Monday, June 30, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

How to sync my wedding with my values

I love the current trend in eco-weddings. The cynical part of me (admittedly a very large part) rolls my eyes whenever I see a new blog story about them because I think they're very trendy right now and that quite a few people have them just so they can brag about them to others. As in "My wedding is so environmentally conscious. I have letterpress invitations done with soy based ink on recycled paper made from used condoms."

Unfortunately, many aspects of the environmental movement are out of reach for most people. Although I buy free range meats for my FH and I, there's no way I can afford to do that for a wedding. My Mom was telling me the other day about this great story in Martha Stewart Weddings (groan!) about a menu that featured free range beef and chicken. I said "Mom - that sounds fantastic! Do you have any idea how much that's going to be?"

I don't want to give up flowers just because I can't afford organic ones. I don't want to tell my friends and family that live out of town not to come because of the carbon wasted traveling. Even though I eat about 95% local in the summer and 60-65% the rest of the year, I can't afford all local meats and food for my wedding.

However, there are things I can do to that sync up with my values. The main one being that if I can buy it, rather than rent it, I will. I know that sounds ridiculous - how does buying more stuff help environmentally? My main goal for this is that I hope to reuse aspects of my wedding in my day-to-day life and I plan on passing the other things down to another bride after me. I also plan on buying used as much as possible.

I do plan on using some flowers in my wedding. I've already asked the first florist I've interviewed if I can use flowers from my garden - she thought that was a great idea. I'm also coming up with ways to reduce the amounts of flowers I need. I plan on using lots of votive candles and a farmer friend is growing heirloom winter squash for me that we plan to decorate with. We'll even be able to eat some of them later this winter!

Brothers Cove is one of the more environmentally friendly resorts in the Pigeon Forge area which unfortunately isn't saying much. However, they do make an effort to place their cabins so that they don't disrupt the natural beauty. They plant trees for any they have to cut down and use any trees cut down in the building of the cabins or in the furniture inside. They use building techniques like building on platforms to keep from cutting down more trees than is necessary.

We'll be eating seasonal foods and some of what we'll be eating will be from local providers. Cheese will be from Locust Grove Farm and several farmer friends will be growing produce for me. We'll be serving hot pepper jelly made from peppers from my back yard and the fillings in the cake will be from local fruit I preserved this summer. For favors, we're giving out apple butter made from local apples.

There are just a few things but I'm happy about them. I wish I could do more but then the rational side of me says to the perfectionist part "The perfect is the enemy of the good". We do what we can and we try to improve. And that's all we can do.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

7 months is the shortest engagement period ever!

I never realized that seven months of being engaged would be considered a ridiculously short engagement length. I've actually had people act shocked, like this was a shotgun wedding we were planning. We've been dating for 12 years - a two year engagement period seems a bit silly. Besides, I'm almost 35 and we're thinking about starting a family. If we're going to do that, we need to get moving so waiting forever to get married doesn't sound very wise in my book. I just think it's sad that so many people have such long engagement periods because they need so much time to plan a wedding and/or they need to save up money. I also know of at least two young girls who are having really long engagement periods because "they want to be sure" this is the person they want to marry. Whatever happened to waiting to get engaged when you're sure you know this is the person you want to marry?

I don't want to be overly critical of other people's choices, but it's frustrating when I've had so many people be critical of mine. Of course, we also have the opposite side of the spectrum - people who tell me they planned their wedding in two weeks so I can do it. You know what? That's great that they did that but I have this feeling that the wedding they planned for themselves is not the kind of wedding we want. The wedding we want will take some time and planning and that's ok.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Stick me on a wedding cake - I'm done!

I'm going to be completely honest. I realize that there are lots of women out there who think trying on wedding gowns would be so much fun. I was not one of those women. I detest trying on clothes. Hate it, hate it, hate it. When I shop for clothes, I head to Marshalls or TJ Maxx and grab about 30 things to try on. It's something I get over with as quickly as possible. Objectively, I know there are a lot of people who would like to have my figure. I'm not overweight, I've got long legs for a short girl and nothing is out of proportion with anything else. Of course I want to lose the requisite 20 pounds (and I'm ashamed to admit this because I hate what our society does to women) but nothing awful to work with. However, I very rarely like the way I look in clothes. It takes me a long time to find stuff that I think is flattering and I was not looking forward to trying on THE MOST IMPORTANT DRESS I WILL EVER BUY and picking one out.

I was pleasantly surprised. I actually had fun. I went with my maid of honor and best friend the first time and we had a really good time. The first store we hit was White Lace & Promises. Lori who helped us was fantastic and I highly recommend her. She asked me what I was looking for and I told her that I really had no idea. I just knew that I didn't want an elegant, slip-style dress like you'd see J Crew models wearing because I knew I'd look stupid in it and I didn't want a dress with an empire waist because then all of my FI's relatives would whisper that I was pregnant.

So these styles were out:

She gave me a bunch of clips to put on the dresses we wanted to try on and we started looking. My first realization was that there may be more choices now, but there are still buttloads of strapless dresses out there. I quickly ruled out the more spangle-encrusted gowns. I tried on a mermaid shaped dress and my BF and I promptly cracked up at how dumb I looked. We decided that if I was going to go strapless, I looked better with a sweetheart neckline rather than one that was straight across. I found it funny because I expected my BF to pick out different styles of dresses than what she choosing, just based on what she personally liked. I asked her about it and she said that I was more "sparkly" so she was choosing based on that. For some reason, that cracked me up. I told her it was perfect. Sparkly could be used both as a compliment and as an insult.

We quickly decided that the more pouffy the skirt of the dress was, the better I looked. Nothing elegant for me - hook me up with a Donna Reed dress!!! Here's a pic of our favorite dress at that store:

Is that not one of the most ridiculous dresses you've ever seen?!!! Yet it looked really good on me. My waist looked tiny and even though I'm on the short side, it didn't overwhelm me. So a 50s prom dress was where it was at.

We went and fortified ourselves with strawberry margaritas - it was a girly day and we needed a girl drink! Whipped cream and all! Then it was on to our next stop.

Wedding Wonderland was next. This was not my favorite store to be blunt. I've heard from other people that they loved it but the girl who helped us was a snot. It's one of the more upscale bridal shops in town but Rodeo Drive it isn't. {rolling eyes} I had called and asked if it was necessary to have an appointment for a weekday and was told it wasn't. Our saleslady acted a bit put out by our just showing up. Then she asked me when my wedding date was - I lied and said October. Her eyebrows shot up at that. I'm sorry but I think it's insane that women are expected to shop over a year in advance for a wedding dress. I overheard another girl talking about how she was buying a dress for her wedding next May. No - not this coming May but May of 2009. Of course she was also having 14 of her sorority sisters be her bridemaids so I immediately quit listening and we started to shop.

I really like Maggie Sottero dresses. Some of them are (IMHO) hilariously hoochified. But after trying a couple on, they looked very good on me. I seriously thought the girl helping us was going to put her foot on my back to get the strings as tight as she could. It looked great though, even if I couldn't breathe. I also tried on a Lea-Ann Belter dress - I fell in love with the fabric. It made it look so rich and expensive. Here's a pic:

I decided that I had had enough of trying on dresses that weighed more than my cats so my BF and I decided we'd call it a day and I'd go the next round with my mom.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Wedding themes

I explained to my mom last night about how all weddings need a theme now. Her reply?

"Isn't getting married enough of a theme?"

I love my mom!

Monday, June 9, 2008

Do I get my midlife crisis now?

Or do I have to wait until I'm 40? It's the big 35 today for me!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Reception Search - THE HOLY GRAIL!

Ok, so Brother's Cove isn't the holy grail but it's pretty awesome. The night I got engaged, my Mom looked around the cabin we were in and said "Wouldn't it be neat if you could get married in a huge cabin somewhere up in the mountains?" I thought so and after talking with The Boy, we decided to focus on finding a reception area in the mountains.

Brothers Cove is fairly new and I can't even remember how I found it. I just know that I was Googling for venues and I came across pictures of their Countrymen's Lodge. I fell in love over the Internet. We saved this place for last because we were hoping it would THE ONE! Me being me, I know how much of a spaz I can be so the entire time we were driving up there, I kept telling myself "Don't get your hopes up! It probably sucks." The Boy and I got the keys to the place, drove up and walked in the door. We looked and each other and we both mouthed "Holy Crap!' This was exactly what we had envisioned. Somewhere rustic but still elegant. It looked perfect for a fall wedding and the fact that there were cabins on site(and very reasonably priced to boot) made it even more appealing.

Next, we checked out a cabin and they're stunning! I love how they're not stacked on top of each other and the views are amazing. The decor inside is some of the nicest I've ever seen. We're not going to be able to take a honeymoon right away but we knew that we'd be ok 'mini-mooning" at Brothers Cove.

We made a decision within ten minutes that we wanted to have our reception there. I called my Mom and gushed about how great it was. Now we just needed to see what dates were open. We came up with two - September 13 and November 8. Since it was May already, September seemed way too close and it would still be pretty hot. So November 8th was going to be our wedding day!!!

Here's a bunch of pictures we took that day:

Monday, June 2, 2008

A magical colored wedding dress

When I was in my 20s, I used to ponder significant issues with my friends like "Wouldn't it be cool if everyone's wedding dresses turned colors based on how slutty the bride had been before getting married?" Now lest you think I'm being sexist, first let me say that I'm totally in favor of this being the case for the groom as well. The dress (or tux) would kind of be like a mood ring. It would go from white to red, merely based on how much the person had slept around before marriage. We all thought this was a fabulous idea because we knew we all would rock the hell out of our scarlet red dresses when we walked down the aisles. But then I started thinking that this idea was stupid because of the puritanical nature of it. I'd rather my dress idea target people who are hypocrites - those girls who make a big show of pretending to be pure but who we all know are sleeping their way to a 2 carat engagement ring. I'm always been amused at how so many people will look askance at me because I'm living in sin but somehow it's perfectly ok for them to sleep with their BF as long as they maintain the image of having their own place.

I only mention the mood ring dress idea because one of the finalists for my wedding dress has large amounts of red in it. Touche!