August 25, 2009

A Bee's Life: The Swan Perspective

Hey everybody!

I am really enjoying this series, A Bee's Life, so I thought I would add my perspective.

Let me say that I have always loved all things wedding. I used to occasionally buy wedding magazines and watched quite a few wedding TV shows like “Who's Wedding Is It Anyway?”. This is years before meeting Mr. Swan. I didn’t know very much about wedding blogs, but I had already started reading niche blogs because of my other interests. My first real blog obsession was reading real estate blogs of all things (There's nothing like reading about condo developments. :)). Although my profile says something else, I began my career as a real estate lawyer, and in many ways I still like reading about who's building what, where and how (especially how much).

Well, when Mr. Swan and I started to get serious, I began wondering about whether there were wedding blogs out there too. One day, during some work procrastination, I googled “Brooklyn bride” and the now ubiquitous Brooklyn Bride popped up. Boy, was I hooked. Not only does Vane have a great sense of style, but it was also the pared down, modern style that really resonated with me (Plus, she was representin' for the BK!). Brooklyn Bride had a ton of links, and I started clicking on them to get a sense of other wedding blogs out there. I actually ignored Weddingbee for a long time because I didn't really get the title :) (Sorry, Mrs. Bee). Ofcourse I finally clicked on the link and then was completely hooked. That was the Fall of 2007, and so I have been reading/a part of this community for almost two years now. The one time I have had the fortunate chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Bee, Mr. Bee promptly told me that I am like a Weddingbee Encyclopedia since I can recall random Bee posts from years past. I guess my little knack comes from all of my time here as a lurker to community member to blogger. I've been here a LOOOONG time.

I started blogging because I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and to keep my options open about serving as a Weddingbee blogger. I did a lot of research into things like Afrocentric wedding traditions and clothing and resources for Black brides not only to educate myself but also to blog about the these traditions and ideas since I couldn't really find very much out there.

As I have mentioned before I was pretty hesistant to apply to be a blogger. Unlike some of the other Bee bloggers, I actually blogged for over two months before applying. Why? Well while I loved the sense of community here at Weddingbee, I was often a little disappointed at the lack of Black/African American bloggers on the site. I actually even almost didn't apply at all after some comments that I had read on a post or two addressing this topic. Everyone has the right to their opinion on this subject, but I definitely questioned if Weddingbee was a place that I wanted to consult and spend time during my wedding planning process.

At the same time, I've always been someone who believes in making a path if one is not there. Since I didn't feel like I was finding what I wanted in the blog world, I created my own. Since I didn't see what I thought should be represented here on Weddingbee, I applied even though I'd be risking rejection. At the very least I could say that I had made an effort. I wish I had thought this way about so many other things in life. I guess it's the wisdom that comes with age :)

I didn't hear about my application for a really long time, so I actually thought I didn't get picked! Out of sheer curiosity, I e-mailed Pengy and got a nice e-mail back assuring me that my application was still under review. A few days later, I was sitting down to one of those 3pm lunches that happen occasionally (and having an awful day), when I checked my e-mail and a found my welcome from Pengy. Talk about lifting my spirits!! Three weeks later I popped on the scene.

Blogging earlier this year could border on exhausting for me due to my work and travel schedule. Often I would troop back to my hotel room and decompress by blogging. That also meant some late nights since I would sometimes not get to start a blog post until after 10pm! Also thank goodness for free Wi-Fi in hotel rooms, or blogging would have also become an added expense. I don't think my co-workers ever realized that I was bringing my laptop to not only do wedding planning but also to BLOG about my wedding planning. I had to fit in blogging at odd times in odd places.

I didn't realize how much I would love blogging. It's really become an outlet and in a way that I didn't think it would. I have always enjoyed writing and crafting a good sentence, but I didn't realize that I could feel a sense of contentment from writing the way I have with other things like dance. I know that I love to do something when I don't need a deadline or a prompt to do it. Sometimes I feel like I NEED to blog. It's been nice to find a new hobby. I'm even in the process of figuring out what I'd like to blog about next.

I think many of the other Bee bloggers have suggested great ideas about what makes a good Wedding bee application/blogger. The advice to be yourself is key. I think the power of being a good blogger is letting your personality shine through a computer screen. What I have also found to be most important is to innovate and find a voice, perspective or topic that not that many people write about. It will make you stand out, and readers will come back for more.

Again, it's been great to be a part of this community and to have the privelege to write for and learn from all of you!

August 24, 2009

A Tale of a Hair Trial - Hmmmm..... (Part 2)

Remember how my first hair trial was more of a rough draft?

Well, I went back for a more formal hair trial that would allow me to see how the style would look on my actual wedding date. That meant that my hair needed to be washed, the roots retwisted and then styled. (By the way, I am sure that many of you can't visualize what I am talking about here, so I'll post more about a typical hair appointment for me another time). In other words, I needed a full out hair appointment.

Unfortunately, my formal hair trial was not the visit that I wanted. I don't really ask for much when I go to the hair salon. I just want someone to do a good job, not make me wait forever and not have it cost a ton of money that I don't have. I just wanted to be able to have some time with my stylist to have some discussion with her and to make sure we were both on the same page. The problem with my appointment: she kinda quadruple booked herself for that time period! I know that I was the first person she booked for that time frame because I made my appointment a week earlier, and she was apparently completely free then! The result was way too much waiting and a very distracted stylist who really had no time to talk to me about what we were going to do.

Anyway, I managed to take a pic or two of the front portion of my hair after she was done.

I don't look so happy here (I REALLy wasn't happy).

It looks a lot different than the last time, huh?

One top of it all after some discussion, my stylist thought that the best thing to do was to have me come to the salon the morning of the wedding when in actuality it was much easier for both of us to just have her come to the hotel room that morning. Remember, my lovelies, I had a late morning wedding, so everything had to happen early and on schedule. Plus, I was staying in Manhattan very close to the wedding whereas her salon was in Brooklyn and NOT close to the wedding at all.
To make it all work, we would have needed to be at her salon at 6am at the latest. Being the New Yorker that I am, I don't have a car; finding a taxi that early in the morning is a pain; and getting back into Manhattan for makeup and everything else I needed to do that morning just wasn't realistic. If I had had an evening wedding, this would not have been a real problem; however, this kind of plan for a late morning wedding with pictures beforehand just was not going to cut it.

So after all of that, I left the salon a bit peeved and stressed out about a week before the wedding.
Stay tuned for how it all went down in the end...
Were the logistics of your hair and/or makeup trials as frustrating as mine?

August 18, 2009

A Little Detail

Okay, it's actually a major one: my dress!

I decided not to blog about my dress before the wedding because I never know when Mr. Swan is lurking around here. :)

Here it is:

As you can see, it's a mermaid style dress with a train and a little asymmetrical twist, aka David's Bridal ML9521. Part of me wished it didn't have the train, but it did make for a pretty cool bustle. My lovely seamstresss, Ann Hamilton, and I ended up calling my bustle a "Super French" bustle since it looked like some pretty French dessert by the time she finished creating it.

Ofcourse I also didn't want my dress to have any beading either, but there was some beading on the neckline and on the left hand side at the hip.

I don't know what it was, but shopping for dresses in my price range often led me to dresses with beading when I was trying desperately to get away from them. Hmm..conspiracy maybe? :)

In the end I really didn't like the wedding dress shopping process for a variety of reasons which I'll perhaps talk about. I even had doubts about my dress. A train and beading during the day? It seemed like a lot to me, and it was definitely not what I envisioned. I even thought about whether I should have gotten another dress, but I couldn't justify spending anymore money.

Speaking of money, I am glad that I stayed the course with my dress because, well, it was a very cost conscious choice. We came slightly under budget with our wedding, and I believe (actually I KNOW) that having a less expensive dress really helped. I'm not gonna front though...I really wished I could have had a beautiful Jim Hjelm or any other designer dress. I have definitely drooled over some of the dresses I've seen here on Weddingbee from both bees and readers. In the end though, my dress accomplished what I wanted it to: I felt pretty :) I guess that's all I can ask.

August 16, 2009

I's Be Married Now!

Hey, everybody!!

I am back and married. (By the way, props to anyone who gets the movie reference in the title of the post.)

Getting married is FUN, everyone! If I can say any word of advice to all of you in the latter stages of the planning process, it would be to advise you to make sure that you have FUN on your wedding day. Period. All I remember is the wedding being such a joyous, wonderful moment in time. It was so amazing, and I can't wait to share it all with you.

While I am waiting for my pro pics, I will definitely catch you up on a few things that I didn't get a chance to blog about before the wedding.

I want to leave you with a few images to show you a glimpse of how we experienced the day:

We had a meaningful ceremony.

We oohed and aahed over each other.

We cried (or at least I did).


It's good to be back as a Mrs. :)

All images courtesy of Dante Williams.

August 7, 2009

Thank You

I'm here beginning my last blog post as a single woman, and all I can think about is being thankful. I have so much to be thankful for, and I really appreciate it all so much.

I first want to thank you, Weddingbee. I'll tell you a secret now: I almost didn't apply to be a Bee. I blogged for months before even applying. I wasn't sure how if at all that I would fit in here with my "different" hair and non-DIYness. :) Even after being chosen to be a Bee, with some of my posts I was unsure about how you all would react. Yet each time I put myself out there, I found such wonderfully thoughtful and sincere responses and support. I want to thank Mrs. Bee, Mr. Bee, Pengy, my fellow bloggers, and you dear Weddingbee readers for creating such a vibrant and accepting community. I have been amazed and overwhelmed by your talents and kind words throughout my wedding planning process.

Finally, I want to say thank you to you, Mr. Swan. Thank you for being you and for your kindness, love and support. I am so excited to become your wife and life partner. I am so thankful to have you in my life.

Anyway, when I glance at the ever-changing weather forecast for Saturday or think about how my hot pinks don't match (ugh!) I will (try to) remember how thankful I am for having had this wonderful blogging experience and for my wonderful very, very soon-to-be husband.

A'ight, Hive. See ya when I see ya (as a Mrs.)!

Miss Swan

August 4, 2009

Looking Ahead

With the preparations pretty much close to done and things beginning to move closer towards the wedding, I feel like I'm in a bit of a holding pattern here. I don't really feel like I can resume life as I know it just yet because I feel like I've got to put any extra energy I have towards finalizing the wedding planning. At the same time, I'm daydreaming. Oh yes, I'm daydreaming about a time when I will not have to travel for work OR have to partake in any wedding planning. This process has been a lot of fun for me, but I am definitely ready to move on. So, what am I looking forward to taking up or restarting?

1) Knitting - I think I am going to be taking up knitting. FMIL Swan has given me my own little starter kit, and I am excited to take a beginners' class at a local knitting shop. Perhaps knitting will let me get over my DIY insecurities? Any knitters out there care to give any tips to a beginner?

2) Being a docent - I don't know how this is going to work out. I had been chosen to be a docent at a major art museum here in NYC. Then I got my job, which requires me to travel to another part of the state for half the year on a weekly basis. That's not a good combination. Then I had wedding planing in the mix. Needless to say, I missed the rest of docent training. I'm not sure if I'll still be able to participate due to my prolonged absences, but I'd really love a shot at it again.

To partially retrain myself, I'm going to try to slip in a visit to an exhibit of pieces by Francis Bacon, a 20th century British painter who I know nothing about.

3) Seeing friends - not a hobby, but I am sorely out of touch with many of my friends due to travel and wedding planning. I'm so excited to see so many of them that I have not been able to see regularly.

4) Dance - "So You Think You Can Dance" as usual has made me want to get into a studio. I think I may need a dance accountability buddy to make sure that I get myself there.

Hmmm...what else? Trying out the the recipes in the "Nigella Express" and "Joy of Cooking" cookbooks we received as wedding presents; maybe finally making time to brush up on a language (or two) and ofcourse figuring out what to blog about next. In my mind, the possibilities are endless!

Are there any things that you are looking forward to doing AFTER the wedding and the planning are done?

August 2, 2009

I Can't Even Cut Paper Correctly...

but Mr. Swan can!!! :) As you all may notice from my posts I am not the DIY Queen around these parts; however, I discovered that Mr. Swan is pretty darn crafty!

We had this very, very basic thing we needed to get done that would technically require me to flex my crafty skills. Let's just say that the project won, and I sulked back into my little corner. Next thing, I know Mr. Swan whips out some scissors and away he went. Voila! I think it comes from years of art projects for fun (FMIL Swan was an art teacher for many years). Perhaps there is a Martha Stewart lurking inside of him!

This little project isn't the only aspect of the wedding that Mr. Swan has played a very helpful role. I've depended on his handy dandy Excel spreadsheets, his phone calls, haggling and words of support. He's definitely stepped up in the last month and a half. While the wedding is really the product of primarily my vision, Mr. Swan has definitely handled a lot of tiny details. I am so appreciative of his help.

How involved has your fiance been in the wedding planning? Do you wish your fiance was more involved....or less? :)