Tuesday, August 9, 2011

rockify your cake

Oh wedding blog, how I have neglected you! To any of you who have checked by in the past two and a half months, my apologies for letting that cheesy anniversary card photo stay at the top of the page for so long. Today I'm replacing it with something completely awesome. You can thank me later.

I posted a long time ago about cake toppers both ridiculous and lovely. This one falls under a different category entirely, namely: KICKASS.

via John Arcara Photography's facebook page/a highschoolmate's wedding photos

For the uninitiated among you, that is a custom Pearl Jam stickman wedding cake topper! I like how they added flowers and a veil and removed the goatee/soul patch situation (duh) for the bride. If only I'd thought of this! I'm pretty sure Jon wouldn't have let me follow through with it -- he's not as crazy about PJ as I am -- but this is still the coolest idea ever. Well done, former schoolmate! Go 'Cats!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Anniversary recap!

If you're sticking with tradition, you're supposed to exchange gifts of paper on your first anniversary. (If you want to go the more modern route, I think year one is clocks.) My gift from Jon began with this delightful, schmaltzy card -- when you open it, it plays Unchained Melody. "Wooooohhh ma-ah-ahahay luhuhuve..." (Too bad he couldn't find a Tony! Toni! Toné! card. Man!)

The paper part of the gift really ended there -- though Jon found himself a loophole by printing out information about the other gift-parts on paper. So clever. (While my present for Jon is strictly paper, it's... not here yet. Oops. So he totally gets a pass for skimping on the paper. At least his gift was on time!)

Anyway, Jon gave me the card and accompanying printouts after work on Friday, because some of our anniversary activity would be taking place the next day. Jon had planned a wee getaway for Saturday night, followed by lunch Sunday at a lovely restaurant south of town I'd expressed interest in. As a late-breaking bonus, he'd gotten offer for day-long press passes to the inaugural Atlanta Food & Wine Festival -- a random perk of being on someone's media list.

So Saturday morning we picked up our passes by 9 a.m. and attended some of the morning sessions -- one on charcuterie, one on pairings of local beer and cheese (pictured below) and one on cocktails made with Coca-Cola (but like way better than anything you've ever had. Go to the bar at Holeman + Finch and ask for 'The Pause that Refreshes' -- holy crap!).

After the sessions we hit the tasting tents, where we were overwhelmed with samples of delicious food and booze. All free with our passes! Yes please.

From there we went home to recover from our gluttonous/boozy morning/early afternoon, then we gathered our overnight things and packed Otto in the car to take him to the doggie motel. (I had to include this shot of windblown Otto.)

And we were off! We went to a place called Historic Banning Mills, about an hour or so south and west of town:

After a short time there, Jon allowed that he probably could have vetted the place more thoroughly. The accommodations were fine -- nothing special -- but the food was truly abysmal. Having been to the F&W Festival that morning didn't do it any favors, but even without that comparison, it was awful.

We decided that this place was probably better for a corporate/team-building retreat (if you're into that sort of thing) than for a romantic getaway. After all, it has Georgia's best zip line canopy tour -- and it goes right over your cabin!

We did avail ourselves of the putt-putt course on the grounds, which I'll grant was a nice activity to have around, even if it wasn't a super exciting course:

After our terrible dinner -- salvaged by the really nice bottle of wine Jon's parents had given us for our wedding last year (though I felt a little guilty pairing it with such dismal food) -- we hiked around the creek, which was quite lovely:

Lunch the next day definitely made up for our dinner on Saturday. We went to the Farmhouse at Serenbe, a lovely, farm-focused community for wealthy hippies (more or less), and enjoyed a lunch of fried chicken and vegetables picked from the garden on-site with refreshing southern cocktails.

So concluded my multi-stage anniversary present, and back to Atlanta we went. But, of course, the celebration wasn't over yet -- we still had to have cake! And before cake, we had agreed that we would recreate one of our favorite treats from our French-Canadian honeymoon, poutine. It's not the prettiest dish, but don't knock it 'til you've tried it. It's delicious! What could be bad about french fries smothered in cheese curds and gravy? Really not much.

We finished out the night (and weekend) with our year-old wedding cake. It held up just fine in the freezer, though it got a bit squished in the storage process. (It also looks like the florist tried to put a floral topper on it before she remembered we had a topper: when I first lifted the cake out of the foil trays it had been sandwiched between, I was worried that those colored spots were mold or something -- nope, just smooshed flower petals and leaves.)

Much to my great delight, the red velvet cake was every bit as delicious as it had been last May 22 -- and this time I think I got to eat more!

All things considered, we had a fun and (mostly) delicious first anniversary. I only wish we got to take a week off work now to commemorate our honeymoon!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

happy anniversary to us!

my calendar from 2010

Hello out there! For those of you who didn't jump with me to my new, non-wedding blog, I pulled together some photo highlights to post over there in honor of our first anniversary today. More to come later this week! In the meantime, enjoy. For those of you who have seen these already, I would apologize for the redundancy but they're so pretty I don't think I need to. What a beautiful day it was...

If you want to see more/read all about it, visit the recap section on this blog. All photos here copyright Our Labor of Love.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

our famous photographers

The cover story for the May/June issue of American Photo magazine (for which I can't find a website?) catalogs the top 10 wedding photographers in the world:


So, imagine my delight when I saw (via the blogs) that Jesse & Whitney of Our Labor of Love -- our wedding photographers -- were among those honored! Of course, I'm not surprised in the least. How could there be anyone else? They're the best! (And they attract the best of the rest to work with them.) Click over to their blog to read their reaction and see how they reimagined the cover photo... Congrats, Jesse & Whit!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A prelude to end all preludes (and much, much more)

So, as we all know, The Royal Wedding is happening tomorrow. (Photo at left from Brides.com) One of my musician friends just shared on facebook an update to the Royal Wedding Website -- there are lots of unnecessary caps in these matters -- announcing what the Music for the Wedding Service will be. Traditional brides, take note! There are surely some good ideas in here for your organist -- or your full orchestra, should you have one on hand for your wedding.

The prelude will kick off with four pieces for organ, followed by seven -- seven! -- orchestral works. (That right there is a full-length recital in itself.) Then follows a Fanfare and three Processionals (for the Queen, the Clergy and the Bride); three Hymns during the service; a choral Anthem and Motet; the National Anthem; another choral piece while Kate and Wills sign the Register; and another Fanfare from the Fanfare Team (I did not make that up, I promise). Finally, a recessional for the happy couple and a postlude of two pieces, concluding with everyone's favorite interminable commencement ditty, Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance.

Yowza. If you're curious about the specifics (that's you, future brides looking for music ideas), allow me to refer you to this background page on ye olde Royal Wedding Website. All kidding aside, I like to see a service that incorporates so much music -- not that it could have been any other way -- even if it is all quite conventional and expected. They've balanced out the obviousness of the selections by adding in a recent premiere and a couple of pieces commissioned just for the occasion. (We should all be so lucky!)

I'm looking forward to hearing all of the service music, especially the new works -- I'm definitely not going to catch much of the prelude, which probably starts at 5 a.m. or so over here. (And I obviously am excited to see Kate's Royal Wedding Dress and the sure-to-be whimsical millinery in the congregation.) I just hope the wedding wraps up before I have to leave for work! Can't we get the day off too?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wedding Spectator: Memphis nuptials!

For those of you who don't follow my non-wedding blog, I thought I'd post this very weddingy write-up over here as well and drop it into my much neglected "wedding spectator" series. This was my first Jewish wedding (though I've been to numerous mitzvahs and other services) -- the service was lovely and the reception was a ton of fun. Enjoy!

Jessica and Adam, both college classmates of mine, were married last weekend in the synagogue Jessica grew up attending in Memphis. My best friend Abby's mom, with whom I sat, told me that the sanctuary was designed in a bowl-like shape so that the congregation would feel as though it was being held in the cupped hands of God. I liked that concept -- and I especially liked that it entailed raked floors, which meant that I didn't have to strain to see over or around anyone. Hooray for short-person-friendly spaces! Isn't the sanctuary gorgeous? I love the elaborate carved doors on the ark. Not to mention the chuppah:

Normally I'm not one for incorporating popular music into anything at a house of worship, but I really loved what Jessica and Adam chose for their processional pieces. A string quartet played My Favorite Things as the grandparents came in; the wedding party processed to What a Wonderful World; and the bride and her mother made their entrance to Can't Help Falling in Love. (An Elvis tune! In Memphis!) The music was sweet and utterly charming.

In a Jewish ceremony (as some of you may know), the parents of the couple stand up front with them in addition to the bridesmaids and groomsmen. The bride and groom also generally walk down the aisle with both of their parents in the Jewish tradition. There's a strong sense of family about the ceremony. The service incorporated lots of singing by the rabbis, a lovely homily and a few special rituals that were explained in the program. After they said their vows in Hebrew and English, Adam stomped on the glass, he and Jessica kissed and we all shouted "Mazel tov!"

From there, we didn't have far to go. The whole shindig took place at the synagogue, so the cocktail hour was just outside the vestibule in the foyer/lobby area. The reception was in the social hall, which was really, really nice. You definitely can't have awesome parties like this in the church where I got married or the one I grew up in (or in many Protestant churches, I'd reckon), because they don't allow booze of any sort. (I'm sure there are curfews and decoration rules to deal with as well, but there wasn't any point looking into that stuff for our wedding, since we wanted a dance party with adult beverages.) This felt like a swanky hotel reception, without the hassle of having to get into a car and go somewhere else! Well played indeed.

Here are Jessica and Adam taking their first spin around the dance floor as husband and wife:

And below we have the early stages of the hora, before the bride and groom (and others) get hoisted up above the crowd in chairs by the burly men. One of the bridesmaid's husbands, who quickly became one of my favorite people, started talking about how excited he was for the hora as soon as the service was over. I also heard a few hilarious hora horror stories. Fortunately all went well with this one, though I think Jessica wouldn't have minded if it had wrapped up sooner. Aside from the hora, we boogied all night long to the sounds of the SoulSations.

Last but certainly not least, I know I promised I'd report back about the wedding cake. Well, there wasn't any -- there were cupcakes and doughnuts instead! (I'm told this was a major victory for the bride during the planning process.) I sampled two flavors of mini cupcake and, alas, just one kind of doughnut. All were delicious. I really just love the tower o' doughnuts. NOM.

Did I mention I enjoyed the doughnuts?

above photo courtesy of the studio j photobooth (via abby)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wedding Day Hooray!

I just got an email from the folks behind Atlanta's Indie Craft Experience announcing three markets for 2011, one of which is focused exclusively on handmade crafts for your wedding. Huzzah! I'm sure this will be a huge hit (as the regular markets are), and I might even check it out, even though I don't have a pressing need for wedding tchotchkes these days. (Coincidentally, the Wedding Day Hooray takes place on the weekend of our first anniversary, May 21-22. Aww.)

So, Atlanta-area brides, mark your calendars! For more information and updates on these markets, check out the Wedding Day Hooray and Indie Craft Experience websites.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To the Mirthmobile! (announcement & thanks)

I don't need to tell y'all I've been a bad blogger lately. The truth is, it's getting to be that time for me: that time that seems to come in every wedding blogger's life when one desires to share with one's readers things that are not part of the wedding world. To that end, I've launched a new general hodgepodge blogging venture -- the mirthmobile -- and I hope you'll come check it out!

Of course, I'm not ready to leave weddings behind altogether. They've actually kept quite a hold on me, much to my surprise. And who knows, there may be something to that... time will tell. At any rate, I've got some unfinished business still to attend to (vendors to review, to be specific). I'll continue to post here, but only occasionally, as has been the case for the past couple months.

I just wanted to give y'all the heads up that things will probably stay slow here (though you never know, with wedding season ramping up) and that I've got new digs on the web. I also wanted to extend my most heartfelt thanks to all of you who have followed along and supported me by reading and commenting. I started this blog as a way to keep my ideas organized and to save my family and friends from constant wedding talk; I had no idea it would introduce me to so many thoughtful, wonderful people whose writing would inspire, challenge and amuse me. Thank you for being brilliant!

What's that? You want the new blog address one more time? But of course! You can find me at themirthmobile.com. See you there!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

it's my dress in a box! (...in a bag, in a bag, in a bag)

Yesterday, eight months from the first and last time I wore it, I finally picked up my wedding dress from the cleaners/dress preservation place. I dropped it off there July 17 -- took them long enough! Not that I needed the dress for anything, but I was still happy to get a call from them last week telling me it was ready for pickup and hadn't been lost or destroyed in some freak preservation accident. (Apparently the boxes were on backorder, hence the delay.)

Picking up the dress took about 20 minutes because the sweet old lady at the cleaners wanted to unpack and show me the dress and then verrrry carefully seal it all up again. She even used a vacuum thingy to suck the air out of the second plastic bag and a flat iron to (sorta) seal it shut before she handed over the box. Intense!

When I got home, I opened it all up once more to take a better look at it -- and also so I could share it with y'all. I didn't really have any idea what preservation entailed (and I still don't entirely) when I got talked into it, but I figured I should do my part to protect the investment my parents made in buying my lovely dress. All I know is that it's nice and clean now, and that it won't turn yellow.

Now my dress lies cushioned with acid-free tissue paper in a presumably acid-free zippy bag in a box made from a special kind of plastic. Some boxes have a little display window, I hear, but mine doesn't. The cleaners wrapped all that up in three bags -- muslin, heavy plastic and one that felt like a normal dry-cleaner bag -- though I don't think I need to keep all of them.

one, two, three bags

box in a bag

Once I got through all those outer layers and opened the box, I found a pair of white cotton gloves inside the zippy bag. If you're going to touch your dress, you have to put these on so you don't get any body oils on the dress that might oxidize over time and cause stains. Again: Intense!

safety gloves!

After a full five minutes of dealing with all this packaging, I made it to the dress. It's beautiful, even all folded up! The veil is rolled up in tissue paper (helpfully labeled "Veil"), and the dress is folded over on itself probably two times under there. There's a lot of skirt to deal with! Although, the fact that they removed the crinoline in order to preserve the dress (which I'm assured will only be like $25 to add back, should the dress be put to future use) certainly means there's a lot less dress to fit into the box.

There were some stains that the cleaners couldn't get out, but those were mainly at the bottom of the skirts -- no surprise there, especially since I didn't have a bustle and just swept the ground behind me all day and night. Happily, I didn't spill any Cheerwine on myself while dancing, which would have been disastrous. Other than the stains at the hem, I know there was a tear or two in the lining of the skirt (one of which I remember happening during the ceremony) and I'm sure there must have been a snag or two in the tulle from the twigs my skirt kept picking up while we were taking pictures during the cocktail hour. Of course, I won't ever see these things unless I take the whole dress out of the box, which probably won't happen until I have someone else who wants to wear it (friend, daughter or other) because lord knows it would be smooshed back into the box all covered in cat hair.

So anyway, I don't know if any of you ever wondered what the dress preservation/storage situation was, but hopefully this post tells you a little bit about it. Regardless, it was nice to see my pretty pretty dress again in real life, as opposed to just in photos. Such lovely memories!

Monday, January 17, 2011

It's raining weddings

There comes a time in every twentysomething's life when everyone and their mother is getting married. The lots-of-weddings era officially began for me in 2008, when I was a bridesmaid in one of my best friends' weddings. As it happened, that year in weddings was actually kicked off by that bride's mother -- seriously -- who got remarried.

I had three other weddings that year, bringing the total to five between April and the first weekend in October. 2009 was even more packed, with six weddings* from mid-May to mid-October. By the midpoint of our own wedding planning, we only had two weddings -- ours and my Bride Buddy's, the week before ours -- for 2010; after the holidays, though, two more were added to the docket. Still, only four weddings from April to August in 2010 was a comparatively light load. (Since one of them was my own, I'm very thankful for that.)

2011 is shaping up to be another crazy, crazy year o' weddings. As of tonight, I've got seven weddings on my calendar from mid-February to mid-June. Three weekends in May are wedding weekends, and the non-wedding weekend falls on our anniversary. (Convenient!) The last couple to get married of the current 2011 bunch has been engaged since June 2009; my friend who just announced her Memorial Day nuptials got engaged last weekend. So, who knows -- my year in weddings could get busier still!

While it's definitely easier to attend a wedding than plan one, I want to make sure I budget my vacation time and attire/travel/gift expenses for these events wisely. I've already bought one present (in an attempt to spread out the credit card charges) and signed up for that Williams-Sonoma Reserve hooha where you pay $30 to get free shipping for a year -- I'm already certain that was a good investment. Now I just need to drop some of the extra pounds I put on over the holidays by the time May and June roll around so I can put my rehearsal dinner dress to use again...

*although I tend to have a good memory for this sort of thing, like any good packrat I actually have a scrapbook that serves as a record of all the friend and family weddings I've been to since 2005, when the first of my high school buddies got married. It was actually a great resource to have on hand when I was figuring out my own ceremony and invitations.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

snow days

obligatory snowman - good one, huh?

Depending on where you are in the world and what/who you pay attention to in the media/on Twitter, you may or may not know that Atlanta got hit with about six inches of snow Sunday night. Snowlanta! Snowpocalypse! Snowmageddon! SnOMG! Schools and lots of offices (among other things) have been closed all week because the roads are covered in ice and Atlanta has like eight trucks for salting and/or plowing. The joys of living in the South!

Although the archetypal snow day is a thing of the past thanks to telecommuting, Jon and I managed make time for playing in the snow a bit while working from home the past few days. I mean, the dog has to go out, right? Here are a few snapshots of the snowy scene in and around our neighborhood (which is apparently a quaint ski village, if that fourth photo below is to be believed):

It's been nice to be at home these last few days, especially when home is in one of Atlanta's most walkable neighborhoods. Even if we can't drive anywhere, there's a lot of fun and tasty stuff we've been able to get to on foot. We'll be back to the grind tomorrow once the ice melts, but at least the weekend is near!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm dreaming of a Blurb Christmas

In a highly original and utterly predictable move, Jon and I gave our parents Blurb-made wedding photo books for Christmas. (It seems like all newlyweds do something like this, doesn't it? It's practically inevitable. But hey, wedding photos make for lovely mementos.) Our wedding was early enough in the year that our parents could have easily pulled together their own photo albums before the holidays, but I held our discs captive to prevent that from happening. Muha!

By now you've probably seen most of these photos, but I wanted to share this book anyway. I know that our photographers typically use about 60 images when they make an album, so that's the number I kept in mind as I selected pictures. I'm really happy with how it came out! Click on the preview below to flip through.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2010: my year in Facebook photos

While I was out in Idaho for the holidays, my brother-in-law challenged me to put together a 2010 retrospective composed of Facebook photo highlights: one picture from each album I posted in the last year. Easy, right? It was actually quite difficult to boil down some of the larger albums that encompassed many events and months to one photo. I also realized that there was a lot I didn't document on Facebook (though some of my friends took care of that) -- mainly our wedding showers/parties that I covered pretty thoroughly here. (As I recall, I was trying my damnedest to be tactful, given that Jon and I have many hundred Facebook friends who were not being invited to our wedding.)

I made (or added to) 22 albums in 2010, so here are my 22 favorite shots that should provide a good overview of what went on in my life last year. All photos were taken by me (or Jon, if I'm in the photo) using my dad's Nikon DSLR (some day I'll have a fancy camera of my very own!), my Canon point-and-shoot, a Polaroid 300 and the Vignette app on my Droid Incredible, except for the two from Our Labor of Love and one from Smilebooth -- those should be pretty obvious. Here goes!











Looks like 2010 was a pretty good year, doesn't it?