May 30, 2009

I Think I'm Gonna Cheat

Shh...Don't tell anyone!!

Don't worry...not on Mr. Swan! I think I might cheat on my hairstylist!  Hive, I don't know about you, but I always feel better after I've gotten my hair did. I also know that the person who helps care for my hair (and I'm sure yours) has to be someone you can trust or at least does a good job. I really like the women that currently do my hair, but I'm thinking about cheating on them for the wedding!

When I had my initial conversation with my current stylists, I wasn't exactly sure what to think. They want me to come in a month before the wedding to discuss possible styles. I'm kinda concerned about that time frame. Perhaps, it's the super planner in me, but that seems too close to the wedding. I feel like I need more time or at least an actual trial OR TWO to see what styles might actually work. 

I'm also wondering if I should see who else is out there and whether I should get a second opinion. I don't know if I should be staying with what I know or possibly cheating on them to make sure I've covered all of my bases. I am also particularly concerned because our late morning ceremony requires me to possibly do something to my hair the day before and work a little magic that morning. Essentially, I don't want to have a conversation about my hair, but actually see what's in store MORE THAN ONCE. 

Can you imagine that my hair is one of the few things stressing me out right now (well, escort cards and cupcake displays are bothering me too, but no one will be looking at those all day.)?

Is anyone thinking about  "cheating" on a stylist or other service provider that your regularly use as you prepare for the wedding? Am I being paranoid? It's not like I'm the first bride they've had come through their shop. 

May 28, 2009

Lone Wolf

Yes, that’s me. You see, Hive, I’ve been doing this whole wedding planning thing pretty much all by myself. Why? Well, it’s a little complicated.

For one thing, Mr. Swan and I decided NOT to have a wedding party. It’s not that we don’t have any friends that we wanted to include in the wedding. If anything it was the exact opposite! Mr. Swan would have been faced with the task of having a wedding party consisting of his brother and about eight other guys. I don’t have any siblings and very few close friends, so my half of the wedding party would have been pretty small consisting of four people or less. Either way, the idea of a ten-plus person wedding party was not appealing to the both of us. We felt we could still include people in ways we thought were important without having a formal bridal party. I know that’s not a popular sentiment, but that was definitely the right decision for us. 

While I love Mommy Swan and my family, they have not been a part of most of the planning either. Since there hasn't been a wedding in my family (or among the people I would call my family) in about twenty years, I've had to really take the lead on bringing everyone up to speed on weddings in the 21st century. :)  My mother has never gotten married, so in some ways she's pretty new to this too. 

I will say above all having to travel each week for work has been the hardest impediment to including more people. I really don't get the time to have major pow-wows about everything because it would require much more time that I don't really have. After several days of being gone, it's just easier and more efficient to just make a decision and get things done rather than wrangling a group to go somewhere or to ask for multiple opinions.

 In many ways, I think I've struggled to figure out how to include others too. Do they help make the ultimate decision? Do I ask their opinion even though I have a strong sense of what I want anyway? Do they do research for me (I love researching things for the wedding; it's my favorite part)? 

Please don't feel sorry for me though. I've really enjoyed doing much of the planning myself. I am someone who has always had a VERY strong sense of what I like and don't like. I enjoyed my private dress shopping sessions. The one where I did bring Mama Swan resulted in a whole lotta needling about why I should have picked another dress (I love her still)! Also many of my friends have a VERY different style from me. While I love them and respect their opinions, I appreciate the fact that I am going to have a wedding that Mr. Swan and I feel is ours while still making sure to include our families, histories and culture as best we can. 

In many ways, I chock this up to being an only child who also happens to love spending time by myself. I do feel rather freakish that I am not the type of woman who has a ton of people at each appointment. I will even admit to you that I also feel some guilt at not including others more, but so far I have had a very non-stressful and pretty smooth planning process (although I say that now....) and haven't gotten flack from anyone really (at least not to our faces anyway, hee hee!!).  I will say that Mama Swan is going to a fitting with me today and will be front and center at our tasting coming up soon. 

Are there any others out there planning your wedding almost by yourself? For those of you who are not, how involved have others been in the planning process and how do you choose to include them?  

May 25, 2009

Not the Invitation Post You're Looking For

As I was thinking about something to blog about yesterday, I realized that I have not blogged about my invitations. I'm warning you now, everyone, that this is not going to be the usual Weddingbee invitation post. I'll again be up front with you....I'm not into paper. I think it's pretty just not enough to make a major investment of time (making invites or paper products myself) or money (dropping loot on  letterpress). 

With my uncraftiness and a decision to keep things streamlined and simple, this thinking spilled over into my search for invitations. I knew I wanted to keep things looking very modern, simple and full of color, which is essentially what our wedding will be. That meant I tried to look for invites with no birds, flowers, plants, bows, yadda, yadda, yadda. I was thoroughly surprised at how hard it is to find invitations without these elements in this day and age. Almost every invitation out there has one of those elements. If anything, with that criteria at least it made it easy to narrow things down! I was also not concerned about letterpress, engraving or pretty much how they were printed as long as the cardstock was at least substantial. 

Also against current convention, I did not want multiple inserts, pocketfolds or an RSVP card. Part of that was motivated by a desire to be "green" (we are paper recycling fiends in the Swan household) and to maintain part of the underlying goal of our planning which is to (say it with me, everybody) "Keep it simple!" Instead of an RSVP card, we included a small insert with our RSVP date, an e-mail address and telephone number for our guests to respond, and also a mention of our wedding website on My Wedding

During my search, I found myself on Etsy as usual and was totally attracted to Eva Paul Design (they apparently do photography too), a husband and wife team who have modern whimsy down to a science. While I was a little apprehensive about not getting a physical sample of my specific invite (they do send samples but not customized ones), I pulled a Whitley Gilbert "Relax, Relate, Release" and figured that it would be okay. It was! 

By the way, before I write about my invites, here are some samples of EvaPaul's work.

Say hello to the Denise invite

Tres Cute. I know it has birds, but it's so darn cute!


They do Save The Dates too. Here's one of the new ones, Bianca.

I love the bicycles!!

For me, Nic and Kirsten tranformed their Carly invite from this:

to this:

(w00 hoo for little strips of paper!)

Simple with bold color and just what I wanted

Here's our RSVP insert:

(Sorry for the blurriness but you get the idea)

I was pleased with the invitations, and so far we have gotten nice feedback from many people on our somewhat unintended  "green" invitations. 

Anyone else following our "Keep it simple!" philosophy with invites or any other aspect of the wedding? 

May 19, 2009

Whatcha Talkin' About, David?

I may have mentioned that I did not like dress shopping very much, but I felt like one of the easier places to go shopping in the early stages was to David's as the store carries a lot of styles and silhouettes in a price range I knew I could afford on the spot. At the end of my initial experience, I felt like Arnold from "Different Strokes" mumbling under my breath "Whatcha talkin' about, David?" as I tried on some of these dresses (by the way, who's David?). I felt like David was trying to straight up play me with the some of these dresses. I came to find out over the course of time that I really wasn't into most wedding dresses AT ALL. Looking back at the process now, I will say that I did like having a range of styles to try on at first especially since me and my picky self had some criteria for the dress ( Y'all know I'm gonna write a list, so sit back and enjoy :) ) :

1) Chill with the beading. I know a lot of ladies like the beading, but it just didn't appeal to me.

2) Keep it light. I did not want to feel like I was carrying the weight of a small child on me all day.

3) Find a way to get away from wearing a strapless dress ( 'cause someone done wrote a memo to the bridal industry that that's what brides [want to] wear these days.)

4) Did I mention beading?

Anyway, here are some of the dresses that I tried on at first that did not make the cut.
This dress wasn't so bad...

BUT it had this!!!!

In my mind I was channelling Faye Dunaway in "Mommy Dearest" - NO. BEADING. EVER!!! In my very early dress shopping stages, I was completely and adamantly opposed to beading. Ofcourse, how I did rectify that? I bought a dress with some beading. Sigh...

Then my very sweet consultant put a veil and a tiara on me. Wrong move...I'm still trying to figure out if I want a veil right now.

I look pretty happy here, don't I?

The next dress had more of a "Va Va Voom" quality to it. This dress was the beginning of my love affair with mermaid style dresses. I always envisioned this kind of dress, since I figured I should try to show a curve or two.

I was kinda into this dress, but my (ahem!) Bonita Applebum was kinda sticking out there. That the dress was tight (not "tight" as in "good" or "cool" but as in actually tight!) is an understatement.

Alas, this dress looked as if the Bead Fairy had had its way with it too, so I moved on.

This dress was the type of dress I thought I wanted before I started shopping. Something light, airy and simple.

However, I didn't think this dress was really doing anything for me.

So there's a sample of some of the types of dresses that I tried on during my first trip shopping. I think I got a quick sense of what I liked and what I didn't, and it guided me well through the rest of the process.

How was your first trip wedding dress shopping? Did you realize what you were looking for in a dress pretty early?

May 16, 2009

Shall We Engage...Again?

WAY too early on a Sunday morning during a late April heat wave, Mr. Swan and I had our engagement shoot with our photographer, Dante Williams. We decided on South Street Seaport, which is quaint yet touristy little area right on the water in lower Manhattan. It was good to get there early as it can be a total mob scene during the weekend. 

Let me start by saying that Mr. Swan and I  are not supermodels by any stretch of the imagination. NOBODY tells you how hard taking pictures can be.  Yes, it should be easy to just sit there....but it wasn't. I think we were just having a hard time relaxing. Needless to say we started off pretty slow, BUT by the end of the session we actually go to be pretty good (either that or Dante was just messing with us). I also think Mr. Swan enjoyed an excuse for PDA early in the morning. In the end, I'm glad that we chose to do engagement pictures, so that we could get used to being photographic subjects for Dante and get over our shyness. 

The results? AMAZING. Here are some of my favorites (Oh yeah, the blonde guy is Mr. Swan):


All Images Courtesy of Dante Williams

May 12, 2009

Making It Up, Part 3 - The Choice is Yours

Props to anyone who can let me know artist of the song in the title of the post (no Google either!!)

So after sort of getting ideas of what I wanted to do with my makeup I decided I'd take the plunge and line up two makeup trials. In the end, they were both different experiences. One is a professional makeup artist who works in television; one does makeup as a side job. One was VERY late; one was on time to the minute. One seemed very skilled; one seemed skilled but not as much as the other. One used much more makeup on me; one used much less. For one, I was able to see her skills with airbrush, the other one I would not, which is hard because she intended to use it on the wedding day.  One felt like I was hanging out with my friend, the other was very sweet but I wouldn't say we could seriously chill (this is not a prereq for any wedding helper, but hey, it can't hurt, right?) 

So how did they both turn out? Before I show you, please let me preface this by saying that I am usually freaked out by wearing makeup AND lately I've been taking some really, REALLY bad pictures.

Contestant #1

Yeah...ummm...not my most photogenic here, but you get the idea right? I think the lipcolor will be slightly different the day of. Also just as a reminder, I will be having a daytime wedding so as an official "makeup fraidy cat," I asked for softer colors and nothing too dramatic.

Contestant #2

Okay, a friend would say "Miss Swan, you look kinda...extra." Yeah, I'm going to agree here..not because of the makeup job but because I look a bit dimented. I'm my own worst critic I guess. This makeup job was very subtle. 

I won't say which one I picked, but the choice is yours, Hive.

May 10, 2009

Stamp of Approval

Another invitation element I decided to focus on were our stamps. I was inspired by some of the great options available at Zazzle

Here a few that I loved:

Let's Talk about Love

I like the grafitti on the left and the flower power on the right.

I love this last one especially for those of you having a classic look for your wedding. 

I Heart You 

Is  love as unique as a fingerprint or as confusing as a maze?

I love this heart with a sunset. DW brides with tropical locales, this is all you, ladies. 

When I see this one, I think of Miss D'Orsay. :) Anyone else breaking the mold with their stamps? 

May 9, 2009

Write Stuff Redux

As of this post, we are focused on paper  over here in the Swan household. We're in the process of sending out our invitations, and so I'll blog about some of our invitation elements starting with the outside of our invitations. 

Lemme be real, I'm not into paper. I think it's pretty, and I love seeing some of the beautiful custom letterpress creations out there. However, this was not an area of importance for us in the planning. Also being uncrafty and lacking time, I was surely not going to be making my own. 

As I mentioned before, I was surprised about how much I would be into calligraphy for our invitations. It was great to find Fran of Little Flower Calligraphy on Etsy, and she was great to work with. She answered all of my e-mails promptly and was super helpful in making sure that this process was as smooth as it could be given the fact we lived several states apart.  

When I came home from a work trip, I was ecstatic to find all of this beautiful calligraphy goodness. Here's a sample (since I am not Photoshop saavy and don't even have the darn thing, names have been blocked by little strips of paper..go me!)

(courtesy of me)

(me too)

A close up..sorry about the fuzziness.

(me again)

I'm really glad that I chose her Social Butterfly script. I wanted whimsical yet pretty, and I got it. I'm very happy with the results and can't wait to see how our escort cards turn out. 

Are you doing anything to add some special flair to your envelopes?

May 4, 2009

I'm Not Gone

Hey all!!!

I've not gone away. I have been thinking about blogging for awhile. 

There's been a bit of a change though...

I'm Weddingbee's newest blogger!! I'll be blogging under the moniker "Miss Swan."  

That's right. For some crazy reason, I was chosen. :) I got word a week ago and have been waiting to get introduced on the site first before letting you all know. 

Anyway, I'll still be blogging here, so you can definitely follow me here, but I encourage you all to take a look at the site. 

The posts will be coming regularly from now on. 

Thanks and please continue to follow the blog. :)