Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Soundtrack to our Wedding

I am a music snob.

No, not really. It's my personal opinion that I can't claim Hipster status when it comes to my music choices (although Matt would claim otherwise). Most of the music I listen to is very mainstream. And by "mainstream," I mean that I hear it on the regular radio or satellite radio. However, because Sirius plays new music months before you hear it on the regular radio, I tend to fall in love with songs and artists long before they hit the top ten on iTunes, thus giving me the right to use the phrase "I liked them before they were popular."

That being said, I have been quite picky about what music will be played at our wedding. I debated for months on the songs we will use for key moments during our reception, and I constantly added to the "Do Not Play" list. Among those that will not be heard at our wedding is Beyonce's "Single Ladies," The Cha Cha Slide, and "Sweet Home Alabama." Mostly because they are overplayed, but also because these songs generally make me want to throw up, and we can't have the Bride vomiting all over her wedding gown (although I'm sure that would make me an instant YouTube sensation).

I will fill everyone in on our final music selections after the wedding. For now, here's a real treat--the video below is our first dance song! It is a popular first dance tune, and we have worked really hard on mimicking the costumes and choreography. We are very serious about this and we are not joking, not even the slightest. Enjoy!



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Soup Weather

This isn't wedding related, but I thought I would post this in the spirit of this cold, dreary day in Northern Virginia. It's this kind of weather that makes me crave soup no other--seriously, my soup cravings rival that of a pregnant woman. A few weeks ago I stumbled across this deliciously creamy tomato soup recipe, and it was absolutely wonderful. It pairs nicely with a mozzarella grilled cheese and a glass of Sauv Blanc. I would totes make this meal tonight, except I'm doing this thing where I'm trying to actually stick to the menu I've planned for the week, so pork tacos it is...but that doesn't mean you can't make it! Consider this recipe my early Christmas gift to you, dear reader. Enjoy!


Creamy Tomato Soup
From The Chow

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes in their juices, preferably San Marzano
  • 1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth or water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/3 cup heavy 
Directions
  • Heat oil and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once butter foams, add onion and a big pinch of salt. Season with freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is completely soft and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Add tomatoes and juices to the pan and stir to crush up tomatoes.
  •  Add broth or water and bay leaves and bring to a simmer. 
  • Simmer until tomatoes begin to fall apart, about 10 minutes.
  • Remove from heat, discard bay leaves, and allow soup to cool slightly.
  •  Carefully purée soup in a blender until smooth (you may have to do this in batches). 
  • Return soup to the stove over low heat and stir in cream. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

Finding a wedding cake was probably one of the most trying aspects of this wedding planning process. Apparently, there aren't very many options for wedding cakes down in my neck of the woods. Other than buying a wedding cake from the grocery store (which was tempting, believe me), we had two choices. The first stop was the Muffin Man Bakery. We arrived at our scheduled appointment, only to find out that there were no cake samples. Matt's anger was great over this cake tasting faux pas.

Later that day, we had an appointment scheduled with the only other wedding cake baker in town, Nancy's Fancy's. We showed up promptly for our 12:30 appointment, only to find the place locked up with no one in sight. My mom called her, and Nancy's response was "did we have an appointment today?" Yes, that happened. We ended up meeting again later that afternoon, and while her cake samples were excellent, I did not feel comfortable committing to a baker who was so unreliable.

Next, we went the route of "a friend of a friend who bakes cakes on the side." At first, this seemed promising. We had a great conversation on the phone, she sent me to her Facebook page so I could see pictures of her cakes, and then she sent me some pictures for inspiration. I was so excited--I had found the perfect person to bake our cake! Then, I never heard from her again.

Finally, I had my dad check out a bakery in Bristol, a town that is about 20 minutes away from Abingdon. Several people had recommended them, so I stalked their Facebook page and they looked legit. My dad gave his stamp of approval on the samples he tasted, and that was all I needed. At that point, I was not interested in pursuing other options--I very desperately wanted to check "find wedding cake" off my to do list. Unique Cakes and Catering was thus booked and I never looked back. (Well, I did look back once--last week I found out my cousin Lawrence, age five, offered to bake the wedding cake...where were you two months ago, Lawrence?! I would have gladly hired you.)

I'm sure Lawrence could pull of a design like this.

Have I mentioned how much I love the monogram and lace?

Yes, we are totes having a golf-themed groom's cake!
So far, Unique cakes has been a great choice--they return my phone calls promptly, and they've been really great with communicating through emails, since I live so far away and can't show pictures to them in person. I will make the final judgement call on December 8th, when I get to see and taste our cake.

The lesson here is to make sure you find a PROFESSIONAL. Someone who is not prepared for your scheduled appointment, or can't even remember scheduling an appointment, is clearly someone who you do not want to trust with your wedding day.

However, if a five year old offers to bake your cake--TAKE THE DEAL! There's no doubt it will be made with love.


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Invitation Reveal

This is the moment you've been waiting for...the invitation reveal is finally here! I know it took me a century to post this, but life lately has not been conducive to blog posting. Anyway, without further ado...







Don't judge the photography. I did the best I could with my iphone and the industrial blue carpet in my office.

Finding the right invitation was like finding the One--I knew right away, as soon as I spotted that lace overlay. I actually saw something similar to this in Martha Stewart Weddings, and of course I wanted it badly. However, I doubted that we would be able to afford them, because they looked awfully fancy and products which are typically feature in Martha's publications are on the pricier side. So, I went to a local store and almost picked out a design that I felt lukewarm about, and was going to cost around $1200. Before I could make such a colossal mistake, Matt's mom recommended Fine Stationery. I decided I would give it a chance (I had serious reservations about ordering online), and as fate would have it, stumbled upon Anna Griffin designs and found my dream invitation suite.

I didn't get a proof before ordering, so you can imagine how nervous that made me, but they arrived within five days and were gorgeous--we got loads of compliments! Not to mention, the cost of everything plus postage ended up being around $700--not too shabby! At the time, they were running a sale, so we got 20% off our order (they also happen to be running the same sale now through November 25, just FYI).

I would absolutely recommend this website--they have a great selection, and their customer service is awesome. They helped me with my order, and were very prompt to help me set up an additional insert card for accommodations, which was not an option on the website. And did I mention how quickly those suckers arrived?

Enjoy looking at these professional photos of our invitation--more last minute wedding detail posts are soon to follow!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Signature Drink

One of the better ideas that floats around the wedding category on Pinterest is that of a signature drink. I love the idea of incorporating a drink that fits in with the theme of the wedding, or is meaningful to the bride and groom. My mom loves this idea as well--and she's never quick to offer her stamp of approval, so you know it's gotta be good! 
via SMP
via SMP
Since purple is the main color of our wedding, we've been on the hunt for a drink recipe of that color (my mom is also really excited about this, she loves any and all things that are purple). However, that's not an easy task. Some recipes call for expensive ingredients (special types of liquor, lavender, adding mashed up fruit, etc), and some of the recipes just don't taste great. (And by not tasting great, I mean that we actually made the drink and it was not mom-approved--just not "fruity" enough.) 


via
Matt already came up with an adorably clever name, so a signature drink is definitely happening at our wedding. Any suggestions for a purple alcoholic drink would be greatly appreciated! 

p.s. You know I love surprises, so you are correct in assuming that the name of our signature drink will not be revealed until after the wedding. Sorry, Charlie.



Monday, November 12, 2012

Showered With Love: Part 2

Hello, friends! Recently, I had my third and final bridal shower. This shower was hosted by my future mother-in-law, future sister-in-law, and future second-mother-in-law (she and her husband where considered the "second parents" when Matt and his sister were kids). Although we had a smaller crowd than expected (thank you, Sandy), the shower was quite a success. Everyone who was able to attend had a lovely time, and I know I was just awestruck by all the amazing little details Matt's mom put into the party. 
Little cakes shaped as Tiffany's boxes--yes, I almost died.


The pile of presents was pretty exciting, but do you see that chair?!? Totes adorbs.

I told Matt this was my wedding bouquet--no flowers necessary.
Can you tell this was my glass?

Matt's mom knows how to throw a party. Donna of Fabulous Fetes also deserves a big thanks, for contributing many of the decorations, and making those delicious, unbelievably adorable cakes. 

Matt and I are very thankful for all the gifts we received--we now have a fully stocked kitchen, and we're still trying to find places to store everything (and before this, I thought we had an abundance of cabinet space--boy, was I wrong). Most importantly, I'm thankful for Matt and his extended family. Although most of his Aunts and Uncles barely know me, they have been incredibly friendly and have welcomed me with open arms into their family. For a girl who gets nervous and awkward around new people and new situations, that is very comforting, and it's definitely the best gift I could ever receive. 

Oh, and did I mention the cakes were shaped like Tiffany's boxes? Sorry, I just can't get over the cuteness. 
Hidden underneath all that Tiffany blue was lemon cake with raspberry filling--AMAHZING!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

ONE MONTH

I'm not saying that it's time to panic, but...it's time to panic. Somehow, the past year has just strolled on by, and it didn't bother to stick around for long, because now I only have ONE MONTH to get it together and pull off a wedding.

At this point, everyone asks me if I have everything ready. I wish I could simply show them my to do list, so they could get a visual aid of an answer to their question. Despite my histrionics though, Matt and I have actually accomplished quite a bit these past couple of months. All that remains are a million tiny little details that I just cannot seem to complete to the point where I can scratch it off my to do list. However, instead of telling you everything that continues to worry me, I'm going to be positive in this post and tell you everything we no longer have to worry about.

1. Bridal party gifts have been purchased!
My ladies sure are going to love being enrolled in the Jelly of the Month Club. It's the gift that keeps on giving!

 photo e5ffbc0c-eaa3-4260-a110-6c6e95d9b435_zpsdbd9cb85.jpg 

2. Marriage License--check!
This process was way too easy. We filled out a very short form and submitted it online, then made a quick stop at the Clerk's office to get the official paperwork. However, I was able to complicate the process by spilling a glass of water all over the table during breakfast. Luckily, the important part was dry. Hey, better I spilled water on it than a bowl of sausage gravy.

3. Music
I don't want to ruin any surprises, but if you loved the polka band from the Home Alone movie, then you are going to be in for a real treat!

4. Cake
I will probably do a separate post on this topic alone (I know I've promised it before), but just know that there will be cake, it will be beautiful, and it will be delicious.

5. Ceremony Readings
There's no better way to bring to life some of the best readings from the Bible than through interpretive dance.

6. Decided on favors
I wasn't sure if I would have the time to craft a butter sculpture of myself and Matt for every guest, so we settled on hot chocolate favors instead.

7. Church Paperwork
This was probably one of the most difficult parts in the planning process. Should be easy, right? The catholic church just needed a few documents from each of us to give us the go ahead. Well, not so easy when you can't find your confirmation certificate from high school, only to find out your church didn't even record your class becoming confirmed. Sabotage, I tell you, sabotage! Big thanks to my pops who worked all summer on tracking down my confirmation certificate. Also, I think this could be a great premise for a rom com (unlucky-in-love girl is missing the papers she needs to get married, so she enlists the help of a young, attractive sunday school teacher to help...hilarity ensues, love prevails).

8. Matt's Ring
We ordered his ring several months ago, but then we had to wait for it to arrive, then we had to wait for the inscription, then we had to wait for the jeweler to fix the inscription. Now the ring is safe and sound, and ready for its big debut! (Matt is not allowed to look at it, because the inscription is a surprise.)

There you have it, a snapshot of some of the big ticket items we've managed to accomplish just over the past month. Now it's time to roll up our sleeves and put America back together! Oops, I mean it's time to finish up the to do list (still rolling up our sleeves, of course).

I'm still experiencing a little bit of shock that we only have one month to go. It seems like just yesterday I was giddy with excitement as we looked at engagement rings for the first time. One other question everyone seems to ask as TBD approaches is "are you ready?" Hmmm...am I ready to marry my best friend, the man of my dreams, the love of my life?

 photo junewedding_zps2afa0141.jpg 

Absolutely.







Handwriting Skills

As many of you know, I've taken the time during this wedding planning process to really work on my handwriting. After all, I refused to pay to have someone write the addresses for me (although that really would have been SO much easier), and I couldn't have my invitations mailed lookin all sloppy. 

I've never considered myself to have nice handwriting; thanks to Joelle at Something Charming, I was inspired by her fake calligraphy tutorial and began practicing. My hard work paid off, because I received many compliments on my handwriting on the invitations (or maybe they were being nice...whatever). So, that's why I decided to link up this week with Something Charming, for her Write it Down and Link it Up post. It's the perfect opportunity to display my new handwriting. Of course, there's always room for improvement, but I am quite pleased with how much better my handwriting looks these days. I will be taking calligraphy orders immediately. 









Part of the challenge was to write our favorite quote. This is not necessarily my favorite quote of all time, but it's certainly one of my current favorites.


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