Sunday, March 28, 2010

Engagement Photos

We had our engagement pictures taken yesterday, and I am crazy-excited. When Matt bought my engagement ring, we were given a thing for a free engagement session with a local photographer. Under other circumstances, we would have skipped the whole engagement picture thing, but since they were free, we decided to go for it. I'm so glad we did.

Matt and I decided to get our pictures taken at the Art Museum, because it's always been kind of important to us as a couple, plus I've always loved that area. And I thought it would offer up a lot of great picture-taking scenarios. So we met up with our photographer (Ben Weldon from the Roggio group) yesterday down at the base of the steps. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but it ended up going really well. I definitely thought Matt would be awkward and uncomfortable, cuz he doesn't usually like to get his picture taken, and he definitely doesn't like to be the center of attention. But Ben made both of us feel really comfortable and it went quite smoothly!

We took a couple of pictures at some spots around the side of the Museum, and then headed out back and walked down Kelly Drive. We stopped at a bench outside one of the boathouses, and a guy came out to see what we were doing. When we told him, he offered to take us into the house to get some pictures there! It was the original boathouse on Boathouse Row, and we were really excited about the opportunity to take such unique pictures! I cannot wait to see how they turn out. The guy who had let us in was totally hammered, so it was pretty funny; it definitely helped to cut whatever tension and awkwardness there had been with Ben.

After the boathouse, we kept walking down Kelly Drive and got some pictures of us with the Schuylkill River in the background. I think they're going to be really pretty. We headed back down Kelly to get some more pictures at the Art Museum, since the sun was starting to go down. We stopped at the gazebo overlooking Water Works Restaurant and the river, and there was a bridal party in there. One of the bridesmaids was so excited to see us - an engaged couple - that she made Ben take a picture of us. Ben said it should be the one we put on our wine labels - ha ha! We took a few pictures in this really structural gazebo that I think are going to turn out awesome, and then headed back around to the front of the Museum for a few pictures with the skyline and the sunset.

I definitely think the pictures are going to turn out great. The few that he showed us (on the camera) were gorgeous, so I'm sure that once he "fixes" them on the computer, they'll look even better.

Links to come soon!!

**Update: here is the link to our engagement pictures on the photographer's blog.
**Update: here is the link to our photo album on Snapfish with some of our favorite pictures.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


This past weekend my mom and I started shopping for my various DIY project materials. We are going to make our programs, table place cards, and table numbers. I'm really excited, especially about the programs. And the place cards.

The programs are going to be a fan, which I think kind of ties in with the peacock feather theme - it fans out like the peacock's tail. So we went out this weekend to get some different weights of cardstock, some eyelets, and a Crop-A-Dile. Here is what I'm attempting to make:

Cute, right? I got the idea and template from Aylee Bits. I found the right weight of cardstock to use, now I just need to order it (cuz what we were able to find at Michael's and Staples were smooth, and I want something with a bit of texture). I also played around with the eyelets and Crop-A-Dile. That thing is super-awesome, and has become my new favorite toy. Matt is really excited cuz it also does snaps on clothing, and he's been bugging me for 2 years to replace a snap on his leather jacket. I can finally do it!

As for the place cards, I came across this idea on Martha Stewart weddings and instantly fell in love:

Remember cootie catchers?!? I thought this was a really great idea for us, because (confession) I probably played with these and included Matt's name in them at some point in my life! As I said once before, we went to the same high school, and I had a massive crush on him my freshman and sophomore years (sadly, after that, he had graduated and was no longer my personal eye candy). And my friends and I were really silly and played games like this, and M.A.S.H and stuff like that. So...I'm pretty sure Matt was one of my destinies at some point! SO...I thought this was just too cute to pass up, as it totally brings me back to my high school crush days! We are making enough for each guest/couple, and will insert a name card into each one so people know where to sit at the reception. I thought about putting the names and table assignments on the outer corners, until my mom pointed out that that would mean I couldn't print (and therefore assemble) them until right before the wedding...I really don't want to be folding 90 cootie catchers in the days before the wedding! Also, we're putting trivia about us on each section, and then on the very inside will be our menu! I found that extra idea here. I can't wait to play with it and have fun coming up with trivia...and quizzing Matt! Ha ha.

The other DIY we're doing are the table numbers themselves. Since we're having the reception at the Antique Auto Museum, I initially wanted to go to the museum and take pictures of different cars and name the tables after each car. But then I thought that might get too complicated and look too busy on the tables. So instead, I'm doing a simple card with a ribbon and a peacock feather. Should be pretty easy. But classy.

Like I said, Mom and I did some shopping this weekend, and I am gong to order the cardstock this week. I'm really anxious to get started on them (especially the programs) so that we're not rushing to do them last-minute.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I found my dress. THE dress. It seriously is absolutely perfect. Exactly what I was looking for. It was, of course, the first dress I tried on - for the day, for the year, for the shopping, for the wedding. First dress, ever. So, with 2 other appointments scheduled for the day, I felt like I shouldn't just stop there! So, like a fool, ignoring the sage wisdom of my bridesmaid, Abriel, who also is a bridal consultant, I did not stick with that, but went to my 2 other appointments and thoroughly confused myself. To the point where I actually put a deposit down on another dress! Can you believe it?! After I got home from the shopping trip, even though I really did love the other dress, I kept going back to the first one in my mind. It was all I thought about! When I closed my eyes and pictured myself in a wedding dress, I pictured that one, not the one I bought! Ugh! So, I confessed my bridal sin to my mother and she said, "Ok, let's cancel the order then!" And we did, and I called the first store and told them to hold onto that dress!

It really, really is perfect. I could not have designed a better dress for my wedding day. I am SO excited! In searching for a picture of it online (because it's no longer on the designer's website - it's a discontinued style, and I'm actually purchasing the store sample), I found another "sample" for sale in a size 6, which is bound to fit me MUCH better than the one at the store where I now have a $400 deposit holding it. My mom convinced me that it's better to get the one that is closer to my size and have it taken out the little tiny bit that it may need to be taken out, rather than get the one that is about 3 sizes too big and they would need to basically reconstruct the top to make it fit my chest. Soooo...we're ordering the size 6 with 2-day shipping so that it'll be there by Friday when I go back to my mom's to try it on. If it's terribly mis-sized, we still have the one at the store to fall back on. Oy! Such a mess!! But I'm sure it'll all work out in the end.

The actual brick-and-mortar store where I found the dress is Cocoa Couture. We're ordering it from My Dream Dress, which is basically a warehouse of "oops, I bought it and then didn't use it" dresses. The price difference between the 2 is pretty much nonexistent, so neither one ends up being a better "investment" - unless we end up saving significant amounts on alterations with the size 6. So, I guess we'll see! Nonetheless, the folks at Cocoa Couture were awesome. I absolutely loved my consultant (though I don't remember her name - I'm sorry!).

I'm also going to meet with my coordinator at JDK again on Saturday to talk about flowers. It's the one part of the wedding planning that Matt is soooo not interested in, so I'm going with my mom. Cuz she's good at flowers. And cuz she's awesome.

Friday, March 12, 2010


So when we met with David at JDK, we had a short discussion about flowers, but I really didn't know yet exactly what I wanted for bouquets or centerpieces. I had some vague ideas and a few pictures, but nothing really concrete yet. I did know exactly what I wanted for the guys' boutonniers, though:

How cool is that?! It's so fresh and different. Love. As for bouquets, like I said, I had some general ideas, but had no clue what flowers to use. I have seen a LOT of bouquets like this one:

But I know those flowers (cymbidium orchids) are crazy expensive, so I wasn't counting on it. I did know I wanted my girls to be carrying green bouquets - I love the look of a monochromatic bouquet. At the time that we met with David, I had this one picture of an all-green bouquet:

And I liked it, but I've since found others that I like way more. I'm not gonna totally give it away, but I am leaning towards spider mums, button mums, carnations, hypericum berries, delphiniums, and dahlias. LOVE! I'm still planning on the girls carrying totally green bouquets, and I plan to carry green and white.

The centerpieces and floral decor for the reception will include the same colors - green, white, and some blue flowers, with, of course, the peacock feathers. When we were meeting with David, we told him that we were picturing minimalistic. He showed us an arrangement they had set up in the office with 3 black square vases and yellow and white flowers. We really liked the look of it - it was super clean and simple. Ours would probably be with white vases. And then David suggested using something taller on some of the tables, too. We just kind of agreed to everything, because, well, David's kind of awesome!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Caterer

I very quickly (literally - 3 days after we got engaged!) got in touch with JDK Catering and asked to make an appointment to meet with David, the same person who worked with my sister and her husband on their wedding day. We scheduled an appointment for the following weekend to meet with him to discuss preliminary plans for our wedding. Like I said before, I was really impressed with how well he'd done for my sister, I did not want to lose the opportunity to work with him myself.

Just a few minutes into our meeting, I knew I hadn't made a mistake. David totally got our vision. When I told him that we were picturing using peacock feathers, he was absolutely thrilled! His enthusiasm made us even more excited to plan our wedding! He had so many great ideas, and he was so excited to hear that I wanted to work with non-floral and non-traditional elements.

We talked about and essentially planned our menu, and I cannot WAIT until I actually get to eat some of this stuff. It all sounds absolutely amazing! David asked us what some of our "specialties" are, or what food are Matt and I known for (what do we serve at parties, what are our favorite foods, etc). We are known throughout our friends and family for always bringing these really yummy asparagus rolls (also known as "pee stinkers," a name given by one of our friends) - basically bread, asparagus, and "cheese." So David suggested that we could either give him our recipe to make those or they could make a fancier version. Given that our recipe includes white bread and Cheez Whiz, we thought it would be better to go with the fancier version, which includes philo dough and boursin cheese - much more appropriate for a wedding, we thought! Other appetizers will be.....nah, I'm not gonna go and give away the whole thing! But just know that it's going to be amazing!!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Venues, Vendors, and Vino!

I had envisioned my wedding being held at the Antique Auto Museum for years; ever since a friend of mine got married there 5+ years ago. It's a really unique venue, and the museum remains open during the event so guests can wander around. I love the idea of having the guests milling around the galleries during cocktail hour, rather than standing around awkwardly staring at each other. Matt and I had discussed it a long time ago, and thought it really was the perfect location for our wedding - both of our dads are into cars, so it works as a bit of a tribute to the two of them, as well. But we had to figure out where to have the ceremony. The Antique Auto Museum does hold ceremonies there, as well. But in meeting with the event coordinator (who is also a personal friend of mine!), we discovered that logistically it wouldn't be ideal - private parties cannot get into the museum until 5:30pm, after regular operating hours. And they have to clear out by 11pm. So with 1/2 hour for the ceremony, an hour for cocktails/pictures, that leaves us only 3 hours for dinner and dancing, and that was kind of not ok. Our friends and families are partiers, so we want to have as much time as possible for the fun stuff!

So we started looking around at other venues. My parents had recently joined the Hershey Country Club, so we looked at that. But it felt like too much of a "ballroom," and I wanted something different. Matt and I are not your typical couple - we like to do things a little off-the-wall, so having our wedding and reception in a ballroom just didn't feel right to us. A friend of ours suggested the Hershey Theater, which I had never ever considered as an option, but immediately fell in love with the idea. Both of us had graduated in the Theater, and I spent many years performing in dance shows on the stage. It is a beautiful building, and I could just imagine myself coming down the big staircase for a really cool entrance. Unfortunately, upon looking into it and contacting their event coordinator, we discovered that the date we wanted wasn't available. Plus, it would just barely contain our expected guest count - it would be pretty tight quarters. So, that was out. We went back to considering the Auto Museum, but just felt that we needed more time for the reception.

So we talked about church. Neither one of us is terribly religious or connected to either of our churches. FH grew up in the Catholic Church - he was an alter boy and attended CCD classes. But he became really disenchanted when the molestation scandels took off, and hasn't really been to church in years. I did not grow up in church at all, though I do consider myself to be spiritual and have beliefs that I stand by. And the church that I do attend, when I go, is beautiful inside and I have always felt comfortable there. So we went to check out my church and decided our ceremony would be there. It really is beautiful and I think it's going to make for a lovely ceremony.

Now, onto our vendors. When my little sister got married a couple of years ago, they used JDK Catering, and I was super-impressed. The flowers that they did for the wedding were absolutely stunning, and the food was amazing. And their coordinator was so attentive to the two of them throughout the day. There was no doubt in my mind that FH and I would use them, as well - we didn't even consider other caterers in the area.

During our tour of the Country Club, we were handed two big photo albums to look through of a few different weddings held at the club. We were both really impressed with the one album - the photos were beautiful, and captured a lot of the little hidden moments that many photographers seem to miss. So we got in contact with them (Everlasting Images), along with a few others. In the end, we chose the one we'd seen at the club - we just kept coming back to how their photos really "popped" off the page, and their prices were just right.

On to the vino... JDK does not supply alcohol, so we will have to supply it ourselves. Which is find with us, because we get to choose the wine and beer, and limit which types of alcohol will be serves (for example, no tequila!). One of the best parts of the wedding planning process - choosing the wines! We have already had one reds tasting, and are scheduled for a few more. My parents are actually into wine and have the lingo down, so it's fun to test out the various wines with them. We're looking forward to picking a really yummy bunch of wines to serve at our reception!!