Friday, September 26, 2008

Tag! You're It!

I got tagged by Introverted Bride today, so here you go:

4 Things I Did Today (since midnight):

  • Did a bunch of ultrasounds, including my first transvaginal one.
  • Checked three cervixes. In one, I could totally tell the external os was dilated 1 cm, but I couldn't reach the internal os to figure out it was closed. In another, I could feel the head RIGHT THERE, but couldn't reach back up behind it to feel the cervix, which was only 4 cm dilated. In the last one, there that head was again, but now I'm so unsure of myself that I couldn't tell where the cervix was. Need more practice, desperately. Also: small hands are not good for obstetrics.
  • Watched Project Runway this morning when I got home (thank goodness for DVR). Although I loved Kenley and her totally cute 50s dresses, her attitude is seriously getting on my nerves, and she needs to go. And although Suede's third-person speak was a tad annoying, I heart Suede, and I was sad to see him leave. But oh my god, did you see the teaser for next week? What is up with everyone crying?! I don't know how I'm going to wait until Wednesday night -- I mean, Thursday morning.
  • Slept from 10 am to 6 pm. Now I'm going to be wired all night, even though I'm off for the weekend. I was hoping to force myself up around 2 so that I would be tired tonight at a decent hour, but two phone calls from Eric to try to wake me up (on my request) were useless. So I foresee lots of late-night TV tonight. Adjusting to a night schedule is hard! How am I going to last a whole month at this?

4 Things On My To-Do List:
  • Finish unpacking. I got back to Louisville last Saturday, dumped all my stuff in the living room, and started work on Sunday. Since then, all I've literally accomplished when I'm home is sleeping, showering, and making coffee.
  • Finish editing an article for my side job
  • Finish reviewing 79 articles for a literature review I'm trying to get published
  • Figure out what we want to have the caterer make us from our working menu for our tasting next week! Yay! A wedding task! (Actually, there are many, many more wedidng tasks to do, but I won't break the rules of the tag game.)

4 Of My Guiltiest Pleasures:
  • Long showers. Our apartment has its own water heater, which is nice, because I know no one else is to blame for using up our hot water, but it's bad, because individual water heaters tend to be small. So I can use up all my hot water in a 15-20 minute shower. Which I do when I need to splurge on myself.
  • Reality/contest/makeover TV. I like to pretend I hate the concept of reality TV, but I have my favorites: ANTM and Project Runway, of course, and What Not to Wear, Say Yes to the Dress, and a variety of others. Lately, though, I've found myself getting sucked into the rest of the Bravo lineup, and I am now DVR-ing Top Design, The Rachel Zoe Project, and Tabatha's Salon Takeover. When you come home at 8 am after being up all night, it's just easy to space out in a show like that, with no real plot to follow.
  • Sleep. Back in college, I heard the advice that there are three main focuses (foci) in life: sleep, study, social life. You only have enough time to focus on two of the three, and the message was sort of that social life should be the priority. Well, for me, sleep has always been my #1, at the expense of both studying and social life, depending on the week. I have managed to adjust to my crazy work schedule, and I know it's only going to get worse when I get into residency, but any time I get to sleep in, I do.
  • Eating out. This shouldn't really be classified as a "guilty" pleasure, because I LOVE food. I guess the guilty part is that eating out can get expensive, but whatever. I also like to cook, so it evens out in the end. The bottom line is that I like good food.

4 Random Facts About Me:
  • I was born on Valentine's Day
  • I am only 5'1". Eric is 6'2". We look ridiculous with each other, to be honest. I know tall girls are mad at me for taking him.
  • My first job was at Burger King. I hope they someday make a commercial full of famous people who started out at Burger King, like that one McDonald's had a few years ago. I need them to wait until I'm famous first, though.
  • If I ever get sick of delivering babies and cutting women open (not that I can see that ever happening!), I'm going to be a florist/event planner.

Now it's my turn to tag. It's your turn to blog:

Secrets of a native Las Vegas bride (although she may not have time now that she's Weddingbee's Miss Dumpling!)

Trip to the Altar

Last Kiss as a Single Girl

The Life of a Childless Housewife

Get to it!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I just bought my wedding dress!


My original budget for a wedding dress was $500. I knew it could be done, but that it would limit me to simpler silhouettes and lower-budget stores. I didn't think that would be a problem, and I felt it was a fun challenge to meet. After all, I knew I was never going to have a Vera Wang, and I refused on principle to have a dress that cost more than $1000, so it wasn't like I was compromising my goals tremendously with a budget of $500.

A year ago, when I found this dress, I knew it was going to be the one. It was anything but simple -- full of intricate embroidery, and my budget immediately went out the window. I started pricing it, and prices ranged from the $1050 the shop in Louisville wanted to about $700 or so from various online retailers., my standard for all things inexpensive in the wedding world, originally wanted $700, but now wants $750 (I guess due to the worsening economy). The challenge got harder, but I got more determined.

In my Googling, I came across some of the Chinese knock-off websites, like, that promised great things for less than $200. I considered it, de-considered it, re-considered it, and then began considering it seriously.

My reasoning was, "Even if it's not an EXACT replica, it will be pretty good, and that's good enough for me." And if it's really bad, I can afford to lose $200 -- the benefits are worth the risk.

Then I saw some pictures of actual knock-offs, and while they were pretty good, therefore meeting my standard, they weren't EXACT replicas, and a feeling of doubt started to grow in the pit of my stomach. I succumbed to the wedding industry, dammit.

So then I turned to pre-owned and sample sales. The problem with me buying pre-owned is that I'm very short, and I need to order the shortest version of this dress. Because of the design of the dress, there's no place to shorten the dress. There are no horizontal seams on the dress at which to pull up the skirt -- not at the hem, not at the waist. Multiple seamstresses have told me that it would be very difficult to shorten, so my best bet is to get the shorter version off the bat. So none of the pre-owned or sample dresses I found worked. Stupid tall people.

One particularly depressing day, I discussed it with Eric. I was no longer 100% comfortable with a knock-off, I couldn't find a used dress that would work, and I was unfortunately in love with a dress that was out of my budget and if I were going to order it new, it was getting close to the time I'd have to do it. We discussed it some more, and we decided that I would keep an eye out on the pre-owned market, but if I hadn't found one by the time my rotation in Philly ended at the end of August, I would start the process of buying new, and we would just have to adjust our budget. Did I mention I totally love this guy?

So last week I went through my old emails of price quotes, trying to figure out who would give me the best deal on the dress. I came across one from Pearl's Place, who told me a year ago that they couldn't give me a quote over email, but would be happy to help me out if I called. So, a year later, I called.

$525, plus $12 shipping.

SRSLY!?!?!!?!??! That's so close to my original budget, it's ridiculous! WHY didn't I call this place a year ago?

All that was left for me to do was to figure out my measurements and place my order! Unfortunately, I left my shoes back in Louisville, but my friend David was coming east for a rotation in DC, so I got him to stop in my apartment a few weeks ago to pick them up for me. This past weekend, I got them from him, and yesterday, I went to a store here at the shore that carried the designer's line and tried on some other styles in various sizes.

Since Pearl's Place doesn't do online orders, I sent them an email last night with all of my order information and shipping address, and asked them to call me today to get my credit card number. I wanted my order to be in writing, just in case anything happens in the future. So this morning, the wonderful salesperson from Pearl's Place called me and took my credit card number, and I placed my order!!!!!

It's a huge relief, and I'm so excited! Talk about a buzz kill, though -- now I have to wait 12-16 weeks for it to come in.

What? You want to see a picture?

Well... OK.

The model is wearing it in ivory with gold embroidery, but I'm going to get it with silver embroidery instead.

Like it? I do! And I'm so glad it all worked out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Researching Justices of the Peace

Our county clerk's website lists three Justices of the Peace (JoP) available for performing wedding ceremonies. In a fit of attempted productivity back in March (a full 14 months before the wedding), I called JoP #1. After playing a bit of phone tag, he took down my name, number, and wedding date, and told me, "OK, you're in my book! Call me this fall and we'll set up a meeting."

"Um, do you have a fee?" I meekishly asked, completely thrown off by having apparently already booked an officiant, just like that.

"We'll talk about it later! Talk to you in a few months!"

I didn't bother trying to contact the other two JoPs at that point, because I realized that it was very, very early to be trying to set up an officiant.

Today, a few months later, I tried again.

JoP #1 didn't answer, so I left a message asking if he could meet with us in a few weeks when Eric comes to Louisville to get some wedding stuff done. His voicemail message concludes with, "God bless."

JoP #2 was a woman with a stern voice and Kentucky accent. She was very friendly, told me her prices, said she was very willing to work with us on a wedding ceremony. She said she was free for our wedding date, but would have to check her schedule for an October 3 meeting, and would call me back in 20 minutes. That was 5 hours ago.

JoP #3 was a man with a friendly southern accent. He told me his fees, and when I asked about his ceremony, he said, "I use a traditional wedding ceremony from the Bible, with the lines from 13 Corinthians, 'love is patient, love is kind,' and most people do a unity candle, and I say a prayer." Which, no offense to anyone, is exactly the wedding ceremony I DON'T want. He did say he would be willing to work with us on the ceremony, though, so I guess there's room for adjustments. He also ended our phone call with, "God bless."

If a non-clergyperson ended a phone call with "God bless" in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Maryland, I would be very, very surprised. In Kentucky, it's pretty common, so I'm not completely surprised by it anymore, but still weirded out by it a little. Is it OK for a judge to say it? I don't know.

Anyway, a couple hours later, JoP #1 returns my call. I explain what he supposedly already knew, and what I reminded him of in my voicemail, namely, my name, wedding date, and phone number, and that I wanted to meet with him on October 4. "Sure! What time?" I told him that any time was fine for us, and asked what time was best for him. "Let me check my book. I'll call you back. What's your name?" And after I told him, he asked, "What's your phone number?" At this point, I'm a little weirded out, because he just called me on my phone number, but whatever.

About an hour after that, he calls again. "Hi, this is JoP #1, calling you about your October 4 wedding!" I explained that no, our wedding is in May, but we wanted to meet with him on October 4. "Oh... [as though this is news to him] OK, well, let me call you back. I'll call you that morning to set up a time." (At least, that's what I heard.) "You'll call me the morning of October 4 to meet that day?" I said. "No, no, I'll call you back tomorrow, but we'll most likely meet that morning." Ooooooh, OK -- that makes a little more sense.

A little while later, I get another phone call. "Hi, this is JoP#3, are you here yet?"

"I'm sorry?"

"This is JoP #3. We're meeting today about your upcoming wedding. Are you here yet?"

"No, this is Holly, my wedding's in May, and I thought we were scheduled to meet on Friday, October 3?"

"Oh, right. Sorry. I have the wrong number. I'm meeting with someone else today."

"Oh, no problem. I'll see you October 3," I tried to say as he brusquely said goodbye. The wrong number thing is kind of weird, because I still have a Maryland area code on my cell phone, so you would think he would have realized he was dialing a weird number. But maybe not.

So JoP#1 has recurrent amnesia, JoP#2 hasn't called me back yet (but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and try again tomorrow), and JoP#3 is already getting me confused with another client and basically performs religious ceremonies.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bridesmaid dresses, part 3

A year ago, when we got engaged, I was pretty resigned to the fact that I wouldn't have a lot of girly shopping time with my friends or family. I'm in the midwest/south, everyone else is on the east coast, (um, not to mention my parents are living in Brussels now) and we are ALL super busy.

I was going to be super-accommodating about the bridesmaid dresses anyway, but I knew it would also help for me to have that mindset since we couldn't get everyone together for a big bridesmaid dress try-on session. I never even thought twice about it; I just told the girls to find a Mori Lee dress they liked in the color eggplant and to let me know when they had decided.

But then, I came to the east coast for two and a half months. And even then, I didn't really put it all together. But then, in the last week, I've been lucky enough to see all of my bridesmaids but one. SIX of them! And not only was there eating and drinking and chick flicks and general all-around fun, but we got to look at dresses also!

First, I got together for dinner last week with my two friends and bridesmaids from high school in Cranbury, NJ, and we ended up going to a local bridal salon just for fun. They didn't carry Mori Lee, but they carried lots of other designers, and nearly all of them had the color I'm looking for (side note: when I started looking for bridesmaid dresses a year ago, NO ONE had the color I was looking for. I was having a fashion-forward wedding. Now, EVERYONE has the color I'm looking for, and suddenly my choice of eggplant is the trendiest thing out there. Just remember: I chose eggplant before the designers did!). There were also lots of choices for green dresses, in case any of the girls want to wear green. While I was continually saying, "Whatever, I don't care" to my friends' questions (short or long? satin or chiffon? sleeveless or sleeves?), they made some decisions on their own.

So by majority opinion, we think short, tea-length dresses are better than long dresses, in order for everyone to have a similar level of formality.

Yesterday, I got together with my two friends and bridesmaids from college, in the Baltimore suburbs. One of the girls was down for the weekend from Pittsburgh, and it was total serendipity that we were both planning to be in Maryland the same weekend, because the three of us have tried hard to get together before, and we can never find a free weekend in common! My two sisters came up from our house in southern Maryland, and the five of us went to a bridal shop that did carry Mori Lee.

Our experience at the shop near Baltimore was OK, but not great. The salespeople, while nice, weren't very knowledgeable. They told me that certain dresses were available in certain colors, when I knew for a fact that they weren't, based on the catalog I picked up from another shop a few months ago. They had no idea what I was referring to, and seemed flummoxed by the fact that I knew so much, and even had a catalog ("Where did you get that?!?" -- in a confused/amazed, not antagonistic tone). It was disheartening. On top of that, they were the kind of shop that rips the tags out of their dresses, which I think is evil. I actually think it might be illegal, but we found our way around it -- first of all, while they ripped the tags out of the back of the dresses, many of the designers print their names on the straps used to hang the dress on the hanger, so it wasn't too hard to figure out. Plus, of course, just our luck, no pictures allowed.

Anyway, decisions were made by my two college bridesmaids and sisters as well. Yay! I like decisions, especially when they involve people picking out their own clothes!

Here is the dress sister #1 (the older of my two younger sisters) has picked out:

Bari Jay #756
, made of "Bella" chiffon, which comes in the perfect shade of eggplant.

Here is what sister #2 (the younger of my two younger sisters) has picked out:

After Six #6518, in Nu Georgette with matte satin trim. Both the trim and the dress can come in any color in those lines, which is pretty cool. My sister could get all purple, all green, or purple with another color trim, like cream, ivory, black, or even green to coordinate perfectly! (It will be up to her.) The only problem is that we aren't yet 100% sure whether the color "aubergine" or "bordeaux" is the one we're looking for -- I'll have to go back to a shop with swatches to see.

During the fitting room escapades, both of my college friend bridesmaids expressed concern that the softer fabrics like chiffon wouldn't be as forgiving for our late-twenties mid-sections, and I agree (about myself and my midsection! Not them and theirs!!), so they looked at satin dresses instead and found one they liked:

After Six #6513, in "Renaissance" satin. The picture shows it in eggplant, but I think it looks different on the computer screen than in real life. This morning I put in an order for a swatch of fabric ($15 for 2 6x6" swatches! The worst part is, I can't believe I actually paid for it...) to see if the color works. Of course, right after I placed the order was when my sister told me about her interest in the aubergine color in the nu georgette line, but I can't bear to place another fabric order. I'm planning to go to the extremely nice bridal shop in Louisville that I keep bothering and see if they will cut me a tiny snippet from their swatch card instead. I think they will. I find it very frustrating that different types of fabric come in different colors, although I understand (sort of) why. I just wish it could be a little easier, to accommodate the accommodating brides like me!

Surprisingly, some of the Mori Lee dresses that looked great on the models looked odd in real life. Actually, that's not very surprising at all, is it? For instance, both of these dresses were strong contenders from the website/catalog collection, but didn't fare so well on our real-life models:

These dresses were essentially the same from the bust down; the only difference was that #761 is strapless and #767 has spaghetti straps. The problem was that at the waist, the pleats were constructed in such a way as to make the skirt bubble up and out from the waist, instead of lying flat and creating a normal A-line skirt. Even on my sister, who has the body of a super model (seriously, I'd submit her for ANTM except she's not quite tall enough), it looked poufy and awkward and gave her an unflattering waistline. Kind of like this, only without being colonial and therefore at least kind of cool:

They also tried on this Mori Lee dress, which looks absolutely amazing and adorable, but it doesn't come in anywhere near the right colors. Darn.

Later, after we had left, one of my college bridesmaids remembered that she has a dark purple dress already, and wondered if it might be appropriate. She showed it to me last night, and I think it's perfect! We're just going to double-check the shade of purple once I get my swatch, but otherwise, she's good to go. How randomly perfect is that! She said she bought the dress a year or so ago on sale at Macy's. Even better than being able to wear a bridesmaid dress again in the future is being able to wear a dress you already have as a bridesmaid dress.

And as for my high school bridesmaids? Well, at the shop in NJ, they didn't cut the tags out of dresses, allowed us to take pictures, and might have made more of an effort to take down my information and enter me into their system (which I did not want), but were overcome by other walk-ins, so we were left to our own devices -- yay!

First up, seeing how eggplant and green look together:

I was being a horrible photographer that night, and my best friends' faces don't look that great, so I cropped them. It's totally my fault; I take full responsibility.

The purple dress on the left is Alfred Angelo #6904, in grape. The color is gorgeous, but the dress looks a little young for us. The green dress on the right is Jim Hjelm #JH5710T, in moss. Because of my flash, it looks a lot brighter than it does in real life. In real life, it's a gorgeous dark green, and looks pretty much exactly the same as it does here. I think the two colors look fabulous together.

Next up, we have two dresses in the same color, but in different fabrics. On the left, we have what I think is Jim Hjelm #JH5653T, in eggplant chiffon, and on the left we have Bill Levkoff #901 in eggplant satin. Again, I think the dresses look fabulous together, and any difference between the colors in satin and chiffon is barely noticeable. The Bill Levkoff dress is a floor-length one, while the Jim Hjelm is a tea-length, and this was the combo that sparked the decision to not mix lengths, because the girls felt the level of formality between the two was just too different.

Then, we played with different shades of purple:

On the right, the same possibly-Jim Hjelm dress in the "right" color, and on the left, a Jordan dress in plum -- I think it's Jordan #520, although the model is wearing the shoulder a little differently.

I was OK with the color combo at first, especially when you add in the possibility of a green to the mix, but for some reason, by the end of the night, we decided it would be easier to keep the purple color choice standard.

We also played around with different shades of green, but I didn't take any pictures. What we focused on was the Jim Hjelm moss color and the Alfred Angelo clover, which is a lighter green. Here is my ghetto photoshopped (actually, I used montage of my vision:

Clockwise from top left: Bill Levkoff satin eggplant; Jim Hjelm moss chiffon; Jim Hjelm eggplant chiffon; Alfred Angelo clover satin.

I think they all look pretty damn good together!

My high school bridesmaids didn't choose dress styles; we were getting hungry and wanted to go to dinner, so they'll keep looking on their own.

So that leaves one bridesmaid who I did not get to see this week -- my FSIL. She was actually the brains behind the idea of having the girls in two (or now three!) different colors. She was in a wedding today in Maine, and the bridesmaids all wore Jim Hjelm dresses in moss green. Jim Hjelm is actually a pretty pricey label, at least by my standards, so I wouldn't ask my bridesmaids to buy any of those dresses unless they really wanted to. At the same time, though, it would be nice if my FSIL could wear her dress again, since it would fit into our color scheme so well. Plus, she had to sink additional money into the dress to get it altered to fit her ever-expanding (due to pregnancy!) belly, so it seems like a waste to only get to wear it once. Of course, by the time our wedding rolls around, she will be 4 months post-partum, so we'll probably have to get the dress taken in again, but that will be OK. I actually haven't talked to her yet about all of this, but I know she reads this blog, so Paige: What do you want to wear?

This morning I sent an email to all of the girls with a summary of our decisions: tea-length or unformal floor-length gowns, in any of the following designers/colors:
-Mori Lee eggplant
-Jim Hjelm eggplant
-Bill Levkoff European eggplant
-Alfred Angelo grape
-After Six, Renaissance satin, eggplant
-Bari Jay, eggplant
-B2, bordeaux
-Da Vinci, aubergine
-After Six, Nu Georgette, aubergine (probably)
-Jim Hjelm moss
-Alfred Angelo clover
-Mori Lee patina, maybe

As long as no one is the odd person out, I'm happy to mix colors, styles, and fabrics.

Overall, I'm really happy I was able to go shopping with so many of my bridesmaids. They all thought it was productive, which makes me happy, and we're getting ever-closer to a decision! My goal is to order the dresses by Thanksgiving, which will give everyone plenty of time to get alterations if needed. I'm getting really excited about this and I can't wait to see what everyone's final decision is and how they will all look together!

What do you think about our color palette?

Ooooh, Letterpress!

I have not yet lauded the delights of letterpress stationery -- specifically, letterpress wedding invitations -- but there will be time for that later. I promise.

Right now, I must alert you to this very awesome and cool contest going on over at The Dingbat's Agenda, a blog about all things delicious and letterpressed and stationer-y. Up for grabs is a full wedding letterpressed invitation suite! SWEEET!

Go enter yourself! Or don't -- a better chance for me!

See all the details here:
The Dingbat's Agenda: GIVEAWAY 3, A Sweet Suite

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Anti-Wedding

My sister and bridesmaid sent me a link to the Washington Post's Wedding Week coverage, and there's some good stuff there. Money tips, music tips, a video slideshow of a baker making a wedding cake. The best thing I've seen so far, though, is a piece called The Anti-Wedding.

It chronicles the two authors' quest to plan the ultimate anti-wedding. They envision dead leaves in the bouquet and dirty city pigeons instead of doves being released at the end of the ceremony. The wedding they ultimately plan has no resemblance at all to your average Wedding Industrial Complex affair, and it actually sounds kind of fun -- a death and taxes scaveger hunt? Cool!

This was my favorite part (the writing is just so good):

"One couple catches our attention with a quirky coincidence: Her name is Jaqi Ross. His name is Chris Rossi. Ross and Rossi live together in . . . Rosslyn. These two, both 34, are open to just about anything, such as getting married in a morgue, Jaqi suggests, or on their living room couch. There will be no lace anywhere near this wedding. Also, she hates flowers.

We are convinced that this is our couple. And then we are rewarded with a glorious bonus: It turns out that Chris is a pathologist, and Jaqi works for the IRS. This will be the union of life's only two certainties . . . death and taxes. A themed anti-wedding."

Death and taxes. Classic!

What the writers got wrong, though, is their sense that they are the only ones who want an anti-wedding. Based on the bazillion wedding websites I read (none of them being The Knot), there are lots of brides out there planning nontraditional weddings. Some look more nontraditional than others, for sure, but there are plenty of brides trying to make a statement and have a unique, non-Wedding Industrial Complex wedding.

For me, it's about practicality and frugality. Do I want something that looks like a traditional wedding gown? Yes. But it has to be at my price, and no lure of a designer's name is going to change my mind. I was even contemplating getting a Chinese knock-off -- and contemplating it quite seriously -- for a while. But I'm not hiring a florist. Flowers are so beautiful in and of themselves, so I'm just going to get a bunch of them a couple days before the wedding and plop them in some containers for the reception. Pay someone to calligraph envelopes in my wedding colors? No, thanks. Do my own calligraphy because I have passable handwriting, and since I'm doing it myself, it may as well be done with a purple pen? Sure!

I have other examples, but you get the point.

Maybe I'm just surrounding myself with inspiration from non-Wedding Industrial Complex sources, so my viewpoint is skewed, but I really think there are a lot of anti-wedding brides (and grooms) out there. Maybe this article will inspire a larger audience to think outside of the box as well.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Photographer! Part 2

I know I promised the rest of my photographer story a long time ago. Well, today's your lucky day! (Plus, two posts in one day!)

So to recap, we had met with 4 photographers, and #4 was looking like our guy. The next morning, we met with photographer #5, Coury Deeb of 502 Photography, over coffee. My impression of Coury was positive, and I really liked his photos. (With all of our photographer meetings, I had asked to see examples of weddings from start to finish, which I highly recommend you do also.) Coincidentally, he also used to live in Philadelphia, and has done wedding photography there, and I felt like we had the same sort of city vibe going on. Since our venue is downtown with lots of cool architecture, I think he will do a great job of taking advantage of our surroundings and creating some cool, funky shots.

At the time I had first contacted Coury to set up a meeting, I took note of his package prices, but on the morning of our meeting when I went to double-check, I noticed he had raised his prices, and he was now technically out of our budget. I raised this concern with him, and he explained that he had just raised his prices for the first time in nearly two years, but since I had contacted him before his new prices had gone into effect, he would be willing to compromise and meet us halfway. I thought this was extremely fair, and also very gracious of him.

Over the next week, I bugged him for more examples of his work, and he shared some online portfolios from other shoots. Everything was awesome, so we signed the contract! Our package does not inclue an engagement session, but since we already had one, I don't feel the need to have those photos. The other advanatage of an engagement session, of course, is to have the opportunity to work with your photographer and get to know how he or she works and how you interact, before the day of your wedding. We're not going to have that experience, but it's not the end of the world. I can tell by all of our interactions so far that Coury is really fun and easy-going, but ready to take charge when he needs to, and that's just the sort of personality I'm looking for.

(I don't have access to any of his photos to re-post here, and I wouldn't do it without his permission, so if you want to see examples of Coury's work, head on over to his website yourself.)

Here are the other things Coury offers that I thought were really cool:
-No time limit on the wedding day. He's ours for the whole day, which means I won't be worried about a clock ticking down. Don't worry, I won't be mean and make him show up at 6 am or anything!
-Same-day edits that will be shown during the reception. How cool is that! It will be a fun thing for our guests (and us!) to see.
-Rights to all of our digital negatives. This was one of my #1 must-haves when looking for a photographer. Right now, I just don't see a wedding album fitting into our budget or our lifestyles (moving a lot, small apartment), so I would prefer our photos to be on our computers. If we want to get an album later on, or create one ourselves, we can.

I'm really excited to work with Coury next spring. In the meantime, I've been tagging photos I really like in Google Notebook (he said he wouldn't mind if I did that) to show him. Some are poses I think work really well with a large wedding party (which we definitely have), and others are reminders to me of detail shots I want to make sure he gets. This is one aspect of the wedding I'm really, really happy with, and I can't wait to see our photos!

License and Registration, Please

Well, no license yet, but we did create our registries this weekend.

We knew the weather was going to be bad on Saturday due to Hurricane Hanna, so we planned to spend the day inside with a scanning gun instead. It was a good decision, because the rain was torrential. Sorry, no pictures of Eric scanning a $600 set of pots, but here are some of my thoughts after the whole ordeal:

  • Don't try to visit too many stores in one day. We planned on two, but the first one had a lot of waiting around (we showed up extra early to Macy's due to the rain, hoping they could squeeze us in, but they couldn't, so we waited around for a while), which killed our energy. Then, at the end of the day, we popped into Target to run an actual errand and I ended up creating a registry there, too. Three in one day is tough on the brain and the feet.
  • Right now we're registered at four places: Macys, Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and I wouldn't register at any more stores than that, but I'm wondering if Target is even necessary, because we're only registered for a couple things there (wine glasses), so it could easily be merged into the one. That might make things more complicated or less complicated; I'm not sure.
  • is really cool -- it allows you to create a wish list from the entire Internet, which gives us the ability to request things from smaller stores or Internet giants like Amazon. It also adds in the registry function of allowing people to indicate that something has been purchased and remove it from the list -- this is the main difference between MyRegistry and a lot of other online wish lists. I also like it because I can indicate if an item is available from multiple places -- after all, why should someone be forced to buy a Le Creuset dutch oven from Williams Sonoma when the exact same thing is available at other places for less money? That's how I always feel when I look at registry lists, anyway, so the thought that someone might save some money if they are going to get us a gift makes me happy.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond gave us the royal treatment, offering us coffee and water as we browsed the aisles. It was kind of weird at first, because I've been in BBB dozens of times before and never gotten that kind of attention, and then I realized they saw big dollar signs through us. The coffee was much-needed and much-appreciated, although the realization that I was a walking dollar sign was demoralizing. The funniest part was when the manager came up to us about halfway through and thanked us again for coming, then mentioned he had printed out a list of what we had registered for so far, and said, "I see some opportunities here." I had to hold back a laugh -- I'm sure he did see some big opportunities for sales, but unfortunately, Eric and I just couldn't stomach registering for a sheet set that cost over $100, we didn't like any of the quilts they had, we don't want china, and we have a perfectly fine set of "casual dinnerware," so I guess those are lost opportunities for BBB. Too bad, so sad.
  • BBB has this cash-back policy that's pretty sweet. If someone gets you a gift off of your registry and you return it to the store, they give you cash back, not just store credit. A friend of mine used this to her advantage -- they registered for an extra set of bedding and a few other things that they knew they didn't want, then returned it for cash and bought themselves a nice new TV. It's a good idea, because no ONE person is going to buy you a new TV, but she had a large extended family that was willing to buy comforters for her. While I don't see anything wrong with what she did, it just wouldn't work for us. We really don't need that much in the way of "big ticket" items, and what we do need, I actually want, and there's no guarantee we're even going to get it. So we won't be scamming BBB, which is unfortunate, because I do like scamming stores.
  • That reminds me: BBB takes Linens and Things coupons, and they take them no matter what the expiration date says. So never walk into that overpriced store without a 20% coupon in your hand. Your wallet will thank you!
  • It's easy to become immune to the prices, especially once you've scanned in a set of $600 pots. A Roomba? Sounds great! Only $299 -- it's a steal! Think of the fun we'll have watching it scare the bejeezus out of the cats! Then reality settles back in. If I wouldn't buy it for myself, I wouldn't want anyone else to buy it for me. (And yes, I fully intend to buy those pots if I have to.)
  • We're double-registered for a couple things between MyRegistry and BBB. This way, if someone isn't comfortable doing the internet thing, they can still go to the store, and then we just have to occasionally edit the registries ourselves if we get a gift off of one but not the other. I read some advice somewhere that suggested that, and it makes sense, so we'll see if it works.
  • We managed to compromise fairly well, I think. Ideally, I'd like a set of towels in every color of the rainbow, but we narrowed it down and agreed on two -- white and a color. The color isn't my first choice, but it's really pretty. And besides -- if we end up getting a house with an extra bathroom, I'll just be forced to buy some pretty purple towels then :)