Monday, May 26, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We really needed to take dance lessons. OK, actually, I needed dance lessons. My fiancé went to finishing school during his pre-teen years and learned how to dance. I, on the other hand, have a problem being led and... let’s just say, I’m not the most coordinated person in the world.
We decided to take lessons with Monica Maj, a former professional ballroom dancer. Since we live in the city, she taught us at Dance Center Chicago. Monica generally recommends four lessons. We took eight to make sure that we were pretty smooth for our big first dance.
Depending on your instructor, some teach one choreographed dance timed to the music. Monica, however, teaches you a series of moves that can be changed to whenever you want. The bonus is that these steps can be used to other songs as well.
Overall, I would highly recommend dance lessons. However, if you aren’t going to practice in between the lessons, you probably won't remember as much as you had planned. My point: if you are going to pay for dance lessons, make sure that you practice!
Our first dance was a success! We had the band play At Last by Etta James. Although it was obvious that we had taken lessons (since I didn't know squat before them), we focused on enjoying the moment. There was no counting or stern looks between the two of us. It was just a few semi-private moments between husband and wife.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Denton's vows to Melissa
Melissa, you have meant many things to me and been many things for me since we first met. In the beginning, you were:
My audience, and as a result,
My work mate.
And as we got to know one another, you became My friend.
The source of
My every waking thought.
My love interest.
From then on, you've become
My role model.
My schedule maker.
My Starbucks break.
My fashion consultant.
My financial planner.
My biggest critic.
My staunchest Ally.
My list maker.
My travel partner.
My best friend.
My shoulder to cry on.
And in the past year, you've become:
My project manager.
My task master.
My bride to be.
All of this has occurred over the course of four years, and yet, it is only the beginning.
I promise to never let this list, of who you are and what you mean to me, to ever be truly complete. It will continually grow and adapt, just like our lives together. I vow to be honest and true, loving and supportive, kind and trustworthy, patient and forgiving. I vow to be the best I can be for you because I know you will do the same for me.
Today, with our friends and family here to witness and help celebrate, Melissa, you are becoming:
My everlasting bond.
From this point forward, I vow that you will always be My Honey Bee.
At this moment, the entire female bridal party was tearing up. I looked over at his parents, they were both crying. I was too.
I was also dreading to share my vows...because they weren't nearly as good!
Melissa's vows to Denton
I, Melissa, take you Denton, the great love of my life, as my husband.
I promise to love you for who you are, just as you love me.
I promise to stand by your side, to bring out the best in you, and to be there for you.
I will be the one you lean on when you are in need.
As we travel through life together, hand in hand and heart in heart, I will love you always.
At the cocktail reception, my Greek Mom turned to me and said, "He kicked your ass up there."
Thursday, May 22, 2008
During the wedding planning process, I was driving myself crazy lately. Usually, I am super decisive type A personality that has no problems making decisions. Then, there were decisions around the wedding.
I ponder each and every idea.
- Do I want to wear my hair up? I thought I did but then, I wasn't so sure.
- Should I have a more formal rehearsal dinner than we had originally planned?
- What type of ring do I want?
- Should I wear d'orsey heels?
- I love color but all of a sudden, I was having dreams of Marie Antoinette inspired fete with pastels and ecru.
Part of the problem is that I have officially ODed on weddings. After surfing the Knot, perusing online blogs, watching Get Married, and reading a multitude of wedding magazines, everything seems so overdone.
In reality, I was just losing focus. I took a break from blogging and other wedding media outlets to enjoy myself. It helps.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
- Wedding Website: It's a pretty cool wedding website by I prefer MyWedding.com
- Timeline/ Task Manager: I really like the software. It's a pretty comprehensive list that can be sorted in various ways, unlike theKnot. Users can add tasks to the sheet. The major negative point is that it appears in a pop-up window. I hate pop-up windows.
- My Guest Manager: The load time was really long, especially considering that I was online at midnight. However, I was blown away. The tool has reports! I loved the many different ways that I could segment my guest list. (I'm a dork like that.)
- My Seating Arranger: I was able to do my seating assignments in less than 30 minutes so I opted not to use it. I would recommend the software to anyone that doesn't have an idea in seating in advance OR if the wedding is going to be really large.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Apparently, my reader isn't a long time reader. I don't really think a ring is necessary to to be engaged. In fact, my ring finger has remained naked during our entire engagement.
I am not one to really judge or criticize others. So I decided to share it with my readers. What do you think? Would you help someone so that they could buy an engagement ring?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
From the web, I've met fellow wedding vendors, as well as clients. It's a great resouce. I will warn brides-- be careful. There are some weird people out there.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
If I was getting married at the Chicago History Museum...
My guests would drink champagne out of glasses like these Marc Jacobs Irene champagne saucer
My bouquet would have to be anenomes.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
No Thank You
- oversize jewelry
- rush & division
- bar hopping
- sports related
- drag queens
I was pretty sure that my bridal party was going to ask for my help. Therefore, I came up with list of options. Ultimately, they planned a fantastic evening and I wasn't a part of any of the planning.
Here are my ideas! I hope that they help someone else.
Motel Bar w Michelle L'Amour
Watch Michelle L’Amour and other burlesque beauties shake their pasties and jiggle their tassels to live swinging sounds. Enjoy drink specials at one of my favorite lounges in the city.
Moxie has all sort of classes, including strip tease classes and fellatio workshops. It reminds me of that one Sex and the City episode!
Wine Tasting- Randolph Wine Cellars
Randolph Wine Cellars is a great place to grab a glass of wine -- or champagne. Events are scheduled regularly.
Sheque throws parties around the city about five times per month. You can also hire the girls at Sheque to throw a private party for you. They combine beauty with drinks for a fun girls night out.
S Factor Pole Dancing
Why not learn how to pole dance? Sheila Kelly offers many different types of classes that can be made private.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Melissa + Anthony wanted a ton of candlelight. Everything looks better by candlelight.
The adorable favors both looked good and tasted good. Godiva chocolates are delicious!
The table number signs were also done by Gourmet Invitations.
To accommodate the children that attended, their place settings were slightly different
View of the entire room
In lieu of a guest book, Melissa + Anthony had their guest sign two bottles of champagne. They planned on drinking one bottle on their honeymoon and the other on their 1 year anniversary.
To recognize the family members that had passed away,
Monday, May 12, 2008
When I walked in the morning of the wedding, the bride wasn't there. A little unusual. Melissa walked in about ten minutes later, with Anthony by her side, after a trip to Trader Joe's. I knew at this moment that the day was going to fun and relaxed. The couple threw out all sorts of traditions and were focused on completely enjoying the day.
Eventually, Anthony left the room so that the girls could get ready. The couple met up again at 3pm to get the photos taken. By the time that the ceremony started, the couple were beaming.
All photographs by Dennis Lee.
All eyes on the happy couple
The couple surrounded by the gorgeous city architecture
Hot pink accents were key for the day. Melissa with her sassy hot pink shoes
More pictures coming tomorrow!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Here is my problem--- I have a ton of brides that are willing to pimp out their vendors before their wedding. It’s fine. You’re in that dreamy engaged stage. But what I really want to know is how you feel after the wedding.
I cannot stress enough the importance of giving honest feedback after your wedding. Recently, I talked with a bride that used one of my vendor vendors. Instead of giving feedback about the problems on the day of the wedding, she said, it was over so why bother? I didn’t want to criticize her but yes, actually it is important!
So once the wedding is over, please remember to give vendor feedback to the company as well as a website like yelp, the Knot, or even your blog!
Saturday, May 10, 2008
The company can print any custom message on various types of chocolate. Below, they have these great escort cards that double as favors. The prices are fairly reasonable if you consider the costs of buying escort cards, calligraphy, and favors. Another idea would be to hand them out at an engagement party as a save-the-date.
Besides, who doesn't love chocolate?
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Sonia told me that she had been thinking about me and had an idea for a completely new look. I was EXCITED! Sonia felt that I wasn't a typical bride- that I should go for something more dramatic. She decided to put full lashes on me. It's a lot more dramatic than the first trial.
Here's a side view of my make-up with veil.
Here's a picture with the make-up and the hair with the veil. Should I go more traditional or do the full dramatic look? Regardless, I'm going to go tanning! I cannot believe that I look so pale.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
My two favorite hair styles:
After chatting, I left her go to town. Since we only had 45 minutes, she didn’t hot roller my hair but we played around and had a lot of fun!
Pins VS Brooch—
I couldn’t decide between the pins or the big brooch. We tried the pins first. Not sure if that was what I wanted, Kendra added in the brooch. I think I’m going to use the large brooch in my hair. Anyway, since there is no easy way to remove them, I took a picture with all of it in my hair. Don’t worry, I won’t be over doing it on my wedding day.
A few months later, I had some pictures taken. This time, Kendra did my hair and make-up. It’s hard to take a picture of you…but here is a picture. She did a great job!
Unfortunately, Kendra isn’t taking any more wedding day clients. She is opening up a salon. In addition, she is writing a column for About.com about hair.
Kendra asked if I would be willing to have Livia, who works with Sonia Roselli, do my hair. I've worked with Livia in the past and loved her work.
More pictures coming tomorrow!
Kendra's New Salon
Village Hair Design
65 16th Avenue SW
Cedar Rapids, IA 52404
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
I had my make-up trial with Sonia in early December. The trial was held at Enfuse Spa. Enfuse was offering a special that day for a $59 micro-dermabrasion treatment. Since I love beauty treatments, I decided to go for it.
Post-treatment without a lick of make-up, my Before Photo
Then, Sonia started to work her magic. I shower her a slew of photos that I loved and told her to do her thing. The room is very bright and very white so I think it makes me look a little more pale than I am. I would just want a little more blush and darker lip gloss but I LOVE SONIA!
I've got pictures of my hair trial with Kendra coming up tomorrow.
Monday, May 5, 2008
Last week, we went out to dinner for the first time in a very long time. I had won a gift certificate to we, courtesy of The Daily Bride. we is located inside the W Hotel on Adams. It’s a special hotel for us. Besides hosting my 30th birthday party, Denton and I went to a whiskey tasting there when we were just co-workers.
We had the BEST time. We grabbed a drink at the Whiskey beforehand and really just relaxed. While we didn’t implement a “no wedding talk” as we have done in the past, we just had fun. I don’t think I laughed so much in a very long time.
If you are looking for a great dinner at a reasonable price, I would suggest we. They have a 3 course pre-theater dinner (salad, entrée, dessert) for $45 that is open to anyone.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Breaking social norms, I turned to her and asked, “Are you getting married?” She smiled and said, “Yes!” I said, “I knew it! I am too! I saw all of those lists and knew that you had to be a bride!”
She was so sweet. We talked about our dates (May 3rd to May 17th), planning from afar (she’s getting married in Jamaica while I’ve been recently transported to NYC), and the fun and perils of wedding planning.
I never caught her name. Regardless, Congratulations to all the May 3rd Brides!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Let’s chat. We have what is commonly referred to as a love/hate relationship. Right now, I’ve got no love for you. It’s not me, it’s you. You see, you set these unreasonable expectations for your dear followers.
First off, I read all of your wonderful articles and get inspired. I think to myself, “I can do this!” Sometime, I can. Most of the time, I cannot.
My latest debacle involved an article that I read years ago about vintage stamp montages. I vowed to do this little project on my wedding invitations. Face it, you hired a fresh out of college eager 22 year old that spent days finding the perfect stamps.
I have spent close to eight hours trying to replicate your beautiful montage. Eight hours! It's an entire work day. Instead, I was trying to create a montage that would meet the postage cost AND look aesthetically pleasing. Then, I spent a good portion of two nights gluing the suckers onto each invitation.
I survived. A glutton for punishment, I decided that I would line my own wedding envelopes. You showed it in four easy steps! Four easy steps! I feel like a prize idiot as I wasted $60 worth of artisan paper by cutting the paper incorrectly. After buying some more paper and begging my fiancé to help out, we finally made the liners. A good twenty hours later!
While I appreciate all of your ideas, perhaps you can come up with a color coded system to identify projects that require a Master’s in DIY genius.
Martha, why do you do this to your devoted readers?