under the 200 day mark!

Well, okay, we’re several days past the 200 day mark. (On my wedding countdown. Obviously.) To be specific, we’re at 193 days and counting! That, of course, does not excuse me from being a lame, lame blogger. I don’t even really have an excuse. Planning is in a bit of a lull, not much is going on at work, and since we’re broke (see wedding & unemployed fiance) we pretty much sit around and watch movies and play with the cat in the evenings. But. I. Love. My. Life. Seriously, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I have a secure job that I enjoy, a great home, a fantastic fiance who I am madly in love with, and the funniest cat in the world. What else do I need? A glass of wine, maybe. 🙂

I DO have some wedding planning updates, I’m not just going to gush all over the place. I have all of my bridesmaids gifts purchased! Unfortunately, some of them check in on here every now and again, so I can’t post them. But I promise I’ll update you with the details after the wedding. Or if you’re really interested, email me and I’ll tell you.

We have (finally) booked an officiant. This was a little bit more dramatic than necessary, since my parents are already bereft that the wedding is not going to be taking place in a church, they were somewhat vague when it came to what they wanted in an officiant. But, once everyone calmed down we were able to come to a reasonable consensus. We’ll be employing the wedding officiant services of Bill Cochran from Say “I Do” Your Way. I’m really excited to work with Bill. He has a ton of experiences with unhappy religious families 🙂 But no, really he’s been saying weddings for years and has a lot of great ideas and will be a great guide as we plan the ceremony. Additionally he gets great reviews from the ever-helpful ladies on the DC Knot board.

We also just booked a ceremony musician! At our friends Leah and Larry’s wedding a few years ago, they just had a solo classical guitarist play, and we absolutely loved it, so we always knew that’s what we wanted as well. Our DJ, Kirk Rubley of Kirkabee DJs recommended guitarist Giorgia Cavallaro, who he’s worked with a number of times. He sent us some of her music to listen to and we were hooked! Plus she has an awesome Italian name. She plays in a flute/guitar duo as well, called Flutar. If you go to their site, you can hear some of her ah-mah-zing music! I can’t wait to pick ceremony music now!

I have lots more to update you on… but we’ll leave it there for tonight. I promise no more two week gaps of me dropping off the planet, though!

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big day bling

Once the venue was selected and my dress was purchased, I turned my thoughts towards wedding day accessories. I love so many different styles of jewelry and bridal fashion, so I found it a bit difficult at first to pin down exactly how I wanted to fancy up my look. I realized that although my dress is beautiful, the something extra is what will really set my bridal image apart. In thinking over the decisions we’d made and the ideas we have for flowers and decor, I realized that while we don’t technically have a “theme”, we do have a “feel” that we’re going for. The three best words to describe it are classic, vintage, and rustic. So, I decided that I wanted the main feature of my accessories to be ivory pearls.

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Pearls are the ultimate classic bridal accessory, and ivory would complement my dress. But, I didn’t just want a regular strand of pearls. While classically beautiful, for me, too traditional. I wanted something that would really stand out. So I looked at multiple strand necklaces, pearls that were twisted together, different sizes of pearls. But they all seemed to be lacking something that made them pop.

So I did what I always do when I have a vague concept that I can’t quite visualize. I went to Etsy. I typed “bridal vintage pearl” into the search field and moments later… I had almost 40 pages of results! I noticed that I kept being drawn to the same couple of Etsy shops. I loved the variety and vintage style of the work at BelleNouvelleDesigns, especially her vintage combs, like this one:

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The pearl cascade earrings by JMGJewelDesign also made my heart skip a beat:

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But it was all over when I saw the multiple strand pearl necklaces adorned with vintage brooches by seller PenelliBelle. Before I show you the piece I picked, take a look at these beauties that she currently has for sale… (hurry over though, they won’t be there for long!)

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Okay, I’ll give you a moment to stop drooling.

Now, I realize I may be partial, but I think the most gorgeous necklace is the one that I landed. I realized when I could not stop staring at it that I had to have it. And yes, it is even more stunning in person. I present, my bridal necklace (made with not one, but TWO vintage brooches!):

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Your chin is on the floor, right? 🙂 I wanted to ensure that I had accessories to match it before I bought it, so I messaged the seller, Lindy, to see if she could make me some earrings to go. I wanted a pair that wouldn’t compete with the necklace, since it makes such a statement, but that also matched it. She was completely helpful and accommodating, and made me these fantastic rhinestone stud, drop-pearl earrings!

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She was even able to add a few inches of pearls to the necklace for me, for a very minimal charge. Everything showed up quickly, more lovely than in the photos, and I have no doubt that this gorgeous bridal set will become a family heirloom. I warned Lindy that I may very well be back for a bracelet and/or hairpiece! I cannot wait until October when I get to wear it!

men in tuxes

Moving along, as though I haven’t been MIA for the past three weeks. (Oops!) Last weekend J and I headed to our local Men’s Wearhouse to pick out tuxes for the fellas. We wanted something traditional but not too stuffy looking. We also knew that we wanted vests and Euro ties (neckties). I didn’t want to pick green vests, my concern being that it would be too matchy-matchy with the bridesmaids dresses.

We ended up picking a two-button, notched lapel black tux. J will wear an ivory vest/tie/shirt to match my dress. The groomsmen will wear “latte” colored vests, which is really a light brown/tan color, with ivory shirts. They had chocolate brown vests, which is our other color, but we didn’t like the way they looked with the black tuxes. Our fathers will wear black vests/ties with white shirts. I think the resulting look is pretty slick and matches our rustic/natural color scheme pretty well.

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so…

I BOUGHT A WEDDING DRESS!!!! Wheeeee! (J, darling, if for some reason you’re reading this, please stop. Now. No, really. Stop.)

I’m so excited, and terribly sad that I have to wait 4-6 months for it to come in. I want to wear it noooow. It’s Demetrios style #GR 131. I don’t recommend looking it up on their website though, because the photo on the model doesn’t look anything like the actual dress. I tried the sample on in white, but then went back to look at the ivory and ended up ordering the that. It’s a gorgeous, really soft ivory color – almost off-white.  Unfortunately the ivory sample was itty-bitty and my boobs didn’t fit into it. They’re hoping to get in a larger ivory sample size this week, so I may go back and try that on, just for giggles.

Here’s a pic of me in the white sample (don’t mind my poor PhotoShop attempt to erase my bra straps…)
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…and here are a few of the ivory sample…
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We’re planning to make a few alterations… first of all, that flower thing (which you can see on the white dress) on the hip is going to come off. I’ll probably replace it with a brooch of some sort. Also, I’m going to have the neckline made into a sweetheart, and add some kind of off-the-shoulder sleeve. I just love the rouching on the bodice, and the organdy overlay, and the way the edges of it are sort of flowy and wavy (I’m told that the technical sewing term for that is “lettucing”.)

Sigh. Happy Kate!

we have a dj!

I’m rather far behind on the updates, as I’m sure you’ve noticed (sorry!) but we did sign a DJ two weeks ago! I called Kirkabee Deejays about a month back after reading great reviews on The Knot and WeddingWire, and had a great phone conversation with Kirk, the owner of the company. He told me that he personally was going to be available on our wedding date, as he’d had a previous booking fall through just that week. Kirk himself usually books up more than a year in advance, so we completely lucked out.

A week or so later he had me and J and my parents over to his home studio to meet him, and he completely blew us away. And my parents are pretty hard to please! This guy is a consummate professional. He knows music, he knows weddings (his wife is even a wedding photographer!) and he can definitely keep the party going. He has great ideas and will totally work with us to make sure we hear what we want (and only what we want!) He’s been doing weddings for so long he’s pretty much seen it all. He’s even going to help us find a live musician for the ceremony and cocktail hour! I’m so excited to have another major vendor crossed off my list – I feel like we’re finally making some real progress!

photographer? check!

We officially booked our photographer! I’m starting to feel like I’m getting a handle on this to-do list. Rachel Naft of RMN Photography will be taking the pictures at our wedding. I’m so excited – I’ve heard a ton of great things about her, and she seems fantastic from the two meetings I’ve had with her. Not to mention, of course, that her work is gorgeous! She has a great eye and photojournalistic style.

It was really important to me to find a photographer who is skilled at taking both the traditional posed pictures (for posterity) but also at capturing moments spontaneously, because those are the photographs that actually tell the story of the day. Rachel is definitely amazing in both areas. You should definitely swing by her website and check it out. The photos speak for themselves!

Next on the list… DJ and dress!

big planning update!

I know I’ve been MIA this week, but we have gotten a TON of wedding stuff done! Yesterday we went out and signed the contract with our venue! So, we officially have a wedding date and location. We will be tying the knot on October 23, 2009, at Catoctin Hall at Musket Ridge. It’s about an hour outside of DC, at the foothills of the Catoctin Mountains. The views are gorgeous! Musket Ridge is a public golf course, and Catoctin Hall is an event venue that was added on a little over a year ago. They provide catering on-site, so that’s another vendor we don’t have to worry about! The Hall is stunning, photos don’t do it justice. It’s warm and rustic and elegant, unlike any place I’ve ever been in before.

And I took some photos while we were there! This is the entrance to Catoctin Hall, where the guests will enter. There are two entrances (the one for golfers is another big building to the right) so they’ll station someone at these doors to welcome guests:
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The guests will then be ushered through the ballroom to the ceremony site – outdoors, weather permitting (knock on wood!)
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Isn’t the view phenomenal? I can’t wait to see it in October with all the colorful leaves! After the ceremony, the guests will head back towards the hall for an indoor/outdoor cocktail hour…
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…followed by dinner and dancing in the gorgeous ballroom! (It was being set up for an indoor wedding while we were there. Yes, the Chiavari chairs are included!)
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I love love love it! We’ll go out in a few months again for a tasting with the caterer and wedding coordinator and discuss the details like timeline, room configuration, etc.

We have some more photographer and DJ meetings this week, and this weekend the first dress shopping excursion! I’m so excited that things are starting to fall into place!