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 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 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 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?

March 14, 2010

Bad Bridesmaid

Posted in General wedding, Vent at 5:13 pm by Andrea

A couple weeks ago, I was chatting with my coworkers about how guilty I felt over asking my best friends to shell out $200+ for dresses for my wedding. I mean, I know this is the way it happens, but I just couldn’t seem to keep the guilt at bay. One of my colleagues assured me that she had something that could assuage my guilt. She returned from lunch triumphantly clutching a book, which she thrust into my hands and encouraged me to read, “This will definitely make you feel better!” she said.

The book? Bad Bridesmaid: Bachelorette Brawls & Taffeta Tantrums — What We Go Through for Her Big Day by Siri Agrell.

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I started the book a couple days later (it made for a good bit of fluff between a couple of nail biters: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire). And sure enough, I felt better.

Agrell tells the story of when she wrote a somewhat sarcastic column about being a bridesmaid and was subsequently kicked out of her close friend’s bridal party. Intrigued by this incident of bridal megalomania, Agrell talked to women across North America about the travesties they’d faced as bridesmaids — frankly, some of it was appalling, and it goes beyond ugly dresses.

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Yes, believe it or not, it can get worse than those.

Examples, you say? Sure, how about the bride who offered to pick up the bridesmaid dress and courier it to her bridemaid’s home…only she wrote the address incorrectly on the package. When the wedding day rolled around and the bridesmaid was without anything to wear (due to the bride’s error), the bride wasn’t sympathetic. No. Instead she kicked her friend out of the bridal party.

Or, my personal favourite, the bride who decided she wanted to give every single guest at her wedding a one-of-a-kind hand painted rock (because that sounds like SUCH a fun favour, no?!) so she enlisted her bridemaids to sit in the sweltering heat of her backyard and paint 150 rocks with very specific design instructions for each one.

Another good one? the bride who, virtually seconds after the engagement ring was on her finger, sent her bridemaids a six page long list of their “duties,” which included picking her dress up from the dry cleaner’s the day after the wedding and addressing her thank you cards while she lazed on a beach on her honeymoon.

Suddenly the $200 dresses didn’t seem so bad to me!

Why is it that these women think their bridesmaids are their personal slaves? I invited my ladies (and bridesman) to be in my bridal party because I wanted to share a very important day with them. I want them to stand beside me when The Guy and I exchange our vows. But I certainly never banked on them doing chores for me (I’m pretty sure if I asked them to they’d tell me to snap out of it and get over myself).

Do you have a horror story from a time you were a bridesmaid? From the sounds of Bad Bridesmaid, most of us do!

March 7, 2010

Beautiful, intelligent and….resourceful?

Posted in General wedding, Uncategorized at 9:08 am by Andrea

You may remember that two weekends ago (the weekend before Canada took home our most important gold medal!), The Guy and I attended a marriage prep course at our church. We spent a lot of the day doing exercises as couples, or in small groups. Sound totally like something would make you want to scratch your eyeballs out? I thought that too (kind of, I was also kind of excited) at the outset, never one for cheesy icebreakers and silly team building exercises (Team Building Exercise ’99!), but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun.

In one such exercise, we were divided into groups of three couples. In our package of materials, we had a list of 70+ character traits. We were instructed to choose three that we thought our partner possessed; along with the answers we were to provide examples of situations when we had noticed these characteristics in action.

For The Guy, I chose affectionate, totally silly and committed. We went around the group and everyone shared one of the characteristics they’d written down. Things like loving, creative, fun and kind came up. I shared with the group how The Guy can be totally silly and I, in turn, can be totally silly when I’m around him. Despite, by all outward appearances, being a responsible, professional couple, we really are a couple of kids at heart and we take constant joy in joking around with one another and making up silly songs. Do you know which characteristic The Guy chose to share about me? Resourceful.

You’re probably asking, “Gee, Andrea, how did you manage to get yourself engaged to such a dreamy romantic?” Well girls, it’s not easy! Oh, wait, it’s probably because I’m soooo resourceful, no?!

Yes, The Guy, apparently, prizes my resourcefulness and, from a list of more than 70 traits, thought that this was one of the top three. The example he provided? I’m good at planning trips and researching hotels. Okay, well, he’s got a point there.

I shared this story with a coworker and her boyfriend a couple days later. Her boyfriend said something like, “Every guy wants a resourceful girlfriend. You must be like MacGyver! Like, if you guys got stuck in a locked room that was about to explode you could craft something with a drinking straw and a piece of lint that would help you escape just in time! That’s awesome!” I shared this anecdote with The Guy. He confirmed that this, in fact, was not what he meant by resourceful. So what did he mean, “You’re just like, really good at finding websites and stuff.”

Be still my beating heart!

P.S. Another guy in our group told his fiancée that one of her top three traits is the fact that she’s organized. I think that may just beat resourceful 😉

February 4, 2010

Inspiration Board

Posted in General wedding, Planning at 5:36 pm by Andrea

I met with a potential florist on the weekend (more on that later!), and I decided on Friday that I should pull together an inspiration board to provide an idea of the overall feel we want our little (okay, not so little) shindig to have. The fact that I had to blur the names on our STDs pains me to no end, but try to look past that.


I think the board does a good job of accurately conveying the elegant look we are going for in our palette of browns and apple greens. It also really helped me organize my thoughts — I had so many ideas flying around in my head and it was great to see them all documented in pictures — definitely a useful brain dump!

Last week was incredibly productive wedding-wise. I sent my invitation text and inspiration photos off to Kristin at Twin Ravens Press, I chose the bridesmaids’ dresses, we found and booked a DJ, finalized the photobooth, met with the coordinator at our reception venue and met with Pauline at My Bouquet. Whew! I was totally exhausted and now, not surprisingly have come down with a cold (and home sick today…trying madly to blog, keep up with work emails and save time to cuddle with my kitty!). Cold notwithstanding, it was great to cross so many things off the wedding to do list, and for now I think we’re sitting pretty.

Are you on track with your planning? How do you keep yourself organized? (I’m a big fan of Excel spreadsheets, in fact, I think my obsession might be a little out of control!).

Happy planning!

November 30, 2009

Wedding Centrality Syndrome

Posted in General wedding at 3:12 pm by Andrea

Your wedding plans sound really interesting to you

What is it exactly that happens the moment that shiny, sparkly engagement ring on your finger that seems to cause the world to believe that the only possible thing that could be on your mind for the next 12 months is your wedding? I have been trying so hard to resist being “that girl,” the one who talks non-stop about dresses and fondant and card boxes, and I have been succeeding on the outside at least, but based on my dreams of this past week, my subconscious has fallen prey to the ubiquitous Wedding Centrality Syndrome (my name for the condition that seems to make so many brides think that the issue of utmost importance is not stopping nuclear proliferation in Iran or ensuring that the world economy gets back on track, but rather that the lavender tablecloths are a perfect match to the lavender bridesmaid dresses).

Yes, last week I had the first two (that I can remember at least) wedding dreams/nightmares. The first involved a reception sans music, groom (although we had gotten married, he just somehow hadn’t made it to the reception) and wedding party. So it was pretty much just my family and me standing around in total silence. The second dream involved time fast forwarding 11 months to the week of the wedding. The fast forwarding meant that I hadn’t done any planning other than what I currently have done (church, reception venue and photographer booked), so the wedding was very sparse (and I was HUGELY disappointed) to say the least.

It’s funny, I make every effort in “real life” to not be overly bride-y. I don’t talk about anything wedding-related unless asked, I try to fill my time with much more than comparing bridesmaid gowns and wedding blogs, and yet my subconscious is still plagued by WCS.

Anyone else experiencing involuntary WCS? What are you solutions to keep it at bay?

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