Monday, December 31, 2012

Dress Success - Pt. 1

Today was quite the success! We went over to David's Bridal (me and my entourage- Mom, Cara, Shiela, Alyssa, Carol, and Elisabeth) to check out some dresses. Not with any intention of actually buying one, but as it turns out, that happened!

I handed over my list of favorites to the very capable Kara and she went to work making magic! If you are shopping in the western suburbs of Philadelphia, I highly recommend you go see her at the Plymouth Meeting store. She was so sweet and helpful!

my first time in a Wedding Dress... pretty, but not the one

this was *almost* the one!
Elisabeth (bottom picture, the one in the white dress who isn't me) was so cute! She couldn't wait to get a fancy flower girl dress on and was sooo excited when Aunt Cara picked out a fancy tutu dress for her. She had to wear a tiara too and at one point she got to wear a veil... everything I did, she wanted to do too! She was just the cutest little thing! I love that kiddo so much!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bridesmaid Dresses - Pt. 2

I went on a dress-adventure with Shiela, Cara, and Alyssa today. To my dismay, they didn't find anything they loved, but I would still count it as a Win since we were able to knock a significant amount of dresses out of the "possibles" category.

 I do adore the combination of nude/charcoal and sparkly. So pretty for a Winter wedding, but not sure I'm sold for October outside...

 I do love the combo of the middle picture. If you just hold your right hand up and cover my sister (because the dress she has on is a different shade) you can see what I mean. I'm really digging that look. The biggest problem is that every one of these dresses was on sale for New Years only. If we don't jump on them this week, I fear they may go back to regular price. On the flip-side of that coin, I'm fairly certain that they will all be on sale (and with a better discount) come the Spring when the stores want to unload all these wintery dresses and make room for the new stuff. *fingers crossed*

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bridesmaids Dresses- Part 1

So while searching for caterers, rentals, and vendors has dominated my thoughts and time lately, my sister and I decided to take a break and search for bridesmaids dresses instead :)

I have come to the conclusion that Jay and I discuss many more wedding-related things than most couples. Many of my friends think it's funny that Jay has an opinion on bridesmaid's dress color, I think it's adorable. Although, maybe I only think that because he likes gray, and that happens to be my #1 choice.

The inspiration for bridesmaids dresses look something like these:




Now just imagine those pictures but in shades of gray, silver, and charcoal to make it look a little more cohesive. I'm in Love!

The List for Bridesmaids Dresses:

1) Long
2) Gray
3) Formal or semi-formal or cocktail (not a maxi or long sundress)
4) None the same
5) ***Every girl feels comfortable and beautiful in whichever dress she chooses***

#5 really is my number 1 concern, but for my control-freak tendencies, I had to list the other parts first. We all know how I am.

Some of my favorite dresses are these:





The number one reason I am all for different dresses is because my little sister, Cara, will only be 12 come the wedding. She's too old to be a flower girl and I just wasn't feeling the junior bridesmaid route. I only have 2 sisters and I wanted her to feel special so I asked her to be the Maid of Honor (I asked my older sister, Shiela, to be my Matron of Honor). It would be much too difficult to find a dress that flatters all the girls and at the same time be appropriate for Cara, so the best solution is for everyone to wear a different dress.

I also really love the look of different dresses. It's just so pretty and a little unique, like me. My sister-in-law let us all chose our own dresses for their destination wedding a few years back and it was just so nice to be able to pick a dresses that we all looked and felt good in and didn't have to worry about spending a fortune on. Plus, I've been to quite a few weddings where I questioned if the Bride even liked her bridesmaids, because I couldn't tell by the dress they were forced into asked to wear. I just wouldn't feel right doing that to my best girls.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Dress Code

So I've been thinking soooo much about the dress for the big day! I'd be lying if I said I didn't have most of the things I want for this day picked out already. AND if I'm being completely honest, the dress is not on that list of things.

Some things on the preliminary list for my "dream dress" are:

1) fit-n-flare, trumpet, mermaid shape
2) lace or sparkly applicaes on tulle
3) scalloped hem
4) not strapless, lacy cap sleeves would be pretty
5) can rock a sparkly belt 
6) lots of sparkle (are you sensing a pattern)
7) open back?

Some dresses in the running are:


We'll see how it goes, I have my first official dress-shopping trip scheduled for next week!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Backwards vendors

So MAYBE the vendor isn't backwards, but I might be...

In the spirit of putting the cart before the horse, I have totally started looking at vendors without actually booking a venue, or a church. We are shooting for Fall wedding this year and I just can't sit around and wait for red tape to get cut while all the good vendors get snatched up. I'm an instant gratification kind of girl and I just had to start doing something wedding-planning related. So even though it's making everyone else crazy (they would like me to wait until after Christmas to kick off planning), I just can't wait!! That and I paid a visit to Bucci's to get my ring sized and Joe might have said that it was "engagement season" which almost put me in a tailspin because since Jay and I got engaged, we know at least 3 or 4 other couples that have as well!

So I took to one of the most important vendors, Photographers, because after all is said and done, you want great pictures... that's all you get to keep from the day. So I hit the books (or google) to find some local photographers and check out pricing.

I have been blog-stalking Hoffer Photography for at least 6 years. If I'm being honest, I've wanted them to photograph my wedding since the first time I laid eyes on their work. I am fairly certain that I would have made a deposit to them 3 years ago if I would have known that we would be getting engaged and that they were going be booked through forever.

That said, there are A LOT of photographers out there, and it was easy for me to fall in love with another artist's work once I knew that the Hoffer's weren't available.

I'm kind of obsessed with Ashley Bartoletti's images. Her pictures are much softer and way more my style. I found her through Style Me Pretty and she was super sweet, and her work is just fabulous!

I'm also currently drooling over Saltwater Studios. Steph's work is also beautiful and soft and natural and I totally love her as a person! She's probably the friendliest wedding vendor, ever, OF ALL TIME.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Goin' to the Chapel

If we could just figure out which one!

I grew up attending St. Maria Goretti. Jay grew up at St. Paul's. Sounds simple enough, however, my church is of the Catholic persuasion, and Jay's is Episcopal. Another dividing concept.... and although we are able to keep things light and make jokes about how the two are very similar (read: all the heaven, half the guilt), it is still causing a slight chink in the armor.

Another issue we've come up against is that St. Paul's is simply too small for the number of people we would have at our wedding, so we enlisted some help from Jay's friend, Fr. Jeff, and he put us in touch with Fr. David over at Trinity Episcopal.

The saving Grace is that both Jay and I have family friends who are clergy in our respective faiths. We intend to meet with both of them and discuss our options before coming to a conclusive decision.We are so blessed to have such wonderful friends and they have been terribly helpful and accommodating to our less than standard needs.

Until then, I'll leave you with these little gems:

inside Trinity

Trinity vestibule

Trinity (street view)
SMG (street view)

SMG (vestibule entrance)

wedding party on the alter at SMG

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Big Changes! (non-wedding post)

Jay and I are in a very fortunate position when it comes to our first home together... because we don't have  to move (well our stuff anyways). However, getting here has not been the easiest of roads....

We had been looking, and looking, and looking for a place of our own. Nothing ever worked out, we put a bid in on a house about 2 years ago and got it then we found out in the inspection that it had termite damage and other repairs to the tune of $100k! We visited a sweet old farmhouse that was stunning and had so much potential, if it hadn't be left to rot and ruin so bad that we were fearful of falling through the floors. We found a great house in a great neighborhood but it was wayyy overpriced, so we waited, it came down. We waited a little longer. It came down a little more. We put a bid in. We got outbid. We lost it. I might have cried.

We gave up... more accurately, took a break , and mostly because the housing market in our area totally erupts in the spring every year then tapers off by mid-summer and all that's left are the houses we don't want.

In the meantime, we have been living with Jay's stepmom to save money for the down payment, renovations/upgrades of our future home and/or furniture/furnishes. It was a convenient set up for all of us and it worked as a temporary set up. We were hoping to be back on the house-hunt come March. AND THEN.... Carol found out she was being transferred to Charlotte, NC.

 So Carol is leaving and we're going to buy her house. See, we are super lucky!!! She was off in Charlotte looking for a new pad last week, and found a great place! So now we're going to help her pack up and move south! Then we're going to visit her every chance we get :) (and of course, she will be welcome to stay with us any and every time she comes back to PA!)

So that is our big-non-wedding-related news. This will now be a wedding/home blog. Sorry if you don't like it :) We're super excited. Also sorry for such a long-winded post without pictures! I promise to post "before" pics soon!

Until then, enjoy this little Christmas gem :)

Our 2 favorite Christmas movies...and a sneak-peek at the
  living/dining room "to-be" (currently only be used as a living room)
as well as our not-so-beautiful stair case and beautiful wood floor

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Vegas... best birthday ever!

November 26: Monday Night we put up our Christmas lights outside. When we came in, Jay gave me my birthday present. He handed me a copy of the itinerary for a trip to Las Vegas!!!

November 27: Tuesday, every person that I told about the trip asked me the same thing, "do you think you'll get engaged?" and I (not so very nicely) replied, "nope, but thanks for ruining our vacation and my birthday present". I tried to push that thought out of my head BUT I WANTED IT TO HAPPEN SOOOOOO BADLY!

6pm: Since Jay wasn't home when I got home from work, I started packing for the trip and trying to convince myself I didn't need anything new. But I was feeling a little down and when I'm bummed, there are few things that get me out of a funk like shopping. Now, shopping for sparkly Vegas-inspired things, that's even better!  I knew that would brighten my mood. So I called Jay to see where he was. He was still at work. I told him I wanted to go out shopping and he said we could when he got home because he needed some stuff too.

2 hours later... the almost ruined surprise

My mom texted me so I called to talk to her while I packed and did laundry. "What's Jay doing with your father?" was the first thing she asked me. MIND in OVERDRIVE... "well, I didn't know Jay was with Dad. I thought he was still at work." Then my mom proceeds to tell me that they are out together and she knows they're up to something and that Jay lied to her and didn't keep his story straight. (she doesn't like not being in the loop). I told her it's probably something for Christmas and that if we were supposed to know, one of us would have been let in on their secret. I told her not to worry, that within the next month, we'd probably find out what they were up to.

Later that night... poor Jay has to do some quick thinking to clean up the spilled beans.

November 28 - Wednesday, I couldn't stop thinking about what had come out the night before. Did I know? Was it going to happen and how soon? While we were away? Had to rein myself in and work on not getting my hopes up.

Jay came up with a story about where he'd been with my dad and got a bunch of his friends in on the cover-up. The story was that they would get a better rate buying patio supplies if they got it for both houses at the same time. They were plotting our Christmas presents but thanks to "snooping", the surprise was now ruined. Anyone who knows me knows that ruined surprises kind of devestate me... bummed x2... I was not right about the assumption I made and now I knew what my Christmas present was going to be :(

November 29 - VEGAS BABY!! We flew out super early and landed in Disney for grown ups around lunch time. That place is crazy! We walked the strip, but only one side because they were doing some Nascar thing so it was really crowded on the other side (and I was being lazy). We went back to our hotel and took a nap before going to meet Craig and Marsha for drinks at Petrossian at the Bellagio (I recommend their infusion or bellini).

We caught up and then said our good byes so they could go home and we could go see the fountain show. {Backstory: the fountains at the Bellagio and the chocolate fountain at Jean Philippe in the Bellagio were #1 and 2 on my 'to see' list, and didn't really care what else we did while in Vegas}. To my delight, the fountains lit up and when the music came on, it was Johnny Mathis... and a Christmas song! one of my favorites!

The fountains are seriously larger than life! The way they move to the music is fantastic and no matter what you've seen on TV or in movies, there is no comparison to seeing the show in real life. IT WAS AMAZING! Jay asked me if I was having fun and if it was my best birthday. I said that it was. Then he said he just had one more question... pause.... in my head- impatience checks in... why isn't he talking? click-lightbulb goes on! this is it! When I finally turn around and look at him, he's already on one knee with the ring out (jaw drops involuntarily)

 "Eileen, will you do me the honor of spending the rest of your life with me as my wife?"

totally missing the fountains... oh well

He was smiling so big and had some fountain spray in his eyes... I said yes and hugged him then asked if he was for real. And I cried. And then Craig and Marsha came out of the bushes (or around from behind them) armed with cameras and big smiles and hugs!

After that, Jay and I (and our smiles, and my new bling) went up in the Eiffel Tower and looked out over the city, it was so beautiful. It was cold up there though, especially on my exposed teeth and gums that I just couldn't keep covered because I couldn't stop smiling. I kept joking the whole time we were away that I can't get any older since there's no way to top this birthday. It was seriously the best day!


whitest hand ever...