Monday, January 17, 2005

Honeymoon Update

Well, it's looking like we might get to honeymoon in Hawaii after all! Mom was talking to the time-share folks this weekend (arranging their lodging for the wedding). Apparently we are on the level 2 list for Maui and level 1 for Kauai.

Not sure how one moves from one level to the next, but Maui is a longshot but Kauai is VERY LIKELY to happen. And if it doesn't, we'll just suffer with Cabo. Poor us, forced to go to Mexico for our honeymoon!

I'm REALLY hoping that Kauai will come through. Sweetie's never been to Hawaii, so he really wants to make it over to the islands.

If we went to Kauai we'd be staying just up the road from the place we spent when I went there with my family when I was 12. We went after my grandfather's death, he wanted the whole family (mom, dad, brother and grandma) to go on vacation together. It was SUCH an awesome trip! I got my first real crush (his name was Joel and he was from New Mexico) and my brother got to kiss Joel's sister, Julie. While there I got to see my first rated R movie - Blade Runner. Dad took Greg and Julie to see it one night because it was raining, and I asked if I could go along. I think he said yes so he'd have someone to sit next to in the theater. Having seen the movie since, I'm surprised the parents said yes and a little surprised that I wasn't scarred for life. So yeah, it would be nice to go there again.

I also think that it will be a lot easier to ensure we don't cross paths with any of Sweetie's food allergies while in the United States. Enough normal people have gastro-intestinal issues while in Mexico, it may just kill Sweetie and that's not a very fun way to spend a honeymoon.

So stay tuned, Mom says now is the time of year when a lot of the reservations get cancelled.

Monday, January 10, 2005

The Registry

Ok, folks, time for audience participation again. This time we're talking the registry (aka, all those tres fabu gifts you're going to buy me and the sweetie).

First off, I know it's horribly gauche of me to even MENTION that we're registering for gifts anywhere, but let's get real, people. You know I'm going to register to try to avoid getting god-awful gifts from people, and I know you're going to buy gifts off the registry because you're a bunch of lazy slobs without a creative bone in your body, so let's just 'fess up to it and put it all on the table. And I WON'T be publicizing the registries in the invitation or anything like that, because I know that's a severe no-no, but if we're going to go through the time to register we might as well make sure it's worth the while.

I haven't thought TOO specifically about the registry yet. That said, it is the thing about my wedding that I've had the grandest plans for the longest, WELL before the groom entered the picture. Hey, I like to cook, and people will buy me stuff for my kitchen - how can I girl not dream? I WILL be registering for a Kitchen Aid Mixer. We will NOT be registering for China. I've already got my grandma's China and silverware. I stand to get Mom's TWO SETS of china someday (everday and christmas), plus her silverware. A girl can only use so much china.

But the million dollar question is WHERE should we register. If Mom got her way and I were still living in Portland and getting married to a boy who lives in Portland it would be a no-brainer, Meier and Frank for the nice stuff and Target just to give a few more options. My extended family is in St. Louis, where they have Famous and Barr, which is also part of the May Company, so it goes of without a hitch. However, I'm in Seattle now and we don't have Meier and Frank up here. We have The Bon, aka Bon Macy's.

This weekend, while in Portland, I stopped into Meier and Frank to see how that works between the two chains. (Didn't want to ask at The Bon, because I know they'd tell me it's seamless, just to get me to register there). What the wedding registry person told me is I send them our registry from The Bon, then they input it into their system. As items are purchased off the list, we can update on-line. In effect, we're running two registries for the price of one, because we'd have to keep The Bon updated as well. We also run into the situation that, although the carry many similar products they do have their differences, to there may be things we've registered for at The Bon that aren't available at Meier and Frank.

This is starting to sound like an awful lot of work to make sure we get the plates and towels we like. So now I'm thinking of throwing the big department stores out of the equation, and replacing them all with Crate and Barrel. They've finally entered the Oregon market, it seems to be the store of standard in the Seattle area, and then it's one clean list throughout the world. With Target as backup store, so really there will be something you can do.

So what do you think, folks? Where do you suggest we register for gifts? And my stoner friend has already suggested that if we register at the local head shop he'll buy us a bong, so you can cross that off your list right now.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Something New

You are now reading the blog of a bride-to-be who has a wedding dress. Actually, in the interest of full disclosure, you are now reading the blog of a bride-to-be who has a piece of paper in her car and a charge to the wedding account to prove that she has ORDERED a wedding dress, but she won't actually have the dress until shortly before the wedding. The dress will arrive in the town where her parents live 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Her parents will receive the dress 2-8 weeks before the wedding (alternations PROBABLY won't be needed, but we're leaving the option open once the dress actually arrives), and the dress will arrive in Seattle the week of the wedding.

That said, there are photos of the dress on the internet. And if you ask very nicely (and swear on your life not to disclose any details on the dress to the groom) I can e-mail you a link to the photos. They will not be posted here, because the groom does not get security clearance when it comes to the dress until the day of the event. At the moment he can know it is white and it is strapless. The rest he can just leave up to his imagination.

To go along with the dress I also have a slip, a tiara and a veil. No bra. Don't need a bra with this dress. I'm just throwing that bit in to make the groom wonder. And trust me, he's wondering.

So now let me recount for you the hunt for the dress:

Mom and I started at 10 am this morning. Actually, Mom started a couple of weeks ago, calling around town to check out options and make appointments where appointments needed to be made. Lots of places appointments were not required, but we had an appointment at noon and one at 4 pm.

We started the morning at a store that's fairly near the folks place, where one of Mom's friend's kids bought her dress. It was a small botique and after we walked in the salesperson basically showed us a wall of dresses and said, "Here you go, let me know if you want to try any on." OK, I don't know about you, but I haven't worn a wedding dress before. I know my basic style, but I can't tell what's going to look good on me and what's going to look like crap. I'm also a big larger than your standard sample size, so we've got that challenge to work with as well. I grabbed a couple of dresses to try on and they were OK, but I knew my wedding dress was not to be found in that store. The person helping us did refer us to another store that she said would have more selection in my sizes (which is where I ended up buying the dress), and then suggested we come back to that store to order the dress because they carried similar designers catalogs. No thanks, you've been completely unhelpful, we'll move on.

The second store we went to was David's Bridal. AKA Costco for the modern bride, because it was a warehouse assembly line process from beginning to end. You need an appointment here. You show up, you sign in, they get you started at the beginning of the assembly line. Everything is off the rack, so they walk you to the section of the store with your size and you are instructed to select three dresses to try on. After that, your consultant will help you find more based on what you like/dislike. You are instructed to pick out one dress you don't think you'd like, just to see. Once you've handed in your dresses you go to the corner of shoes. Because the dresses "won't look right" if you try them on in flats. (Which makes no sense whatsoever, since the dresses are at least 6" too long, and you're standing on a box, so it really makes no difference. They just want to try to sell you some really uncomfortable shoes to go with the dress.) I tried on dress #1. Bleh. I tried on dress #2. It was a nice dress. I could see myself getting married in this dress. But it was more a "yeah, this is a nice dress, if nothing else is out there or this is the best there is" kind of feeling versus a "YEAH, this is the ONE" kind of feeling. However, the folks at Davids can sense even the slightest tinge of interest. The store manager is instantly at your side, telling you how fabulous the dress looks. Other salespeople are wandering by, telling you how fabulous the dress looks. They grab veils and headpieces and fire up the credit card machine. When I suggested that I might want to try on some more dresses they seemed surprised. The consultant went had selected another dress for me, based on what I'd seen thus far, and it just wasn't right either. There was also that third dress I had selected that I didn't think I'd like. And guess what, I didn't like it. And that was it, folks. To hear the salesperson and manager talk there were no more dresses to try on. Except I can see that there are HUNDREDS of dresses in this store. I could have spent DAYS trying on all the dresses in this store. But, apparently, my time on the assembly line was up and I'd expressed interest in a dress, so lets move it along. They're open Sundays, so I decided to sleep on it. We still had some more places on the list, and I wanted to explore my options.

Mom and I decided to try out the store that had been recommended earlier. Stopped for a bite to eat first, then swung by Bridal Exclusives in Clackamas, Oregon (in the Clackamas Promenade, between Target and Nordy's Rack for Portlanders out there). Met Jacqueline, my designated sales associate (no appointment necessary, but you may have to wait a bit). Told her what my tastes are (not lots of lace and floral crap), pointed out a couple of dresses I liked. She picked out a couple of others based on what I'd shared. One dress caught my eye that had a feature on it that salesperson at store #1 had said wouldn't look good on me. Jacqueline disagreed, and we added it to the pile. Doesn't hurt to try it on.

Bridal store fitting rooms totally feed into the "Special Bride" feeling. No where more so than this place. You've got a GIANT floor to ceiling miror, with fitting rooms on either side, to form a short, squat "U" at the open part of the "U" you've got a very low wall, and on the other side of the wall you've got benches for the friends and loved ones to sit and view the gowns. It was TOTALLY "The Swank Show!"

So I try on the questionable dress. The size she had grabbed was a bit big, but we went with it. Went out to the mirror. Oh yeah, this is the one. Really, it's perfect. I can't give more information than that, because then the groom would have less to wonder about. She looks and they have the dress in a more appropriate size for me, so we try that one on. Yeah, baby, this is it.

But she doesn't go in for the kill. We try on at least three more dresses. But none of them measures up. We have a finalist for the position, and it is dress #1. So then we try it on again, this time without the bra, because the way it is it actually works better without. And it looks even better now. So now it's just a matter of putting the ensemble together. She grabs a pair of shoes to try on. They're actually very similar to a pair of shoes I own. Cool thing about this dress is I can order it in the exact size I've tried on, or in "petite" which makes the hem 3" shorter. The hem on the current dress is 5" too long, so we decide on the petite dress and 2" heels. And the shoes I own that I thought might work for my wedding shoes (strappy silver sandals) are 2" heels. SOLD!

Mom recently gave me grandma's old pearls. I thought it might be neat to wear those for my wedding day. She grabs some pearls they have to try on with the dress. BEAUTIFUL! Grandma's pearls it will be.

She then grabs a tiara and a veil. Tiara's are dang expensive! $100 give or take for a little piece of metal with some rhinestones and fake pearls. But, I can splurge for the tiara and still stay below the total wedding ensemble budget, so let's go for it. The tiara I found incorporates the pearls in the necklace and the daisies I'll likely be carrying. And the veil is a lovely veil, but it's hard to describe a piece of netting. Even though I tried on 4 differen pieces of netting and they all looked different on. But trust me, it's a beautiful piece of netting.

Then it's just a matter of placing the order and putting down the deposit.

I think I may need to find a bracelet to wear, but other than that my outfit is set. I'll even get to stick with the tradition:

Something old - Grandma's pearls
Something new - the dress
Something borrowed - Mom's going to let me borrow her pearl earrings.
Something blue - Toenails

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Another first

Today at work, I was asked this question by my boss:

"TeacherRefPoet, hypothetically, if it came up, would you [insert hellish job that will eat a lot of my time and emotional energies over the next few months for almost no financial remuneration]?"

The response was out before I realized what a big barrier had been crossed:

"I'll have to talk it over with Swankette before making that commitment."

Whoa! Running it by the little Mrs.! Cool!

Monday, January 03, 2005

Let Them Eat Cake

The aspect of the wedding planning for which I've had the most trepidation is the wedding cake. Yes, even more than Dan, Dan, the Dancing Man. You see, I knew that there was a DJ out there, somewhere, that could get the job done for us, it was just a matter of doing the research and legwork.

I was not as confident that there existed a wedding cake that would meet our requirements. The groom is allergic to egg and soy. His father is allergic to egg and corn. His brother-in-law is allergic to legumes. At first I had the inspiration of a vegan baker, but soy is the basis of a lot of vegan fare.

Last night's insomnia was spent blanket e-mailing bakers in the Puget Sound asking if they could help me, or offer any recommendations. The ones I e-mailed directly weren't able to help, but they were kind enough to offer some advice. GOOD NEWS!

There is a baker in Seattle who has completely egg, corn and soy free cakes. They use organic chick pea flour, which means the brother-in-law can't have the cake, but we solve that problem by having them make the cake that will be on display that we cut and buying sheet cakes from another baker made the old-fashioned full-of-egg way, which everyone else can chow down from. This is pending a taste test, but I have hope.

I'm also contacting both of the local natural food markets to see if they can help us out to give us a few more options.

So now I know we can get it ALL done! Not to say there won't be the minor mishaps along the way, but I was seriously questioning if we'd be celebrating the occassion with a wedding pie instead of cake.

Back to Business

You may have noticed a lull in posts over the last couple of months. With the move and the holidays finding the time to work on wedding stuff was a challenge. We did get a few important items checked off the list: Save the date cards were made and mailed and we've made it through 2/3 of our premarital counseling.

But now I'm back at it with a vengeance. We've got the DJ booked, I've started researching bakers, and am planning on sitting down this weekend and sketching out the to do list and calendar of the next 7 months so something doesn't fall through the cracks.

Audience Participation

OK, folks, time to get some input from the masses again. And I don't care if you're masses I've never met before, if you've stumbled across this blog you're welcome to give your input. (I don't promise to follow it, but I'll read it and take it into consideration.)

Sweetie and I are now possession of a CD containing lots of goodies from the DJ to help us select what songs we want played at the wedding, and what are on the DO NOT PLAY list. DJ PROMISES that even if EVERYONE AT THE RECEPTION requests a song on the DO NOT PLAY list he will not play it without explicit approval from us. I told him I want him to point out to me exactly who request the Macarena, so I can kick them out of the reception and disown them as a friend.

So, what songs are gonna' make you get up and boogie? What songs will make you go hide out in the restrooms or force you to take up smoking so you can stay outside?

Here's what I know (or am relatively certain) will be played at some point during the evening:
"Power of Two" - Indigo Girls
"Stardust" - Nat King Cole (although not sure if the Nat King Cole version or not)
"True Love" - Bing Crosby
"It's the End of the World as We Know It and I Feel Fine" - REM
"Do ya' Think I'm Sexy" - Rod Stewart
"Dancing Queen" - Abba
"Time Warp" - Rocky Horror Picture Show
"Love You Madly" - Cake

Here's what I know will NOT be played at the wedding:
"Electric Slide"
any song that has a line dance that goes along with it
Celine Dion
Whitney Houston

Amazingly enough, The Chicken Dance isn't on top of the DO NOT PLAY list. I'm wavering on that one. One of mom's best friends LOVES the song, and I can see Sweeties nephews and niece getting into it.

Recommendations, please. Editors note: I've realized I missed some things, so this will be a work in progress.


This week is going to DRAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG by. No, I'm not psychic. I'm just psyched to go wedding dress shopping with my mom this weekend.

Yes, I did just type that: I am PSYCHED to go wedding dress SHOPPING with my mom this weekend. The Mom who gave me a french, feminine name because she wanted a girly-girl into frills and lace and dresses. The Mom who gets upset because I tend to speed-shop when we go clothes shopping and can case a store in just a few minutes rather than flipping through every single item on every single rack. The Mom who, when I was in high school and she wanted to buy me clothes for Christmas, would go into a store she knew I liked and have the salesperson pick out an outfit for me, because the random salesperson on the street knows my fashion sense better than my own mother. I am PSYCHED to go find my wedding dress with her. The wedding planning disease has obviously hit me hard.

But, really, when you look at it up-close it makes perfect sense. Being 200 miles away Mom doesn't get to be very involved in the wedding planning process (which is, for the most part, a good thing. See that note about our different styles above). Mom did request she be involved in the purchasing of the dress. I need someone else to be involved, and the girl attendant lives 3,000 miles away, so Mom will do the trick. By going to Mom I don't have to pay sales tax for the very expensive clothing. Also, Mom's had a lot of friends whose kids have gotten married over the last few years. So she's got connections on where we can get deals on dresses in PDX. She got the task of calling around to make appointments, check out prices to make sure it was worth our while, etc. I just have to make the drive town to Portland. As an added bonus, it's a debate weekend for the Sweetie, so I'll be missing maybe 5 minutes of face-time with him by heading out of town.

HOPEFULLY the joy of the big white dress will overwhelm my mother, so she won't push too hard for the lace and rhinestones that I'm sure are much more her cup of tea. She's usually pretty good at knowing when our tastes are going down completely different paths and keeping her mouth shut. Plus, shopping has always been our mother-daughter bonding activity (to this day if she feels she isn't getting enough Swank time she'll offer to take me shopping, to bribe me into spending time with her as it were), so this will just be that to the extreme.

We've got 4-5 places lined up to check out. Wish me luck!

Selling to the Savvy Bride

Sweetie did a good job recounting our experiences at the wedding show today. But, the business major in me must comment on a couple of things that just AMAZED me when folks were trying to sell us their services today:
  • You are a DJ who is telling me you know how to read a crowd. If that's true then how come you can't read the THOROUGHLY ANNOYED look on my face that is telling you to JUST SHUT UP ALREADY!
  • One of your selling points is, "All of our DJ's are clean"?!?! Does this need to be stated? Am I a fool for ASSUMING that the professionals I hire to come to my wedding will be CLEAN?!?! Mom's promised to make sure the the brother cleans up for the big day (more an issue of infrequent laundering than anything else, but Mom will be buying him new threads for the big day) -- other than that I didn't think I needed to state this to anyone.

But here's how I know that Meatloaf is the right DJ for us. We had told him of our distaste for "Dan, Dan, the Dancing Man." He got it. Because we were booking at the wedding show we had the opportunity to add some freebies onto our package - ceremony music or karaoke at the reception. I facetiously asked Sweetie if he wanted Karaoke at the reception, and Meatloaf's response was "That would be Ken, Ken, The Karaoke Man." Yeah, he'll be our bitch.

Sunday, January 02, 2005


The Bridal Show wasn't terrible. My bride did not wear the "Bride-to-be" sticker in the shape of a heart. (This enabled me to say "You don't have a heart on for me!" Say it's freakin' hilarious.) Vendors talked to me. It wasn't a zoo of prissy women in their early 20s. It was just fine.

The main task was to get a DJ. The first group we went to see was pretty slick...a great website, loads of DJs to send your way, and the owner we were talking to seemed to understand our needs and what we wanted. He got it off to a good start...

but then the second guy we talked to was a terrible salesman. My business major bride-to-be really gets annoyed when people who are supposed to be selling things are bad at it. He started right off by saying "Getting a DJ is like buying a used car." Huh? I didn't feel an adversarial relationship with this guy going in, but now I did. He then went on for five minutes badmouthing DJ company #1, talking about how their DJs are underpaid, how they don't really care about you, how they do terrible work...blah blah blah. I was eager to hear a reason to hire him, but after about eight hundred reasons not to hire DJ #1, I never got a positive for his gang. Net result: I didn't want DJ #1 OR DJ #2.

Then we met Meat Loaf. No, not the real Meat Loaf, just a guy who looked like Meat Loaf. He was decked out nicely in his tux, mullet, and mustache. (Yeah, I know that Mr. Loaf does not have a mustache...but if he did, he'd look like this guy.) Swankette and I were impressed with Meat Loaf, actually...he answered the questions correctly. The main question, as always, was "What would I see or hear if I walked into one of your wedding receptions?" His answer was totally correct: "It depends." DJ #1 said this too, but I didn't think his heart was in it. DJ #2 was too busy ripping on DJ #1. Meat Loaf understood just fine.

DJ #4 said "Oh, only one of our guys is available that day." Instead of selling his company and touting the strengths of the available man, he shooed us away and recommended DJ #5. What a dork.

DJ #5 said that we could make as many specific requests as we wanted. He said that we could request "Take My Breath Away," and it didn't even have to be the Jessica Simpson version! It could be the...uhm...the other version. BERLIN, you moron! How can a guy my age not remember the performer of the song that provided the theme for homecoming 1986? His answer to the big question was twofold: "I like to get the little kids out dancing first!" and a long description of the anniversary dance...he acted as though he'd invented it. How the hell is the anniversary dance supposed to get people up and dancing anyway? Hmmm.

So we'd basically decided that Meat Loaf was the best. We headed back to him. We still had trepidations...we just wanted to ensure that Meat would not be, as Joe calls him, "Dan Dan the Dancin' Man." That's simply not acceptable at our reception. We asked a few tentative questions, and then my baby laid it on the line: "Look. We just want to know we won't be getting Dan Dan the Dancin' Man." Meat laughed. He got the joke, and understood what we didn't want. He checked his calendar...and found out that he himself would be the DJ available on our date! That, plus his willingness to write into the contract that he will be our DJ barring "a dire emergency or an act of God" [my wording...I sure know contracts!] made all the difference. Then, I asked if we could go spy on his next wedding reception (with the bride and groom's permission, of course). He agreed, and added something that was again, right on the money: "But remember, that bride and groom might want Dan Dan the Dancin' Man." True. So if he plays "The Macarena" at that reception, it'll be fine if everybody reacts in a happy manner. But I'm confident. Mullet or not, he gets it.

Next: Vegan bakers (due to allergies, not to morals) and florists.