Saturday, April 30, 2011

Venue Visit: George Washington Masonic Memorial

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town, Josephine Butler Parks Center, City Club of Franklin Square, McLean Gardens Ballroom, St. Francis Hall, and Capitol Hill Club.

And now, The George Washington Masonic Memorial. Prepare yourself for lots and lots of rainbows, butterflies, and praises to the high heavens! I love this venue.

I can't even tell you how I heard about this place. We went to visit and I was impressed with its clean lines and pillars. The rental fee is very reasonable and they seem very flexible about what we can do in the space. It's an open museum so our first visit was just us walking around. I returned to speak to the events person to get some questions answered and walked away loving it even more.

It is just outside of DC in Old Town, Alexandria - a quaint little place with shops, restaurants and hotels. There are several hotels within walking distance AND a metro stop so our out of towners can get to the District to sight-see. Even if they don't leave, there is plenty to do in Old Town. There is an observation deck tour that can be included for your guests to get amazing views of DC. There is ample parking. It is pretty close to perfection for us.

What? Cons? Oh yes, there are some. Firstly, it's not in DC but it's proximity can't be beat and the view from the observation deck can make up for that. Next, the building is imposing. Maybe too imposing for our style. It can be seen for miles and as you ride up to it, it's almost overpowering. Maybe a little TOO grand. Also, we don't like the ceremony space decor. The layout is lovely but it's got a lot of red going on. Red is my absolute hands down LEAST favorite color in the world. So, if we go with this venue we will more than likely be using the same room for ceremony and reception which has its own issues. Last but not least for Mr Bronx, the chairs are hideous.

All of these concerns can be mitigated BUT the ceremony location and chair issues will carry an extra expense for us. Still, this venue is the number one contender for me. Mr. Bronx is not completely sold on it.

And now the pics that made me fall in love!

Ceremony Space - I wasn't kidding about the red.

Imposing much.

The view from the stairs. WOW!

View from the observatory.

Grand Masonic Hall -Ceremony/Reception space



We've got a contender!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Venue Visit: Capitol Hill Club

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town, Josephine Butler Parks Center, City Club of Franklin Square, McLean Gardens Ballroom, and St. Francis Hall.

Next up, another possibility - The Capitol Hill Club.

I had heard of this venue a while ago from a bride that raved at what she got for the price in DC. It has 4 levels on which you can have all of your wedding events - ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception. You can use any extra rooms however you like to get ready, for children, etc. But the website pics weren't very impressive and Mr. Bronx didn't appreciate the pics of - and I quote - "old men on the walls." Still, I wanted to know more so when I reached out for information and was told that they had gone through a renovation I thought it may be worth the visit to see what they had done.

I went on the visit alone because I was pretty sure that I wouldn't like it and would probably rule it out but at least made the visit to be sure.

I was wrong. I was impressed with the space. The location is phenomenal. It's in Capitol Hill literally steps from the Capitol building and National Mall. It doesn't get more DC than that! Also, the Metro stop is right across the street, perfect for out of towners. Other pluses - their event coordinator, Israel, was a pleasure and seemed eager to please. There are no hidden fees like corkage or cake cutting. And, the menu is flexible. There is NO RENTAL FEE (!) and the minimums begin at $6K on Fridays and $10K on Saturdays. Not bad, eh?

BUT, there is NO PARKING. Only street parking is available and that is a major problem. Also, the decor was better than the pictures but I still don't LOVE it. Lastly, the catering is on premise so we would not be able to bring our own liquor which is a great money saver.

We are scheduled to visit next Saturday so that Mr. Bronx can get a peek. So, if you are keeping count, we've got 2 possibilities for venues so far. Exciting times!

Well, here's the good stuff you stick around for - pictures!

This greets you as you enter

Entrance Doors (Mr B loves elephants so that's a plus)

Another shot of the entry area

1st floor lounge for the cocktail hour

Another shot of the first floor lounge

On the second floor is the reception room. I think I was so overwhelmed with actually liking the space I forgot to take pictures! It looks very similar to the 1st floor lounge but the carpet is the one in the pic above. You know you love my all-star documentary reporting.

And just for Mr. Bronx who is a stickler for nice chairs! The chairs they provide are actually NICE!

I can't wait to visit this space again with Mr. B. Either way it shakes out, we will be a step closer to a venue decision.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Venue Visit: St Francis Hall

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town, Josephine Butler Parks Center, City Club of Franklin Square, McLean Gardens Ballroom.

Enough talk about places that didn't fit the bill. Let's chat about our first possibility, St. Francis Hall. On first glance, this venue excited me. Their website has so many wonderful pictures of all different types of weddings. The pictures at the Franciscan Monastery were gorgeous and it was buried in one of my favorite neighborhoods in DC- Brookland. We made our appointment to visit and I had stars in my eyes!

Once we arrived, I didn't love the facade. I particularly dislike the awning. Picky much? Anywhoodle, once inside, it is a space that blows you away because it is completely unexpected. It's a blank slate that can go any way you like it, decor-wise. It has a full caterer's kitchen. And those arches! It is spacious. It also has a bride room that can also be used for children. Plenty of parking comes with the package as well.

On the con side - it's does not have a "city" feel which is something that we wanted. It's not near any hotels. Additionally, the outdoor ceremony space left much to be desired. We could use the room and flip it between ceremony and reception but there is no place to "hide" the reception tables, so creative draping would have to come into play. Or, we could have people sit at the tables during the ceremony. Not an option. There is a terrace/balcony that can be used for cocktail hour, however, it looked a little small for our guest list and if the weather doesn't cooperate, where will our guests be while the room is flipped?

Still, these are not deal breakers just things that need to be considered and mitigated. OK enough talk, here are some pics.

Front view (I don't like)


We've got our eye on you, St Francis Hall. Stay tuned...

Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Unthinkable

I interrupt my venue visit series to tell you about the crisis I alluded to in my previous post. During our visit to McLean Gardens Ballroom, the caterer was excitedly telling us about their packages, how the room is normally set up, and how the appetizers are served when I reached for my glass of wine and noticed - my engagement ring was gone.


My reaction was noticeable because Mr. Bronx said, "Woah" and the caterer asked, "What happened?" In the moment, I figured it's not a big deal, I probably left it on my desk at work and we'll just return there so I can get it after the tasting. I was sure of this as I NEVER remove my ring during work but I did recall it being really loose since my office was cold. So loose in fact, I moved it from my ring finger to my middle finger. The tasting continued but I had that nagging worrying feeling throughout. Still, I was sure that I would return to my office and all would be back to normal.

After the tasting, we drove back to the office. I greeted the security guard, took the elevator up, walked into my office, turned on the overhead light, and looked on my desk. There was nothing there. My eyes widened. I immediately looked all around my desk, through papers and under the keyboard, nothing. I called Mr. Bronx in the car and asked him to look in my gym bag thinking maybe it was so loose that it came off when I put my clothes in there. Nothing. I dropped down on all fours in my office and looked on the floor in case it slid off my desk. Nothing.

I went back to the lobby and asked the guard if anyone had turned in a ring. No. I asked the gentleman mopping the lobby. No. Asked him to ask the woman who removes the trash from our offices. No.

At this point, I was panicked. I return to the car where Mr. Bronx was waiting, got in, closed the door, and sobbed uncontrollably all the way home. When I arrived home, I dumped my bag, went through all pockets, and everything I was wearing. Not there.

All I could do was cry. And cry.

Mr. Bronx proved his amazingness (it's a word) throughout this ordeal. He just comforted me and said, "We'll get another one." The best thing he said to me was, "Why are you crying? We're still engaged. It can be replaced." To which I replied some babbling, bratty mess about wanting my ring. I was out of my body and I must have looked like it because I could hear Mr. Bronx calling me by my full name repeatedly like he was trying to get me back into this world.

I.was.miserable. I think I cried myself into exhaustion. I woke at 4AM. My mind was racing about where the ring could be, all these possibilities, how could I be so irresponsible. Race. Race. Race.

I got dressed and went to work. I went through every nook and cranny of my office. I sent a company wide email offering a reward and left notes for the cleaning staff. At this point, I've done everything I could do. It's been a week and I am losing hope of ever finding my ring.

I feel terribly guilty. I never lose anything. How could I lose something with such importance? The worst part is that I have no clue what happened. It's like it disappeared into thin air.

Thankfully, it's insured and can be replaced but that's not the point. The replacement ring will be just that - a replacement. It's not the ring he chose, it's not the ring he proposed with. It's not the ring he worked hard for and thought about and hid from me. It's none of that. Still, it could be worse. It could be a total loss.

Sometimes as I am drinking my morning tea, I am reminded of the ring that would bump the mug and I remember it's not there. It sucks. Or I'll wash my hands or do the dishes at home and feel like I forgot to put it back on. Sigh, I miss it. My mind is always looking, always thinking, "Maybe if I check here." I have had to tell myself to let it go. I said my prayers to find it and if that is to be it will just appear much like it just disappeared.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Venue Visit: McLean Gardens Ballroom

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town, Josephine Butler Parks Center, City Club of Franklin Square.

Next, McLean Gardens Ballroom.

Please excuse Mr. Bronx. He has a knack for walking right into my pictures. You'll see.

I am not sure how I heard about this venue. Try as I might, I cannot recall. There are virtually no pictures of it online and I could find no one that had heard of it. At any rate, I contacted them for rates and was invited to a tasting by their exclusive caterer, Washington Parties. Tastings are always fun, so off we went.

The ballroom is nestled in a residential area in DC near the National Cathedral. Residential communities can be nice but in DC that usually means no parking. Strike one. Besides that, it has an inviting exterior and was surprisingly impressive when we stepped inside. A nice foyer greets you and the ballroom can hold our guest list comfortably. The tasting was actually pretty good. Mr. Bronx loved the crab cake balls, mac and cheese, and fruit with goat cheese and pistachios. For me, the tres leches and mango mousse cake were to murder for. We chatted with the caterer about how the room is normally set up and found that we didn't love the way the buffet would flow. Strike two. Next, we toured the upstairs where they have a bride's room that can also be used for babysitting. It was nice and useful. The foyer is usually used for cocktail hour which is nice but seemed too small for our 145 guests. Strike three. In the end, this wasn't the best venue for us but still a lovely venue with 2 fireplaces and a large easily decorated room. The caterers seem eager to please and were a pleasure to meet. We'll keep them in mind but not this venue. I still consider McLean Gardens Ballroom a great find.

Check it out:
The foyer that would greet guests and serve as a cocktail hour space. Sadly, it's too small for us.

Inside the ballroom. Nice columns and two fireplaces.

I do feel the need to add a disclaimer to this post as we were dealing with a crisis and our minds were a little distracted during the visit. I'll tell you all about that in my next post.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Venue Visit: City Club of Franklin Square

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town, Josephine Butler Parks Center.



This place is grand. The location is right in the city across from a park that is great for pictures but also near to other great sites for pictures. It is within walking distance to many hotels and very easily accessible by metro for our out of towners. The food and beverage minimum is a low $6K. It was looking great on paper. One evening, the Mr. and I decided to stop on by and take a look. The space was expansive. We loved the columns and the marble floors. The security guard actually let us in to take a better look. Yes, we were peering in like peeping toms!

Once there, Mr. Bronx noted that, for a ceremony, those beautiful columns would be a problem. Also, disappointing for us would be that the dancing is in a totally separate area that doesn't really fit our tastes. After taking a better look at the fine print, (there were fees I hadn't noted for parking (both upfront and per car), it wasn't looking good for this venue.

This would be the pic where Mr. Bronx pointed out the people leaning in to see the bride and groom. He doesn't like that very much.

Still, I contacted them for a more formal visit before I completely ruled them out. Twice. Never heard back. In my book that means I need to turn the page on to the next venue.

EDIT 4/28/2011: I actually returned for a formal visit to the City Club. Turns out, they were undergoing a contract renegotiation and couldn't conduct visits or reserve dates for a bit. Something in my gut told me to return.

It is a great venue. The ceremony and reception with dancing can be held in the lobby. The club itself can also be used for the reception and cocktail hour. There are 2 levels, 2 bars, and rooms for the bride and groom to get ready. All this for a fairly reasonable (for DC) price of $2500 rental and packages at about $85pp all inclusive.

In the end, we decided against this because of Mr Bronx's concerns about the ceremony set-up and I didn't really love the decor in the club itself. But it's still a nice venue and it's worth a visit if you are a couple looking for a city feel to your wedding.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Venue Visit: Josephine Butler Parks Center

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out! What you've missed: Top of the Town.

Next up, Josephine Butler Parks Center.


I love the look of this venue. It's historical, in the city, and a little different than what I think our guests are expecting. There were fireplaces throughout and a lovely staircase. There were juliet balconies and a terrace on the second floor. We liked the hardwood floors and accessibility to the Malcolm X/Meridien Hill Park for a ceremony. And the rental includes chiviari chairs! Which, believe it or not, is a sticking point for Mr Bronx! He wants nice chairs.

Once we visited, we sadly realized this is not the venue for us. I didn't like the park for the ceremony. It has a lovely water feature but it is a public community park and there was no clear area where our ceremony could happen. The facility though lovely, just wasn't very conducive to having a ceremony and reception for our 145 guests. Our event would have to take place in several separate rooms for bar, dancing, etc. We just didn't like how separated everything would have to be. There was only enough parking for 20 cars (40 if you valet) and parking is very necessary for our majority out of town crowd in a parking deprived DC.

This was a stab in the heart for me. I thought the space was so lovely and kept trying to think of ways to make it work for us. But the writing was on the wall. We had to move on. I leave you with the pics Roza of JBPC provided me. Lovely, just lovely. I hope one of you can make it work.I really do.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Venue Visit: Top of the Town

For me, the absolute most important decision in the wedding is the venue. It is where I will get my inspiration for everything from the theme to the dress. In previous posts, I mentioned that we want our guests to experience a bit of DC. We also very much want a "city" wedding. Our tastes are more modern than traditional and we really want a space that our guests will be impressed with and have never seen before. With that in mind, we set out on our venue visits.

In this series, I'll be detailing the venues we've visited, our impressions, and, if I have them, pictures. Of course, these are all our opinions with what we want for our wedding in mind. All of these venues are beautiful and if you can make them work for you, you will not lose out!

First up, Top of the Town. Top of the Town boasts the most amazing view of DC that I have ever seen. Hands down, without question. You literally see all the monuments in one sweeping view. The only thing you cannot see is the White House. I had heard of this venue some time ago, so I jumped at that chance to attend an open house there in late February.

The view did not disappoint. They also have a small terrace for cocktail hour.

For us, that's where the good ends. The space is on the 12th floor and there is only one small elevator to get you there. That just won't work well with 145 guests. We didn't like the actual room with its dark carpet and low ceiling. Also, the windows and ceiling have a strange zig zag architecture to them. To create a ceremony space , they pull out a conference room divider and the overall flow for the event is a little weird.

You may have guessed that we decided against this venue. You're so right. You might also think I was disappointed by this, I mean, the view is to die for. But, you're wrong.

I. was.relieved. I had a couple of major concerns with this venue. They have several rules and fees for everything from other vendors bringing in furniture ($250/hour) to vendor interviews ($500 a pop). They have a pretty short list of approved vendors for catering and entertainment and if you want to bring in a different vendor you have to pay the venue $500 per vendor to interview them.

Of all the rules, one stood out for us. Because the venue is on the penthouse level above residences, group dances are prohibited. No cha cha slide, no cupid shuffle, dollar wine, etc. Now that may sound like a small deal but that would be a huge problem for our crowd. We really like to let loose on the dance floor and I would hate to feel like there are restrictions on our ability to paaaaaaartaaaaaay!

So, in the end, I was relieved we didn't fall in love with the place because I didn't want to have to deal with the rules. It wasn't a total waste, however. The tasting by Catering by Uptown was really yummy so we would consider them for other venues that allow outside caterers.

Here's a pic of that awesome view. Sigh...on to the next!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

"You Can't Afford Me"

Pardon me as I vent a little. Just a little.

Another day, another catering vendor telling me that I can't afford them. It's so frustrating to get some wind under your wings when you find a venue with a low rental fee that you love (a huge feat in and of itself) only to realize that you can't afford to bring any darn food in there! I have had 2 caterers flat out tell me, "You are better off looking elsewhere, good luck!" I thought they would be at least be willing to negotiate but I guess all the bargain wedding advice I've read must be wrong. You'd think we wanted the finest champagne, all we want is dinner. Preferably on a plate. Geez!

Today is a down day on the wedding rolling coaster.

Vent over. I picked myself up and sent a mass email to a number of other caterers to get some ideas of their rates. I am hopeful as one has come back with a quote just a little over what we want to spend. Light at the end of the tunnel? We shall see but cheese, crackers, and beer is looking like a fine wedding meal at this point!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

All Hail, Mindy!

Another day, another surprise wedding package in the mailbox! My great friend MII sent along a wedding planning survival kit of sorts and it's been helpful right out of the box.

Included in the package were: Bridal Bargains by Denise and Alan Fields, The Wedding Book by Mindy Weiss, and The Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer.

I had recently griped that wedding paraphernalia was all discombobulated and I needed to get organized. PRONTO! Like the great friend she is, she listened and acted! And she was right on time!

Bridal Bargains is so easy to read and finding ways to save money on every aspect of the wedding is a snap! As you can see I have already gone through and tabbed ideas I liked!

The Ultimate Wedding Planner and Organizer is a binder with slots for business cards and separated folders for all the planning aspects from flowers to food. It also includes several pages of wedding advice and pages for notes. It even includes a hole punch!

But the best of the bunch is this momma right here!

I.LOVE.THIS.BOOK! I have seen many a wedding planning book, website, and magazine in my day. If you read enough you realize that a lot of them include the same information - timelines, dress advice, blah blah. But this book is different. Yes, it includes your typical advice but opens your eyes to things you probably haven't considered. More than a planning book, it's an idea book. It tackles the ins and outs of renting a tent and getting a dance floor. It helps you consider your vision AND your guests when choosing your wedding elements. There is real planner advice from a professional who has been there. It is the BEST.

I'm so happy to have it and I am sure it will be a beat up, marked up, post-it-noted mess, when I'm done with it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Venues That Will NEVAH be!

The great thing about living in major city is that the venue possibilities are seemingly endless. Any type of wedding you want to achieve can be attained. At a price.

So if your budget isn't unlimited, chances are that there will be wedding venues that you can only dream about. Here are my favorite DC venues that will never be for us but perhaps some lucky DC bride can snag one.

First up, is Mr. Bronx's dream venue. The Pavilion Room at Ronald Reagan Building. I love the octagonal shape of the building, it's natural light and clean lines. Sadly, the $23K food and beverage minimum knocked this one out of the running for us.

Oh, the National Museum of Women in the Arts! How great would it be to host a wedding at such a venue? I love the historic architecture. The mezzanine is perfect for cocktail hour. But perfection costs $12K for rental fees. Booo!

Lastly, the National Building Museum. A museum dedicated to the history of buildings and architecture is sure to be breathtaking and it does not disappoint. What is disappointing, however, is the rental rate, $16-30K. Yikes!

If you are a bride that is able to use one of these venues, I'm so happy for you (read: I hate your guts)! Just kidding. Kind of.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Inaugural Wedding Meltdown

On the previous episode of my life in wedding planning, we decided to put our feet down and locked down DC and a big ole wedding shindig as the way we would celebrate our marriage.

A couple of days later, I got my tax return. Now, I don't know about you but my tax returns sure don't look like they used to! Being a grownup is so overrated. Well that seemingly irrelevant occurrence led me down wedding meltdown aisle. You see, I had plans for my return and uh, what I got wasn't enough to accomplish those plans. It threw a wrench in my wedding saving plan. So I, again, thought to myself, this is just so much money to save, then spend on one day and I'm putting other financial goals on hold for a year to accomplish it. Sure we could do it, but that doesn't mean we should.

By the time, Mr. Bronx arrived home, that little seed in my brain turned into -i'msosickofplanningthisweddingit'sdrainingmyenergyandwehaven'tevenreallystartedandit'ssomuchmoneytospendandidon'tknowifit'sreallyworthit - ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?!

After he looked at me like I had 85 heads, I more calmly explained to him my frustrations then suggested that we do a small wedding for 50 guests followed by a meal and called it a day. Being the great groom he is, he said he'd be fine with that.

Great! Problem solved.

Nope! Not even 5 minutes later, I was taken over by a feeling that we may regret not having a big party. A celebration with dancing and jubilation and music was always part of our vision. I started to think that if we went the intimate wedding route we would miss the big bash. Wheels were turning, back and forth, back and forth in my brain. Then I simply said to Mr. Bronx, won't you miss being introduced at the reception? And he simply responded, "I would."

That was it. The decision was made. After having the whining meltdown, with my emotions ALL over the place, we ended up right where we began (again)! If you are keeping count that's the 5th time we went around this merry-go-round. In the end, it was a simple answer to a simple question that made it clear what direction we should go.

So the inaugural meltdown has a happy ending. I'm glad we had all the waffling though because I feel sure in that we actually thought it through and this is what WE want not what we feel is expected of us. Venue search, here we come!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh where, oh where shall the wedding be?

The Mr. and I met, live, and love in DC. Interestingly enough, the majority of our families live in NY (shout out to BX and BK). I grew up in North Jersey, where my immediate family and a few NY converts now live.

Contrary to popular belief (thanks a lot MTV), I don't look or act like this:

But I digress. We had some decisions to make.

If we decided to have the wedding in DC, 85% of our guest list would be from out of town. We love the idea of showing everyone a rocking good time at this place we call home and we both love. It's not like we live in the middle of nowhere. It's the nation's capital. Come visit because it's our wedding and it's the friggin' nation's capital so you should!

Then we got to thinking, we could bear the burden of travel and host the wedding back home. We got excited about this for about 5 and a half minutes. The thought of planning from a distance didn't appeal to me and frankly, the NY tri-state area is pretty expensive much like DC. It's not like we'd be saving money by having the wedding there and it would probably cause us some logistical headaches. So we benched it.

Then we got knee deep into budget and threw a fit about what a full blown DC wedding would cost us. We toyed with the idea of doing a small ceremony with our nearest and dearest (~50) in DC and a large reception a couple of weeks later in NY/NJ. The idea being that perhaps some money could be saved since there would be no rehearsal dinner, etc. and the party wouldn't have to be so fancy. I researched once again and found that even still the prices for that type of function in NY/NJ were about the same as a full blown reception in DC. Plus, there would be two photographers to hire and the whole long-distance planning thing. I asked Mr Bronx if he would be willing to downgrade the venue if we went this route. Then I got - the face.

You know, this one.


Did I mention he has a bit of groomzilla streak? Well, 'nother day, 'nother post. In short, Mr. Bronx has a vision for our wedding day and "not so nice catering hall," ain't it. So once again, that idea was scrapped.

Finally, after some debate, deliberation, and waffling, we put our feet down. A DC wedding it shall be and we should have known it all along! Done and settled, right? Not so fast! Soon after, I had my first wedding meltdown. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wedding Paralysis

It's no secret that I love all things wedding. I have been watching wedding shows for years, I read wedding blogs (shout out to weddingbee!), and may or may not have saved the occasional inspiration or idea pre-engagement. I even planned weddings in my head for my not yet engaged friends, for chrissakes!

So naturally I thought that when I got engaged, I would be a modern day Martha Stewart. Planning the wedding would come so easily. Hmmmm, not so much. Instead, I looked more like this:


You see, my good people, daydreaming about a wedding and actually planning one are two very different things I learned. While I dreamed of color schemes, chiavari chairs, venues and such, I never had to actually pick one and stick with it. There were so many different weddings I imagined and now I get. just. one. One color scheme. One venue. And I found that overwhelming. Having to actually make decisions, check them off the list and move on was something I hadn't considered in my wedding dreamland.

For the first 3-4 weeks of our engagement, I had a serious case of wedding paralysis and I was reluctant to come out of it. I didn't want to leave my engagement bliss to begin the research and recognizance that planning a wedding required. At all.

Lucky for you, I snapped out of it and the planning has commenced. But, those initial feelings of being totally overwhelmed were a shocker to me and they are never too far away in this roller coaster world that is wedding planning.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Engagement Bliss

There is definitely something that comes over you when you become engaged. Some call it bliss. I'm not sure what it should be called, but there is a certain giddiness that happens. Even couples like us, who have been together for a while, living together even, get giddy. The argument could be made that we knew it was coming and that's true. I knew it was coming someday. But once you become engaged, someday is today - and just like that, it's different.

I wasn't surprised so much by our giddiness, it was the happiness displayed by others that I found not so much surprising but so heartwarming. People have been genuinely excited, elated, and overjoyed for us. No one cares how I'm doing anymore, they want to know how the wedding's doing! And, I love it.

When my 11-year old niece called to check our wedding colors because she had fallen in love with a dress and wanted to know if it would match, I realized, "we're engaged!" How cute is that!? Nevermind that it had only been 3 weeks. I have gotten several emails from my cousin V (the fashion maven) pointing me to bridal lines that I should check out. FB friends check in on me and offer suggestions. We've gotten several cards and one special package.

I was only able to see one person's reaction to our engagement. Unfortunately, I don't live near my loved ones so the announcements came via phone and email. If I had it to do again, I would wait till I could see their reactions in person. Luckily for me, one of my cousins didn't get the memo and I was treated to her totally spontaneous reaction - sweet!

A few days later, I received this in the mail from said cousin J. It was so special and it made me so emotional about the planning that lay ahead of us.

A completely personalized card front and back offering well wishes and advice. I love the quote she included - "Marriage is that relation between a man and woman in which the independence is equal, the dependence is mutual, and the obligation reciprocal." - Anspacher.

Two wedding mags complete with a note.

She actually went through the mag highlighting things and offering me ideas along the way. So sweet!

And...the most important note on the back.

Thanks, Jenny. Your gift was so thoughtful. I was so touched by the personalization, and the time you took to think of us. What a way kick off our planning!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Who we be!

How can I start chatting wedding without even telling you about us? I can't. So bare with me, will ya, as I tell you a little about how we came to be.

Mr. Bronx and I met the good old fashioned DC way: at work. I vaguely remember a young gentlemanly fellow asking me out to lunch and *gasp* I turned him down because I was in a relationship at the time. Now, there is great debate in the Chatter house regarding exactly what I said. According to him I said, "I wish I could but I have a boyfriend." He's wrong. I said, "Thanks but I can't, I have a boyfriend." This debate will rage for all time and Mr. Bronx will be sure to tell the children his version.

Fast forward a year or so and we ended up working on a committee together. We made idle chit chat, you know, usual work stuff. At this point, I am single, sexy, and free (snap, snap). Valentine's Day came and went and I get an email from the Mr asking if I got all the candy that my heart desired. I responded with a carefully thought out, "It was uneventful." Read: I'm single. I know that's what he really wanted to know, anyway.

A few emails, fun work chats, etc. later, this Jersey girl found herself enamored with the Bronx boy. We set out on our first date on 4/8/2006 and we've been together ever since. Yes, that's almost 5 years! Good work, class!

And now we find ourselves heading to the altar. We are a complimentary pair, he's the optimist, I'm a realist (he says pessimist), he's a numbers guy, I'm a words girl, he likes movies, I read books - you get the picture. Sometimes it gets bumpy but over the years we have learned to fill in each other's gaps. Though we have our differences we are alike in a lot ways as well. Namely our sense of humor and we're deep thinkers. The Chatter house is equally full of thinking and laughing. We've grown so much, and are so excited to be planning a wedding celebration with our loved ones.

And in the spirit of our goofy personalities, meet the Chatters!

Let's get this planning started!

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Very Own Wedding!

Welcome to my all-things-wedding blog! If you've been around a while, you know that I have a little obsession with weddings. Well, my number is up - the love of my life proclaimed me the one, and it's time to plan my very own wedding. Can you believe it? I can't!

Anywhoodle, we're are one month into planning and here's where I plan to detail all the ins, outs, ups and downs of our wedding planning adventure. I'm glad you're here for the ride. I'm gonna need the company!