Wedding heels: the verdict

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It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for: which pair of shoes did Megan select for her wedding?

Pins and needles, I tell you. You’ve barely gotten any sleep, right? But after my original post with my three main choices for heels, I ordered the top two — Nos. 2 and 3 — and waited (im)patiently for them to arrive from Zappos. Once I’d ripped into that box, I nervously unwrapped each and began inspecting them. They both looked great.

Ordering “the perfect shoes” for our big day has been a source of anxiety. Like so many aspects of my attire, I want to look great but don’t want to be uncomfortable. Finding a red heel with a peep toe that wasn’t too high was my goal, and both of these shoes came through. But once I tucked my tootsies into each and walked the hallway in a circuit long enough to really befuddle my golden retriever, eyeballing my progress around the downstairs in very loud shoes, one pair was the clear choice.

So which was it?


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. . . pair No. 2!

While I love the look of the bows and the sheen of pair No. 3, my toes were squished in those babies. They have a higher heel — one that would put me at eye level with my fiance (weird!) — but, most critically, they were not easy to walk in. I didn’t feel stable in them — and as Spencer pointed out, I apparently didn’t look stable in them, either.


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On the contrary, the second pair are very sturdy; as I strutted around, I lacked the “newborn foal” wobbly legs associated with the bow heels. I do wear heels to work and am used to fancy shoes, but some are just better than others. With so many things being equal (price, color, style), I had to choose the pair that felt the most comfortable . . . and that was definitely pair No. 2.


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Done! Decision made! I love nipping my weird anxieties in the bud and just getting things done. I adore crossing wedding-related items off my list, especially when they’re things I’ve been worrying about, and always feel so great having just made up my mind.

Now to decide on jewelry . . .


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Just a little taste

Menu tasting


I could totally go to food tastings every day.

Well, maybe not every day. But most days. Maybe the ones ending in “-day.” Or something.

Spencer and I had our menu tasting at the venue over the weekend with our awesome wedding coordinator, Jennifer, and I’m even more excited about the big day having sampled a certain apple-glazed chicken that will dance in my memory for a while. Even with saving a cache of my Weight Watchers anytime points, I didn’t go crazy last weekend — and managed to try a little bit of everything without quadrupling my caloric intake. And I totally stayed on plan.

It’s a struggle. But I’m doing it.

In four weeks, I’ve actually lost 7.6 lbs. — a feat I would have thought impossible just a month ago. My favorite dress pants, the ones I bought when I got my first office job, actually fit again. I’m back in my “normal” dress size, the one I wore for about a decade, and actually find that most of my pants are a little baggy. And this is all very exciting!

I have a long way to go — and I realize that the weight won’t continue to disappear with every grape and apple and orange slice. But by making small changes to my eating habits and altering my diet, especially when it comes to portion control, I’m already seeing results — and actually look forward to weighing in each week.

Who would have thought?

Though let’s see how I do at the cake tastings . . . can we say gateway food?


Meats

Appetizers


Getting ready to save the date

I’ve always been a paper person. Perhaps because I’m a writer, I consider having the “right” stationery to be crucial. I adore cards and address labels, thank-you notes and envelope seals; I love stamps and real mail, both sending and receiving, and open physical letters slowly to absorb every handwritten word. When readers send mail, I choose the perfect stock on which to reply. It’s a way of life.

Wedding planning has knocked my obsession with paper goods up +1,346,878 percent. After getting engaged, one of my first projects was researching save-the-date cards. My mom has proclaimed save-the-dates — postcards, magnets, bookmarks — to be a new phenomenon, though they seem to trickle into my mailbox fairly often. “We never had anything like that when we were getting married,” she says.

I think they serve a practical purpose. With my sister and I both tying the knot within five weeks of each other (!), we’re sending our save-the-dates at the same time to give family and friends ample notice of two weddings happening this fall. We recognize that out-of-town family might not be able to make both celebrations, and this gives them a chance to plan ahead. The save-the-date is a formal announcement — better than, say, reading it on Facebook — and I like that it can be tucked on a fridge or memo board.

And you know I have to have postcards. Given that I constantly have mail zinging around the world via Postcrossing, this surprises no one. My coworkers tease me about how often I go to the post office (which, to be fair, is every other day), calling me “The Post Office Queen.” I’m the annoying person holding up the line while debating the merits of various stamp designs.

In short, paper is important to me. And that’s what led me to Wedding Paper Divas.


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[Not us. Though I do love her lipstick.]

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Artistic Answer


I’m all about class, polish and sophistication — basically everything I’m not in real life! Heh, kidding. But Wedding Paper Divas offers more than 1,000 designs for save-the-date postcards — and almost 800 for invitations. I’m having a bear of a time narrowing down my choices for invitations, y’all . . . and the fact that I can customize WPD’s products plays a large role in that.

They’re not paying me to say that. It’s just true.

If you’re in the market, I definitely recommend checking out their site. The Knot recommends sending save-the-dates at least six months in advance, and getting your wedding invitations mailed at the three-month mark. I have plenty of time before I need to start addressing those bad boys, but I’m not one to mess around — when stationery is involved, anyway.

And now I can go hold everyone up at the post office buying wedding stamps.

Can’t wait!

——

Where do you stand on save-the-dates? Did you send them? Do you like them? Were they popular as you planned your wedding?


Another step to the big leap

Porch of Swan Point


Come November, this porch will be filled with family and friends and laughter and love. I see kids dashing through the grass, sunshine beating on the veranda, fall leaves casting the woods into rich hues of red and yellow. Then Spencer in a gray suit, smiling from ear to ear, and me in a lacy white dress. Stepping out on my dad’s arm. Then taking the biggest leap of our lives.

We have our venue — and our date. We’re really getting married!

I’m rapidly becoming That Girl with all my bridal talk, I know, but I can see why folks say wedding planning can become life-consuming. It doesn’t have to, obviously, and I’m still doing things like working full-time, folding laundry and scrubbing dishes. But in my off hours, I’ve been spread-sheeting it up — and at the top of our venue search was Swan Point Golf & Yacht Club. Close to home, affordable and lovely, it was even better in person than we’d hoped it would be. We officially booked on Saturday.

Walking down that porch made it all feel very real. Though November is far off, I know it’ll feel as though I’ve blinked and am walking out to see my fiance there for our first look before the ceremony. And then? Well, then I won’t get to call him my fiance anymore!


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Weddings and endings and beginnings


In high school, I was a serious theatre nerd. Trying out for my first play freshman year was a huge leap for young, socially-awkward me — and not just because it required me to memorize lines and not fall face-first on the school stage. Coming from the disjointed throes of middle school, I was looking for a way to become a new person — a more confident person — and theatre seemed like a natural way to try that.

Over the course of four years, I was in more than a dozen shows and met countless people. Theatre changed my life in profound ways — especially because I was so active in the department during those crucial teen years. The fun of playing a character on stage held major draw for me, sure, but that wasn’t even what I loved most about theatre.

It was the friendships.

Over the course of a few months, we would audition and be cast and then spend hours daily running lines, rehearsing scenes and getting to know one another. After school each day, our cast and crew would assemble and start to plan these huge shows that would take over our young lives. And when opening day would finally arrive, finding us all antsy and excited and scared, there was always a time before the curtain drew open that I would force myself to pause and savor the moment.

In that world, murmurs from the audience reached the actors and technicians buzzing around backstage as the stage manager would wrangle us with whispered instructions. As show time approached, my stomach would lurch as lines and directions ran through my nervous mind. But when the spotlight clicked on and my heels hit the stage, all that anxiety would ebb away.

Backstage is where I first met Erin, my steadfast friend and new bride. As a freshman, I envied sophomore Erin’s confidence, humor and poise. Both active in drama, it didn’t take long for us to share costume tips, laugh as ’50s teenyboppers in “Bye Bye Birdie” (pictured above) and form bonds that would carry us into adulthood.

With a wide circle of mutual friends, Erin never made me feel like I was another passing acquaintance. Our conversations have inspired me in difficult times, and my trust in her is absolute. A year ahead of me in school, Erin was the first of my friends to arrive at the college I would follow her to the next fall. We briefly lost touch at university, but nothing could have delighted me more than getting a Facebook note from her during my junior year: “I think we have a class together this spring!”

We were both English majors and poets, and it was a literature class on the works of William Shakespeare that brought us together again. I remember the afternoon she showed me a text message from a handsome guy she’d just met. Her eyes glittered like diamonds, and neither of us paid much attention to our droning professor. She was thinking about when she would see him next.

About twelve years after Erin and I shared a stage in high school and more than five years since that class, Erin and Matt were married at Ft. Belvoir on Sept. 10. As one of her bridesmaids, we spent Saturday getting ready and laughing about old times. Secluded before the ceremony, I listened to the murmur of guests arriving and felt my stomach flip. All these years later and we were in a show together again. I ran through my lines and directions, but my task now was simple: try not to cry as my dear friend married her love.

Just as we had more than a decade ago, I marched ahead of Erin into the spotlight — and held my breath as she appeared on her father’s arm. My chest ached as I took in the moment: this ending and this beginning; the pooling of tears in the groom’s eyes; this exquisitely beautiful bride, and the true gift that has been our years of friendship. When I think about all that Erin has meant to me, I feel overwhelmed. I wiped tears away the entire ceremony.

Vows were exchanged and promises made, and this performance went on as scheduled. Love lit up Erin and Matt’s faces all evening, and we enjoyed delicious food and even better times. Dancing and snapping shots in a photo booth were definite highlights, and it felt so good to have Spencer on my arm.

When I looked over at the newlyweds’ expressions and felt my own face mirroring that high, I was emotional all over again. I’ve had my heart broken. Erin has been there for me through everything — through that, and so much more — and I felt so elated to just be . . . happy. And in love. In love at her wedding, a moment we’ve anticipated for so long. And when Spencer pulled me in for a dance, I forgot about whether or not everyone was watching us. It didn’t matter. Nothing did.

I think about Erin and all the good things I wish for her. I think about Matt and how I hope and pray he will love and care for her always, as I hope she will for him. I think about all the exciting things that are ahead of them — and for me, and for all of us — and am filled with this sense of elation and wonderment and pride.

Weddings are beginnings — but they’re endings, too. But for once in my life, I didn’t focus on the sadness that can often tint my enjoyment of the good things in life. I thought about how honored I was to be a part of her day, and how thankful I am for the people in my world.

And like so many of our plays in high school — and all the good books I’ve read — I know this is just the beginning of their fairytale ending.


(Not quite) Wordless Wednesday: Bridal jump

As we get ready for Erin (in bright blue, fourth from left) and Matt to tie the knot, we gathered for Erin’s bridal shower on Saturday — and couldn’t leave without taking a few bridal party shots! Erin is a big fan of jumping photos . . . I know this from capturing she and her fiance kicking up their heels in front of the Capitol last fall.

They have long legs. We’ve been joking from the beginning that, at 5’2″, I’m one of the shortest bridesmaids — and these little Corgi-sized legs just don’t have the leaping power I’d like. My timing was always off. We practiced the shot above about a dozen times, each of us popping up at varying intervals. The outtakes are priceless.

But finally — finally, with much practice — we got that picture. “One . . . two . . . JUMP!” Denise cried, showing remarkable timing as she clicked the shutter just as our feet left the air. I’m second from the left in red, acting like the next extra in a “High School Musical” film.

I love this picture. And I’m so, so happy that my dear friend is happy.

Whose fall wedding is it, anyway?

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And so it begins — my best friend is getting married! Nichole and Robert got engaged last year and have now set a date — Oct. 23, 2010. I know, it’s January 2009, but let me tell you — things are already booking up! With so many details to be arranged and sorted, starting early can’t be a bad thing. Plus, my sister and I are only too happy to help her begin the lengthy planning.

After having lunch with she and Kate today, I have all sorts of bridal terms whirling around in my head. My sister is a huge fan of “Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?” and knows the lingo like no one else I’ve met. I plunked down next to her at Panera and watched in pure amazement as she began to write out a check-list for our friend, detailing all of the items she should have figured out before D-Day (or W-Day, I guess). Who is this person? I thought. Kate could be a pretty sophisticated wedding planner. Hey, if the TV news anchor bit doesn’t work out, I know in which direction I should push her — she’s all about the brides!

Of course, I know next to nothing about weddings — just what I’ve gleaned from attending a few memorable family occasions over my lifetime and indulging in TLC and Style Network marathons of bridal shows. I haven’t been to a wedding in years, and I’ve never been in the bridal party of a close friend. For that matter, I’ve only been to a handful of friends’ weddings, period! But I’ve entered that eventful and somewhat terrifying phase of my life where friends and old classmates begin to have children, get hitched and buy their own homes — and I’m watching it all with a careful eye, trying to make my own path through all of this.

And I need to study up. Seriously. I’ve stepped boldly into the world of bachelorette parties, reception venues, catering prices and color schemes. I’m thrilled about it, but I’m overwhelmed, too — and I’m not the one getting married! There’s a bit of pressure associated with being close to someone planning one of the biggest days of their life. I’ve narrowed down a few of my thought processes to focus on choosing a reception site in Southern Maryland, and I’m looking at Herrington Harbor, Mount Airy Mansion and Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa as our top recommendations. Thank goodness I have my knowledgable coworkers to help me! I want to make some decent suggestions.

And thank God for Google. I rely on Googling the way others might rely on academic research, the kind and careful advice of friends and relatives — or even prayer. There is scarcely a question in the world I can’t answer by Googling my problem!

Since I need ideas for a fall wedding, I’ve found a hundred and one sites with all sorts of advice and clever ideas. And color scheme ideas? We have many options!

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She’s already selected red as her main color, so perhaps we’re looking at a red/chocolate combination? I love the look of that! With accents of orange and gold, and a red sash for the bride? We could have tabletop decorations of fall foliage, perhaps some classy pumpkins by the pretty crystal wineglasses . . . is there such a thing as a “classy” pumpkin? We’ll find out, I guess! And then we could look for . . .

But let me not get ahead of myself here — whose fall wedding is it, anyway?!