Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Old-Timey Tuednesday: Reception!

The stack of my grandparents' wedding photographs I've been pulling from seems to be missing the below photo of the cake-cutting, which presumably would precede all the pictures that follow. (My cousin had scanned this one and emailed it to me a while back.) This series of pictures captures the reception, which looks like it was also held at the church. I reckon they're making things officially official by signing the marriage license/contract in the last two photos.

Jean and Fred cutting the cake:

Being served a piece of cake... check out the kid behind Grandma... FEED ME.

Enjoying the wedding cake together -- I love that they're sitting on a pew.

Jean signs her name...

and Fred adds his. Married!

We're nearing the end of my grandparents' wedding pictures, but fret not -- I've got lots more old-timey family wedding fun in the queue!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Yes, yes -- NO! NO!

Jon and I took the first few hours off from work today to meet up with Jesse and Whitney for an engagement photo shoot. It's been a while since I've been the main subject of a photo shoot (headshots, senior year of college) and I don't think Jon has had any professional pictures of himself taken aside from ones for his yearbooks, so it was a pretty interesting experience... but we had a great time!

We started out inside Belly General Store and then moved outside for a few shots. The light was a bit harsh out there, so we bailed. From there we drove toward our apartment, which has a unofficial dog park right next door and an official city park across the street. Jesse and Whitney took a bunch of photos of us on the hill at the dog park -- at one point, they were all the way across the field from us... we must be tiny specks in those shots! Jon and I were just standing there holding hands, like, should we dance? Make out? Stand still? Jump around?

After trying a few more configurations and lying down in the grass for pictures, we went across the street to the city park, which has beautiful cherry trees in blossom lining its border. Physical challenge no. 1: climb the tree. And don't look like a tool once you're up there. Good luck! It was a little awkward... it got more awkward, though, when they asked us to face each other and we both ended up straddling the sharply angled limb for a few minutes. Poor Jon!

Eventually we hopped down from the tree and took a whole lot more photos in the park. We faux-hung from the flowering branches for a good while, and as a result my underarms ended up getting a lot of camera time... I was assured they looked great. (We'll see how that turns out.) At the end of it, Jesse said she figured she tried every angle possible of us among the cherry blossoms.

After that, we hopped back in the car and returned to the street outside Belly. We took some photos in a colorful doorway, then headed around to the back alley for more of same. There was jumping, stonefacing, big smiling, staring into blinding sunlight and much, much more. Right as we were getting back to their car, having declared the shoot over, I saw the giant Coca-Cola mural on the wall outside Belly and just had to get some pictures in front of it. More kissing, jumping, stonefacing and staring into sunlight ensued, and Jesse only nearly got hit by a car once or twice. All in a day's work!

I didn't ask about how long it takes, but I figure we'll see some proofs in a few weeks... certainly by the start of May, I should think. I hope we looked good! I shouldn't worry though, because everyone Jesse and Whitney shoot looks awesome. It's just different when it's me and not some anonymous pretty person on the internet. Sort of like how I don't like hearing myself on answering machines, I think. Does that make sense? Regardless, I can't wait to see our pictures! Once I do, of course, I'll share some highlights with y'all...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Bachelorette weekend photo recap!

I'm a little late posting today because I'm still recovering from my amazing bachelorette weekend. It was nonstop awesome from Friday night all the way through Sunday afternoon! I have the best sister and friends (and friend-mamas) in the world!

Rather than ramble through it all, I figured a photo essay might tell it well. These are all my own pictures -- I set up a share site on shutterfly to try and pull together everyone's pictures from the weekend, but nobody's gotten around to it yet, alas! There are surely better pictures out there, but you'll just have to wait on those.

Anyhoo, here goes. Enjoy!

We started out on Friday night with a dinner at Top Flr in Midtown. Here we have two of my bridesmaids and my bride buddy Shelley on the right.

From there we went to Johnny's Hideaway in Buckhead. This was our second round of shots (of two) of the night, ordered by the gal on the far left -- if I remember correctly the shot was called "surfer on acid" and involved lots of J├Ągermeister. Mmm. Tastes like Germany. (Note: face has been blurred to protect the can't-be-too-careful educator in the group. You're welcome, Petra!)

After shutting Johnny's down, my phenomenal and amazingly tolerant seester indulged my drunken demand for Waffle House. This photo was taken at 3:20 a.m. HASHBROWNS NOM.

The next day we had our mother-daughter lingerie shower at my best friend's parents' house. Judy (the hostess with the mostess) ordered these hilarious cookies for the occasion.

After the presents, a picture of the girls! We're missing three of the high-school gang of girls, and there are two other bridesmaids who are living in other countries and couldn't make it.

Now the mamas! My sweet Llama is in the middle. We're only missing one high-school mama in this picture -- she moved out to Colorado a while back.

Poe ladies! Llama, me and Seester! A vision in variations on blue.

A few hours later, all the girls reconvened at my sister's house for a slumber party. As you can see, the blingy bride chalice did make an appearance. I filled it up with champagne and used it to wash down my pizza. Classy.

As promised, cookie cake! Marriage? ZANG! (We chose the dinosaur due to optimal white-icing coverage.)

After copious amounts of junk food and pizza, we got off our asses to play two hilarious rounds of "pin the junk on the hunk" -- an adult version of pin the tail on the donkey. Here, Abby is spinning Emily until she's about to puke. (I would like to take this opportunity to thank my friends for making this the most scandalous event of the night -- you listened! Smooches.)

Then we checked out the OnDemand karaoke channel my sister apparently gets... Bubba is clearly not amused by our singalong.

Cookie cake aftermath

Aaand we finished out the night with a game of Apples to Apples, which I had never played! Glad I've crossed that off my list now.

We crashed early on Saturday night, around 1 a.m. (which I guess would be Sunday morning, actually). Given our all-nighter on Friday, this was a totally acceptable outcome. We all found places to sleep and conked out until around 10:30 Sunday morning. To wrap up the weekend, the five of us who stuck it out overnight at Emily's went for a delicious brunch at Sun in my Belly. I never want to eat again!

Anyway, as you can see it was a totally amazing, excellent weekend. The only thing that could possibly have made it better would be having the missing girls there to partay with us! Thanks again to my kickass seester and fronds for such an awesome time!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bachelorette partaaaaaay!

Woooo! The weekend of my bachelorette festivities has arrived!! (How is this possible?) One of my college roomies/bridesmaids and my best friend got in from New York last night so they can join in the fun. Sadly though, many of my nearest and dearest who aren't living in ATL right now won't be with us. Boo! We'll just have to party harder in their absence, right? And take lots of ridiculous pictures. I think we can do that.

Tonight we'll start out with a girls' dinner and then proceed to Johnny's Hideaway, billed on its website as "Atlanta's ONLY nightclub for big kids," (aka where the DJ plays excellent classic tunes and the young attractives try to avoid the old skeezies) and boogie the night away. After that I'm pretty certain we'll sober up (or at least put some food on top of our drinks) at my favorite Waffle House, which is right next door.

It seems like that will be hard to top, frankly, but we will try our damnedest on Saturday. A smaller group (my high-school best buddies and my roomie/bridesmaid + moms) of us will have our gang's traditional mother-daughter lingerie shower at 1 p.m., which allows plenty of time to recover from any Friday damage in the morning. After that, we'll break for a couple of hours, then reconvene at my sister's house for an old-school slumber party. There will be pizza, cookie cake, movies, embarrassing stories, late-night bagel bites and, I'm hoping, not too much phallic paraphernalia. Knowing this crowd, though, I'm sure there will be some. So it goes!

I will of course report back once the madness is over. Maybe I'll even share some (non-incriminating) photos from the debauchery!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Me & Josh

In life, generally, I am one of those people who thinks that most things happen for a reason -- this can be especially clear in hindsight. So, while I'm not sure I believe in soul mates or the notion that there is but one person with whom I could be happy for the rest of my life, I do have a sense of meant-to-be-ness about my relationship with Jon. Looking back over the nearly four years we've known each other, it's almost like it was spelled out for us in little ways. Jon's proposal at a Josh Ritter concert (as summarized in yesterday's post) was pretty much the most logical way for it to happen.

Allow me to backtrack a few years -- and I will keep this as brief as possible, I promise. Way back when, in May 2006 when I was living with my parents in Atlanta and gearing up for my master's degree, I received my monthly issue of Paste magazine, which I then thought was the paragon of rock/indie music and cultural journalism. (That has since changed.) I had torn out the sample CD included in the issue first thing and tossed it in my car so I could listen while I drove (and drove, and drove) around town.

I remember quite clearly waiting for the traffic light off the 10th/14th street exit ramp to change and noticing a tune called "Kathleen" by some dude named Josh Ritter as I scanned the CD sleeve. Ooh! I thought*, and skipped ahead to that track. Here's how it starts off:
all the other girls here are stars—you are the Northern Lights
they try to shine in through your curtains—you’re too close and too bright
they try and they try but everything that they do
is the ghost of a trace of a pale imitation of you
I’ll be the one to drive you back home Kathleen
It was a live version, and it was pretty rockin'. When I got around to reading the magazine, I saw that the cover story was about this Josh Ritter fellow, who hailed from the small town of Moscow, Idaho.

A month or two later, during the "boot camp" portion of grad school, our class of 16 arts journalism majors took a field trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., to see a performance at Glimmerglass Opera. Jon was one of the carpool drivers for that field trip, so I called a spot in his car, along with two other classmates, and sat behind the driver's seat. A few songs into the trip, Josh Ritter's "Girl in the war" came on. I recognized it from a Paste sampler and asked Jon if he read the magazine -- I figured he was discovering the same artists I was, but it turns out he was already hip to Josh Ritter and the Decemberists and the like. Doh.

I don't really remember when we had the conversation about how Josh Ritter was from the same town in Idaho where Jon had been living for the past ten years, but it definitely happened at some point. I told Jon that was so weird, because I had JUST found out about Josh Ritter and JUST read the cover story wherein writer and subject wandered through Moscow. I promised Jon I would bring the magazine back with me from my next trip home so he could read the story.

The year we were in grad school, Jon's younger brother was a junior at Syracuse, so Jon lived in a house with his brother and his buddies. Once the fall semester started up and Jon and I were hanging out pretty regularly in small groups, his brother would tease him and snicker every time Jon returned to the house, "Did you drive her back home?"

Well, that was pretty anticlimactic, wasn't it? I suppose it seemed so at the time as well, but in retrospect, it feels like some sort of sign. Josh Ritter has since become a favorite (obviously). He came to Atlanta not long after Jon and I moved down here, but I had to sing a symphony performance the night of the concert so I couldn't go. Jon went instead with a new friend we had just met, Larissa (she of the amazing save-the-date art). Interestingly, when out for a drink the night before the Josh Ritter concert at which he proposed**, Jon ran into Larissa at a bar in Little 5 Points. Coincidence? OK, maybe.

The other bookend to this rambling saga is the recent announcement that Josh Ritter is returning to play Atlanta on May 13 -- that's right, just a week before our wedding festivities really begin. How ridiculously awesome is that?? I am so excited for this show. He's playing Variety, one of our favorite venues, and he's headlining. Hopefully he'll be hanging out after the concert so we can say hello!

Of course, Josh Ritter is only part of the equation. Cheerwine, baseball, general southernisms and many other cultural references played a role in sparking our mutual interest, but Josh Ritter's excellent music has been something of a leitmotif in our relationship, you could say. (Nerd alert!) And now I must ask: am I the only sorta nutty one who looks back and sees signs in this sort of thing?

*I had a brilliant idea right before I went to college of making a mix CD of songs whose titles were the names of all my friends, and though it never came to fruition, apparently the dream never died.

** Jon's brother (and a few others) have asked Jon what he would have done if Josh hadn't played "Kathleen" at that concert. Good question!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

This evening last year...

Jon and I went to this concert

Where this guy

played his song named after me
(you can see the very performance of the tune
here -- funny, I don't remember any of this!)
which prompted Jon to give me this:

and ask me to marry him.


So we left before the headliner,
started calling everyone we knew

and toasted our engagement!


Huzzah! Now there are only 59 days left until the wedding!
(And I've written 200 blog posts about it all!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Old-Timey Tuesday: Recessional and portraits

Old-Timey Tuesday is back with another batch of excellent photos from my maternal grandparents' November 1946 wedding near Greenville, S.C. I really love this first photo -- the other photographer diving out of the way (which begs the question: where are the pictures from his camera?) as Jean and Fred trot happily up the aisle. Isn't that camera awesome?

Here's an outdoor shot of the wedding party:

And this is Jean and Fred's romantic 1940s glamorous movie kiss! At least that's what this photo makes me think of. I like the onlookers in the edges of the frame as well.

Back inside the church for the formal wedding portraits, we have the bride and groom:

Bride, groom and attendants:

Wedding party plus ushers and family, I'm guessing. Grandma Jean's parents are on the far right of the photo, and I'm not entirely sure who all the men are...

My uncle tells me that, after their wedding, Grandma and Grandpa packed the car and headed west to Oklahoma, where Grandpa Fred had grown up. None of his relatives made it to South Carolina for the wedding, so Grandma Jean spent her honeymoon meeting her in-laws and new extended family for the first time! Family lore has it that Jean and Fred met on the first of June, had their first date on the first of July, were engaged on the first of August and married on November 23. Hot damn!

Monday, March 22, 2010

TWO months!

Holy buckets! Two months until I don my fancy dress and walk down the aisle and execute all these contracts we've been working on for almost a year now! (So romantic, I know.) Fortunately I am not freaking out just yet, and I hope I won't at all. We've already gotten some RSVPs back, and there have been a few surprises on both sides of the equation, so I'm hopeful that our attendance will work out to a number that does not require the rental of more tables and chairs than our venue provides.

Since it is the 22nd of the month, I awoke this morning to an email from telling me what I should be working on at this point. Today it was "Write your vows, pick your readings, and party!"

As for the first assignment, well, it doesn't really apply. We're going with the traditional vows that my church uses. In fact, at our second meeting with the pastor last week, he read through them for us so we'd know what we'd be saying. Vows, done!

Picking readings, now that's another story. We have been over all of the old wedding programs I've saved, looked online, and picked a handful of scriptures that we like. One that didn't make the initial cut is back in the running, because it pairs nicely with the overtly secular song we'd like one of our soloists to sing -- so it's sort of an incentive for the music director to rule in our favor on that one. We also had a poem in mind, but are sort of reconsidering given the "too secular" designation that will potentially muck up our music -- we may need something less romantical and more... ruminative? Shall see. The readings remain a work in progress.

When it comes to partying, we are all set! You already know we had a lovely shower earlier this month, and invites for the next one in mid-April should be in the mail as I write. This coming weekend will knock out two birds with one stone: bachelorette festivities Friday and Saturday nights, and Saturday during the day the mother-daughter lingerie shower that has become a tradition among my group of friends. Wrapping up the partying portion of the months leading up to the wedding will be a lovely non-shower party to kick off our wedding month. So, yeah, I think we've got the partying covered.

Only one more of these knot emails to go, thank the lordy. Given their track record, I'm sure they'll send me one on the day of, but hopefully it won't have any outstanding to-dos!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

on worlds colliding, overwhelmedness

Last week as I facebook-messaged a cousin whom I don't see very often for her new address, I started to notice that familiar overwhelmed feeling coming over me. Oh my god, I thought, we've invited too many people. How can we afford it? How will we manage to visit with everyone, much less greet them all?

Our wedding will be one of those worlds-collide occasions, as these things often are. We're bringing together groups that have generally existed in isolation and throwing them all together in a big room to witness our marriage and party with us for a night. There will be representatives of my elementary-through-high school friends; Jon's high school friends; my college friends; Jon's college friends; my summer camp friends; my study abroad friends; our grad school classmates and professors; our new Atlanta friends; old family friends; our parents' friends; and on top of that, both of our immediate and extended families. HOLY CRAP.

Of course, we brought this on ourselves. A small wedding never crossed my mind -- and I'm not sure such a thing would even be possible, given how my friends and family work. I mean, my family throws a holiday party each year that draws around 300 people, easy. I keep up with everyone and his/her mother. How could we possibly choose between these groups of people who are all so dear to us?

The solution is that we didn't. (And believe it or not, there are still people whom we could not fit on the guest list. Also, note to anyone making wedding plans: there is always more family to invite than you are aware of, at least if you're being equitable about it. Just so you know.) So, rather than feeling fearful or overwhelmed by the potential crowd, I've resolved to embrace it, and I'm looking forward to all of our circles of friends intersecting at last. I came away from our first wedding shower riding a wave of positive energy -- and to think, that was just a small subset of parent-friends! -- and I'm sure our remaining parties will build upon that momentum. Thinking about the wedding pretty much makes my head want to explode from awesome and happy. So much love and history and friendship in one place, with me and Jon at the lucky center of it! I think I may be overwhelmed after all...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the eagle has landed

People are getting their invitations quickly, thanks to the speedy U.S. Postal Service! Well done, fellas (and ladies)! I understand from many reports that my Atlanta friends got theirs yesterday, and one of my friends in Virginia Beach, Va., just told me she got hers already today. Woo! I figure most people should have them by the weekend, don't you think? Hopefully the RSVPs will start rolling in next week!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Paddy's Days past

(Just one more post for the day, I promise...)

St. Patrick's day isn't always a big holiday for me, but I have had two notable ones in the not-all-that-distant past. In 2004, I was studying abroad in Germany, and I picked the week of St. Patrick's day to go visit one of my college roommates (also a bridesmaid!) who was studying in Dublin. The biggest event of the week actually happened the day before St. Patrick's, when Allison and I decided we would mosey over to the U2 studios for some Bono-stalking. We weren't there but 30 or 40 minutes when who should pop out of the door and invite us in but Bono himself! Here's an awkwardly cropped picture of 20-year-old me and Bono, who looks half-drunk:

Needless to say, that was a memorable St. Patrick's week! I recall that Allison and I went to a pub nearby for a celebratory beer after meeting three of the four members of U2, and when I pulled out my coins to pay for my pint, I had the exact right amount in my hand. It was a good day.

As unlikely as I thought it was that I would ever in my life be in Ireland for St. Patrick's day, I somehow ended up in Dublin over the holiday again in 2007. This time I was with my grad school classmates on a weeklong trip that was purportedly intended for the study of Irish theater but mostly was just mindblowingly awesome.

The last day of our trip that took us through Galway and Dublin was March 17, and we had the whole day free to explore Dublin and party until our group dinner that evening. Jon and I watched some of the neverending parade, wandered all over town, bought Jon an awesome old-man hat and enjoyed a pint when we could find a pub with some space. Here's Jon with the old-man hat and the pint:

And here we are at the group dinner that night:

March 17, 2007, also happened to be the last time I consumed a Shamrock Shake until a couple of weeks ago. Yep, I went to McDonald's in Dublin in the wee hours of St. Patrick's day to see if the shakes were any shamrockier over there. I remember it being a little weak for my taste. Nevertheless, I'm happy to say that the drought has ended and the Shamrock Shake returned to Atlanta this year!

Anyway, just a walk down memory lane before the holiday was out. Meeting Bono, Edge and Adam in 2004 was badass, and getting the chance to travel with my then-boyfriend of four months or so (and the rest of our excellent classmates) was an unforgettable experience and a pretty formative time in our relationship. Dublin is where Jon and I first talked about getting married someday, actually... I remember that Jon sort of tricked me into saying the word "married" first, even though he was getting at the same point. What a wimp.

Luck o' the Northern European Mutt

This being St. Patrick's day, I thought it might be appropriate to note the ridiculous amount of luck I have had in the past year or so at winning things online. For example, on Monday I got a call from a local magazine saying I had won their "Sweetheart Sweepstakes" (picked randomly). I remembered getting the email that prompted me to enter, but couldn't find it in my inbox anymore, so I googled the package and WHOA, I won a crapton of stuff. Stuff like a pair of tickets to the natural science museum, a 90-minute Swedish massage, a manicure-pedicure and a gift certificate for a sterling silver Hershey's Kiss pendant (??) from a jeweler.

BUT WAIT. There's more, and it's the good stuff. I also got $100 gift certificate to Ross-Simons (expires at the end of the month, gotta work fast!) and $150 to Brown & Co., both jewelry stores that could help me solve my earring dilemma. Huzzah! The cherry on top of all this is a two-night stay at Barnsley Gardens, a resort in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains. That also includes a round of golf, but Jon and I are putt-putters and in no way could we manage an entire round of actual golf, so I guess that will have to go to waste since it's wrapped up with the room.

When I told my sister, she wondered where this winning mojo came from, and I frankly have no idea. That got me thinking back on the freebies I've racked up from the blogs in the last year or so. I've scored:
  • a dozen customizable cookies
  • a cute 2010 calendar
  • 100 postcards from (used for save-the-dates)
  • a pair of tickets to Spring Awakening (won with speed, not luck)
Not bad, huh? I feel like I am missing something but can't for the life of me think what it is... so I guess I'm not. Anyway, I'll be fine if I don't win anymore giveaways, just as long as my luck holds up in life in general!

Tastings: reception

As previously noted, yesterday was a crazy day in weddingland... crazy productive, that is! I peaced out of work around 11:45 (personal half-day what) and zipped across Marietta Street to meet mama and daddy at King Plow Arts Center for a tasting of the reception food. Bold American, our caterer, used to operate a restaurant in the space they now use for tastings and small events, so the presentation was quite impressive. White tablecloth and everything! The chefs all came and introduced themselves and told us about what we were eating for each course.

We started with buttermilk biscuits and cornbread, accompanied by tupelo honey butter and pimiento cheese spread. We had to restrain ourselves a bit with the breadbasket, because we knew much more was to come! First we tried a crab cake hors d'oeuvre, because crab cakes are pretty much dad's favorite thing ever, next to fresh tomatoes. It was delicious and very crabby, which is of course a good thing when it comes to crab cakes.

Next there was a side-by-side pork battle to pick what would make the menu: thyme and pepper grilled pork loin with Coca-Cola glaze vs. bourbon barbecue pulled pork on sweet potato biscuits. The pork loin won by a landslide -- and seriously tasted like Coke! In a good and porky way, of course, but the taste was unmistakable. You could call it a draw, though, because we decided to add the sweet potato biscuits to the assortment of breads to be served.

Last but not least, we sampled their famous fried chicken (as served at South City Kitchen, one of the company's restaurants) and creamy three-cheese macaroni & cheese. The latter was especially delectable. We are normally a crunchy-top, eggy inside mac & cheese lot, but in this case we decided that we shouldn't try to recreate a hallowed family recipe. We'd never hear the end of it if Mom's brothers didn't like it! This saucy, creamy version should suit mac & cheese lovers of all stripes.

Since we only got to pick five items off the menu to taste, that was the end of our tasting... or so we thought! Their pastry chef turned up and surprised us with a selection of mini desserts. NOM.

There's a lot more to our reception menu, of course, but I don't want to give it all away. You can probably tell that it's generally Southern awesomeness, and I will say that shrimp & grits will be involved. Once we get things finalized I may share more!

Fly fly!

Yesterday was a pretty big day in the life of our wedding (yes, it has a life of its own these days), as I'll detail in another post, but this accomplishment deserves a post unto itself: Our invitations are in the mail!

Yesterday afternoon I took my lovingly pressed and packaged invitations to the post office to be sent out. AAAAH! When I got to the counter lugging my many boxes of invitations, I asked that they be hand-canceled, per my day-of coordinator's instruction. The dude told me that they would get to as many of them as time allowed. Boo! Not satisfied with that response, I told him they could take their time, they didn't really have to go out that day... but he said nope, everything that comes into the post office today has to leave today. Who knew? Not me. I dropped them off around 2:45 in the afternoon, so that should have given them a few hours. Hopefully no one's will arrive having been chewed up by the post-office machines. If any of our guests are reading, let me know when you get yours!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Old-Timey Tuesday: the moments before

Directly following Grandpa Fred's bachelor party on the one and only roll of film that chronicles his and Grandma Jean's wedding are the following two pictures, taken, I imagine, shortly before the ceremony began. (That must be the case, because the picture after these is of the happy couple leaving the church. Each of these prints has a number on the back, which makes it easy to keep the sequence of events straight!)

First, we have young Fred sitting on the steps of the church, being tended to by his best man, Dal Cottrell. Is Dal wiping sweat from Grandpa's brow? Slicking back an errant hair? Trying not to crack up while they hold a pose for the photographer? No telling. Grandpa looks happy though, not too nervous, and it's a beautiful day.

Next is the companion shot of Jean waiting outside the church doors on the other side of the steps with her maid of honor, Annie Ruth Fulmer (Mom thinks), who appears to be dusting something off of Grandma's shoulders. I really can't help but wonder if these are awkwardly posed photos or actual preparations captured on film... and were Grandma and Grandpa out there together before the ceremony? I wish I knew all of the stories behind these pictures!

Up next week: the ceremony and the post-wedding photo session!

Monday, March 15, 2010

getting things done!

Last week was totally NOOTS with wedding meetings and evening plans... by the time I got to Friday, I needed a break, and break I did -- hence no post. But even though I stepped away from the blog, I was pretty industrious when it came to wedding things. On Saturday we moved my dad's parents' buffet and hutch set over to our apartment and put it in the dining room, and it looks AWESOME. We unpacked all of our shower gifts from the previous weekend and put them away in their new home, and we even broke down all the boxes they came in and took them to be recycled. Total score! Aside from that, I finally took our wedding bands to be engraved with our initials and the date, bought a shower gift for my bride buddy's kitchen shower next weekend and exchanged a gift we had gotten that came with a big scratch across it.

Productive, no? And I haven't even told you about the main event yet! On Sunday night, my mama and one of my bridesmaids who lives around the corner came over to stuff, seal and stamp invitations. It actually didn't take all that long to power through -- we started a little after 6 p.m. and I sent Mom on her way after a lovely pizza dinner around 8:30.

It helped that I had been bundling invites (i.e. tying the pieces together with twine) in front of the TV for a few weeks, and that Mom spent all last week addressing inner and outer envelopes. As such, all we had to do was put the bundles in the envelopes, seal them and add stamps, making sure to give the international invites the correct postage and an RSVP card sans American stamp. Won't work from over there!

Here we are getting started! Jo and I stuffed while Mom sealed and stamped.

Little Man dropped by to see if he could be of help but seemed overwhelmed by the task...

so he just sat there looking sweet. Awww Little Man!

With two of us on stuffing detail and only one sealer/stamper, Mom built up a bit of a backlog.

Right around this time, the envelope-sealy-stick wore out as well, so we powered through the last few dozen envelopes the old-fashioned way. Thank god the stamps weren't licky ones too! In the meantime we had sent Jon out to fetch some pizza, so at least we didn't have to taste envelope stickum for too long.

Hooray! Except for about six envelopes that still need stamps, these babies are ready to go! I'm planning to drop them off at the post office tomorrow -- I'm taking a half-personal-day off of work because Mom and I have the reception tasting and walkthrough, then Jon and I will meet with the pastor for the second time. Somewhere in the middle of that, I'm assuming I'll have some time to hit the post office at off-peak hours. Once I know our guests have them in hand, I'll show you the invitations in all their glory!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Tastings: rehearsal dinner

Right after work today I met up with Jon and my parents at the restaurant where we'll have the rehearsal dinner for a tasting of the menu Jon and his folks selected. Even though we were served tasting portions and not full ones, we all left the table pretty thoroughly stuffed.

The rehearsal dinner will be in one of the tents at Canoe, a lovely restaurant along the banks of the Chattahoochee river. Remember the crazy floods from last September that closed the restaurant for a few months? I'm happy to report that Canoe has recovered, and the gardens also look like they'll be just fine by the time May rolls around.

Tonight we sat at a table indoors, overlooking the garden and the swollen river rushing by -- we've had an inch or so of rain in the last couple days, so the water was up a bit. The tasting lasted nearly two hours, which admittedly was longer than I expected, but it was definitely worth it! Plus, it was nice to get to sit and visit with Mom and Dad with no other distractions.

We started with four hors d'oeuvres: stuffed mushrooms, a crostini-type thing with pesto and tomato and mozzarella cheese, chicken satay and tempura fried shrimp. YUM. All were winners, and I think the chicken and the shrimp were the standouts.

After that we had a delicious salad of arugula with spiced walnuts, slivers of tangerine and shaved parmesan with a citrus-champagne vinaigrette. I'm really not a salad person, but I thought this was excellent! We all did. As with the appetizers, we cleared all of our plates.

For the entree, Jon's folks opted for a surf-and-turf combo of grilled salmon and roasted ribeye, with a parmesan potato gratin and sugar snap peas on the side. DELICIOUS. Everything about all of these dishes was very tasty.

Dessert was a seasonal cobbler, which apparently means apples, cranberries and raisins at this time of year, served with ice cream. At this point I was running out of room in my belly, so I had a few spoonfuls and pushed the rest toward Jon, who polished it off. (I think he regrets doing that now.)

So that's our rehearsal dinner menu! We definitely didn't taste anything we'd want to change, so we're good to go. What do y'all think? Also, my advice to anyone planning a wedding or other big event: If you are hosting a meal somewhere, definitely check and see if you get to do a tasting! What could be better than free and delicious food?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Read all about it!

For those of you who don't get the acclaimed Northside Neighbor newspaper, I wanted to share our engagement announcement that ran in this week's edition, out today. Check it! We're famous!

click for a larger version

So, it's officially official now that it's been printed, right? We haven't announced in any of the Idaho papers yet because Jon is sorta dragging ass on that front, but hopefully we'll get that squared away soon.

We're not doing an announcement in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, my hometown's "real" paper, because this very same announcement would cost upwards of $350 to run in its pages. Uhhh, no thanks. I'm entirely sure we can find a better use for that $350!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Old-Timey Tuesday: a 1940s bachelor party

Now that I've picked up those boxes of old family photos, Old-Timey Tuesday has returned! Rejoice!

Today we're going to take a look at how Grandpa Fred and his buddies went about the bachelor party back in 1946. From the photos it seems like it was a pretty solid event, so let's break it down, shall we?

Step 1: Have a nice steak dinner.

(Grandpa Fred is in the middle)

Step 2: Drink your dessert. Make the honoree wear something silly on his/her head.

Step 3: Proceed to thoroughly embarrass the bride or groom. Make him or her wear more silly things.

Step 4: Retire to another room for polite conversation and after-dinner cocktails.

Step 5: Smoke if you've got 'em! Take the edge off with some Seagram's. Look like a total badass for posterity, if someone is snapping photos.

Step 6: Amass a collection of blurred late-night pictures that you may or may not remember being taken later on.

You know, the 1940s version of the bachelor party seems to be a pretty good model to go on, doesn't it? Well done, Grandpa Fred.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Shower season begins!

This past weekend, Jon and I had our first shower in the string of parties leading up to the wedding. This was a co-ed shower, with a guest list comprising friends of my parents' generation: there were family friends from my old neighborhood who have known me basically since I came home from the hospital, parents of high-school friends, work colleagues of my parents and pretty much everything in between. My brother and sister helped us hold things down on the young-people end of the spectrum. Jon was a little worried going into it, since he didn't know many of the people on the guest list very well, but it turned out to be a wonderful evening. I knew it would! It didn't hurt that we had two awesome hostesses running the show.

The party started with drinks and progressed to a light and delicious buffet dinner, and then it was time for presents! I had told Jon beforehand that he should remember to look excited about housewares as we opened gifts -- fortunately, I've never met anyone who likes presents as much as Jon does, so he had enthusiastic covered. As for me, I've got a pretty severe Vanna White reflex when it comes to opening presents for a crowd, as you can see below... I ought to work on keeping that in check.

It's a sweater! (No, actually, that's a pitcher. Close enough.)

We received many nice things off our registries -- all four of them, in fact! -- and a few off-registry lovelies. Jon and I were both pretty psyched to get a real music stand for our practice nook, and I personally was thrilled to get a cake dome that doubles as a punch bowl as well as an assortment of Williams-Sonoma's swanky cake pans! We also got a few stems of the crystal we registered for. It's so pretty and fancy! I could go on and on... but I won't. Now the main thing is figuring out where to store everything in our apartment!

Jon, me, and a pimpass ribbon bouquet

Once we were done opening presents, the parents made us take a picture together (above) and kiss... and Jon totally froze up. "Too short!" the parents cried. Hilarity/awkwardness ensued (below).

Then they made my parents kiss and smile for a photo. Am I my mother's daughter?


I left the shower in an absolutely gleeful state, and that carried over into Sunday. As I thought about it, I was overwhelmed by the generosity and love that had been focused on me and Jon for the evening. All of these longtime friends want to celebrate with us and wish us nothing but the best for the future. And to think, the wedding will be like that, only raised to the power of a couple hundred more people! It's hard to imagine. I'm pretty sure it's going to be the best wedding ever.