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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Church, A Tasting and A new apartment!

Phew...well I think I worked through my proposal video addiction. With the help of Molly, who told me to turn.off.the.computer!! Well, that and I think I've literally watched every single proposal video online there is to watch. Next...I'll move on to wedding bloopers or even toasts! The possibilities are really endless.

Last weekend, Chris and I went to look at 3 different churches. I was surprised by how easy it was to just walk in randomly in the afternoon, with nobody there, sit down and take it all in. It was very nice and welcoming in a way. I was waaaay impressed with all three churches and would be very happy getting married at any of them. We decided to start with Saint Gregory the Great in Bellerose because that's the parish that Chris belongs to, and therefore it would probably be easiest to get in there. The church had gorgeous stained glass windows, great high beamed ceiling and a long, glorious aisle to walk down! We have an appointment on Monday, Jan. 4th at 7:00 with Father Cunningham!!

The snow ruined some wedding festivities we had planned with our parents this past weekend. We had a food tasting scheduled at Sandcastle with both sets of parents as well as each of our siblings. Unfortunately, the Pennsylvanians couldn't come to New York, but we still went ahead with our plans (i.e. moving and the tasting) I am going to schedule another tasting with my parents in the Spring when there is no threat of snow!

I'm really bummed my family couldn't be there, but I also have to say that the tasting was really, really nice and I am glad that we still went ahead with it. Sandcastle was all decorated for the Holidays and it was sooooo pretty! It almost made me want to have a winter wedding. Almost. Then I realized we were getting 11 inches of snow that very night and was quickly reminded why May was the month for me! When we arrived at Sandcastle, they had a private table set up in one of the bridal suites with two bottles of wine ready for us. However, first we took a tour around the place to show Chris's brother (he's never been there) and also to see the new veranda that was just added to the cocktail hour room. I was really anxious and excited to see the completed project. It was so pretty and I think it seriously adds so much to the place. The outside bar is gorgeous and in the warmer months has a waterfall running behind the bartender. It was also equally exciting to have Chris's brother stamp of approval, because he really liked the place and really liked the food. So onto the food...we ate SO MUCH FOOD! They brought a huge platter of 6 different main course meats:

Pistachio Crusted Rack of Lamb
Pan Seared Atlantic Salmon
Pan Seared Porterhouse Pork Chop
Grilled Filet Mignon
Sliced Oven Roasted Breast of Chicken
Jumbo Gulf Shrimp Orgenata

My favorites were the Grilled Filet Mignon and the Salmon. OH THE SALMON!! It was so amazing. Then we had little pastry puffs for dessert and were full for the rest of the night. I was glad that I arrived starving! It was all very exciting and just one more thing to get me revved up for the wedding.....only one year and 5 months! haha.

Also, Sandcastle has updated their website and it is SO much better than their old site. I have a few small complaints about this one, (like..the pictures don't even seem to be loading right now!) But, when it's a working, functionign website I think it represents the place much better than before. Plus, it has updated pictures with the new outside patio they built and it's so beautiful! New Sandcastle Website

Finally....I'm about 90% officially settled into my new apartment at Chris's! We got all my big stuff over there this weekend...I drove a u-haul all by myself, and we had to rush because of the impending snowstorm. I'm so grateful that Chris, his dad and brother were able to help me, in lieu of my parents not being able to come to New York. We still have a LOT of organizing to do, but I know it will get there all in due time. I also have so much still to do at my Astoria apartment. I'm currently sleeping on an air mattress in the living room! It's kind of fun in an "I'm camping" sort of way, but that won't last too long.

My next step: Picking a Band or a DJ! (I've decided to do this before picking my photographer) So stay tuned for how that comes along as well as hearing how contrary to Chris's request...we will NOT be having the Bruce Springsteen Tribute Band "The B-Street Band" be the band we chose. I'm also going dress shopping again on Saturday so I'm sure I'll have lots to tell you about next week.

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Proposal

I was up until 2:15 last night, which is probably the latest I have stayed up on a school work night in a loooong time. However, I’m surprisingly chipper today and do not regret it one bit. Lately, I’ve been up late packing up my life or just lying in bed not able to sleep because I can’t stop thinking about my plan of attack for packing. But last night, coming off my high of just seeing one of my favorite Broadway shows In the Heights, I somehow ended up on YouTube searching “marriage proposals”. It started with just one video and I don’t even know how I ended up there; but two hours and a box of tissues later, I didn’t know where the time went!! Maybe it’s just me who gets wrapped up in this stuff but I couldn’t.stop.watching.

Some of the proposals were incredibly awkward and uncomfortable to watch. Some caused my jaw to drop and me to squirm in my seat I was so uncomfortable by either a negative reaction or no reaction at all, or two really awkward human beings together, but you’re still kind of happy that they found each other so it’s strangely cute sort of thing. Some made me bawl so much I was afraid my tears were going to short out my keyboard. Some were so genuine and amazing or over the top in either a good or a bad way.

I should clarify…I really never would have wanted Chris to videotape his proposal to me…as interesting and fun as it would be to look back on it, I think that it would have affected my genuine reaction knowing that I was being videotaped. Not to mention…the mere fact that only the two of us were in that moment and only we have that, is what makes it special to me. Even if we had a tape, I wouldn’t want to share it with the rest of the world. (I mean..unless I looked REALLY good in the video or something). I also am glad that mine wasn’t a public proposal…which again would have affected my genuine reaction. This isn’t to say that I think any less of videotaped proposals or public proposals because I honestly really am all for them. I think they can be done really well and can be absolutely adorable. In fact, I personally thank you each and every one of you for videotaping/publicly proposing because then I wouldn’t have had anything to watch until 2am last night!

I watched dozens and dozens of videos last night..and probably will watch more tonight. But I feel the need to highlight some of my favorites here:

I think this guy’s proposal is really sweet. He obviously had gone through a lot and felt very passionate about what he was talking about. This was a place or group where he felt safe and had obviously been through a lot with, so I really think this is sweet. (Fast Forward to 1 minute if you don't want to watch the whole thing)


 
I don’t know why….but these two stick out in my head most. Maybe this means subconsciously I wanted Chris to propose to me on a Ski Slope??
I think this woman's reaction is really cute:


This girl is the absolute cutest thing I have ever seen!:


This one is great because it IS just the two of them and she most likely has NO IDEA that he’s taping so it is genuine. I love that she just can’t stop crying. It’s so cute! (fast forward to 1:16)


Two of the more awkward proposals I saw:

Is the guy going to say anything or just shove the ring in her face? I see he went with "shove the ring in her face." Then, whomever is watching says "let's all have a 'round of applause" and only one person claps! Also, how old they??12?? Is that legal?



First, is she really happy? Because she doesn't really seem to really care. Second, they make out for like 1 minute in front of their mom, while she's taping, and the mom just laughs throughout the whole thing! This video makes me all around uncomfortable:


Overall, I noticed that the most common thing for people to say when they get engaged is “Oh my God” which is exactly what I kept saying over and over when Chris proposed. Please share with me some others below that you may find on YouTube if you happen to enjoy watching this as much as I do!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Morning Call Engagement Announcement!

Chris and I were in my local Pennsylvania paper "The Morning Call" this morning! After my parents saw the engagement announcement that Chris found on LIweddings.com, they asked me if I wanted an announcement in our local PA paper to which I replied.."uh..sure!" I wish the apostrophes didn't translate weird here for the website, but I guess we can't have it all.

Here it is!:
Morning Call Engagement Announcement

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage

I'm reading "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Perfect Marriage" which was given to me by our good friend, Chris's (and let's be honest my) former college roommate and groomsman, Matthew Hedge. I'm only 130 pages in of the 300 page book. But it's interesting. I covered the book in birthday wrapping paper so I'm not so embarrassed reading it on the subway. I could just see the eyes of judgment now....



I find this book to be pretty much common sense and kind of feel sorry that there's people out there who really honestly don't understand this stuff. I mean, ok, I'm not marriet yet..maybe I have no idea what I'm in for and this book will be the savoir of my marriage 30 years down the line. Buuut I think for now, we're ok. My favorite part of this book is they have a litte picture of a man every few pages that give "marriage tips from the husband's perspective" (Way to assume a woman is reading this...but I guess they're probably right. I would be curious to know the specifics on the male:female ratio of people who buy this book. Though, Matt bought it for me, so I suppose that throws it off a little bit.)

Anyway, the tidbits today were:

"Make sure I'm not hungry when you ask for something"
I find this HIGHlarious. Such a simple thing and yet so important. However, what I find funniest about this is that in my relationship, it's the other way around. I've always been baffled by how Chris doesn't really get cranky when he's hungry (usually) and he can go for long periods of time without eating. I, on the other hand, need food every few hours or I will be the CRANKIEST. PERSON. ALIVE!  so Chris..a tip for you as we embark on marriage: "Make sure I'm not hungry when you ask for something!"

"I'm your husband, not a movie star. Besides, your favorite actor may seem wonderful on-screen, but at home he probably drinks milk out of the carton, too!"
Well phew! Good thing I finally know Chris isn't a movie star. Now I can finally back off of those unrealistic expectations I have of him and realize that my life isn't as romantic as the movies. This is a HUGE relief. But what I want to know is...is someone out there reading this book going "Ohhhhhhh....I get it now! That tip was so helpful! Why didn't I realize this before??"    ....I mean...there must be, right? Next:

"Please don't undermine me in front of the children. They need to look up to their father as the man of house."
Ok, as bold as it sounds to actually be written out like that...I can understand this request. But why is this just under the "Husband's perspective???" Neither person in the marriage should undermine the other in front of the children. Besides it weakening the child's view on that parent, it's just downright disrespectful. And no one wants rude or disrespectful kids, so why behave that way in front of them?

"I hate not feeling well. I feel like a kid instead of the man of the house. Be extra patient with me and help me feel important."
Oy..please read same statement as above. Look..I'm all for babying and coddling when someone is sick. But who DOESN'T hate not feeling well? No one...and therefore both parties should "be extra patient and help me feel important" (??) Not really sure about the "help you feel important part" but I'll certainly make you soup and tea! AS LONG as when I'M sick, it's reciprocated.

I guess what I'm saying is: Can't we just call these "Marriage tips from a married perspective" ?? I can just see how proud my mom is of me right now.

In all seriousness, as hilarious as this book is, I am intrigued by it (So thank you Matty!) It's reinforced some things for me and I'm confident that Chris and I are now ready to have a perfect marriage; conflict free-no fights-wonderful-all-the-time-never-drink-out-of-the-milk-carton-make-you-feel-important-when-your-sick-harmonious-bliss.


I was reading another wedding blog that discussed books on marriage and there are three that I plan to reserving at the library:

"The Wedding Book" by Mindy Weiss
"One Perfect Day- The Selling of the American Wedding" by Rebecca Mead
"Don't You Dare Get Married Until You Read This" - by Corey Donaldson which I think is just a hilarious title and someone on weddingbee.com recommended this book as a great one.



Random, but lastly, I love, LOVE this wedding!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Wedding Countdown Ticker!

Daisypath Wedding tickers

Introducing a very special Guest blogger...

Today's post is brought to you by my very good friend, fellow Schnecksvillian, daughter of my first grade teacher, former Broome Street roommate, and bridesmaid Mallory! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful Blogship, enjoy!:

Good Evening, ladies and gentlemen. I suppose I should adjust the time stamp on this as I am not quite sure when Laura will be posting it. Good Evening to those of you who might be reading this in the evening.
Good Afternoon to those of you who perchance are reading this as you gradually ease back into your afternoon from lunch…I don’t blame you! Walk around, go the bathroom, see what everyone else in your office is doing...don’t work too hard there, Tiger! After all…it is only Wednesday!
And a very, very special Good MORNING to those of you who stumbled upon this little gem in the A.M. Kudos to you, friend! It is 9:46am and you have already made the executive (yet, equally weighty) decision that you will NOT be doing work today! As someone who should currently be working and/or doing grad-school applications, I salute you! I also encourage you to now squint at the screen, nod, and bite your lip to give the illusion that you are actually doing something productive! I also want you to fathom the difficulty with which I am typing this…as I am currently on the Disabled List. Last night, I slammed my middle finger, the pride of my right hand, and my favorite vulgar-gesture bearer in the trunk of my car. I am surprised all of Hoboken, including my favorite couple, Mandy and Billy, [note from Laura: "HEY! Why don't you go blog for them then if they're your favorite!! harumph..."] did not hear me all the way 5 blocks up, because I let out a string of obscenities to beat the band. I mean there were some good, filthy ones in there. None of which will be posted here. Because I promised Laura. However, I did not promise her that I would not repeat her tasteless comments. When I informed her of my injury and the difficulty it took me to type, that little vixen promptly responded with…"Oh Good! It will be a challenge! Like a kid in a wheelchair doing a half-marathon!” … Stunned. Too far? Too soon? Never.

And now…on to my first (and possibly last) "Saying I Do” blog post!

Ahh…weddings. I remember my wedding as if it were yesterday. It was on a beach and my prince was there finally waiting to sweep me out of the water…while my father, with tears in his eyes, sent a rainbow soaring above our nuptial ship as we sailed out of view into the…oh. No. Wait…that’s actually the end of Disney’s The Little Mermaid…em…well…this is awkward.

No dear friends, I have not yet had the good fortune to tie the knot, however I do (yes, in all my immaturity and snarky comments) know a thing or 5 about weddings. And speaking of FIVE…

Today’s guest blog is brought to you by the number…FIVE!


Because that’s the number of weddings I will have been in as of (including) this  "Celebration of Love". That’s right, Laura and Chris’s wedding marks my 5th appearance as a bridesmaid…so trust when I say,  "I’m getting good at this." Reading that back to myself, makes me feel slightly nauseated, as…truth be told…I often wonder if I ever will actually get married myself. I know I’m a charming, educated, tasteful, and adorned with (non-prison) tats beauty…but hey…who knows...I digress. And I like to plan ahead regardless. Thus this blog post. I’m getting to the meat and potatoes now, I swear.


While the "Celebration of Love" is being planned, young Laura and dear sweet Chris have many facets of love-celebrating to deal with. Flowers. Cake. Dresses. And Booze. Food. Venue (I am still pretty upset/offended it’s not at Bruno’s on the Boulevard). Booze. And of course I am hoping they serve alcohol at this thing….hello, Sweendog gotta get paid, son! But above all, there is the all-important actual ceremony to consider. And here’s where things get a little hairy (no pun intended. JK. Obvious lay-up pun intended). Chris has requested a Catholic service and rightfully so, as it is his, and his whole family’s religion of choice. But Laura is concerned that her unbaptized self may make it difficult to find a Catholic priest to marry them…again, rightfully so. (Laura, I pray for you daily and hope your soul won’t burn or float in purgatory for all eternity.) Also, clearly kidding. But indeed, we have the crux of the problem. A cross to bear. A plague upon both your houses! Aye, there’s the rub. But I am also sensitive to this as I too, might, one day be faced with an inter-religion marriage…and by that I mean I will probably marry a model. So I, have taken it upon my procrastinating-self to find, and document for you here:


The TOP FIVE People I think should MARRY LAURA AND CHRIS!

5.
* Rabbi Serena Fujita
* Advisor
* email: serena.fujita@bucknell.edu
Ok, so she’s a Rabbi. She was the Rabbi from the Hillel at Bucknell. Cool. But also, this lady is the most open, accepting person I know. I used to generally say “What’s up” to her whenever I saw her on campus and even though she had no idea who I was, she’d wave and smile. Here’s her campus bio: Rabbi Serena Fujita was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, the Reform Movement's seminary. One of her main interests has been interfaith communication, and she participated in several ongoing dialogues with seminarians from many different faith communities. See...interfaith! Plus she’s so liberal, I’m pretty sure she’d marry me to a rake if I asked. [note from Laura: Please don't]

4.
Whoever these people are.
 
     Sweet Gawd I can’t even like, make fun of this. Read.

3. Paul Oakley
  
He’s a Universalist Unitarian Unicycle something or other who resides with his partner and his cats in           Chicago but often makes trips to the east-coast to see his dogs “grand-puppies.” I kid you not. He’d def. Marry you in any type of ceremony you choose…FYI: he lists “scarves” as one of his interests on his blog. Jackpot.

2.
Mark Williams [note from Laura: Any relation to Buddy Williams? eh? eh? (sorry inside joke)] He plays Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. He works for the ministry of magic…therefore…ministry… magic…celebration of love…ok this is a stretch. I pick him though…and if you don’t like it…go find one of those gothic, moody, underfed kids from Twilight, why dontcha? Actually…a great idea…but now on to my number one choice for the marriage of Laura and Chris...

1. Stephen Colbert.

I think he is the obvious choice to perform the ceremony and I think no one would complain. And if they do, they clearly hate weddings, love, and America.

That’s all for now. If you get bored check out these two links I was DYING to squeeze into this blogpost but couldn’t do so with a purpose:


Self-Explanatory:
Vampire Wedding Gown

Discount Wedding Dresses?


Goodbye my babies. Stay-tuned for more guest-posts by moi. But probably not. [note from Laura: Yes more to come!]

Monday, November 30, 2009

Maggie Sotterro is in the lead...

Woa! What a fun-filled Thanksgiving Weekend! It was truly amazing to be home and spend time with my family for the past 4 days straight! It sparked a whole new round of wedding excitement in me and I feel a little bit back on the bandwagon as far as planning goes. I think the fact that I feel my life will be so much in shambles for the next month with my move to Chris's house, is causing me to actually be super-organized and super on-top of things in an effort to feel like my life isn't spiraling out of control.

So, on to my first dress shopping experience!
Friday night I went to Ann Margaret's Bridal Shop in Palmerton, PA and I went with my mom, dad and sister. This place was adorable, and super quaint. I was the only customer in the entire store and they had two people assisting me with the process. This place paid great personal attention to me and I can tell that they would be great to work with for both the wedding and bridesmaid dresses. My only concern is that she didn't have that large of a selection and even though I really, really wanted to try on dresses other than strapless...I pretty much only tried on strapless. As everyone told me, the strapless were actually really nice and did not look as bad on me as I had imagined. But, I still would like to try other styles! Cap sleeve, halter, straps...anything just to see if those styles are also flattering. (However, the few straps and halters I did try on, did not look good on me) I tried on maybe 9 or 10 dresses that night and left with one definite Maggie Sottero dress that was my favorite.  I love including images in my blogs, but unfortuantely don't want to put up any images of the dresses I try on. I have to leave at least one element a surprise!! Instead...Please enjoy this cute picture of a bumble bee:

Saturday, I went to a new Alfred Angelo store that is really close to my house in PA. This place was immediately different from our experience on Friday night. The place was packed, they were overbooked, there were brides trying on dresses everywhere, there was no privacy, and it was pretty chaotic. They did not have an assistant to help me try on dresses because they were all helping other girls, so my mom had to come in and help me get in and out of these huuuge dresses. That actually ended up being kind of fun and turned into a nice bonding experience anyway...though my mom probably feels differently because she did all the work! I left there liking three dresses. One was a new, flashy, strapless design. The other two were very nice, srapless, ivory, beaded. However, when I came home and looked at the pictures of the Alfred Angelo dresses next to the Maggie Sottero....Maggie just looked so much classier to me.


Things I learned while dress shopping this weekend:

  • I like Ivory or champagne colored dresses.
  • Strapless is just fine on me.
  • While I loooove the grecian style dresses, I'd rather have a dress that's form fitting on top to give me some shape. (Embrace those curves!) I may look for a grecian style dress for my rehearsal dinner.
  • I like ruching on the stomach that arcs over to one side.
  • Two words: Sweetheart neckline.
  • Getting both my mom and my dad's opinion on the dress was super important to me, as well as my sister's! I hope that they can all continue to come looking for dresses with me (only 10 more places I swear!!!.....jk)



So now I have an idea of what I'm looking for and it's very exciting! I'm so glad to have gotten the ball rolling on my dress shopping and can't wait to go home at Christmas to do some more. We plan to go to Bridals By Sandra in Nazareth and Jon's Bridal where my friend Mandy got her wedding dress, so it must be good luck!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dress shopping begins!

I'm leaving to go wedding dress shopping in 1/2 an hour!! We're going to a bridal salon in downtown Palmerton (GHEETTTO) But I've heard good things about the place, and it's just to start getting ideas:
Ann Margaret's Bridal

Dad just decided he would like to join us as well so the whole fam is venturing out for this!! I'm eager to start the dress shopping experience because I'm honestly hoping it actually sparks my interest in the whole "dress" thing. Call me crazy...I know I'm probably the ONLY engaged girl out there who really can't get that excited by wedding dress shopping. I can look at 20 million different pictures of dresses and still not know what I like and what I want. My only thing that I think I want is "not strapless". Other than that...whichever poor salesperson gets me tonight is going to have a pretty wide range of dresses to choose from when it comes to me. I know once I start trying on dresses...I'll start to realize what I like, what I don't like, what works on me..what doesn't work on me.. etc. etc.

I know this is dramatic...but there's so much pressure on "the dress". Maybe the mere fact that this IS one of the most important aspects of my wedding makes me not want to think or deal with it right now. I'm always so wishy-washy and won't want to pick "the one" too soon for fear that I'll find another one later that I like better.

I have another appointment at an Alfred Angelo store tomorrow afternoon, so I'll have lots to write about tomorrow. Wish me LUCK!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Long Island Weddings

Apparently, Chris and I are on
Long Island Weddings.com! I created an account with them when we got engaged in order to look at the blogs/message boards and for general information. I remember a mention somewhere along the way of entering my information that the website can create a wedding announcement for me...but I just kept clicking and didn't think anything more about it.

Chris had to look something up for his mom today and did a google search with his mom's name. This is what he found.

Thursday, July 23, 2009
Laura and Chris
We are happy to announce the engagement of Laura to Chris and to extend our congratulations to their families. The two: A Patron Associate at the Metropolitan Opera and a Vice President of Capacity Group, both from Queens were engaged on July 23, 2009 at the Atlantis in the Bahamas, "Chris took Laura to the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas where he proposed the first night " They look forward to a May 21, 2011 celebration of love at Sandcastle Caterers. We wish them all the best.
How cool!! Haha, I literally had no idea that was on the site, but I'm glad he found it! I wonder how many people actually look through all of these announcements in the first place, but, oh well. My favorite part is the second to last sentence "...celebration of love at Sandcastle Caterers". So there it is..our very first and only "official" announcement!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Brett Matthews

I had a great time in my web design class today! This post will also be my forum to show off some of the things I made in fireworks.

So, yesterday we had our first meeting with a wedding photographer,Brett Matthews. There actually is no "Brett Matthews." Brett and Matthew are the owner's sons' names. Chris and I were really impressed with the place. We met with Rich, and were with him for an hour and a half! I didn't think it would take that long, but it also went really fast. We looked through all the album options they offer, with tons of pictures, and techniques they can do with the pictures: sepia, high-def glossy, oil painitng, etc. etc.

Honestly, I could have sat there all day looking through the photo albums and videos they had. I actually got choked up when he showed us the video montages they can make. It all got me very excited for my big day...well only 1 year and 7 months! This was the first photographer appointment we had so far, so we don't really have any point of reference for comparison, but I will say that we were really impressed with this place. We'll probably look at 3 more to do some comparison shopping with both what is offered and price. But "Operation find a Photographer" is going so far, so good!


In other news, my mom is getting me really excited for the prospect of an engagement party in Schnecksville! I should give props to her co-worker Rae, who I've met once at my mom and dad's birthday party last year and immediately liked her. She apparently just threw an engagement party and wedding for her daughter, so she's gone through all of this and is eager to offer up her services with getting things off the ground! I realize that Schnecksville might be a little bit hard to get to for people in New York, but it will be nice to have something wedding related in PA, since the actual wedding won't be there. This will be a great way for my older family members to be involved and meet my friends and Chris's family, since it might be difficult for them to get to New York.

I also got to work on some monograms today. I like the second one better, but I think the C looks a bit more like a G. Oh well, this was just playing around:



Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm BACK!

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Sorry I've been so MIA lately!! I really want to get back to the blog and posting at least twice a week! Chris and I are desperately trying to wrap our heads around booking a church for the ceremony while also slowly but surely looking at some photographers. However, with everything else going on in the next two months (i.e. moving out of my apt., moving into his basement, moving him out of his room and downstairs, trying to figure out how all our stuff will fit, PLUS Holidays) we've been a little preoccupied. I'm excited to have some days off around the Holidays to hopefully regain my footing on what we need to be doing!

Looking around at some of the blogs today, I found some really interesting ideas for my wedding.
The Anniversary Dance- Found on weddingbee.com:

The anniversary dance is basically a way to honor the couple attending the wedding who has been together the longest. From what I’ve read, usually the MC or DJ announces it, asking all couples (married or not, that’s your call) on to the dance floor for a couples’ dance. After a minute or two, all couples who have been together less than ____ years (you can choose the increments, we’ll probably use 5 or 10 years, depending on the length of the song we choose) are asked to have a seat. After another few seconds, this is repeated using a larger number and so on and so forth until there is only one couple left, the one who has been together the longest. The couple is then presented with the bridal bouquet (this part is optional...).

I think that's a really cute and different idea! I wonder who would be the last standing at my wedding?

I absolutely LOVE this picture:


I randomly was looking up information on obtaining a marriage license. Did you know that in New York, you don’t have to get any type of physical exam or blood work done before getting married? I don’t know why, but I thought that was a standard thing in the “getting married” process…I checked for Pennsylvania and they don’t require any medical exams either!
In fact, the only states that do require some sort of medical exam including blood work are:
Connecticut
(Washington D.C.)
Georgia
Indiana
Massachusetts
Mississippi
Montana
Oklahoma
7 states plus D.C.!! I find this really interesting. Why do these states require it and others don’t? Also of interest, PA has a 3 day wait period from the time you get your license, until your wedding date. New York has a 24 hour wait period. It looks like every state has different “waiting periods” but Wisconsin comes in first place with having a 6 day wait period between marriage license and ceremony, longer than any other state!
This website was very interesting: US Marriage Laws.


(I made this in my web design class and wanted to incorporate it somehow on here!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Date is SET!

Good News! WE HAVE A DATE AND A SPACE!!
The Countdown Begins.

Chris and I will be getting married on May 21, 2011 at The Sandcastle in Franklin Square. Here is the Sandcastle Caterers. This gives the general idea for the space. I'm excited for them to update their website, it's a bit out of date but they are currently working on updating it. [editor's note: This now is the updated site]

My parents visited this weekend and they were able to see the place, finally! They loved it and I liked it even more seeing the space for the second time, especially since they've done some renovating since the last time I've been there. The outside patio they are building is a really great added touch for the space and I can't wait to see the final product!

Next order of business...booking a church!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Slow day at work...

Photography websites really slow down my work computer because there are so many images to load. This is frustrating me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

This site may just save my life...

While we haven't 100% decided on a venue, we are done looking and just need to have my parents see the places and ultimately sign a contract. At this point, I can see it being in all three places and I will be happy no matter where it is. We should have it settled in the next two weeks!! So, in an effort to keep things moving along, I'm onto the next step: Finding a photographer! Wow...how do I go about THAT?!?! I was kind of going crazy all day looking at photo after photo, website after website....but I came across this site through (C-Longo) Christina's Wedding photographer's website (Thanks Christina!)

WPJA

I can search by region (either city/metro or Long Island). This certainly gives me a HUGE amount of options. I think I would definitely trust any (or at least most) of these photographers and I like that it gives an idea of pricing for each photographer.

Again, just like with my reception hall search, I have to say how vitally important a photographer's website is in this process. I immediately noticed a difference by looking at the websites on the WPJA page versus a random "New York Photographers" google search. I've seen some baaaad things out there...and it's scary. Click on the following link: Example 1 Then look around the photo gallery, or just look below for the general idea. You're welcome:


Looking around at all the photos on that website and please, please tell me that all of these pictures are from 1982, they can't possibly be recent! You, as a photographer, are an artist. You, want me, to hire you...to capture my wedding day for all eternity. What, pray tell, makes you think that your website is visually captivating and therefore that your photos are visually captivating?? Posting pictures from 1982 DOES NOT HELP YOU!
Also, to other websites out there: Give me thumbnails! Give me a gallery! Give me Recent Photos!!! And a BLOG about what you are currently working on!! Give me this!

Lastly...if this is what my save the date looks like, please shoot me:


I guess I do know what I want afterall...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monograms

I finally figured out how to post my monograms!
The big one is my favorite, but I'm really just messing around. I have lots more to do.




Sunday, September 27, 2009

Finally done! And more confused than ever...



We originally had 4 places to see this weekend. Sandcastle Caterers,
Russo's on the Bay,, Garden City Hotel and The Woodlands. However, due to a last minute (and rather spontaneous) decision to take a Web-Design Class at Queens College, I had to move our Sunday appointments to Saturday and make some cuts. Though I really want to see The Woodlands, they are very difficult and annoying to schedule appointments with. They won't let ANYONE in on Saturdays to see the place because they are setting up for weddings. I'm sorry...you cannot possibly be having a wedding at 11:00 on a saturday, just let me come in and see the place. Believe me, I understand that I won't be seeing the final finished product. Anyway, they wouldn't let me schedule an appointment for Saturday, and Chris and I are very busy for the next two weeks. So, I have an appt. with them for Thurs. October 8th. Well, we may very well have reached a decision by that point. Sorry Woodlands: Your loss. We also ruled out Garden City Hotel because I just haven't heard good things about it, I hear it's overpriced and not great service. So, yesterday we saw Sandcastle and Russo's on the Bay.

Sandcastle was impressive and, like Marina del Rey, a place that I thought I was going to hate, I ended up loving. I don't even know where to begin. The outside entrance area isn't anything to rave about. When we walked in, Chris immediately goes "I feel like I'm in Las Vegas" There's lights on the stairs and medieval statues everywhere. I had to admit he was right and that wasn't entirely a selling point for me. I like Las Vegas, but I don't want to get married there. We were met with a very lovely young Greek woman named Dina who works at the Sandcastle but is also getting married there next June. First we saw the Hospitality Room. We would have this room from 5:30-6:00 in case any guests showed up early for our 6:00 reception. It's a nice lounge with tv screens and an open bar. They would also have passed hor'douvres at this time. Then she showed up the bathrooms and bridal suite upstairs. Both were very nice. I thought it was cool that there was a tv screen in the bridal suite that showed us a video of our guests at cocktail hour in case we didn't attend cocktail hour. (We plan on attending, but would probably leave it early to freshen up for the reception) Next, she took us into the cocktail hour room and it was one word: Impressive. We would have this room from 6-7 or 7:30 depending on what we want. There is a huge giant boat in the center of the room which will house all seafood from sushi to shrimp to raw oysters and clams and lobster.

There was a beautiful stage with a piano in which they would PROVIDE the pianist for our cocktail hour (which is a great deal). They have a brand new martini bar station with a waterfall. The Martini Bar has the capability of coming down from the cieling half-way through the cocktail hour with smoke and lights and they do a mini-presentation. Ummmm...not my cup of tea/pretty tacky. But at least it won't be me coming in from the ceiling for my entrance. (Please read below for Russo's on the Bay description). I would probably ask them not to do this for the cocktail hour, but could be persuaded to do it if I was allowed to laugh the whole time as it was happening to let my guests know "Yes people, I am aware this is a bit 'much.'" Now, the room itself was impressive but they're currently adding an addition which is an outside patio. It was very under construction while we were there but I think it's going to be beautiful. It's an outside patio half of which will be covered by glass for shade or rain protection. They will have tables out there, a waterfall and a staircase leading down into the garden behind the facility. I saw the computer generated pictures and it looks like it's going to be really nice. He told us to come back next weekend to see the finished product, which we may do. This way, our cocktail hour can be both inside and outside (which was also offered to us at The Inn at New Hyde Park). Next, we went downstairs to the Grand Ballroom. The worst thing about this place was that the bathrooms are on the second floor of the building and the main ballroom is on the first floor. That's not very convenient, but that really was the only negative against it. The ballroom was very pretty. Long dance floor down the center of the room. They have a camera on a tripod filming our entire wedding for us to take home at the end of the night. (all raw footage of course) They had tv screens for slide shows, very beautiful linens. Lights that we can change or decide how we'd want it to be and plenty of space. It was a very nice room. After that we went into her office to discuss the menu which was quite impressive and pricing...also incredibly reasonable. They include everything as a package, no extra add-ons or hidden fees, we get it all. PLUS the owner of the Sand Castle owns a hotel in Crete, Greece. This hotel is included in the price for a 7 day honeymoon!! Absolutely no where else included a hotel for their honeymoon and still this place was no more expensive than anywhere else. Of course, I need to research this hotel a little more but the pictures I happened to see looked amazing. All in all it was a great deal and a great place. My qualms here are really the very first thing that Chris said when we walked in: It felt a little like Vegas...and therefore, I'm worried it's a little gaudy. It's really not that bad and I'm sure as long as everything else is done tastefully no one will know, or quite frankly care.

Russo's on the Bay was hands down the worst place we have visited out of this entire process. I knew that we wouldn't like this place going into it, but I was curious to see it myself. Especially since this is the famous place where the bride and groom enter THROUGH THE FLOOR in a glass elevator for their reception entrance with a fog machine and everything. Really?? It all seemed very tacky to me. We enter the place and it's very clear there are multiple parties going on at once and it's very loud. It seemed very much like a wedding factory. I had called this place twice prior to coming in about scheduling an appointment. I was told that they don't do appointments, but to dress nice and the consultant will let us peak through to see the ballrooms. We go up to the office and are met by a very unwelcoming, very serious and not warm receptionist at the desk. She takes my information, we wait for a consultant. The consultant comes out, ONLY introduces herself to me and Chris. Never even acknowledges the Duni's, takes us into her office and immediately goes over the menu only addressing me and Chris the entire time. EVERYTHING is an "upgrade" You want dessert? More per person. You want linens on your tables and covers on your seats? More per person. You want this? more per person. You want that? More per person. Then, she gives us the base price per person and that's that. If we want to schedule an appointment to come back and see any of the rooms, we may do so with her. WHAT?! We didn't see a single thing about that facility other than the offices and lobby. Worst.Customer.Service.Ever. AND she definitely was the worst and coldest salesman(woman) that we've dealt with so far. I don't know where our wedding will be held, but I can certainly tell you where it will NOT be held: Russo's on the Bay.

So there we have it: Our top three choices are Marina Del Rey, The Inn at New Hyde Park and Sandcastle. Three EXTREMELY different places, all offering great packages. It all depends what kind of a "look" we're going for....beautiful and elegant by the water? Classy and sophisticated elegance at The Inn at New Hyde Park? Or just downright fun and showy (While still being classy) at SandCastle? (and with a honeymoon no less).

We have a lot of pro and con lists to make up. And, I think we need to visit each of these places again and hopefully with my parents when they come in 3 weeks to help us with the decision. Part of me doesn't want to sit on this for three weeks....but we are so busy the next two weekends we might just have to.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Inn at New Hyde Park


Last night we went to The Inn at New Hyde Park and boy was it BEAUTIFUL!! I was very surprised that Chris's parents liked it better than Marina Del Rey. Not because I didn't think it was better...but because I know how much they LOVE Marina Del Rey. Chris and I feel very torn. They're very different looks. The Inn at NHP is elegant beyond a doubt. Elegant, sophisticated, fancy, beautiful, everything about this place screams "classy". But, I guess I'm worried about it being a little "stuffy" I guess? And, if I had to say I had only one qualm, I think it would be the reception room. Yes, it was beautiful, but it felt a little "conference room" feeling to me, it was huge and I like when the dance floor is down the middle of the room with the bride and groom at one side and the band or DJ on the other. For instance, The North Ritz Club had one of the best ballrooms I think we've seen, long beautiful dance floor down the center of the room. But, that's me being nit-picky for the sake of being nit-picky. We have 3 more places to see this weekend so we'll see where we stand after that. I think we'll be done with our search then.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Successful weekend!

We had a very successful weekend looking at venues! On Saturday we started off by visiting The Swan Club. This place was beyond beautiful and it was everything I hoped it would be and more. It's like a beautiful Rose Garden with a lake, and had a very intimate setting for a cocktail hour/wedding. I loved the person we dealt with. He was an honest, sweet man who clearly had a passion and love for what he did. I couldn't have been happier with the place. Unfortunately, it was a little small for our size party. Even if we cut down our guest list down to the room's capacity...it would just be too crowded. It was a shame, we were all sad that it wouldn't work out because we all loved it. Plus, the price was amaaazingly lower than any other place we've seen. Oh well, maybe we'll have our 30th wedding anniversary there!
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Next we went to the North Ritz Club. I have to admit...I felt a little weird going there because the Yale student who was murdered was supposed to have her wedding there just last weekend. The place was really nice and they definitely had the best ballroom by far that we've visited. It was huge! The bar was gorgeous, a long wooden bar stretching across one side of the room. Only one wedding goes on there at a time and as a result, it was a bit pricey for everything. The woman we dealt with was nice (though she was ALL business and NO play) But, none of us left really feeling that was it. It really is true that you just know, and we just knew that wasn't it. However, the real clincher it wasn't "the one" was that their Saturday night cocktail hour STARTS at 7:30 and then the recpetion goes until 1am!! That was just too late, half our party would leave before it's over. Everywhere else we've been the cocktail hours start at 6/6:30 So, we will not be having our wedding at the North Ritz Club. We were hungry at that point so had a lovely lunch at Patsy's. Chris' parents really wanted us to see Marina del Rey in the Bronx because that's where they got married almost 30 years ago. I called the place in the car to see if we could schedule a last minute appointment and they could take us at 2! Boy, am I glad we went! I'm going to be completely honest here: I didn't think I would like this place. The website was "eh", I haven't heard a whole lot about it except from what I heard from his parents and well, it's in the BRONX. Or should I say "'Da Bronx". However, IT.WAS.NICE. They are located right along the water and have a beautiful view of the Whitestone and Throg's neck bridge. The place inside is gorgeous especially the ballroom (which unfortunately was set up with a make-shift wall when we were there so we couldn't really see it) They have a hospitality center for anyone who arrives early to our wedding. We'd have use of the outside patio for our whole reception and (weather permitting) could have our Venetian hour out there! the only thing I could possibly complain about was the space for cocktail hour. It was just a room, nothing special about it..but that gets made up for with the reception space. Needless to say, Chris and I were very impressed and this has undoubtedly moved up to the top of our list.
We have 4 places scheduled for this weekend: Garden City Hotel, Russo's on the Bay, Woodlands and Sandcastle. That will be the last of the main ones I wanted to see. I still have a list of 5 additional places I'm curious to visit however, I think Chris is eager for me to cut this list down so I'm going to have to start doing some eliminating.

Last Wednesday we went to an open house at Jericho Terrace. At the time, that was our favorite place but it is now in second place. It was extremely fancy and at first I was smitten with that. But, after thinking about it more...I was worried it was just "too much". Too much food, too much selection. It was all very overdone. However, they were willing to throw in a TON of extra stuff (martini bar, ice luge, espresso and coffee bar, venetian hour, etc.) which were pretty sweet deals. I don't have an eye for any of this, but Chris' parents also felt the main ballroom was too small and that we'd be crowded and I certainly trust their judgment on that. The linens and seat covers were also very white...it was just white everywhere. We're seeing The Inn at New Hyde Park tomorrow after work and I've heard that it's unbelievably gorgeous. I hope I don't get torn between two or even three places. I hope that we just know where it needs to be...but only time will tell! We've successfully knocked through 11 venues in the past 3 weeks! PHEW!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Hunt Continues!!

This past weekend we looked at our first two venues! It was very interesting actually going to the places and getting a real actual sense of what we want we like and what we don't like. We went to The Inn at Fox Hollow first. This place was really nice. I did not like the guy that took us around. He was the manager, or owner or something like that. I know he's a salesman and so he has to do his whole "salesmanly" thing, but I just didn't like how cocky he was. However, that aside the grounds there were really beautiful and even neater was the hotel attached to the facility. The hotels are all suites and it would be really convenient for any out of town guests.

We then went right down the street to Crest Hollow Country Club which we also really liked. There was a crazy wedding going on upstairs in one of the rooms so it was really busy in the lobby and we couldn't see 2 of the rooms that would be available. I liked the grounds, I liked what was offered as far as food. Crest Hollow would def. win for the day...but I didn't get that "this is the place" feeling at either one. That could be because I know in my head I have like 10 other places I want to see, so I just want to get out and see them all before getting set on anything too soon.

We cancelled our appt. at the Riviera at Massapequa for 2 reasons. 1) we heard from multiple sources that 200 would be really tight in their space. Seeing as how our guest list will be more than 200, we didn't want to risk it. I still want to go and see the place at some point but it's not priority right now. 2) We were kind of pooped on Monday from the long weekend and really all just needed a day of not running around.

I also have taken up making my own monograms!! Unfortunately, this blog doesn't seem to support the monograms I've made in word so I cant show them to you. but it's a lot of fun...I just worry about being able to pick "THE" one after I've experimented. I'm also trying to download special fonts online, but I can't figure out how it works and I'm getting frustrated.

This weekend we are going home for Mandy and Billy's engagement party. But, we'll be back to the venue search next Wednesday when we go to Jericho Terrace! More then.

Monday, August 31, 2009

My First Inspiration Board

Damask

Images from Allyson Magda Photography

Friday, August 28, 2009

Reception Search Begins!

Phew! I've officially dived into the Reception Site Hunt and let me tell you, looking for wedding venues is HARD WORK! I can't believe the hours I've put in just this week so that I can create a list of still 16 venues for Chris and me to look through and hope to narrow down to no more than 8. Lucky for me, it's been a slow week at the office, so I've been able to really hunker down on my search. I've learned a few things about looking for venues through this. Firstly, having a large range to search through (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Long Island, Queens, and even New Jersey) made my search extremely complicated. I can't BELIEVE how many venues there are in just these areas alone.

  • I've ruled out anything further than a half hour out past Chris's house on Long Island. This makes it just too far a drive for my parents coming from Pennsylvania and while there are some wonderful places on L.I., there just isn't a need to go out that far. I want my wedding to be accessible to all my guests, especially my immediate family.
  • Many venues have a capacity of 175...so having a bigger wedding than that kind of cuts down on the options for you.
  • I would prefer a place that only does one wedding at a time, but I suppose I could be swayed on that IF the place was spectacular enough.
  • A venue's website is SO important. The website is all I have to go on and is my first and foremost impression of a place. Some websites are fabulous. Jericho Terrace sticks out in my mind as having one of the best websites I saw, and it completely helped get it to the list. But then there are just some GOD AWFUL websites. This isn't the best example, but Verdi's could definitely do a better job with their website. There is no gallery, no pictures, nothing that draw me in...just a very vague website. If I ever run a reception hall, I will hire the best graphic designers out there to make the best possible website ever! Then, I'll be the best out there! [Update as of 1/18/10 Verdi's website has been completely redone and is MUCH better, so this is not a good example anymore. Maybe they read my blog and decided to make some proper changes!!!]
  • I've been relying very heavily on reviews for each location on either yahoo, yelp or message boards. These are both helpful and more confusing at the same time. One person says a venue is the best place ever, and another person says it's awful and would never recommend it to anyone. It's very mind boggling.
I'm sure, just like searching for college, you can't really know for yourself until you go out and actually see the places. I've narrowed my search and these are the ones we are going to look through together this weekend (Arranged in order by price):
  1. Renaissance of Astoria
  2. Riviera at Massapequa
  3. Crest Hollow Country Club
  4. Floral Terrace
  5. Verdi’s of Westbury/Whitestone
  6. The Metropolitan
  7. Jericho Terrace
  8. Terrace on the Park
  9. Sand Castle
  10. Marina Del Rey Caterers
  11. Bridgeview Yacht Club
  12. The Crescent Beach Club
  13. The Woodlands
  14. The Inn at New Hyde Park
  15. The Venetian-NJ
  16. Russo’s on the Bay
  17. Palm House in Brooklyn Botanical Garden
  18. Water’s Edge Restaurant
  19. Bridgewaters- “Mueseum Club”
I realize that is a list of 19..but really the last 3 are just for fun/way too expensive to actually really take seriously. But, should our budget magically expand and we win the mega-millions tonight, then one of those last 3 it is! PLUS I plan to go tour Oheka Castle, just because we can and it looks soooo beautiful! Really, there are 16 possible choices, so we just need to cut that list in half and start scheduling appointments and we're good to go!
Then I can finally move onto more fun things like wedding dress shopping and decorations to go with my color scheme....I can't wait to get to that part!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Newly Engaged!

In an effort to keep track of all things "wedding" for the next year and a half, I am creating this blog for both my personal reference and for family and friends. I am very excited to be getting married and don't want to forget a single moment of this really amazing time in my life. I also want to share my experience with all my family and friends as I go through the next year and a half leading up to my wedding. There will be good moments, there will be bad moments, but in the end it will all be for the day that Chris and I start our life together as husband and wife.

We are both basking in the newly engaged moment right now and don't plan to really delve into wedding planning until September. However, yesterday we did sit down and hash out a rough guest list. I've looked at reception places online, but I get so overwhelmed, I only just end up sending myself websites of places to check out. I like a lot of them, how do you decide which 6 or so to narrow it down to and look at?!

So that's all...I'm also trying to register onto every wedding website there is! Theknot.com, weddingsolutions.com, etc. etc. I'm a little internet happy...must be love!
 
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