Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Engagement Party!

You all thought I forgot about this little old blog didn't you?? Really, a ton of stuff has been going on lately and I've been taking a mini breather from wedding planning for the time being. However, we are now officially under 400 days till our wedding, and in just a few short weeks, we will be at the 1 year mark!! 1 year!! It's hard to believe I've been engaged for 9 months already!

This past weekend, Chris's parents threw us an engagement party for their friends and family. Chris's mom did an amazing job of preparing everything, and everyone there seemed to have a really great time! I was happy to have my parents meet Chris's extended family plus their very close friends who I have also become close with over the years. There are a lot of pictures that are still coming in to me each day that other people have taken, but here are some highlights. If I get a lot more, maybe I'll do a post called "Engagement Party Part 2".
Me and the parents!
It was a gorgeous day on Saturday, and perfect weather for a party! We had a tent set up in the backyard, which was good so the sun wasn't beating down on us too hard. I ate!! For appetizers there was tomato and mozzarella, hummus, taco dip, cheese and crackers, and blue crab dip. Then for a buffet style dinner we had penne a la vodka, pork rollatini, balsamic chicken, eggplant parmesan, peas and onions, goulash, breaded broccoli, and I'm sure tons of other options that I'm forgetting right now! For my favorite part, dessert, we had cake:
Plus great chocolate cookies my mom made, Chris's mom's famous Crescent cookies, rugelah, a chocolate/cool-whip trifle that their neighbor made, sesame cookies, coffee, and tea. I didn't know that Chris and I would be put on the spot to cut the cake! I suppose it was a nice practice for the actual thing next year. We didn't feed it to each other though...I think I would have died from embarrassment. Best to save that particular tradition for the wedding.
Our first try at cutting the cake! I'll have to tell Chris not to block me so much next year!

It was a good thing Chris's parents got the tent for their backyard because it did end up getting cold and windy at night and it started to rain around midnight. The last of their guests left around 2:30ish and Chris and I hung out with our fellow engaged friends Mike and Kerry, having a great time and opening gifts, until we all passed out around 3:30!!

Needless to say, I did not run my half marathon
on Sunday morning for a lot of reasons all rolled together; Sleep deprivation, rain, and the desire to go to PA for the day to visit my grandmother who hasn't been doing so well. But you know what? You only (hopefully) get one engagement party in your lifetime (unless you're lucky and get 2! More to come in June!) and there will be plenty more half-marathons in my future. I trained really hard for the last 3 months..and it was not (naught?) for nothing. It kept me fit and working out, even through the dead of winter when it's so hard to get motivated. I feel like I could easily (ha) go run 13 miles on my own if I really want to, (not that I really do). Maybe I'll try and find a half marathon for sometime in May to June just so I can prove to myself that I trained hard and am getting better.

So that was engagement party #1. I can't thank Chris's parents enough for such a wonderful day, with good food, friends and family; Chris and I are very lucky! We have one more party in Pennsylvania coming up in June that is for our Bridal Party and any respective significant others and I'm so excited for that one as well! It will be a great chance for both Chris's groomsmen and my bridesmaids to all get to know each other if they don't already.

Lastly, Chris's cousin put together a really nice video montage of our day on Saturday. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

"I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Demille"

I'm still waiting to hear back from Allen at Déjà Vu Studios about our engagement shoot. I'm going to call him tonight to demand ask that we set up a date because I need to make sure I can get off work for it since it will need to be during the week. Chris and I will be getting our pictures done at Wagner College and I'm soooo excited.

I think Wagner's Campus is truly beautiful and will be the perfect backdrop for our pictures for scenery and very appropriate since it is, after all, where we met!
Many a day and night were spent hanging out on the oval in front of Main Hall:

 This is the view from Wagner's parking lot!

I've also researched some places to go get our pictures taken in-between the ceremony and reception on our wedding day. The church we are getting married at isn't the most scenic of places and while Sandcastle has a nice garden in the back, I would like to have some more options as far as pictures go. There is the Garden City Gazebo, but it's sort of just a gazebo, and if another bride gets there first....she wins.
Many of the photographers we visited suggested Old Westbury Gardens. This place is really beautiful and they have a ton of different locations to get pictures taken, including inside and outside an old mansion that is on the premises!!

You have to book the specific locations you want to take pictures in advance and there are all sorts of restrictions, paperwork and even a small fee involved, but I do think it will be worth it. I'm hoping to go check this place out soon with Chris, because this would be somewhere I'd want to go spend a sunny Spring afternoon anyway!

Anyway, I will be kind of neglecting this blog for the next week and a half as I gear up for the More Half Marathon on April 25th. I'm getting real close to race day and my entries on my running blog, Running to Nowhere have kind of taken precedence for the time being. I'm so excited and ready for race day!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Meet My Bridal party!!

Now that the venue, wedding dress, band, photographer and bridesmaid dresses are picked, and we're almost at the year mark for our wedding, I think it's time to officially introduce my bridal party to the world in a special feature called:

"Meet My Bridal Party!!"

MELISSA- Maid of Honor:
Melissa is my dear 21 year old sister, who lives IN HER OWN HOUSE in Pennsylvania with her 2 rescued cats, Penguin (see left) and Puma, 2 guinea pigs, Jane and Kora, a silky terrier named Geno, oh, and she has a horse, too! She is a Physical Therapist Assistant at Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital. Though I don't get to see sister, (as I call her) as often as I'd like, we are very close and I feel very lucky to have her in my life. With our countless "ur mom" and "that's what she said" jokes, I can pretty much guarantee that I'll be in hysterics when hanging out with her. I am so excited that she is my maid of honor, and can share this exciting time in my life with her!

Cassie and I met through doing our Junior High School plays, and ultimately our friendship grew while we were at our summer theater camp, Stage Door Workshop. Even though Cassie was a year older than me in school, we remained in touch all through college and still today. I don't get to see Cassie nearly as much as I'd like. Of all my bridesmaids she is physically the farthest away from me. But I always enjoy catching up with Cassie and I know that even though we don't get to see each other as much, no matter what, we will always be there for each other, and that's something that is very important to me. Cassie lives with her husband in Silver Spring, Maryland and is a teacher at Excel Academy Public Charter School in South East DC.

Mallory has the distinct honor of knowing me longer than any other member of my bridal party...including my own sister! As a fellow Schnecksvillian, Mal and I have known each other since we were about 2 years old and have attended pre-school, elementary school, Jr. high, and high school together! Like most of my bridesmaids, our friendship grew stronger through doing the school plays together in High School. She's stolen lovers from me (A Midsummer Night's Dream), been a fellow Pink Lady (Grease), set me up with a husband (Fiddler on the Roof), put a spell on my husband so I'd never have children (Into the Woods), as well as countless other equally ridiculous scenarios. Mal and I also lived together for a summer in Little Italy and needless to say..we've been through a lot together! Mal is currently living in Hoboken, and plans to start Law school in Fall 2010. I'm very blessed to have had Mal as a friend for as many years as I've had, and am so happy to have her as one of my bridesmaids.

Like Cassie, Mandy and I became friends in Junior High through doing the school plays together. We further became closer through Stage Door Workshop, our summer theater camp and have been very close friends ever since! Mandy works in Affiliate Relations at ABC where her VERY soon to be husband also works in Rights and Clearances! Our friendship has grown even stronger through the past two years since we work across the street from each other in Manhattan, take lunch together almost every day, see each other often on weekends and have been able to share wedding planning highs and lows with each other! Mandy is a reliable, dedicated friend who is always willing to listen when I need to vent and I am so blessed to have her in my life.

Molly was assigned to me as my Freshman Link student my sophomore year of college. I was there to answer any questions she may have about Wagner and help her feel welcome to the college. As it turns out...we lived about 20 minutes away from each other in Pennsylvania, went to neighboring High Schools and knew a lot of the same people! Through that a great friendship was born. Even though I was the one initially assigned to her to be the "older, wiser one", Molly has given me incredible words of wisdom and advice through the years that has helped me tremendously. We lived together for  8 months in Astoria last year where we watched lots of bad reality TV (Housewives of New Jersey), ate entirely too much home-baked goodies (well..I did anyway) and spent countless nights leafing through dozens of wedding magazines. Now, Molly is back in PA earning her Masters in Library Science at Kutztown University. Molly is a warm, kind person and has always been a constant source of support, love and guidance for me.

So there are my 5 beautiful and wonderful Bridesmaids!! I love each and every one of them and can't wait till the festivities begin and we are all in one place at one time.

However, I have one more person to add and would be remiss to leave out an important member of our wedding day:

Though Ben is not a "Bridesmaid" for obvious reasons, we still consider him an esteemed member of our Bridal Party. Chris and I haven't figured out the logistics of our ceremony yet, but we are going to make sure that there is a reading or two that Ben will deliver during our wedding. He currently works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital and lives in Manhattan. Ben is truly one of my closest friends and I can't imagine him not being a part of my big day. I first met Ben during Choir Camp my freshman year of college, and we have been friends ever since. We Spring Break'd together every single year of college, first with various Choir Tours, and then the Senior Cruise our last year. Senior year, we were the President and Vice President of Choir. After college we shared our very first "big kid" apartment together in Astoria from August '07 to May '09. The long and short of it: We've had some damn good times. We've been there for each other through it all and I cannot imagine the last 7 years of my life, or my wedding, without him.

Maybe I can get Chris to write something about his handsome groomsmen...though, I'm not holding my breath. However, they are: 
Michael, Mike, James, Chris, and Matt. Lots of M names!!

If I had to put our bridal party into a mathematical equation it would be:

 I just love a good math joke!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses!

I can't believe it, but I found my bridesmaid dresses! They are Bill Levkoff, strapless (though anyone can add straps or a halter if they prefer) and are clover with a black band under the bust:

I think these with some cream flower bouquets, (or maybe some white calla lilies?) will really look pretty and I'm sooooo excited about them! I was completely amazed at how easy this whole process was. Molly came over to my house around 1:30 on Saturday and we had some good, quality Laura & Molly catching up time. Melissa came over around 2:00, grabbed some food and then we hit the road with my mom and headed to Bridals by Sandra, where I am getting my wedding dress.

When we got there, we looked through their selection and pulled a ton of dresses that we were interested in. The woman that helped us, Jackie, was extremely helpful and attentive. She put all our dress selections in a dressing room as we pulled them. Once we had a ton of dresses set aside, we went back to the dressing room where Molly and Melissa tried on one dress after another. We narrowed it down to three dresses we liked: a grecian style dress with really neat knotted straps and knotted band under the bust, and a plain V-neck dress with straps that came down and knotted under the bust. All three of us kept coming back to this Bill Levkoff dress. It fit them the best, it looked great on, and to top it all off when Jackie brought us the color swatches for each of the three dresses...the green options in the other two dresses just weren't exactly what I was looking for.

I cannot believe how easy that was and also how confident I am in these dresses for my bridesmaids. Somehow this turned into the easiest part of the process so far! I expected to go out at least 2 more times after this. (Dare I say I'm bummed I won't have more research or entries on the great bridesmaid dress shopping hunt?!) As we left, Molly mentioned that she had hoped she could get to see my wedding gown while she was there. My mom went back to the dressing room to find Jackie and asked her to bring out my dress so I could show Molly. She brought it out and then she said "do you want to put it on?" OF COURSE!! So we shuffled back into the dressing room where I got to model my gown for Molly. It was so exciting putting the dress back on again, I'm just eager to see how it will fit me when I actually have it fitted correctly to me.

To round our out day, we went back home, picked up my dad and headed out to dinner at Bellissimos Italian Restaurant in Allentown. It was an exciting day full of family bonding, Molly/Melissa/Laura bonding, great food, pretty dresses and another check mark added to my checklist!

Reception Hall: Check
Church for ceremony: Check
Wedding Dress: Check
Photographer: Check
Wedding Band: Check
Bridesmaid Dresses: Check

What do I do now?!?!

Wedding Pic of the cute!!:

Friday, April 2, 2010

Bridesmaid Dresses

Happy Easter and Happy Spring! It's warm, sunny and I couldn't feel better! (I'd say my SADD has finally lifted!) Tomorrow I start my first day of bridesmaid dress shopping!! I will be accompanied by my mom, Sister Melissa, Molly and possibly Mal.
(Stay tuned next week for a special "Meet My Bridal Party" Feature!)

I want to bring some pictures of dresses I like to the appointment and I'm really hoping they have a good selection. My wedding colors are cream, black and green. But, I just don't know what color green to go with...there are so many different hues and colors of green, it's amazing!!

I looked a while ago on, and found some nice colors and color combinations that I really liked. The greens that I liked were Shamrock, Clover and Evergreen, though I think I like shamrock the best. I like the idea of having a two color dress, either green with a hint of black or a hint of white, and I found a lot of options with colors in the After Six collection I found online, though I'm not sure how common these dresses are, or how expensive.
I sent a few pictures to my sister. This one was her favorite:

Here are some others I like:

this is the Clover color:

This is Evergreen color:
What do you think? Do you think the green and black combo is nice? Which dress is your favorite?
I'll let you know how tomorrow goes.