Sunday, January 31, 2010

DJ, Dress and changes afoot...Oh My!

Hello wonderful friends!
So I (the worst blogger on the planet) have had a very busy couple of months. The holidays were busy, work is off the wall crazy, I bought a car, the dogs became vegetarians, and still wedding planning marches on.

The DJ was such a struggle and in Nov. we thought we had found the perfect solution. DJ Skye seemed like the best fit for us and our event and was willing to sign off on the 'do not play' list. Unfortunately (depending on your perspective), DJ Skye will also be getting married and has hung up her headphones. I tried stalking her online, but with no luck. So, we will have DJ Gary. He's a really nice organized guy with a long career in radio and wonderfully soothing voice. After a long phone conversation, we were convinced and have put down the deposit.

Wedding dress shopping is progressing, but everything is fairly expensive. I found a very nice dress at Amy Kushel (they don't allow pictures, but here is the one from the website).
The dress is $1,700 which includes all alterations. However, I would still need a foundation garment.

At Dark Garden (THE place to go for corsets in the bay area) I had very nice discussion with the owner about my options. If they make me a corset to go under a wedding dress it will be $950. If they make me a corset that serves as the top of my outfit and a skirt it will be $2500-$3000.

Later on at Priscilla of Boston we found several lovely dresses. Some that were very similar to the one above and then some fun ones like the one below. I've actually started thinking about a short dress for the wedding. I have an official appointment with them next weekend (this visit was just an informal play date with wonderful friends Cat and Jared)

And finally I have a little news that may be distressing. We are having some troubles with our Ohio location. Nothing is wrong with the venue, but we may soon be discussing have the wedding in a very different location. I am not yet sure what will happen. Nothing to worry about and I am sure the whole situation will be resolved in the best way possible.

Lots of love from your often blog absent bride!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Photographer Found! (DJ on the way?)

Good Morning,
This a rare Friday morning post, but I am too excited to wait for the weekend.

Last night Steve and I finally chose the photographer. We went with Memory Productions! I emailed them last night and am excited to see what they have to say today.

I also emailed Jerry Bruno productions about a couple of their DJs, so we'll see what happens with that. I will post more about the DJs we liked and provide links to their web clips this weekend.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Groomsmen Ready to Rock

Hi hi,
So despite the Halloween weekend we got tons of stuff done, not the least of which is me getting bangs for the first time since I was 10 ( a look I am seriously considering for the wedding)

First up-Apparel

The boys are off to a strong lead in the being all set and ready dept. Steve went with classic black double breasted suits, Navy vests and Navy ties (regular straight tie) on an ivory shirt, black shoes, and silver smoke cuff links. The only difference for the Dads is that the vest and tie will be black. We got the group number (which we'll be sending out closer to the fitting deadline in August).

For the ladies, I sent all of the bridesmaids a list of stores closest to them that carry the line that makes the wrap dress. However, I've already heard that none of the ones in Ohio actually carry the dress, so uh that sucks! I'll tell you what if I had known how hard it was going to be to plan a wedding in Ohio, I would of put up way more of a fight.

Second- Menu
Wow, our chef just plain rocks- I gave him a little feedback on the last menu: not sure I'm into the sweet elements of the salad, am interested in breads, and had a different vision for the dessert. I think I'm going to stop talking about the progress of the food before the wedding, so that there will be at least a little surprise left.

Third- Photographers
Emailed the 4 of the top 6 with last questions and whatnot, realized the other 2 of them never replied after the first email. Boo LCD and Memory Productions- too busy, too much business?

They would be out except Steve really liked LCD and Memory came highly recommended by our excellent florist. So, I will give them the benefit of the doubt and call them, once.

Fourth- Save the dates
I ordered pretty silver address labels (it was really hard to decide who's name to put first)
Steve addressed more envelopes, but curiously has like 12 leaves left to do.

Save the Dates are hard because I'm actually having to think about how to address people. Steve's family is much more traditional, so he's just whipping through those. Little harder with my family and friends, but we'll get there. Also, I'm thinking we won't put '& Guest' on anything and we'll just see what happens.

Also, I finally got all of the addresses with one notable exception. Would Mr. Mark Biggins (groomsman) please text Steve back with your new address? Jeez

Finally- Website
I got the FAQs together (yeah there are some and will probably be more) and scanned in all of Steve's pictures, but was otherwise a complete dud with the copydeck and asset gathering. Boo, hiss, lazy bride!

**side note: we also got presents for all of the bridesmaids and groomsmen this weekend and I think they are awesome! I should have bought one for myself (Steve did), but I am hoping everyone loves their present.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Hello,Wow! What a week!

1. The navy blue envelopes came and Steve started addressing them
2. Michael Latarski the amazing Chef at Rosemont got back to us with his menu ideas. (That's right I am going to share them here first)-No promises about what we'll end up with but here's what he said

Hi Miranda,

I hope all of your planning is going good and i wanted to run some ideas by you, after working the entire summer and seeing what all the other weddings were doing I wanted to do something different for you. I know we had talked about a family style dinner, are you still interested in this due to your liking of making your wedding not feel like a wedding and more like a family gathering.

Ive decided on going with a artisan cheese board with all mild, and sharp cheeses with fresh fruit, No stinky cheese just as your had mentioned.

My placed Salad would be a mixed green salad with dried cherries, apricots, candied walnuts and white French dressing.

A light appetizer would be a salmon pinwheel, which consists of smoked salmon boursin cheese cucumber and chive. I understand that there are a couple of people that do not care for seafood. for them or for the entire wedding I was thinking a Artichoke heart stuffed with toasted marscapone cheese on a toast point. It is very light and very easy to eat and going with a fall theme since you are getting married in October.

My main dishes were a little bit harder to come up with due to the diverse liking of your guests. Just some ideas that I came up with

Stuffed Chicken Sundried Tomato, Spinach, Mozzarella Cheese, With Balsamic Reduction or Basil Cream
I know that you had said no meat but that your husband was a big red meat eater, if we wanted to add a red meat dish i would recommend a roasted herb spiced ball tip( very tender sirloin) with a hearty demi glace( Fancy word for Gravy)
Pasta Primavera (squash, zucchini, roasted peppers, Red Sauce or White Sauce or light pesto cream)
Starch Wild Mushroom Risotto, or Vegetable
Veggies- Marinated Grilled Portabella Mushroom Salad, Roasted Red Peppers Buffalo Mozzarella
Italian Green Beans with Crushed Garlic and vine ripened tomatoes.

Love him! We are still a year away and he's done such a nice job with his very first round of suggestions. Honestly, we'll do so tweaking, but great job. We also found out that their event coordinator Jodi is leaving at the beginning of 2010. Hopefully, whoever takes her place will be just as good.

I realize I mis-typed in my last post about photographers, we actually still have a top 6. We have got to get this narrowed down soon. If you have any comments about these guys let me know.

We also still have to pick a DJ, which is seriously turning into the nightmare of this wedding. Steve is ready to just go with one that we have, but I think if we are going to pay someone to play music they need to guarantee they will play the right music. So we are still talking about it.

In Dress news: I think I found the bridesmaids dresses.
It is a cocktail length wrap dress that can be worn about a million different ways. See the video on different styles here. All of the sizes come in a range because it's a wrap and can be tightened and loosened a bit, so nothing needs to be fitted or tailored. It comes in a gorgeous deep midnight blued (unlike the "marine" David's Bridal was trying to pass off as midnight blue). It is made of a matte jersey material so new icky shiny photos and it's hand washable. Oh and it's only $150, so affordable for even the most cash strapped bridesmaid. I'm really excited about it, but almost think it's too good to be true. There are a couple of stores that carry the dress in our area, so hopefully we'll have another girls outing soon.

As for my dress, I'm finally getting organized. Just going to a large bridal store didn't work, so I am readying the spreadsheet. So far I have a list of about 40 stores in our area and I am initially cross-referencing them with styles they carry (b/c it's easy to do). That way I can narrow it to a smaller population of stores that carry the most styles I like. I'm also adding in specific style numbers from designer websites that I want to try on. The style numbers are the next level of the cross, but will require actually calling stores and if I'm doing that I might as well be booking appointments.

The website is coming along (I know everyone is dying to see it, *snicker, snicker*). I'm really struggling with first person vs. 3rd and striking a balanced tone. There's such a difference between talking to your college buddies and your grandma...harder than it sounds. It's also tough b/c there is a lot I want to cram in there, but don't have enough images at this point to break it up. I'm becoming my own worst client. I did finally get Steve to cough up some pictures for the movie (what movie? you ask- yes, yet another project I started). It will be terrific!

So, progress is slowly but surely being made. 11 months and 11 days to go. I feel a little un-organized and unprepared, but I suppose events are always like that.

This weekend's to do list (in case you are keeping score)

1. Scan in Steve's pictures
2. Send congrats on being in the top 5 emails to the top 5 photographers (I know there are 6, someone is leaving)
3. Finish the website copydeck
4. Order return address labels
5. Email Michael menu comments
6. Spend at least 1 hour working on the dress spreadsheet
7. Make an appointment for the bridesmaids to try on dresses

Whew! Will update soon.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What a difference a month makes

Wow, time is just flying by. Work is crazy busy, but we've been trying to keep up with wedding stuff.

Went dress shopping

Yup, that picture kind of says it all. Ladies, I have bad news for you. If you want to wear something that does not involve a 50lb train or a million tiny beads and you have any curves at all, you are SOL. Ugh! The entire day was this tiny little woman trying to shove, squish, and jam me into a series of white marshmallow monstrosities. Kate and Sarah were an amazing help. They not only assisted with getting me into and out of the princess traps, but made jokes and were totally supportive. Really those ladies were the only thing that kept me from crying out of frustration.
Save the dates-finally finally found navy envelopes (after scouring the area and then ordering paper samples online) JAM Paper had them and they were really reasonably priced. We ran out of big leaves and Michael's stopped carrying them, so Steve ordered a couple packs online (not the right size). Uh so if anyone needs fall leaves for a DIY fall project you just let me know, our kitchen table is covered with them.

We are going to use a couple of the medium leaves instead and Steve only has 15 more to go. Then we are just waiting on the envelopes and will be sending out the save the dates. Looks like approx a month later than we planned. Thanks to everyone who helped us track down addresses! I think we are all set in that department. I hesitate to tell you this, but current guest list is at 121.

DJs- This aspect of the wedding is driving me crazy. I feel like all of the DJs on our list are terrible and unprofessional and I'm not sure what we can do about it. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.

Photographers- So, we had a list of 13, quickly to 12. Larry Spencer of Spencer Photography is one of the worst vendors I've dealt with, ever. We had two appointments to chat and he stood me up both times. The first time he said he confused the times, but called a 1/2 hour late which doesn't make any sense. The 2nd time he was again late and then we had a hostile email exchange. I'm starting to think wedding vendors in Ohio don't actually want to make money.

1. Spencer Photography- horrible & rude
2. Ken Love Photography-so cheesy it hurts to look, check out this canned email he sent me

well I am open that day by some miracle. I already have 40 weddings booked for 2010. All I have left is sunday's and fridays. Below is my info. I'll work with ya if I can. Lets talk about it. I also have video guy that's pretty cheap and real good.

I'd love to discuss your wedding with you. Below is info on me. I believe my pricing is much lower than many other photographers and at the same time very fair. Quite simply I book 100 + weddings a year for my associate and I for a reason and that reason is no one shoots quite like us or works harder than we do. I'm everything the other guys are not. I do what I do because of my passion for photography not the money. In other words when you do something for the right reason the results are unbeatable.

Here is some wedding info about me and my business. I'm a nationally award winning photojournalist and former Akron Beacon Journal photographer with 22 + years of experience working for 5 different newspapers and several national magazines. Don't let the lower price fool you.. I have lower overhead than the other guys and I do a lot of weddings plus many other kinds of photography so I don't have to charge inflated prices or try to sell you proof albums like in the 80's and 90's.. to try to charge you more money. It's a digital world. I give you all the photos on disk and it's super easy on shutterfly to make a wedding book. Save your money and only pay for what you really need which is my award winning photography. Or have me make your wedding book for a little extra.

3. Shane Wynn Photography- Jen was really nice, but looking through their galleries I saw very few pictures that didn't look like something a friend would have done

4. Riverfront Photography- good mix of drama, humor and clean crisp details- strong contender

5. Drobny Studio -you know you are in trouble when the first bride in his gallery looks like Night of the Living Dead-seriously the image you put on your site are all we have to go on

6. Memory Productions- this is the guy our amazing florist recommended, he's pricey but still a strong contender

7. Affordable Wedding Portraits- pictures are decent, but clearly they don't take touch ups seriously and none of the pictures are as good as Memory or Riverfront

8. BCR Studios- some great photos, they seem to lean toward some special effects with blurs and color splotches, but definitely in the running

9. Catherine McKinley Photography-She's very friendly and I thought her pictures were very well done, Steve wasn't as thrilled, but I think she's still and Excellent possibility

10. Cirino Photography- average photos, but they did not respond to my note to them, so they're out

11. LCD Photography-beautiful photos and love the look, but am a little nervous that they are used to doing much larger, much more expensive weddings than ours

12. Lindsey Beckwith Photography-again tough to see what they are doing differently than a friend with a camera would have done

13. Z Media- some interesting and pretty shots, definitely in the running.

So there you have it, a month later and we've got a top 5 for photographers, no dress prospects, a diappointing DJ pool, no menu, and a table full of leaves. I think it's safe to say we are going through a bit of a rough patch in the wedding planning dept., but I have high hopes for November.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another week, another update

Okay quick break from work.

It's end of the quarter madness and I've been working loads of overtime. So, not a lot has happened this week. I did manage to track down most of the address on my list of missing ones. Only 11 more to go.

Steve and I went out today and bought all of the leaves for the save the dates and some extra metallic pens. We've had a really hard time finding the envelopes. There's one more place I want to check here in town, otherwise I am just going to order them online.

Steve and I and Sarah have been working on the wedding site. Basic structure is built and we've been populating some of pages with content. Thank You Sarah and Kate who sent their bios already so I could work on that page a little. Sarah also figure out how to remove the table color, which was super frustrating.

Here's the list of Photgraphers we're looking at

Okay that's the big list I'm working on and if you visit even a few, you'll notice that they're all really different. Here's hoping we figure out what we want, soon.

To that end, I am actually typing my wedding goals for this week in the hopes that the blogsphere will keep me honest.

This week's goals:
1. Narrow Photographer list to 3
2. Email potential DJs with list of demands
3. Find envelopes
4. Make first set of dress appointments
5. First draft of the copydeck

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Updates on all fronts!

Hey guys,
So I am the worst blogger ever (this is why I never took up journaling)

Here is an update on everything:

Venue- Deposit down, still no word on the menu. I'm going to give him another month and then start gently pressing.

Flowers- Deposit down, found the perfect lantern like centerpieces (currently on back order with the Container Store)

DJ- So unhappy with this category. First, I can't believe how many DJs didn't return repeated calls. Second, of the DJs we have talked to, no one seems willing to do what we want. I hate the idea of compromising with a Vendor (I mean these guys get paid to show up and play music, how bizarre for me to ask that they guarantee it will be the right music)

Dress- Haven't been shopping yet but it's coming up soon.

Officiant- If anyone has ideas let me know. What I would really like to do is hire an actor to play the part of an officiant.

Photographer- Haven't looked yet

Save the dates- So we are a year out and it's time to get those save the dates in the mail. You know that little nudge that says you will be invited to this wedding, so block it out on your calendar, start saving a dollar a day toward your plane ticket etc. My big idea for this was magnets. I love the magnets...they sit on your fridge forever being useful and reminding you not to book that Colorado trip for the weekend of the 10th next year.

Sadly, magnets at our tiny qty. have a crazy per piece price and I really don't want a couple boxes of them just kickin around. Yeah I know, I can totally go and hire some skeeze in Chinatown to do it for way cheaper. The problem there is that dude proabably thinks Panteone chips are something they sell at Trader Joe's and because they are wedding magnets he's going to mark me as a not returning customer and slop some gunk on poorly/unevenly cut hunks of mildly magnetic material.

Enter Steve's brilliant idea: Leaves (silk ones not the real crunchies) painted with the save the date info and mailed out in posh envelopes. Will we hot glue tiny magnets to the back? Possibly.

We bought a packet of leaves tried out 6 different paint pens and I think we have found a winner. Next up, have Steve write each one free hand or develop a stencil? (Yes poor Steve is doing all of the writing for this wedding b/c his handwriting is far superior to mine)

Guest List: I am missing a quarter of the addresses we need to send out the save the dates (booo age of the Internet and me not knowing where any of my friends live) Emailed and Facebooked a bunch of them and am in the process of tracking them down.

Website: So, when sending a treasured friend or family member a cryptic faux leaf in the mail it is polite to offer them a tiny bit more information. Hahha and so our website is slowly taking shape. I visited a couple of wedding sites (all crap templates) and the Knot personal site was trully awful before I decided to do it myself. And if you're going to do it you might as well do it right. So, I bought the domain (much easier to write on a leaf than the garbled string of junk the wedding sites give you) and am working on it. Some of you have already recieved content requests. Here's the basic structure I have so far along with a description of the content I'm thinking of adding. Please please please comment, I really want to know if there are other additons to be made before I get too deep into production.

Home (brief overview of the date and location with mapping feature)
Our Stories (background on us and how we met)
The Parents (head shot and bios for all of the different parent groups)
Wedding Party (headshot and Bio for everyone in the wedding party)
Timeline (structure of the wedding weekend and the event itself)
Hotels (links and descriptions of the hotels in the area)
Restaurants (some of Steve's favorite picks for the area)
Music (list of do not plays and comments fields, so that guests can make their suggestions)
FAQs (where we will be spelling out our dress code, child policy etc)
Guest Book ( a place for misc. comments, going to look into letting them upload pictures)
Our Registry(not sure what will be in in)

Okay that's the update, working on it, but man having a full time job sure does slow the planning down.