Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tuxes part deux

Swankette is being very kind to the first, failed tux shop. The guy took about a year to get everything in the computer. Then, even though we had clearly said we were just shopping around, he seemed surprised when we didn't pay a deposit. I'm highly thankful we didn't.

I thought I wanted to have something in tails. The reasoning behind that was this: during the ceremony, everyone is going to be looking at my ass. I wanted the tux to be able to differentiate me from the groomsmen if I was being looked at from behind. For some reason, this is how I pictured the whole wedding...I guess I must have been to a wedding at a young age where this happened. And when we left Shop #1, we had it all planned.

But at the Tux Shop, I tried on the two longer jackets. The first was a cutaway. It sort of made me look like a waiter, I think because it was a one-button and the lapels were so large. The second was tails. It made me look like a concert pianist. No, thank you.

So what I decided I wanted was a three-button cutaway. But those don't exist. I'm told that it would look ridiculous...but I think it wouldn't.

But I really like the 3-button deal we'll all be wearing.

The guy at The Tux Shop was 20 years old max, but he was our bitch. Responded to our questions, laughed at our jokes, etc. He was a pleasure to work with! My only bummer is that we have to pick up our tuxes between 4 and 7 PM on the Thursday before the wedding. I wanted that night to be a bachelor party. I suppose it still could be. Few whorehouses open before 8 anyway. (Kidding, honey.)

I'm gonna be the tallest guy up there...which is good, because tuxedoes are one of those things that you look damn good in when you're 6'3".

Tuxedos: Check

Yesterday afternoon Sweetie and I went off in search of tuxedos for the big event. The men standing up for us will not look like Pips, Tops or Commodores, but will look darn good.

To make the list of potential tuxedo rental location there was only one criteria you had to meet: locations in Seattle, Portland and Phoenix (the locations of all the tuxedo wearers for the day). Two places made the list.

We started at shop #1 because it was close to the condo. They had a book of the different tuxedo options to flip through. The guy helping us wasn't much help at commenting on what styles might look good or what popular options were, but he was very good at trying to get us to commit to the expensive tux at the front of the book, so we wouldn't go farther on in the book to find the less expensive models. We put together a potential look based on the pictures available. At one point we asked it if would be possible for the groom to try on a particular coat, to see if it would be as flattering as we thought it might be. Apparently this shop does not actually carry any of the tuxes in-house because it would be impossible to carry every style in every size and that's just not fair. We spent an hour there, and I think about 45 minutes of that time was spent flipping back and forth in the damn book deciding which lapels matched better. At the time we thought the groom would wear a different coat from the others, but at least wanted the others to somehow match.

Shop #2 is exclusively tuxedos. It's at the local mall, and come prom season there will be a line of teenage boys spewing out the door preparing for their prom. The upside of this location was that you could actually try on the coats to see what you liked best. It helps if you're a 40 regular, but even as a 41 extra long the groom was able to get an idea of what the style might look like on him. He tried on the coat that, based on the pictures, he liked the best. Not so hot anymore. But then we found the perfect coat for him. And we were able to hold vest samples up to the coat samples to see what they might look like as well.

To top it all off, there was a moment in the store that reinforced to me why Sweetie and I are having such a kick-ass time planning this wedding. Sweetie was back in the changing room, trying on some pants to get fully measured. There was another couple in the store going through a similar process (not sure if it was for their wedding or what, but he was wearing the tux and his girl was sitting there watching him). The man was wearing the tux pants down around his hips. The shop worker suggested that most men tend to wear tux pants higher, and did he really want to wear them there, because wherever he was wearing them now is where they would be hemmed to, so just make sure that's how you want them. The man assured the tux shop worker that was how he wanted to wear his pants. Then his girl stepped in and suggested he didn't really want to wear his pants there. I'm not sure what transpired after that, because I was back where the changing rooms are promising Sweetie I will never tell him how to wear his pants. I just am not capable of being that big of a control freak.

So all the gentlemen in the wedding party will be wearing a three-button shawl-collared tuxedos with vests and bow ties. The groom will be in a platinum vest, the others in black. The fathers will be asked to wear a tuxedo of their choosing (my dad already owns his own), with a vest and bow tie. We're not committed on color there, but are considering saying they should complement the mom's styles. That will mix things up a bit and keep everyone looking sharp.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Flowers: Check

It's official. Florist #3 is our guy. Not only did he offer us the best match for what we wanted design-wise, but he was closest to our budget as well.

Granted, the budget was a number randomly pulled out of the air, but seemed reasonable to me for the simple stuff we were asking for, but look at how the numbers played out:

Florist #1 - Double the budget.
Florist #2 - 66% above budget
Florist of Swank- $122 above budget.

So if you're invited to the wedding and you're allergic to Gerbera daisies you may want to hit the antihistamines pretty heavy that morning, because that will, indeed, be the flower of choice.

Next stop: Tuxes and invitations.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

The Results Are In...

For something that is low on my list of wedding-related priorities I sure am spending a lot of time on flowers. Probably because it's such a prolonged process. You have no clue on costs until about a week after you've met with the florist.

Florist #1 is officially out. I bought a boquet of gerbera daises around 3:30 pm on Sunday afternoon. Kept an eye on them throughout the night. One of them lost a chunk of petals, but I think they may never have had them or I bought a defective flower, so I'm not counting that. When I went to bed at 10:30 that night they still looked OK. Maybe not quite as fresh, but good enough for a candid snapshot or two. Forgot to check them when I woke up yesterday morning for staying power, but when we got home at 11:00 last night they weren't horrible looking. That's 30 hours after I bought them. Today they're looking a bit worse for wear, so I guess that means I won't be taking my boquet on the honeymoon.

Florist #3 is still my favorite, but #2 gained some brownie points today. We got the quote via e-mail yesterday, and it was rather high for what was budgeted (we may be able to scale it down, haven't gone down that path yet.) Today we got the hard copy of the quote along with a small boquet. Now that's good marketing - a florist sending us flowers! And they are quite lovely. So now I take back that bit about not seeing any of her work.

Now we anxiously await Florist #3's quote. May not be until early next week, so wait patiently and stay tuned.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

The Scientific Side of Wedding Planning.

Interview with florist #3 was yesterday, and I'm REALLY hoping that he ends up being our wedding florist. It's pretty much dependent on the quote we get from him and the experiment being conducted in our apartment today.

When speaking with all three florists I told them basically the same thing:
  • Flowers aren't a huge deal for us. We want something nice, but this is not a budget buster for us.
  • I'm fairly stupid when it comes to flowers, so outside the big ones (roses, daisies, tulips, carnations) it's strictly "look at the pretty purple one!"
  • We both like the look and feel of gerbera daisies and think it would be cool to have that be the main flower.
  • I also gave them our idea on centerpieces thus far (wanting flowers to pretty it up and bring consistency to the tables.)

Florist #1 (he of the urinal floral arrangements) insisted that gerbera daisies wilt really fast and look really crappy when they're wilty. He struck me as the type where we're supposed to tell him our colors and just trust him 100%. Or, better yet, let him decide our colors for us based on the arrangements he'd like to do. His work was good, but a bit expensive for our budget (although it's the only formal quote we have thus far, so we'll see how that plays out).

Florist #2 didn't offer any visual aides during our consultation. I didn't even realize until I was walking back to my car. No photos of past work. No current displays sitting out in the shop. Nada. Based on the conversation we had I believe she has my bouquet being made of roses (which would be nice, but really I don't care if there's not a single rose around on the day), and has dahlias and gerbera daisies as the centerpieces.

Florist #3 got it. When I said we were thinking of gerbera daisies he grabbed a few from the buckets behind us, grabbed some bear grass, and in about 30 seconds had a very striking mock-up I could look at. He then grabbed one of the small daisies, did a little twist with some of the bear grass and we had ourselves a boutinniere. He suggested potted gerberas as centerpieces because their very cost-effective, and wants to tie it in with the rest of our centerpiece idea to make it all come together. He thinks it's FABULOUS that Sweetie and I met through the personal ads of a local alternative newsweekly, and AWESOME that he's actually met someone that met their spouse that way now. After the floral consultation side was done we just sat and chatted for a few minutes.

Number 3 gets it. Yeah, I'm gonna' trust him a lot of the way, but we've got to work together as a team to make sure it all reflects Sweetie and I on the big day. And he was just a lot of fun!

The quote will, obviously, make an impact, but my gut tells me will be able to find a way to make it work.

So I went and bought some gerbera daisies this afternoon. I'm not putting them in water, just seeing how fast they wilt and how nasty they look when they're wilted. They strike me as a hearty enough flower that they'll be fine for the wedding. I suspect that they just don't work well in florist #1's standard bouquet, but we're leaving in the hands of science right now.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Name Game

Shortly after the engagement Sweetie commented that I needed to prepare myself because after the wedding I would be TORTURED because no one would be able to spell my last name. I disagreed with him, and continue to diagree with him. I have had occassion to have to spell my future last name and it is not in the least bit torturous.

What Sweetie fails to understand is that although I may have a somewhat common last name (at least compared to his), it does have alternate spellings and no one ever knows which spelling is correct. Add to that the fact I once had a job where the only people in my office were me and my boss. We shared the same last name but spelled it differently. Really, having to constantly spell my last name is not a problem.

But tonight, while listening to NPR, I realized what the problem will be. It's the pronunciation issue. With my last name there is really only one way to pronounce it. I think Sweetie's last name could easily be mispronounced by someone if they didn't know better. So I'm listening to the letters segment on All Things Considered and at the end they give the standard spiel: "If you have a letter send it here and make sure you include your name, how to pronounce it and where you're writing from." I've often tried to come up with something to write NPR about so that I could be a smart ass at the end of the letter and say:

Swankette (pronounced Swankette)

but once the name is changed I might actually have to give some direction on how to say the last name. I think I'll cope.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Wedding dream...

I had this dream the other night. Woke up quite discomfited.

I was conducting a "friend choir" (like the one we will have) at someone else's wedding. The song we were performing: "If" by Bread. You know: "If a piiiiicture paaaaints a thooooousand worrrrds,/Then whyyyyyy can't IIIIIII paint yooooooou..." Ugh. In the dream, I was faintly wondering why this was the song the couple wanted. So I was conducting Bread. And my choir wasn't exactly musically talented. In fact, they were terrible singers. The main guy I noticed in my choir was this bass who had the scratchy two-pack a day voice that sings loud, gravelly, and flat-toned two octaves beneath the melody. (You know--he's the guy who sits behind you at church almost every week.) It was terrible, and I felt like the wedding looked awful.

I woke up and realized...shit, I have to figure out what songs will be a part of our service. Soon.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Things That Make You Go Hmmm....

So today I'm viewing the portfolio of a florist who will potentially be doing the flowers for our wedding. Among the lovely photos of centerpices and boquets and candelabras and other shots you would expect to see in a florist's portfolio is a photo of the urinals in a men's restroom. The kind that hang on the wall, not the kind that go all the way to the floor. And beneath the urinals is a floral arrangement - primarily greenery, but a floral arrangement no less. This raises a few questions in my mind:
  1. Who is the person that decided that the urinals at the reception needed a floral arrangement?
  2. What kind of budget must you have to afford a floral arrangement large enough to span under 3 urinals, in addition to all the other floral arrangements you must have had?
  3. Was there equal treament in the ladies room?
  4. What florist decides that THIS should be part of their portfolio? (It was a fine arrangement, but not as nice as the other things in the book in my opinion)
  5. Has anyone looked at this portfolio and realized that THAT'S the extra-special detail their wedding was missing and then decided to add the urinal floral arrangement to the quote?

For our pocketbook's sake I'm hoping we won't be using this florist. He was a perfectly pleasant person, but the estimate he came up with was double what we've budgeted. Yeah, we may be able to cut back a little on what he estimated and bump up the budget a bit, but I don't want to do that extensive of surgery on the numbers if I don't have to. I should get quote #2 later this week, and have meeting #3 next Saturday.

Friday, March 11, 2005

How Do They Do It? aka Flowers

I've seen the TV shows. I know how it's supposed to go. I'm supposed to plan this wedding while the groom sits at home and rolls his eyes at how much I'm spending and how much it's taking over my life. I'll begrudgingly drag him along to try on tuxes, letting him believe he has a choice in the matter, but using my feminine wiles to make him pick the tux I've already chosen. He's just got to show up for the rehearsal dinner and the main event.

I'm supposed to consult with my mom, with my maid of honor and bridesmaids, perhaps with a wedding coordinator, perhaps even with his mom, but in no way is the groom supposed to be involved in the planning. This is MY day that I've dreamed of since I was in the womb, and I've had every detail planned out since I was 10, I've just been looking for the boy to plug into the blank space at the altar.

Tomorrow I forage into the first taste of that experience and I am TERRIFIED. Due to my poorly timed flu our options are to wait until almost April to start looking for a florist, or for me to go out on my own to interview and make the pick. April's not really an option, so I'm going it on my own.

Thankfully, both the groom and I have discussed what we want the wedding to look like (at least to some extent). Thankfully, both the groom and I have decided on a predominant flower we'd LIKE to have. Thankfully, the colors and feel of that flower are distinct, so can perhaps be translated to other flowers or other ideas. But what if one of the florists I meet with is a raving lunatic and I just can't see it.

Part of what scares me is the experience interviewing photographers. Based on experiences on the phone I had preconceived notions about these people, and there was at least one instance where I missed some stuff the groom totally picked up on as we were interviewing them. But, at the end of the day, the photographer we picked was #1 in both of our books without even trying. I hope it turns out the same way with the florists.

Thankfully, I've got a small pool from which to select. The church that we are getting married at has a lot of rules regarding weddings. We're totally fine with that. Better with that than a lot of the photographers we interviewed were. We're also discovering that the church is fairly willing to bend the rules to work with you, as long as you respect the spirit of the law and have a reason for wanting to bend the rule. For example:

The rule: If you want singing at the wedding it must be from our pre-approved list of singers who actually know how to project into such a large space and won't sound like crap.

The bend: We want singers. MINIMUM experience for singers involved will be college choir experience. Yeah, they can project into such a large space and it's not just Aunt Dorothy wanting to serenade the crowd.

So it's no surprise that the church has rules regarding the flowers (where flower arrangements can be for the most part). They also have a list of six recommended florists who have worked in the space before and have the church's seal of approval. So, instantly we have the list narrowed down to six.

Of the six: One is booked for that day. One number was a home-style answering machine and my call was never returned. One was a wrong number. The list is now narrowed down to three.

I'm meeting with two tomorrow and one next Saturday. One of the one's I'm meeting with tomorrow charges $50 to even talk to me. If we book with him we get it credited to the event. When scheduling he originally suggested 11 am. I said I had an appointment at 11 am in a neighborhood that's about 20 minutes away from where he is (florist #2, but I didn't mention that), could we do it ANY other time of the day? He's alone in the shop from 12-4, so it would have to be before that, can I do 10? I ask how long the meeting usually takes. He says an hour. I suggest that if we meet at 10 there is no way I can make my 11 am meeting in a neighborhood 20 minutes away, how about 9:30. He begrudgingly says yes. It may be $50 out of the budget not to book him, but he's got a big X against him at the moment under the "easy to work with" category.

And how stupid is it to have to pay $50 to even talk to the guy? Normally I'd run from that as fast as I could, but three seems to me like the minimum number of people we must interview to do our due diligence. And one of the other florists has basically told me that if we pick someone off the list they know how to bend the rules to keep the church happy, so I REALLY want someone off the list. So I'll go and pay the $50 and see what he has to say.

So soon we may have flowers, and the planning is back on full swing.