My Prerogative

I am offically crazy. I know I said I found the perfect flower girl dress and it was lace and tulle and bla bla bla. But I lied. I talked to one of my flower moms, my bridesmaid *B* and she said she didn't think that a lacey tulley dress would really be conducive to wearing again. And then I thought about it and I realized that a lacey tulley poof really isn't my taste anyway so I changed my mind, which is afterall my prerogative (thank you Bobby!)

Instead I'm going with this very simple silk dress.
It's much simpler than the original choice. I like the plain real tied bow. As much as I have loved my experience with the dressmaker, Pegeen, some of the styles kind of scare me. I think the simple version I (with help from mom *B*) chose is a much better option than the dress with the eighties inspired giant Cinderella McBow and it is thankfully free of all gigantic and incredibly fake looking fake flowers. The second picture is in the actual color I chose, mountain fall. This color is pretty close to my mulling spices paint color card and is another rich tone to compliment the plum/eggplant shade of the bridesmaids' dresses. I chose a gold sash which is also in the theme.

I was originally worried about having another rich color in the wedding party for fear of taking the fall theme too far and looking like some weird autumnal circus. I really don't want to beat the fall thing into people's heads--yes, it's fall and yes fall leaves are pretty but that doesn't mean we have to thrust 17 shades of orange on the guests! Anyway, it should be ok. The eggplant shade is dark and just muted enough to almost qualify as a neutral and I'm wearing ivory, of course. Also, I don't plan to use that shade anywhere else much. I will probably tie it in with the rest of the theme through pale apricot flowers mixed into bouquets and maybe pew decorations. We shall see.

Oh, that reminds me. Flowers. I have to get on that!


Reschedule an Appointment and I Will Cut You!

Ahhh! I am so sick of juggling 90,012,556,546,346,043,213,713* things at once! One little change in my schedule and I'm a basket case. When we started planning our wedding I really thought since I am pretty laid back when it comes to details and since we were planning a smaller wedding that I could easily handle wedding planning, a full time professional job, and marathon training. The reality is that it's definitely not easy but with my handy-dandy calendar and a week's notice of an appointment, I can do it just fine. Oh, but when any appointment gets changed my stress level goes bonkers as I try to figure out how to get in a 14 mile run, work at least 9 hours, and make the appointment with the caterer all on the same day.

I guess I didn't realize how much I needed to rely on others keeping appointments and generally not wasting my time. I also need other aspects of my life to be predictably scheduled. I need to know my running schedule in advance as well as my work schedule, family obligations, dentist appointments, major home repairs, killer storms or forest fires necessitating evacuations, etc. Heh. Basically, while wedding planning spontaneity and flying by the seat of my pants is so not an option!!

For the most part, my vendors and others we need to meet with before the wedding have been reliable. There is one though that has rescheduled twice at the last minute because she had a grandson's birthday party to go to (the first was on a Wednesday and the second was on a Monday--and you don't know until the day before about your grandson's birthday party?!) Unfortunately, this lady is someone we need to meet with from our church and not a paid vendor. So, all I could do was bite my tongue and reschedule. We are having our appointment with her tomorrow and I had to accommodate it by switching tomorrow's 14 mile run to this afternoon, so it better be good!

How do you handle scheduling all your wedding planning appointments and how do you handle it when someone reschedules at the last minute?

*Slight exaggeration.


Choose the Shoes

I haven't posted about my dress yet. That is mostly because I went alone to my first fitting and the couple of pictures I took don't exactly do it justice. But, tomorrow morning I have my second dress fitting and my mother is going with me so we should be able to take some better pictures. In the meantime, I will tell you that it is a v-neck and v-back ivory Alencon lace sheeth with a chapel train and a swarovski crystal detailing along the neck and the back and the waist. It definitely has a retro 30's vibe about it that I adore! I can't wait to be reacquainted with it tomorrow!

In anticipation of being able to see and even wear my beloved dress I purchased a couple of pairs of shoes to try out along with two pairs that my bridal salon carries. So without further ado, here are my four candidates:

The first pair is the Hadley d'orsay open-toed pump by J Crew ($185 +shipping on jcrew.com):

Pros: I love the knot over the toes. Appropriate for the oocasion--heh. They are very sophisticated looking and have a retro feel that goes with the dress. They're also pretty comfy and the heel height, 3.5 inches, is just about right for this 5'4" girl marrying a 6'2" guy.

Cons: The ivory color is a little more yellowish than I'd like. I think it might be too yellow for the dress.

The second pair is the Amy satin sandal by Anne Klein New York ($237.11 with free shipping on zappos.com):

Pros: The color, bridal white, seems perfect (I won't know for sure until tomorrow). The height is awesome, 4.5 inch heels! I love love love the ankle straps with the rhinestone buckles! These are some gorgeous shoes!!

Cons: The heel height might be too high since I wore 3.75 inch heels for my first fitting when we worked on the hem length. My feet are pretty gross from marathon training for the past two years. I'm going to have to work really hard on getting them to look decent in the three weeks I have before the wedding after my fall marathon if I'm going to wear sandals!

The third pair is the Crystal satin sandal by Grace (~$120 at my bridal salon):

Pros: They're significantly cheaper than either the J Crew or the Anne Klein shoes. They also have a nice retro style and a little sparkle that plays off the crystals on my dress nicely. They also have a nice 3.5 inch heel. I already know the color works with my dress.

Cons: It seems like so many brides have Grace shoes. They feel a little too cookie-cutter bridal for my taste.

Lastly, is the Evita satin sandal by Grace (~$120 at my bridal salon):

Pros: The price, the heel and the color are good, just like the Crystal. Also, like the Crystal, there is a nice little bit of sparkle on the knot of the bow. And, of course the bow itself is pretty adoreable.

Cons: Like the Crystal these seem maybe a little too bridey for my taste. The bow also might not work with my dress.

So these are the contenders. So far just looking at the shoes on paper (or in blog post, as it were!) I think the perfect shoe would be the Anne Kleins if the front had the satin knot of the J crew shoes and the price of the Grace shoes! It might be a whole different story when paired with the dress. One pair may rise above all others. We'll find out soon. Stay tuned!


Growing Old Together

When I wrote about how I pictured mrp and me in 40 years I described us sitting at our kitchen table eating breakfast and enjoying a cup of coffee as we read the paper or admire the birds eating at the feeder outside the kitchen window. I picture mrp all tall, and gray, handsome and still tan from working in his garden. In my vision, mrp at 75 is as attractive to me as he is at 33.

But something that never really entered the vision was whether we'll have a sex life when we're older. I read an article this morning in the New York times that says a surprising amount of older folks--people over 75--continue to regularly have sex. Woohoo! I hope that's us! I'm sure it depends on a lot of things--physical health mainly. But, I sincerely hope that by staying active and healthy that our sex life remains robust through our golden years.

Have you and your fiance discussed how you picture your golden years?


Under Pressure

I have a problem. I am easily pressured by vendors. I hate negotiating and I hate rocking the boat. I know, I'm a lawyer. I should be a natural at doing these things, but when it comes to my personal life my professional skills are left in the office.

I first noticed this when I was at my first dress fitting. In my mind, the hips and waist needed to be taken in on my dress and I want the bottom to start flaring higher up and closer to my butt than it is. But, did I say anything as she worked on pinning the hem and the straps and left the waist and hips untouched? Of course not! I just smiled and said it was great! Gah!!!

I also noticed it just a little while ago as I was speaking with a potential flower person. In my mind I want to keep the flowers simple. I don't want floral centerpieces and I really don't think I want much traditional flower stuff in the church. I really just want bouquets, boutineires, corsages, and maybe pew decorations and tree rentals. The rest of the stuff I hope to make myself along with my bridal party. Yet, did I say anything about this as the florist insisted we meet at either the reception site or the church to discuss the possibilities? Of course not!

I still can tell the florist what I want and insist on it, of course. And I can also discuss the waist and hips of my dress at my next fitting. But will I?

I need to muster up the guts to stand up for what I want. I suppose in some ways I'm afraid to not do the right thing. I need to get confident about my vision for our wedding and insist that my vendors fall into line if they want to work for us. And doggone it, I swear I will. Dress lady, be ready to pin the middle of my dress on Saturday!


We the People of the United States of Salty and Mrp

Since I mentioned it in my last post, I thought I’d dedicate a post to core-values. One thing I bring to my relationship with mrp is that I am a communication person. I love to talk, to write, and express myself creatively. I am also fascinated by interpersonal relationships. Why do some people just click and others can’t stand each other from the moment they meet? Is there such a thing as a soul mate? All of my life this has been the case. When I was a young teenager, I used to love to watch Oprah and learn about how spouses should communicate or how to be a better parent. Even a few years ago, I was in law school when Dr. Phil first came on the air. I would take a homework break and lap up Dr. Phil’s tell-it-like-it-is advice to people unable to successfully relate to those they love. Of course, I recognize that this stuff is just tv fluff, but it always gets me thinking.

One day, about a year ago, I was running and thinking about my future with mrp. I was thinking about how great things were and how happy I was at that moment but then I started to think about the fact that people and circumstances change. How can mrp and I preserve the happiness we have together even when the going gets tough? How do others resolve conflicts? This made me think of the constitution! I’m a lawyer and very interested in constitutional law. The constitution helps the country and our government to resolve problems and conflicts—why not mrp and me?

I decided that our relationship constitution should really be a document of our core values. I talked to mrp about this idea and he loved it. We also decided it would be helpful to understand how we each viewed our future. So here’s what we decided to do. We decided to individually write out what our core values were and where we saw ourselves in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years, and 40 years. After we finished doing this individually, then we regrouped and shared what we wrote. We discussed our individual lists of values and decide between our lists what our core values were as a couple. We wrote this list in a blank book and then also wrote each of our future visions too.

Here’s our list of values:

1. Team: This is the most important. Mrp and I are a team and the health of our team is the most important thing in our lives. We always have to remember too, that the team is only as healthy as its members, so this doesn’t mean that we sacrifice ourselves for the team. We have to maintain a healthy balance between being the best individuals we can be and the best team we can be. If these ideals conflict, the team wins!

2. Honesty: This is self-explanatory! It’s not just about no lying though. It’s also about being open with each other, trusting each other, and providing each other a safe place to be ourselves.

3. Ambition: Both mrp and I love that each other is ambitious and strives to be the best people we can be. It is important to us to always strive to be the best people and the best team we can be.

4. Balance: Both mrp and I also love that each other is a balanced person. We both think it is important that we maintain three critically important parts of ourselves: our physical health, our social lives, and our intellectual pursuits.

5. Foundation: We both want to have children so this value is about maintaining our selves and our relationship as the foundation for our family. If we as people are not strong, then our relationship/team is weak. If our relationship/team is weak then our family is weak. We must provide our children with a strong foundation!

As for our respective visions of the future, we were both bawling over those! Definitely writing those out or even just discussing where you see yourselves in the future is a great way to not only make sure you both want the same things in life, but also is a time to learn a lot about your hopes, dreams, and love for each other.

What are your core values as a couple?


The Couple That Prays Together...

Mrp and I were both raised Catholic and mrp's uncle is a priest who has married mrp's parents and his sister. Neither mrp nor I is religious, but we felt that the traditions of the church in which were raised and the traditions of his family were important to us. We decided to take a leap and get married in the Catholic Church.

I was surprised at how easy it has been so far. I was worried that someone would be watching us on Sunday mornings to see where we were at 10:00 or following us home from work to ensure we weren't living in sin! It really hasn't been nearly as bad as I feared.

In fact one of the "hoops" we had to jump through was actually a good experience! Our diocese (regional church) requires us to go to a pre-marital class called Pre-Cana. We had several choices. We decided against the basic marriage-is-more-than-the-wedding class for a class on learning how to communicate and solve problems together. This might also be thought of a class on how to fight.

It was actually really interesting. One of the tips they gave us that we found particularly useful was the idea of the floor. They gave us a little card that is called "the floor." When one spouse has the card the other must listen and when the person with the floor is done talking, the person without the card must paraphrase what the other said. The person with the floor, on the other hand, must keep it brief to enable the other to listen and paraphrase and must talk about him or herself (I feel, I think, I want, etc.) rather than talking about the other person (You always, you think, you do, etc.) We tried it while discussing how to handle my cats who mrp hates and I love. It was fun to discuss mrp's feelings about furballs and my feelings about my cats. Even in the 5 minutes that we did this in class we actually learned quite a bit about how each other thinks that we didn't fully appreciate before. Listening is apparently something good to do. Who knew? Heh.

Another thing that the course did for us was to reinforce things we already have talked about or do. One of those things is to determine what your values are as a couple. One thing mrp and I did over the winter was to write our core values. We both work for a Fortune 500 company and one of the things that keeps the company on track is its core values. I'm also a lawyer and understand the importance of a constitution. We decided that, like core values for a company or a constitution for a state, we needed something to focus on when times are tough and we are having problems making a decision or solving a problem. I think they are so helpful that I will dedicate an entire post just to them.

Anyway, later in the afternoon another man came into give a talk on "the sacrament of marriage." In Catholicism, a sacrament is evidence of God's presence. The speaker spoke about the role of God in our marriages. Again, we aren't religious so this part was not on our wavelength to begin with. But, it really went astray. He was talking about the importance of praying together. He gave examples of what he and his wife do. He said, sometimes they just hold hands and meditate. Sometimes they pray the rosary together. He then said, sex can be praying together. He said, "I like to pray a lot." TMI, dude. TMI.

All in all, I'd say we were pleasantly surprised by a wonderful day.


Can of Flower Girl Dresses

Wedding planning is full of cans of worms. Of all things, choosing flower girl dresses was one of my cans of worms. I would think this would be a very minor detail of all the wedding planning details and simple choice to make, but it really touches on many other issues than just what cute little dress I'll be sticking my little ones in.

When choosing a flower girl dress we all think of the obvious issue, which is color harmony and keeping with the theme. But even this proved more difficult than I initially imagined. I really had no problem picking out my bridesmaids dresses. Both my girls agreed on the style so that was easy, My bridesmaids, my best friend *B* and my sister *Y* are wearing this Jim Hjelm chiffon gowns:

in this color, eggplant:

I love the flowy romance of the fabric and the style and I like the deep dark color to contrast with my ivory lace dress. Simple. Easy. Done!

As for the flower girl dresses, what most people seem to do is to have either a mini bride or match the little ones to the bridesmaids. I do not want to beat one color into the ground though. I want a nice balance, so I definitely do not want the flower girls in any shade of plum/purple/eggplant and I also don't want them in ivory for the same reason (plus, I really don't like the idea of mini-brides--it creeps me out like little girls in pageants creep me out!).

So, that leaves me with something in the spice/peach, green, or gold families. I don't want it to look like the circus either, so I think the logical choice is gold. Plus, I love the idea of little girls in gold for some reason. Ok. Color done. Nice and easy.

Ugh. But style is not so simple. Again, no mini-bride or even mini-bridesmaids (kids should look like kids!), but I wanted something complimentary to both my dress and my maids. I found this divine dress from Little Flowers: It comes in gold chiffon with a gold ribbon belt. Perfect! Until I saw the price.

This brought up the second issue, which is much more important than my color scheme: interfamily/friend relations and money. My two flower girls are mrp's 4 year old niece, *K*, and *B*'s 7 year old daughter, *P*. My best friend is like me and will very happily plunk down some cash for something divine. She's style obssessed and lives in San Francisco and *P* will have several opportunities to wear the dress again. However, can I ask mrp's sister, a working mother of two who as far as I can tell has no interest in fashion and who lives in Cleveland, OH, which will be freezing cold for the remaining months *K* can fit in the dress, to plunk down $300 on a dress for *K* who will surely only wear once? I could just ask and see what she says, but in the realm of in-laws just asking may be seen as rude. Also, I wouldn't feel comfortable that she would feel comfortable saying no. And do I really care that much about a flower girl dress?

So, I embarked on a mission to find a cheaper alternative. I searched and searched and searched and finally, through the magic of the beehive, naturally, found Pegeen's. Not only are there lots of relatively inexpensive (hey, half the price of the other dress is cheap enough to me!) adoreable dresses, most of them are made from gorgeous silk fabric to boot! On top of that I found a style in that comes in gold and is made of lace and tulle which will play off the lace in my dress and the chiffon in the bridesmaid dresses. Hoorah! A win win!

What were some of your wedding planning cans of worms?


Thanks Mr. Squire

I am one lucky girl! I just happened to pick a law school that gave me access to the world's greatest reception venue. Booyah! I'm glad to know thousands of dollars in student loans pays for something!

The university owns a huge plot of land in one of the most beautiful towns around. A local rich dude named Squire, donated the land back several decades ago, along with the manor house in which he lived. Squire's manor house is where we are going to have our reception!

I am certainly not into Thomas Kincade's prints, but I will admit there is some appeal to the cute little cottages in them. Check it out. Our venue looks like it's straight out of a Thomas Kincade print!

The inside is equally as fab. The foyer is simply stunning. You walk in through a beautiful door and see this! Can't you just picture the place cards or the guest book right there on that beautiful table?!

The main room is so incredible. This picture does not do it justice. This fireplace is working which will be perfect if our November date is chilly. The ceiling is very high and beamed with beautiful oak beams. The rest of the room is covered in pristine rich oak panelling. So insanely divine with ivory table cloths and candles on all the tables. My dress has a 30's vibe which goes with the architecture of the house and it has rhinestone details so I just picture myself sweeping in and full of sparkles! Can't wait!

If that's not enough the basement is set up like a lounge, complete with a pool table. Perfect for my uncles and mrp's friends to let loose and have some fun!

I am so happy I stumbled on this venue. It wasn't on my radar screen when we first started planning. I started with the known wedding venues in town and those just seemed so not cozy and corporate or something. I knew we wanted a small countryish wedding and somehow I stumbled on the manor house. I even went to a function here while in law school but because it's not a known wedding reception place in town it just didn't spring to mind. I am just so glad I had access to it as an alumna. If you're thinking of looking for a venue a little off the beaten path, I highly suggest contacting your university. You might just have a manor house or maybe even something better available to you too!



Choosing colors was probably the one thing about wedding planning that I was most excited about. Even when I was a little girl playing with my Crayola 64's, I've loved messing around with color combinations. When it came time to choose our colors though, I found it hard to find a place to compare and contrast color combinations. I wracked my brain as I sat in my desk at the corporate headquarters of one the world's largest paint companies and then it finally hit me--duh! Paint color chips!!

I headed straight for the nearest big box home store and went crazy pulling the color cards. I wanted something fallish, but not beat you over the head with fall colors fallish. Specifically, I wanted something elegant, modern, cozy, and contrasty to go with our November date. I pulled every fally cozy color I saw and brought home 3 cards of each. After dinner that night mrp and I shuffled the cards all around the table until we had a combo of: burnt plum; mulling spices; irish moss; deep green; golden satin; honeyed bronze; and starglow. These translate to: deep plum; spicy orange; light green; dark green; pale gold; muted gold; and a goldish peach.

The beauty of this idea is that I keep a set of cards in my purse to whip out any time someone asks me what our colors are. I was able to send a set to each of my brides maids who live clear across the country in opposite directions. I was also able to send a set to Cindi, my invitation lady. This was great when it came to knowing whether the materials she selected matched my scheme (there's a big difference between Barney Purple and Plum that I understand, but not necessarily everyone gets it!) So, when Cindi picked out the materials she sent me this via e-mail and I was confident she picked the right stuff!


In Search of the Happy Apple

First, I want to declare my love for the brass paperclip over at Etsy. Cindi is wonderful and incredibly accomodating to people wishy-washy like me!

Anyway, I'm stuck. I need a better apple for our invitations. Mrp thinks these apples are too "dead" looking. I agree. I'm not totally happy with either of them either. I had something a little more whimsicle in mind.

However, this is kind of the style of invitations these days--to have an old-timey stamp looking image. This seems to be our only option. I just don't know what the possibilities are. I don't want to spend a fortune either, so perhaps this is the best we can do for $5/invitation?

Update! I searched around for some more public domain images and I found this lovely! Maybe?


May Our Fields Always Be Full of Buttercups

It's so funny how two people kind of flit along through life and then start flitting around together and then decide one day to flit around together forever. "Even when the field isn't full of flowers we shall flit around as one!" we declare. "When there are buttercups a-plenty we shall flit around sharing in the yellowy pleasure!" Yeah!

It is especially funny when two people are as independent as mrp and I are. I was pretty happy flitting around the field by myself and mrp was happy in his. Mrp especially is not the kind of person who really needs someone else in his life to be happy. He really expected not to get married before I flitted along into the picture. I definitely wanted to be married and have a family, but I've always been happy doing other things too. One day flitting about we flitted into each other and the rest is history!

Anyway there is something so natural about coupling and the evolution of a relationship. Embarking on marriage is scary sometimes, it is a big commitment in human terms--the legal stuff, the family stuff, the money stuff--but at the same time it's really just natural.


Cute in a Jar

Mrp and I are many things. We are free-spirited, yet somewhat sophisticated. We are also worldly, yet also down to earth. We are lovers of tater tots, yet we are also obsessed with fruits and vegetables. Huh? You see, we happen to live in an apple orchard, which explains the fruit, and mrp's a wannabe farmer and I'm a wannabe gourmet chef! So, we love sitting in our kitchen eating a dinner composed of our very own garden-grown veggies while ogling the beautiful blushed apples ripening on the trees. Wonderfulness!

Since our wedding is in the fall it is a perfect setting for us to throw a harvest themed wedding. This provides ample opportunities for DIY adventures! One thing I am so stoked about is our centerpieces. I am still not completely sure about the final outcome, but I know one component is going to be votives in ball mason jars on the tables. Just picture the rustic cuteness of this country staple all aglow. Precious, no?!

And you may think it's a bit over the top with the cuteness. Some cuteness is good because, yes mrp and I are cute (at least I think so!) But the cuteness of the mason jars will be well balanced by the elegance of our reception locale, my dress, and the bridesmaid dresses, and the place settings. Yes, it will be a elegant, whimsicle, and yes, cute affair that represents its hosts very well!


He Knew All Along

This is me, salty, and mrp (pronounced merp). Why is mrp so happy in this picture? No, not because he's been drinking (although that may have been the case). It's because we're getting married!!

It all began when I was 15 and he was 17. While I went to Y academy, he went to X academy with my cousin. One day my uncle took my cousin and his friend, mrp, to an Indians game and invited me to tag along. Being the ever-mature adolescents we poked each other and said how annoying the other one was the whole time. Anyway, a few months later we ran into each other again, exchanged phone numbers and hung out a few times. But, mrp was so so shy and I was cooly mccool, so on the day before my 16th birthday I dumped him.

Fastforward 14 years. After many many many years in school I just started my full-time job. After work I would often go to the company gym to get a run in on the treadmill. I would finish up as the gym was closing and head to the elevators to leave. Often times there was a cute guy waiting by the elevators too. At first we didn't really talk to each other. But then we started to say hi. This eventually lead to exciting conversations about the propriety of public transportation in Cleveland among other such topics.

Occasionally, I would see the elevator guy in the gym running or stretching too. One night after finishing my run, I headed over to the mats to stretch. Elevator guy happened to be there too. I was wearing my sister's X Academy band t-shirt (she had to be a rebel and go to a different school than me). Elevator guy said hi and then asked me about the t-shirt. I explained it's origins and then asked if he went there. Why, yes he did. I then asked when he graduated. The same year as my cousin. I asked him if he knew my cousin. Why yes he did. After this exchange, I had to run to catch my bus.

A week later I saw elevator guy by the mats again. I was running late to catch my bus--surprise. But before I left, I asked him, "by the way, what's your name?" He said, "um, mrp." And I punched him in the arm as I ran out to the bus stop. And the rest is history!