Friday, September 30, 2011

Where Did You Live Before You Got Hitched?

A few weeks ago I had post-work cocktails with a friend of mine. She had moved to Tudor City, a funny little neighborhood east of Grand Central Station. I hadn’t been to her apartment before, nor had I ventured into this area of New York so I was excited to visit.

Tudor City is a pretty charming neighborhood. The buildings all feature tudor-style architecture and the whole place has a cozy feel to it. It looks like really important people live there. I was psyched.

 I walked into her building and was pleased to find that it featured pretty oak fixtures and stone walls draped with dark tapestries. It kind of looked like a castle. When I got upstairs I was not surprised at all to find that my friend had decorated her new pad like a champ. She’s a teacher, so she had framed artwork from her class on the wall. There were vintage posters, framed records and a super pink striped couch.

 The best part was the view. From her living room you could see the Chrysler Building. It was so pretty to peek through her windows at such a sight. I love the New York skyline so a view of it from my house would never get old.

  As we sipped wine and caught up, I think I told her a million times how much I loved her place. And was maybe a little envious. Now, I’m not a jealous person. But sometimes—like when said friend is your former roommate who you used to live in a dump apartment with—well, then it’s ok. (Where was this place when we were apartment hunting four years ago?) When I said we lived in a dump, I mean we lived in a dump. Sure, we fixed it up and were somewhat lucky that it had been renovated right before we moved in. But the roof leaked every time it rained, mold was growing on the ceiling and on more than one occasion we came home to broken pipes and no running water. Now, my friend lives in a castle. A real one. Like Rapunzel might be her neighbor.

 We had a Mad Men party and everyone had to (had to) drink Manhattans. 

 Seeing her in her great new apartment made me nostalgic for my old life in New York. Not in a bad way. I truly love living in Connecticut and taking advantage of all the space and trees and opportunities to drive cars that it offers. (Well, maybe I’m lying about that last bit.) Plus, like I said already, I lived in a dump. But it reminded me of my past life before I became an engaged lady. Those days are almost 100 percent different from today:
  • I didn’t eat a single meal at a table.
  • I didn’t eat a single meal that was actually a real meal. (Grilled cheese was my staple.) 
  • I could watch as much Housewives of Whatever County as I wanted. 
  • I had to make up self-defense strategies in case the homeless person who sometimes slept in our lobby ever attacked, or worse, found her way into our place through the fire escape that was so unnecessarily located right next to my bed. 
  • I could walk to the grocery store to buy supplies for the above mentioned grilled cheese. And while walking home from the grocery store royally stinks, it was never that bad when all I bought was cheese, bread and butter. 
  • I could buy the New York Times on a Sunday and walk to Central Park to read it. I really miss that.
  • I had to lug my dirty clothes to the laundromat and back every other week. I really don’t miss that.

Now that I’m the wife part of this whole Mr. & Mrs. equation home life has changed.
  • We now eat dinner at the dining room table, with the TV turned off. 
  • A real meal consists of at least one protein.
  • I hoard Housewives episodes for when my husband travels for work. This is really the only thing I can watch while he's away since I’m a good wife and I’d never watch one of “our shows” without him.
  • I can drive to the grocery store, but, WTF why are there none closer than 20 minutes away? 
  • Umm, I don’t think I can get away with a pink couch anymore.
It’s insane how much your life changes when you move in with your husband/boyfriend/fiancĂ©. I was worried the most about gaining lots of weight due to my husband’s tendency to cook lots of “real meals” but I think I’m healthier. (That actually may have more to do with the lack of New Jersey Housewife drama that was slowly killing my brain cells before.) But it all works. And we’re still learning new stuff each day.

Tell me about where you lived before you were married/engaged? What did you fear the most about co-habitation? What are you doing next weekend? Want to visit my friend in Tudor City? I do. GAL invite me back!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

When to Cut the Cake PLUS A Unique Cake Idea

Let’s talk about cake, man. Wendy, a reader (who happens to be my college roommate who’s getting married in Chicago in July) asked when the best time for the bride and groom to cut the wedding cake was. Who ever thinks about the right time to cut the cake? Usually an event coordinator just pulls you away from the photographer or whatever great aunt you happen to be talking to at the time. But my friend said she hired an all-girl company to DJ the event and these ladies claim that they know better than men how the flow of events at a wedding should, well, flow. Cool, right? I thought so. However, the bride was concerned with one aspect of their timing. The DJs suggested she cut the cake right away—like right after the first dance. Their reason: You’ve already got the crowd’s attention, so get all the interruptions out of the way then and let everyone party and dance all night long.

My friend and loyal Follow the Wife reader is skeptical. Do people really want to watch the bride and groom cut wedding cake when they are eating salad? Will they want to skip dinner and get right to dessert?

Here’s my answer: Wait to cut the cake. And here's why:

1. There’s already a lot going on at the beginning of a reception—from the wedding party intros to the toasts (some weddings have as many as five speeches) to the first dance. There’s so much going on that I think one more attraction will annoy guests.

2. I think the cake cutting is supposed to be more casual. Sure you may have a hard time getting the attention of everyone in the room, but the bride and groom are going to feel like the center of attention at that, and every other, part of the day. I promise.

3. My next, and extremely important, reason for why I think the cake should be cut later in the evening is because it’s meant to be kept on display. After the bride and her gown are revealed, cake is the second most important detail at a wedding that people want to look at. I mean, it’s not every day that we see giant, delicious looking stacks of cake. And wedding day desserts are getting more and more unique and they deserve to be on display for a decent portion of the night.

This leads me to Example A: Check out these marvelous cakes from Kelly and Dave's wedding in Fairfield, CT, photographed by Sassy Mouth Photography. That’s right, cakes. As in, more than one cake. Multiple cakes bring joy to my heart and my sweet tooth.

Here’s what the Marisa of Sassy Mouth had to say: The cakes were made by Sweet Cakes in Fairfield, CT.  Flavors included strawberry cake with fresh strawberry filling; lemon cake with lemon filling; and vanilla cake with oreo filling. Kelly's father scouted tag sales and secondhand stores for the different cake stands, cake cutters, and servers, to give the table an eclectic feel.

Note to budget brides: Serving multiple cakes can save some major green. Most bakeries sell tiered cakes by the slice, but a regular 10 or 12-inch cake will sell for $30 - $45. You may have to add a few dollars for decorations, but if you're serving anywhere near 200 guests it will likely end up being much cheaper.

When you put that much thought and work into your wedding cake, it deserves to be on display for a few hours. Don'tcha agree?

Tell me, lovely readers, when do you think the best time for a bride and groom to slice into their wedding cake is? Should Wendy go for it early, or hold her cake cutting ceremony later in the evening? And what do you think about this cake display from Sassy Mouth Photography?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fresh Wedding Inspiration: Alyson & Chris Tie The Knot

 This wedding inspiration is so fresh that I don't  have professional pictures to share...yet. My best friend got married over the weekend. (See above.) I love this picture. Even though it's not a professional shot (credit goes out to bridesmaid Kristen, thank you!) I think it captures the bride looking calm, relaxed and ready to get married in her amazingly gorgeous dress.

The wedding weekend was perfect. I've officially named Alyson "The Bride Who Thinks of Everything". This girl knows how to dot her i's and cross her t's. I snapped a few pictures myself of all the the things I thought you'd love, too. Here ya go:

Wedding Party Superlatives: Picture the Dunder Mifflin Dundee awards, but for the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I was voted Most Likely to Dance with the Father of the Groom (and I did not disappoint!) Others we crowned Most Likely to Help the Waitstaff Clean Up and Most Likely to Sneak Out to Watch the Yankees Game. I thought this was such a great way for the bride and groom to recognize their wedding party. I loved it! 

The Keys to a Happy Marriage Guest Book: I'm a big fan of creative guest book ideas so naturally I was really excited to sign this one. Alyson created a pin board with a pretty gold frame and placed a basket of skeleton keys attached to mini note tags. She framed another sign that asked guests leave their best marriage advice. What I've learned about guest books: People like direction, so spell out very clearly what you want them to do. 

Personal Bouquet Trimming: Alyson wrapped her beautiful calla lily bouquet with her grandmother's charm bracelet. The charm, a gold globe, was a gift from her grandfather. He put a ruby in every place they had traveled to and diamond in their home state.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding Weekend Is Here!

If you’ve been following along, you know that my best friend Alyson is getting married. (I blogged about her lemon-themed bridal shower here and her Las Vegas bachelorette party here.) Well, her wedding weekend has finally arrived! The big day is Saturday.

Two things that are still true: Our friendship and my love for tube tops.

It’s been such an exciting week gearing up for this event. I think I’m more nervous than she is. (As proof, a huge pimple just sprouted from my chin. But better me than the bride. I’ll take this zit for the team.) Maybe it’s because I just experienced all these emotions before my own wedding a few months ago. I can put myself in her shoes now that I know some of the things that are going through her head.

Also, she e-mails me the things that are going through her head. We’ve been e-mailing back-and-forth about wedding stuff for almost two years. Today, as I typed out a quick message to check in and see how she was doing, I got a little sentimental that this would be our last e-mail exchange about wedding plans. It was like another chapter in our friendship was closing and a great new one was about to begin.

So, what was the momentous topic of our last wedding related e-mail? The weather. Alyson is an organized bride, and has got everything done. But right now she’s a little freaked it will rain during her outdoor ceremony and pictures. All the weather reports are conflicting and they keep changing. I think that’s a good thing. If it were going to POUR, I think we’d have some pretty strong confirmation from Al Roker. But Alyson is not convinced. “Ugh! I hate mother nature. It’s the only thing I can’t control!!” she wrote this morning. I hate feeling like I’m not in control, but sadly, it’s something that is inevitable for every bride. There comes a time when you just have to let things play out on their own. My advice: Be prepared for anything. And while you wait for it, sit back with a glass of champagne and enjoy the ride.

But that's easy for me to say. I’d love to hear about your pre-wedding emotions. Brides, what are you stressing about before the big day? How do you deal?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Follow the Wife Featured On The Knotty Bride

Holy smokes, guys. Today I got to show off some of my story telling skills for the fabulous readers over at The Knotty Bride. I really love this blog. If you haven't had a chance to yet, head on over and have a look. CLICK HERE. I promise you'll fall in love with The Knotty Bride, too.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Real Wedding from Orchard Cove Photography

Wow. I just had one of those days. It seemed like I couldn’t do anything right. Every time I turned around something landed on my desk that made me just want to crawl under my chair and throw in the towel, at least for the day. The insanity didn’t end when I left the office, either. I got to the subway platform just in time to learn that a water main broke and the trains were delayed. There were so many people in Times Square I thought they were giving away something for free. But they weren’t. They were dishing out more grief, and it wasn’t even free. I had to cough up $2.50 for that hassle! 

No one likes a day like that, especially on a Monday. So to cope, I closed my eyes and pretended I was in the one place where no one gave me any grief, they just gave me champagne and compliments—my wedding day. I recommend this technique next time someone is mean to you. Pretend you’re a bride. No one is mean to brides. 

With that, I’d like to introduce you to one of the world’s most charming brides. She’s so charming she charmed my socks right off. Her smile is absolutely contagious. Behold, Lauren.

This real wedding from Orchard Cove Photography is romantic and sweet and I absolutely melted when I saw all the flower power it’s got going on. Lauren and Colin chose the beautiful Eolia Mansion at Harkness Memorial State Park for their venue. It’s grand and romantic and every time I see it, I think Elizabeth Bennett will walk into the room next. I just love it.

I’ve got to say, big smiley bridal portraits are some of my favorites. I love the smile-factor. And on a Monday, how could you not?

Photographed by Orchard Cove Photography
Orchard Cove specializes in at-home and outdoor weddings. To see more click here
Caterer - A Thyme to Cook
Lauren's Hair & Makeup - Jennie Fresa Beauty Library
Cupcakes & Cake - Vesta Bakery

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Honeymoon: Take Me Back to the Black Sand Beaches

Today was a beautiful day. Granted, I spent most of it freezing my butt off in an overly air conditioned office building, but when I finally made my way outside for lunch I realized it was actually really gorgeous. And by the time I got home it was still so nice out. The moon was big and round and a bright orange color. As perfect as the weather felt today, it still fell just short of the amazing, heaven-like qualities we experienced in Maui. I want to go back and for some reason today just felt like the right day to revisit our trip.

In Maui, there were a ton of things to do. We could have stayed there for another two weeks and still have an itinerary a mile long. But I sunburn easily, so we shortened our stay and tried to squeeze in as much as we could. On Keith's birthday we put on our adventurer caps, turned down the top of our Jeep and hit the Road to Hana. This road has twists and turns and some pretty amazing views. And at the end we discovered a beautiful state park with black sand beaches and a blow hole. (Yes, a blow hole.) We drove over bridges and past waterfalls and all of it would have made me feel like I was on Lost, but I was too afraid to watch that show and therefore don't know much about what it feels like, besides there's a smoke monster. Anyway. Here are some pictures from our ride on the Road to Hana. Enjoy, lovers!


Monday, September 12, 2011

Family Wedding Album: Adam & Hyeyoon Tie the Knot!

Last weekend my cousin Adam married Hyeyoon (or Yoona) in a beautiful backyard ceremony in Cape Cod. Weddings are about two families coming together and this was one of the nicest examples of that. Yoona's family came all the way from Korea to be a part of the day, and with them, they brought lots of traditional Korean wedding and special occasion clothing.

The day combined delicious seafood typical of any Cape Cod event with beautiful Korean gowns in bright pinks, blue and yellow. There were flags of all the nations represented in this new family—Polish, Korean, Italian and Mexican. During the ceremony, Adam and Yoona said their vows in Korean, and then turned to pay respect to their parents by offering a deep bow. There were lots of American wedding influences as well. Yoona tossed her bouquet to an eager group of single guests and Adam responded with a garter toss.

Small, intimate weddings are so special. Adam and Yoona proved that you don't need a lot of fuss to have a beautiful and memorable day. Congratulations!


Friday, September 9, 2011

Antique Store Wedding Inspiration

Did everyone catch this beautiful antique store wedding from Olivia Leigh Photographie that was featured on Style Me Pretty yesterday? It took place at Salvage One in Chicago.

I love shopping at antique stores. Vintage items that have a history and a story to tell are so much more exciting to me than brand new stuff. When I find a vintage vase or clutch, I can't help but think what wonderfully stylish woman used it before me. (Most of time, it's my grandmother or great aunt who I always imagine were right out of a scene in Mad Men.)

View more images from this wedding here

This wedding made me think: I've never been to an antique store that was big enough to host a wedding. But I have discovered this great place in downtown New Haven called the English Building Market. It's an amazing space filled with the prettiest glasses, dinnerware and furniture. The best part is every section of the store is styled to perfection. The facility is available for photo shoots and all the merchandise can be rented. If you can't fit all your guests inside the store, why not rent a few beautiful vintage couches to create a cozy lounge area at your venue.

I love these chairs. I want to put the white one on my future porch, 
and the cushy black one would be perfect for a cocktail hour lounge.

Anyone celebrating a 9.10.11 wedding tomorrow? I am! In a few hours I'll be making my way to Cape Cod for my cousin Adam's wedding. He's getting married at his grandfather's house, which also happens to be the site of so many of my childhood vacations. I'm even more excited for this wedding because his wife-to-be is Korean so we'll get to experience some new traditions—and fashions—this weekend, too.