Sunday, September 23, 2012


Hello all!
An appalling amount of time has elapsed since I last wrote. My sincerest apologies! Sometimes life gets in the way, like the one movie-goer that sits right in front of you half way through the opening credits; whose head blocks your enjoyment of a perfectly hysterical Christopher Walken movie. But it happens to the best of us, or so I'm told.
Lately I've been thinking about decisions. If you haven't heard, you have to make a lot of them in life. And especially in wedding planning, you have to make a lot of tough ones. We thought we were clever, getting all of the difficult decisions out of the way early. Within a week of being engaged, we had decided when and where to get married and who to do the job. We even found someone to photograph this little happening. We patted ourselves on the back with self-confidence and reassurance that the toughest parts were over. He had asked. I had said yes. The ring was re-sized, and the color scheme picked. The hardest tasks were done.
Not. Even. Close. Being engaged is the most demanding thing I have ever experienced. It's fun and heartwarming because of the excitement and the love.It has been an opportunity for me to talk to people I haven't spoken to in a long time. People congratulate us even if we don't know them. It is the most well-wishing you will ever experience. But it is also ridiculously difficult. It requires a clear head, and to an extent, a clear sense of self. It requires flexibility, and strength.
One thing that struck me was the dress. I had picked out a short dress from Modcloth (previously mentioned on this here blog!), and was excited for my "vintage re-vamp" styled wedding. But the classic ivory dress secretly nagged at me. When I first got engaged about a million people jumped down my throat about what my dress would look like, when I'd get it, who would go shopping for it with me. And ever conversation would inevitably end with "You'll have to show me some pictures!" The interest was flattering; but the needling, nagging, and over advising that can occur when people try to be supportive was just too much. I made it known that I had picked a short, casual dress, and that I was perfectly fine with that.
And I was fine with that. For a number of months. My short almond-ivory dress hung in my closet, the brown shoes to match it stood waiting in the corner. Sweet, neat, and zero trouble involved. But it wasn't until I went to my brother's wedding, and saw how beautiful my sister-in-law looked in her dress that I began to feel that nagging feeling. I spent a good few weeks deeply concerned and confused. I didn't want to get a typical wedding dress because I felt I should, or that it was necessary to have a nice wedding. But I didn't want to miss out on something I truly wanted just because I didn't want the hassle. There are many off-beat things I wouldn't regret about our wedding, but I knew this wasn't one of them.
After great consideration, I decided to go dress shopping. That was one of the first truly big decisions I made while helping plan our wedding. Even when I went with my mum and soon-to-be mum, I was forced to re-evaluate my ideas. I had had an idea of the dress that would be right for me. I had expected to go in and try it on, and then try on a few more for kicks and giggles, without really intending to buy the others. I put on the dress that I had planned to get married in, and looked in the mirror to find that it wasn't me looking back. I ended up trying on about seven more dresses just on a whim. There was another one I almost got instead. But the one that became mine was the last one I tried on. It was like everything else good in my life- a total and utter surprise.
I have been reaffirmed in my choices time and time again. My fiance has been steadfast through this entire experience. He has been my support, my friend, my jester, and my solace. He's the true definition of a partner, and he spends everyday showing me that I made the right choice. The dress may change, or the hall might not be big enough. You might be redoing seating charts until your eyeballs fall out of your head. But as long as you are willing to go where you feel led as a couple, your decisions will always be right. If there's anything I've learned so far, it's that the best things in life may not always be free, but they're not something you can plan in the end anyway.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Bailey Island Library Hall!

I have always been interested in wedding planning. Usually just on the side and for fun, a favorite past time of my old roommate and I. We'd find a good movie to put on, and watch it together while looking for and then sharing cool wedding stuff we found. I'm not the most knowledgeable about Maine weddings, but I know a decent amount. So I had a challenge ahead of me when I got engaged: picking a venue. Multiple nights went by of spending hours online looking through ideas and at examples of other peoples' weddings.

I had tried thinking of a million different options, and they all seemed perfectly acceptable and easily friendly with some proper tweaking. But none of them had that "This is it!" wow factor. None of them felt like home. Which was funny,since I primarily looked at places near the homes of our families. And then I read a post on Offbeat Bride (one of the only reasons why I'm sane and calm for this process!) about unique places to have weddings. One couple in particular caught my eye, with their library wedding. I loved the look of it, but more over, I loved how they thought of it. Both avid book fans, they explained their way of choosing a venue, considering that if there were a natural disaster and buildings or places were destroyed, that it would be devastating if the library were ruined.

So I asked myself "What do he and I love more than anything?" and the answer was clear. Literature and language. The entire reason we even met was because of a German class that we took for fun, and all the books on our shelve back this idea up. We love reading together and to each other, as well as separately. Words are the ultimate bridge to cross to explain ourselves to the world, and both of us are enthralled with that. So I started looking for libraries. About an hour later, I found it. There was no doubt. It was the Bailey Island Library Hall, off of Harpswell, Maine. Quaint and white on the outside, it had all the delicious feeling of a vintage location, plunked down into our modern civilization. But the inside opens up into a creamy, charming yellow; with hardwood floors, a working fireplace, and a giant window seat!

My only issue with it was finding the information or pictures. Not many weddings take place there, and even fewer receptions. It's very difficult to find pictures, and when you do, it's even more difficult to capture the sizing and feel of the building from them. The pictures of the few other couples who have had their weddings there are of the couples and their guests, as they should be. But for a girl on a fact finding mission, this was just not enough. Desperate to book this place from what I knew, I set out to contact the people in charge. Finding a post about it on a wedding officiant's blog A Sweet Start, I was able to both read about the hall, and find the contact information for the woman who is in charge of events there. Her name is Diane Gagne, and can be reached at (207) 833-6305 as I found out (the post about the Library Hall can be found here :] ).

A few months passed since booking the hall, and the invoice for its fee came in. As it turns out, it is $350 for a deposit (which will be returned after your event if everything is cared for and left as it was found) and $700 to rent the hall, which is a good price for an adorable venue. They also have the option available to rent dishes and silverware at an extra cost. Before signing and sending in a check, I wanted to swing by and make sure that was the place. While parking was limited, there was no mistake. The front was a smaller, but tidy yard of lush green grass, and a stone path lead up the center to the front of the hall. The porch is a few broad steps that give way to three sets of french doors, flanked on either side by sweet benches. Inside, the hall is roughly (and we measured using my fiance's height, and at his volunteering having him slide across the floor, so keep in mind that it's a very rough measurement!)24' by 36', not counting a small stage area at one end.

The entire place has hard wood floors, and these cozy yellow walls. The ceilings are high, with small ornamental windows on the top to let the light trickle in. The walls are lined in book shelves that take up most of the space from floor to ceiling, and the end opposite the stage has a long window seat near the working brick fire place. The kitchen, running almost as long and about 7-10 feet wide housed a six burner stove and a hefty oven; as well as a lot of counter space and a sink with two bays (if my memory serves me right).It was perfect.

I was so happy seeing it in person, and there wasn't any doubt in my mind that this is where I wanted to get married. Luckily, my fiance smiled at me, and agreed that he felt the same way. It's funny how so frequently the things we know the best bring the most comfort when seeing them again for the first time in a while. Yet every once in a very blue moon, you can see something for the first time, and know that you and it are the same.

Below are many pictures, as I wished there were more when I was scouting this place out! If you have any questions about the place, contact me, and I'll answer what I can! :)

The back of the building, which has ramps!

The mighty kitchen!

The bathroom! Cute as it is (and trust me- it is!), be warned that for weddings of 60 people or less the bathroom on site is fine. However if you guest list is looking like somewhere between 60-100, there will need to be a portalet brought on site, and two if it's over 100. Just something to think about! :]

These are pictures of the little stage area on one end of the hall. Please excuse the random table in front! :)

The hall itself:

The outside:

All in all, it was a great trip to a beautiful place. I can't wait to get married there! :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Calling All Ideas for Honeymoon Registries!

Yes, the wedding is still seven months away. And yes, the honeymoon isn't until summer 2013. But I like looking around now, because you can never be too prepared! ;) Brenden and I had a couple ideas kicking around for a honeymoon. He wanted Sweden, Iceland, or Labrador. I wanted Spain, Ireland, or Hungary. Then we remembered we're broke, and set our sights to something more reasonable.
... Yeah. We're that broke. So we remembered an old favorite! Prince Edward Island, Canada! My parents and I went there for about six years in a row in the early 2000s. It's been six years since I've been, and I've been itching to get back. It's perfect in that sort of charming folksy way. I mean, they have a Potato Museum! How can anyone in their right mind pass up a place whose website logo is "Have you ever seen a giant sculptured potato?" (a website that can be found here!). And it's just about as magical as it sounds. But P.E.I is much more than giant potatoes and Anne of Green Gables. It's the raspberry cordial, the rolling hills, the tiny amusement park Ferris wheel that when stopped at the top allows you to see all the way to the ocean. It's all the nooks and crannies of the island that I've come to know and love, and all the things I didn't appreciate before because I was fourteen and couldn't be bothered with anything that didn't involve my music and finding a boyfriend (yes, we all go through that phase!). But I'm so excited to relive the simplicity and beauty of the island as an adult, especially with my love. Hence, what we want instead of a traditional registry is a honeymoon registry. I'm the youngest of four kids, and Brenden's an only child, so we have all the apartment stuff we could possibly want, except a good crepe pan and a nice knife block (always good ideas!). We want to go on a honeymoon that's special to us, and possibly not have to harvest our organs to do so. So I've been researching some honeymoon registry ideas, like Traveler's Joy, Honeymoon Pixie, and Honeymoon Wishes. So my question is this for anyone who has any input, comments or experiences: 1.) Is there such a thing as a free honeymoon registry (i.e. no fees of any kind) 2.) If there are, how would you rate these services? 3.) If not, which registry would you most recommend? Thanks guys! I'll keep you posted! :)

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Outfit Adventure Continues! Part Two- Find the Shoe!

I hadn't felt this way in a long time. I had given up hope in this kind of romance. I tried and tried to put it out of my mind, but I couldn't ignore the truth. Those champagne-gold strands the just tied the whole thing together, and that gorgeous,rich, brown tone. I knew I had to have the shoes. I first saw the shoes when my freshman year roommate sent me the link to the Poetic License website. Browsing through their adorable and unique shoes (which can be found here for anyone interested), I was impressed. I'm more of a high-tops kind of girl, and hadn't been thoroughly invested in heels in many years. But then I saw them standing there(cue Beatles reference!). And just as a woman overtaken with a silly romance of childhood, I was overwhelmed by those sweethearts.
See? They're adorable in that odd kind of way, right? Well I just knew that they needed to be mine! We're having a late November wedding, and our color scheme is basically a Reese's sort of deal- mostly browns but rich accents of yellows and oranges. So I saw these, and knew the search was over. Well, sort of... Finding them was the end and the beginning all in one. As luck would have it, by the time I went to buy them, Poetic License no longer had the brown shoes anymore, only carrying grey and mint (which you should still check out, because they're adorable! here is the link!:] ). So my trek across the wilderness of the internet began. I looked everywhere for these babies! I googled them in just about every way imaginable! "Brown Backlash Poetic License" , "Poetic License Overstock", "Brown Backlash size 7"; but no dice, and more importantly, no cute shoes to be found. Everywhere I looked, they were all sold out. I even found one where they weren't sold out entirely, but only had size 6 and size ten. And yes, I briefly contemplated practicing foot binding to make it work, but thankfully decided against it. (Crazy cute shoes do crazy things to people! It's like cabin fever, but weirder!) I was utterly discouraged, resigning myself to sign up on the mailing list in case they were ever back in stock. Then later, wading through the sea of google pages (where almost none of the results remotely match- success! A small shop by the name of Monogram Magic by B.B. made my dreams come true! A pair of brown Backlash Poetic License shoes, size 7, just looking at me- begging. I almost peed my pants with excitement, and then after gaining a modicum of control over myself asked the inevitable "So what's the catch?". After scouring the site and others for review of the shop's performance, I couldn't find any. There is the monogram of a tiny blue ribbon on the bottom of the shoe, but other than that, it was exactly as its original. So I did it. I took a chance, and ordered from them(which for all interested, they have a lot of cute shoes, and can be found here :) They didn't have a place where I could leave a good review, so this is the best I can do!). About a week later, my shoes came in. The verdict? outstanding! They were just as pictured, and they fit perfectly!I was so impressed and so elated, and the only fault I have with them is that I am tempted to wear them every time I open my closet! So moral of the story? Knowing what you want is sometimes the hardest part. But after you know, hold on tight and never stop looking for the solution! :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Don't Stress About the Dress! Part One of the Outfit Adventures!

Hello all! Let me start by apologizing for my long silence! The iron fist of academia is steadily hammering us down with work! But I have the three C's to help: coffee, Casablanca, and company! Let the games begin! :) I'm taking a necessary break, but to avoid losing momentum, here I am- posting! Something I kept meaning to talk about was dress buying. Well, part of it anyway. One thing that I had a hard time tearing my sights from was the shorter dresses. The quirky, the spunky, the easy to dance in! They all earned a wistful sigh from me as I dutifully looked at A-lines, empire wastes, and mermaid silhouettes. I was looking for the perfect dress, but I was a bit disgruntled to find that none of them were perfect. Like my kind of perfect. When you're an "off the beaten path" kind of girl, you expect to have to search for things that are inherently representative of your style; but nothing was coming close. Still I let me eyes wander to short dresses and vintage frocks of all styles, furtively stealing glances at those adorable hemlines; fantasizing about not having to go through endless dress alterations (I'm 5'0"...its a fact of life! Half of prom season was just getting my dresses fitted), or the myth where it's required to have someone hold your dress while you pee (a phenomenon that I wasn't looking forward to). I wanted something cute, something to dance in, something to show off my legs (both because they're not a bad feature for me to show, and because it helps me look taller). And then a solution so simple was opened to me. I raised the subject to Brenden tentatively, curious of his reaction. A beaming smile unfurled on his face, as he and I discussed the excellence that would be a short dress for our wedding. The hunt was on again! One conversation turned me into an Amazonian of wedding dress shopping. I ran through jungles of Etsy pages and sliced through pages of "vintage wedding dresses" online, half of which oddly resembled ship sails. (Protip: When resorting to Craigslist, if the wedding dress ad has "gorgeous", "classic", or "made for a princess" in the title- RUN! It's most likely from the 80s, which means you can guarantee that the sleeves alone have their own zip code, and lace has most likely infiltrated the bodice as moss on ancient trees!) And still no dress that made me want to make like matrimony and commit. Then Modcloth did it again. I saw their Paper Lanterns Dress, and it caught my eye with a death grip of adorable fashions. It was perfect! The skirt was bouncy but not huge, the sleeves were present without taking over the dress, and the cut down the front (while a tiny scootch more than I expected) was a classy neckline. I loved it so much, I bought it on the spot, and the second it came in and I tried it on, I had no doubts. It fit like it was made for me. The color, while not white, was more of an almond, and it fits with our November wedding theme so well! The biggest thing is taught me is that you have to pick what's right for you, and not to worry about the rest. For any interested, the link to the dress is here :D ! Pictures will follow, and Part Two of this story- The Quest for the Shoes!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Online Experience

The internet is a veritable wilderness and wonderland of all things wedding related. Wedding planning is different than it used to be, and especially since the advent of the internet, it's an entirely new experience. And sure, brides have a number of things they still do, like going to bridal boutiques and trying on dresses with their closest friends and family, or pick out flower arrangements personally with their florists;but these are small pieces of the new exchange.
More than not, I'd say it's an interactive experience. The typical happenings still include dress fittings, bridal showers, picking out venues, etc... but the way we get the information changes. And for some people, like myself, who go off the beaten path for whatever reasons, the online wedding planning experience is the right one by far. But how do you explain it to others who may feel left out or just not understand?
I am the only girl in the family, and after three boys, my mom was ecstatic! For a while, I was just that- a girl. I loved pink, dress up, dolls, the whole shebang. But growing up with boys leaves it's mark, so I was the girl in the princess dress climbing trees and marrying my brothers' action figures with my barbies before they parachutes off the stairs. My parents have always been accepting of me and my choices. But I know it's been a little difficult to get used to the idea that when it comes to some "typical" feminine things, I have an atypical lack of interest. And while it's been widely accepted among my loved ones that I'll take beer over cosmos and hockey over Gilmore Girls, there are some areas where the discrepancies still cause confusion.
Recently, my mum called me and heard that I'd found a dress online for the wedding. I had my reasons for this less popular option. To be honest, most bridal shops overcharge for dresses way too much, even with sales. And it's not really their fault, but the general cost for a wedding dress these days is anywhere between 900-1,124 dollars ( found on wedding stats, for more stats, check it out here :D ), and with a bit of digging, knowledge of what you want, and discernment, you can find a great dress at a reasonable price. Armed with my measurements (a necessary component I've found when online searching for a dress! :]), and a distinctive lackluster view of the current bridal styles, I set to work searching.
The pressure that was lifted was astounding! No sheepish looks while divulging my minuscule budget to sales people. No bossy women at shops trying to push me into a dress I ultimately didn't want (and most likely, couldn't pay for...funny how that works!). No neurotic planning to frantically assemble all females close to me in one place and make the great commute like motley geese to find a dress, with no guarantee I'd leave victorious. It was a decision I felt great about. Until my mum called.
The disappointment seemed evident in her voice, explaining about how she felt left out of the typical mother-daughter experience of dress shopping and planning. I felt like a jerk as soon as she said it, and it took me aback to try to explain to her that it wasn't personal. Sometimes it's hard to explain to people of a different mindset that planning doesn't look one way. Whether they are ultra-traditional or unfamiliar with online wedding dress shopping. I wished I'd taken the time out to cover this detail, so as not to offend. It was exactly what I explained to my mum, saying that I didn't intentionally leave her out. I just bought it online. There were no other people, no dress fittings, none of that. Her not being around was nothing against her, but in overlooking that difference in mindsets, I accidentally hurt my mum's feelings.
The take away from this, in my humble opinion, is that you need to do what's right for you. But sometimes letting other people know where you stand is a good way to avoid hurting the ones you love :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's a Nice Day for A...Green Wedding!

No, our wedding colors aren't actually green. But we are working on a more environmentally sound option for our wedding: evites. Yes, the mythical evites, while typically acceptable for parties, barbecues, and offbeat events are being more highly debated as wedding invite options. All over wedding forums, the question that tiptoes, creeps and thunders around is whether this is a truly legitimate option, and people are not shy about their opinions. So here's our story on the matter.
My fiance and I are still in college. We're tying the knot before crossing the stage. To put it bluntly, quaint hemming and hawing aside- we're dirt broke. We're planning our wedding on limited means, but we've found that if one is willing to compromise, to relax, and to really pitch in, there's no reason why it's not a manageable target. This idea contributed to deciding to do evites for both our save the dates and our invitations. But we had a couple other ideas that motivated us in this direction.
One, is that we are actually environmentally conscientious. Brenden more so than myself, but we both do a good amount of recycling, we pick cleaning products that are natural, gush about biodegradable packaging, and so forth. And as sweet a memorabilia as invitations can be, we cringed at the idea of the waste of paper. When people check their mail once a day, but check their e-mail like it's a compulsive tick, it seemed like the best option to reach everyone was the great ether of the Internet. Not to mention that it saves us the trouble of having to mail a ton of things out, which is really useful. No postage, no licking dozens of nasty-tasting envelopes (I mean seriously? We can launch ourselves into space, but we can't make envelopes and tongue depressors taste better?!), no worry about people losing their invite. None of it. Especially since we're having a fairly open, adaptable menu, choosing food isn't really a hassle. And most of our info is/will be on our wedding site that we're referring people to anyway, so it really seemed like a good idea from every angle to go the electronic route.
Not knowing much about it, I immediately went to work researching invitation options, and singing out a siren song calling for peoples' e-mail addresses. I've only been at this for a few days, but I came into it not knowing anything, and I'm obliged to share what I've learned! :)
First off, there are plenty of sites that let you design and sent out invites for free. Just googling "free wedding evites" will usually get you a lot of hits, but the one that I found that I liked a lot (and seemed fairly open to customizing) was (Link to that here :]). From what I've gleaned messing around on it, it seems that their invites have a fair amount of openness to customizing, but you have to do most of the work yourself, so if you're super frugal and into DIY, this is for you! :) Similarly, but not completely the same is of course evite (Link to that is here :]). Theirs has more options for adding pictures and there's less work as far as phrasing, etc... They also have kind of a hybrid site idea, where some evites are free and you have to pay for some, so it really is whatever you want it to be.
The upsides of these two are that you have a decent amount of say in your invites/save the dates, and of course- they're free! :) The downside is that you'll have to keep track of all responses pretty closely, but if you're a planner anyway, then it's not too much extra work!
Similarly, but following a slightly different path are sites where you can pay for a specific package, but they cover a lot of things ranging from (electronic) envelopes, to contacts lists, to invites, save the dates, and RSVP lists; which saves you a lot of work.
Two sites that I found for this that I liked were (Link found here :] ) and (Link found here :]). For varying fees, these provide a number of services for different packages, the most basic of which usually covers save the dates and invitations, the more extensive also including RSVP lists and thank you notes. Both are perfectly good sites, all though is especially cool because a portion of the costs goes to Mountains to Sound, a nonprofit organization working on the West Coast to help protect more public areas of nature. You can read more about that here :].
Long story short (too late...) is that it really is how everyone says. It's your day. It's a day for you and your partner to share and celebrate the gift that is loving one another. Whether your guests keep a paper copy of your invite on their fridge in frantic fear of losing it, or if they save it in their favorites in their e-mail, it won't diminish the love that grows between you. So if traditional invites feel right, then go for it. But don't be afraid to do what you feel is right. It can be easy being green ;)