Sunday, August 1, 2010

Wedding videos

To be honest I never saw the wedding video as something that I would be interested in. I pictured someone sitting with a video camera recording the ceremony and maybe some speeches given at the reception, possibly even the first dance. And I wondered "who would really sit down and want to watch it?" There are several reasons I would not want to watch myself get married, not the least of which being the fact that it's got to feel rather awkward standing up there in front of everyone and if there's any crying involved well that's just not attractive and then there's the forced kissing and oh yeah the fact that thus far I cannot think of anything (save the actual getting married part) that I'm excited about for the ceremony. 

This is kind of what I think of when I hear the words wedding video and ohmygoodness it just about bores me to tears (is that mean?)

Then of course there is the epic wedding dance and all that it inspired. No. This will not be happening at my wedding.

Just today I saw a video that brought wedding videos to a brand new embarrassing low. Not only is it boring and not worth watching again, ever, but it is so contrived, meaningless, and emotionless that it takes the point out of the entire thing. You made a music video on your wedding day. Congratulations.

Lauren + JP from Matt Odom on Vimeo.

But, folks, there are good wedding videos out there. I did not know it until I stumbled upon Max & Margaux's wedding (stumbled upon is a gross understatement. This wedding has been shoved in my face for weeks now, featured on what must be every blog in the universe. You've seen it right? No? Ok.) This is kind of sort of everything I could ever wish for in a wedding video. Fun. Relaxed. Authentic. Beautiful. The videos capture the mood and make you feel like you're there without making you relive it. These are the kind of videos I would love to have to watch on anniversaries and pass down to my children. In short, I'm just really freaking jealous of this amazing wedding and the sheer talent that makes up The Flashdance crew. It's kind of disgusting.

Max & Margaux from Shark Pig on Vimeo.
Max, Margaux, & The Marvelows from Shark Pig on Vimeo.

And go ahead and drool over Max & Margaux's gorgeous photos here and a million more places online (Really, just google Max & Margaux).

Now excuse me while I go see what I can sell on ebay to scrounge up the cash to have The Flashdance folks at my wedding (nevergonnahappenbutIcandream).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

potential wedding site I: The Athenaeum

First up, the Athenaeum.

I love the building, obvs. It's got loads of character and history, and just the right amount of grandeur for my taste.

 The building has one main room which is used as a gallery, and which I think is pretty close to perfect. It's clean, simple, and seems like it would make a nice backdrop for whatever we choose to do with the space. It certainly is nice to have that kind of freedom, and not have to worry about what kind of decorations would work with this wall color or that horrendous carpet. And it is the perfect size for the size event we're planning here. So, I think I like it.

Of course there's a but. We were thinking about doing the ceremony and the reception in the same place to make things a bit easier and hopefully more cost effective. And I could see both things happening in this space. I can see a ceremony setup and a reception/dinner setup. BUT those are two separate things, which would require a re-set between events. Which would mean the guests would need somewhere to go while things are being moved around. And extra space is not something this building has a lot of. 

There is a small room to the rear of the main room which might hold 50 people standing, and we could just have you hang out there for a bit until things are ready, but you'd kind of be stuck there. In order to get out of the building or even to the bathrooms you would be in the paths of the caterers.

There is also a very cute outdoor space in the back which according to the man showing the space could "easily hold 100 people" but I beg to differ.

This would be a lovely place to have the ceremony, and then have the reception already set up inside, which would eliminate the problem of where would you go in between time, but I have my doubts that it would fit more than 30 people seated. Or it could be our mingling "cocktail hour" space while the main room is being re-set from ceremony to reception, if we went that route. But then we're counting on good weather. What if it rains? Umbrellas? I've already thought to contact them and ask if they have or if we can get a tent to cover the space. So I'll let you know if anything comes of that.

So pretend you're here with me to help me ask questions, solve problems, and generally figure this business out. What would you do?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

a bit of inspiration and some hope

We're going to visit the first potential wedding venues this weekend! There are fancy hotels, rooftops, and pink historical buildings in the mix. Wish us luck!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

for your listening pleasure

Look, we're planning a wedding. I swear. No, there isn't a date yet. Or a location. Did you guys know that this stuff is hard? That it actually takes time and effort and lots of negotiating? That maybe it's not so simple to find the perfect rooftop location in Northern VA (specifically Alexandria) or D.C.? That maybe one of us should have been born into a family with an old plantation ready to host my party for free? Well you should have told me that. Because at first it seems like taking a year to plan a wedding will be more than enough time. What could you possibly be doing with all that time? one might ask. Well can you believe more than a month has gone by since we've gotten engaged? What have we been doing with all that time? I mean, I think we may have decided on our color scheme, I found some flowers that I like, and at least I know I have our cake forks picked out, but the rest? Nah.

At least I have been doing one thing. Creating the wedding playlist is relaxing (a great excuse to have spent the entire morning laying on the couch in my pjs instead of doing laundry or anything else really useful and productive), inspirational, and lots of fun! I have already solicited help from Facebook, but please leave your song suggestions in the comments below! I love hearing what songs are special to other people. Just don't be offended if all of your choices don't end up in the final product, music is a very personal choice and and we both feel very strongly about using songs that mean something to us.

So here we go, a few of my own personal choices. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

cute as a button

Here's a preview of the color pallet we're playing around with. Maybe not those exact shades, but it gives you an idea. I really love the look of grey and yellow together, especially for a Spring/Summer wedding, and some carefully balanced pops of red make for even more fun!

I have been thinking about these colors for a while now, and have seen photos of some yellow bouquets that I just adore. I fell in love with these big round yellow flowers that I wasn't even sure were technically flowers. As you might suspect, I had no idea what they were called. Try googling "big round yellow flowers" and see what you get. It is mostly flowers (and some suspicious owls), but sadly not the big round yellow flowers I was looking for. But thanks to Weddingbee I now know what they are!

That, my friends, is a Billy Button (or Billy Ball, woollyhead, or craspedia). And it makes a fabulous bouquet if I do say so myself.

Seriously, do you LOVE them?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

where it's at (two turntables and a microphone)

So you're probably reading this because you're interested in the wedding planning, right? And you'd probably be more interested if we actually got to the planning part. Where is this thing going to be held? Who's going to be running the show? And what about the party? The five tiered cake with red roses (no)? The food? Yes, I know these are all things that are on your mind because you have nothing else to think about. But here's the thing. We're sort of on hold right now because we're not quite sure where life will take us in the next year. And I'm trying, believe me I'm trying, to find out as soon as possible so we can get going with this wedding planning. I mean it's only like the most important day of my life so far. I'd kind of like to get to it.

And the other thing that has prevented me from posting much is that I'm still not entirely sure how I want to use this blog. I guess my vision was that with so many out of town friends and family who would normally be a part of the planning process, it would be nice to run some ideas by them via the blog to get some input while we're stuck here doing most of it on our own (not that I don't enjoy doing all of this planning with the mister, and he certainly isn't one of those grooms who says "whatever you want dear" leaving me to have a nervous breakdown trying to figure out what it is I want dear). But now I'm not entirely sure who's reading this and what I really want to share. I have found some great details that I am excited about making part of our day, but they immediately feel so personal to me that I'm not sure I want to put it out there. Maybe they should be surprises for everyone attending the wedding, or maybe they wouldn't even care about my special little details anyway! Maybe no one will even notice my special wedding cake forks or my personalized cake platters, and people probably won't be paying a whole lot of attention to our carefully planned playlist for the reception unless they're looking for the standard reception fare and are disappointed at the lack of Electric Slide and Don't Stop Believin' (I know, I wish we could play Journey too, but the mister has strictly forbidden it).

So here's the possibility I'm playing with: making this a private blog for only those close friends and family who I would trust with these details if they lived close enough to go shopping around with me. What do you think?

Friday, June 18, 2010

head over heels

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE my ring and I couldn't possibly love any ring more, but if I were forced to choose a second best it might be this one. Brilliant. Dangerous, but brilliant.

By Tobias Wong, discovered via Brooklyn Bride.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hey! What's the big idea?

One of the personality traits Melissa and I share is a distaste for doing things with only marginal success. If I cannot be the best at something after just a short while then I quickly lose interest. Now, I admit this is not the most positive of traits as it can cause me to avoid doing a great many things. Knowing full well I only had one shot to propose (apart from mumbling the first go 'round) I was committed to making it count.

Before I continue I must relate just how stressful this whole scenario is for the guy. There is a tremendous amount of pressure to be as spectacular and memorable and better than "that other guy's proposal". This isn't just a question you're asking it is a part of history. The big bang, the discovery of America, the Great War, WWII, the civil rights movement - all meaningless in comparison. My shoulders are strained just thinking about it.

First thing first, I needed a ring. Ages ago I asked Melissa to send me some examples of rings she liked so when the time was here I could have something to go off of. Melissa being Melissa, decided to eschew any rings that could be obtained easily or locally. No, she wanted a ring from a guy who only makes rings when someone custom orders them. He lives in England, but thankfully, with the advent of the internet, he gladly takes orders from 'round the globe. After choosing the biggest diamond and shiniest silvery metal I could afford I sent my payment and was told not to worry that he would get right on it and it would be ready to go in just 4 weeks.

Having never purchased jewelry of any kind from anywhere, let alone a diamond engagement ring from a guy in a garage 4,000 miles away I was immediately worried. I kept reassuring myself that this man makes his living selling custom made rings and that creating an entire website complete with shoddy photographs and late 90's design just to take my money and run would be ludicrous. The fact he didn't respond to my emails simply meant he was busy in his basement stoking fires and cleaning his instruments. Surely, he wasn't ignoring my emails because he was in Monte Carlo spending several months of my savings on Blackjack and martinis.

At the end of week 5, when I could barely sleep and seeing anything shiny, round or glimmering made me start to sob a little, I sent a final email asking if he could just please let me know what is going on and I didn't mean to bother, but could he at least let me know if he had any success at the blackjack table since I never seem to when I'm spending my money gambling. Again, there was radio silence. After various fantasies of me flying to Monte Carlo to hunt this guy down and take back what's mine, and figuring out just how I am going to scrape together the money for another ring (which she would most likely hate) I received a slip of paper in the post box indicating I had a package from England I must sign for waiting for me at the post office. Naturally, I assumed this was a photo of the jeweler with a couple cheap European floozies and a fan made of $100 dollar bills with a big "wish you were here" sign written on the bottom.

Having convinced myself I should at least see what the guy looks like I head to the post office and pick up my package. After wrestling with a Russian nesting doll style packaging job I pulled out a little brown box with an amazing custom made ring inside. This was it! I did it! I can relax! But am I going to do this? I don't know how to make a great proposal! Why couldn't that guy have stolen my money? He must be some jerk..I made it easy for him! All he had to do was avoid meeting the terms of our agreement and I could avoid all this proposal stress!

After I woke up from having passed out in the post office parking lot I somehow got the courage to see this through. Not only was I going to do this, I was going to do this better than anyone else ever has! I had a whole host of ideas some which would have cost more than the ring, some which may be illegal. I thought hard about what makes Melissa smile the most and one recurring theme was the band Mates of State. She doesn't just talk about them she gushes about them. If you didn't know Melissa you'd think they were her children. I knew they weren't quite popular enough to be stuck up so I went to their website and found their email address. I sent them an email with two sections (to make it easy to dismiss quickly if need be). I had a short section: "Will you help me propose to my girlfriend?" and a long section which went into much more detail of what I had in mind. I stressed that I completely understood they weren't sitting around just waiting for an email to come in asking them to work for free so if they couldn't do it, just please let me know. I didn't want to hang onto that idea for any longer than necessary.

Well, they probably saw that I asked them to let me know if they couldn't do it and decided it would be best if they let me sweat over it and never write back at all. This is the best route for becoming a sell-out jerk of a pop star and they are well on their way...

Coming up soon was Memorial day weekend and we talked about going to New York City. Melissa had a couple of art shows she wanted to see and I love going to NYC even if it's only to stand around like an idiot and eat hot dogs. We booked a hotel and I decided, if nothing else, that at least I could propose in New York and we could then visit it on our anniversary. She would see her art shows that would make her happy and then I could propose and just put her over the top. It'll be brilliant! The national news will pick it up! We'll be on the front page! Twitterers will tweet!

We get up early on Saturday morning and begin the 4 hour drive up. After having just driven out of Baltimore when the traffic started to thin out a little my fortitude did as well. I immediately remember what I only should have remembered a couple hours ago. I didn't move the ring from my sock drawer to my overnight bag. Melissa was in the room while I was packing and I had to make a mental note to go back and grab it before we left. Apparently my mental notes are much like my desk notes, which is to say scattered, illegible, and useful only for disposing of gum. What was I going to do now? I was not ready to give in so I decided I would find a stand-in ring. A temporary substitute that after a short explanation we can laugh about. This would only add to her excitement since she wouldn't know what the real ring would look like, right? Right..?

After checking into the hotel we clean up, have some lunch, and head over to the first gallery. It's clear across town and Google maps tells us it takes about 30 minutes to get to by subway. What they don't tell you is it takes even longer when you can't find the place and have to walk around with your head facing the sky like like you're in traction. This process takes an additional 30 minutes or so. Once we get to the correct address we notice it has bars on the windows and one of those roll-down gates tightly secured. What a funny way to run a gallery. I mean most people would simply think it was closed. Well, it was closed. There was no sign or any indication on the gallery's website. They just decided to close up shop. It was disappointing to be sure, but we still have the second exhibit to visit and plenty of time to spend in NYC.

We find our way back to the subway with ease and head downtown to the other gallery. Again, this gallery wasn't the easiest place to find, but we eventually do and walk on in the building. We ask the security guard where the suite is and he tells us up on the 6th floor, but he's pretty sure no one's up there. Well of course there won't be a lot of people there. It's an art gallery. What do they get maybe 3 or 4 people at a time? On this particular day they got zero people because they were closed. Running through my mind were visions of the jeweler, Mates of State, the first gallery owner and now the second gallery owner all crowding around a TV (in Monte Carlo) watching us through a closed circuit camera system, laughing hysterically at everything they've put me through.

Despite these setbacks neither of us were particularly salty. We were a little bummed, but decided it wasn't gonna get us down and we walked over to NoLita/SoHo to do some shopping at all the little boutiques. We passed by a jewelry shop when I suggested we go inside (thinking I could find a surrogate ring). Melissa only stood bewildered for a few minutes before agreeing and after spending 30 seconds inside we decided not only was everything in there completely hideous, they were also overpriced (and ugly too). We finished out the trip by eating some pizza and watching a french movie. I never found the right moment, and without a ring of any kind I decided the whole proposal will have to wait. Getting engaged in NYC just wasn't meant to be.

On the way home I suggested a stop for lunch in Philadelphia. I was still holding out hope that even without a ring I could find that perfect moment when everything seemed just right and I could pop the question. We had lunch and left within a couple hours because we had no more quarters left for the meter. Welp, there goes that idea.

It was a long exhausting drive home and the both of us just wanted to sit down, veg out and do absolutely nothing. Sitting there next to Melissa I thought to myself there is no such thing as the perfect time. I could wait for years until the stars aligned and the weather was right I hired just the right clown to make the perfect proposal. I didn't want to wait any longer. I went to my sock drawer, grabbed the ring and sat down. Melissa was on her laptop (but you probably already knew this) so I had to grab her hand to get her attention. I simply let her know what had happened and that I came to the conclusion that waiting for the perfect moment is less important to me than starting our journey together as soon as we can. And that's that. That's how I proposed to my future wife.

In case you were wondering, she said "Yes".

Monday, June 14, 2010

my faves

Here are some of my absolute favorite wedding photos, to give you an idea of what I am looking for in a photographer. Because it's more than just pictures of people in fancy clothes, it's more than staged photo ops. It's telling a story, conveying a mood, creating art. So... who can give me this for cheap?

Oh, and there have been requests for the engagement story and I figured who better to tell the story than The Mister. So he has joined me as co-author of this blog and will be kicking off (soon) with a post about how it all went down. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

married in fantasy land

We'll kick this off with a little fantasy inspiration. How much do you love this photo shoot? I love the vintage styling, the colors, the composition, and the fun of course! It's not actually from their wedding day (they had already been married for a year according to the story), but how much fun would it be if it was? Can I have my wedding at a carnival? I think I would die.


Friday, June 11, 2010


Hey, guess what. I'm engaged! And with engagements come weddings. And weddings don't happen by themselves. They require planning. While I consider myself to be pretty good at planning, making lists, getting stuff done, I feel at a bit of a loss with this whole wedding planning business. I read a lengthy list of wedding blogs, and they're beautiful, and they inspire me and all that, but they're not me. So I'm on a journey to find what is me (and the future hubby of course), because otherwise this is all a waste of time.

So where to start? The dress? Of course the dress is important, and I think about it a lot, but it's not the first thing I thought about. What was the first? The invitations. Interesting. I'm pretty obsessed with designing the perfect Save The Dates and invitations that will set the tone for the entire wedding. No pressure, right? Wrong. But I don't want to overwhelm you on the first post, so we'll get more into it later. What's next? The music. I figure a year to plan out the perfect playlist should be just about enough time. Right? We'll see. Oh, and the food. I'm far more concerned with the dessert bar than the dinner, but isn't that obvious to anyone who actually knows me? And sneaking up on the list of priorities? Photographer. I used to try to tell myself that hiring a professional photographer was not important. But the more I'm reading and the more I'm looking at beautiful photos to remember this one day that will never happen again for the rest of my life, well, I'm thinking I may have been wrong about that one.

So you, my dear readers, have been assigned the task of opinion givers, inspirers (not even a word, but I'm using it!), brain stormers, supporters, and wedding planners. Do you accept?