Bridal Party Gifts

One of the things we knew from the start of wedding planning was that we were going to have a huge bridal party.  I have 11 bridesmaids and Chris has 13 groomsmen.  We joke about it being a circus, but it’s important to Chris and I to have all of our best friends by our side on the big day. Each of them has made such an important impact on our life and we wouldn’t be who we are without them.

We spent a lot of time thinking about bridal party gifts because we wanted to give them something personal.  I spend way too much time on Etsy so found that especially helpful in this search. The girls are wearing gray, so I decided on necklaces with a pop of purple.  I had these customized by the seller to match the color I had in mind.   I also gave each bridesmaid a gray clutch purse, with a special quote or note from me attached to the inside of the bag. This part took forever– deciding on what to say on each note! Inside the clutch I threw in a wedding day itinerary, tissues and gum.

Chris is a fan of all things mustaches so he had flasks customized with his groomsmen’s name and a ‘stache.  He also gave each of them black Converse sneakers to change into after the church and purple and black argyle socks. We packed this in a black drawstring tote so they had something to carry it in to the wedding. Groomsmen also received a wedding day itinerary with all times and locations.

Piece of advice: If ordering gifts on Etsy: get a sample first. If you’re ordering something handmade/customized in bulk, make sure it’s what you have in mind prior to ordering multiples! You may have to pay shipping twice, but I think it’s worth that small expense.

Anniversary

Today marks 3 years since the day I asked Chris in the middle of the night “What do you call me?” I wanted him to say his girlfriend, and he knew that, but being the pain in the butt that he is his response was “Danielle”. I pushed him and after some teasing and some laughs, we were boyfriend and girlfriend. Nothing in my life has ever felt as right as being with Chris. He is the person I waited all my life to find. On our 3 year anniversary, with exactly 4 months to our wedding day, I couldn’t be more excited about all we have to look forward to.

Selecting our Wedding Vendors

Picking our vendors has gone pretty smoothly.  I wanted people we liked personally and trusted. People I knew would show up and get the job done. And be nice.

The first vendor I booked (after the venue) was our videographer.  I had seen a short editted clip of his on The Woodland’s Facebook page.  He had filmed a wedding there and although I never met the couple, I cried while watching and then I watched it over and over. I hadn’t even known I wanted a wedding video. But then I knew I NEEDED one, and that videographer had to be this guy, AJ Ingoglia.  I called him in July when he was busy filming other weddings, but was lucky enough to get him on the phone and discuss our wedding. His vibe was just our style, laid-back, fun, funny.  I knew that he would make sure he captured the day the way we wanted.

We booked our DJ via a recommendation from AJ– he refers people to Marc Bauman.  He’s a Long Island guy so he drove over our apartment and hung out with Chris, Duncan and I.  He’s a straight-forward and personable and I felt relieved to know that he, himself, would be the one at our wedding (not some farmed out employee who I’d never met).  Marc also showed us video of the MC who I liked because he wasn’t over-the-top.  Plus, he knows the venue and would handle all the lighting.

Finding our florist took a little more investigating because I didn’t know how much the flowers I wanted should cost.  We met and really liked Sheryl from Black Dahlia, but I thought we should get a few more quotes.  I tried out The Woodlands 2 other preferred florists, but they were much more expensive and I knew the service wouldn’t be as personal as I’d get with Sheryl. After we had booked, Sheryl created a beautiful centerpiece for us and I was sure she understood my vision.

I’ll write more about our other vendors (photographers, hair/makeup, transportation, dress, etc) in a future post!

Beating the daily grind

Since we both work full-time (relatively long hours) and commute into the city, the weeks have started to feel like a constant grind. Working for the weekend has become a constant topic between Chris and I. At least when we lived in Manhattan we had everything at our fingertips and our commute was a 15 minute walk. Plus, the cold weather has been tough for us and we are never home during daylight hours. We’ve decided to put some effort into making the weeks more enjoyable. Or, just enjoying the little things more.

First instituted: Fajita Mondays! 

We both LOVE fajitas and having them planned for Monday night dinners means we start the week with something to look forward to.  Plus, a fave television show of ours (Revolution) airs on Monday nights so we make a whole night of it.

Some other ideas include:

  • Taking Duncan on walks in the evenings— exercise for us and him :)
  • Invite a couple of friends over for an easy dinner during the week
  • Some sort of hobby we can do together, like playing tennis
  • Running together. We have never really run together and I don’t work out much right now but a short run in the evening could be a good way to work up some endorphins
  • Beach on nights we’re home early enough. Last year, we said we’d walk the Long Beach Boardwalk together, and we never did and now it’s no longer there. Made me realize we need to just get out there and do more

To be honest, we haven’t gotten too far on these ideas since most of them require warmer weather/more hours of daylight. But hopefully this will allow us to reflect back when the days get longer and the temperatures higher, and make these a reality.

It's about the marriage...

Wedding planning has been relatively easy for me and Chris. I booked the first venue I saw, without Chris even there (he saw it two days later!). I bought my dress at the first store. We secured all our top choices on vendors. But now it’s time to think about the details. And it’s harder for me to chose what flower should go on the guys boutinierres than where to celebrate our day! Brides and grooms have so many places to look for inspiration now, it makes it almost harder to plan. Chris and I have been trying to enjoy all the decisions and the tasks (ok, so maybe he didn't love Saturday morning envelope labeling, I may have been being bossy…more about that below). We’ve done so much of it together and because I have the best fiance in the world we’ve agreed on everything.

But regardless we want to keep the whole “it’s about the marriage, not just the wedding” idea in mind. If after the day is over we’re married then everything was perfect. Even though I work as a wedding coordinator in hopes of making the details run smoothly, I still think this is the most important thing to keep in mind. People have high expectations for their wedding day, but I think getting married in the church keeps us grounded and serves as a constant reminder.

Back to that Saturday morning project, I recruited (required?) Chris to help me prepare our save-the-dates for mailing.  They were designed by my amazing friend and super talented designer, Abby. We wanted a magnet with a picture from our engagement shoot, but Abby had the idea to attach the magnet to a card for a more customized look.  She printed individual labels for each address and Chris was MUCH better than I was at putting them on straight, so he got stuck doing the bulk of it. They came out great!

2013 goals

Because I want this blog to be a place where I can look back on the past and remember what we were doing, I figured I’d post my resolutions. I try not to make grand resolutions about stuff that I’ll never stick to.  My resolutions used to be tied to changing things about myself.  Now, I try to tie my goals to creating better habits and accomplishing things I’ve wanted.

During one of my first weeks at my new job at LearnVest, our editors asked the entire team about our financial resolutions for 2013.  Finances are on my mind constantly, and I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish this year before we get married.  I was included in the article (famous!) and publicly resolved to: Figure out how to combine my finances with my fiance as we head into major saving mode for our wedding, honeymoon, and beyond!  My other resolutions, not featured, were to bring lunch 3x a week and give up Starbucks.  I have them on a post-it at my desk so I can be reminded everyday.  I think the small impact of bringing lunch and giving up Starbucks (usual cost: $15 a day!) has made me realize I can change my habits and find new ways to save money.

All of this makes me excited for the future ahead for me and Chris.  We have so much to look forward to and we’re in it all together.

Holidays

The holidays are here. We had a hectic and fun Thanksgiving weekend including lots of family time.  We started our first official holiday tradition as a couple. Chris and I both love Christmas and have been splitting time between each of our families for the last few years. But this year, because we live on Long Island now and actually have enough space for a tree, we hosted our first-ever tree-trimming. Both of our families joined us for snacks and pizza and helped us get our apartment in the holiday spirit. Fake tree all the way- I’ve never been a real tree person. Our tree and most of our ornaments are hand me downs from Chris’ grandparents. Our moms are also going to give us our childhood ornaments, but not until next year… for our first tree as a married couple!

We are lucky to have close knit families that enjoy spending time together. We realized everyone’s getting comfortable with each other through the easy laughter, candid conversation, and when Ryan stretched out and took a nap on our couch.

We are going to make it an annual thing.  What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Here are a few pics from that day (including before and after of our tree):

Gratitude

I thought I’d start with a gratitude list. I’ve been feeling incredibly lucky and blessed in life right now. It feels like I’m in the right place for once and I want to hold on to that. And, well, it’s Thanksgiving week so all the cool kids are doing it.

  • I’m grateful for finding the love of my life
  • I’m grateful for steps I’ve taken to care for myself
  • I’m grateful for gel manicures
  • I’m grateful that I’m close with my parents
  • I’m grateful for friends I can trust no matter what

I keep reading how important it is to keep gratitude top of mind. It’s working for me. Lately, I feel lighter, unburdened. Also, I’m realizing, life is not about being perfect (which is something I’ve had trouble letting go of since birth)… it’s about being here. I’m less likely to get down about the little things if I’m not expecting things to always be a certain way.

Getting Started

I’ve thought about starting a blog for years, but I’ve been too scared. I’m constantly self-editing- afraid of what others will think, afraid I won’t be good enough. I’ve been challenging myself lately to just trust my creativity. Maybe I’ve been reading some creativity unleashing self-help books…maybe now just is the time. So here it is.

I want to use this as a place to talk about everything. I know that’s broad and most blogs are more focused but I’ve tried writing about running or about weddings specifically and I’ve gotten distracted too quickly.

Here’s my story- I’m Danielle, a late twenty something with a handsome fiancé and the cutest puppy on the planet. We live in the suburbs— after living in the city for 6 years I’m still surprised I made the move but I love it.  I just left my (somewhat) cushy magazine marketing job for a startup that has me feeling inspired for the first time in a long time.  We are planning our wedding and saving to buy a house.  I’m inspired by photography, passionate people, teachers, my parents. I love organization, weddings, the color purple. I talk fast and loud when I’m excited— my fiancé thinks its cute but I think it’s embarrassing. My family and I are incredibly close.

This blog won’t be perfect, but I hope you’ll read along.