Category Archives: the wedding

i can’t believe it’s been two years.

Two whole years married, eleven years together total.

Feels like a blink.

We’re both working today (because it’s a Monday! and we’re adults! Adults have to work on their anniversary!) but we’re  getting a cocktail by the water tonight – and then, it’s up for grabs! We aren’t quite sure what we’re doing, but we’ll have no redos of our Spice Market anniversary, thankyouverymuch.

Christopher James, loving you is the greatest joy of my whole life. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
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video pixie

Have you heard of Video Pixie? It’s a program where you can hire videographers, freelancers, editors, etc. to make a movie for you.

I LOVE MAKING MOVIES.

For some reason, in my family, I am deputy movie maker. My mom’s birthday, sister’s graduation, our rehearsal dinner. Love a good home movie with some fifties pop music and a great photo collage. But for our wedding video, I wanted something a little less…”I made this on my Mac.” You know?

I really, really regret not having a videographer at our wedding. If you are engaged: JUST FREAKING GET A FILM STUDENT TO TAKE IT ALL IN. The quality doesn’t matter (okay, it does matter, but it’s not paramount) – getting the moments on film MATTER. We have (THANKFULLY) (BY THE GRACE OF SEVERAL FAMILY MEMBERS) about forty-five minutes on film. All of the parents’ dances, our vows, our first dance. Speeches. Really good stuff. All taken with an iPhone camera or something of lesser quality. Some of the footage is in green.

And that’s where Video Pixie comes in. I uploaded all eleven of our hodge podge videos, sixty of our favorite photos from the day, and gave a little direction to the vibe I wanted. Now, editors will create a short teaser of our “wedding video”. A trailer, if you will. Then we pick the one we like the most, and they create a 3-5 minute video for us in under a week. And for way, way less than a videographer would have cost.

Now, is this just as good as a videographer? I think we’ll see when we get the video back (we’re in the bidding phase now), but I’m pretty sure the answer is going to be no way, Jose. It is not as good. We won’t ever get footage of the morning of the wedding, our first kiss as husband and wife, or when I wiped out on the dance floor in a sparkly white mini-dress. But those moments will live on in our hearts and minds forever.

I’ll keep you posted on how we do. And you betcha I’ll share the finished product with you! The first bid already made me cry (they focused on us with our parents! And our first dance! Which made me sob!), so I’ll try to compose myself before sharing with you.

Happy Sunday!

on registries.

registryvia

CJ and I were very, very lucky to receive so many gorgeous gifts off of our registries. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the fun of running around with a registry gun (pancake maker! waffle maker! pancake waffle maker!), but when you live in a NYC apartment, you have to edit, edit, edit. I put together a few ideas on registering based on what worked for us, what didn’t, and some thoughts I had along the way. Grab a cup of coffee, because this post is a doozy.

::1:: You need gifts for every price point. If your guests are kind enough to look to your registry, the worst thing you could do would be to make them feel like they are out-priced. Remember, not everyone can afford a $150 gift (or a $100 gift, or a $50 gift). I think it’s great to have things that are even around $15- Williams Sonoma has great kitchen accessories that are around those price points and can make your cousin in college feel like they are still getting you something you really want.

::2:: Think about the way you really live. Chris and I thought about registering for martini glasses. Then we realized neither of us a) drinks martinis, b) really accurately knows how to make a martini without looking it up online, c) can afford the ingredients for martinis.

::3:: Repeat after me: My taste will change. My taste will change. My taste will change. Get the classic china and the trendy everyday dishes. And if you can…

::4:: Get Juliska. juliskaLook, y’all, I don’t work for Juliska. But I should. I talk about them almost every day. In full disclosure, their flagship store is where my dad and stepmom live…so I get to visit OFTEN. Juliska could probably get a separate post on this blog, so I’ll try to condense my joy for one paragraph. Juliska can go from the freezer to the oven. Juliska can go in the microwave. Juliska can mix and match with almost everything. Juliska is really difficult to break when you accidentally drop a plate on the floor. Juliska is moderately priced everyday dishware. Juliska makes me really, really happy.

We have the white Berry & Thread set, a set of the Pewter plates, and all of our serve ware is Berry & Thread. I do have two baking pans in the Pewter, which I use weekly. I love that I can pull them out of the oven and toss them on our table without giving it a second thought. We’ve had our sets for almost two years now (we even have a Christmas set!) and I feel like I should be starring in a Juliska commercial. My stepmom asked me to step away from the Juliska since maybe it’s gotten to be a bit of an addiction? No worries.

It gets a lot of play on my Instagram, and almost every time food is featured on this blog.

::5:: I recommend, with my whole heart, Le Creuset.

le creuset

I’m a little embarrassed because I e-mail the amazing lady who gave me this almost WEEKLY to thank her for this little gem. My dutch oven sits out year round and we use her for almost every meal. I use her to brown meats, cook sauce, boil pasta, braise to my heart’s content. If the house was on fire, I’d probably grab her after I grabbed Harley.

::6:: This is a secret:

YOU DO NOT NEED EXPENSIVE CRYSTAL WINE GLASSES.

WINE GLASSES WILL BREAK.

ALL OF THE TIME.

The wine glasses we got from Williams Sonoma are gorgeous- and I know exactly where to get them if we need more (spoiler alert: we already need more).

::7:: I’m one of those weird people who really does think about who gave the gift as they  use it. We have a little pig cutting board from our friends Lauren and Brody, and I think about them each time we set out cheese and crackers. Same goes for the Cuisinart my friend Amy’s parents gave us, and the coffee maker from my aunt. Maybe it’s because those things are still brand new, but it’s kind of lovely to be cooking in your kitchen and thinking about all the people who love you enough to buy you a Cuisinart. Similarly, I love pulling out our Christmas stockings and tree skirts and Christmas plates (!) and thinking of the folks who so sweetly gave them to us. If your wedding falls near the holidays, I think it’s a really special thing to include on your registry.

::8::  I’m sure you’ll be smitten with everything you select, because that’s the point of a registry: you are adding things you love. Some of the items we registered for just got better in practice. Here are a few of our favorites that get a ton of play in our house:

bar setBar Set from Williams Sonoma

This has everything you’ll ever need to make the perfect cocktail. I love the way it looks and how chicly it combines all of the tools.

10 piece glass bowl set10 Piece Glass Bowl Set

I love the price point, and love all of these little bowls! We use them constantly for prepping and serving food.

cheese board

Vintage Wood Pizza Paddle Board

This is hanging in our kitchen and is just a gorgeous piece. We use it for larger spreads like the Super Bowl or important life events like the season finale of Homeland.

christmas

These Chilewich Dahlia Pressed Vinyl Placemats are a-mazing. They just dress everything up in the prettiest way.

Chilewich

Love, love, love.

glass

Schott Zwiesel Barware

In the glassware department, I feel like you can get highball and lowball and call it a day. Ican pour a cocktail in these Pottery Barn glasses (we have them monogrammed, which I adore), grab a glass of water, juice, whatever. They are simple and get the job done. Don’t be the girl who has 136 glasses in their apartment. Don’t be that girl (says that girl).

::9:: If you need a (really really really) comprehensive list of what to register for, The Knot has a good one here. I mean, we didn’t register for a sofa or a panini press or a snow blower or a garden hose, but to each his own.

I’m really, really glad we registered for these things:

     * 16 everyday dishes (dishes break and it’s good to have back up)

     * 12 everyday glasses

     * 14 wine glasses

     * Slow cooker

     * Cuisinart (seriously, what did I do before we got this?)

     * Kitchenaid stand mixer (I use this more than I thought I would!)

     * Le Creuset dutch oven and skillet

     * 2 sizes of baking pans (for lasagna, crisps, roasted veggies)

     * A great all-inclusive baking kit (this one is amazing)

     * Accessories like measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls (we have these in blue and I love the spout), ice cream scoops, etc.

     * Towels and bath mats (I have most of these wrapped up in our guest room since I am positive that simply entering our NYC bathroom will give you a transferable disease. So most of these will wait until Dall’au Stage 2 to make their debut)

     * TRIVETS. I didn’t register for these, but we received the most beautiful set from Anthropologie and I use them all the time. Right before the food comes out, everyone is looking at the trivet (that is seriously the whackest sentence I’ve ever put on this blog, but it’s true). And if you are me, sometimes they are looking at your stained oven mitt which is intended to house your lasagna. Wouldn’t a trivet just be so much prettier?

Some helpful tips:

– After everything was said and done, I purchased our linens and pillows. Something about other people giving me sheets felt a little weird to me, but I know people do it all the time and they are just fine. I may have three sets of sheets and duvet covers, just in case like the apocalypse comes and everyone needs fresh bedding.

– We did not register for frames or vases (okay, maybe one or two frames) and I don’t regret it. I also am not someone who lusts after vases. If you are, I think it’s a great thing to register for.

– Try registering for odd numbers, since things will break (when you invite me over, when you move, when you turn off your lights to watch “The League” and knock over every single thing on your bar as you try to get to the couch).

– Remember that you won’t always live in the house or apartment that you are in now. Who knows if your next place has an all red kitchen? Try to get things that can go wherever you do (this is a ringing endorsement for purchasing stainless steel appliances).

– Bloomingdales, Williams Sonoma, and Pottery Barn were all delicious to work with. Strongly recommend. They also have “Thank You Note Trackers” so you can be absolutely sure you get all those thank you’s out!

– Macy*s does not have the best online return policy- you can’t return anything you buy online in-store. So keep that in mind if you don’t live close to a Macy*s.

Are you guys still reading this? Geeze louise I love writing about registries, I guess.

Good luck! Happy wedding! xo

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best day ever.

To celebrate our first wedding anniversary (and ten years together), CJ and I rented Citibikes and biked all around Manhattan. We’ve never done it before, and seriously- it was the best day we’ve ever had in New York.

We started at 59th Street on the West Side. CJ completely surprised me with this plan– he told me just to come with sneakers and no purse. Done and done!

(so excited to be on a bike!!!)IMG_7982 We biked down to Chelsea Piers. Manhattan graced us with the most beautiful weather we’ve had in 2013…it was cool, sunny, and just so freaking gorgeous. The kind of day you simply HAVE to spend outside.IMG_7983 IMG_7984 We had lunch at the Golf Club at Chelsea Piers. I had a burger, Chris had a steak sandwich, and then I ate both of our fries. It’s my anniversary I do what I want.

And then we biked down to the West Village, where I snapped this fabulous pic.IMG_7989 You can see the Freedom Tower right in front of Chris, to his left.IMG_7996 We biked down to Battery Park City and stood below the tower.

IMG_8003IMG_8001It is unbelievable. 
IMG_8004 We climbed to the top of the Irish Hunger Memorial and took these pictures. I’ve never spent a ton of time in Battery Park City, but I have to say- wow. If you haven’t been, you should skip work and go right now. There is so much room right in front of the water, so much space to sit and bike and run around. It’s just a gorgeous part of New York.IMG_8006 IMG_8007 IMG_8008 Then we biked down to the South Street Seaport. So much of the Seaport was closed due to the season, but we got to pedal around the back of the fish markets and through some of the construction down there. IMG_8016 IMG_8017 IMG_8018 AND THEN!!!!!!!

WE BIKED TO CHINATOWN

AND

TO

BABYCAKES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!IMG_8021Chris treated me to an anniversary cinnamon donut and a churro, which actually was not a churro but was more of an apple pie wrapped up in a gluten-free pastry. We carried two bites of each back in a little to go box that we strapped to the front of Chris’ bike. He was very careful and now I have four bites of Babycakes to welcome me back to Monday…!

Back in the West Village.
IMG_8038IMG_8026 Crossing over to the West Side Highway. The Freedom Tower at night is just as stunning as it is during the day. Maybe more so.IMG_8029I work by the Intrepid, but I’ve never been this close to the ship before. We parked our bikes and took a few pictures. It is so, so HUGE- actually magnificent when you are standing next to it.
IMG_8035IMG_8037And that was our day on Citibikes!

We biked for seven hours total. It was AMAZING and I completely recommend it. Now, it was not without it’s frustrations: you get a pass for the day ($9.95), but you need a new code each time you dock your bike. Sometimes the first code doesn’t work, and the second, third or FOURTH doesn’t work either. And since they let you take the bikes for only 30 minutes at a time…getting new codes and racing to all of the bikes and putting in your code can be a little frustrating. Chris has some new friends at the Citibank customer service center.

We would absolutely do it again. It was such a blast, and definitely the most relaxed way to see the city.

A+ anniversary, Dall’au.

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our weekend.

On Saturday, we took the train out to Connecticut. We had a wonderful dinner and just sat and talked and talked and talked. I say it a lot, but I can’t say it enough…living this close is just really delicious. It’s been four + years and it has not gotten old.

Also, the new Metro North trains are so FANCY PANTS I don’t mind the trip one bit.IMG_5330 IMG_5337 IMG_5338We arrived STARVING so we dropped our pooch off for his pampering sesh with his girl Janine…and split a little crepe at Meli Melo. My husband is the KING OF ALL ORDERERS and ordered this lil dish for us to split. He is so cute.
IMG_5341 Then I snapped this pic of him crossing the street, since I (please see above mention) think he is very cute. Especially when holding a cup of coffee in the sunshine and wearing my favorite sweater.IMG_5343 And then…be still my heart…he took me down to Belle Haven. It’s been almost six months since we were married and that Saturday was almost exactly like October 13th. Sunny, a little chill in the air, crisp and gorgeous. We saw my best friends and I almost teared up since I missed them so!IMG_5345 IMG_5346 IMG_5349 IMG_5350My husband and I. As my mama said: “Who knew it would last this long?!” Six months, baby.
IMG_5354 Then we went to rescue our munchkin. He got his hairs cut. When I say cut…I mean he has no hair.IMG_5360 IMG_5359 IMG_5358 IMG_5361IMG_5371 IMG_5368 IMG_5366

Gosh I love those guys.

On Sunday, CJ took me for a big spin around the block, before we had some very special guests.
IMG_5365BOOM.

MY HOMEGIRL.
IMG_1876WHAT IS THIS AMAZING TRACKSUIT I AM OBSESSED.
IMG_1877 IMG_1878 I feel like the joy is radiating in this picture. So nice to have them here for the morning. IMG_1882 IMG_1884We looked at our wedding album, had some bagels and lox and pancakes and coffee, and I missed my mama and sisters real bad.

It was just a really lovely weekend.

How was yours?

xo

 

Wedding Wednesday: Our Invitations

There was one last detail from our little shindig that I didn’t share with you: our invitations!

Chris and I were lucky enough to work with Courtney from Swiss Cottage Designs . A few things about Courtney: she is crazy talented, crazy sweet, and runs one heck of a business. She’s also getting married next month (congrats Courtney!!). When we chat about ladies doin’ it for themselves, we are chattin’ about Courtney. She’s also a Syracuse grad, so she’s our people. I threw a lot of crazy ideas at her (Can we do a map? Can you draw our childhood homes? Can you make the mileage exact for my cartographer father?) and the answers were always an astounding “Yes! Let’s do that!”

Before going with Courtney, we spoke to many different companies about designing these invites. The paper goods were really important to me, and I wanted to create something that people didn’t immediately throw away. I wanted to do something that hadn’t been done a hundred times before, something that put an emphasis on design rather than paper stock, and something classic and timeless, with a healthy dose of playfulness.

This is what Courtney created:

(professional photos by Brian Hatton, terrible iPhone photos by me)

Since we grew up down the street from each other, we wanted our childhood homes to be represented. I love that you can see the big cherry blossom trees that grow in my front yard, and Chris’ house has mirroring palm trees. Courtney hand-drew this off of iPhone pictures our moms sent (I’m telling you- bananas talented).

The map ended up being about ledger size. This was the back, which was the actual invitation:

I fell in love with Courtney’s water color design and knew we had to incorporate it into our invitations. I was also smitten with Courtney’s actual handwriting, so instead of using a font, she ended up using that in several key places- which I adored.

Here was our envelope (kraft paper that Courtney selected- LOVE) and calligraphy by Heather:

(so sorry about the whiting out. it kind of ruins it doesn’t it? but i don’t want y’all coming over)

This was the envelope liner:

The invitation was folded in four and tied with blue and white twine.

Here was one of our inserts, our RSVP card (my favorite):

You would not believe the responses we got. I’m still trying to find a way to display all of these amazing madlibs- if anyone has an idea, please let me know! They seriously cracked us up.

And here’s how everything came together:

Chris was away the week I assembled the invitations (coincidence? I think not).

It was a LONG and HOT process (done in the middle of August in NYC). But thank goodness, I had my two of my good friends helping me: Kaitlin and white wine.

Kaitlin and I were assembling these on the plane to Miami and we were next to a woman who was not yet engaged (but “about to be”). She basically she told us that she did not care for my invitations. Which was, you know, kind and appropriate.

One of my favorite parts of planning the wedding was popping the invites in the mail and waiting to hear back from our friends and family. People’s responses were so sweet and hilarious (“Your madlib is effing KILLING ME”- Ben, Chris’ groomsman). We had one huge fan:

That text makes me giggle. This was so fun.

Hope you love ’em as much as we did! xo

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the hindsight.

It’s 20/20, right? Here are some things I think, as this wedding week draws to a close.

(photo  by brian hatton)

1. You do get “one special day.” This is not it. That’s called your birthday. Your wedding is about you, yes, but as you fit into a partnership, family, friendship. If you know that and are actively living it, you have my full permission to SMACK anyone who calls your wedding “The Bride’s Day.” Like for real, if you are trucking in Krispy Kreme donuts from New York City to delight your man, and someone calls it “all about the bride”, you can totes resort to violence.

2. Say thank you. A lot. Thank mommy, thank daddy, thank the man carrying your flowers to your bridal suite and the gal doing your make-up. Just because you are getting married that day doesn’t mean you get to be rude to anyone, ever. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: you are not the first person to get married, and you will not be the last. Which leads me to…

3.  Do not obsess about what your wedding says about you “as a couple.” What speaks volumes about who you are “as a couple” is the way you treat people. It’s silly to worry if your chocolate covered almond favors are sending the right message about your core beliefs if you just made your bridesmaid cry.

4. And while we’re on the subject, your bridesmaids are your best friends. They come in different sizes, shapes, preferences, and budgets. They do not work so that they can support your wedding. They  mostly work so that we can all go out to nice dinners and drink a little too much sangria and then buy shoes online together on gchat the next morning. I promise you, and this is something I absolutely know for sure: it is infinitely more “worth it” to have happy best friends than it is to have matching $400 bridesmaids dresses. If it’s beginning to be any sort of a problem, let them choose their own clothes. They do it every day of their lives, and they do it quite well, or you probably wouldn’t be friends with them. That being said, if you want me to wear a gorgeous navy J.Crew bridesmaids dress, I’m probably going to love it and be a happy girl. If you want me to wear something neon that poses a flammability risk, I’m gonna cry to Mom and make her change your mind.

5. On changing your name: this is between you and your husband. As hard as this is, please do not let anyone else’s voice infiltrate that conversation. It’s not about pleasing Daddy or his mama or anyone else. This is a deeply personal decision and is completely up to you. There is no anti-feminist choice here, my sweet girls, because the most “feminist” thing you could is make your own choice. I am the monogram queen, and you know this- I was so excited to take Chris’ last name (I even named this blog after it). But that doesn’t mean I haven’t shed some good tears over the transition.

(Also, just so we’re all clear here: changing your name in 2012 is not that difficult. I’ve been married for 4 (or 5? maybe?) weeks and it’s all done. The government has other big things to worry about, so they’ve since made changing names easy peasy lemon squeezy. Don’t let the “hardness” of changing your name deter you. Do what you want.)

6. You do not have one year to send out thank you notes. If it takes you a full year, I hope it’s because you are kicking butt at work, so deliriously happy with your new husband, traveling all over the world, raising quintuplets, and just simply killing it. If that’s your reality, you probably haven’t had three hours to thank the generous souls who traveled thousands of miles, toasted your marriage, danced their faces off, and probably gave you a very, very lovely gift. For sure, if you are raising seven children, or probs any children, you need a year. If it’s just you in a tiny apartment in the middle of Manhattan and your Sundays look like they did pre-marriage (coffee, football, and puppy), grab that pen and get to work.

7. I love this quote from Bailey ( you know how I adore her ) at Peppermint Bliss: “Sparkle plenty. If you don’t, who will?” That’s how I rationalized wearing a backless dress to my rehearsal dinner (I’ve never word anything like that before) and a sparkly white bananas sandwich dress in the middle of my reception. This is your time to bring it. Game on.

8. Ride all the rides. Go to the registry brunch at Bloomingdale’s. Make a wedding scrapbook. Open all the champagne. If you do it while it’s your time to do it, and really enjoy every single step, then you won’t be that girl sobbing in the bathroom at her best friend’s bridal shower because it’s no longer her turn to hold the ribbon bouquet. Hold your freaking bouquet, enjoy it, love it, drink it up, and then smile BIG and collect ribbons for your girlfriends’ bouquets.

9. Go call Mommy and Daddy and his mama and daddy and thank them, profusely, for everything they are doing to make this so perfect. Already called them? Do it again. Nobody is going to consider you too grateful.

10. I didn’t feel like the most beautiful girl in the whole world at our wedding. What I wish for you (with all my heart), is for you to feel like I did: the most loved and supported girl in the whole world. What a lovely way to enter a marriage.


Reese and Sand, I want you to laugh a lot, dance a lot, kiss a lot. It’s pure magic and I can’t wait to see it all again through your eyes,  my sweet girls. xo

(editor’s note: all photos by the lovely brian hatton)

the details.

I love hearing about the details from other people’s weddings, so I thought I would share mine. Because the details were delicious to put together.

The Dress

Before I got engaged, I thought I would wear a pink dress. For real. I did. And I’m kind of bummed I didn’t. Because that would have been pretty awesome, right?

(Anita Graham- love adore xo)

In April (I got engaged in August, so maybe a little premature), I sent my mom a picture of this dress:

Wondering if they made it in white. She clearly forgot about this, because when I got engaged, she sent me the same dress at 2 a.m. with the subject line: DO THEY MAKE IT IN WHITE????????? LOVE THIS.

Turns out they do, and I bought that girl.

Don’t you love Grandma in the background?

I had originally thought I would wear something Carolyn Bessette Kennedy-esque. A sheath dress, something with a plunging neckline, sexy without being inappropriate for church. I even tried some on when my dress went awry back in March.

But I’m so glad I stuck it out with this gal. I can’t imagine marrying Chris in anything else. I know he liked it (I think? Honey? Comments are to the right if you want to chime in), but there wasn’t that moment of “Wow, I really love the work they did on the bodice there- really nice choice, honey. Is that all tulle? Wow.” I know this now, but probably didn’t know it then: he would have been delighted if I showed up in a paper bag. The dress was not important. He really, really likes me.

(final fitting at reem acra)

My dress had a skirt overlay that we added to give it more fullness, plus a rhinestone belt. I like to say this makes it custom Reem Acra, but that makes me sound obnoxious and like a liar. So let’s just say I added some pretty things.

Switch It Change It Rearrange It

I didn’t expect to change. I bought this dress to wear to our after party (to which I ended up wearing- wait for it- a BATHROBE and pajamas) and had it hanging in our hotel suite. But when the clock struck ten o’clock, I knew I would never last another two hours in my tulley girl. So the amazing beautiful gorgeous angel of my life, Hannah at Belle Haven, rushed to our hotel, stole this little number out of our room, and I changed in the upstairs suite.

The dress is Parker and I got it the week before the wedding at Singer 22. They’ve since sold out, but you can get it at ShopBop. Or just come over and borrow it! She’s so comfy!

I LOVE this picture. This is my cousin Rose and I. She was OBSESSED with this dress and told me she liked it better than my wedding dress.

Also, a word on changing: Everyone and their mother has an opinion of this. It’s because it has to do with something most people consider sacred (a wedding dress) and bucking against tradition (ch-ch-ch-changin’). We talked about this a lot, my gals and I, and I thought that I would feel too sad to be changing out of my wedding dress- the one time in yo lyf that you get to wear it. I did not feel that way. At ten, I felt like I had rode that ride. I wanted to change into something a little more sexy and a lot more fun. And I wanted to tear it up on the dance floor with my new husband. Which I guess I could only do looking like a back-up dancer from Gladys Knight and the Pips? I’m happy I changed and don’t regret it for a second.

Shoes, etc.

I wore a pair of Jimmy Choo Mary Janes. Here’s the picture Brian snapped of them before I got dressed:

My mom INSISTED on having doubles of everything. She bought these Tory Burch flats the week of the wedding in case something happened to my shoes. Something did happen: I wanted to wear flats half-way through because these are so beautiful. I adore these little gals and wear them all the time. I think it’s a good idea to have a Plan B- even if you love your shoes and are super comfortable in them, just get a back-up pair and save the receipt. What’s the harm?

For jewels and gems, I wore the earrings my mom and dad gave me when I graduated high school. I actually have them on right now. I didn’t wear a necklace, but took the chain from my grandpa’s pocket watch and wrapped it around my wrist as a bracelet. I also wore my grandma’s diamond watch (a gift from my grandpa) and the bracelets my mom wears everyday. You can kind of see it all here:

(photo  by brian hatton)

The Suit

Chris wore a pretty freaking amazing black Hugo Boss suit, a Brooks Brothers white shirt, a deep plum tie, and my dad’s cufflinks. He wore a gardenia as a boutonniere, since they remind us both of growing up in Miami (y’all, gardenias are HARD: they discolor quickly and we had to do a bout swap with him half-way through the night).

(photos by brian hatton)

I’m sorry, what?! You gotta stop it. You are killing me.

I just want to share this with someone: last night Chris and I went out to dinner (we had both been traveling and needed a drink) and when we were seated to our table, Chris led the way and I was walking behind him. A girl pointed at him and said to her friend: “Did you see that guy? He is so HOT.” (I am proceeding to giggle profusely). Her friend says: “Oh my GOD. He is SO hot.” And then I giggled through my margarita. ‘Cause that’s my husband, y’all! I tricked him into marrying me and now that guy I liked in sophomore year English tucks me in and makes me tea every night.

Our Rings

My engagement ring is Chris’ great-great-grandma’s. It’s over one hundred years old and the most precious gift I’ve ever been given.  Chris gave me an infinity ring as my wedding band and we chose a platinum band with slight etched detail for him. His ring has an inscription that I lost sleep over, along with our anniversary, 10.13.

(photo by brian hatton)

The bands and my engagement ring setting are from Haniken Jewelers in New York. If you ever need anything jewelry wise, those are the kids to go to. It’s a family run business, and has been for the past fifty years. They are just wonderful.

The Girls and The Boys

The bridesmaids wore full length black dresses of their choosing. I asked them to pick something with a sweetheart neckline, and oh my goodness did they deliver. Everyone thought they looked positively stunning. The bridesmaids dresses were one of the big hits of the night! My girls have such good style.

The maids of honor chose dresses without a sweetheart neckline, which looked perfect. Everyone also happened to choose a different fabric, so that variation ended up being a big stunner as well.

So beautiful.

The boys wore their own black suits, white shirts, and blue Tommy Hilfinger ties.

Graham and Lauren, being beautiful.

This was definitely an element I thought SO much about, and I’m in love with the way it turned out. I adore this picture and everyone in it.

(photo by brian hatton)

Other Details

We decided on all white hydrangeas with long, spinning vines in mercury glass vases. Each arrangement was slightly different, which I loved. We searched high and low for the perfect vase and complimentary votives (my stepmom is a PRO- she even timed the burn rate for each candle in the votive to see which would last longer) before deciding on these, which we scooped up in the flower district in New York. Now we have about a bajillion mercury glass votives in both of our homes. So, if you need mercury glass…holla atcha girl.

(photo by brian hatton)

I designed our day-of paper goods with the help of Courtney from Swiss Cottage Designs and Heather from Perch Paper Co. I loved the water color calligraphy Heather designed, and had her create a few key phrases that we could use on our ceremony program, menu, drink list, and the thank you note Chris and I wrote for our guests.

(photo by brian hatton)

My stepmom was the HERO of the tables (really- she was just amazing) and I wanted to do SOMETHING that would be a surprise even to her. I knew I wanted to write some kind of a thank you note, and Chris nixed the idea of me writing an individual thank you note to each guest (but I did write something small in everyone’s escort card!). So this is what we came up with, and I really loved it.

 

These were our escort cards (you can see the sneaky note I wrote in ours, which I didn’t think anyone would see but us):

(photo by brian hatton)

Those were completely done by Heather from Perch Paper, who is a goddess. I love her.

Our guest book was a polaroid camera situation. I typed up the instructions and people went to TOWN. It was seriously one of my favorite things we did- the book is on our coffee table and we look at it often. The pictures are hilarious.

(photos by brian hatton)

Chris chose our cake: a black forest scrumptious three layer cake with white flowers (chosen by me) and polka dot piping (also chosen by me). You can see the candles my stepmom made in the corner of that photograph; she covered over 200 candles in different metallic papers with pearls, crystals, and ribbons. It added such a gorgeous layer of detail to the wedding- I loved this and have them all over our apartment now.

(photo by brian hatton)

This was my favorite detail. In May, I collected wedding photographs of our aunts and uncles, parents, grandparents, and married siblings. My dad is one of nine and my mama is Italian…so we had our work cut out for us. There were about thirty photos total, and my stepmom HAND CUT all of the mats and placed them in mercury glass frames. This was a huge, big ol’ project, but it was so worth it.

We had gardenias and hydrangeas on this table, along with the couples’ names in Heather’s watercolor calligraphy. We weren’t the first people to be married, and we won’t be the last. It was important to include our entire families…and I just loved working with them on the photos. It was very special.

(photos by brian hatton)

When I get the pictures from our invitations, I will share those too.

This was so fun to put together! I hope you enjoyed it a quarter as much as I loved writing it.

Have a lovely Saturday, y’all. xo

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the ceremony.

As we planned our wedding, I knew that I was going to be the most obnoxious about the ceremony. The tables would be beautiful regardless, people were going to dance, but the ceremony? That’s where you can lose people. And, let’s be honest, it’s a lot like producing a show, so I felt pretty comfortable researching the script, costumes, music, and lighting.

I went back and forth for a long time about where we were going to get married. To be completely honest, Chris was very flexible about this- he just wanted to GET married. For a lot of reasons, we couldn’t get married in a Catholic church- for us, we found that there were some hurdles that we could not jump in the fourteen months we were engaged. However, there is a beautiful stone church with a big red door on East Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. It is an Episcopalian church with a ceiling painted with stars and long oak pews. The people who devote their lives to this church are warm, loving, and truly believe in marriage as it stands today, in 2012, with iPhones and blended families. We visited last September, two people truly unsure about how a religious institution would fit into their wedding. We left without a shade of doubt that this was where we would begin: deeply rooted in family, friendship, and yes, faith. Maybe it is faith in each other, maybe faith in something larger than the two of us, but that faith was continually restored throughout our experience with that church. In our meetings with the Reverend, we spoke openly about our families, our money, and our relationship: our beginnings, our sometimes rocky middle, and our very hopeful future. During our ceremony, that Reverend proclaimed us husband and wife. He joined our hands and placed one of his holy robes around our clasped fingers. I didn’t get married on the lawn at Belle Haven, obviously, but I don’t know that I would have felt that same rush as I closed my eyes and held my (now) husbands hand, as the sun set and filled the hundred-year-old church with a glowy October light. For me, that was magical. In my favorite moment of the past nine years with Chris, he peeked his eyes open at this moment, and whispered to the Reverend, in his quietest, sweetest voice: “May I please kiss her?”

The answer was not yet, but my heart just swells when I think of him in that moment. Here are a few pictures of our ceremony, half our professional ones from Brian Hatton (let’s talk about him tomorrow, because he deserves his own post) and half from Chris’ cousin Mary Ellen.

 

We knew from the start that we wanted to involve our aunts, sisters, and mothers in the ceremony. These were the women closest to us, and we wanted them to speak. We chose our readings because they centered on family.

This was the first reading, which was done by my mom’s sister, my dad’s sister, and Chris’ beloved cousin Mary Ellen (whom I mentioned above). This is one of my favorite pieces of literature. If our life ends up like this passage, it would have been a rip roaring success.

Excerpt from The Last Good Time, by Richard Bausch

Aunt Carmela: There was a lovely time, long ago, too private to tell anyone, or too ordinary. It had nothing to do with anything, really: it was almost embarrassingly humble. One December night, unable to sleep, he had glanced out the bedroom window to discover that it had snowed. He woke his wife and made her come to the window, and the surprise of it delighted her as it had delighted him.

Aunt Di: They dressed and bundled the baby up and took a walk, and watched the dawn arrive, and when they returned to the house, he took the day off. They played with the baby, cooked dinner, and baked bread. They listened to the baby playing in his playpen, and they talked idly about anything that came into their minds, and that evening, late, they lay whispering to each other about what a beautiful day it had been.

Mary Ellen: He thought about all this on his way down to the grocery store. The memory of it came through him like a breath, and then he was savoring it, basking in its warmth. And he thought that this is what love really meant: this very ordinary memory. That love was easy and plentiful as grass, and as still, as calm somehow.

This reading was done by my mother-in-law, Jo. It was particularly special since their family had recently welcomed a sweet baby girl (and because Jo is always telling Chris to pick up his phone, like most mamas).

Excerpt from A Short Guide to a Happy Life by Anna Quindlen

I suppose the best piece of advice I could give anyone is pretty simple:  get a life.  A real life, not the manic pursuit of the next promotion, the bigger paycheck, the larger house.  Get a life in which you notice the smell of salt water pushing itself on a breeze over the dunes.  Get a life in which you pay attention to the baby as she scowls with concentration when she tries to pick up a Cheerio with her thumb and first finger.

Turn off your cell phone.  Turn off your regular phone, for that matter.  Keep still.  Be present. Get a life in which you are not alone.  Find people you love, and who love you.  And remember that love is not leisure, it is work. Send an e-mail.  Write a letter.  Kiss your mom.  Hug your dad.

Get a life in which you are generous.  Look around at the azaleas making fuchsia star bursts in spring; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black sky on a cold night.  And realize that life is glorious, and that you have no business taking it for granted.

This, our final reading, was done by my mom. She used to read me this book every night before I went to sleep, and it just seemed like the perfect closing. I’m crying just reading it! Ah! Okay!

Excerpt from I’ll Love You Forever

A mother held her new baby and very slowly rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she held him, she sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

The baby grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was two years old, and he ran all around the house. He pulled all the books off the shelves. He pulled all the food out of the refrigerator and he took his mother’s watch and flushed it down the toilet. Sometimes his mother would say, “this kid is driving me CRAZY!”

The little boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was nine years old. And he never wanted to come in for dinner, he never wanted to take a bath, and when grandma visited he always said bad words. Sometimes his mother wanted to sell him to the zoo!

The boy grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a teenager. He had strange friends and he wore strange clothes and he listened to strange music. Sometimes the mother felt like she was in a zoo!

That teenager grew. He grew and he grew and he grew. He grew until he was a grown-up man. He left home and got a house across town.

When the son came home at night, he stood for a long time at the top of the stairs. Then he went into the room where his very new baby daughter was sleeping. He picked her up in his arms and very slowly rocked her back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while he rocked her he sang:

I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
my baby you’ll be.

 —

Sigh. I love these readings.

We were given a gorgeous (and hilarious) homily by a Priest that has known Chris and his family for over ten years. Chris’ cousin, Diana, also sang a song I loved as a girl. “On the Street Where You Live” was special because Chris and I grew up down the street from each other, and my uncle used to sing this when I was little. The whole ceremony was a blend of old and new, beginnings and joinings.

 

 

And then we were married! It didn’t feel like I thought it would. I thought it would feel different, that I would feel different in some way. You know when you are sleeping in a weird position and then flip your pillow to the cold side and curl up in the opposite direction? And you are like I was comfortable before, but now, oh my goodness, this is going to be delicious? That’s how it felt. Like I didn’t know the piece that was askew, but now everything was in place in a way it always should have been. I felt calm and at peace.

And like I wanted a smooch.

 

 

 

Tomorrow, let’s talk some details of the wedding and the reception.

xo

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the morning.

The morning of the day we got married was like almost every other morning, ever.

The most perfect day for a wedding.

I was snuggled up with my sisters, woke them up to get coffee, Reese said she wanted to sleep more, and Sandy asked if she could go to Starbucks in her onesie pajamas.

On Pinterest and wedding blogs, sometimes the bride has coffee that says “Bride” on it. Clearly, I was doing this. Except at my Starbucks (kind of a special one- if you can have a special Starbucks- since I found out I got into Syracuse in it), they were dumfounded. “You want WHAT?” And I explained I was getting married that day (!) and she still looked confused. She was very suspicious of me. No matter. I still got the money shot.

FOR THE WIN. (thanks, Ame, for this gorgeous glamour shot)

Reese is really regretting going to Starbucks. This was not posed. This is just how my sister is.

 

I wanted the morning of our wedding to be like one big extended slumber party. And hot dog, it was. Except it was better. We were all staying on one floor, so there was a lot of running room to room, accidentally running into a boy in your towel, snuggling up with your girlfriends in rollers, and drinking big ol mugs of coffee. Wait, you think this sounds like freshmen year of college? Me too. It was all of the best parts of that, including your dad showing up while you are sitting on the floor, cross-legged, doing your pal’s hair. It was my favorite part, until, uh, I married Chris. I like gentlemen (I married one), but I am a girl’s girl. I don’t know if it’s because I’m blessed to have the best, most delicious sisters in the entire world, but I feel a fierce, adoring, all-encompassing kind of love for my girls. What is it about having sisters, particularly little ones, that makes me want to love and trust other gals without abandon? Probs it’s because I already know they are going to be a little snippy when they are tired, worry about the same exact thing for the better part of a calendar year, and wear my new, still-with-tags Alice + Olivia dress before I do and I’m not going to lose sleep over it. Sandy, I’m looking at you on that last one. Thanks girl.

So having all my best friends in one room, on one day, in bathrobes and curlers, with One Direction on the radio…it was just everything.

Also, we had to start doing each others’ hair because the hairstylists for the bridesmaids had to be fired (thank you, Mama Jo and Mama Lisa). Because they “didn’t know it was going to be THAT type of wedding.” What kind of wedding it was, we are unsure. We think they wanted to administer some crunchy curls. That, my loves, was happening never.  So we took matters into our own hands, recalled the days of mainstage musicals past, and did some fancy updos.

This setback made us (get ready) TWO HOURS LATE. Chris was fully intending to delay the ceremony. As I told him later, you think your girl would make you wait like that? We PRODUCED that wedding and got back on schedule in no time. Did we have rides to the church? Some people did, some people didn’t. Some limos didn’t show up. Namely mine, Chris’, and our parents’. No matter. Squished wedding gowns and suits are really prettier anyway.

Gorgeous girls on the way to the church.

Waiting to marry my guy.

Next, the ceremony. xo

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