Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

New Year's Eve 2009
Moscow, ID

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

taking care of business (even while on vacation)

Jon and I only committed to one big wedding-related task for our time in Idaho: the addressing of our save-the-date postcards. I brought the 100 postcards I had printed for free along with me, and the other 150 Jon ordered arrived in the mail here this afternoon. (Don't ask me why I felt the need to round up to the nearest 50 and not, like, 10. I guess I worried that I would screw up a bunch of addresses? I think we'll have quite a few extra when all is said and done.) We knocked out the first 100 in relatively short order the other afternoon and should be able to finish the remainder tonight, with just a few blanks left to fill in.

A nice side effect of addressing all these things is that we've finally firmed up the guest list. I feel like Mom and I both were avoiding it for a while, or were just scared to look at the numbers because we knew the list had grown. The latter is probably still the case, but now we've decided to let the guests self-select rather than doing it for them. In recent days and weeks we've added a few guests, cut a few, and consolidated multiple invitations into one because it's just easier that way, etiquette be damned.

Based on my latest count, we'll be sending out 206 save-the-date cards. (See? I told you I over-ordered. Drat.) When it comes to formal invitations, we'll be proper (for the most part) about sending everyone his or her own invitation even if he or she lives with another invitee, but I figure it doesn't really matter for a postcard.

Once I manage to hunt down the remaining dozen or so addresses, I'll be able to check another big item off the list. In the meantime, I'd better make sure the wedding website is up to date... there's always something else to be done, isn't there?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Old-Timey Tuesday: the triumphant return!

Greetings, readers! I apologize for the long wait on this one, but I promise you it is worth it. This week's Old-Timey Tuesday comes to you courtesy of my Aunt Connie and Uncle Dave (thanks, y'all!) up in McLean, Va.

Dave and Connie were married on August 3, 1974, in Stephens City, Va., just south of Winchester where Connie grew up. The wedding took place in the Methodist church Connie had attended all her life. Here's the happy couple:

Like my mom had, Connie has long, sheer sleeves and a beribboned bouquet. Dave is totally rocking the all-white look with the classic ruffled shirt, don't you think? Now, let's have a look at the wedding party:

Bridesmaids in white? With flower baskets? AND sheer floppy hats?? EPIC. I hope Aunt Retta and Aunt Becky (Dave's sisters, second from right and second from left, respectively) still have these getups. I'm not sure this would have been considered an unusually cruel bridesmaids' ensemble back then, given the other '70s weddings I've seen.

I especially like what the groomsmen are wearing. It's always nice to have the groom stand out from the bunch in terms of what he's wearing, but I think it's the men of the wedding party who draw my eye in this photo, with their extra-wide black lapels in the sea of white. I also think it was a bold move to go with the blue ruffled shirt -- even the cuffs are ruffly! To tie the whole group together, groom and groomsmen alike are sporting the ginormous black bowtie. Here's a close-up shot of Uncle Dave with his brother Tom and brother-in-law Richard:

Here you can see the ruffled cuff of Uncle Richard's shirt peeking out, as well as the unusual breast-pocket flap on Uncle Dave's suit. Oh '70s, what a nutty decade you were!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Hello from Idaho!

Ok, so I haven't yet gotten back to "blogging regularly," as promised, but I am a little bit less crazed now that Christmas is past and I can settle into one time zone for a whole week. I sense that my triumphant return to the blogosphere is on the horizon! I'm out in Idaho now visiting Jon's family, and I don't think there is much on the docket besides catching up on sleep, eating his mom's delicious cooking, organizing some wedding-related stuff, and frequenting the local bookseller and antique mall. Hopefully we'll get some snow to go along with all of that while we're here!

Today was actually pretty packed, in comparison to what I imagine the rest of the week has in store for us. We started out at breakfast with Jon's best friend from high school, whom I had only met over the phone, before she went back to work in Portland. It was excellent fun, even at 9 in the morning. After that, we came home and dragged out the boxes, grocery bags and albums of old family photos and pawed through them all, because, let's be honest -- there's gonna have to be a slideshow at the rehearsal dinner and/or wedding. I scored a lot of good material. Yesssss.

The rest of the day was given over to a lovely open house/shower/holiday get-together Jon's folks hosted from 3 until 9. It was awesome to get to put faces to a lot of familiar names, and also to get to meet all of their friends. And, bonus, we got some lovely gifts! (One of them is a gift certificate for the aforementioned local bookseller. Score!) I was only slightly disoriented by the 4 p.m. sunset today, though I don't think I've quite escaped the grips of jet lag yet.

Anyhoo, there will be more to come this week -- most notably the best Old-Timey Tuesday to date! Get excited, folks.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

5 months to go...

I returned to Atlanta yesterday from across the pond (a day late and über-tired) to find the usual monthly email from I was happy to learn that, once again, I am ahead of their schedule! Muhaha!

This month's directive is to "find the perfect formalwear" for the groom and his cohort. I don't remember if I blogged about it or not, but we did some scouting when Jon's younger brother and best man was in town over Thanksgiving. We're pretty much set on the style and from whom we'll be renting, so all we need to do is pull the trigger... which will probably happen post-Christmas, like so many other things.

Other things that happened while I was away: our save-the-date postcards arrived (design success!) and our rings came into the jewelry store! Good times. Since we have to pay more money to pick up our rings, we're gonna wait until 2010 for that.

Anyway, I'm back and should be blogging regularly again. Hope you missed me while I was away! :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Where in the world is Kathleen?

In snowy Berlin!

I'll be back next week... hope y'all are having a good week!

Friday, December 11, 2009


As a singer, I'm accustomed to pretty nutty holiday seasons. Rehearsals, performances, extra church services... all in an Advent season's work. However, this year probably takes the cake for calendar insanity.

I just realized that I've had major performances at least every two weeks since the end of October, but I'll spare you all of those details and just tell you about my December. The first week, I rehearsed and sang two performances of Handel's Messiah with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and chamber chorus. This week, I have rehearsed and sung two concerts of Christmas with the ASO. Tomorrow I am missing the last two performances of that program to prep for and then help hostess my family's annual champagne and cheesecake Christmas party. Mmmm... let's pause for a minute to look at some pictures from parties past:

All of that deliciousness happens tomorrow. This year my mom had a few (three) unanticipated surgeries, so on top of all of my singing, I, along with my sister, have been baking up a storm so Mom didn't have to and so we could still have our annual soiree.

BUT WAIT. There's more. On Sunday, I have to be at the airport at 1:30 p.m., where I'll meet up with the ASO chorus to fly to Berlin, Germany for a week. We're singing with the Berlin Philharmonic December 18-20! This means Christmas markets, Glühwein, Wurst, Brezeln (notice that I enjoy German food specialties?), trying not to embarrass myself auf Deutsch and braving some cold-ass weather! So, yeah, I should probably start packing...

All of this is to say that I may not be so good about posting in the next week or so. Our hotel has free wireless, so I'll check in a time or two -- I have an AWESOME Old-Timey Tuesday post in the works! -- but I probably won't be around so much until after my return on Dec. 21.

Until next time, happy Hanukkah/an auspicious advent to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Knot's 6-months-away task: invitations

For whatever reason, I enjoy keeping tabs when it comes to's monthly countdown emails: me versus their timeline. I think I got my first to-do from them at 11 months out from the wedding, and since then, I've only been behind once (re: the guest list). I'm 5 for 6! Not bad.

Anyway, the 6-month mark rolled around a few weeks ago, but since I haven't settled up on that score yet, I'm doing it now. "Order your invitations," the email said. Well, I didn't have my invitations ordered by November 22... but that's because I'm not ordering any! I'm designing/laying out my own and printing them on Chandler & Price old-style platen presses at a local community studio. I did, however, have many working InDesign files on my computer as well as an order in to Keldon Paper, so I'd have something to print on (eventually). The week after Thanksgiving, two ginormous packages from California turned up at my door. Here's what was inside:

This is $251.20 worth of Crane Lettra paper products (and cutting fees): 300 regular envelopes, 300 ungummed (inner) envelopes, 300 5x7 pieces for invitations and announcements, 250 3.5x5 pieces for reception cards, and 250 3.5x5 double-thickness pieces for RSVP postcards.

That may seem like a lot to pay for just paper, but a) it's really nice paper, and b) considering that the only additional cost I'll incur will be the plate-making, I think I'm doing pretty well. It costs to use the printing studio that has the presses, but since I'll be printing invitations for a friend at the same time, she'll cover the $80 in studio fees, which gets me a month of access. All told, I'm anticipating that I'll come out under $400 for 250 sets of a 3-piece custom letterpress suite.

For comparison, I just priced what I am planning -- one-color letterpress printing on regular Lettra paper for everything except the RSVP card, which is twice as thick and printed on both sides -- with a local letterpress company whose website gives handy instant quotes, and the savings are astonishing! 250 5x7 invitations with inner and outer envelopes come out to $856; 250 reception cards are $401; and 250 duplex double-sided RSVP postcards cost a whopping $1071. That's $2328 total! Damn, I'm doing way better than I thought. (If it weren't so late, I'd call my mom to tell her that impressive figure!) Even if you include the $240 cost of the letterpress class I took, which was my birthday present from my parents, it doesn't come close.

Of course, the cheapest option for wedding invitations is to go for some method of printing that is not letterpress (or engraving, or custom illustration). In recent years, though, I've developed an appreciation for paper and stationery, and I wanted something nice and tactile for our wedding. Since we couldn't afford to pay someone else to do letterpress, I decided to do it myself! I may yet come to regret this decision, but so far I'm feeling pretty good about it.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

wedding photography behind the scenes

Davina + Daniel, one of my favorite photography outfits I've come across, posted the most excellent pictures earlier today on their blog. These photos, culled from the 82 weddings they shot over the summer, give a glimpse of what all the job of kickass wedding photographer really entails. It's trickier and more physical than one might suspect! Here's a preview:

Check out the (totally awesome) full post with color commentary from Davina here!

Llama farm wedding!

Why didn't I think of this? Check out this reception site:

LLAMAS EVERYWHERE! [note: I was informed by a helpful commenter that these llama-like creatures are actually alpacas. ALPACAS EVERYWHERE!!!]

You can see the rest of the wedding, which is decidedly less alpaca-ful, here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Old-Timey Tuesday: the album

Mom and Dad's wedding album is covered in off-white ostrich leather (not sure if it's faux or real) and has pages, separated by sheets of vellum, that are large enough to display 8x10" photographs. Grandma and Grandpa's miniature version holds 3.5x5" pictures. Despite the super cool cover, I think my favorite part of both albums is the inside cover-page illustration:

The reverse of this page has the fill-in-the-blank prompts of "So-and-So and This Guy were married on the ___ of _______, 19__," which I don't think anybody filled out. Not that it isn't clear who was getting hitched here, what with all the newspaper clippings folded up in the front of the album.

Isn't this drawing awesome though? It's still got a bit of a '60s vibe to it, don't you think? Old-timey indeed!

Monday, December 7, 2009

is it just me?

Or is it not a little weird when a bride insists on referring to her dress as a "she" as opposed to an "it"? As in, "She. Was. Perfect. Her ivory satin is to-die-for... AND she FIT with lots of room to spare! ...I wish I could wear her every day. " (brought to you by Weddingbee.)

I realize that many styles are named names as opposed to serial numbers,which makes them easier to remember -- mine is named Desiree, which reminds me of Des'ree, whom I never really cared for (and dammit now her song is in my head) -- but this is just one of those things that irks the hell out of me. And I do my fair share of anthropomorphism... just usually with my cats, cars or things I bake.

It's a dress, y'all. It.

two golden rings!

On Saturday, Jon and I decided to go look at wedding rings for the first time. I'd perused a few stores online and sent Jon a couple of things from Etsy, but we were basically starting from scratch. That being the case, we decided to go to Solomon Brothers, a conveniently located local jeweler that seemed to me to have an extensive selection and a good reputation.

Both of those impressions turned out to be true, and after less than an hour in the showroom, we were 99 percent sure we had found our rings! I didn't want to slap down my credit card and commit then and there -- I tend to shop around/consider big purchases for a while -- but after about an hour of pondering and talking about the prices and styles while continuing our errands, we decided to call our saleslady back and put down a deposit. Here are the ones we chose:

for Jon

for me!

Both of these are white gold. I looked online later, and Jon's ring would be more than $3000 in platinum (before the "discount" that they appear to offer on everything). Ha! Fat chance. My ring was actually the first one the saleslady pulled out of the case for me to try on. The size was perfect, and it looks really nice with my engagement ring. As far as the width and carat weight goes, this was the middle of three options. It's a bit wider than the band on my engagement ring, and it's got .33 carats of sparkles. Fancy!

I have been baking up a storm lately, which translates to a lot of dish-washing, which means my engagement ring was a little scuzzy when we went into the store. I had the saleslady clean it while we browsed the men's rings section, and while she was away, I took a covert picture or two of my ring on my hand. Isn't it pretty?

I do wish I had a picture of my two rings together, but that will happen soon enough. In the meantime, I'm thrilled to have checked another big thing off of the list! Done and done.

Friday, December 4, 2009


You know how people resemble their pets, or how married couples eventually start to look alike? A lot of the engaged couples I know have obvious superficial similarities, so I can see how they'll "match" as they get older (brown hair, similar noses, etc.). I don't think Jon and I look much alike, though, aside from the fact that we both are ghostly pale -- even at that, we have different colorings and skin tones. Will we still start to look like each other, too? How? Or is that all in the eye of the beholder anyway?

For now, we both wear hipster glasses that kind of match. I guess we'll have to wait and see about the rest...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

More from my first shower...

My friend emailed me a shutterfly album of photos from Saturday, so I have a few more pictures from the shower and one of my decorated tree to share with y'all! I'll dive right in:

These are my bridesmaids from the high school gang. (Actually, I
guess they'd more correctly be called the elementary school gang...)

I think Mr. Flamingo here won the prize for most intense ornament of the night.

Here's my pretty pretty seester (and maid of honor, duh) keeping
track of the festive ribbons for an eventual rehearsal bouquet

Krista and her whimsical felted wool ornament get a thumbs-up from me! I'm really going to have to break myself of this habit during all these showers, aren't I?

Without further ado, here is our tree with all of these awesome new ornaments on it!

Not too shabby, eh? What I like best about it is that each of those ornaments has a story or a name to go with it. However, I was over at my parents' house last night (which in recent years has become a two-tree household) and was put to shame by the massive quantity of ornaments they had. To keep it all in perspective, I reminded myself that they have been married for 37 years now... they had to start somewhere too!

The week after next I am off to Germany for a week with a choir, and I've got big plans to hit up the famed Christmas markets and augment my collection. Jon's mom also tells me she's going to gather up some of his childhood ornaments at her house and send them back home with us after Christmas. Maybe next year we'll be able to use all the branches on our tree!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

to press we go!

Just moments ago, I approved the final proof of our save-the-date postcard and sent it off to the press at Wanna see it? Of course you do!

Our incredibly talented friend Larissa provided the artwork, and I laid it out with some text in InDesign with my recently acquired Adobe skillz.

This is actually Larissa's second take on our portrait (I posted about the first drawing back in the summer) because her style changed a bit since she finished the original, she said. I think both versions are pretty badass in their ways, but I absolutely love how she has started drawing hair, don't you? Speaking of badass, in the next year, Larissa's work will be on display in galleries in California, Oregon, South Carolina, Sweden and Germany as well as included in two books. Damn!

As I probably mentioned in that post about the earlier drawing, Jon and I are really excited to be able to incorporate actual art into our wedding -- awesome local art at that! Not only is this save-the-date super cool, it also makes a quiet statement about the things that are important to us in our life together.

We should have 100 postcards in hand next week -- I won 100 free postcards from a blog giveaway, so I thought I'd get a look at the freebies in person first in case I managed to screw something up. Once I confirm that they are stunning and flawless, I'll order 150 or so more and start addressing.

Which brings me to a question for y'all: When should we send out our postcards? We're within six months of the wedding so they can go out any time, but my question is this: will they be overlooked in the onslaught of catalogs and holiday cards if we send them before Christmas? Should we wait until the holiday madness is past? Or is this a case of the-sooner-the-better? Jon wants to send them ASAP, but I'm a little paranoid about getting lost in the shuffle. Please advise...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Old-Timey Tuesday: the clever groom

We haven't given young Jimmy much blog real estate, so I thought I would focus on him this week. Here, Dad and his younger brother Dick model the cutting edge of 1972 men's wedding fashion -- Grandpa Jim wisely opted for a classic suit:

Now that I look at it, I think the main sartorial issue here is the length of Dad's trousers... it reminds me of a certain history teacher from my high school -- you Wildcats out there know who I'm talking about. That aside, I think Dad looks pretty sharp. It could certainly be worse -- just look at Uncle Dick's hair!

Over Thanksgiving, I learned a about Mom and Dad's sweet post-reception ride. You remember, right?

Well, it seems that Dad was a little nervous about what his groomsmen -- in particular Mom's mischievous younger brothers -- might do to the Buick, so the morning of the wedding, he dropped it off at the gas station at the end of Colonial Heights Road road for an oil change. I assume he explained the situation to the proprietor in full, because the car remained up on the lift and out of reach of the Abernathy boys until the window of opportunity for debauchery had closed. Sneaky! Dad didn't get the nickname "Jimmy the Wonder Child" for nothing!