Category Archives: Wedding

Wedding Wednesday: The Dress!

Hi all!

So I’m a day late with my Wedding Wednesday, but I have a perfectly good excuse. I had my first dress fitting on Tuesday and I needed to let it all sink in. First of all, I couldn’t be more grateful that the place where I happened to find my dress is an eight minute walk from my apartment AND they do alterations there. Talk about convenient, right?! And the girls who work there couldn’t be sweeter or more helpful. (Chicago gals, it’s Weddings 826 on Armitage.)

Tuesday I was so excited to try on my dress. I was especially excited because I thought it was going to fit without being held together in the back by a few clips. Unfortunately, it was still way too big so I still don’t have a real idea of what it will look like when it fits. But I will soon! Taking the bodice in is one of the first things they do so by my next appointment in May I’m hoping they can zip me right into it!

Still, getting to try on my dress was such a different experience from when I first found it. Because this dress…the one I tried on on Tuesday…this dress is mine. This is THE dress. Wow. I can hardly wrap my mind around the fact that I really and truly own a wedding dress. My heart just skipped a beat writing that. Every big and small step we take toward September 28 just makes it all more and more real. I don’t know if I can possibly withstand excitement that’s greater than what I already feel.

But I have to tell you something absolutely crazy about THE dress. Let’s back up for a moment. When Robert and I were dating and I soon realized that this love was the kind that lasts forever I started to dream about our wedding day. Someone told me about a little website (achem, Style Me Pretty). I still remember the very FIRST wedding I ever saw on there and I immediately fell in love with the dress the bride was wearing. I learned the designer and name of the dress and my heart leaps every time I see it. Well, fast forward to my time to find a dress. I knew I had to try that one on. Unfortunately I discovered two things: 1) They don’t make that exact dress anymore and 2) Even if they did it cost way more than I had budgeted. So I let it go. But I didn’t give up.

That’s because my dream dress has the most beautiful sash. And thanks to Google, several months ago–even before I found my dress–I discovered someone was selling just the sash online because she’d paired the dress with a different one. So I purchased the sash for a ridiculously low price and figured it wouldn’t be a huge loss if I didn’t end up using it. I had to see for myself.

And so, on Tuesday, we pinned the sash to my dress and snapped a few pictures. Yesterday, I played around with the image on my computer (the lighting in the dressing room was kind of dark, which made the sash look much darker than it actually is.) Then, in an adjacent window on my iMac I opened the pictures from that very first wedding I ever saw on Style Me Pretty. There, side by side, I realized the dress I bought and the one I’ve always loved are nearly identical–same fabric, same shape of the skirt, similar in so many ways. And with the sash, well, it’s perfect.

I knew I loved my dress when I found it, but I had no idea just how much it looked like the one I’ve always loved. And in the end, with the sash, I can honestly say I get to wear my dream dress on our wedding day.



Wedding Wednesday: The Best Wedding Advice I’ve Heard

When it comes to wedding planning things. Are. Happening. Venue, photographer, videographer, and band booked? Check! Dress? Check! My wedding ring purchased? Check! Almost all save the dates addressed and stamped? Check (and squeal)! (We’re waiting for this snowstorm to end before we mail them. Yes I actually considered the weather.) Florist decided? Check! One block of rooms at a hotel reserved? Check! Meeting with a potential officiant this weekend? Yep!

I wasn’t lying when I said things were happening : )

With so much big stuff moving along nicely, I’ve been pondering some of the smaller details for the big day. I feel like I talk about details here quite often, but once we write the ceremony and address a few more big items, that’s really what’s left. And though it feels challenging at times trying to find my groove, it’s also a heck of a lot of fun to daydream about what the day will look and feel like.

If I may go off on a little tangent for a moment, sometimes I consciously notice how quickly an average weekend or a Saturday goes by and think to myself “That’s the entire length of our wedding weekend. That’s it!” It’s been a great reminder of just how quickly the weekend will fly by and I’ve heard it goes by even faster than I can imagine. It also helps me rein in, to some extent, how much planning I intend to do because I could easily spend the next seven months (from tomorrow!) planning every little detail for two days that will pass by in an instant.

But there’s something even more powerful that’s helped me rein in my daydreams (and Etsy browsing and SMP stalking). My sister reminded me of it when I sent her the link below last week. It’s a quote from a bride on the loveliest blog I discovered a few months ago, Em for Marvelous. The blogger’s sister-in-law wrote this about her own wedding:

We recognize it would have been different if it hadn’t rained — our guests would have gotten the chance to stroll the grounds during cocktail hour, our mothers’ hair would not have been flattened, and we would have had the photographs I had imagined. But our wedding wasn’t a photo shoot, and everyone we loved was there, whether their blowout held or not.”

Our wedding wasn’t a photo shoot.

How easy is that to forget? (Right brides?) After all, so much of the inspiration we see comes from photos so it’s easy to blur the lines and forget the truth: our wedding is not a photo shoot.

Sure, we’ve hired awesome photographers for the day, but we’re not two people dressing up as a bride and groom pretending to get married. We are getting married (!!!)  So when I start conjuring up images of us holding a thank you banner or the ring bearer carrying a cute sign, or the bridesmaids getting ready in the same attire or doing anything else I wouldn’t normally do I simply remind myself our wedding is not a photo shoot.

This is the very best filter when it comes to considering which details matter and which don’t. If an idea for a detail is only for a cute photo then I scratch it right away. If an idea will enhance our own experience or our guests’ experience in some way then we consider it. If it just so happens to make for a great photo along the way, well bonus. But that’s not the intention.

If it were entirely up to me, we wouldn’t take a single formal photo the entire day. For me, it’s about capturing those moments before, during, and after we become husband and wife. Plus, all of the joy, emotion, and celebration that comes with that as well as sharing the experience with our favorite people in the world.

Those are the moments that make the day and the weekend as wonderful and as meaningful as it will be. And for me, those are the moments I want to be able to hold onto, and continue, as long as we both shall live.

Wedding Wednesday: Thoughts on Decor

Image via, photo by Jennifer Hughes

(Image via, photo by Jennifer Hughes)

You guys, I lied. I lied to you and I lied to myself. I lied when I said I didn’t really care about wedding decor. I really, truly, honestly, wholeheartedly thought I didn’t care. But I’ve come to learn that that’s a huge fib. I realized it was a lie the first time we recently met with a florist and my mouth basically rambled about my vision for nearly an hour straight. Thanks to Pinterest I actually developed a vision and once that happened, well, there was no turning back.

At one point Robert and I were cracking up about how I sounded like a Portlandia episode. “I want it to look like the flowers were picked fresh from a garden. But not wild flowers like they were plucked from a hillside, flowers that look like they were grown in a garden in Vermont. And I don’t want them to look too perfect. I want them to be somewhat asymmetrical with lots of different textures, just not too whimsical.” Oh geez someone put a sock in my mouth! We’re also going to serve local free-range organic chicken and his name is Collin.

I kid. (Although let’s face it, I’d totally be on board with that.)

I’ve just come to realize that flowers/decor are one of the biggest ways in which you get to put your stamp on the day. It’s one of those things that’ll make our wedding look and feel different from others that have happened before in that space. Of course, I still want to remain realistic and minimize unnecessary waste and expenses. In fact, there are several places in which we’ve decided to do little or no decor at all. For instance, in the room where we’ll hold the ceremony, the lovely bridesmaids, handsome groomsmen and their adornments will provide all the beauty we’ll need in that space. And for cocktail hour we may do little more than votives (supplied by the venue) on the few high tables.

But I’ve got a sea of ideas floating around in my head for centerpieces, bouquets, and other items, oh my!

You all know how much I loved the idea of a Vermont wedding. Sometimes a piece of my heart still wishes we were getting married outdoors surrounded by lush green rolling hills, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Still, even though we decided to tie the knot here in Chicago–at a venue without any outdoor element–flowers are one of the ways we can still bring that outdoorsy, countryside feeling into the venue. And to be honest I think that’s what helped me turn the corner: When I realized that with some smart floral decisions we could still get that feeling I wanted all of the pieces felt like they’d finally come together. It was the confirmation I needed to know we’d made the best decision, getting married in a place we live and love, yet can still feel that sense of nature around us throughout the day.

One of my favorite parts when it comes to discussing decor still makes me smile when I think about it. On our way to a florist appointment I asked Robert if there was anything he wanted or had in mind and he said he hadn’t really thought about it. I told him what I envisioned and he was on board (yay!) Well, we’re sitting with a florist and Robert’s being pretty quiet. Then all of a sudden he states exactly what he’d like for the guys’ boutenniers. And then he spits out a few other ideas and explains that he’d like to have them in some decor items, too. I’m not going to mention what those details are yet (they’re definitely different and you’ll have to wait and see!), but I’m totally game for all of them. The details he requested and the ones in my vision don’t exactly mesh so perfectly. Still, I’m in love because I think they’ll be the ideal balance between the things we both adore and the places we each come from.

As cliche as it may sound, we really are two very different people with unique experiences and complex personalities coming together to create a life, a family, and a future that’s distinctly our own. And as different as we are, together we just work. So what could be more fitting on the day we commit ourselves to one another than to be surrounded by elements that may appear world’s apart, but seamlessly fit together in a special, beautiful, and one-of-a-kind way?

Wedding Wednesday: That’s When I Knew

photo by Tim Tab

photo by Tim Tab

Two years ago tomorrow.

Most Chicagoans can tell you nightmares about what they experienced that day. Hours spent parked on Lake Shore Drive. Stranded at work or at home. No heat or electricity.

But I remember it differently. January 31, 2011 was one of the best days of my life. I still don’t know what made me do it. Amidst the hysteria the day before the Blizzard To End All Blizzards I shuttled off an e-mail to you. If you get out of work early because of the snow, would you consider heading here instead of going home? Or something like that. My stomach somersaulted as I waited for your response.

But you packed a bag and brought it to work. And when the office closed early because of the snow you came to me instead of going home. You trekked nearly a mile from the Sheridan L stop in horizontal snow. You showed up frozen and ice-encrusted at my door. I melted and you stayed.

You know how some people say there’s a moment when they just know? On that day, I knew. I knew that if you and I were the only people stranded on a deserted island for eternity or holed up in my 800-square foot apartment on the tenth floor for two days while the windows rattled with thundersnow nothing in the world could ever make me happier.

And in my own way, on that day, I knew.

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Style

To think I’d ever consider writing a post that somehow involves fashion is a little ridiculous. I am, after all, pretty darn clueless. Still, I’m getting married, which means I’m going to have to wear something that doesn’t have a Lululemon logo on it at least one day this year. So here it goes…

Many people who know me know that I grew up dancing ballet. It was a huge part of my life–no, it was my life–for most of my childhood and well into my teenage years. When I retired my pointe shoes and headed off to college I was sure that part of my life was completely behind me. And it was…

Until I started planning a wedding.

All of a sudden the sweet, girly ballerina in me has reared her slicked-back bun head and loves everything soft, frilly and feminine. The more bows the better. I’ve been doing a pretty solid job of keeping these urges under control, but every so often I can barely believe what I’m thinking.

When it comes to dresses I was certain I wanted a very slim fitting sheath dress. So in the beginning that’s all I looked at and tried on. Of course, that was until I found myself standing in a dress made entirely of tutu-fabric tulle at Jenny Yoo, twirling on top of the pedestal. I went back and tried on this number three different times.

Jenny Yoo Georgeanne via

Ain’t she a beaut? Jenny Yoo Georgeanne via

Although I didn’t buy that dress (or one made of tulle…) let’s just say I didn’t end up with the slim-fitting lace dress I was sure I would get either. No, not even close. For some reason when I tried on those dresses I felt like I was wearing a beautiful white dress, but I didn’t feel like a bride. Because apparently I need to feel like a ballerina to feel like a bride.

There’s no explaining bridal brain.

When I put on the dress I ended up buying I did so certain that I would de-pouf it in alterations by at least several layers. But lately? I’m thinking about keeping every last layer of dreamy, cloud-like fluff in there. Bun head strikes again!

Now let’s talk shoes. This is where my inner ballerina really shines. Any time I see the words “ballet slippers” I can practically feel the four swans prancing across my frontal lobe. Sparkles make my heart race. And oh, those bows! Of course it’s become abundantly clear to me that I’m not the only bride to ever have ballerina fantasies for her big day. Just check out some of these adorable ballet-like slippers I’ve recently considered:

Parisian Ballet Flats

My heart is waltzing as we speak. via BHLDN

Are you kidding me with those straps?

Sweet, sweet Chloe ballet flats via

Sweet Chloe ballet flats via

Sparkles and bows!

Dakota Back-Bow Ballerina Flat via

Alice & Olivia Dakota Back-Bow Ballerina Flat via

Last Friday I even swung by the BHLDN store on Oak St. here in Chicago and tried on some adorable shoes. I haven’t committed to these, but they would certainly take care of that something blue…

Le sigh.

More bows!

The good news is so far the ballerina magnet is only at full force when it comes to my attire. (Besides shoes the next big decision is finding a sash for my dress. Say hello to satin and sparkles!) Fortunately, this quasi-obsession hasn’t driven me to want every surface of our venue encrusted in florals and crystals. I know my sister will be the first person to make sure my hair isn’t so slicked back that my eyebrows are perma-raised like they were when I was a dancer. (Don’t worry, L, I’m going for soft.) And the truth is I’ve only jokingly considered wearing a tiara, but only because Kate Middleton did.

Thankfully, I realize there’s only room in this wedding for fulfilling one of my fantasies and, well, the Sugar Plum fairy will always triumph over Princess Kate.

Wedding Wednesday: An Update!

Hi Friends! It’s been a while since my last Wedding Wednesday so I thought I’d give you an update on some of the progress we’ve made lately and some things we’re looking forward to next.

We actually didn’t do very much wedding related stuff for about a month and you know what? It was really nice. Although I’m enjoying the wedding planning process more than I ever imagined it was great to just focus on having fun together without thinking so much about the future. Sometimes I reflect on how fleeting this phase of our relationship is. Sure, it’ll be a 13 month engagement when all is said and done and I realize lots of people have much shorter engagements than that (some may think we’re crazy), but there’s something really special about this time and I want to make sure I’m present for it all.

Now that we’re back in planning mode (though of course still fully enjoying ourselves) here’s some of the latest news:

We Bought My Ring! 

We bought my wedding ring this weekend and it arrived on Tuesday and I’m in love. I can’t even tell you how mega this step feels. That’s the ring with which I’ll say “I do!!” Wow. I never imagined we’d pick out the ring so soon, but I spotted it at the same place Robert got my engagement ring and it just so happened to be on sale! How often does that kind of stuff go on sale? Never. That’s how often. I knew I had to get it because if I waited any longer I may not have sprung for one as fancy as this even though it’s the one I truly wanted. In many ways this step felt a lot like finding our venue and picking out my dress in that it was nothing like I pictured it would be (though that doesn’t make it any less exciting). I figured we’d go shopping together a few times and try on rings for both of us and make an event out of it. But we purchased my ring online. It was 11 a.m. on Saturday morning and I was wearing a Northwestern hoodie quite possibly for the third day in a row. Classy. I still wanted to make the moment special in some way, so Robert sat with me as I filled in the shipping and billing information (squealing all along–me, not him) and then he put his hand on mine and we pressed down on the mouse together to confirm the order. Welcome to wedding ring shopping in 2013! Now I just have to figure out how not wear it around the house for the next eight months.

My Thoughts on Pinterest for Planning

One of the next big items on our list is finding a florist. I’ve done some preliminary research, but nothing too serious yet. Apparently florists don’t just do flowers they can also take care of things like candles and other pretty elements. You may already know this, but it was news to me. Well, I realized that if I were to contact a florist tomorrow I wasn’t really sure what I’d say when it comes to questions like What do I have in mind? What kind of look do I want? What kind of flowers do I want? Um, IDK. Enter: Pinterest. I’ve resisted making a specific wedding board because I figured it would take any surprise out of the Big Day. Pinterest-friend guests would show up feeling like they’d already seen it all before. But the reality is that a fraction of our guests are on Pinterest anyway, our venue is really unique, and Pinterest is just about combing the web for inspiration. Putting together that board really helped me get clear on what things jump out at me and it appears I like a natural garden feel with soft, neutral colors. I’m sure I’m the only bride in history to ever say that to a florist (yeah, right), but at least I know what kinds of things to say when I open my mouth. Once I have a real conversation with a few florists I’ll also have a much better idea of which things we’ll want them to do and which will go on our DIY/Find on Etsy (and other cool places) list. Even with a Pinterest board we’ll still have plenty of surprises in store!


We’re starting the process of answering the question: who the heck is going to marry us? (Our ceremony will be at the venue and neither of us has a strong religious affiliation.) We also plan to take a very active role in writing our ceremony, which is something that makes me both terrified and thrilled. So more on that to come in the future!

That’s all for now! Hope you’re having a great week : )


Wedding Wednesday: What I Learned from the Bachelorette Wedding

Like so many ladies (and gents), I watched the Bachelortette wedding Sunday night. Well, I watched most of it until the cable completely went out as they were about to say their vows. I took that as a sign it was probably time to dry my eyes and go to bed. But something earlier in the show, when Ashley and J.P. met with their wedding planner, really stuck with me. She seemed to ask them rapid-fire questions about what their visions were for style, colors, bridal party, flower girls, first dance, party favors, cake, food, bridal party gifts, and a million other things. Not once did she ask them whether they wanted any of these items in the first place and not once did Ashley and J.P. seem to stop and consider that question on their own.

That moment made it more clear to me than ever before that we need to be careful. Really, really careful. At times it can be easy to do things simply because you think you’re supposed to do them. From the start, we’ve tried to throw the rules out the window and make decisions about the day that are truly meaningful to us. The Bachelorette wedding was a great reminder to stick to that framework. I want to be really aware of framing the question, are we doing this? Before we ask how are we going to do it?

For instance, instead of “who’s going to sit at the head table?” we’ve asked,”are we having a head table?” (Probably not.) Instead of “what kind of flowers do we want for our centerpieces?” we’ve asked, “are we doing centerpieces and if so, what kind?” (TBD.) Instead of “what are our wedding colors?” we’ve asked, “are we having wedding colors?” (Nope.) Instead of “what kind of cake should we have?” we’ve asked “are we having a cake?” (Is the sky blue?)

I hope it doesn’t seem like wedding planning has been one long list of no’s for us–I promise it hasn’t (just see our big YES to a videographer, venue, and my yes to the dress). It’s just that unless we stop to consider these things it can quickly become a bunch of yeses without much purpose or meaning behind them. Heck, we even intentionally decided to have a traditional wedding in the first place. We discussed many other options like eloping to Europe or a having a much smaller family wedding before deciding it was truly important to us to be able to celebrate with our family and friends. Plus, I really, really, really want a big dance party–it’s my favorite part of any wedding. For our day, each yes we’ve made is an upper case YES with about 10 million exclamation points after it!

For the most part, many of our decisions are made with our priorities in mind. For me, decor is low on my list of priorities. Maybe I’m missing a gene, but I can’t get excited about overall design (one reason we chose a naturally beautiful and charming venue to begin with). I want to marry my guy and celebrate! I don’t want to worry about what colors our chair garlands (yeah, it’s a thing) should be. That’s why we’ve decided to put most of our budget and energy toward things that have to do with the overall experience (like a band, the venue, and some fun surprises for guests) vs. those that are about the details (though they will still get some attention). I already know the day and the space will be filled with so much love, joy, and romance. In my mind those are feelings no amount of flowers or candles could ever convey.

Just for fun I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite wedding inspiration that captures the simplicity I love so much.

What it's all about

What it’s all about. via 

Classic. Elegant. Perfection.

Classic. Elegant. Perfection. via

All you need is love. And an adorable groom. Done. via

If this doesn't look like two newlyweds having a blast at their wedding I don't know what does.

If this doesn’t look like two newlyweds having a blast at their wedding I don’t know what does. via

The moment I already can't wait for: Time to hit the floor and dance!

The moment I already can’t wait for: Hitting the dance floor with my new husband!! via