I don’t see how you can NOT have a photo booth.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy a photo booth. If I were a betting woman (& I’m not, I’m much more of a shopper than a gambler), I would put an obscene amount of money down on the fact that given the choice between “photo booth” & “no photo booth” in nearly every (non-tragic) situation, 99% of respondents would choose “photo booth”. Because they are just stupid fun.
One of the first things Richie & I agreed on for the wedding (right after I shot down Midget KISS) was the absolute necessity of having a photo booth.
Now, I should clarify something: I’m a purist. I think the term “photo booth”, as it relates to weddings, has been insultingly watered down mean a drop cloth with a background, a couple goofball props & a polaroid. That’s a fun “photo situation”, maybe. But booth…it is not.
So in my extensive research, I’m happy to report that I finally stumbled upon a company with similar standards. Meet my friends at NYC Photobooth. They had me at this sentence:
At the heart of our company is our esteemed staff, that are extremely well trained in every aspect of our photo booth services. Equipped with the finest photo booths made, we continue to add more customized styles to our fleet on a regular basis.
May I bring your attention to the word “FLEET”?! They’re not even joking. I didn’t even know the booth itself was something I’d get a vote in, from a design perspective. But they have an AMAZING selection of photo booths.
Since everything we’re doing has a cool antiquey feel, I fell in love with this 1920 vintage booth!
– 1920’s Style, NYCPB Custom designed Photo Booth
– Onsite Photo Booth attendant
– Up to four hours of services
– Unlimited B&W and Color Photos
– Customized Graphics on 4 x 6” photo-card
– Online Web Gallery
– Delivery/Set-UP and Removal of Photo Booth
– Custom designed Couture Album
– Fine Art Poster
If you need a photo booth (AND YOU DO!), I’m about to save you a zillion hours of booth research. A ZILLION! Here you go:
While their primary website resides here: http://www.nycphotobooth.com , I’d like to direct you to their Private Party Brochure, in which you can see ALL of the awesomeness that they can provide: http://www.nycphotobooth.com/docs/NYC_Photobooth_Celebrations.pdf . Tweet ’em: http://twitter.com/nycphotobooth or facebook ’em: http://www.facebook.com/nycphotobooth .
Hawaiian Hyatt Honeymoon of my Hdreams.
There is one singular mantra getting me through the dredges of stress at this, the 2 month out point of wedding planning. It goes like this:
SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR SWIM UP BAR
I don’t want to emotionally “miss” the wedding by focusing completely on the honeymoon, but I find myself fantasizing about the sweet, sweet feeling of relief that will accompany the completion of something that has taken a good year to plan. And I’m just saying, it’s a particularly sweet to picture that relief from within the safe & loving confines of a swim up bar.
Richie & I were torn about where to honeymoon. And I should clarify- I LOVE to travel. My favorite place on the planet is Queenstown, New Zealand. Followed by Prague I think. And then Costa Rica maybe. So when I thought honeymoon, places like Bali & The Maldives came to mind. Richie, on the other hand, considers an unpleasant drive to New Jersey “traveling”.
So I got thinking. Hawaii is pretty much the perfect compromise. It warms him up to a zillion hour flight but he can still speak English & get ahold of a cheeseburger. Baby steps. And ultimately, all I care about is RELAXING. I don’t care if I ever leave the pool (which is why the swim up bar is a necessity).
Once we’d decided on the islands (Kauai & Maui!), it was time to research the resort of our dreams. On my global travels, I’ve become a hardcore Trip Advisor advocate, so I started my digging there. But I’m a big ‘ol cross-reference with The Knot type of chick who then Yelp’s the heck out of something. What I’m saying is, I do my research. Before long, I found one name that popped up over & over again. Being the altruistic woman I am, I’m going to save you a million hours of research & just tell you exactly where to stay on your future Hawaiian vacation.
Our first stop will be Kauai. And I pretty much died when I found the Grand Hyatt Kauai ( http://www.grandhyattkauai.com/). When I read they made the Conde Nast Gold List for 2012 & were ranked as the #1 hotel on Kauai, I was done. Please look at this ridiculousness:
Yeah, I know. I’m not promising to ever come home.
After Kauai, we’re popping over to Maui. And lo & behold, Hyatt won me over again. The Hyatt Regency Maui (http://www.hyattregencymaui.com/) is equally ridiculous. Because when Travel + Leisure Magazine gives you the World’s Best Award (August 2012), that’s pretty much enough for me. And if that’s not enough for you (you are being TERRIBLY difficult right now!), then I’m happy to bring up the Grotto bar, aka the bar…inside a cave…that you swim into.
You had me at hello, Hyatt.
Statistically, if you haven’t already been to Hawaii, you’ll be going there soon. Ok, I made that math up, but here’s the point- it took me some digging to find the dream spots for our honeymoon & hopefully my expert blogging skills will make your future trip to Hawaii that much easier to plan. I’ll let you know what I think of these resorts post-vacay but I can assure you of one thing: with all of my world travels, I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to stay at any resort.
Side note, because I’m planning to make sure Richie is REALLLLLY glad we’re getting hitched (& also because I love a good shopportunity), I’ve gone on a quest to find a brand new super hot bikini for every day of the honeymoon. You’re welcome, Mr. Wilson.
Some cliché with the word “Lei’d” in it,
And the chocolate shall pour down from the heavens…
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I never had the little girl wedding dreams. In fact, I’d never given it much thought at all. But I can tell you that within about 4 minutes of engagement I knew one thing for certain: our wedding needed a chocolate fountain.
Chocolate is at the apex of my food pyramid (followed closely by cheese, wine & coffee). And the idea of a beautiful fountain spouting chocolate is pretty much my nirvana. It was my One Wedding Necessity (much as the glamorous mini hot dog was Richie’s…god love him).
After “painstakingly” researching a number of chocolate fountain companies, I found the one that stood head and shoulders above the pack: Chocolate Fountain Fantasies ( http://chocolatefountainfantasies.com ).
Their chocolate is insane. Unlike the other guys, they don’t water it down with oil. You’re getting the REAL DEAL. Pure Sephra Premium Fondue Chocolate by Callebaut. If chocolate were Meth, you’re essentially getting Breaking Bad quality stuff. (equally addictive, no?)
Here’s the other thing I liked about Chocolate Fountain Fantasies: they ONLY do chocolate. Most of the companies I talked to do all kinds of party rentals, lighting, flowers…they’d probably sell you new tires, I don’t know. The point is, with my expert chocolate taste buds, I require a chocolate SPECIALIST.
And the dipping items? Stop. You can pick from like 12 million amazing things. Although I’m way more into carb dipping awesomeness of the cookie/pound cake/graham cracker variety versus the fruits (particularly the absurd pineapple/melon/grape variety), I am ALL about choices. And when I had the pleasure of sitting down with the lovely owner, Laura, to discuss selections, she pretty much blew my mind. I’ll save our picks for the post-wedding pics, but needless to say, there will be a vertible cadre of sweet chocolate goodness.
And let me also just go here: as someone who comes from a bi-chocolate family (I’m hardcore milk, my sisters are hardcore dark), we will have NOT ONE, BUT TWO glorious chocolate geysers! So the weirdo dark chocolate people can experience the same bliss that I’ll be feeling over at Milk Landing.
Thank you, Chocolate Fountain Fantasies, for being pretty much the second best part of my wedding (after marrying Richie, of course).
Mentally prepare yourself by following them on twitter: http://twitter.com/chocolatefountn & liking (LOVING!) them on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChocolateFountainFantasies
AND THEN THERE WAS A DRESS.
Oh dear lord. The relief. The sweet, sweet relief. The precious exhale of relief. GIGANTIC HAPPY SIGH OF RELIEF.
I HAVE A DRESS.
And I need to stop and give thanks to my new favorite people on the planet, the bridal dress wizards at Demetrios.
Let me back up so we can play a little game called “horrendous dresses”. Or as I call it, pretty much everything I’ve tried on before now. And I should clarify- they were not at all horrendous, they were beautiful, stunning gowns. But with every dress I tried on that was not “MY” dress, I felt a smidge more hopeless and despondent. I was always told one great truth about love that I assumed would be transferable to the wedding dress hunt: when you know, you know. And when it came to wedding dresses, I JUST. DIDN’T. KNOW.
Until I walked into Demetrios (http://demetriosbride.com ).
The genius who made me not want to have a complete panic attack (even sans alcohol! Oh the horror!) was an unbelievably fun guy named Paul. Paul made me laugh, Paul made me try on everything I even showed a slight hesitation of interest in, Paul made compelling but unobtrusive pro/con points for me. Paul was a godsend.
And while Paul rocked my world, he couldn’t have done squat with horrendous dresses.
The story of Demetrios goes like this:
Greek-born Demetrios is a leading, world-renowned designer and a fashion icon in the bridal industry with over thirty years’ experience. In 1980, Demetrios’ dream of owning his own company became a reality. He purchased Ilissa Bridals of New York. Virtually overnight, he turned this small unknown business into a thriving international company. Bridal boutiques throughout the world , including his own Brides by Demetrios salons and the Macy’s Bridal Salons By Demetrios proudly sell Demetrios gowns. He is one of the most versatile designers in the bridal market, covering the entire range of styles from traditional and romantic to sleek and sensuous and is on the cutting edge of the fashion world. They have been showcased in all leading bridal magazines.
And they’ve won a bajillion awards. I like thinking about these awards because it’s highly likely the statuette is wearing a big ‘ol wedding gown.
Dallas Fashion Rose Award – Best Designer
Southwest Bridal Association Award – Manufacturer of the Year
Atlanta Fashion Award – Designer of the Year
Chicago DEBI Award – Outstanding Designer
Chicago DEBI Achievement Award – Distinctive Excellence in the Bridal Industry
Las Vegas Katelyn Jo Humanitarian Award – In recognition of Special Achievements in the Bridal Industry
Now, obviously I can’t show you the dress. But I will tell you a couple of fun facts about it.
1) It’s not white, it’s a darker champagne, which is AWESOME with the vintage feel of the space (and my white-hating skin color. Which accidentally sounds racist.)
2) It has volume without being an obnoxious plastic cake-topper/Disney princess spectacle. Somehow Demetrios has managed to marry something romantic & even simplistic but give it a show-stopping element, all while avoiding the cheese factor.
3) It gives me one hell of a J Lo booty.
That’s all you’re getting.
Everything about the experience, the staff, the quality & selection of dresses was just ridiculously awesome. I actually had fun (imagine!), instead of breaking into my typical cold sweat of panic in which dresses starts to melt together and become as indistinguishable as every scent at an over-enthusiastic perfume girl’s counter.
If you’re in NYC, here’s where you’re going to go for your wedding dress. Save yourself a meltdown &/or the subsequent hangover from dealing with the new term I’d like to coin: “dresstress”. Start on fcebook, since you’re probably sitting at your computer & procrastinating finding a dress at this exact moment. http://www.facebook.com/demetriosbride
Trial by flower.
We had our flower trial!
Let me start over- I didn’t even know there was some kind of trial that a florist does, but apparently, there is. And it’s completely awesome. Allow me to explain.
Even though the flowers in season now aren’t exactly the same as the flowers in season in September, the pros at B Floral (http://bfloral.com/) put together a close estimation of what your flowers are going to look like. And as someone who’s “florally-challenged”, it was a great way to see concretely that they TOTALLY get my aesthetic!
We’re doing a very “apothecary-eque” vibe for the wedding. Have I talked about this yet? It all started when Richie & I saw a set of coasters on vacation. Which is an odd inspiration, I know. But something about it struck us as so cool.
And before we could walk out of the coaster-selling store, we were locked in to a thematic feel for the wedding. Which fit perfectly into the old vintage space we’re getting married in.
So over the past year, Richie & I have been collecting actual antique apothecary bottles on our travels:
Back to flowers: while I had no idea what sorts of plants we’d be using, the one thing I did know when I first spoke with the superheros at B Floral is that I wanted these bottles to hold peach/shrimp/coral colored flowers, scattered around the space.
So when we walked in for our trial & I saw that not only did B Floral understand what I could barely articulate, but that they had done it more beautifully than I could have imagined, I was downright giddy. Check it out:
And then you kind of have to instagram it, because it’s a requirement for old-timey stuff:
So after I stopped gushing with excitement, we went through a few tweaks (toning down the pinks & greenery a smidge, focusing more in the peach & coral shades) and talked details on the wedding officiants, etc. Next step is B Floral coming out to the venue space to get more specific in their planning. Because they are crazy pro.
So the trial is done! Court is adjourned! And we are GUILTY of loving the hell out of B Floral.
So I should probably have a dress by now.
In fact, it’s almost more important than writing this blog. But this blog is so easy. I get to sit in a comfortable chair and pour my heart out to thousands of strangers. I get to sip coffee in my pajamas & think about the horrendous dresses I’ve tried on to date, rather than stand naked in front of a woman tugging crinoline over my head.
So I’ll just write a blog about it.
I don’t have a dress. And it’s now 3 months until the wedding. And while I knew this was a pressing priority, crisis mode didn’t smack me in the face until I saw an article in The Knot recommending you order your dress at the 9 month out mark.
I have run the gamut in my dress explorations. I’ve met with private designers. I’ve been to bridal salons. I’ve 90% committed…only to second guess myself within minutes & walk out of the store flustered.
Here’s the conundrum in which I live: I want a big dress. But I don’t want a big dress. Let me clarify- I don’t want to look like a Disney princess slash cake topper:
But I have the opportunity to wear beautiful dresses quite often & I want my wedding dress to be special- something I couldn’t get away with wearing on a red carpet. I want some volume, but I want a little less traditional. A little edgy, but appropriate to the venue. A needle in a haystack.
And time is so not on my side. At this point, I’m going to be expediting the order or sneaking out with a floor sample under my sweater.
I’ve got an appointment at Demetrios (http://www.demetriosbride.com/) this week. I need you to send me “FIND THE DRESS” vibes. I have a good gut feeling- they came highly recommended & from the little poking around I’ve done on the website, I actually have hope.
To be continued…hopefully in a celebratory “I FOUND A DRESS” blog.
For the love of flowers.
Wedding flowers scare me. I mean, the flowers themselves don’t scare me- the overwhelming sense of color coordination & intricate design that is required to have amazing wedding flowers scares me. I don’t even have a favorite flower, besides those purple cone-y ones you can smell a block away that the corner stores sell every spring in New York City.
Note: the fact that I just described my favorite flower as the “purple cone-y ones” should tell you my level of expertise & preparedness for finding the florist of my dreams.
One thing I noticed in meeting with many florists is that they have a front team- the crew of lovely ladies who try to upsell you way more flowery crap than I could ever want…and then the real people who design your wedding that are hiding in the back of the store, speaking an unrecognizable language & cowering in sweatshop-like conditions. Which gives me a nervous tremor that my newfound preference for English garden roses that are an antiqued Salmon-y shade rather than an overt peach might get lost in translation.
Not the case with B Floral.
I first read about B Floral on “Best of The Knot” and stumbled on this quote:
NYC-raised florist Bronwen Smith makes customer service a top priority at her studio, which never schedules two weddings for the same week in order to fully concentrate on each client’s big day. The aesthetic tends toward clean and classic; check out Smith’s floral and event-planning blog to get a better idea of the vibe. — New York Weddings Magazine
I loved the idea of that wedding week exclusivity & I went on to read that owner Bronwen Smith is not only a Duke grad & former Wall Street maven, she received artistic training from The New York Botanical Garden and The Flower School of New York. Her client list was impressive & I found only glowing reviews online. I decided it was time to meet.
When I first walked in to Bronwen’s gorgeous Chelsea loft space, I had an immediate sense of relaxation. The staff was amazing, the questions were thoughtful & they helped guide me through an easy conversation, in which I realized my aforementioned preference for antiqued salmon-y over overt peach.
They started an “Inspiration Board” filled with pictures of my dress, the bridesmaids dresses, our ‘Save the Date’ design, the apothecary bottles we want to use to hold flowers, a variety of images & ideas we discussed. I have to say, it was the first overarching visual picture I got of our wedding as a whole! It’s so exciting to see how it will all come together & how the floral design will be a HUGE part of bringing the color scheme and vintage feel to life.
Before my meeting with the B Floral team (http://bfloral.com), flowers were an annoying component of my wedding to do list that felt like an obligation in which my only concern was to ensure there were no carnations involved (they giggled at the idea that they would EVER include carnations, thank god. It’s the Chicken Dance equivalent on my DJ rant). By the end of our first meeting, my decision was made, the paperwork was done & I was genuinely looking forward to my next gathering with the team. They’re going to do mock ups & samples of the floral design so we can discuss my preferences in more concrete terms. Don’t worry, I’ll totally post pics.
Here are some of my favorite flowers they’ve designed:
Who knew flowers could be so fun?!
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BFloral
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/bfloralnyc
Promise me: No. Chicken. Dance.
We need a DJ for the wedding. Which inexplicably is now less than 7 months away. I just noticed that on the nagging countdown timer on the upper right corner of this page & now I’m completely distracted & panicked.
What was I talking about?
Oh, DJ. So, I’ve realized throughout this wedding planning process that I’m a smidge of a control freak. Maybe not control freak so much, it’s just this: when I do things, I know they’re done. And most likely perfect. When anyone else does things, I have a sneaking suspicion that they are completely opposite of what I would ever want.
Having learned this about myself, and having come to terms with the fact that I do not have the 47 hours in a day required to do all this stuff myself, I made a list of things I could live without controlling. Things that, should I put them in the (legitimately) capable hands of my fiance & should they (inexplicably) go horribly awry, I could live with the aftermath.
So he got the DJ pick. We have utterly opposite taste in music so finding someone who could make us both happy was going to be a job within itself.
I had one rule. And I wanted it in writing. If the DJ plays “The Chicken Dance”, he is not getting paid. Period. We are not traditional people, we are not having a traditional wedding & I do not want any hint of traditional cheeseball DJ antics. Despite our painfully opposite music taste, this we completely agreed on.
After hours of research & reviews, Richie found a clear front runner & we set up a meeting with Scratch Weddings (http://scratchweddings.com). Here’s what I dug about them:
1) Scratch has over 700 skilled, trained, marquee-level DJs nationwide who have done over 15,000 events for over six million guests.
2) They’ve collaborated with Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas, Snoop Dogg & Michael Jackson. (Seriously- good enough for Snoop, good enough for me.)
3) Scratch Weddings offers the option to select from a number of DJs paired to each couple based on their personal style, taste and musical interests with online access to DJ bios, photos, videos and music mixes.
4) Couples are assigned a professional wedding music manager to work with them, their wedding planner, venue and their DJ to handle all musical details of their wedding. There’s guaranteed DJ replacement in the event of an emergency and liability insurance.
5) Scratch Weddings earned the 2011 “Bride’s Choice Award” on WeddingWire, the 2011 “Best of Weddings” award on The Knot and consistently receives five out of five stars on sites like Yelp.
Personally, I like that there are hundreds of DJs. So god forbid a freak chainsaw accident happened and our DJ was unable to spin a record, they’ve got backups on deck. And Richie is geeking out over the fact that they have a DJ school founded by Jam Master Jay of Run DMC. In fact, he kind of wants to enroll.
So we’re going with Scratch!
Here’s what’s cool- based on their first impressions of our (impossible) musical tastes, they emailed us links with bios & pics* for their top 6 recommended DJs:
DJ Trife: http://bit.ly/kE9S6U
DJ Vida Ventura: http://bit.ly/zB5EZb
DJ Dan Chaves: http://bit.ly/ks5wTA
DJ Stef Nava: http://bit.ly/zy36zG
DJ Jon Blak: http://bit.ly/ApHuJA
DJ Alias: http://bit.ly/mcoSjA
*Um, I’m sorry but pics are IMPORTANT! Call me some hybrid of insecure &/or shallow, but I am SO not having the stereotypical NYC supermodel DJ spinning our wedding. Because I’m a chick. And I’m allowed to be occasionally irrational about these things.
The next step is to narrow down those DJs based on their mixing styles (check it out- they really do have different vibes!). Then we’ll go in and meet with our fave who will spin live for us. How cool is that?! I’ll take some video of it & share with you guys on here.
Best of all, they’re completely on board with our “no chicken dance” policy.
If my body’s a temple…then I painted a wall?
I got a tattoo.
Sh*t, I planned on having some big build up to reveal that fact, but I got excited typing and skipped right to the good part.
Anyway, it’s not really wedding-related so I don’t know if I should even be posting it here, but damn if it doesn’t fit under the category “Fine, Change”.
I get asked about the “7” tattoo on my shoulder all the time so I thought I’d take to the blog to explain my ink a bit. Mostly because the next 20 times I’m asked, I can just forward an easy link 🙂
I got the 7 a few years ago. All I can say about it is that 7 is just my number. It seems to follow me around every where I go. My birthday’s March 7th, every significant date in my life has been on 7th (or 17th, etc). If I’m going to win money in roulette, it’s going to be on a 7. It felt like it was on my shoulder long before it was there. There are a lot of symbolic, spiritual, meaningful associations with 7’s, like:
-The number of notes in a major scale
-The number of days of Creation
-The number of stellar objects in our Solar System visible to the naked eye
-The number of colors in the rainbow
-The number of chakras
-The number of spots on a ladybug
But none of those we’re responsible for the ink. It’s just…my number.
SO, when I decided to tat up again it had to be something that was equally meaningful. I’ve been thinking about writing something on my wrist for a while now. I wanted something that was powerful to me, something that would put my head in the right mental space, something that would inspire me every time I saw it. I think the wrist is particularly intense tattoo real estate; it’s literally a pulsating life point on your body. So I wanted a phrase that was aligned with my philosophical way of life.
I started understanding Law of Attraction (more specifically, Abraham-Hicks) a few years ago & it’s changed just about every part of my life. I’ve learned that happiness is a conscious choice. Rather than just observe life and let the good and bad things I see dictate my mood, I choose each thought with care and make a conscious effort to focus on the positive in a situation. I try to see the beauty in every person & focus on things I appreciate every day.
We all need reminders, and I can have just as effed up a day as the next guy, so writing something on my wrist that reminds me to stay focused on the positive is legitimately helpful.
The phrase “Come to me, this thing I want” is so beautiful to me. It comes from an Esther Hicks quote in which she says something to the effect of:
It’s a Universe of inclusion. Come to me, this thing I want or come to me, this thing I don’t want. In other words, whatever you think about, you get.
I don’t want to waste my time worrying or…energetically pre-planning negative events. Seeing these words every day helps me reframe. When I know what I don’t want, I more clearly know what I DO want.
What is it you want?
Focusing on that, versus the LACK of that is so much more effective. Sounds new age-y (and I get that that freaks some people out), but it’s just science. Ask Einstein.
And for the law of attraction skeptics out there, let’s say this is all a bunch of crap. Worst case scenario from consciously focusing on the positive? You feel better! Thinking about stuff that makes you happy…makes you happy. So even if you can’t wrap your head around the whole “manifest destiny” concept, finding a little better thought than the one you currently hold on a subject will lift your overall mood. And that joy can lift the spirits of people around you. And THAT joy can rub off on the people around them. And (CUE SWELLING MUSIC!) suddenly the world’s a better place 🙂
Side note- if you’re into this stuff, I highly recommend my friend, Scott Raposa’s music. He takes Abraham quotes & mixes it into really amazing ambient electronica tracks. Check it out: http://music.scottraposa.com/album/law-of-attraction-directly-from-source
Big thanks to the beautiful and talented Miss D’Jo at Lark Tattoo (http://www.larktattoo.com/index.php/artists/missdjo/0 )