Friday, April 30, 2010

Mmmmmm, Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake

Daniel and I had our very first cake tasting on Sunday.  "But Nicole," you ask, "aren't you getting married 2,000 miles away from your current abode?"  Yeahhhhh, we kinda faked it.  What can I say?  I REALLY like free cake.

And now I'm making it up to Cream Cake Company by promoting them.  At least, that's what I tell myself at night.

In all seriousness, if you live in Chicagoland, it would be worth your while to check them out.  Daniel and I would definitely think about using them if we were getting married around here.

If you're looking for perfectly manicured fondant, these are not your guys (or rather, gals).  However, if you appreciate good cake and good frosting, you may be made for each other.  Cream Cake Company only uses sweet cream icing which beats the hell out of buttercream, let me tell you.  And their cake was really good.  The Georgia Peach actually made me want to give up my dreams of a chocolate cake which frankly are numerous and powerful.  Not that the chocolate wasn't excellent as well.

The people were very nice too, and they seemed like they would be easy to work with.  Only real downside was that they don't use fondant at all, so if you want decorations, you either need to provide them or find a design that can be sculpted in chocolate.  That was fine by me; I do love my chocolate.

As for price, it was pretty standard.  $7 per slice, about $25 per tier for decorations.  Not great, but not terrible.

Overall, it was a good first tasting experience.  It was kind of nice not to have to worry about buying from them.  I just used them to answer some questions and of course for their delicious free samples.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: Finding My Way in San Jose (Part 4)

When I last left you, I was exploring the wonders of suburban wedding dress shops at Gesinee's Bridal.  Despite the awesomeness of that particular store, by far the best Bay Area bridal salons I have visited are in San Jose.  Why?  Well, space is a big factor.  Cheaper land + lots of people and thus lots of brides = massive, well-stocked wedding dress shops.

Of the ones I visited, two stand out as particularly awesome.  The first I visited was Bay Area Bridal.  In spite of its deceptive name, this salon is technically located in Cupertino, but whatevs, close enough to San Jose.  Anyway.  This was the first salon I visited that had lots and lots of choices, many of which were in fact in my price range!  That's the other great thing about the suburbs:  they're cheaper than city salons.  I found several princessy dresses that I was very happy with here, and while I remember nothing about them now, I was elated to have such a variety of dresses that actually meshed with the image I had in my head.  If I remember correctly, this shop convinced me that I wanted a dress with pick-ups.  As a plus, the sales lady was very nice and was pretty good at finding dresses that fit my tastes.  Definitely check this place out if you live in the Bay Area.

My other San Jose success story was the salon in which I found The (4th?) One.  Elegant Lace Bridal is without a doubt the best experience I have had at a bridal salon.  And I'm not the only one who feels that way.  Both of my wedding buddies found and bought their dresses there, and after visiting with them, I was sure I would buy my dress there as well.  In fact, I'm still strongly considering it.

The sales lady who helped us (whose name I'm blanking out on.  Perhaps Laura will leave a comment with her name?) offered unparalleled service.  She was helpful, flexible, and good at finding dresses that fit our styles but without being pushy or dishonest.  Basically, she was everything you could want in a salesperson, and she made all of us want to buy our dresses from her.

The dress selection is definitely extensive, and they have a large range of prices, even some dresses around $500.  It was nice not to have to worry too much about falling for a dress I couldn't afford, especially after the $5,000 dress drama.  And boy did their dresses woo me.  Not only did I find a few dresses that I had wanted to try for a long time but couldn't find elsewhere as well as my beloved Monalisa, but I found what I thought at the time was the absolute perfect dress.

Sad to say, I'm not 100% sure what said dream dress's style number was.  I'm pretty sure it was this dress:

But it may actually have been this dress:

both dresses are from Private Label by G

It was everything I wanted:  beading on the bodice ending in a V, sweetheartish neckline, symmetrical, defined waistline at the waist but still with a smooth transition to the skirt, pickups, and most importantly (and most novel) a beautifully beaded train AND beading on the front of the skirt.  I was in love.  I thought this dress was perfect, and I was convinced I would buy it.

And I probably would have had I not broken off my engagement a month after trying it on.

I haven't worn that dress in over a year, and I definitely want to try it on again before making a final decision.  However, one of the things that stopped me from buying it right then was this dress
which really doesn't want me to post a picture right now.  Anyway, you might remember it from this post.  Or this one.  Elegant Lace had it's sister, Monalisa, and I tried it on there for the second time and still loved it.  It didn't have the perfection of the Private Label dress, but I wasn't ready to give it up yet.

Good thing I didn't.  I was not ready to buy a dress at the time, but that didn't tarnish the perfection of Elegant Lace Bridal.  If you live anywhere within driving distance of San Jose, you are obligated as a bride to pay it a visit.  You will not regret it.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Doing the Destination Thing

Sorry I've been a bit MIA lately.  Daniel has been going through some stuff, and I've been trying to figure out a bunch of logistical things.  One of the most important things that has come out of this is that I will not be moving back to California in June.  In fact, I probably won't be back until the end of the summer.

This presents a problem for my wedding.  You see, part of the point of having a long engagement for us was having time to look at venues and make a decision over the summer so that we would be able to book at least a year in advance.  Now, that ain't happening.

I'm not 100% sure what to do about that.  Currently, I am planning on looking at a bunch of venues when I fly to CA for my brother's high school graduation.  But if we don't find something then, I guess we're going to have to wait until we get back to find something.

Unless we decide to do this destination-style.  Which scares the shit out of me.  I'm a little bit of a control freak, and the venue is the most important thing to me, so I REALLY want to see it before we book....but the thing is, if we want a beautiful cheap venue, we really need to book early.

I don't know.  What would you do in my situation?  If we don't find something we like while we're there, would you book something that looked awesome on paper or wait until you could look at venues in person?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Groom-inations - #2

I'm Daniel.  I'm the Groom.

This past Sunday Nicole and I went to a wedding expo and that's what I'm going to talk about.  First, I should be more accurate and call it a bridal expo because it was definitely for the brides.  There were almost no men there, not counting the working ones.  I can say counting, because I did try to count.  I almost had to use both hands.  I'm sure I missed some, so I'll estimate there were 10.  It was like swimming in estrogen.  And I do mean swimming.

Why do I mean swimming?  Is the Groom misogynistic?  Nope, I say swimming because it is the closest description I can think of to the physical experience at the expo, swimming through a sea of women.  When you picture a bridal expo, you might picture something open, with a big room and lots of different booths from vendors, photographers, florists, etc.  That's what I pictured.  And Nicole says that the other one she went to was like that.  Not this one though.  Oh, the vendors were there.  Lots of booths.  But open space?  Nope!  The ENTIRE expo was arranged in one gigantic line.  The booths were in a giant snake coil going back and forth so that every single attendee was stuck going past every single booth.  It was sooooo slooooow.  Did not like that part.  Nicole didn't either.  Bad idea by the organizers.

But, wedding expos are not usually like that (I'm told) so I feel like I should discount that part off of my impressions.  What does that leave?  Well, there was some good stuff.  The various florists had pretty amazing displays.  It helped to see things in person to get an idea for what I actually would like to have at my wedding.  We both really liked the flowers that were underwater in jars.  It sounds silly, but it looks really good.  The contests were nice.  Didn't win anything that I know of, but maybe.  Also there was free candy.  Got a few chocolate strawberries.

The bad?  No free cake.  Where's the cake?

Long story short - Bad Expo, but I'd totally go to another one.  Besides, it's fun to take your bride to a bride thing.

Nicole's Note:  The expo we went to was called Bridal Expo Chicago or more generally Bridal Show Expo.  And I definitely wouldn't recommend it.  Like Daniel said, the other one I went to was far superior in setup and free cake options.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Fountain....of CHOCOLATE

Ok, so I know I probably shouldn't even be thinking about this now since I have no date or venue or anything set in stone except that I'm getting married, BUT I found this and got really excited about it.  You see, I am kind of a little bit ok maybe more than a little bit obsessed with chocolate.  I loves it.  I loves anything with sugar in it, but chocolate is just better than most sugary items, and I've known from the beginning that I wanted a chocolate fountain at my wedding.  However, I wrote it off as a pipe dream and basically stopped thinking about it.  I figured renting a chocolate fountain would press on our budget too much to bother looking into much.

Oh how wrong I was.  Well, sort of.  RENTING a chocolate fountain would probably cost us over $100 which doesn't suck but with our other dessert plans would be a wait and see kind of deal.  However, BUYING a chocolate fountain wholesale is something else entirely.

I found this baby for a mere $59.99.  It's not huge, but neither is our wedding, so I'm cool with it.  We'd still have to buy chocolate and things to dip in it, but with our other dessert options, we should still be able to get away with spending around $100 total (with tax and shipping), and I am so fine with that if I get to keep the fountain!  That's one wedding decoration that I know I'll use again.

So we're doing this.  For sure.  I haven't even talked to Daniel about it yet, but we're doing it anyway.

Mmmmmm, choooooocolate.

If I Only Had....No Fiance

Having rings that at least sort of go together is really important to me.  I mean, if the ring is meant to symbolize our union, I feel like there should be some unity in the rings.  And Daniel and I have similar enough tastes to keep this from being a problem.

Nevertheless, there are some rings I would TOTALLY be thinking about buying if I wasn't going for unity.  Just for fun, here are some of my personal loves:

Yeahhhh, I love Disney.  Like, a lot.  As in, I've been to Disneyland over 200 times, I wrote as many papers on Disney films as I could get away with in college, and if I had the money, I would SO get married in front of Cinderella's castle!  With so much history of my love, I'd so been down with this ring if I was marrying someone who was also obsessed with Disney (Daniel likes Disneyland but definitely does not approach my level of devotion).

As I'm sure you all know by now, I love the sea and everything in it.  I have a particular affection for dolphins, and I have always been enamored with my parents' wedding rings in which two dolphins lie entwined upon the finger.  I'd rather have a replica of my mom's ring than the ring above, but it looks similar, and I do like the opal addition.

I like this one better than the one above.  No matter what ring I get, it will be silver or white gold.

So, this is pretty much the most adorable thing ever!  If I were actually going to use it as a wedding ring, I'd probably only get one turtle, but it is so cute!  Miss Turtle really ought to have this ring.  I love the website where I found this too,  It's got good stuff, lots of rings that differ from the norm.

So, there's a story here.  I can't draw.  At all.  I've always wished that I could, but I utterly, completely, and unequivocally fail.  The only thing I can draw is dolphins.  I've had this image in my head of a group of dolphins swimming around a single dolphin jumping in front of the moon for as long as I can remember.  The tail in this ring is basically the way I draw a dolphin tail, so this ring would be a reminder of that image for me.  Besides, I like dolphins, and I love the colors in this ring.

Well, there you have it:  the rings I would be considering were it not for my fiance.  Do you have rings you would buy without your other half?  Do you like matching rings, or do you think it's better to just go with what you love?

Monday, April 12, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: The One That Got Away (Part 3)

A word to the wise: never try on dresses that are completely out of your price range. Or at least wait until you’ve already found your dress.  When I walked into Gesinee’s Bridal and was asked what my perfect dress would look like, I started describing what I wanted:  pick-ups, sweetheart neckline, princessy look…and then I saw a dress on a manikin which prompted me to continue with “kind of like that.”  I had no idea how much that dress was going to cost when I picked it out, and it’s a good thing I saw the $5,000 price tag before I pulled it over my head because oh my God, it was PERFECT.  Everything I wanted and more.  Sweetheart neckline, pick-up skirt with just the right amount of pick-ups, a small train that could easily be hidden in the dress, beading on the bodice, and just a touch of beading on the skirt.  I was in love.  So was everyone else in the room (none of whom I knew).  If money was no object, I would have bought that dress right then and there.

It’s really unfortunate that I tried that dress on that particular day because as soon as I took it off, we headed up to the $1,000 or less room of Gesinee’s Bridal, and the next dress I tried on was Maggie Sottero’s Monalisa Royale, the dress I am currently thinking I'll buy.  Looking back, I think the Monalisa Royale is actually a much better fit for me anyway.  After that trip, I tried on a lot of dresses that were similar to my love and though none of them had the simple elegance that that dress pulled off so beautifully, the Monalisa Royale is a lot more unique and a lot more me.  Even then I wasn’t thrilled with the bodice of my dream dress, and I think I would have regretted buying it had that ever been an option.  But it was unfortunate that I had no choice but to compare it with Monalisa because if I had tried the latter on any other day, I think I would have seen in a second that it was the dress for me.  At the time, I still loved it, but I was just so enamored with the first dress that I couldn’t see what a perfect fit we were for each other.

Daniel at least could.  Yes, that’s right, I took my fiancĂ© dress shopping with me.  I wanted his opinion.  I wanted to buy a dress that I knew he would like too.  I wanted him to share the moment with me.  I don’t regret the decision though I do regret allowing him to talk on the phone the entire time I had the dream dress on.  But anyway, he loved the Monalisa Royale, and I’m glad that I know he will like the dress he sees me in on the big day, especially since he now claims to not remember what it looks like, so it will still be a bit of a surprise.

I got two things out of this visit.  1.  Never try on a $5,000 dress, except maybe after you’ve already purchased your real dress and preferably after you’re already married.  2.  Gesinee’s Bridal is pretty fucking awesome.  The service isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but I had no complaints either, and this bridal salon is the most extensive I have ever seen.  Keep in mind that I’ve tried on literally hundreds of dresses at more than 10 shops, and I’ve never seen Gesinee’s equal.  I especially like the $1,000 or less room because it keeps you from wasting time with dresses you can’t afford while still providing a great selection.  If you live in the Bay Area, I would definitely recommend checking this place out.

Anyone out there have similar dress issues?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dreaming in Blue and Green

Since venting about how little time I have left with my jeweler, I realized how much we need to know what we want by the time we go see him.  Thus I reignited my ring search with an old friend:  opals.  I have been in love with opals since before I knew they were called opals.  They have such rich yet bright colors, and they remind me of the sea which as you may have figured out by now, I deeply love.  Plus, they're my birthstone, so that's always nice.  I don't know why I didn't think of opals in my original ring search.  Probably because I'm completely hung up on my parents' wedding rings which feature two dolphins entwined.  I guess I was thinking about design more than substance.  But now, I have a lovely collection of opal ring pictures to admire, and there are several I think we might actually use.

First, simplicity.  I would be perfectly fine with a simple opal band like this:

I'd want a different color, but the basic design with opal holds a lot more interest for me than any other simple band I've seen.

Of course, we could make things a little more interesting with one of these:

(imagine it with opal instead of turquoise)

The last two are ones we're really considering.  The latter is FOR SURE my favorite of these, but as a member of the male species, Daniel doesn't want diamonds in his ring.  Thus, we would either both wear a design more like the middle option, or just he would do that while I wore something more like the last option.  Either way, I would want silver or white gold to better compliment my engagement ring (which I will someday get around to posting pictures of).

However, I think we would be most likely to actually purchase one of these options:

We both really like this design but do not care for these stones.  If we were to do something like this, we would probably use three shades of opal or maybe opal for the (currently) purple parts and use stones of complimentary colors for the swirly bits.  We have a few ideas, but the important thing is we both love the design.

Nonetheless, this is the design we both like best at the moment.  Imagine the waves inlaid with opal.  I love this design because it could satisfy my desire for opals and for an ocean-lover's ring at the same time.  Plus, the design was my idea to a large extent, and that makes me feel good too.

The more I think about it, the more I think I love the Etsy ring (the one with slanted diamond-inlaid lines separating the opal pieces) because of the color instead of the design.  That's pretty much the opal color I'm looking for, and with that kind of stone inlaid in the waves of the above ring, I think our rings would be perfect!  And what really surprised me is that's Daniel's favorite idea too.  I sense a decision coming on... :).

Which ring do you like best?  Of course, if you have any pictures or ideas similar to these or just that you think I might like, I would love to become acquainted with them.

Also, stay tuned for rings I love that Daniel wouldn't be caught dead wearing ;).  Hint:  there will be Mickey Mouse heads.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Rings! Why must you thwart me!

Ugh, so I'm really frustrated right now.  Remember how finding rings for us was the one thing that I could do before leaving Chicago?  Well, Daniel emailed our jeweler WEEKS ago asking for an appointment, and he STILL hasn't gotten back to us.  At this point, it's not just annoying to be ignored.  We actually need that appointment to happen really soon because we're leaving Chicago to go back to California at the end of May, and we need time to make a decision, allow time for stones to come in if necessary, etc., and time is running out!

So help me out.  How do you prod someone who is going to do you a huge financial favor into hurrying their ass up and responding?  Should I ask relatives who are closer to the jeweler to ask him to meet with us?  I'm so bad at this kind of thing, I could really use your advice.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Budgeting with Style

When I first started thinking about money for my wedding, the $10,000 budget was a necessity.  My parents are not rich, Daniel's parents are not rich either, neither of us has rich family members or friends of any sort who would want to help us out, and Daniel and I are just getting out of school (and my current job has almost kicked me out on the street as it is).  In short, we have no money.  And actually, we were a lot better off when we set that budget, so now I'm doing everything I can to stay under it.

However, the more I've thought about it, the more we could probably go over budget if we really wanted to.  My parents may not have any money to contribute...but they'll probably contribute a couple thousand dollars anyway cuz that's how they roll (understand why they have no money?).  Daniel's dad is doing pretty well right now and has offered us more than I want to accept (I'll explain later).  As long as Daniel has a decent lawyering job next year (and as long as I have a job of some sort.  sigh), we shouldn't have much trouble saving a few thousand dollars from his income.  And then there's me.  I may not have any living wealthy relatives, but my grandfather was a brilliant mathematician and played the stock market well.  Let's just say I inherited a decent sum.  My plan for said money has always, always been to use it as a down payment for a house (even when I first found out about it at 15), and I want to save as much as possible for that purpose.  But...given our difficult current financial situation, I'm taking some of it out for our wedding.  I'll probably end up paying for about half our wedding myself.  In a way, this makes me feel good because I already know Daniel will always be the breadwinner in our family, and this is a big way for me to contribute.  Also, the more money I spend out of pocket, the more control I feel like I have over where it goes (we'll also get to this later).  Anyway, the point is, with all 4 of these resources available, I could probably bump our budget up to $15,000 without putting too much strain on anyone.

But I'm not going to.  Here's why:  through my internet research and wedding books, I have realized how easy it is to save money on your wedding.  Whether it be buying wholesale, borrowing from friends/relatives/random people you meet on the street/etc, bargain/sale shopping, or giving up on things you don't really care about, there are tons of ways to keep your wedding costs down without sacrificing quality too much.  Now that I know this, I'd feel bad wasting my family's and my money on overpriced stuff I don't need.  And this is why no matter how hard it may be, I will keep my wedding under $10,000 (not including the honeymoon, but we intend to pay for that entirely off of our honeymoon registry, so, you know, at least it's not our money).

Here are some ways I'm planning on doing it:

1.  Venue:  This is the really tricky part.  I might cave and go for an inexpensive (actually, we're going to just go with "not ridiculously expensive") hotel by the sea because OMG so much easier, but I'm still aiming for renting something like this:

personal photo

I took this photo on a beautiful stretch of California coastline that I thought would be perfect for our wedding.  And you know what?  I bet we could rent this very spot from the government for under $100.  Of course, then we'd have to rent chairs, a sound system, etc. for the ceremony on our own, but I've got time, I can make that happen.  Then all we'd pay for a venue is the cost of the reception, and I've found places that would cost us significantly less than $1,000 for the entire wedding (post to come on this).

2.  Music:  I'm a control freak.  I'd actually prefer to just hook my laptop up to speakers and have a set playlist for the night.  Maybe, if I feel like it, I'll get a friend to mix in a few requests.  Total cost:  just speakers and perhaps a cord.  Ideally, this is something that would already be available at the venue.

3.  Photography:  I'm more torn on this one because photography is really important to me, but there is no way I am hiring a pro to cover the whole wedding.  I think we're going to do something like this:  professional for ceremony and pictures of us and our family, wedding party, etc., amateur friend for the remainder of the wedding plus single use cameras for guests to take pictures, amateur friend to do video (using my brother's awesome camera).  Total cost:  aiming for under $500 (not including prints, I'll worry about that later).

4.  Flowers:  Still hoping for something like this, but I'm definitely open to non-flower centerpieces.  Plus, I have no desire to provide the wedding party with flowers.  Just a bouquet for me and a boutonniere for Daniel will do just fine.  Just that will save us hundreds of dollars.
5.  DIY:  I'm sure everyone who has looked at wedding blog knows how much you can save by DIYing as much as you can.  At first, I wasn't really open to this because I am just not a crafty person.  But the more I learn about the many options out there, the more I want to DIY whatever I think I can pull off.

6.  Decorations:  For the primary theme we are thinking of right now (more to come, I swear), using stuff that we already have to decorate the reception area makes the most sense anyway.  Sorry to leave you hanging, but I'll talk more about the theme stuff I've been thinking of next week.

7.  Food:  I would be totally down for making all of the food myself, but I just don't want that kind of stress.  However, I've gotten pretty good at finding cheap places to eat that are super tasty, and I would like to put these skills to use on our food.  Keeping our guest list small obviously is a key factor in this, but the more research I do, the easier I think this will be.  For instance, if we're in the Bay Area, I would love to have Gypsy's cater our wedding.  It's pretty good on its own, but for about $5 a plate, it's AMAZING.  Most people in Berkeley think of it as fast food, but most of my guests wouldn't know it from a hotel catering service...except that it's better.  Also, I would totally do Panda Express.  Daniel still thinks I'm kidding, but I'd so be down.  I love the purveyor of orange chicken :).

8.  Accessories:  As in, not having many.  I'm not really an accessories kinda gal anyway.  The only things I plan on wearing besides my dress are a tiara and a necklace, both of which I could probably buy at Claire's if I got desperate, and both of which I will probably actually buy on or something along those lines.

9.  Using talented people I know:  My aunt is a hairdresser.  My hair won't cost much.  I know a few people who can work a sewing machine, so I might have one of them make my bridesmaids' dresses and save them that cost.  And maybe, just maybe, I can use the cooking-savvy people in my family to make our food.

Well, that is my tentative plan.  Hold me to it!

How did you plan your budget?  What is worth spending money on for you?  Fyi, it's totally going to be the dress for me, I'm sure that monster will end up being almost $1,500 with alterations and undergarments.  Are you going to use all the money you can get or try to save wherever you can?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Pretty, Pretty Pictures

OK, so, uh, truth be told, these pictures are old.  As in, they're from the first time we were engaged.  My friend Laura (who apparently is way more involved in my wedding stuff than even I realized) is an amateur photographer and offered to do an engagement shoot for Daniel and I when we were on Christmas break in 2008.  At the time, I hadn't really started wedding planning at all, and I had barely done any wedding research.  Daniel still didn't even want to hear the word "wedding" let alone help plan or research.  So we pretty much winged it when it came to the pictures.  We didn't even coordinate our clothes.  I just told Daniel he needed a nice shirt, and I put a tiny bit of thought into my dress, but nothing substantial.  When it came to the actual shoot, we were kind of late and kind of missed the "golden hour" lighting Laura was hoping for.  It became a race against the sun just to take pictures while there was still light.

Taking all of that into account, they turned out really well.  Daniel and I are pretty comfortable together, and, well, iPhoto is my friend (oh how I wish I could be friends with photoshop...someday, we will meet, and it will be beautiful).

Before I show you our Balboa Park (in San Diego) engagement shoot, we also took a few pictures the weekend we got engaged.

We got them done in a Sears studio.  Not exciting by wedding standards, but they're cute.  Cuter in person, my scanner is not the greatest thing ever.  But anyway, we'll probably actually use the last one for something.  Everyone really likes that one.

OK, now here are the real engagement pictures.  All photos taken by Laura.  Laura and I have both edited them, and I honestly don't remember who did what.  These are my favorites.

I have many favorites.  I love my pictures.  They may not be done by a professional, but they are creative and interesting and do a great job of expressing the many aspects of our relationship.

Sooooo, what do you think?

My First Almost Wedding Purchase!

This weekend, I did some major wedding shopping.  While I had no luck finding the bustier/corset that I was looking for, Victoria's Secret did offer me this:

personal photos

In case you can't tell (and with the horrendous quality of my phone's camera, I'm sure you can't), the top of this bathing suit has a ring on it and the bottom says, "newlywed."

I know it's super cheesy, but I love it!  I'm seriously considering buying this.  I'd feel kind of weird about this being my first wedding purchase because while I was planning on buying a white bathing suit for the honeymoon anyway, my wedding still won't be for over a year.  Not only do I not want to have to keep this in a drawer all that time (I don't do well with not wearing clothes right after I buy them), but who knows if I'll still want it then?  Still, I'm thinking about it.

Would you buy it?  Is it too cheesy?  Should I go for something prettier/sexier instead of the obvious choice?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Insomnia: Please Help Me!

OK, so I know this isn't exactly wedding related, but I'm guessing a lot of you have trouble sleeping when you're stressed out over wedding stuff, and I'm desperate.

I've always had trouble getting to sleep, but this week has been ridiculous.  I have trouble getting to sleep, I wake up every few hours, and worst of all I've been waking up with the sun, leaving me with maybe 4-6 hours of sleep per night (and this majorly affects my ability to function).  I know stress over work is the main culprit, but I can't seem to stop thinking about the shit that I have to deal with there.  I also know that there are other things that will help me like eating dinner earlier, getting more exercise, drinking more water during the day so I don't wake up dehydrated, showering before bed instead of in the morning, and maybe turning the fan on in my room (it's hot this week which is most def a new experience for me in Chicago).  Unfortunately, one thing I know would really help is blocking out all the light in my room, but I already have blinds AND thick curtains in there, and still the sun gets through.  I don't know what to do.  I've already started doing most of the aforementioned things, and while I'll definitely make more of an effort this weekend, I don't think it's going to be enough.

How do you turn off the little voice inside your head that reminds you of everything you have to do or comes up with awesome wedding ideas while you're trying to go to sleep?  When you have trouble sleeping, what helps you?  How do you deal with stress?  How can I make it go away?  I would really appreciate any advice you can offer as I've failed to deal with stress-related sleeping problems for a really long time.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Search for the Perfect Dress: Where not to Look (Part 2)

As soon as I got engaged, I started making appointments to go dress shopping.  Seriously, I'm pretty sure I made one for the first weekend after I got engaged.  At the time, I really wanted to check out Mary's Bridal because of their super princessy dresses and Kirstie Kelly's Disney Princess Collection because I really couldn't call myself a Disney fan(atic) without trying them on at some point.

This lead my wedding buddies, Liz and Laura, and I to a shop in Oakland whose name I can't remember and to Flair Bridal in San Francisco.

You would think that the fact that I can't remember the name of the first shop means that the experience was not memorable.  In reality, I tried to block it out.  This was by far the worst experience I've ever had trying on bridal gowns (and remember, I've literally been to dozens of shops).  First of all, the shop was in downtown Oakland which basically screams gang rape at all who enter.  Goodbye any hope for ambiance.  But that would have been OK if the shop itself hadn't sucked so much.  At first, I was just annoyed that they didn't have any of the Mary's dresses I wanted to try on...including some that they advertised.  Then we got served.  The sales lady lost our appointment and was awfully rude about it, and while we did end up trying on a few dresses, the OWNER walked in in the middle of our appointment and said that we were only allowed to try on four dresses and told us to leave!  At that point, we were only too happy to oblige.

Flair was a MUCH better experience.  The sales lady was very nice to us, and all three of us got to try on dresses that we liked.  In fact, all three of us tried on and liked this dress:

At the time, that was the IT dress for Disney's Fairy Tale Weddings.  But my favorite dress of the day was this one:

This dress taught me to love pick-ups.  It was the first one I had seen in which the pick-ups looked even and elegant instead of something that needed to be smoothed out.  Also, I loved that it had a short train that could easily be hidden in the skirt.  At the time, this was one of the best dresses I had tried on, and quality-wise, it probably still is.  However, I would never pay $3,000 for it, and since this trip, I have found many, many dresses that I like better.  Nonetheless, this dress helped me see that pick-ups worked really well for the princessy look and that when they are done well, they look awesome on me.

Oddly enough, the one thing that these shops had in common is what helped me on my dress search the most.  At this point, I had only visited shops in metropolitan areas which meant small spaces without a lot of variety.  Even though I had really good experiences at Kate's Kouture and at Flair, I knew I wanted to go somewhere that could offer me lots and lots of choices because let's be honest, I am exceptionally picky.  This lead me to that wonderful place that encompassed all of the best shopping experiences I have had:  the suburbs.  Stay tuned for the best shops I've visited in the Bay Area.

But for now, do you have any dress shopping horror stories?  Where have you had the best luck finding dresses?

April Fools

OK, so just to avoid any confusion, yes, I would kidding about the previous post.  We've thought about eloping, but we would never actually do it, so worry not friends and family, you will get to come to my wedding.

Joke inspired by Wedding for Two.  Seriously, go check her post out, it's hilarious.

Thursday, April 1, 2010


So, I wanted to let you all know that I will be finishing up this blog next week because Daniel and I just eloped!  We just couldn't handle all the pressure of planning the big day, and we decided that the most important thing was declaring our love now (and I really need health insurance...), so I'm in Vegas writing from the lobby of Excalibur.

Wedding Costs:
Hotel:  $248 (for 4 nights)
Marriage License:  $60
Dress (off the rack from David's; had to have that dress):  $450
Total Cost of Wedding:  $758 (how jealous are you?)

Wish us luck in our new life together!  Will post details after the honeymoon.

Classy Wedding by the Sea