Monthly Archives: September 2009

We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ China

For the last 4 months, we have been trying to figure out the whole registry situation.  When Scott and I moved in together this time last year, we used every possible nook and cranny in our 1300 square foot apartment to put stuff.  We literally had 2 of everything – 2 irons, 2 vacuums, 2 sets of kitchen everything. Now tell me, who in the world needs 2 George Foreman grills when neither person cooks?

I’ve talked to a bunch of people about what we could possibly register for and the answer is usually the same – use the registry to redecorate.

“Get new towels and get rid of the old ones.”

“Get a nice set of matching plates and donate the 4 mismatched sets you have.”

“People are going to get you presents so you might as well pick the things you want instead of getting a bunch of stuff you don’t.”

Hmmm.

My concern is that we plan on buying a place as soon as we can save up a down payment, and it’s hard decorating a house that you’ve never seen before. I do know though that my friend is planning a shower for me and I could only imagine the opening of the gifts scenario if we don’t register….

ugly vase(source)

<box opening>

Me: “Oh, uh, wow. It’s, um, lovely.”

Them: “Don’t you love it? I thought you could use another vase!”

Me: “Um, yeah, I’ll put it with the other 125 vases that we have. It’ll, um, complete our collection.”

Any suggestions on what to register for if you already have everything you could possibly need???

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My Savior

falling-money(source)

I was really nervous about planning a trip for 26 people.  Booking a trip for myself was never a problem cause it was my money I was spending. But when it comes to spending other people’s money, I get uneasy, which is why I could never be an interior decorator or stock broker.

Scott and I had talked to a travel agent that claimed they specialized in destination weddings, but we could immediately tell that they were full of it. Very discouraging. We tried to take matters into our own hands, but after looking online and getting overwhelmed, I decided to call the Wyndham directly to see what they could offer me.  The daily rate was really good compared to what I had seen online, so they sent me a contract that we needed to sign and send back, with deposit, within 48 hours.  At work, I read through a lot of contracts everyday, but negotiating is not part of my job, nor is it a strong point of mine. There were some terms in the hotel contract that I was not comfortable with…

  1. Minimum of 10 rooms must be booked (and if we don’t use 10 rooms, we still have to pay for 10 rooms)
  2. Minimum of 30 nights must be booked between us and the guests (and again, if 30 nights were not used, we’d still have to pay for them)
  3. The cancellation policy was just plain scary
  4. $500 deposit

I couldn’t bring myself to sign. One of my friends blames my indecisiveness on me being a libra (hence the swapping of the wedding dress), and I think she’s on to something there.

libra

(source)

(they spelled ‘you’re’ wrong and forgot perfectionist)

I decided to go on brides.com and look for advice from other brides-to-be planning destination weddings. It seemed that everyone was doing things differently – paying for their guests’ trips (not an option for us until we win the lottery), inviting 100’s of people and whoever could go, would, etc., so I wasn’t sure what to do.  And just when I felt like giving up hope, I found her. My ray of sunshine, Nancy.

Nancy is a travel agent that really truly specializes in destination wedding planning. I emailed her for advice and went on her website, www.honeymoonsandgetaways.com to see what she was all about. I did my research to make sure she was legit and she was more than willing to ease any fears I had about using a travel agent that I found on the internet. Nancy then contacted the hotel for us, looked over the contract they had sent me and told me her reservations about it, and told me what she could do for us.

She offered us travel insurance, price matching, our own website, and no contract, just a small deposit for every guest as they book their trip through her. We immediately booked our trip and a weight was lifted off my shoulders. For a while there, we were emailing each other a few times a day and now that the ground work has been laid and we’re not talking as frequently, I swear I’m going through Nancy withdrawal.  I even invited her to our cocktail party back here next June, because without her, I’d be a stressed out mess. But you know what they say….

stressed(source)

Great, now I want a piece of cake.

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Nice Day for a White Wedding

When I pictured myself walking down the aisle towards Scott, in my head he was wearing the expected white linen shirt and khaki pants.  The more we looked at pictures though, the more we both liked all white better.

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VS

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We really thought we’d be able to find white linen in July no problem.  Boy were we wrong.  Scott called the Men’s Warehouse and was told that they had white linen pants and long sleeve shirts in stock, so we headed out and thought we were in for some easy one-stop shopping.  When we got there, the gentleman that greeted us at the door looked at us like we were speaking a foreign language.  They had already gotten their fall clothes and were out of stark white linen.  On to Kohl’s.  They had a great pair of drawstring pants, but paired with the only long sleeve shirt they had (no collar, kind of pajama-looking), I am not kidding, Scott looked like he was ready to crawl into bed.  I think I laughed until I peed a little.

We ended up going downtown on Michigan Avenue and went from store to store with no luck.  Our last stop before we hit the train was TJ Maxx.  And believe it or not, we found tons of white linen pants and shirts!  He tried on a few shirts that were a bit see through, and with his chest hair, it looked like he was trying to smuggle a small animal under there.

squirrel2(source)

Gotta be careful with linen!

He tried on a few more and we found the perfect ensemble, a Michael Kors long sleeve shirt, along with perfectly matching Polo Ralph Lauren pants (and we saved about $200 based on the marked down price tags).   So we left with smiles on our faces, the wallet a little heavier than expected, and Scott’s wedding attire.  And he’s wearing Michael Kors!  That’s a first. Good old TJ Maxx.  Who knew?


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His Ring

Heineken Ring(<—um, no, this is not really his ring) <source>

When we were at Robbins Bros in the beginning of the year, we had looked at rings for Scott.  He found one that he really liked, the only problem was that it was a tungsten ring for a LOT of dinero.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’d pay whatever it cost to get Scott a ring he’s going to wear for the rest of his life if he liked it, but we both knew that tungsten should never cost as much as they were asking.

If you don’t know what tungsten is, it’s a virtually indestructable material that never scratches, never tarnishes, and won’t break.  You can’t have it sized so you have to make sure to order it in the right size the first time.

There are lots of videos out there of people trying to destroy tungsten with sledgehammers, regular hammers, metal files, pliers, etc.  I liked the sledgehammer video the best because it actually gets lodged in the wood beneath it, but they swear a few times in the video so I didn’t think it would be appropriate to post (it’s on YouTube if you want to see). Tungsten is pretty amazing actually, take a look…

We went home and looked online for hours trying to find the same design that we found at the store.  eBay had an incredible selection of tungsten bands, but we couldn’t find the one design anywhere.

A few months have passed since then, and he’s brought it up a few times.  So on Sunday, he went online and found one that he really liked, similar to the first one, and the price was right.

I ordered his ring that afternoon, we had it engraved, and it should be here (I’m hoping) by Friday.  I promised him I wouldn’t show a picture of it until we make sure it fits and it’s the one he wants.  I can’t wait to get it…check back later for pics!

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Superstition is for the Birds

Funny Bird

This wedding of ours is turning out to be very non-traditional and we both agreed that we wouldn’t care at all about wedding superstitions. Here are a few that I found that we definitely won’t be following….

1) The groom can’t see the wedding gown before the ceremony –

He’s already seen me in my dress which is why I had no problem posting pics.  I was so excited to show it to him the day I got it and, the way I see it, it’s only fair, I’ve seen him in his wedding duds!

2) The bride and groom can not see each other the day of the wedding until the ceremony –

Apparently, the superstition is that the couple will be doomed to a marriage of barrenness, and I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and let Fate do it’s thing with my ovaries.  With a sunset wedding, I can’t imagine not being with him the day of, especially considering we’ve paid up the wa-zoo for every minute that we will be in the Virgin Islands!

3) The bridal party –

Apparently, the bride chooses bridesmaids that are supposed to dress like her to act as a decoy and confuse evil spirits. Um, I’m not worried about those silly evil spirits, I figure they’ll be enjoying the wedding too much to bother with trying to steal my soul.  We’re not having a bridal party because we want everyone to have a low-stress trip.  From experience, I know that being a bridesmaid can be a lot of work.

4) The cake –

The couple makes the first cut together to symbolize their shared future.  I’m thinking the ceremony, our vows, our rings, etc. are pretty symbolic of our shared future! We decided to nix the cake because we just couldn’t justify spending $125 on a one tier cake that only served 6 people.

There are plenty more that we’ve already done away with, but this list could go on forever.  The only one that I really wanted to follow was “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue”.  This one has superstitious meaning behind it, but I see it more as a fun tradition at this point and less of a fear that I will die an old spinster.

After doing some research on these silly superstitions, these were a few of my favorites…..

During Medieval times, a man would leave a branch on the woman’s doorstep.  If she refused the proposal, she’d replace the branch with a cauliflower.

You should not have a combination of red and white flowers because they symbolize blood and bandages.

It’s good luck for a bride to be kissed by a chimney sweep on her wedding day.

The groom should tap the bride on the forehead with a shoe to assert his dominance.

A week before the wedding, it is good luck to have a house cat eat out of your left shoe.

Here, kitty kitty… Black Cat

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Ah, Paradise

When it came time to start thinking about a date and a place, we didn’t really know where to start.  I’ve been to Sandals resorts before and they are truly amazing and you get a lot of bang for your buck.  Unfortunately, Sandals was out because it’s adults only and we have 2 kids joining us.  We looked into their sister company, Beaches, which is family friendly, but the choices were limited since they only have resorts in Turks and Caicos and Jamaica.

Most people would think this shouldn’t be a problem. Come on, Caribbean, tropical paradise, crystal blue waters and tons of sun?  Sounds great, but they both have marriage residency requirements.  If you get married in either place, you have to “live” there for 1-4 days. We kind of wanted to have the wedding early and spend the rest of the trip as newlyweds.

So, we thought, where else could we go in the Caribbean without a ton of restrictions? US Virgin Islands of course. I’ve been to St. Thomas on a cruise stop once before and it was gorgeous.

Now we had 3 islands to choose from….

USVI

St. Thomas: More touristy, lots of shopping, airport on the island, tons of resorts to choose from, 2nd largest of the 3 islands

St. John: Natural landscape (2/3rds of the island is a US National Park), little shopping, no airport, not many resorts to choose from, smallest of the 3 islands

St. Croix: More historic, airport on the island, very expensive resorts, largest of the 3 islands

We chose St. Thomas mainly because they had resorts that offered both all inclusive and non-all inclusive options. In the end, we went with the Wyndham Sugar Bay because the reviews were incredible, it was affordable, it offered a few different packages and the pictures look amazing.

After looking on Expedia and Bing Travel and actually putting together a daily pricing spreadsheet for airfare, I figured out exactly what days would be the cheapest to fly.  I know, I’m a nerd.  And a spreadsheet lover. We decided on late April because it was cheapest before May. No hurricanes are gonna ruin my wedding day! Turns out, we are getting married the day before Scott’s birthday.

The wedding packages they offered were reasonable, and we went with the best.  We had to splurge on the biggest day of our lives!  Plus we were upgraded to the terrace for the ceremony.

Terrace

Now the question is, what do we do after the ceremony? We are not having a reception since we’ll be having a party back home in June. Dinner for 26? Throw on our bathing suits and swim up to the pool side bar? We still have yet to figure that part out.

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The Dress

A week after we were engaged, I wanted to go dress shopping and I had the week off.  Perfect!

I rounded up my best girls and headed to David’s Bridal. My mom, my future mother-in-law, my sister, my best friend and I met at the store which was not an easy feat since all but one live way up north.  Props to them for making the trek for me!

I had printed out dresses that I had liked on their website which apparently is a good thing when you walk in there. We signed in and I was told that although you may have your favorites from pictures, no one ever buys the first dress they try on. Apparently, I’m the exception.  I put on the first dress they brought which was one of my top 2, and immediately I got ‘ooo’s’ and ‘ahhh’s’ from my girls. It was David’s Bridal T8076.

1st Dress

Honestly, every dress that I tried on after the first was given an “it’s ok, but I still like the first one better.”  At the end of the day, I ended up buying the first dress I tried on.  Go figure.

I left happy, but within a few weeks, I was waking up every morning and the first thought in my head was that the dress wasn’t THE ONE. I would actually pull up the pictures of it on the computer in Microsoft Paint and draw in a sweatheart neckline and wished it had a train.  It was annoying me to the point where 2 weeks ago, I called up my friend and told her that the dress just wasn’t quite right.  She had been in the same boat a year before and had exchanged hers for her dream dress, so she completely understood.  We actually went to a different David’s Bridal that same day to see what they had that was more like what I was picturing in my head.  And after trying on 20+ dresses and almost losing all hope, I found it. David’s Bridal ML9521

New Dress 003New Dress 004

I had to have it special ordered in a 2 petite (I was shocked, I haven’t been a size 2 since high school!) and they told me it wouldn’t come until Thanksgiving, but it came in this past Tuesday! 2 months early. And you better believe I drove 30 miles after a full day of work to pick that sucker up.

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