46 days…

So far I have 95 guests who have RSVP’d in the positive, 24 have declined, and 105 yet to respond.  I’ve received my first registry gift and sent my first thank you note.

Rich and I started dance classes with Elaine of Vow to Dance last week, and we have our second lesson tonight.  We’re still narrowing down our first dance song, but I think it’s going to be something by Frank Sinatra.

We’re working on the rest of our DJ set list, and I think it’s nearing completion.  It’s going to be quite an eclectic mix.  Imagine Dean Martin, Gorillaz, LMFAO, TMBG and Tom Waits all in the same evening.

I’m getting awful hand cramps from punching blue and orange butterflies out of cardstock.  I did another couple dozen last night, and that was all I could handle. I dunno what I was thinking… they’re so pretty though.  Just a billion more to go.

Next week, on Thursday, my work is throwing me a bridal shower.  I’m both looking forward to and dreading this.  I don’t generally care to be the center of attention, and I tend to feel a bit guilty when people give me things.  But then, I always get stuff for everyone else’s bridal and baby showers, so I guess it’s my turn.

Next Saturday, my sister Tiffany’s throwing me a shower.  This should be interesting… we decided that it was an etiquette fail for me to invite coworkers to the second shower, since they’re already attending the first one.  But excluding them means that my girlfriends list is whittled down to only five people plus family.  And my mom wants to invite three of her friends.  So to balance things out, we’ve decided to invite boys to the party.  We’ll have Rich, the gaming group, and perhaps some of his coworkers.

August 22 at 5:00 is the final walk-through.  I’ve confirmed Sean, Courtney, Tammy, Craig, Mr. Johnson and Rich… I sent an email to Kristin and am awaiting her response.  Sean’s (caterer) the main one I need some face time with, so I think we’re good to go there.

We still don’t have a wedding band for Rich… will look more into that this weekend.  If we just can’t fine the right one, I think we can get by with something inexpensive as a temporary stand-in for the wedding, and shop more at our leisure later.

That’s about it for now.  More updates soon!

65 days!

Invites went out on Monday, and several people have already turned in their RSVP cards. Yay! I love opening those little envelopes and seeing peoples’ names.

Next task is to schedule the final walk-through at the Discovery Gardens. It’s not easy having to coordinate with the venue, planner, caterer, fiance’, and my cover at work, but everyone’s been really accomodating, so I think we’ll work something out.

I had a great email conversation with Sean this week, wherein I asked a bunch of questions about chairs and set-up and various other little details, and he gave me the firm answers that I was looking for. Basically he let me know that James Johnson will set up my ceremony chairs (which are provided by TDG). He recommends using TDG’s $2 chairs for the reception. He recommends seating 10 to a table instead of 8, as I’d originally planned; he pointed out something obvious that I’d completely overlooked – more tables = less dance floor. And of course more tables = more flowers, linens, etc., which = more money. Also, he can order any color of linens that I want, given a 10 day notice. So, we can go over all those little details when we meet up at the end of August.

So I’m feeling a little more confident about the little stuff now.

Other things on the to-do list for the next couple weeks:

  1. Sign a contract with my apartment leasing office to rent their comunity center for bridal shower (edit: check!)
  2. Get a list to Tiffany of people that I want to invite to shower (and decide if we want girls only or co-ed)
  3. Finish making a list for Shawna of family portraits that we want to have taken
  4. Decide on and book a rehearsal luncheon venue (currently under consideration: Buca di Beppo)
  5. Finish putting together favors
  6. Decide on a first dance song (hoping our choreographer can help with this next week)
  7. Choose about 30 songs and finalize the don’t play list for the DJ.
  8. Communicate with the officiant (who is currently at Comicon) about ceremony details

69 Days…

Saturday, we went to Texas Discovery Gardens for our 2-month walk-through.  We didn’t accomplish all that much other than giving them more money… We did learn, though, that they have 200 complimentary wood chairs for the outside ceremony, and they offer white plastic/resin chairs for inside for $2 each.  Round 60″ tables and rectangular 8’x30″ (either of which seat 8-10) are $6 each.  We’ll definitely use the outside chairs and the inside tables.  We might talk to Sean at Jim Lee to see if he has nicer chairs for the inside, or possibly do chair wraps or covers to fancy them up.

One of my concerns right now is figuring out the head table/s seating.  The hall has a large elevated stage area; big enough  for a large band to set up… but we only have a DJ who won’t take up much room.  So our initial thought was to put three head tables (bridal party and immediate family) up on the stage.  Problem is there are three steps leading up to the stage, and three people who can’t manage that walk up.  So we’re looking at other ways to seat people and use up some of that space.  Possibly a long table with just me, Rich, Tiffany, Sara, Ben, and Doc.  Or maybe those six with the addition of spouses; Katy, and Marlena… if we bring Tiffany’s husband Scott up, it seperates them both from their kids, unless we bring the three of them up too… And then what do we do about our parents and other siblings?  Ugh, such a mess.  Maybe just a sweetheart table up there, but there’s really too much space for one tiny table.  Anyway, I hope to get that all sorted out so0n.

On a more positive note, invitations are going out today.  Yay!  I’ve already gotten two RSVP cards back. 🙂

76 days…

We went wedding band shopping yesterday.  First stop was Robbins Brothers – the storefront near the Galleria is so huge, I figured they’d have a massive selection.  Turns out that they just have a massive building… they don’t have any more rings than any other mall shop.  Anyway, it was a good first stop.  We found a few possibilities, but nothing that knocked our socks off.

Next stop was Zale’s at the Galleria, where we found a band for me.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be getting a wedding band or not – my engagement ring is rather large, and doesn’t really need any more embellishment, but we managed to find a band that was contoured just right to fit against my center stone.  And it was on sale, and deeply discounted, and the stones were bigger than the more expensive one at Robbins Bros.  And it didn’t even need to be sized.  So I couldn’t resist. 🙂 

Rich is still on a quest for the perfect ring… he started the day wanting something titanium or tungsten carbide, but ended the day leaning more towards white gold.  He likes hammered finishes, which look more realistic when done on gold, and look like chiseled facets on the harder metals.

We found one at Bachendorf’s (alas, I can not find a link to it) that was really unique – platinum, white gold and yellow gold blended together.  But it was ten times what he was expecting to spend, and four times what I was expecting.  So we’ll keep looking.  Hopefully we’ll find something for him soon.

I also found my shoes yesterday.  I’m going with these from the Tom’s bridal collection. 🙂  I tried them on at Nordstrom, but they only had one pair, which looked a bit worn – they’d clearly been tried on quite a few times.  So I ordered them online and will have a new pair shipped to me.

Also today I initiated contact with James Johnson, who will be doing out clean-up/tear-down after the wedding.  We’ll meet with him on our final walk-through (note to self: remember to call him when I’ve scheduled the final walk-through!)

This Saturday at 3:00 is our 60 day walk-through at TDG.  I think we’ve got everything pretty well in hand at this point, so mostly we just need to take care of our next payment.  It’s always good to see the venue again, tohugh, so I don’t mind doing another walk-through!

 

vendor love!

Who would have thought I could weep happy tears at the sight of a vendor contract?  I received my invoice today from Dallas Light and Sound, and the total was 30% less than I’d expected!  When we met with Anthony and Craig a month or so ago, they went over all the things they’d like to do in the hall, and I had to stop them when they wanted to add in extras that were $300 over my budget.  They said that was ok – they would throw the other stuff in, since our numbers weren’t too far off.  Then we went outside, and they pointed out more stuff that they could do, that I hadn’t thought of before – a platform for us to stand on, a speaker system and mic for the officiant… more money… I said I’d have to think about it and figure out how to work it into the budget.  Anyway, when they sent me the invoice today, I saw that they just ended up throwing all that in for free!  I couldn’t believe the generosity!  I’m just overwhelmed.  And a very happy customer.  I thought these guys were just going to do a few uplights for us and that’d be it – but they’re doing so much more. They’re practically secondary wedding coordinators, even – they’ve offered advice and ideas about things that have nothing to do with lighting.  Anyway, I just couldn’t be happier with this service, and will post positive reviews for their company everywhere I can.  Much love for Anthony and Craig! ❤

90 days!

Just three short months to go!  This week I’ve scheduled my 60 day walk-through at TDG for July 7 at 3:00 (any family members who are curious to see the venue are welcome to join).  I’ve also signed a contract and paid a deposit for Carpe Diem Bride to do my hair and make-up.  I’ve received my invitations, and will pass out a few to family tomorrow.  The rest will have to wait until I get the return address stamp that I ordered from Etsy last week (I’m not gonna do all that by hand!).  I’ve ordered and received love stamps from the post office (they have orange calla lilies on them!).  I’ve purchased a bridal headband from a seller on ebay and am awaiting shipment on that.  I’ve contacted my DJ and requested some song selection advice, and he responded with a wonderful sample list that’s very much to my tastes (everything from “Volare,” to “Hey Ya!” to “Jump, Jive, and Wail!”).  I trust he’ll help make our wedding into a really fun event.

That’s about it for now.  Rich and I are taking a break today and doing something really fun – we’re attending Beerfeast 2012 at The Flying Saucer.  I know, it’s totally unbride-like to drink lots of beer, and it’ll totally ruin my diet, but I think I’ve earned something fun.:)  Tomorrow we’ll be visiting with family and celebrating Fathers’ Day.  I’m looking forward to a really relaxing weekend!

Monday, it’s back to wedding stuff… Tiffany and I are headed to Alfred Angelo at 6:00pm for my dress fitting.

97 Days to Go!

Yesterday, I was honored to be a guest at a friend’s wedding in Dallas… this was the first wedding I’ve attended since becoming engaged, by one of my peers, in my city, and scheduled at the same time of day and day of week as my ceremony… so you can bet I was taking mental notes all evening. 🙂

The ceremony was scheduled for 5:00, and actually got started at around 5:10. There were six bridesmaids, all in tea-length, strapless black dresses, and six groomsmen in black tuxes with black ties (the groom had a grey tie). There were two flower girls and two ring-bearers. The bride wore white, with lots of rhinestone accents. The ceremony was lovely – it was in a church, and was religious, but was inclusive and sweet. There was something about a baseball that I didn’t quite understand (too many sports references for me!), but I appreciated the symbolism of the two pieces of leather stitched together with one string. There was also a touch of humor with the unity candle ceremony. The bride and groom stood with their individual candles for several minutes, attempting to light the unity candle, but it just wouldn’t take the flame. The minister stepped in to try to help, to no avail. Eventually the bride gave up and grabbed a nearby tealight and perched it on top of the candle as a makeshift solution. It was clever and funny, and the audience responded with appropriate laughter.

After the ceremony, we all headed to the Room on Main Street for the reception, which happens to be a 10 minute walk from my apartment. So instead of trying to find paid parking in the area, we just drove home and walked to the venue. Rich and I arrived a little later than the rest of our little group (there were 9 of us who knew each other from work), and found that our group had snagged a table and left a couple seats open for us. There were no escort cards, place cards, or table numbers in sight. Just 26 or 27 ten-person tables, one (that I saw) with a reserved sign, and a sweetheart table for the happy couple. There were two (open) bars at either side of the room, a photo booth tucked in the far corner near one of the bars, two small tables to the right of the entrance with bride and groom cakes, a table to the left for gifts, a buffet table on either side, and a DJ booth opposite the entrance, near the sweetheart table. The tables were round, with white tablecloths, a black runner, and black napkins. The centerpiece was a simple vase of white hydrangeas on a mirror base, surrounded by four candles.

At around 7:00, the wedding party entered the hall and took their seats, followed by a mariachi band! The mariachis serenaded the couple once they were seated, and the couple was served dinner and ate during the performance. After they were taken care of, tables were sent one by one to the buffet table to fill their plates. Food was standard wedding fare; beef, chicken, mixed veg, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, and bread – fairly similar to what we’ll be offering. The mariachi band continuted to play throughout dinner, and at around 8:00, was replaced with a DJ, who played dance music for the rest of the evening. At around 9:00, the MOH and BM gave toasts, and around 9:15, the cake was cut (the cake was a gorgeous 4-tiered work of art by The Cake Guys, patterned to match the bride’s dress, and was a delicious white cake).

We ate cake, drank a bit more, and took advantage of the photo booth. At some point around 8:00 or so, a caricature artist arrived and set up an easel near one of the bars. The line was too long for us to take advantage, but it seemed like a fun idea for those willing to wait.

We danced and drank, and had a fun time with my friends, and departed a little after 10:00. I saw a few others starting to make their way to the door at around that time, and I would guess that the party probably wrapped up before 11:00.

One other thing I should mention – the bride was assisted by Courtney from Bride Associates, who is also my coordinator! It was really great seeing her in action – very organized and in control, but also very unobtrusive and behind-the-scenes. I took a moment to say hello and congratulate her on her own recent engagement, but she understandably didn’t have a lot of time to chat. 🙂

Ideas I’m going to steal… I wasn’t quite sure at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of unassigned seating. People tend to gravitate towards the guests that they know, and they end up sitting where you probably would have assigned them, anyway.  And I can see how it’d relieve a little pressure from the bride & groom, too… they don’t have to worry as much about tracking every name, assigning every seat and worrying about no-shows, and (even worse) trying to find spots for extras who didn’t RSVP. To accomodate everyone in this fashion, it’s probably wise to have at least one extra table, since some groups might not fill a complete table. But I think, even with an extra table, I’d save money this way, since I wouldn’t be investing in table numbers and escort/place cards.

I liked the idea of the couple being announced as they entered, and immediately going to the dance floor for their first song.  They’re up anyway, and everyone’s attention is focused on them at that moment, so why not?  I also liked that the couple was fed as soon as they sat down.  This gave them time to enjoy a quick bite, then get up and mingle while others were getting their food.

I liked the aisle runner she used for the ceremony, and really think I should invest in something similar.  I guess hers was to protect the carpet from crushed rose petals – mine would be to protect my dress from grass stains.

What I’m going to skip… The DJ wasn’t really to my tastes.  He was very talented at scratching and such, but I didn’t like how he mixed songs together – there’d be a few phrases of one song, then it’d jump to another, and another, with no breaks in between.  And everything was current popular dance music, without any ballads to slow things down.  So the older people in the group had nothing to dance to.  I’d rather do a mix of fast and slow so there’s a little something for everybody.  And there were few announcements… at one point he told everyone to be quiet so that the bridal party could do toasts, but that was pretty much it.  No announcement (that I heard) that cake was being cut or served.

The second bar ended up being largely unnecessary.  Most people gravitated towards the one in the front, and I really think it would have been enough to accomodate everyone.  And since she had more guests than I’ll have, I think I’ll do fine with just one.  Also, my drink of choice (vodka cranberry) seemed to be many people’s drink of choice for the evening, so I’ll have to remember to stock up on vodka!

The photo booth was fun, but I don’t know how many people took advantage of it.  And the booth shot out duplicates of the pictures – usually, the bride and group would keep one copy as a memento, and the guest would keep the other, but we were given both copies.  So it was a cute favor for us, but nothing that the couple will ever see, and that seemed like a shame.

Overall, though, it was a really fun experience, and Rich and I had a great time celebrating with the lucky couple!

EDIT: I didn’t really think about it until days later, when I saw pictures popping up on Facebook… we completely missed the bouquet and garter toss!  It must have happened well after 10 – I’m sorry I missed it, but it was just too late for us to stay on a work night.