extraordinaires) stop by. Armed with the 25 roses from 2G and a dozen bought at the grocery store with some baby's breath, we set to work to see how we could do.

First off, let me just say that the quality of the roses from 2G was awesome! They came firm and healthy, and as promised, two days later they were blooming and beautiful.

Our first attempt at a bouquet. We got a mix of colors in our test bunch so we could choose exactly which color we want. These were a bunch of the pastels. Beautiful, but not what we'll be doing. What this did teach us was how big we wanted the bridesmaids' bouquets and how we wanted them to look.

Our first boutonniere. Steph will definitely be in charge of this. She knocked this out in like 45 seconds. Pretty bad ass if you ask me.
After I banged out the first bouquet, and Steph showed her serious boutonniere skills, I unwrapped the first bouquet and let the three of them try. I had cookies to make for dessert that night, so I stepped into the kitchen (right next to where we were working) and preheated the oven.

While I was mixing, the amazing ladies came up with this. The first picture is our first attempt at a bridesmaid's bouquet.The next picture takes a look at what Amy's maid-of-honor bouquet would look like. A little fuller with a couple more roses. Kirsten and Amy did great jobs with these!A great shot at how beautiful the 2G flowers are... and Steph's serious skills.Instead of baby's breath, we considered green filler. We all decided it was a little too Christmas-y for our taste.

While the bridesmaids were working, I checked on the oven. This is what happened:

Nothing foggy or out of focus about these pictures. The house was FILLED with thick, smelly smoke. I'd made meatballs for dinner a few nights prior and apparently having about a 1/2 cup of grease at the bottom of your oven is a bad idea... When it first started smoking, I thought, "Oh, I'll just turn up the heat to burn it off quicker." The result, which was not captured on film, was a HUGE grease fire in my oven. After calmly informing my fiance that I had lit the house on fire, and remembering we never actually got around to buying a fire extinguisher, we shut the stove and waited for it to burn out.

After politely avoiding teasing me for lighting my house on fire, and hiding upstairs and outside in the 15 degree weather because no one could breathe, we regrouped in the living room to attack the final bouquet - mine!

Without baby's breath, and then with:

Isn't it pretty?? This was with the grocery store roses and some of the extra 2G ones. For the wedding, my bouquet will be twenty French Red and Black Magic Red roses with baby's breath. I love it!

After we finished with that, while we were waiting for the smoke to finish clearing, we played with mixing red and white for the bridesmaids' bouquets. Here's the result: I really love this! I think this will be what we go with in the end.

An exciting afternoon for sure. I have some really talented bridesmaids and I'm SO excited that not only are we going to save some serious dough, but we'll all have a personal touch on our bouquets.