Tentative schedule

I've had this sitting in a draft for awhile because pinning down a timeline seems to have something...final about it, like I'm closing off options to optimize the whole day even more. I'd like people's feedback on whether this seems like it might work, though:
  • 9-12: morning setup, flowers (makeup/hair?)
  • 12-12:30: lunch
  • 12:30-1:30: caterer sets up, immediate family arrives for the posed family group shots
  • 1:30: ask guests to start arriving by then, drinks are available (lemonade, iced tea, hot tea, coffee, alcohols)
  • 2-2:30 ceremony (probably shorter than 30 minutes though)
  • 2:30 onwards: guests enjoy food, drinks, dancing, games...
  • 2:30-2:40: Dan and I hang out in the sitting room to take a moment and savor being newlyweds on our own
  • 2:40-2:50: photographer comes in to take a few photos of us
  • 2:50: we make our 'entrance' (we'll probably just walk in and join the crowd, I don't think I want a formal announcement here or anything)
  • Reception until 6:30, Dan and I will head out to have a private dinner. We need to figure out transportation so that Dan can drink as his own wedding.
  • I'll probably take a nap back at our apartment.
  • If I feel up to it, we may head into Manhattan for an after party/bar-hopping of sorts with all the young folk who are in town.
The whole thing with the timing is balancing it so that people don't need to rush over after lunch and so that it goes on long enough so I don't feel like we spent so much time planning for something that passes in the blink of an eye, but then also ends early enough that people can get home or go out to dinner (but, sustained by the finger food at the reception, not need to get dinner immediately).

I've also toyed with the idea of a welcome picnic of sorts on Friday evening (though most people probably wouldn't arrive in time unless they take time off from work, and I don't want to make people do that), and then some kind of group brunch on Sunday, because there are a lot of people who will be around that I don't get to see very often that I want to spend more time with, but it seems unlikely that that would happen without planning ahead and planning just the one day is already a bit of a project (potentially helpful link: 2000 Dollar Budget Wedding on pay-your-own-way events beyond the wedding day itself). Also, I know that even the wedding itself will tire me out quite a bit and I'll need some time to recharge, so I probably shouldn't be too ambitious with the amount of social activities planned in here.

Princeton Township officiant info

Figuring out the officiant situation has been on my list of next big things to do in wedding planning for awhile now, but I finally got to it last week. I'm recording what I found there just for posterity's sake, since I don't think we'll end up going with this government official route after all.

I talked to Linda McDermott, the Princeton Township clerk (the Mountain Lakes House is in Princeton Township, which surrounds the smaller Princeton Borough--that's basically the downtown area of Princeton, as far as I can tell), and she sent over this document about what the deal is with getting married by the mayor of Princeton. I admired that she was very straightforward with me, though she said this information was available on their website and I couldn't find it, so I've uploaded it into my Google Docs if other people are interested in taking a look. I also thought it was rather funny that she caveated all her statements with the fact that there may be a new mayor of Princeton by the time our wedding rolls around. I couldn't quite judge what her feelings on this potential state of affairs was.

Anyway, basically, New Jersey doesn't have justices of the peace, and if you don't want to be married by a religious figure, your options in terms of government figures are the mayor of any town or municipal judges. The current mayor of Princeton evidently will do weddings on weekends, but doesn't like to book civil ceremonies more than 2 weeks in advance. These ceremonies generally just follow the standard format outline in the document she sent over and don't last more than 10 minutes. Most mayors will also only marry residents of their township, which makes sense to me but isn't particularly helpful in our situation.

The Princeton municipal court judge is Judge Goldman, who also requires that the couple be Princeton Township residents. She only performs weddings on Tuesdays or Mondays (her court day), but there isn't a fee on top of the marriage license ($28 in NJ, I think) so that's basically like a city hall/courthouse wedding.

Marriage licenses are issued by the Department of Health (609 497 7608 for Princeton Township).

So basically, what Dan and I concluded is that since we don't have any connections through family or friends to local judges or mayors, we'll probably end up going with the hiring a celebrant method instead. We'd thrown around the idea of having a friend do one of those being ordained for a day thing, but decided that we wanted someone who pretty much knows us equally well, rather than trying to do something of one friend from each side and then also be able to have someone a bit older, rather than a peer. We're in the midst of talking to a few different officiants, and I'll report back when a decision has been made on that front as well. Choosing an officiant is pretty much the last Big Decision, I think.

Qualities of an ideal vendor

As far as dealing with unpleasant vendors has gone, I think I've been pretty fortunate in that the worst case has been a potential caterer saying, "...really. Are you sure about that? Really?" when I told him about our light finger foods afternoon wedding plan and then he never even bothered getting back to me with a quote. Other people have been really lovely, like Cheryl from Ana Beall's Tea Room, even if we didn't end up going with them.

I was slightly frustrated in contacting another potential vendor lately. I think it's mostly because he's rather new to catering weddings in general, but he just wouldn't give me a straight answer in terms of estimating the cost, which is just so irritating. So with that in mind, here's what I look for when judging potential vendors:
  1. Have a website with current contact information, with email address for initial inquiry. As Becca recently wrote, there's something about needing to call someone to get a vital piece of information that makes the task seem really difficult. Welcome to a generation of people who would do everything over the internet if they could, I suppose. I'm slightly wary of how well I'd mesh with a vendor that isn't online.
  2. Respond quickly (a couple business days or so) to inquiries. Some people have gotten back to me within 60 minutes, but some dig up my email from their spam filter after we've already decided to go with someone else. Some people (as mentioned above) never even got back to me when they said they would.
  3. Being upfront about your range of rates, if not the exact package costs, results in lots of extra bonus points. Even if not on your website directly, at least when directly asked over email. It just boggles my mind why any business person would insist on meeting in person first and wasting everyone's time if it's never going to happen within our budget. I know some people are great salespeople but I don't want to be sold something I can't afford and it frustrates me when some vendors try to corner you into that position.
  4. Avoid using the word 'invest' to put an overly positive spin on cost. In my research I came across a lot of photographers in particular who would do this and it just kind of irritates me.
  5. More bonus points for actively seeking feedback. LeahAndMark.com actually sent out this survey to the clients that did not hire them to find out more about why that was the case, which I thought was really quite admirable.
  6. If they advertise on A Practical Wedding, that's also many additional bonus points. This is one of the best examples of targeted advertising around, in my opinion. The audience of APW does want to find these kinds of practical-minded, budget-friendly, non-WIC vendors, and Meg, bless her, helps us find them. I bet a lot of WIC-type vendors do reach out to her but she knows to turn them away, I'm sure.

Indochino's custom-made suits

In my ongoing efforts to teach Dan about style and clothes (see: talking him into getting an existing suit tailored for our engagement photos, talking him into buying a $25 Groupon to Gap and then picking out the blue western-style shirt we also used in the fauxgagement photos and mending the back of his jeans as well), I've been trying to find accessible men's style blogs for both him and me to subscribe to. Two of these are Honor Thy Tailor and The Effortless Gent, the latter of which just shared a code for $100 off any suit from Indochino with a base price of more than $349 (promotion only until 10/23).

I'd read about Indochina before at Primer Magazine, where they'd had a different promotion around August for 10% off and a free dress shirt and free shipping (I was planning on trying that code since there doesn't seem to be an expiration listed on that post, but it's probably no longer valid). Basically, their deal is that they teach you how to take a guy's measurements properly with different videos and then sends the suit to be made in China (with good labor practices to their employees), meaning you can get a bespoke suit (bespoke means made-to-order; I just looked it up) for less than $500. They'll even cover you for up to $75 in additional tailoring that might be needed, or if it's just not doable, you can get a refund on the whole suit.

I think that this is kind of a brilliant business model, using the power of the internet and globalizaton to bring products to customers who wouldn't otherwise have access at all, and I like to support smart businesses who know how to use the internet when I can. I've had this idea for awhile that if I ever run a start-up, it would be to build a body scanning system where you would have these traveling booths where people could step in with undergarments on and have their body scanned from head-to-toe in their usual posture.

Then, armed with a digital model of their body, they could shop online and test out how different clothes would look on them. There'd be some cost for the scan itself to start with, but then the real revenue would come from getting different online retailers subscribed to the system overall to accept these customers' measurements and setting up a shopping system where you can then recommend different styles that suit someone's body type or also purchased by other people with similar measurements. The problem of not really knowing whether something will look good on you is something that I really believe technology could go a long way towards solving, because so much of it is just math and physics, in my opinion.

Anyway, I think we might go for a suit for Dan with this latest promotion. Second after registering for a KitchenAid mixer has always been getting a really nice suit for Dan as something I've looked forward to about getting married. His fit issues are that he was extremely thin for his height, with pretty broad shoulders relative to his waist and long limbs. When I dragged him to Uniqlo to buy shirts because I'd heard they might have styles that suit him better, given that his is also somewhat the body type of your average hipster dude (except that Dan's probably taller), Dan tried on a pair of jeans that were the right length, and for the first time in his life, did not need to be worn with a belt to stay on his waist. It's hard to emphasize how revolutionary that was.

Your opinions are needed. I think of the suit styles available, I like either this light gray 3-piece suit (Roger Sterling what what):

Dan could take the jacket off after the ceremony and just wear the vest.

Or, this khaki ("La Habana") suit:

Normally I really don't like khaki, mostly because how gross enormous baggy khakis are considered dressier and more acceptable than a nice pair of jeans, but this suit makes me reconsider. And they write in their description that it's a good summer wedding suit, and since it's cotton, it should be less overheating, hopefully. However, I'm concerned about its long-term usefulness for Dan wearing to work since it's made of cotton instead of wool (or wool blend or all synthetic, as I think Dan's other suits are).

What do you guys think? Feel free to put your vote in for an entirely different option, though I will probably veto anything shiny.

Body image issues

Thank you, everyone, for your very kind comments on the engagement photos! I love getting comments in general but those were particularly sweet, I think.

Before I get into writing a bit more about how I was feeling bad about my body last week, I did just want to first share that I ran my first (but definitely not last) 5K this past Saturday! It was the Hoboken University Medical Center 5K and my friend Amy and I signed up way back at the beginning of August. We had bibs number 11 and 12, we were that early.

What's funny to me now is that back then, it was a pretty substantial goal to set for myself, signing up for this 5K. Amy told me about how she'd run her first 5K not too long ago and how it was a lot of fun to be part of the large group of people all cheering each other on, and I wanted to get in on that too but wasn't entirely confident in my ability to get there. Thank you, Amy, for inspiring me. I was chugging along on the Couch-to-5K program but my strategy was to run slowly enough that I always felt comfortable, and at that pace I wouldn't reach 5K in 30 minutes.

And yet, when I ran a practice 5K on my own the previous weekend, and then on the actual day of, it wasn't too much of a physical hardship. With Amy's encouragement and the cheering of the NJIT student that got roped into volunteering, I went faster than I'd ever had before, finishing in about 40 minutes (around a 13 minute mile...or a 8 minute kilometer, I suppose!). It was a beautiful day, just perfect weather. Sunny, but not hot until we'd be running for awhile. Clear, crisp air. And, my mom drove all the way up to spectate and was pretty great during the event and right afterwards in treating it like the accomplishment it was for me.

I'm going to hang up the French memo board by my sewing machine soon, mainly for the purpose of sticking inspiration images on it, but in addition to those and the color wheel, I'm also going to put up my Number 11 bib from this 5K. Back in middle school, I worked for 2 years to train and get onto our high school's tennis team and when I succeeded in doing so and then later on achieve a starting singles position, that was a big deal for me. I am not an athlete, not at all, but I can set physical goals and achieve them nonetheless.

I needed to be reminded of that, as well as learn that physical exercise doesn't always have to be a total chore, thanks to the strategy of going slow, free podcasts with engaging content (particularly The Moth), and being consistent about getting myself out there by telling myself that I would feel better afterwards, which helped create a positive cycle of feeling good about what I'd accomplished and seeking to feel that positive feeling again.

So yeah, that was pretty cool! The thing that rather marred the rest of the day was that my mom kept commenting on how I should exercise further and really lose the weight I put on since I stopped playing tennis in high school. She means well, and it comes from a place of love (my family and I generally subscribe to the "we wouldn't bother with you if we didn't care" philosophy of relationships), but it's grating nonetheless and it's another one of those things that I can only help make better by trying to adjust my attitude to it.

But it's hard, and I do very much crave my parents' good opinion. They're smart people, and right about a lot of things, and they do have my best interests at heart. I just wish that I were stronger in letting comments about my weight roll of my back, you know?

I was talking to Dan about how I was upset afterwards and coincidentally reading from articles about how activity level is much more closely correlated with health than thinness, etc. (like this one, for a good primer), and he reminded me that such an argument is not very convincing to a person like my mom when coming from me because it would just sound like rationalization. He set forth my options as either telling her about these kinds of articles, which wouldn't be effective, or exercising more myself and losing weight and then telling her, so that I don't sound like I'm just looking for justifications for my own current behavior, but I told him that I didn't want either and instead, what I wanted this:
  1. To feel good about my body and its level of fitness
  2. To not be so easily affected by others' judgments that I can't change.
Seems like both not too much to ask and a pretty big mountain to climb, at the same time.

Once I got that out, I felt a lot better about life in general and mostly ended the funk I went into after I first saw the engagement photos. I looked at them quickly between meetings while I was at work and on the first viewing, all I could think of was, oh god, I look fat! Am I Fat? Well I look fat! Oh god I can't believe that's all I can think of right now! And...I'm actually feeling bad about myself now! What the hell, self?! What good are all those positive body image blogs you've been reading for now, if you're just going to let stupid stuff like this get to you?!

And so on, and so forth. And I was being so good about sticking to my 'if you're exactly the same shape and weight at the end of the C25K program it's totally ok, it's just about your cardiovascular health!' attitude, for the most part.

As a result, Robin's post on Diet Creep was pretty perfectly timed for the mood that I was in:
I hate our culture’s fear/hatred of fat and its mandate to be perpetually dissatisfied with our bodies to begin with. And body negativity is yet another thing I find generally objectionable that is magnified by a factor of UGH in the context of weddings.

And I hate that it is GETTING TO ME. Me! A believer in fat acceptance!


And that kind of thinking has got to stop. I can’t let my self-worth rest on how I look or how much I weigh. I shouldn’t hold myself to standards that I find abhorrent when applied to other women. It’s hypocritical, disingenuous, and lame.

And it’s a miserable way to live life, and I’m not looking for new ways to feel bad. I don’t want to think about fitting into a dress when I exercise; I want to think about being stronger and more flexible and not getting winded when I run to catch a bus. I don’t want to eat more veggies to save on calories; I want to eat more veggies to get more vitamins. Eff that, I want to eat more veggies because veggies are yummy. And then I want some ice cream. And beer. Possibly in the same mug.

And I don’t want to see women buying dresses that don’t fit in hopes of forcing weight loss. I don’t want there to be hours of cable television programming devoted to shaming women for having visible back fat when wearing a strapless gown. I don’t want people to refuse to let me take their photograph. I don’t want people to feel bad about themselves every time they step on a scale or try to buy new jeans or look in a mirror.  I don’t want people to tell me that I need to eat a sandwich, or that I need to drop my fucking sandwich, or that I need to do anything with sandwiches!

This war has to start at home.
YES. And yes.

Throughout the rest of the week, it also definitely helped that positive comments from my friends started coming in, unbidden by me.
"Oh, KWu, I LOVE the slideshow. LOVE it. You look stunning" - Lindsay

"KWu, your engagement/wedding pics with Dan are absolutely gorgeous! I love the ones with you in a blue dress, you look so pretty." - Emily

"Girlie, you look absolutely wonderful in your engagement photos. You are a beautiful girl." - Amy
Because it helped remind me to dig my head out of the warped self-image hole it was in, and it also reminded me of how it breaks my heart when my girl friends get down on themselves or avoid photographs, and when my sister gets frustrated with shopping because she can't find any clothes that fit but she talks about it as though it's her fault for having a 'weird' body shape and not the fact that it's just hard to find clothes that fit right in general. Her, the athlete! Really, it makes me so sad, and also rather angry that so many women everywhere struggle with this for all their lives.

And I'm really pleased to say, now that I look at our engagement photos over and over again, I'm able to see past my so-called 'flaws' and see how we look happy, how the composition and light and lines are so crisp and clear thanks to Kelly's skill, and how we're very lucky to be where we are.

Ok, just a few more quick hits before I go to bed:

Via Sally at Already Pretty, a really great, positive fashion and body image blog, this article about Body Image & The Diet Mentality: Letting Go of Shame:
“The truth is we live in a shame-based culture that says that if your body differs from the coveted thin physique, something is intrinsically wrong with you and in need of fixing.” They also write, “You feel ashamed that you have not changed your body in the way you feel you must in order to be happy and successful.”

But the thing about shame is that it stomps on your body image, on self-care and on your health and well-being. It squashes your spirit. And, most important of all, you deserve better.
Also recommended: Sally on "What is flattering?" and "There is no one way to look great" (basically, you do not have to only go for 'thin, tall, hourglass' which took this post from Sara at Orchids in Buttonholes to jolt me into realizing I bought into that one ideal without questioning)

And lastly, this post from Eat the Damn Cake on the damaging effects of talking about "tweaking":
Everyone could always stand to look a little better. Even Angelina Jolie doesn’t like her cheeks sometimes. Or her thighs. Which, the magazines tell us emphatically, is endearing. It makes her a little more human. Because we’re all like that. We all know we really could stand to look a little better. Even when we don’t actively hate the way we look. Even when we’re having a good day. I’ve seen it so many times. I’ve done it so many more times. And because it’s so ubiquitous, I don’t have to think about what it is, or what it means. Or if I think about it, I can just say, “Human nature! We’re all striving to be better. That’s why we built the pyramids! Or, um, had a bunch of slaves build them…That’s why we enslaved those people in the first place! That’s why there’s civilization! Because we’re always tweaking. Always improving.”

But it doesn’t matter. We want to tweak. We see the details, not the whole. We sometimes admit that we look pretty good from a reasonable distance. And then, upon coming closer, all is revealed! All of the problems are right there, literally, on the surface.

It’s disrespectful, really. What are our poor faces and bodies supposed to do? They don’t change easily, or at all, except to keep aging. Or without a lot of painful surgery. They aren’t doing anything wrong. They’re functioning—allowing us to communicate, move around, have sex, look surprised, smile, mime, dance, whatever. And we can’t stop criticizing them.

We need to recognize tweaking for what it is: a vicious, insidious, constant attack. It doesn’t sound vicious, because it’s directed at little things. You aren’t saying, “I’m hideous!” You’re saying, “I’d be a little bit more attractive if…” It’s deceptive. It’s like a parent telling their child, “You’ll never be quite as smart as your brother, but if you get a little better at math, maybe you have a shot.”


So the next time you find yourself in front of a mirror, and you automatically begin the familiar list in your head, “If only your chin was a little less pronounced…” Maybe you should stop. Maybe you should un-roast instead. Maybe you should pick a tiny detail that is really cool, special, weird in a good way, or just interesting. Maybe you should pick the same detail, and figure out what makes it interesting. Maybe you should remember a person who remarked on that exact feature, except to say, “I love your chin! It’s so distinctive. That is a chin so proud and noble and brave that it could’ve inspired civilization. It could’ve, you know, motivated the building of the pyramids.”
I'll go first.

Un-Roast: I have great hair. It's shiny, thick, and with a good haircut, I can always just air-dry and go. Even when I smush it under a bike helmet while it's still wet, it retaliates with a cute flippy effect that I couldn't achieve on purpose if I tried.

Oh and you should also check out Becca's "I F*cking Rule" series of posts.

[edit] And APW for the win, as always: "On Owning Inspiration"
So, my challenge to us today is to think about the ways we take what should inspire us, and turn it into something we can’t hope to aspire to… because it’s so much less scary that way. What do we tune out as ‘not an option for me’? Is it a stylish wedding dress (notice I didn’t say an expensive wedding dress)? Is it a stylish wardrobe? Is it attacking items on our life list? Is it trying for a great job? Living in a great city? Doing something a little more ambitious with your personal blog? Writing more? Having a braver marriage? What is it? Because my hunch is, the things we tell ourselves can’t be done are the things we most need to give ourselves permission to do. Because why not us? Why not now? Really. Why not?

Engagement photos!!

Thank you everyone who commented and clamored for the engagement photos in the last post. I'm really touched that people I know only through the internet caring. I've delayed on this a bit because I had some emotions to work through, which I decided to just put into another post about body image and self-esteem entirely. So here are my top picks, with a slideshow of the full set available here.

We started out in our 'formal' outfits, which for me was a mod acid yellow and gray 60s shift from Empire Vintage Clothing and for Dan was his light gray suit that I talked him into getting tailored. Man, the amount of excess fabric they took out!

This is the Hoboken train terminal waiting room, which is gorgeous and looks a bit like Grand Central Station but with fewer people. Sadly an NJTransit cop shooed us away pretty quickly (Kelly was awesomely quick on her feet and told the guy she was Dan's sister) because apparently you need a permit? But I searched and searched afterwards and didn't find anything on their website about applying for one, so in my mind that means it can't be true. I'm still a little peeved that we missed out on the grand shots of the big staircase, but you get a bit of the idea from here.

Kelly was so great about constantly directing us to move closer to each other and to show some affection, just like Amy had told us we should try to do more of.

Mmm vintage-y post-processing effect.

Fie on ugly but necessary signs marring the frame.

I like this one a lot because because I think I look like I feel a bit sassy here. Hellz yeah bright blue dress that's also from Empire Vintage Clothing. Can you guess what that is behind us?

It's the outside of a parking garage in Hoboken! We were walking from the train station to the park at 4th and Hudson and chatting as we went along and then Kelly stops in the middle of a sentence and just says something along the lines of, "Oh my god what is that I love it we are going there to take photos now." Ok!

There was a guy sitting on a bench towards that right that kept telling Kelly she was doing it wrong because the sun was behind us. She showed admirable restraint there, I think.

This is the same park, we just ducked into a small clump of trees and Kelly managed to make it seem like we were in a forest, which was one of the settings that I wanted all along but thought we couldn't make it work with the urban thing together.

Joint effort from Dan, Kelly, and myself. 

I love, love the concept for a save-the-date card (which I think we are going to end up doing after all) but may want to re-do it with a vintage Scrabble board instead so that the board isn't as distractingly colorful, or maybe use some Photoshop effect so that the tiles look illustrated somehow, or do just the tiles and overlay it on another image, like a vintage map of Princeton or NJ. Dan's preference is for something like this from the battles of Princeton and Trenton. Ugh history. Anyway, that'd be on one half of a postcard and another one of these images on the other half. Gets the point across, hopefully, and people can put it on their fridge if they want.

By this point we were already running over on Kelly's time but she never said a word and got this bubble shot that I really wanted in.

So overall, Kelly is basically the most energetic and enthusiastic person I've ever met. She really was wonderful about directing us into poses and making us laugh. I think you can tell that we definitely relaxed into it as the shoot went on, which is the whole point of doing an engagement shoot after all.

Given that, I kind of overprepared for the shoot in terms of props and such. I made a list, checked it twice, and packed everything into my granny cart which was useful for hauling things around but I really didn't need 3 different belts options and more earrings/necklaces/shoes/books etc. As Kelly pointed out when we talked over the phone a few weeks beforehand, the shots of her other couples that I liked the best were the ones where the couples were doing some activity together and yet I clung to having many prop options as a safety line, I suppose. Ah well, so it goes.

For makeup this time around, I scheduled a makeup trial with Jennifer Kang at Mona's in Englewood Cliffs. She was really nice and in a happy coincidence, she happened to be doing these trials for free on the day of our shoot anyway. I regret that I didn't leave her a small tip of some kind just for her time. She applied some fantastically long false lashes that felt pretty weird at first but that I got used to eventually. They weren't too hard to remove at the end of the day, though I needn't have worried at all about them falling out. I'm surprise that they didn't show up more in the photos because they looked enormous to me in the mirror. I also learned from her that you can apparently buy these stickers at Asian grocery stores to put on single-fold eyelids at night to have a double fold in the morning. Weird! And yet, intriguing!

Dan, again, thought there was too much makeup on but I think you can't really tell that there's very much in the photos. I almost want a bit more eye makeup and a stronger lip color, and definitely for my eyebrows to be filled in a bit more, I think. Still, I remain undecided as to whether the minimalistic makeup look I want is worth paying a professional to do. I can buy the makeup and practice myself...but I probably won't do the practicing part of it. I think my sister also wants to the use the occasion to really go for all the beautifying things, since she never went to prom.

So it may be a small thing that ends up being worth throwing money at, but I'm still not quite sure. Plus, a hair person would be separate, and yet there's not much I want done except for it to be blown out nicely. Mama G suggested finding a salon in the Princeton area that I would go to on the morning of to get the blowout and a makeup application but I want to minimize the amount of running around needed that morning. Maybe a place like this La Jolie Hair Salon which has full face regular makeup starting at $45 and a shampoo and blow-dry at $36. The fine print says wedding day work starts at $100 but I'm not too fussed about going in there and not telling them that it's for a wedding.

In conclusion:
  1. I heart Kelly.
  2. I remain unsure about the makeup thing.
  3. I have body image and self-esteem issues to work on that I didn't know I had. More to come on this.

Tissue paper pom poms

Just got the engagement photos from Kelly today (whee!), which were taken over 3 weeks ago, so I thought I'd best get my butt back on this blogging wagon. Traveled, painted furniture, worked, end of quarter craziness, blah blah fishcakes. I did read Miss Manners' Guide to a Surprisingly Dignified Wedding and even went through it a second time to mark up all the things I wanted to blog about. Oh, and I also started the intermediate skirt sewing at Sew Fast Sew Easy so that I can take their advanced dressmaking class.

The traveling was to Michigan, to visit Mama G!! I'm pretty sure this was my first time to the Midwest ever, though my knowledge of geography is so hazy that that might be wrong. I had such a fun and relaxing time; Mama G is the best hostess ever, she had this adorable welcome basket all ready for me, which include an ornament in the shape of Michigan among other lovely smelling soaps and lotions. We went through two watermelons, visited Zingerman's and found foodie heaven, found an awesome curated and cheap vintage shop and...made the test wedding crafty project!

These were made based on the instructions from Martha Stewart. Here's what we learned:
  1. The rectangle of tissue paper you fold up should be proportionally longer than it is wide. This is because you'll fit in more folds for the same width, which will result in a thicker cluster of paper.
  2. Cutting the edges to be sharper triangles rather than rounded scallops looked better, in our opinion. Not too sharp, though, otherwise the points will flop too much.
  3. Again, fluffiness and thickness were important to the point where we thought it looked better to tie together two halves rather try to one big pom pom sphere from the same sheets of paper.
  4. Having a gradient of colors really gives the whole thing more depth.
  5. Without cutting down the tissue paper, the pom pom ends up looking huge but once you're outside, the big ones look better hanging in the tree. 

This was our favorite one. There are 3-4 different colors here and see how the shape is a bit oval because it's 2 halves stuck together?

I need to scope out how these pom poms will be hung at the venue. I know there's at least one big tree in the yard that's close to the house...but I can't remember others. I also don't know whether we can hang things inside the house itself. As for colors, I think we'll stick to the red-orange-yellow colors. The blue is a bit too hard to find and as Mama G said, I have to be a bit careful that the colors don't veer too much into primary color mode. If I can find tablecloths that are the right blue, that would pull it all together.