July 10, 2010

Missing in action: one bride

Posted in General wedding, Planning at 9:48 am by Andrea

So, um, hi. Remember me? No? I know, I’ve been totally delinquent. Terrible bridal blogger.

But I’m back – for serious!

So why the hiatus? Well, if I were to be a bit deceitful, I would tell you that I’ve been very busy with work (true) and that I’ve been out-of-town quite a bit (also true) and just haven’t had the time to blog (not entirely true). To be completely honest though, I went through a little phase where I just couldn’t justify spending all the time and energy that goes into writing a blog (despite the fact that I truly do enjoy it) that centred entirely on one day. One. Single. Day.

I know it’s an important day, actually, it’s probably the most important day to date in my life, but it took a little while of sitting and thinking to come to the conclusion that it is okay to spend time focusing on the wedding. Focusing on the wedding does not, necessarily, equate to not spending time thinking about the marriage.

So I’m back. I’m back to thinking about table numbers, pew decorations and bustles, centrepieces, photo booths and linens. And I finally understand that just because I take a little time out of every day to focus on these things and cross little details off my to do list, doesn’t mean that our marriage will be any less strong.

April 19, 2010

And life is like a song

Posted in Planning, Reception at 9:37 am by Andrea

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Awhile ago, The Guy and I reached a compromise wherein I got to include the “Blessing of the Hands” in our ceremony so long as he got to choose our first dance song. I have to say, in all honesty, that relinquishing any control over the first dance song was actually strangely liberating. I felt that, regardless of what The Guy chose, no matter how un-slow the tempo and inappropriate the subject matter (he seemed to have a thing for songs about death), it would be good because it would be ours. Even if it was all wrong, it would at least make me laugh. And if it was right then, well, it would probably make me cry – the good kind of tears.

And right it is. So very right.

The plan was for the chosen song to be kept a secret until we stepped onto the dance floor on the big day. But on Saturday we were driving home from Toronto, having chosen our formal china and me having picked up my dress (more on that later), feeling blissfully wedding-y and The Guy mentioned that he’d chosen the song. I knew he’d been thinking about it, as last week I came home and found he had his iTunes open, and my iPod on our docking station. Evidently, he’d been working feverishly to find the right song.

Our conversation on Saturday went something like this:

The Guy: You’re going to like the song I chose. I did a good job.

Me: I’m sure I will. It will be a wonderful surprise on the day of the wedding. Is it one of the songs that you’d mentioned before?

The Guy: No. I chose an older song.

Me: *smiling* That’s good. We should have something classic, that’s our style.

The Guy: I can tell you what it is.

Me: No, you don’t have to. I like surprises.

The Guy: No, it’s okay. It’s “At Last” by Etta James.

Me: *welling up*

Now, I know that At Last has become a bit of a first dance standard these last couple years. But The Guy doesn’t know that. He doesn’t read wedding blogs or participate in online wedding planning communities. All he knows is that this is a classic song about two people finding their counterparts. About life being better with that person around. Colours brighter. Music more joyful. The happy days happier. The sad days more hopeful. A dream that I can call my own.

And when he hears those lyrics he thinks of me, of us. That is perfect. And that is all that matters.

April 15, 2010

The DIY project that wasn’t (also: Why I don’t DIY)

Posted in Ceremony, Flowers, Planning at 5:13 pm by Andrea

Back in December, right around the same time I found this pretty little number, actually that same weekend, I decided to start my first DIY project. The plan: to make tissue paper pomanders to line the aisle in the church. They looked so pretty when other people did them and seemed like a great place to save some funds.

Pretty, no?

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The problem is this: I forgot that neither me nor anyone else in my family is crafty. And not only are we not crafty, we have no interest in being crafty. Every time I walk into Michael’s (and by every time I mean once every five years) I get overwhelmed and have to leave because, other than the glue guns, I have no idea what any of the stuff is and I start to panic that I’m supposed to know what to do with all of it!. Make my own shower gel? No thank you! So that was a minor oversight.

Luckily, my mum’s best friend (AKA my MOH’s mum) happens to be a crafty genius. We invited her over under the guise of having tea and then we ambushed her with foam balls and floral wire and sheet after sheet of tissue paper. HA! She was more than happy to oblige, so we got to work.

Our one crafty participant demonstrating her mad pomander-making skillz.

Me pretending to enjoy crafting in order to keep team morale high.

My mum and I with looks of extreme concentration on our faces.

(Morale is dropping rapidly)

So we cut and attached wire and fluffed out tissue paper flowers and two hours later we ended up with a partially finished pomander. Three people. Two hours. Partially finished. Also, it was bigger than my head. And then we quit for the night.

See? For reals. Ridiculously gigantic.

In the months that followed our forays into craftiness, I started receiving calls and emails from my mother that said things like, “I found a vendor on the weekend who sells pew bows. Have you thought about those?” and “When are you going to take all these foam balls and tissue paper out of my laundry room?”

Then, in early March, we went to meet one of our potential florists. The pomanders came up in passing and she pretty much put the kibosh on them. She told us that her contract stated that no other floral decor was to be used, as she didn’t want people to think that tacky DIY projects (my words, not hers, she was much more diplomatic) were her work. So she included pew decor in her floral quote. My mum was ALL over it. She’d been looking for an out for months, and if it meant paying an additional $400.00 for pew decor, she was ready to pay cash on the spot to put an end to her craft-induced agony.

And that is why we won’t be having any tissue paper pomanders, or really any DIY components to the wedding. Am I jealous of people who can DIY? You betcha. Am I planning to follow in their footsteps? Absolutely not! My sanity is worth far too much to me.

So, if you know anyone who needs a stupidly large, half-finished tissue paper pomander, be sure to let me know.

April 11, 2010

Choosing china: An unexpected impasse

Posted in General wedding, Registry, Vent at 8:15 pm by Andrea

Earlier this week there was a thread on Weddingbee about what strange thing(s) (in the wedding planning process) your fiance has had a strong opinion about. The first thing that popped into my head was The Great Compromise of 2010, wherein I gave up any say in our first dance song. But wait! That’s not all! (Do you like how I totally just channelled my inner infomercial voice there?! “Fettucine! Linguine! Martini! Bikini!” Okay, I’ll stop). I thought when it came time to choose our china The Guy would be completely disinterested. I’m not sure if it’s because he’s as much of a foodie as me, but it turns out he was not willing to sit idly by while I (okay, and my mother, let’s be honest) chose our china.

We checked out the department store where we registered. We also looked at a local, independent department store that has a lovely china department. But to no avail. The Guy couldn’t find anything that met his (evidently, very high) standards. So next weekend, we are off to Toronto to enter into the labyrinth of china that is William Ashley (AKA the store with North America’s largest selection of china patterns — over 8,000 from which to choose!) with high hopes of finding a pattern on which we can both agree.

You know what the most frustrating part of this whole roadblock is? That we aren’t coming from completely opposite ends of the spectrum. It’s not like my style is French Country and his is American Classic (points to anyone else obsessed enough to get that reference!). No, on the contrary, we are about a millimeter apart in our tastes and preferences.

Let me give you some idea of what I mean.

This is our everyday china (well, except that we got the mugs instead of cups and saucers, but, you know, tomato tomahto):

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Gordon Ramsay Everyday by Royal Doulton

The Guy would like our good china to be virtually the same a our everyday dishes. I’m not kidding. He wants the same pattern with a platinum/silver line around the outside border of the plates.

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Gordon Ramsay Platinum by Royal Doulton

I, on the other hand (but not really the other hand, because we’re both only talking about white plates with silver borders, maybe the other finger?), think that good china should be just a teensy tiny bit more special. So I lean toward these:

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Lace Couture by Lenox

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Pinstripe by Jasper Conran for Wedgwood

I know, you probably fainted with all the colourful excitement above. What can I say? We like a modern look with minimal embellishment.

So we are officially splitting hairs now.

When I made our registry appointment at William Ashley, the Sales Associate asked me if we had chosen a pattern. I said, “No, we are of separate minds on the matter.” He assured me that they dealt with that regularly and would be able to help us find common ground. Little do they know that the common ground we’re looking for falls somewhere between a 2mm silver border and a 4mm silver border with the tiniest bit of embellishment. Hail to the nit-pickers of the world!

Which white and silver china will reign supreme? I’ll be sure to report back with the results.

April 7, 2010

Something blue: The redux

Posted in Attire, General wedding at 8:21 pm by Andrea

Remember all that talk about blue shoes? And how I couldn’t seem to find the perfect blue shoe? Well, I found them. And they have arrived and are tucked away in my closet, sleeping soundly.

Want to see? Let’s build to the big reveal.

I wonder what’s in the box?

Note the 9.5. Normally I wear a size 9 in Stuart Weitzmans, but due to some seredipitous glitch in the universe, Zappos was all out of size 9s. I went with a half-size bigger because I figured I could add insoles if really necessary.

Nearly ready for their big debut.

*swoon*

Ignore the weird indentations left on my feet by my new sandals, and instead focus on the drool-worthy, fantabulous prettiness that I’m wearing!

So, it turns out that this style seems to run a little small and  the 9.5s fit perfectly. It’s like they were made for me! Oh, and get this, I was all worried about the fact that I’m 5’10″ and The Guy’s 5’11″ (it seems like our math was wrong on this…either that or The Guy has had a growth spurt. That’s plausible when you’re 31, right? No?!) and therefore if I wore too much of a heel I would tower over him. Well, I tried on the shoes and with me in the  (2 3/4″) heels and The Guy in sock feet I’m only about a 1/2″ taller than him, so once he puts his dress shoes on we should be about the same height. Double score!

I was honestly giddy like a school girl when I finally got to try these lovelies on. Now I can’t wait to try them on with my gown when it comes in. Not to mention that I extra super-duper can’t wait to wear them on our wedding day (as evidenced by that ridiculous hyperbole that I just used). 199 days and counting!

Anyone else find shoe heaven with their wedding shoes?

April 5, 2010

Photos fit for foodies

Posted in Photography at 11:08 am by Andrea

Who doesn’t love a little alliteration?!

Last week I had the pleasure of finally having a face-to-face meeting with our photographer Krista. We’d been emailing back and forth since October, but this was our first “real life” meeting. It was great to finally connect, share some ideas and get to look at some of the beautiful albums Krista has produced for her brides.

Possibly the most exciting news from our meeting? We’ve finally set a date for our engagement photos! We’ll be getting all posey and model-esque on Saturday, May 8 and I’m pretty pumped.

We want our engagement shoot to be reflective of us and our interests. The biggest thing we have in common is food. We cook together, we shop together, we read way too many cookbooks together and, of course, we eat together. It’s just what we do and how we bond, so I wanted to make sure we could incorporate that aspect of our relationship into our photos. Our plan at the moment is to take our photos at the Saturday farmer’s market.

With that concept in mind, I started collecting some delicious food-centric inspiration shots.

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I can’t wait to get out there and create our own foodie engagement photos. I have just over a month to put together the perfect outfit!

Are you incorporating any shared interests into your engagement photos or wedding planning in general?


April 1, 2010

Etsy Find: Florrie Mitton Couture

Posted in Attire, Etsy, General wedding at 10:49 am by Andrea

I’m still not 100% sold on the idea of wearing a garter. After all, we aren’t having a garter toss. And I can’t help but think that having, what is essentially, a big rubber band around my thigh might be less than comfortable. But I kind of think The Guy might like the idea. And then I do things like stumble upon these lovelies in the Florrie Mitton Couture shop and  I started to think that I would be crazy not to have a garter if they can be this pretty.

Goddess Beaded Garter

Je T’aime Lace Garter

Forever Lace Garter

Aphrodite Beaded Garter

The prettiness is overwhelming, no? If I do wear a garter, I’m pretty sure I’ll be paying a visit to this Etsy shop to purchase it.

If you aren’t doing a garter toss, are you still wearing a garter? Anyone else feel like maybe it’s just another cog in the wheel of the Wedding Industrial Complex (but such a pretty one!)?

March 30, 2010

Your Best Bridal Body Part 3: Lift Weights. Big Ones.

Posted in Your Best Bridal Body at 6:33 pm by Andrea

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So there’s this myth out there, and no wonder so many of us believe it, as it’s been propagated in so. many. places. Let’s get it out of the way right now: women cannot bulk up from lifting too much weight. For reals. We don’t have enough testosterone. Ergo, heavy weights are your friend, not your enemy.

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You’re not going to look like those guys, mmkay?

Why heavy weights = slimmer you

The simple reason for this is that muscle burns more calories. Each pound of muscle in your body burns 35-50 calories per day, whereas each pound of fat burns about 5. So, when combined with a sensible diet (one that includes a substantial amount of protein)with a small caloric deficit, you can achieve some great fat loss results.

Okay, before I go any further I need to say that I owe EVERYTHING to the book The New Rules of Lifting for Women.

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Lou Schuler, the author, does a superb job of exploding a whole bunch of myths about women and weights. He and the co-authors break down everything from why most weight machines (you know, the ones that your gym touts and that they probably have setup in some sort of circuit formation) aren’t nearly as good as free weights, to a meal/diet summary, to a full six month weight lifting program. It’s serious and it’s awesome.

How do you lift heavy weights?

Okay, so I am by no means an expert, I just do what awesome books tell me to do. So I suggest, first of all, finding a program that you can follow. New Rules of Lifting For Women (NROLFW) is a great place to start.

Where most women go wrong when it comes to weights is that we completely underestimate what we’re capable of (whereas I bet most men do the opposite!). You want to lift heavy weights. Heavy means that by the time you get to the end of your reps (usually 6, 8, 10 or 12) you are almost at failure; if someone told you you have to lift that barbell or those dumbbells one more time you wouldn’t be able to do it again with good form. That’s where you need to be. From there you should progress. Keep a log. Try to lift slightly heavier with every single workout. You will only get out of your workouts what you put in. Lift weights about three times a week, and make sure you have a rest day between lifting days.

What do you do on days when you don’t lift?

There are tons of routines that can be complementary to weight lifting. I try to work out five days a week, so that breaks down to three days of lifting and two days of something else. I like to mix it up, but lately I’ve been doing HIIT on one of those days and hot yoga on the other. Sometimes I do hot yoga on both non-lifting days, because I do HIIT on lifting days as well.

I say do whatever you like. If you don’t like it, you aren’t going to do it. So whatever it is that you like: spinning, aerobics, dance, yoga, pilates etc., do that.

The proof is in the pants.

(Oops, that sounded unintentionally dirty!). But seriously, you won’t necessarily see huge weightlifting results on the scale, that’s because, especially early on, as you lose fat you are also building muscle, so the scale might not move that much. But take your measurements. Check out how your pants fit. That’s where you’ll really see the results. Since muscle takes up less room than fat, you can technically lose fat, gain muscle, stay the same weight but get considerably slimmer. Also, weightlifting causes your muscles to retain water as they repair themselves, so don’t be startled if you jump on the scale the day after lifting and discover that you’ve gained a few pounds, it’s just water weight.

Since I started NROLFW late last fall, I’ve definitely seen serious changes in my body. My arms are slimmer. My back is nicely muscled and there’s no back fat in sight. Even my thighs, which are definitely my least favourite body part, are showing some nice tone and looking far less thick. The jeans that used to be snug can now come off without me even undoing them. So yeah, it’s definitely working.

Don’t be afraid of getting into the weight room with all the men, be proud of being brave enough to be there and strong enough to lift those weights.


March 28, 2010

How the heck do I choose a florist 101

Posted in Flowers, General wedding, Planning at 11:04 am by Andrea

Okay, so I have to admit I’m not exactly an expert in choosing a wedding florist. I mean, it’s not like I’ve ever had to plan a wedding before, and because of that, I found choosing a florist to be one of the more bewildering tasks. I figured I might not be the only one who felt that way, so I thought I’d pass along some of the tips I learned along the way.

(1) Collect inspiration. Lots of it.

I started this uber-early, as in, a long time before The Guy proposed. I have an embarrassing, secret folder called “Event Inspiration”(because I was too full of shame to actually call it what it was: Wedding Inspiration) that is full of photos I’ve been collecting for *coughtwoyearscough*. I followed wedding and event planning blogs, and visited sites like The Knot and Weddingbee to collect photos.


Evidently I thought we were going to have a spring wedding, what with all the tulips and peonies. Although it turns out that’s not the case, Collecting inspiration photos, regardless of the flowers used in them, still gave me an idea of the aesthetic I was looking for and, perhaps more importantly, the aesthetic I wasn’t looking for.

(Note: My apologies, but I collected the above photos so long ago that I don’t have their sources)

(2) Research, research, research.

You may recall that I’m allegedly quite resourceful! So once I knew the look I was going for, I started researching florists within the vicinity of our wedding location. I went to a bridal show and collected cards of those I liked, I read local vendor reviews and websites and I ultimately narrowed my list down to two vendors: Vintage Design Co. and My Bouquet, both based in the Niagara region of Ontario.

Some examples of Jennifer’s work (Vintage Design Co.):

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Some examples of Pauline’s work (My Bouquet):

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(3) Meet with the candidates. Bring any and all information that you can.

Once you’ve narrowed down your list, make appointments to meet with your top candidates. I was worried that I was going to be at a disadvantage because I don’t really know much about flowers. It turned out that that was totally fine. What really helped though was giving the florists and idea of the aesthetic we wanted. Bring photos of your dress and copies of your inspiration board if you’ve made one. Make sure you zero in on the key words (for us: tailored, modern, clean lines, no spray roses, no calla lilies, nothing too “organic” looking). From there, the florists should be able to get an idea of the flowers that will work for you (for us: garden roses, ranunculus, lysianthus, hydrangeas).

Both of the florists we visited had tons of photos of their work so we were able to tell them what we liked and disliked.

(4) Don’t be afraid to be honest.

For example, at Vintage Design Co., I saw some beautiful birch bark candle holders. While trying to describe the overall look of our wedding I said, “Those birch bark candle holders are beautiful, but they aren’t our style. We don’t want anything that organic.”

(5) Get quotes from all your candidates. Compare. Contrast.

We got quotes from both Pauline and Jennifer. We ended up going back to Pauline and asking her to modify her quote so that it included all the same components as Jennifer’s, as we wanted to make sure we were comparing apples with apples.

(6) Think long and hard.

This was the toughest one for us. After meeting with both florists we were stumped. They both did beautiful work. They both seemed to grasp the look we were going for. We changed our minds several times.

The final decision? Pauline at My Bouquet. We ultimately decided that Pauline’s aesthetic was just that little bit closer to what we were looking for. So, in the end it all came down to staying true to our vision. Making sure we stayed organized and went into the appointments with a clear idea of what we were looking for made the process that much easier though.

I would say to date this was the most difficult wedding-related decision we had to make, but I’m confident we made the right decision for us.

Good luck in your search for the perfect florist for you!

March 24, 2010

What’s in a date?

Posted in General wedding, Planning at 9:47 am by Andrea

We knew we wanted to get married in the fall. In fact, moments after proposing The Guy told me that he thought we should have a fall wedding (he also thrust a whole bunch of diamond-related information and a GIA report in my lap, which I told him, through tears, that I really couldn’t process at that exact moment!). His logic? “If I’m wearing a tux I don’t want to be sweating the whole time.” Leave it to guys to think pragmatically. I, on the other hand, was thinking about the pretty leaves, I mean, obviously, right?

So, the fall it was.

There was really only one venue we were truly interested in that could actually accommodate the 200-ish people we anticipated would be there. They only had a couple dates available for fall 2010: Canadian Thanksgiving (the weekend of October 9) or October 23. We didn’t want to cut into anyone’s turkey eating, so we chose the latter. Done.

While we were still mulling over the available dates, I had a phone conversation with my mum that went something like this (have you gotten the idea yet that my mum and I have a lot of phone conversations?):

Mum: So when I flipped the calendar to October 2010 I was praying October 23 wasn’t a Saturday. But it is.

Andrea: So? What’s the big deal with October 23?

Mum: That’s the day your father and I got married. [They divorced when I was a baby]

Andrea: Oh. Crap. *laughter*

Mum: *laughter* Are you sure you want to get married that day?

Andrea: *thinking* Well, 23 has actually been a good number for The Guy and me. We met when I was 23. The home we built together has 23 in its address. I think we’re okay with it. We’re going to turn it into a good day.

Mum: Okay, but don’t tell your father. He may not think it’s a funny as we do.

My father actually figured it out for himself. And he did find it rather hilarious. He suggested that he and my mum could have an anniversary dance in celebration of what would have been their 39th wedding anniversary!

So, we ran with it and we’re getting married on October 23 (seven months from yesterday!). We decided to not get caught up in superstition, but rather to make the date one that has special meaning for us, regardless of what it means for anyone else in our family.

Does your wedding date have any significance to you or your family?

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