A Marvelous Moxie Marriage: We Went to Philly, and There was Weather

Let’s start at the beginning, yes?

Bob the Builder and I arrived in Philadelphia around dinnertime on the Tuesday night before the wedding. Don’t worry, I’ll do the math for you: We had 3 days and 7 hours (give or take) to get everything ready for The Big Day.

I had been checking the weather like it was my full time job so I knew that the forecast was calling for rain. All week. Seven days of rain.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.05.00 AM

Most normal people would just grab a raincoat and umbrella and go along their merry way. But we live in Los Angeles. I’ve lived here for twelve years, and I have become weak and soft. We Angelenos do not like Weather. We aren’t used to it. Every single time it rains, the whole city freaks out. Every time. It really only rains maybe five times a year, so…

/

I mean, I packed my ugly blue raincoat that I only ever wear to work. But I didn’t pack my galoshes, because suitcase room was at a premium, and also I thought it might be a jinx. If I had the galoshes, I would absolutely need to use them. Right?

I know I’m crazy. Don’t even start with me. I’m an Italian girl with naturally curly hair that I wear straight. Moisture is my nemesis.

Also, since our wedding venue was literally down the block from our hotels (a 2 minute walk), we had not arranged for transportation of any kind for our guests or family or wedding party. So, rain was not invited to our wedding.

Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.

On Wednesday, we woke up bright and early to a pretty steady rainfall, bundled up in our raincoats, and went over to City Hall to get our marriage license. Philadelphia has a 72 hour “waiting period” for their marriage licenses, so the absolute latest we could apply to be married on Saturday was…Wednesday morning. We like to live on the edge!

personal photos

personal photos

For some reason, the marriage license department is actually called “Orphan’s Court”, and I still haven’t done the research to figure out why, despite my curiosity. The second (blurry!) photo is of the sign that basically says “ABSOLUTELY NO PHOTOS PAST THIS POINT”, but then they put hearts all over the door to soften the tone of the note? And the third is us – jet lagged, rained on, and in need of caffeine – but totally excited and legal to get hitched! Well, in three days time…

We spent the rest of the day running errands and dropping off All The Stuff to our wedding venue and florist. We had about…13 boxes to distribute around Philly.

Destination weddings require a lot of stuff. No joke.

Let me just take a minute here to say this: When you’re planning a wedding, everyone talks about your Day-Of-Timeline. That is, the order of events for the wedding day. Here’s my two cents: Also make yourself a Week-Of-Wedding-Timeline. You will need it. As the week went on, the days started feeling shorter and shorter, and my memory got worse and worse. Write everything down! EVERYTHING. (I will elaborate more on this as I recap. I have a very good reason for mentioning this.)

Here’s (an early draft of) our week-of-timeline:

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 12.27.41 AM

It might look comprehensive, but there are a few essential things I forgot. More on this later, as it actually deserves it’s own post.

Since Bob the Builder and I had not managed to both be in Philly at the same time in the year before the wedding, we never took engagement photos with our photogs, Marisa & John from Redfield Photography. Aside from wanting great photos of the two of us, I really wanted to spend some time with Marisa & John before the wedding, so we (ok, me!) would be more relaxed. We set up a time on Thursday afternoon to go down to the Italian Market and snap some photos. BUT. The Italian Market is outdoors, and it was pouring raining. We changed our course and decided to just take photos at our hotel, the very swanky (and extremely stylish!) Hotel Monaco. I was excited about the indoor location because HAIR (duh).

When Marisa & John arrived, they showed us a super cool app called Dark Sky, that tells you the exact time it’s supposed to rain. A genius tool for wedding photographers and, well, everyone who doesn’t live in Los Angeles. Based on the app, they estimated that we had a 30 minute reprise from the rainfall. Not enough time to make it to the Italian Market, but enough time to walk around Independence Hall and see what we could get. So, despite knowing I would end up with frizzy, gross hair, I agreed to go outside. I mean, I’m not a Bridezilla. I’M NOT! I am so calm and easy-going, you guys! SO CALM!

We laughed a lot, got some cool photos, and during the photo shoot, I remembered something…I’m super self-concious having my photo taken. Oh yeah, I forgot about that a little. Thank God Bob the Builder kept me laughing. And I (kind of) didn’t think about my hair, too much.

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Despite my awkwardness, I am SO glad we took these photos. For one, we got to get to know Marisa & John (and they are rad!), and also (we didn’t know it then) but it was one of the only times Bob the Builder and I would really be alone until after the wedding. I mean, we were alone with our photographers there, but still…that’s more alone than we would be for the rest of the week.

Later Thursday night, Bob the Builder went to his bachelor party, where this happened:

Grooms cake, homemade by the Best Man, Philip! personal photo

Grooms cake, homemade by the Best Man, Philip!
personal photo

And I went to dinner with Moxie Dad and StepMom Moxie, and then I took a bath. Look at this BATHROOM:

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 1.02.06 AM

Photo from www.uwishunu.com

And that’s where I stayed for most of the evening. Did I have other things to do? Um, HELL YES. Did I ever get to them? Well…we shall get to that discussion in due time. Do I regret it? Nope. Best thing I did all week was unplug my phone and power down for a few hours. I highly recommend it.

I didn’t know it then, but Thursday night was the calm before the storm. Once we woke on Friday, we were on an express train; Destination: Wedding. Friday morning through Sunday afternoon passed by as though it was a blink of my eye.

Did anyone else wait until the week of their wedding to take engagement photos? No? Just us? Anyone else battle with the rain on their wedding? Let me hear you, in the comments!

Next time: Sleepless in Philadelphia, and the Fastest Friday EVER!

Guest Post: Thoughts from the Father of the Bride

Moxie Dad! Photo by Redfield Photography

Moxie Dad!
Photo by Redfield Photography

Moxie Dad here blog followers… I asked Moxie if she minded posting this reflection on the wedding from a Dad’s point of view in the hopes that as you plan your own special day you will be aware of the significance that the festivities hold for those who love you the most.

Many people had asked me prior to the big day, “What is it going to feel like giving away your daughter…” which felt to me like some ancient custom from a long lost civilization. This certainly didn’t apply to Moxie and me; our relationship was different, more modern, and more self-aware.  Well-intentioned people seemed to be preparing me for some great loss and as they spoke to me I noticed that their comments went in two directions:

a) Like I was losing my daughter rather than gaining a son in law

b) Like I had giving away something here rather than acknowledging that it was she that gave her love to Bob the Builder.

Notice that the emphasis was on a perceived loss of some kind.  So, I was telling people when they asked that question, “I love my daughter very much and she was never mine to give away.” Moxie was always a straight up, self assured, beautiful person with a strong sense of who she is. (You can’t take someone like that, nor can you give someone like that…at least not without a large caliber firearm!!! Just kidding….) So, I was really surprised when on the morning of the wedding my daughter gave me an embrodied handkerchief that said, “Dad, you will always be the first man I ever loved…”

All throughout our lives we were, for the most part, on the same page and I assumed that she knew that I couldn’t possibly see this as any real change in our relationship; certainly not that I was abdicating my place in her life or that Bob the Builder would be replacing me in some way. Certainly not that I saw this as any kind on loss whatsoever. I thought maybe she is just covering all bases here and I thanked her for the gift and put it somewhere safe.  I left the hotel while my wife and the wedding party spent the rest of the morning getting their beauty treatments and I walked the streets of Philly, heading to meet some wonderful friends that came in to town and were browsing lunch spots.

As I walked the streets, memories from the night before came to mind. During the rehearsal dinner I got up to tell the story of when Moxie was born. I had planned to tell that story during the Father of the Bride speech but a month earlier Moxie and I had a conversation that went something like this:

M-Bride: “ Dad will you do a welcome speech to start the reception? But just not too long, OK?”

M-Dad: “ Sure Sweetie, so I won’t do 45 minutes, just ½ hour?”

M-Bride: “Very funny, how about, like 5 minutes…” (eyes rolling… felt, not seen over the phone)

M-Dad: “ Yeah, I got it…”

So I told the humorous story of her birth to the assembled families and loved ones at the rehearsal dinner.

Photo by Corinda Bravo Photography

Photo by Corinda Bravo Photography

Afterwards the general comments went something like this: “Bob the Builder is so much like Moxie’s Dad” “She is marrying her father…” “I can’t believe how much their mannerisms are the same…”

Bob the Builder and Moxie Dad cut loose to "Footloose". Not from Moxie: I mean, come on…I married my father, clearly. Look at their faces! Photo by Redfield Photography

Bob the Builder and Moxie Dad cut loose to “Footloose”. (Note from Moxie: I mean, come on…I married my father, clearly. Look at their faces!)
Photo by Redfield Photography

At first I just laughed off such comments, even felt complimented that my little girl loved some part of me so much that she held out to find someone that had those qualities. That was the positive side of my brain. The devil side questioned whether I had been a good enough father and if so, maybe she would have wound up with someone less like me. I love Bob the Builder, he is a great guy and wonderful addition to our family, and so it isn’t any regret on my part. But I guess the more time passes, the more years we have behind us, the more we wonder how the decisions of the past have led to the path we’re on. But the over riding thought was that we’re all in a pretty good place, so maybe it was all meant to be just as it was.

It was a beautiful (but windy) day in Philly and the walk along with the poignant emotions that were just then hitting me seemed natural, although since Moxie is an only child, this was my first experience with a big event as this.

I met my friends and we settled on pork sandwiches from the market, eating them on the sidewalk across the street while battling the wind that tried to knock over what we had just waited 15 minutes on line for. I was so touched to see all the people that came from near and far to help us celebrate. These friends that I was lunching with have been with me for years. We have skied high mountains together, biked many roads together, and hike many a trail. They have seen me through the years, and the enviable changes that all people go through. My lunch with them was short, I had to get back to get ready for the big celebration. With such good friends even a little time together is precious.

As I walked back to the hotel, out of the corner of my eye I saw an older man walking at the same pace as I. When I turned to look at him, I realized it was my reflection in a mirrored storefront. I stood there for a moment, and it hit me. I’m not that young man anymore that was so overwhelmed by the thought of being responsible for a baby girl. I was once a twenty year old making his way through the world juggling work, money, ambition and creativity while making sure I provided as best I could for those that I loved. We are all a product of the attention and care we give to our loved ones, and I am no exception to that. Now, after all these years of learning how to be the man I have become I realized that I’m not going to be the first person she thinks to turn to when a problem arises. I realized there and then that there was a changing of the guard, so to speak. I was still going to lie in bed at night worrying that she was OK, I was still going to love her as fiercely as I always did. But there was a changing of the guard – not a loss, just a change. One that was natural, real, and important. I began to understand what everyone was quietly trying to prepare me for. I guess some people see it as giving away their daughter…hence the general statements / questions. For me the right question to ask is “How is it going to feel knowing that your daughter has a great partner to share her life with?” That one I have answer for: “It feels great…”

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

It was emotional at the wedding, first seeing my beautiful daughter looking so incredible and then seeing the faces of all the friends filing in from all over. I was overwhelmed. I had some poignant memories that I planned to relive with Moxie as we waited to enter the ceremony but realized that having both of us crying down the aisle wasn’t a good photo op. I also had a whole routine setup as part of the welcome speech. But I realized that if this is a changing of the guard, let it start now, my place was not the center. My place was now the side. So as I watched Moxie Bride and Bob the Builder dance their first dance I realized it was time for me to take my new place. I got up to give my speech – no added hoopla, no drums, no theme music – just a few words to pass the torch. My hands were shaking so badly that I wound up going off script, so much for all those business lectures I’ve done. Emotion trumps everything.

Here is what I said:

“Good Evening and welcome to the city of brotherly love…. Welcome to Moxie and Bob the Builder’s wedding…. 

On behalf of my wife and myself, the entire Moxie Family, and Bob The Builders family we thank you for coming tonight to help us celebrate Friendship, Family and most of all Love and Commitment.

It warms my heart to see all the friends and family that came from near and far to be here tonight.  And thank you all for sharing this evening with us… but also for being a part of our lives.

It feels like it was just yesterday that I held Moxie in my arms for the very first time. But as I look at all the faces here tonight I am reminded of all the memories that we share, all the meals we have had together, all the holidays we shared, all the laughter, all the good times.  It is the accumulation of all those memories that shows the true passing of time and reminds us that it wasn’t really yesterday, it was a lifetime ago, a wonderful amazing lifetime ago.  So tonight we will celebrate Friendship by adding another wonderful memory to those we already share.

Every parent here knows how they felt when their child was born, we ask only that he/she be healthy; we wish for them to be safe and then we hope that will be happy. As they start to make their way in the world, ultimately we pray that they will find someone who will love them as fiercely as we do. That is why we’re here tonight. Moxie and Bob The Builder have found each other, and as my wife tells me all the time… The hard part is over… You found each other.  MB and BTB, All you have to do now is love each other.  The hard part is over.

So where do we learn this wonderful gift of love… It is from our parents and our family that each of us learns how to love. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Moxie’s Mom, who raised her to be such a beautiful and self assured women. Tonight we recognize that are here standing on the shoulders of giants, our parents, they were the ones who showed us by example what love is. So tonight we will celebrate Family by remembering those who came before us, and are not here to share this evening with us, but are never far away from our thoughts.

And finally we are here to celebrate Love and Commitment. I know that the Bride and Groom have found that fierce love in each other, that every parent dreams their child will find…. and today they have committed themselves to a life of caring for one and other. We all couldn’t be happier for them; and also tonight for me I can honestly say I have gained an amazing Son in law to go along with my amazing daughter.

So tonight we celebrate Friendship, Family and Love, let your hair down, make some noise, feel the music, enjoy the food, drink some wine, and help us celebrate this wonderful event on this wonderful wonderful evening…

After I spoke I turned to Moxie and as we have done so many times before, we communicated without words. She knew as I did that with that toast, the torch was passed.

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

I hope this helps you as you plan towards your wonderful event.  Everyone who experiences your wedding will bring to it what they can, will experience what they want, and take away from it their own personal thoughts and reflections. Be open to all that your loved ones are experiencing.  Hosting a wedding is like giving your guests a canvas:  Each person brings their own brush strokes, some will cry, others only laugh, hopefully everyone will dance, but for you the final picture will be a moment in time with varying depths of emotion, wonderful memories, and transitions to new and amazing places.

Be Well,

Moxie Dad

How My Wedding Made Me a Maker…One of Many Lessons Learned

When I started planning our wedding, I would frequently say to people, when asked, “Oh, no, I don’t DIY, I buy.”

I knew myself well enough to know that I hold very high standards for any project I take on. I was once described as “a professional, in every thing you do”. I took that as a very high compliment – in fact, I still regard it as one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Because it’s true.

If I’m cooking dinner, I expect that it will taste as good as restaurant food. If I’m working on a play, I expect that I will be regarded as a professional actor. I was like this even in high school, by the way. I’ve always thought that there is no sense in aspiring to mediocrity.  If I’m going to do something, it is going to be at the highest caliber I know. Either be the best, or don’t do it.

Which doesn’t leave a lot of room for Do-It-Yourself projects, especially when that’s not your forte. It’s not the creative aspect that gets me all tied up. It’s that I have very little patience for my own shortcomings. Therefore, if I am working on something and I don’t get it right the first few times, I’d rather just let a professional handle it than plod along, half-assed. Ain’t nobody got time for that! See: Our Invitation Suite.

But something happened along the way to the wedding. I’m not sure if it was motivated my finances, or common sense, or if wedding planning stirred up my creative juices in a new way, but suddenly, I was MAKING things.

You guys, I MADE this.

Ok.

Well, I didn’t, you know, cut the wood into a plaque or anything…

But. Still.

I made a stencil of our name* and then I painted it.

So, yeah. I’m basically Martha Stewart now.

*I was going to cover it up, but then I decided f*%& it. Don’t stalk me, ok?

Also. See all those pretty red and white escort cards?

Yeah. I made them.

Well, me and Paper Source.

Here is a close up of The Pretty. P.S – I told y’all I was using that font on everything.  And I did not lie.

Photo by Redfield Photography

Photo by Redfield Photography

I was really on a roll, so I also made my flower girl basket. Here is it, close up and in action!

photos by Redfield Photography

photos by Redfield Photography

And our table numbers, which are photos of our pets: Dilly, BoBo and Beth the Cat.

photos by Redfield Photography

photos by Redfield Photography

And our Ceremony Programs, which had “Tears of Joy” packets attached to the inside. While I was making these, I couldn’t decide if the Tears of Joy were meant as a joke or not – but then during the ceremony, many people used them. So, I’m glad I included them.

photo by Redfield Photography

photo by Redfield Photography

And the biggest DIY, the one that consumed most weekends and almost all my thoughts until they were finished…

The Wine Bottle Vases!

VASES2

Flowers by Falls Flowers. Vases by Bob the Builder and Moxie Bride. Photos by Redfield Photography

It’s super easy to get distracted by the pretty flowers, but LOOK at the vases! Bob the Builder made those out of wine bottles!

In due time, I’ll be posting some DIY’s on the vases and the escort cards. Or any of the other things, upon request. I mean, if I could make these things, so can you! Truly.

If you had told me two years ago if I would spend three hours of my life making a stencil of my married name with an Exacto knife and card stock, I would have told you you were crazy. But, I did that. And so many other things. And you know what? I actually enjoyed it! It was very satisfying watching the ideas I had in my head come to fruition by my own hands. That’s pretty cool.

I think I identified so much with this label I had given myself, (“Not Crafty”), that I forgot that something essential. I can really accomplish anything I set my mind to, if I give it the proper time and attention. Not everything came out 100% perfectly, but guess what? Life isn’t perfect, and neither are weddings. And that’s really ok. Really.

I spent this past Saturday night (when I was supposed to be finishing our thank you cards) doing Christmas crafts. So, yeah, I think our wedding made me a Maker.

Who knew?!?

Are any other not-normally-crafty peeps attempting any DIY projects these days? Shout it out! Let me know what you’re up to!

We Did It!

The government shut down the Liberty Bell, it rained all week long, we blew the power out on a whole city block, and there was a 4am fire at one of the guest hotels.

Despite all that, we were married.

 

photo by the amazing, tremendous, wonderful Redfield Photography

photo by the amazing, tremendous, wonderful Redfield Photography

And it was perfect.

I’m posting from somewhere over Nebraska, after attempting to take a break from social media during our mini-moon.

It was as successful as you may imagine.

Sorry, Bob the Builder.

I’ll start with all the deets tomorrow, peeps.

Thanks for all your well wishes!

xoxo

Mrs. Moxie Bride

I Survived My First Dress Fitting

I know this sounds very melodramatic. I know. But this is how I feel today. I feel victorious. Like I just climbed a mountain or something.

You see, my wedding gown fit.

Which isn’t a small thing.

At all.

Photo: Someecards

Photo: Someecards

I should back up a bit and explain. My wedding gown has been hanging in our hallway closet since April. It’s been in an insanely large, bell-shaped garment bag, and for a while this summer, I was ignoring its very existence. We’ve dubbed this closet in our home “The Champagne Closet” because it is where we store our champagne flutes. Nevermind that it’s actually our linen closet. The champagne flutes are obviously more important. At least, to me. The day Bob the Builder hung an industrial strength hook in there to hold up my giant dress, it became “The Dress Closet”, or “The Closet I Can’t Go In”, if your name happens to be Bob the Builder.

When I first brought the dress home in April, MOH CraftyPants came over to help me into it to make sure it fit. And we were all pleased to say that yes, it fit. And it was good.

And it went to live its happy life in The Dress Closet.

In June, B the B and I hosted a little going away party for our good friends, Ellen & Brian, who were moving to Hawaii. Since Ellen is pregnant with twins (and her due date is a week after our wedding), we all knew they would not be able to come to Philadelphia to celebrate with us. So, upon request, I took the dress from its cozy home in the closet and tried it on.

Except.

It wouldn’t zip.

My friend tried to blame the heat and water retention (too much salt!), but the cold hard truth is that it just didn’t fit.

IT. DIDN’T.  FIT.

So, I did what any rational person would do. I ignored it. I put that gown back in the closet on that day in June and I never tried it on again. Not until yesterday.

Here’s the truth. I have been struggling with my weight my entire life. I am “blessed” with bum genes in this department. I have always had a super slow metabolism. I can NEVER just eat whatever I want if I want to stay at a marginally healthy weight. I have to watch every single thing I put in my mouth and I have to work out every single day. That’s the sucky truth.

I was the chubby kid in school my entire life, and it was Not Fun, to put it mildly. I can still remember being called “thunder thighs” by Daniel Goia* and his dick younger brother at the local pizza shop. I was 12.  I still remember it like it was yesterday. My senior year of high school, someone wrote my name on the wall of the A/V room (which was really more of a hangout room) with a crude drawing of a cow and the words “fat cow” underneath. I remember that as well, like it was yesterday. I wish they didn’t, but these kind of things just hang around in my subconscious.

They are the words that appear out of nowhere when I’m having a bad day. Or when I couldn’t possibly jog another 1/2 mile. Or when the image I see in the mirror doesn’t line up with the image of myself I hold in my heart. Those words, and more, are always there, laying in waiting. Waiting for a tiny crack in my confidence in which they can slink through.

In my twenties, I devoted myself to learning about healthier eating and exercise, and I lost a substantial amount of weight. I was down to a size 6, and I think I had lost somewhere around 45-50lbs. I was a working actor, and I was on tour for a while, trying to maintain a vegan lifestyle – which was pretty damn hard. But, I managed.

A few years later, I moved to Los Angeles, which despite its healthy reputation, has the most fast food restaurants I’ve ever seen anywhere. It’s amazing how much crappy food you can get here without ever leaving your car. And because you’re driving everywhere – and not walking, like in New York – I put on a few pounds in those first few years.

And this is missing In and Out, Tommy Burger, and every taco cart in LA.

And this is missing In and Out, Tommy Burger, and every taco cart in LA. SO. MUCH. JUNK. FOOD.

And then, every year, a pound or two more. And then, I’d really work my ass off and lose 20lbs. And then I kept that off for a year or two, and then it slowly crept back on.

I tell you all this to get to this point: I’m not at a happy weight right now. And just typing that made me sad.

I had such great intentions to lose a TON of weight before the wedding, and really? I’ve maybe lost 16lbs. Which I know is a decent number. But not what I was working toward.

Which leads me to yesterday.

My first dress fitting.

I was supposed to go in last week, but I had sort of a panic attack the day of, and called to reschedule. I just could not face the dress.

What if it didn’t fit? What if it didn’t zip?? What if, when I put it on again, I hated it? What if my arms looked like sausages? What if the seamstress made a comment about my weight? What if? What if? What if?

Well, I got my shit together and went over there yesterday. In reality, it was not so scary. My seamstress, Maggie, is very nice and very funny. And she said I looked thin, so she is obviously my new best friend forever. Move over, Team Bridal…

Although, when I walked in to her shop there was one other bride waiting for Maggie as well. She was sitting down, but I could tell she was very, very thin. She had shiny blonde hair and, for her frame, a large busom, which shockingly looked real. (Or she has a really good surgeon. I mean, it is LA after all…) She and I got to chatting, and who would have guessed it? She’s a MODEL. Of course. Of course the person whom I have to watch get fitted for her wedding gown is a 6 foot tall, size 2 MODEL. 

Thanks, Universe. You’re swell.

After I watched The Model do a runway walk in her Nicole Miller ivory mermaid gown, it was my turn.

Photo: Lyst

Photo: Lyst

This is the models dress. Super gorgeous.

Me, with my Spanx and long-line bra.

(P.S – The Model was wearing NOTHING underneath her dress. She will regret that when she gets her photos back, just saying…)

Thankfully, The Model left, so I could struggle with my Spanx in private.

Maggie helped me into my gown, and surprise! It zipped!

It zipped without any struggle or drama. Without me having to suck anything in or stand up straight or push in the sides.

It just…zipped.

It was like Christmas.

We assessed what needed to be done, and she started pinning. The longer I stood there, the more real this all became. Yesterday was actually the longest I’ve ever had my dress on. After all, Maggie had seven layers of skirt to pin. My thoughts waffled from “Holy shit! I’m getting married!” to “My arms don’t look so bad” to “Oh god, do I have back fat?” to “My arms look SUPER fat!!”.

But, all in all, it was a successful visit. I didn’t cry, have a panic attack, or puke.

So, a WIN!

personal photo, made magical and mysterious with Pixel

personal photo, made magical and mysterious with Pixel

You didn’t think I was going to show you my dress, did you??

Hee hee.

Y’all have to wait.

Until I lose 10 more pounds.

*****

* I didn’t even change his name. I haven’t seen him in like, 24 years, so… whatever. If Daniel reads this, he should know he was an ass as a kid. :-)

****

Did anyone else get all crazy about their dress fittings?

Hey! Are you following me on Instagram? You should, because I actually post there everyday-ish. Come follow me and my #100daysasamiss project!

50 DAYS!?!?!!!!

I haven’t been around much lately, I know. I haven’t been writing because I’ve been Doing.

Doing All The Things.

Peeps, we’ve got 50 days to go, and I wish I could tell you I was all like this:

Oh, hey you guys...I'm just chillin. Getting married in a few weeks, nbd. Photo: blissrevolution.com

Oh, hey you guys…I’m just chillin’. Getting married in a few weeks, nbd.
Photo: blissrevolution.com

Instead, I am more like this:

Um, what did I come in this room for? Photo: smilinggreenmom.com

Um, what did I come in this room for again?
Photo: smilinggreenmom.com

I can’t really claim to be stressed out, exactly. Because I’m not stressed, really. Everything is coming along quite nicely. Invitations have been sent (and people are actually RSVPing!), wedding rings are purchased, all of our To-Do Lists are getting properly bitch-slapped, as Bob the Builder likes to say. I have no actual reason to feel anxiety – nothing I can point to and say “This! This is the cause of my worry!”. It’s just like a low-grade fever.  You kind of forget it’s there until you think ” Damn it. WHY am I so hot?” And then you remember. Once you acknowledge it, it has a life. And then it doesn’t want to go away.

B the B is in between work projects, which means he’s had time for home projects. Or, more accurately, WEDDING projects. Luckily, he is really very good at getting shit done. And he has good taste, because that is also part of his job.

Here’s a little bit of what we’ve been doing:

We (well, mostly Bob the Builder…) made vases for our centerpieces out of wine bottles. So this:

personal photo from Bob the Builder's Instagram

personal photo from Bob the Builder’s Instagram

Became this:

personal photo of Bob the Builder's Instagram

personal photo of Bob the Builder’s Instagram

Here’s a closer look at the vases. They will be grouped in sets of three per table.

personal photo

personal photo

I am SUPER in love with them!

I’ll do a full re-cap later on, I promise. Actually, B the B might do that re-cap. After all, he’s the one who did all the work. I just washed out the bottles and brought him drinks.

Oh, and it was my idea. :-)

We also hunkered down and finished the ceremony programs, compete with “tears of joy packets“. I still can’t decide if I mean those in a sarcastic or sincere way yet. Either way, they are on there! If anyone deigns to shed a tear, we’ve got them covered!

personal photo

personal photo

I made this flower girl basket out of a doily, which may go down in history as the only DIY project I’ve gotten right on the first try! I used this tutorial, and I didn’t fuck it up, so if I can do it, so can you!

I totally expect my 2 1/2-year-old flower girl to (kind of) destroy this. Which is a-ok (after all, it’s part of her charm!) But I am hoping it makes it into a few photos. Oh, and full disclaimer – Crafty Pants made the super pretty (and sturdy!) pearl handle. I have no idea how she did it. I am lucky to have such useful people who love me. No joke.

personal photo

personal photo

I have my first dress fitting on Monday, and I may get so nervous that I puke right beforehand. Not in like, an eating disorder way, y’all. More like a “holy shit, I hope I don’t look like a whale” way. Which I guess some would argue is akin to an eating disorder…WHATEVER. All I know is that I just went back to working out after 2 WEEKS off, and I feel like a slug.

After my super awesome bachelorette weekend (re-cap coming soon!), I got pink-eye in my right eye. And then a cold. And then a stomach virus. And then pink-eye in my left eye. And then I wanted to crawl under the covers and never be seen again. Can you say, STRESSED, much?

But today I rallied, and I got up at 6AM to go work out. And it felt great. Which I always forget about when I’m being lazy.

Hey Moxie Bride, IT FEELS GREAT TO WORK OUT! Please remember this at 6 AM when the alarm goes off, ok? 

(Sorry. That was a note to self.)

Bob the Builder and I also finished writing our wedding ceremony. And then as soon as we finished, we promptly re-wrote it.  As you do.

Most of what we have left to do are little things: escort cards, welcome bags, bathroom baskets, kids activity books, rehearsal dinner seating chart, reception seating chart, wrap gifts…

Oh, and then ship everything to Philadelphia.

Le sigh… still so much to do. But at least we are doing it together, and there is a light at the end of the tunnel! A 50 day light! 

50 DAYS. 8 WEEKS. I refuse to count the hours at this point, unless you want to find me curled up in the fetal position in my walk-in closet, next to the dog bed.

I’m not stressed. I’m not stressed. I’m not stressed.

Right?

Correct.

I’m just highly adrenalized.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Hey! Are you following me on Instagram? You should, because I actually post there everyday-ish. Come follow me and my #100daysasamiss project!

Our DIY Videography

Very early on in this wedding planning journey, Bob the Builder and I decided that we didn’t want a videographer. We would rather use those funds for something awesome (like a photo booth!) than use it for a video of our wedding that we are pretty sure we would never watch. Decision made. We felt great about it.

A few months later, and due to the power of Pinterest, I got wind of a new company called WeddingMix, whereby you basically DIY your videography. The idea appealed to me, and the price was right – packages start at just $99!

You are probably wondering how you can DIY a video, right? Well, it doesn’t mean that I will be hiding a camera in my bouquet. Although, this bride did it and I think she’s rad.

/

It means that we will be asking our guests to film our day for us, using their smartphones or Flip cameras that we rent from WeddingMix! Bob the Builder and I love this idea because we think we will end up with a unique, genuine representation of our wedding day. And I love the idea of involving everyone, especially since so many of our guests are in the entertainment industry and are no strangers to being in front of or behind the camera.

Image: WeddingMix

Image: WeddingMix

I’ve put together a little bit of direction and explanation for the back of our ceremony program, so hopefully our guests will download the app to their phones while they are waiting for the ceremony to begin. It’s pretty simple – all you have to do is scan the QR code or search “WeddingMix” in the AppStore. This is what our guests will see in our programs:

weddingmix

Our Hollywood style WeddingMix Info Card!

Then you’ll see a screen that looks like this:

screenshot of the app

screenshot of the app

As you can see, you have the option of recording directly from this screen, or importing video from the Camera Roll on your phone. So easy! And see, on the bottom right – it’s a shot list! Click on that to see what shots we would especially like to get on camera. And if you’re worried about your guests running out of battery on their phones, set up a small charging station in a central area. Thats what we are doing – it’s such an easy, thoughtful touch!

After the wedding, WeddingMix takes all your footage, and edits it into a DVD. There are two editing options – you can choose your scenes online for free, or you can let WeddingMix do it for a slight additional fee. Being the control freak that I am, I imagine I will want to pick the scenes myself. Plus, how fun will it be to see all the footage that was captured? So fun.

I am hopeful that our guests will participate in this and think it’s a fun little addition to our day.

I’ll let you know how it turns out!

If you like our Hollywood Style WeddingMix Info Card, you can download a free template for it here!

And if you’ve used WeddingMix, tell me, how did it turn out?!?!

 Please Note: I have not been compensated in any way to write this post. I just like this service/company and wanted to share the love. If a post is sponsored, I will always tell you. Always. 

Planning a Wedding From 3,000 Miles Away

Actually, it’s 2,815 miles…but who’s counting?

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At my bridal shower last month, four different people asked me a version of the same question: “How’s it going, planning from so far away?”

Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this question, really. It’s like when I was a kid, and my friends would ask, “What’s it like to have divorced parents?” I would always think to myself: Well, I don’t know. What’s it like to have married parents? I only know my own experience. Sure, I’ve worked in event planning. And I’ve helped a lot of my friends plan their weddings. But, this bad boy is all me, start to finish.  And Bob the Builder. Me, AND Bob the Builder. :-)

I can tell you how I’ve been managing, in the hope that anyone seeking guidance can find some here.

1. Know What You’re Looking For. 

This one is key, and that’s why I’ve put it first. Know What You’re Looking For. The surest way to drive yourself crazy is to not give yourself any parameters. When we began this crazy planning journey (15 months ago!) we were talking about a New Jersey Vineyard wedding, Labor Day weekend, under a tent. Well, a few hours of internet research and many phone calls to venues later, we changed our minds. And that’s OK. You have to start somewhere. The options in WeddingLand are vast, varied, and overwhelming. When we returned to the wedding drawing board, we were able to rule out vineyards, and traditional banquet halls. We also changed the location to Philadelphia, which narrowed down the list even further.

But this isn’t just for the big-ticket items like location and venue. This holds true for even the smallest details – like, cake toppers. If you, right now, did a Google search for cake toppers, you would be faced with over 100,000 results. True Story.

So, do yourself a favor and make some decisions early on, even if they turn out to be the wrong decisions and you have to change your mind.

2. Be OK with Plan B

This one has been really difficult for me, because I am a Planny McPlanerson and I like things to go the way I’ve decided they should. But sometimes, every vineyard in New Jersey is booked solid until the fall of 2014. Sometimes, your wedding venue is sold, and they renovate everything, and you are left to make the best of what remains. And that has to be OK. It has to be, because you are 3,000 miles away and there is nothing you can do about it anyway.

Image from Pinterest, no external source credited

Image from Pinterest, no external source credited

I am working very hard to become more flexible, and not just in my yoga practice. Just this week, my venue informed me that I may not be able to have my ceremony in the room I want it to be in, and they asked me to consider a Plan B. I’m not going to lie to you guys, I was 100% upset and very irrational. I moped around about it all day long. Thank God Bob the Builder was out-of-town and only had to deal with me via text. I know myself well enough to know that my knee-jerk reaction to change (well, change that I don’t initiate) is resentment. I also know that my resentment usually dissipates in 24-48 hours. So, I just sort of sat on the decision for a while. I am happy to report that today (72 hours later) I am looking for a solution that I can be happy with. I think I’m close. I’ll fill you in on the deets later. Promise.

3. Technology is your Friend.

Here’s the stone-cold truth. Aside from one gal that works at my venue, I have not met ANY of my wedding vendors in person. NOT ONE. When I think about this for too long, it gives me the cold sweats. So I try not to dwell on it.

I feel very confident about their abilities, and in my choosing them. However, if they were standing in a room with me, I may not be able to pick them out of a crowd. Well, some of them, anyway.

I’m sure by now you are thinking that I am a nut job for hiring people who I have not met, but I’ll explain.

I took two trips to Philadelphia just to pick the venue. Until the venue was chosen, I couldn’t hire anyone else. That process took a little longer than expected, and then before I knew it, we were a year away from our wedding day. If you’ve planned a wedding than you know that most vendors book out a year in advance. I didn’t want to risk losing out on a photographer or DJ just because I couldn’t fly in and meet them in person.

Enter, Skype! Using Skype, I was able to “meet” my DJ, Matt, and have a long introductory meeting. Also, I Skyped with my Photographer, Marisa, and we introduced our cats to one another. In between cat meetings, we also talked about photography, never fear.

I hired our Day of Coordinator and our Florist over the phone. As well as my Makeup Artist. My Hair Stylist and I have only emailed.

This is the truth of planning a long distance wedding.

I researched my butt off before hiring anyone. If you are going this route, I highly suggest checking out WeddingWire, Yelp, and WeddingBee before signing any contract with anyone for anything. I made sure to read all their reviews – the good and the bad ones – before making my own judgement. Sometimes it just came down to a gut feeling. When I was Skyping with Marisa, our photographer, I thought, “I could totally spend the day with this gal! I like her!” So, that, coupled with her gorgeous photos, made that decision very easy.

Sometimes you have to just take a leap of faith.

Everyone whom I’ve hired is a professional. None of them are new to the wedding industry. I take comfort in that. I firmly believe in hiring someone to do an awesome job and then getting out of their way so that they can do that awesome job. No one needs (or likes) a micro-manager. Also, these guys produce weddings every single weekend. They know what’s up.

Side note: All of your vendors should have a Facebook page, Twitter account, and an Instagram. Stalk them. Follow them. Nothing makes me happier with my decision than seeing my florist post an amazing snapshot to Facebook.

I mean, seriously? GORGEOUS.

4. Get and Stay Organized. And Mobile.

Get organized early on. I bought myself a red leather-bound notebook/folder and I keep everything that is not a digital file in it. It’s super useful for list making. I like to physically write out a list and then cross things off it. It makes me feel accomplished. Also, I keep my fabric samples in there so they are always with me when I’m shopping.

personal photos

personal photos

Anything that comes to me in a digital file gets saved to my Google Drive. And I have the Google Drive app on my iPhone, so all the files are always with me. Here’s what is currently on My Drive:

personal photo

personal photo

Make sure, as you’re organizing, you rename all your files to something that actually makes sense to you. Almost every file I received was named, “BrideNameGroomNameWeddingDate” and if you kept them all like that, you would lose your mind. Make things as brain-less as you can, because when it’s crunch time, and you NEED to find the room block contracts, you don’t want to have to search through five files to get there. That is a recipe for a Bridezilla-sized meltdown. And no one wants to see that.

5. What’s It Worth to You?

This one has just started to rear its ugly head at the three-month mark. You see, when you’re planning a long-distance wedding, you have to consider A LOT of logistical issues. The biggest one I’ve been dealing with is…STUFF. All the Stuff you “need” for a wedding: ceremony programs, guest book, flower girl basket, ring bearer pillow, card box, welcome bags, favors, bathroom baskets, cake topper, votive candles, flower vases, seating charts, escort cards, table numbers, menus, kids activity books, gifts for Team Bridal and Groomsmen, MY WEDDING GOWN.

All these THINGS. How will they get to Philadelphia?

Do I ship them? If so, to whom? To the hotel where we will be staying? Directly to my venues head office? To my Dad’s in Connecticut? My sisters in law in New Jersey?

Do I take an extra suitcase and try to fit everything in there, hoping that my airline doesn’t lose the bag? I mean, it’s Murphy’s Law that they would misplace that bag, right?

Do I carry on my giant ball gown with me on the plane? Do I buy an extra seat on the plane for it? (P.S – I’m not doing that. That’s insane. But I’ve read about gals who did!)

Photo: Weddingbee

Photo: Weddingbee

But all of this boils down to: What’s it Worth to You? I’ve totally changed my mind about some of the wedding items I’m using, because I just don’t want it badly enough to ship it to Philadelphia, worry about it breaking/getting lost, and then shipping it back home to Los Angeles.

Case in point (one of many, but I won’t bore you with all of them) – Ring Bearer Pillow:

ForEVER, I have wanted this for our ring bearer:

Photo Credit: Paloma's Nest on Etsy

Photo Credit: Paloma’s Nest on Etsy

I had big plans to get it personalized with a beautiful quote and our wedding date, and then keep my rings in it on my nightstand after the wedding.

But.

This lovely gorgeous ring dish is $85.00 after shipping, and then once I get it to LA, I have to ship it again to Philadelphia and then back home again to Los Angeles. So, the actual cost of using this ring bowl is now well over $100. And that’s assuming that all goes well and it does not get damaged in transit. I had to say to myself, “Is this ring bowl worth $100+ to you, when you include the possibility of it breaking?” The answer, sadly, was no. It’s not worth it to me.

So, Plan B.

Photo Credit: Romancing Juliet on Etsy

Photo Credit: Romancing Juliet on Etsy

This sassy ring bearer pillow is only $30, including shipping. I can pack it in my luggage and the likelihood of it breaking is slim to none. One less potential disaster averted. This is how I am thinking these days. Every minor decision has to be carefully weighed, because you need to figure out how every little thing is going to travel 3,000 miles with you. It’s exhausting.

So, if you’ve been wondering why I haven’t been writing much, this is why. I’m up to my eyeballs in logistics. So. Not. Fun.

Basically, this is how I’ve been planning my long-distance wedding. I am sure I’ll have some more insight after the wedding is over, so I’m sure there will be a follow-up post.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear from other brides planning a long-distance wedding!

How did you stay organized?

What did you do with All The Stuff?

Please tell me what to do with my ball gown!

The Down Town Club Redux: Shiny and New!

Hey Peeps,

I told you months and months ago that our wedding venue, The Down Town Club, was bought by new owners and renovated. And I promised you photos. Well, I did not forget! It just took me a few months…please forgive me!

Back in April, Cescaphe (the sassy new owners) held an Open House. Unfortunately, I was not able to fly in from Los Angeles to attend. But, my amazingly awesome photographers, Marisa & Jon from Redfield Photography, did attend. And they gave me the scoop, in the form of these beautiful photos.

All photos, Redfield Photography.

Photo: Redfield Photo

Lobby Sign

Escort Card Table in Entryway

Escort Card Table in Entryway

Baby grand, yo!

Baby grand, yo!

 

Ballroom

Ballroom

Closeup of sweetheart table. I'm excited to sit on this bench. Its looks comfy.

Closeup of sweetheart table. I’m excited to sit on this bench. Its looks comfy.

 

New bar in new cocktail area

New bar in new cocktail area

Beautiful original bar in the Grill Room

Beautiful original bar in the Grill Room

Renovated Grill Room  (possible cocktail hour room)

Renovated Grill Room
(possible cocktail hour room)

 

Totes adorable sitting room and entry way to the Ladies lounge

Totes adorable sitting room and entry way to the Ladies lounge

 

Hey look! It's Marisa. Rockin it out and multi-tasking! Adorbs.

Hey look! It’s Marisa. Rockin it out and multi-tasking! Adorbs.

Quick peek into the mens room. Looks swanky,

Quick peek into the mens room. Looks swanky.

 

And last but not least, The View!

And last but not least, The View!

Marisa and Jon also took a ton of photos of the carpets and light fixtures (at my request), but I won’t bore you with them. I am in a hate-hate relationship with a certain striped purple carpet at the venue. Hopefully, everyone will be drinking and eating and having a great time and NOT staring down at the carpet. Note to any of our future guests that might be reading this: Forget I mentioned the carpet. Just, put it out of your mind. :-)

We are three months, almost to the day, away from our wedding and I could not be more excited! I am also overwhelmed, busy, cranky, ecstatic, nervous I won’t fit into my dress, eager, and impatient. But that’s nothing new. I’m usually most of those things.

All in all, I am thrilled with the renovation of The Down Town Club, and I can’t wait to see it in person, finally! But that will have to wait until September.

So, what do you guys think of the reno?

Let me know in the comments!

I Fell In Love With a Font…

Fell in love at once and almost completely…

Ladies & Gents, I would like you to meet my new boyfriend (girlfriend?)

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Carolyna Pro Black by Emily Conners

I seriously want to write this entire post in this font, but I won’t.

I will explain how it came to pass that I went against my own rule and actually paid for a font. And it wasn’t even on sale or anything.

As you may know, there are plenty of gorgeous free fonts available for download. My favorite free site is DaFont, as I really love their collection of calligraphy fonts. I used Coneria Script to address our save the date envelopes, and it looked lovely.

Coneria Script, find it at DaFont

Coneria Script, find it at DaFont

Coneria Script is a little retro, a little fancy, and it worked so well to address the envelopes. For a minute, I considered it for our wedding invitation suite, but I was looking for something a little more…grand. Maybe if I hadn’t used it to address the envelopes…

Anyhow, it looking for wedding invitations, I came across these lovelies:

Calligraphy Script DIY Invite Quatrefoil by belletristics on Etsy

Calligraphy Script DIY Invite Quatrefoil by belletristics on Etsy

Designed by Becky King

Designed by Becky King

I was immediately totally smitten. Look at all the swirls! IT’S SO SWIRLY!! What IS THIS FONT? Clearly, these are all variations on the same font, but I had no idea which one, and searching through all the font websites did not sound enjoyable at all. Thank god there is What The Font?  All you have to do is screen capture the font, upload it to the site, and the bots figure out what you are looking for. Isn’t technology amazing? If for some reason, the robots fail you, there is also a (fascinating) forum where you can ask for help from actual humans. There is also an iPhone app, should you want to do a little sleuthing on the road.

Once What the Font told me I was looking for Carolyna Pro Black, I went off to download it. I was momentarily paused (ok, honestly, it was a three-day pause) while I mulled over spending $89 on a FONT. I successfully convinced myself that I will use this font for everything wedding related, and so far, it’s the truth.

Lovely Carolyna is the only font on our wedding invitation, and only one of two fonts in the whole invitation suite. I used it to make our ceremony programs and place cards. I also used to make various signage for the venue. And, I will be using this font to address our envelopes. Oh, and it’s our monogram and our return address stamp.

So, yeah, I feel like I’ve used it enough to justify the cost. Even though it wasn’t on sale.

Sometimes you just love something and have to have it.

I’ll show y’all our invitation suite after we’ve sent them, which won’t be for a while. But I promise I will show you!

Anyone else follow their heart on a wedding-related purchase? Anyone else obsessed with Carolyna Pro Black?

Dressing Team Bridal

This weekend, we managed a victory over a herculean feat: We have chosen all four Team Bridal dresses! Can I get a “hell yeah!”?

Since the beginning of my wedding planning journey, I’ve had strong opinions on Team Bridal attire. I’ve been a bridesmaid a LOT of times, and well…I’ve never actually liked any of the dresses I had to wear. Don’t get me wrong – they were never awful. I certainly haven’t had a “27 Dresses” experience.

But, the dresses were never awesome. They were always just…meh. And strangely, they have all been either baby blue or periwinkle. All. Of. Them. Weird, right?

I tried to find actual photos, but since all of these weddings took place before Facebook, this is the best I can come with. All the dresses kind of looked like this:

personal photo circa 1999

that’s me! personal photo circa 1999

Side note: Please note how I am holding my bouquet. No one told me to hold it down in front of me. This is WRONG. Don’t cover your dress with your bouquet. More on this later.

I have a strong vision for Team Bridal. Kind of. I want them in different style dresses. All four of my girls have strong personalities and very different energies. I don’t want them to look like “Robot Bridesmaids”. I want them to feel pretty, and comfortable, and like themselves. And I want them to look GOOD.

I will never understand the idea that the bridesmaids should look hideous so that the bride can look better in comparison. Who came up with this? If I went to a wedding and the bridesmaids looked like hot messes, I would think the bride had bad taste. I wouldn’t think, “Oooh, the bride is so much more beautiful!”. It’s such a bunch of BS.

It’s enough that I am asking these girls (that I love like sisters) to fly to Philadelphia, stay in a hotel, take time off from work and stand up with me at my wedding. They shouldn’t have to look or feel badly about themselves in the process. Just, no.

So, I decided that Team Bridal would chose different style dresses from the Alfred Sung Bridesmaid line from The Dessy Group.

I chose them for a few reasons: 1., the styles seemed universally flattering 2., there are a ton of options from which to choose, 3., I knew that NetBridal carried this line, and that meant we could get them at a discount 4., Dessy uses the Pantone color chart, and the shade of red that I love is available in all of the dress styles. 5., all of the cocktail length dresses looked stylish. Not too short (we are not going to the club!) and not too long (too matronly!)

Off we went out into the world to try them on!

This is an actual Facebook status update from a member of Team Bridal. Names covered to protect the innocent. :-)

This is an actual Facebook status update from a member of Team Bridal. Names covered to protect the innocent. :-)

Which turned out to be the most difficult part. You see, when you account for all the variables (color, length, and fabric) there are 42 available styles to try. We only needed 4 dresses, so this sounds promising, right? Well, let’s try again. None of the girls were interested in wearing a strapless dress. So, that narrows the pool down to 29. And of that 29, how many did we find to try on? After going to five different dress shops? Maybe half of that. Probably about 15. Le sigh. 

I didn’t know I’d be doing math.

Most of the dress shops had A LOT of strapless styles to try. Not so many of the other options. And frequently, we would be assured that they carried this line of dresses only to get there and see that they maybe had three or four dresses to try. (I’m looking at you, Nordstrom.)

So, it got frustrating. And the search got a little long.

We were bolstered, pretty early on, by a Dessy Group Sample Sale in NYC. Moxie Mom and The Professor live in NYC, so when I got the email, I put them on the case immediately. The customer service at Dessy is not to be believed, by the way. They provided an email address on the sale flyer, so I took a chance and emailed, never thinking I would actually get a reply. Well, not only did I get a relpy, but Renee at The Dessy Group was outstanding. She listened to my very specific list of wants and style numbers, and she actually SET ASIDE dresses for us. When MoxieMom arrived at the sale (she herself armed with style numbers, pictures, and fabric samples), she was led to a rack that had all the dresses that fit our description. AMAZING!

MoxieMom was able to purchase 2 dresses for $20 each! MOH CraftyPants and The Professor had dresses! We were 50% done, and it was only July. Of 2012. Ridiculous.

We then spent the next, um…8 months trying to locate as many non-strapless dresses as we could. It continued to be frustrating. But we finally did it. All four are chosen!

Here they are, in all their glory:

Photos: The Dessy Groupstyle #s, clockwise:

Photos: The Dessy Group
style #s, clockwise: D586, D449, D518, D500

Someone at The Dessy Group should start a try-on-by-mail program for their bridesmaid dresses. We live in a major city, and we found it nearly impossible to find all the styles we wanted to try on. In fact, SmartyPants is taking an (educated guess) leap-of-faith on her dress style. After five different dress shops, we were starting to think maybe it was a discontinued style. It’s not. I checked. So, everyone keep your fingers crossed that she loves it when it’s delivered and she can finally try it on.

I feel great that this is finally fully checked off the list! Woo Hoo!

Now, let’s hope there’s no drama when the dresses actually get here.

Did I just jinx it?

Damn.


Anyone else wearing Alfred Sung dresses? And did anyone have a difficult time finding them? Please tell us we are not alone!

Steals and Deals: 15% OFF Minted’s ENTIRE SITE!

You guys?

My favorite stationery site is having a big anniversary sale, this week only! 15% off EVERYTHING on the site!

Invites? Yup.

Thank you cards? Yup.

Save the Dates? Uh, YEAH.

EVERYTHING.

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I got our kick-ass Save the Dates from Minted, and now I’ve got my eyes on some rehearsal dinner invites too. I mean, for 15% off, how can you go wrong?

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Retro Dinner Rehearsal Dinner Invitations by Shiny Penny Studio

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Eat, Drink and Be Married Rehearsal Dinner Invitations from serenity avenue

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Formal Stamp Rehearsal Dinner Invitations by alethea and ruth

Also, did you know that Minted now offers LETTERPRESS? Seriously, I am so bummed that I bought my invitations before they debuted this line. It’s just exquisite. Someone out there order some and send me one so I can feel it.

SO. MUCH. PRETTY!

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Vintage Blush Letterpress Wedding Invitations by geekink design

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Destination Letterpress Wedding Invitation by unless someone like you

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Paper Flower Letterpress Wedding Invitation by kristen smith

So go get to shopping because the sale starts tomorrow (Tuesday!) and only lasts one week!

15% off expires on Monday, April 8th at midnight.

Happy Shoppings, Moxie Brides!!

Jamaican Me Crazy! (sorry, I couldn’t help myself)

We booked our honeymoon!

Well, more specifically, MoxieMom has gifted us our honeymoon, and we couldn’t be more thankful or excited!

Bob the Builder and I will be spending a week in Jamaica!

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Photo credit: http://www.zytu.org/public/photo.php?p_id=167

Considering that we didn’t know how or when we would be able to take a honeymoon, this turn of events has been awesome!

Let me back a bit.

Since we are getting married in Philly and we live in Los Angeles, we always knew we would not be honeymooning directly after our wedding. Logistically, it’s just a nightmare. We would have to pack for the week of the wedding, and then a week of honeymooning, and then, what would we do with my wedding gown? Or any gifts we may receive? We just couldn’t wrap our brains around it. Also, we don’t want to leave our furry family for more than a week at a time. AND both of our jobs actually require us to be present in order to happen. Neither one of us get any vacation time at all. I work for myself, so if I’m not there, the work doesn’t get done. And if I miss work, I have to find a sub. And my favorite sub is actually coming to Philly for the wedding, so I’m not sure what my clients will do when I break that bit of news to them.

Anyway, we knew it wasn’t happening. And with everything else to plan and pay for, B the B and I just kind of put it in the back of our minds.

Early on, we had talked about going to Italy for our honeymoon. Bob the Builder has never been. I’ve been once, about eight years ago. I desperately wanted to go back to Rome and Positano (and Tuscany and Venice and Verona and, well, everywhere!) and share that with B the B. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that although Italy is awesome, and amazing, and we still very much want to go…it wouldn’t be an ideal honeymoon for us. We agreed that the urge to SEE EVERYTHING would be stronger than the want to just relax and enjoy each others company.

We decided that our honeymoon should be somewhere with sand, and warmth and somewhere we could just unplug and RELAX for a while.

Obviously, Jamaica was at the top of our list.

Screen Shot 2013-03-27 at 12.34.12 AM

Photo credit: Sail Blogs

I did the research on all the major all-inclusives. And, well, they seem lovely. And very American. With a major price tag to go with it. So, I browsed, and searched, and tried to get our week-long stay down to a price that didn’t make me gasp. No such luck.

One day last week, I get an email from MoxieMom, and she says, “Check this place out. It looks perfect for you two!”.

MoxieMom had sent me a link to a very reasonable deal on a week-long stay at Zimbali Retreats in Westmoreland, Jamaica. Nestled in the mountains, and twenty minutes from Negril, Zimbali is truly off the beaten path. And totally awesome.

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Photo credit: Zimbali Retreats

“A natural life with colorful foods, warm sun, and plenty of time to smell the tropical flowers: Jamaica is truly a Caribbean dream, and the folks at Zimbali Retreats have taken it upon themselves to preserve that dream. Here, a gorgeous seven-acre organic farm provides fresh ingredients used in the delectable, all-inclusive meals; solar power supplies 100 percent of the electricity; natural springs and rain harvesting provide the water; and the Old World charm of a real mountain community makes for many smiles.

At this award-winning retreat (FlipKey rated it a “Top Vacation Rental”; TripAdvisor named it a “Certificate of Excellence Winner”; and Eco Hotels of the World awarded it five stars), you’ll lodge in complete comfort. The suites and cottage each offer outdoor space with great views of the natural surroundings, plus private baths, fresh-ground Blue Mountain Coffee, and plenty of all-natural snacks. The Mountain villa features a common area with a large porch overlooking the valley, complete with hammocks for relaxing, and a large library of unique books provides a bit of entertainment during downtime. Of course, there’s always music and fun at the Reggae Bar.

At Zimbali, foodies unite. You’ll be in the front row as your personal chef takes you on a culinary journey in the specially designed Mountain Cooking Studio. Stroll through the farm, picking fruits, vegetables, and other essentials, then return to your choice of seafood, chicken, vegetarian, and traditional Ital dishes, all creatively woven before your eyes. At Zimbali, food takes top priority.

This retreat gives guests a chance to hike the fertile valley, eat an Ital wood-fired lunch on a real Rasta farm, and take a dip in the clear mountain springs where Jamaica’s iconic reggae Rasta once bathed in the shade of a bamboo canopy.

The retreat also offers a full line of treatments at Serenity Spa, and an opportunity to consult Bongo Roach—a Rastafarian elder and certified herbalist—or Isadora, a practical nurse and intuitive healer. You’ll leave with a belly full of food and a heart full of love, because what’s good for the environment is also good for the soul.” – from Living Social

I mean, seriously? Can we just leave tomorrow? I can’t wait to go!!!!

I think the thing that Bob the Builder is most excited about is the lack of WiFi. :-) An entire week of me, not looking down at my iPhone? That IS a honeymoon!

Here’s some more lovely photos of Zimbali Retreat/Farm:

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All slideshow photos from Zimbali Retreats Facebook page

We have decided to visit Zimbali Retreat in January 2014. The weather in January is pretty near perfect, and we think we will appreciate the vacation even more post-holiday season.

B the B and I are also going to mini-moon right after the wedding. The location has yet to be determined, but we are thinking of sneaking off to the Poconos for two days after the wedding before flying home to Los Angeles. Maybe we’ll even get one of those champagne-glass hot tubs. Do they still have those?

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Photo credit: OhKeepa

Oh, this just makes me laugh. Seriously, if these still exist, I want one. Just for the silly photo opportunities. The Instagram photos of that thing would be immediate! The Poconos still have Wi-Fi after all.

Ok, peeps, tell me. Have you been to Jamaica? Any tips? What about the Poconos? If you have a photo of the champagne hot tub, you MUST share it with us!

200 DAYS?!?!?!

200 DAYS TIL THE WEDDING

Cute graphic by Pixelors. Words by Me. :-)

I was driving around at work today (my job involves a LOT of driving), and at a red light I glanced down at my iPhone. (I know, I know. I really try not to use the phone in the car. It remains a work-in-progress.)

I opened up my The Knot app, since I hadn’t looked at in a while, and this is what I’m greeted with:

personal photo

personal photo (screen shot from my iPhone)

What the F? How did that happen? 200 days?? That sounds like…not a lot. That sounds soon. I freaked out for a minute, running through the list of things still on my To-Do List in my brain.

WOW.

I feel like we just got engaged a few weeks ago! Didn’t we JUST have 18 months to go? Where does the time go?!?!?

I then clicked over to my handy-dandy To Do List on The Knot App.

personal photo

personal photo (screen shot from my iPhone)

This has been a (sort of) useful tool during planning. I love lists, and I love that it’s an App on my iPhone. But the actual list has a fair amount of items on it that we don’t actually need. On one hand, I like that it gives me a false sense of accomplishment when I click something off the list purely because we aren’t doing it. On the other hand, customizing the list means going to The Knot website, which I don’t actually like.

The Knot actually makes me kind of stabby. Everytime I log on, it’s like they are yelling at me, “Be unique!” “Just be you!” “You need to BUY ALL THE THINGS!” “Don’t have a boring wedding!” “Your bridesmaids NEED this Barbie-pink makeup bag!”. It’s exhausting. I chose to just stay away.

Anyway, back to The List. Right now, The Knot app is telling me I am overdue to take engagement photos, finalize the ceremony musicians, and plan the rehearsal dinner. That’s not so bad.

  • Engagement photos are going to be taken this summer at some point. This is something that is unavoidable due to how far we live from Philly. Engagement photos are included in our photography package, and I am really looking forward to them, but they have to wait for us BOTH to be in Philly. Which may not happen until…August? Sigh. They will get done.
  • We are having a best friend play a song at our ceremony, but we did hire a pianist for the cocktail hour. He was booked a long, long time ago, and deposit paid. I booked him so long ago, it was before our venue was bought out. Before they extended our cocktail hour from one hour to one and a half hours. So, this was actually an awesome reminder that I have to email him and update that contract. Way to go, Knot App! You rock!
  • The Rehearsal Dinner. It’s been on the top of my to-do list since Christmas. Since Bob the Builder went to our first choice restaurant and got all the info. I just haven’t put down a deposit. Why? Because paying for other things has taken precedence. Now I’m just afraid to contact them to see if our date is still available. I know this makes no sense. But here we are. I need to get on this THIS WEEK. ASAP. (Yes, I am yelling at myself on my blog.) DO IT, Moxie Bride. THIS WEEK.

ahem.

All in all, I am proud of everything that I have been able to check off The List. You can’t see it on the above pic, but I am actually AHEAD of The List in some places. Woo hoo! And, just this week, we took care of Bob the Builders wedding attire, as well as his Groomsmen. And my Team Bridal gals bought their wedding shoes. Mostly, I am proud of myself for actually, ya know, making a decision on their shoes. More on all of this very soon.

And I AM GOING TO BOOK THE REHEARSAL DINNER.

seriosuly Dog

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/a666if/8499232006/

Ok. I WILL. ok. good.

I seem totally normal and unstressed, right? :-) Dogs always talk to you thru the interwebs, right?

Anyone else using an App to keep them on track? Please let me know which ones you find particularly useful!!

All the Pretty Colors

Remember when I told you that our venue, The Down Town Club, was bought out by a different company? And that company (Cescaphe) was going to renovate the space? Did I mention up until a few days ago, we really had no idea what the renovated space would look like? Yeah. It’s been…stressful. The grand re-opening is scheduled for April 9th, so I’ll have lots of photos to share after that.

All this renovation has left us in the annoying position of not really being able to settle on a color palette. See, I am a big fan of working with what the venue gives you, and not trying to force your color scheme on a space. Well before Bob the Builder and I were engaged, I came upon this post from the very awesome The ThirtySomething Bride. It talks about how to choose a color palette, and that it should really be five colors. A color story. Not just “red and black”, “yellow and grey” or “pink and blue”. Picking just two colors makes the entire affair look very harsh, and not at all comfortable to the eye. Here’s an example:

This is, as Louise says at The ThirtySomething Bride, "kind of eye-rapey."

This is, as Louise says at The ThirtySomething Bride, “kind of eye-rapey.”

Side note: Louise also hates chairs covers and sashes, as do I. She refers to them as “gift wrapped ghosts”, and it made me laugh SO HARD the first time I read it. Every time we went to a venue who tried to sell me on their “beautiful chair covers” I had to stifle a giggle. All I could see was a room full of little ghosts. No ghosts at the wedding, please!!

Anyway. I should come clean and tell you that part of our color palette was determined even before we were engaged. Hell, I’d picked my bridesmaid dress color before Bob the Builder and I met.

I’m a Red gal. Red has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember. MoxieMom can probably back me up on this. My first pair of favorite shoes were sparkly red mary janes (which I thought made me look like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz) and the first item of clothing I remember declaring “my favorite” was a pair of red corduroy pants with lions heads on them. I think. Who knows? It was the late 70′s.

When we went venue shopping, I had in the back of my mind a secret criteria. Could I incorporate red into this existing decor? Some places didn’t make the cut, in my mind. And honestly? Even after we signed the contract with The Down Town Club, I wasn’t quite sure how I would make it work.

Here’s the chosen shade of red:

from The Dessy Group

Pantone Barcelona from The Dessy Group

The original decor of The Down Town Club had baby blue curtains in the ballroom. They were my least favorite part of the whole venue. I came back to Los Angeles and declared to my Maid of Honor, “We have to add blue to the color palate somehow!!” So, I went to the interwebs and came up with this as inspiration.

Image by pomp & plumage

Image by pomp & plumage

It’s not really the right red, and the blue is more mint than baby blue. But it was a step in the right direction. Back then, we had nothing but time. So, I stopped thinking about it.

And then, SURPRISE! – the venue sold.

So I really tried not to think about it, because I didn’t want to make any major decisions before renovations were finished. But now, its SO CLOSE to being done…

I will show you the Ballroom. The Before and After of the Ballroom.

BEFORE:

photo from Weddingbee

photo from Weddingbee

Please note the hideous patterned blue chairs and in the distance, the light blue curtains.

AFTER:

Photo from Weddingbee

Photo from Weddingbee

So, as you can see, they’ve whitewashed the room. I am sad that your eye isn’t drawn to the super cool moulding anymore, but I am glad to see the blue curtains are gone. And the carpet.

Good riddance, old flowery carpet!

What they have given us is a pretty blank slate. The new curtains are dark, but they read as neutral. And I love the brass chandeliers, even with the crazy shades on them! Once I saw this photo, I knew I could go ahead with my preferred color story, and could abandon baby blue forever! Good riddance, baby blue!

Color swatches from Perfect Palette

Color swatches from The Perfect Palette

It’s a fall color scheme without being too predictable. These hues are a bit off, but the closest I could find on the interwebs. My red is a little more vibrant, my peach is a bit lighter, the copper rose is a bit more blush. And the antique gold is really a gold leaf. But, you get the general idea. Red is the dominant color, followed by peach and then gold leaf. The copper, ivory and chocolate are just accent colors.

I am really, really in love with our color story. I wanted a palette that felt warm and soft, but still incorporated a lot of color. I LOVE color. An all-white wedding is just not for me. I get extra energy when surrounded by the right colors, and I wanted our guests to have the same energy experience. (Do I sound like a California hippie yet? LOL)

Here’s some more color inspiration:

Photo credits, clockwise: Style Me Pretty, bzevents.com,hmhdesigns.wordpress.com, styleunveiled, marthastewartweddings (center)

Photo credits, clockwise: Style Me Pretty, bzevents.com, hmhdesigns.wordpress.com, styleunveiled, marthastewartweddings (center)

All that’s left to do now is wait for the renovation to be totally complete. And, to wait for the photos to be posted from the opening party. Sadly, I cannot get to Philadelphia this time, so I won’t see The Down Town Club in person until the summertime! It’s so torturous! Extra special hugs and thanks to Sister in Law J for going to the party in our absence and taking lots of photos.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Tell me, how did you pick your color palette? Did you have 2 colors, or 5, or 10? Share!!