February 24, 2010

Piecing the centerpieces

A couple weeks ago, I bought some goodies from Michael's to do a trial run for the reception centerpieces. This was my first attempt:

I filled vases with potpourri and put a candle on top in the center one. The vases would be more spaced out, probably with votive candles in between, and I would have silk rose petals going down the center of the table as well. It doesn't look horrible, but a crooked candle on top of potpourri just seems a little too dangerous.


Even without the candle, though, I'm afraid this just wasn't the best idea for centerpieces. The potpourri I have in my apartment is a year old, so I had forgotten how strong its smell is when it's new. Granted, it will probably fade a little in 4 months, but I still don't think our guests would want to have it right in front of them while they're eating.

It is, however, some nice decor in my apartment. My large vase had been sitting empty on top of my octagonal cabinet since I moved in, and it's looking a lot better now that it has some company. 
I can probably still use the potpourri for wedding decor somehow, but it's back to the drawing board for the centerpieces.


This glass filled with letterpress blocks is pretty awesome, but I'm not sure I'd use it for a wedding, although these people did.

Floating fruit could be interesting, if it were in our wedding colors. Do pomegranates float?

I would love to try something with artificial cranberries (and without pink water) if I could just find some. I saw them at Michael's before Christmas, but apparently they're more of a seasonal item. If anyone has ideas on where to find some, let me know.

I think my next step will be to look around as many stores as possible for any craft, decor, or food item that is dark red and could possibly be used in centerpieces. Any ideas?

February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day

Last year for Valentine's Day, Nathan cooked me a seven-course dinner and gave me a gift with each course.


This year was a little different.

We went to Nathan's parents' house on Saturday since he had to get his birth certificate to get his new driver's license. Nathan and I both had horrible stomach pain on Sunday morning, but his went away in less than an hour. I managed to go to church, and in the afternoon Nathan bought me some Alka Seltzer, which did the trick. I felt well enough that evening to meet with our wedding officiant, Pastor Joe, who used to be the pastor of the church Nathan attended. Since I had previously only seen him briefly in Office Max, I was glad to be able to talk a little more with the man who's going to pronounce us husband and wife.

Later that night, though, things got worse again, much worse than stomach pain: I found out my grandma had passed away. It was difficult news to hear, even though it wasn't a complete shock. I was glad I was still at Nathan's apartment at the time so I didn't have to be alone. We both cried for a while, then I made Nathan do some work for his graduate class, and he plopped Nenya (our dog) on my chest. 

Eventually I decided that I wanted a milkshake, so Nathan took me to Steak 'n Shake. Why a milkshake? I haven't the slightest idea. I never went to Steak 'n Shake with Nana, nor can I even recall her ever drinking a milkshake, although she did make me plenty of ice cream cones when I was little. It just sounded good at the time.
Nana with Eric, me, Rachel, and Trey

As sad as it is that Nana won't be able to see my wedding, even in pictures, I wouldn't want her to go through another 4 months of pain. She lived for over 83 years, and I had her in my life for 23 years and 1 month. All of her grandchildren are old enough that they will remember her. 

I'm thankful for the memories. As I drove to work Monday morning in the snow, I remembered how much she hated snow. I used to yell "Snow showers!" to her out the car window as we left her house, and she would scream. I think this tradition started when there actually was snow coming, but I kept doing it for a long time. I remember how worked up she always got while watching sports. "Hey! You be nice to Peyton!" I remember how she told me, "You are going to get on that bike and RIDE!" as she gave my bike a big push into the driveway, forcing me to ride for the first time without training wheels. I remember how she tried to get me to eat my greens by telling me that the little green man in my stomach was jumping up and down because he was hungry. I remember how I loved to scare her by walking into her house and saying "Boo!" to make her scream. When I got older, I tried not to scare her, but she still screamed and I still loved it, as horrible as it is. I remember sitting next to her in church - the sound of her voice and the smell of her leather purse. I remember doing watercolor with her on the screened-in porch, and how almost all of her attempts at painting animals turned into "happy little rocks." I remember how much she loved her family, and I am glad she no longer has to worry about us.

February 3, 2010

Saying Yes to the Dress

Over the past several months, I've watched quite a few episodes of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress. If you haven't seen it, basically a bunch of brides-to-be try on a bunch of dresses. Their dress budget is generally higher than my entire wedding budget, and the dresses generally look so hideous that I wouldn't pay $50 for them.

Like this one, priced at $17,000:

My dress search was a little different. For one thing, most of the brides on the show are more than a year away from their wedding day. Being only 5 months away, my only option was to buy a dress off the rack, but most bridal boutiques don't stock many dresses that are even close to being my size. I did try some on, but in the end, I chose the buy-off-the-rack David's Bridal. Also unlike the brides on the show, I didn't have any big moment when I found "The One." Yes, I love my dress, but I didn't cry when I put it on. I just liked it.

I tried on the dress I ended up buying on a Saturday, with my mom there, and I made an appointment to come back on Monday to buy it. However, the checks that I deposited to my checking account during lunch that day hadn't gone through that evening when I checked my account online, so I decided to reschedule for Thursday. I was somewhat worried about rescheduling since that Monday was the end of their big dress sale, but I had a feeling they would end up once again extending it for another week. And guess what I saw in my inbox from David's Bridal Tuesday morning? They extended it another week! Amazing! Yeah, that's right, DB, I'm on to your little scheme.

In fact, this came in an email this week:


Uh huh. Any bets on when the sale really ends?

Anyway, I bought the dress last Thursday. They had to order it in my size, but it will arrive 2 months before my wedding as opposed to 3 weeks before like it would have been from another store I went to.

I'm not posting photos of my dress on here, for obvious reasons, but I would be happy to send some to anyone interested. Nathan could find out what the dress looks like if he really wanted to - he found the receipt for it on my desk and pointed out that he could just look up the style number. Oops! Luckily, he wants to be surprised.

One thing I learned through my dress shopping experience is that you can't base decisions on customer reviews. One boutique had great reviews online and was recommended to me by a friend. I made an appointment ahead of time and was the only customer in the store, yet I felt incredibly unwanted there. And I was also pleasantly surprised with the excellent service that I received at David's Bridal, since I had read so many bad things about their service. Don't believe everything you hear!