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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Transportation

I can now officially say that our limos are booked! After about 3 ridiculously long weeks of trying to get the contract correct, I finally sent off the signed and completed contract in the mail yesterday. Seriously: we were faxed a contract...it was illegible, I faxed a new, cleaner contract back....and never got a response. I called, he called, we played phone tag, we talked, he hand wrote and mailed a copy to me, I finally signed and mailed it back. Why oh why did that take so long??? However, I have to say that it ended up working out in our favor that nothing was signed right away.  After talking to my photographer last week, we ended up deciding not to go to the Clark Botanical Garden in between the church and the wedding for photos. It was way too rushed and had way too much potential for disaster. So, in taking that out we were able to knock the price down even more than originally decided upon so in retrospect, the fact that it took us 3 weeks to do this, kind of worked out for the better. Everything happens for a reason right?

We booked 3 cars with Royalty Limos. I'm fine with booking through Royalty, but I have to say I had a bit of a panicked moment three weeks ago when we went to meet with Camelot Limos and they were completely booked for our wedding day. As in...almost every single limo on their lot was already booked and all their antique cars were booked. For May 21, 2011!! Seriously?? I feel like I'm so on top of things and then there's 20 more brides out there more on top of things than me!! Camelot really comes highly recommended and it's clear that they certainly dominate the limo scene on Long Island. However, we had gotten a pretty fair quote already from Royalty Limo, and they are literally right next door to The Sandcastle, so I am perfectly fine to book with them. (Even though their website intro gives me a slight seizure. Check it out here.)

We booked a '29 Rolls Royce for me and Chris after the ceremony. I liked that this was black and white, and thought it looked different from most other antique cars I've seen. This will literally pick us up after the ceremony and drive us to The Sand Castle, but we'll include it in a few of our pictures. I have to say, there is a part of me that really wants to ride in the limo with all our friends after the ceremony. I mean...that's where the fun will be right? However, I know that this will literally be the only time that day that Chris and I will have just to ourselves. Right after we're married, we will have this 15 minute drive to toast with some champagne and allow ourselves to be in the moment, with just the two of us (and some random driver we've never met, haha), and I know that in the end, that will be a moment that I'll have to look back on and always remember. I have all night to party with my friends...but I'll never get that moment right after I'm married back, and I'm really excited for that.

We have a limo for our parents and other immediate family members. And a 14 passenger Lincoln Limo for our bridal party:
Unfortunately, we could not work logistics out to include all of our bridal party's significant others as I had hoped. There were too many factors to consider with that: What would they do while we take pictures? What would they do while we're getting ready at the house? Would the boyfriends/husbands/fiances of the girls be with the groomsmen or the bridesmaids as they're getting ready? What will they do? Etc. Etc., there were too many "what's?" and so we had to just put that idea to rest. Please know that we tried...

So because of booking the limos, I finally have an outline of the day. Here's how our day will work.
2:00 pm- Limo picks Chris, groomsmen, and his parents up at his parent's house  and takes them to the church.
2:30 pm- Limo swings back and picks up me, my bridesmaids, and parents at my house and takes us to church.
3:00 pm- Ceremony begins
4:30 pm- Leave church in limos after taking pictures and head to The Sand Castle
5:00 pm- Arrive at Sand Castle- take additional pictures
6:00 pm- Join Cocktail hour
I feel much better about this time-line without the botanical garden in it. I think there were some fantastic photo opportunities there, but it really isn't needed. Sand Castle has a great garden, and between there and the church, we will have plenty of places to take photos. Add one more thing done to the good old checklist.


Also: WE ARE ORDERING OUR SAVE THE DATES TODAY!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Playing Catch-up

Hello! Well, as you've noticed, "Saying 'I do'" has undergone a makeover! I decided to graduate to the "big kid"designs that Blogger now offers and not live in the dark ages anymore!

Secondly with 4 days left of the month, I had already hit my 1000th visit for the month of September which is more than I've ever had! It's not the thousands that some blogs get in a day, but it's certainly a far cry from the 1 visit a month I had when I first started...and that was my mom!
http://my-bits-n-pieces.blogspot.com/2009/04/how-i-increased-traffic-to-my-blog.html

Also, Friday night Chris and I went out to dinner with Mike and Kerry. We went to City Cafe which had been suggested to us as a good rehearsal dinner space since it's so close to our hotel. This place was very nice. It had a great bar, good food, and live entertainment starting at 9. They actually had one of the wedding bands playing that Chris and I had looked at back in February called East Coast. The bar and dance floor were packed. But, I have to say...I felt like I was in an episode of what should be entitled Jersey Shore: Long Island Edition....for old people.  It was quite an eccentric crowd, let me tell you. I'll call City Cafe and get their pricing on dinner for a group, it was a nice space and could be fun. But, I don't have my heart set on this place, and think we can arrange something better. However, the real point of this story is that during dinner Kerry asked me to be a bridesmaid in their wedding next September 24th! I was so surprised and excited that I was asked to join their wedding party. It's going to be such a fantastic and special time, and I can't wait to be a part of their day! I am going to order my bridesmaid dress at the new J. Crew Bridal Boutique on Madison Avenue either this week or next week. I've been wanting to check this place out since it opened, so I'm happy to have the excuse to go there.

I suddenly understand why blogs like Weddingbee.com don't let you blog for them until your 8 months out from your wedding. It's like September came, and all of a sudden all I can think about is wedding, wedding, wedding. All of a sudden everything I've researched, every idea I had, everything I haven't booked, now suddenly needs to be called to action. I normally handle pressure fine but for whatever reason, last week was just an awful mess of stress, being overly tired, and not being able to shut my brain off. It all came to a head last Wednesday night as I had an absolute breakdown. Just as I was putting the final sentence on my post about the Long Island Bridal Extravaganza...something happened and the entire post was deleted. I panicked....and X'd out of the screen hoping I did that before the automatic save that blogspot does, which is "usually" so helpful. Well, it saved, and the entire post was gone, and it was 11:00 at night. So no surprise, I cried, but I sat down and rewrote the whole thing...not as good as the first, but the same general idea. As I finished the post, I stood up and got my foot caught in the lanyard attached to my USB pen drive which was in the computer, and completely broke it in two. Everything I have ever planned with the wedding is on that USB pen drive. All the engagement pics I edited...is on that pen drive. My LIFE is on that pen drive. I change and add stuff to it every day and hadn't backed it up in quite some time. Stupid? Yes. It was a lesson learned. So....I cried.  LUCKILY, it was salvagable and nothing was lost. I saved the information to our computer, but the pen drive is pretty broken and should not be trusted for future use.

In moving my plans into action this month, I really slacked on all the blogs I normally read. Not to mention, I feel like I add a new blog to read to my google reader every week, which truly gets overwhelming but I love them all! Well last week I did some catching up, and boy did I find some amazing stuff, and boy will I try to stay on top of these. There truly is some amazing stuff out there on these blogs if you just allow yourself time to read through  the posts!

First of all, I decided that I am going to invite the Obama's to our wedding!! Apparently, lots of people send their wedding invites to the White House, and the White House sends you a regrets letter wishing you the best of luck. Gwen at Gwenniepie.com, got her decline letter from them last week, and after reading the comments, I could see that lots of people do that! How cool is that?? It's certainly a little piece of history to hold onto to look back on one day. Of course, it would be cooler if they actually came, but the logistics of having extra security at the wedding would stress me out too much. ;)

I watched two videos that were amazing. Firstly this one. It's long, but it's beautiful and just like a movie!(I forget which blog I found this on!)

Aimee & Troy's Arthouse Short from Elysium Productions on Vimeo.


Then I found this proposal video:
Wedding Videography: Graffiti Wedding Proposal Video!

This week we have an event at the Sand Castle which I'm sooo excited about, our 6 YEAR ANNIVERSARY! (we have BIG plans..to be revealed later this week), our Save the Dates are being ordered, we officially booked our limos AND my parents are visiting to help with some wedding plans and to watch me run the DIVA Half Marathon on Sunday!! Unfortunately, work has been nutso this week, hence the delay in this post. But there is lots happening and lots to report on this week!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Long Island Bridal Extravaganza

On Monday night, I went to the Long Island Bridal Extravaganza with Kerry. It was so. much. fun!! Kerry picked me up at the Huntington station on the LIRR after work and after picking up "dinner" at 7/11 (protein bar and grapes), we drove to the Hilton Long Island.

We walked in, registered, got our blinking light Bridal Extravaganza necklace, and a tote-bag for putting all our stuff in, and made our way over to the vendor booths. We were hardly in the expo when we were stopped by Stefan, who works at Elsa jewelry. We were cornered stopped by Stefan to talk about the individually molded wedding bands they make for their couples, how they make the bands, what band would look good with my ring, what band would look good with Kerry's band, how they work with the grooms, how they mold the rings, etc. etc.... Just when I thought we could escape, he asked if he could draw sketches of our rings on our contact information sheets. Oy...really Stefan? Really? Well, before we knew it, he was sketching our rings.
I expected this really nice sketched portrait of my ring, but instead it looked like a two year old drawing of a ring. I guess he needed it to remember our rings when he speaks to us again. Sigh, he was annoying and cute all at the same time. 
Notice the artist at work...
As we headed on, I actually met up with a lot of people I've already met along the way in my planning. I talked to Allen at Deja Vu studios which was great because I had been meaning to call him! I had to ask him about the time line of our wedding day. I knew in the back of my mind that it was rushed...but I just kept telling myself "no, it'll be fine". But, I needed to hear from someone else that my concerns were valid. Well, Allen did just that. As a result, we've had to revamp some plans for the day which I'll go into later next week.

I also ran into Joe from Camelot limos. We had met with him two weeks ago, but ended up going with another limo company (again, more on that later).  However, Joe has been extremely helpful to us in our limo search and I'm so sad that we weren't able to work with him, he's a great guy. Finally, I met the makeup artist, Stacy, that I had been emailing for the past week to try and set up a makeup trial. It was nice to put a face to the name, get to know her, and talk to her about setting up the trial.

As we made our way over to the band and dj showcase, we sampled some awesome chocolate truffles that were there as possible wedding favor options.

We didn't stay very long for the band showcase because it was getting late, I have my band picked, and she pretty much knows which dj she's going to use. All in all it was a successful night, full of girly wedding fun with good company and I'm so glad Kerry and I went!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ashley and Jeff's Wedding

This past weekend was Ashley and Jeff's wedding at Glen Foerd Mansion in Philadelphia, PA. The entire wedding was just beautiful from start to finish and I am so happy Chris and I were able to celebrate with them and so many of our friends on Ashley and Jeff's special day. Chris, Matt, and I arrived at the Radisson hotel at around 3:00pm. We didn't have to leave for the wedding until 6:00, but we had plans to get there early and catch up with some other friends who were at the hotel. We went to the hotel restaurant, the Atrium Bistro Cafe, for lunch and had a lovely time catching up with the newlyweds, Christina and Kenny, who had just arrived back from their honeymoon in St. Lucia! We went back upstairs and freshened up just in time to catch the 6:00 bus taking us from the hotel to the Mansion. Half an hour later, we pulled up to the gorgeous entrance, which was also right along the water!
Chris and me arriving at the wedding

When we entered the building, we walked around a bit taking in all the wonderful, personal touches Ashley had added to the place. We signed her guestbook she made at blurb.com.
Smith signing the guestbook
We ventured downstairs to the wine cellar:

Left our card in her birdcage card holder:
Stole a look at the main dining room all set up for dinner:
Sweetheart table
And finally made our way outside for the sunset ceremony right along the water. We were greeted by the lovely faces of Ben and Kyle who were handing out programs and bubbles to all the guests.
Smith and Ben!
So gooofy! "Bubbles??"
We took our seats. Remember these lovely fan programs that I had helped Ashley cut at her apartment? They came out wonderfully!
Fan program
 The Wagner Gang!
The ceremony began. The families, bridal party, and Ashley with her father, walked down the aisle to the sounds of a live classical guitarist.

After the beautifully touching ceremony, we headed inside for cocktail hour. We were served passed hors d'oeuvres of spring rolls, beef carpaccio and bri on a crostini, tuna tartar, and fried pumpkin ravioli with a butternut squash dipping sauce (oh my heaven). The big crowd pleaser was the tomato herb soup with miniature grilled cheese dipper! How cute is this??
soo cute, sooo good!


Me and Matty!
The bridal party and Bride and groom were announced, and Ashley and Jeff shared their first dance to Nat King Cole's "When I Fall in Love"
This is one of my favorites from the night.
We were then escorted into the dining area where we were treated to beautiful speeches from Ashley's dad, Jeff's best man, and Ashley's maid of honor/sister, (to which I balled during her toast). Then it was time for food! After our salads, I was served a salmon filet with lump crab meat, mashed sweet potatoes and green beans. YUM! the steak was a huge hit as well, everyone at my table was raving about it.

After dinner it was time to dance. The dance floor was in a different wing of the mansion and was a real cool stone floor surrounded by tables for dessert.

Beautiful candles on the tables:




I kid you not, Ashley made this cake topper. I think she made it using something called paper clay, or something like that? She got it at a craft store and molded it to make cartoon figurines of both her and Jeff. Seriously amazing.












Ashley danced with her dad, and jeff danced with his mom. Then, what wedding would be complete without the cake cutting?

And then it was time to get our groove on:


Some good old air guitar!

Before we knew it, it was time to leave. We were having so much fun, we had no idea how late it had gotten! We waited outside for the bus to take us back to the hotel, and then hung out some more at the Atrium Bar in the hotel lobby once we got back. By 3am, I was exhausted:
We closed out the weekend on Sunday morning with brunch at Cracker Barrel, which has become a bit of a tradition with weddings. (Well, we went there two years ago after Erin and Derek's wedding), but it's tradition! I had a glass of my first apple cider of the season (Yay!!), a good country style breakfast, and great catch-up time with good friends.
Kyle's taking the picture...he was there too. Sorry Kyle!
Ashley and Jeff are now off gallivanting in Egypt and Italy for the next two weeks! I can't wait to hear all about their trip and talk about the wedding when she comes back. Per usual, here is the animoto slideshow of the whole wedding. Again, this should be entitled "Laura's experience at Ashley and Jeff's wedding" because it's me and all my friends.  Congrats Ashley and Jeff and enjoy!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Wedding gifts

As usual, I need a day or two to put together the recap from Ashley and Jeff's wedding. We had a fantastic time and I can't wait to write about it. But now that both Ashley and Christina's weddings are over, I can finally post pictures of the ornaments I included with their wedding gift!


Even though Christmas is a few months away, and even though I'm sure they'll get something like this from their parents or other friends this holiday season, I thought it would be cute for them to have something right away when they decorate for Christmas. I ordered these through Calliope Designs. She can personalize any of her many ornaments. My mom got Chris and me one of these last Christmas for our engagement, and she got one for my sister for her "first Christmas in her new home". I think they're so adorable, and couldn't wait to order these for the couples.

Tonight I'm going to the Long Island Bridal Extravaganza with Kerry! I'm hoping it will be very helpful in giving me some more ideas. Recap on that and the wedding this weekend coming soon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ashley and Jeff's wedding has arrived!


As our month of weddings draws to an end, tomorrow we are off to Ashley and Jeff's wedding at Glen Foerd Mansion in Philadelphia, PA. After nearly 2 years of planning, Ashley has done a lot of great thing that I can't wait to see. You may remember the D-I-Y wedding crafts and wine night that we held a few weeks ago. Or perhaps her Bridal Shower, and let's not forget her wedding invitations. We are so excited and happy to celebrate with Ashley and Jeff and I can't wait to update you on the wedding next week!!

I'd also like to wish Miss Christina T. a happy Bridal Shower/Bachelorette extravaganza weekend in Atlantic City! I'm sooooo sad I can't be there to celebrate in style with you and the ladies but I will be thinking about you and can't wait to hear all about it next week! One month to go until your wedding!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Engagement Pictures (Round 2)

Even though we booked the limos we want last week, I'm stillll waiting for our limo company to fax us back a clearer, and legible contract before anything is officially signed. We have the cars we want, they are ours...I just can't post with a clear conscience until the contract is fully and completely signed and filed away for fear of jinxing it. So, though I have a post on the limos we chose completely ready to go, it will have to wait for tomorrow or next week.

In an effort to post at least twice a week, I now give you "Engagement Pictures Round 2." I know, I know...more pictures?? Please understand this is not in an effort to show off more pictures of...welll...us (only sort of, maybe..no...). There simply are a ton more pictures that I didn't like at first, but have been obsessively editing and playing around with on picnik.com, and I like them soooo much better now.

Firstly, picnik.com is awesome.
Image representing Picnik as depicted in Crunc...Image via CrunchBase

It's very simple to use, and you can do whatever you want to with the file: upload it to twitter, facebook, your picasa web albums, google buzz, or save directly to your computer. I highly recommend this website if you ever have to do any photo editing, or just want to make a picture black and white, sepia or other colors. You can pay to use all the features they offer, but I use what's available for free and it's definitely more than enough for what I need to do. Picnik has so many options to play around with for photo editing. Some of the options are really weird and goofy and I would never actually use. I found myself setting up most my pictures kind of the same way after awhile...a vintage 1960's look. I plan on including a lot of these edited photos into our guest book that I am making through blurb.com. A lot of these are duplicate pictures from my first engagement picture post if you want to click there to see how I edited them to look different.










 


That's it! I promise I won't make you look at 54,000 pictures of Chris and me again UNTIL AFTER the wedding!!
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