Monday, May 26, 2008

Honeymooning!

Posts will resume when I return from my honeymoon.

Until then- read about my friend that married us in the Chicago Tribune.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Dance Lessons


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.
Monica Maj
tendancerus@yahoo.com

Friday, May 23, 2008

Our Wedding Vows

We decided early on that we would write our own vows. We both agreed that it would be a lot more personal.


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 co-worker.
My audience, and as a result,
My critic.
My work mate.
My neighbor.

And as we got to know one another, you became My friend.
The source of
My excitement.
My nervousness.
Seemingly,
My every waking thought.
My love interest.
And finally--finally--
My girlfriend.

From then on, you've become
My teacher.
My role model.
My schedule maker.
My Starbucks break.
My fashion consultant.
My financial planner.
My biggest critic.
My staunchest Ally.
My organizer.
My list maker.
My travel partner.
My guide.
My best friend.
My shoulder to cry on.

And in the past year, you've become:
My fiancée.
My motivation.
My project manager.
My task master.
My boss.
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.
My family.
My freedom.
My future.
My wife.

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

Go with your Gut

I don't think that I will do a long bridal advice post, but let me say this, Go with your Gut.

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

Bed, Bath and Planning


Bed Bath and Beyond is a popular retailer for brides and grooms to register at. It's also a great store to get some pretty cool software. Complimentary to all couples that register, the software includes:
  • 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

Wedding Blog

I recently had a reader send me her blog, Mr. Jazz Man's Ring. The blog is to help sell CDs of her fiance's music so that he would be able to "happily and willingly" buy her a ring.

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

New York Times Article- Cyber Friends

The New York Times wrote an article about making friends on the web with fellow brides-to-be. How often does this happen? I bet more often than you would expect!



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

Off to Get Married


Honey Bee will be back tomorrow! I'm off to get married!

Friday, May 16, 2008

My Chicago History Museum Wedding

While I am very happy with my wedding plans, I often come up with different wedding plans. Call it an occupational hazard.


If I was getting married at the Chicago History Museum...
I would have a huge black tie affair in the evening.





My guests would drink champagne out of glasses like these Marc Jacobs Irene champagne saucer
I would need something amazing classic invitations, like these letterpress Jordan and Michael Ceci New York





My bouquet would have to be anenomes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Bachelorette Party Ideas

While I am a gracious bride, I did have a list of demands for my Bachelorette Party. Or a list of things that I did not want:



No Thank You

  • penises

  • sashes

  • oversize jewelry

  • tiaras

  • veils

  • hats

  • strippers

  • 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 Classes

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 events
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

Wedding of Melissa + Anthony: Details

For me, a wedding is all in the details. Following yesterday's post, here are the gorgeous details of Melissa + Anthony's wedding.



Melissa + Anthony wanted a ton of candlelight. Everything looks better by candlelight.

A place setting. I loved the design of the menus, which were done by Gourmet Invitations

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,
there were In Memory Candles at the entrance of the ballroom.

The couple during their first dance.
Congratuations Melissa + Anthony!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Wedding of Melissa + Anthony

As a wedding coordinator, I have dealt with all sort of brides. None have really match the style of Melissa + Anthony.

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.


The couple surrounded by the gorgeous city architecture

All eyes on the happy couple



Hot pink accents were key for the day.

Melissa with her sassy hot pink shoes


Ceremony

More pictures coming tomorrow!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Vendor Reviews

Want to know one of the things that I love? Feedback. Really, I do. I love to hear thoughts and opinions on bridal vendors. It’s one of the reasons that I love Yelp! so much.

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

Unique Favor / Escort Card

I love the idea of anything that does double duty. That is why I love Prints on Chocolate.



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

Deal of the Day



Want some fabulous shoes but cannot afford the price tag? Go to DSW to get some plain white shoes. I would look for a classic shoe. Regardless of the price, make sure that the shoe fits.
Then, embellish the shoe with glamourous rhinestone clips. Absolutely Audrey has clips starting at $20.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Another Day with Sonia

I'm really lucky! Since Kendra was unable to do my hair for the wedding, she booked me with Livia. Since Livia works with Sonia, I was able to get a second make-up trial.


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.



Livia is a rock-star. I also owe her my deepest apologies for coming to her with too dirty of hair. It's a myth that you need to skip washing your hair. I usually wash my every day and a half or every two days. However, it was really oily and I felt bad that she had to play with it.
Livia wanted me to try a half-up, half down look. What do you think? I feel it is very princess-y and not very me.


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

Hair Trial with Kendra

Kendra is a long time Knottie and Kitten so I feel like I’ve known her for ages although we just met. While in town, she came over to my house for my hair trial. I showed her some pictures of hair styles that I love. I also let her know that my hair had been washed the day before and that my hair was heavy.

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
319.366.1007

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Getting Pretty with Sonia



Sonia Roselli has a cult following among brides. Her ability to apply airbrush make-up makes the bride not only look flawless but it is also reassuring to know that it will last the entire day and night.


The day that I found out that I was engaged, I knew that I had to have Sonia do my make-up. I knew that it would be difficult to meet her minimum. Luckily, all of my bridesmaids as well as my future mother-in-law wanted to get their make-up done.

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

Romance while Wedding Planning

I don’t know when it happened but our romantic dates out have been replaced with casseroles and episodes of “Whose Wedding is it Anyway?”. We talked about going out more but we simply don' t have the time between wedding planning and our careers.

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

Bargain Find-- Paper and Punch



While on the hunt for some beautiful invitations for my bridesmaid luncheon, I found this great online resource, Paper and Punch. Although I didn't end up getting anything from there (yet!), I thought that the prices for custom print were extremely reasonable.


If you are looking for invitations for a small gathering, I would check out this website!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Adventures in NYC

As I sat down on the subway, I looked around. (People watching is one of my favorite things to do!) I noticed that the girl next to me had a stack of lists, a very long to do list, and a handful of thank you cards. She had the look of someone that had a lot on her mind. In an instant, I knew that she was a bride-to-be.

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

Dear Martha

Dear Martha,

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?

Cool Regards,
Misse

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Daily Candy



Daily Candy published this bi-annual wedding guide for Spring 2008. I posted their Fall 2007 edition in my blog in September. The last blog post had some of my favorite vendors, including Becky Hill and Paper Doll. To be honest, I wasn't nearly as excited with the list of the potential vendors this time around.


If you aren't a regular reader, it is a great free e-resource for all sorts of planning, not just marital!
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