Saturday, December 31, 2011

Guess what I bought?!?!!

Drum roll please....

My wedding shoes!
Personal photos / They are actually more of a teal color in person. They look kind of green in this picture.

These are SO not what I envisioned myself wearing for the wedding. In fact, I did not want to go the blue shoe route at all. But then I saw these in the window on my way to work one day and I thought, "Oh my goodness, what cute shoes! Could they work as wedding shoes?" The store wasn't open at the time of my early hour commute and I figured they were probably too expensive anyway. Weeks went by and I would pass by the shoes everyday, always giving them some attention. "Hey cute shoes." But never going back to the store when they were open...

Then one night as I was walking to the subway ready to head home, I remembered the shoes. I figured it never hurts to ask, why not see how much they cost. Well I'm glad I did! They only had one pair left and it was in my size! And the shoes were in my budget! I tried them on, sent a picture text to my Matron of Honor and got the approval I needed to make the purchase.
 Modeling my lovely shoes. Artemis had to photo bomb.
Personal Photos / Another view. You can see the color a lot better in this shot. And our printer....

I thought I might have buyers remorse the next day, but no I'm happy as a clam! I never envisioned myself wearing shoes like this, because I've never seen shoes like this! They are so unique and perfect for my vintage/theater wedding! So the moral of the story is, if you see something that catches your eye check it out! Yes it might end up being too expensive, but it also might be just what you were searching for!

Did you stumble upon something for your wedding? Shoes, jewelry, etc?

P.S. For anyone interested in these shoes the brand is called Seychelles. I didn't look it up because I didn't want to find the shoes at a better price... Those kind of things frustrate me so I figured I just won't look. :)

Friday, December 30, 2011

Registry Woes...

Before I talk about where we registered and what we registered for, I would like to discuss a looming cloud hovering over our registering experience. As most of you are aware we live in New York City but we are getting married in Califonia. So when we talk about registering it always comes back to this question: How are we going to get gifts back to New York?
Image via

The easy answer would be, we'll ship them back, or just have people send them to New York to begin with. I wish it were that simple. We live in a pretty large apartment building, and we live on the 4th floor. We have a hard time getting packages delivered to us period. Either we're not home, because we both work pretty full time, so UPS or FedEX can't deliver them without a signature. Or we are home but the post office doesn't want to walk up four flights of stairs so instead of even attempting to deliver something they put a slip in our mailbox to come pick it up at the post office. And an even worse scenario that has happened, we buzz them in and they just leave our package on the first floor by the mailboxes. I wish I could say I trusted my neighbors, but unfortunately I don't.

None of these options seem to work well for us...

So what can we do? We could have our gifts sent to my Mom's house in California where they have a better chance of getting delivered and they won't get stolen. But then how will we get them back to NY? We can't ship them because then we run into the same problem...We could just not register and tell people to give us gift cards or do a honeymoon registry which (spoiler alert!) we are. But I really want the experience of registering and receiving actual gifts that we can look back on and say, "Oh those were a wedding gift."

So I am at a loss. I really don't know what our best option is. Someone suggested we get a PO Box and have things delivered there, but I found out UPS and FedEx will not deliver to PO boxes. My thought as of now is to just have things sent to my Mom's address. We are not registering for that many large items, so we can try and carry as much possible back with us to NY, and then ship anything we can't bring back via the post office. At least we know the post office won't even try and deliver anything. We'll end up having to go pick it up, which is a hassle, but it's better than them not getting delivered, or worse getting stolen while left downstairs...

Any other suggestions would be awesome. Anyone else run into this problem?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Happy Holidays

I have been a bad blogger lately... but the holidays were crazy! Extra hours at work and preparing for Christmas kept me away from the computer. I hope everyone had a lovely holiday. Our little New York Christmas was very special. We had a lovely Christmas morning, just the two of us and our kitties. And then we had some friends over for Christmas dinner. Two of those friends happen to be in our wedding party AND they got engaged Christmas morning! Yay!

Personal Photo
Bridesmaid L and I showing off our rings on Christmas day!

Since I had prior knowledge of the proposal, I made sure to purchase a special Christmas gift for my newly engaged girlfriend. Her first wedding magazine!
Someone gave me this magazine shortly after becoming engaged and I found it to be extremely helpful. It's almost like a book, it has so much information on planning a wedding. I still refer back to it. I couldn't wait to pass along this gem to an engaged friend!

We had a wonderful Christmas. I was sad not to be in California with our families, but it was nice having our own little Christmas for once. 
Personal Photo
Our little family in front of our first tree!

How was your holiday? Did you have to put the wedding plans on hold for a while?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

To top it all off...

...our cake that is.

When we first got engaged my original idea for a cake topper was something like this:
Image via Etsy/ seller Garden4Arts

I love turtles. I have been collecting turtles since I was about 10. A lot of family, friends, teachers, etc, now associate me with turtles. I knew they had to be involved in our wedding in someway. I thought this would be a good option, but I was overruled by my other half. I mean I get it, we're planning this vintage, old theater themed wedding and we have random turtle cake toppers? It doesn't really fit.

Then I thought it would be cute to incorporate our kitties into our cake topper with something like this:
Image via Etsy/ Seller Urastarhouse

I was loving this idea, but it was a little pricey. It was also too modern for our overall feel. Back to the drawing board.

I then thought about using my Mom and Dad's cake topper from their wedding.
Personal photo. I took this in my childhood bedroom. Yes, the walls are still orange.

It was classic, but a little too 80s classic... My Mom said I could take it apart if I wanted. I thought about taking off the lace heart background. But I still didn't love the little bride and groom as much as I hoped I would. I also felt a little weird using their cake topper because they are no longer married...

So I was searching Etsy for ideas and I suddenly remembered something we had seen while visiting our venue. They had shown us a huge book of cakes to try and help us decide on a design. One of the cakes had a really cute cake topper that I recognized instantly because one: I knew I owned part of it at some point in my life. And two: it was a lady I was very familiar with.
I loved Barbies growing up! I'm not ashamed to admit it! And I loved the vintage barbies. I never would have thought of this as a cake topper if I had not seem it in that photo first. This bride and groom used Christmas ornaments that were the vintage wedding Barbie and Ken. I totally had the Barbie wedding ornament, but I have no idea what happened to it.  I didn't know how Mr. Castle would react to Barbie cake toppers but when I showed him a photo he loved them and added, "We can put them on our Christmas tree every year!" And with that we were both sold. We found them on Ebay for $12! Seven days later the mailman brought us our cake topper!
 In their cute box
Personal Photos / So cute and romantic

We are thinking about painting Ken's bow tie and cummerbund orange to tie it in to our color scheme. We're pretty happy with our choice. Especially when I think about how much some of my previous ideas cost compared to this one. We scored!

What are you using for your cake topper? 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Long time no see

"Why hello wedding venue. Long time no see." Eight months to be exact! We had not seen our venue since our first visit back in March. When we hit the six month mark it was time to meet with our venue and make some important decisions! It was just as beautiful as we remembered it.
 The entrance to our venue
The ceremony site from the walkway
 Cocktail area. Beautiful view of the surrounding mountains and the city below.
Inside the theater. They were preparing for a wedding that weekend.

It was so awesome being there again. And we had a very productive meeting. We made a lot of decisions including our food, linens and cake! When we left I couldn't help but feel like we had just gotten a lot accomplished! Wanna hear our menu??? Ok!

Hors D'oeuvres:
Coconut fried shrimp, Sun dried tomato, goat cheese and pesto pizza, and date rumaki. I didn't know what this was but Mr. Castle says it's amazing. It's an almond inside a date wrapped in bacon. He was trying to convince me before the meeting that we should get it, but from the description it didn't sound as appealing to me as some of the other options. The girl we were meeting with said that it was amazing, and that after one of their group tastings several brides changed their order to rumaki! I decided to compromise and let Mr. Castle have his way on this one. And now I can't wait to try it!

Buffet dinner:
Stuffed Chicken Breast, Smoked Tri-Tip, Sliced potatoes with parmesan and garlic cream (yum!), Asparagus, Mixed green salad, and Marinated tortillini salad.

And for our cake, (I'll have more on the design later) we are having banana cake with custard filling and cream cheese frosting. And for our second flavor, devils food cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting filling. I'm super excited about our cake! I can just taste it now...

Sorry if I made you hungry... Our meeting was at 10am and we discussed food last. By that point it was a little after non so we were starving! I think we made good decisions even though all our options sounded delicious at the time. The only downer about the food is that we won't be able to have a tasting. They do group tastings and we won't be in town for the next one. I have heard from many brides in reviews and from people who have attended weddings there (even some ladies here in the hive!) that their food is amazing, so I'm not too worried.
The aisle I will be walking down!

How long was the time between your first and second visit to your venue? Was it just as perfect as your remembered it? :)
All Photos are personal 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Birthday Surprise!

I celebrated my 26th birthday while we were in California. It was the best birthday I have had in a long time. Not only did I get to spend it with my amazing fiancé but also my Matron of Honor and her husband. And we celebrated at one of my favorite places in the world, Disneyland!

All photos coming up are personal :)
The Disneyland castle decorated for the holidays

We had a blast! My Matron of Honor has three kids but we decided to make this a "grown up" trip. It's a good thing we did because it rained all day. It would have been miserable for kids. We were pretty soaked, but that didn't keep our spirits down!
Jeff and I on the ferris wheel at California adventure. It was raining pretty hard at this point and we were sooo wet, but still happy!

Even with the rain we still had so much fun. The rain cleared out the park so we didn't have to wait long for any of the rides. I love how they decorate for the holidays at Disneyland, and one ride I was particularly exited to go on was It's a small world. For the holidays they cover it with beautiful lights and add some holiday songs and decorations inside the ride. It's always a must do this time of year.
It's a small world
 Jeff and I before getting on the ride. It was still raining. That hoodie on my head is usually light gray...

Little did I know but Jeff had planned a little birthday surprise while riding It's a small world. You see, I didn't think I was getting a birthday gift from Jeff. We had been really busy leading up to our trip and I knew with work and preparing Jeff probably had no time to go birthday shopping. He had said things like, "Uh you might not get your gift on your birthday," or "If you see something at Disneyland you want for your birthday let me know." So I wasn't expecting anything from him. While we were on the ride he turned to me pulled a blue box out of his jacket and said, "Happy Birthday."
 My best friend sitting behind us caught the moment. Note the look of shock on my face.

The card read, "I love you so much, here's to the next chapter of in our Tiffany Love story. -Your thrilling fiancé." I opened my little blue box and received my first pair of peal earrings!
Opening my gift
So surprised and feeling so loved.

I love my earrings. I wore them on Thanksgiving and I think that's when I thought, "You know what, these would be great earrings to wear for the wedding!" They are classic and beautiful, everything I wanted. And they mean so much to me. They're perfect!

And thus my birthday gift became wedding jewelry!
My beautiful Tiffany pearl earrings!

I had a fabulous birthday. What a great start to my 26th year! A year that's going to be full of so many exciting things!
Here's another favorite picture from the day. Wearing the "bride" Minnie ears.

Do you have your jewelry picked out yet? Are you wearing something that was a gift from someone special?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Finding our Officiant

Finding our officiant was the most difficult thing we have had to do in our wedding planning thus far. Which is silly really. It shouldn't be that hard, right? Well, we had very specific criteria for our officiant, which made it next to impossible to find a match.

Let me start by explaining that I was raised Catholic. Growing up my family was very active in the church, my parents sang during mass, taught catechism and my brother and I were altar servers. Our church was like my second home. After my parents got divorced we stopped going as frequently. As I got older and moved away from home my attendance at Sunday mass decreased. I never questioned my faith or beliefs and I still consider myself Catholic, but I rarely attend mass anymore.

So naturally with my upbringing, I always imagined myself getting married in the Church. It is pretty much the norm in my family. I think I’ve only attended two weddings in my life that haven’t taken place in a Catholic Church. I’m sure most of my family were very surprised when they learned we would not be getting married in a Church.  

You see Mr. Castle is an Atheist. Before we were even engaged he told me he would not feel comfortable getting married in the Catholic Church. I totally get it and I would never force him do something he wasn't comfortable with. To clarify: it's not that he is uncomfortable being in a church. That kind of a setting just didn't feel right to him for our wedding. And honestly it didn't feel right to me either. It’s not as big a part of my life as it was when I was younger. It’s still there and it always will be, but when it comes to our wedding we wanted a ceremony we would both be happy with. Something we could personalize and make our own. Something that wouldn’t really be possible if we got married in the Church.

That being said I still wanted some form of my religion in our ceremony. My parents really wanted it as well. And thus began the nearly impossible search.

Our ceremony compromise was to get married where we wanted but to have our wedding officiated by a Catholic priest. As those of you who are Catholic know, priests won't marry you outside the Church. But a retired priest may depending on his feelings on the matter. The first Priest we found was retired and living in Santa Barbara. He was really awesome and when we chatted on the phone he sounded like the perfect match, until he told us his price. $1,200… Ummm next please!

Then my Grandma decided she was going to find us someone. She got me in contact with a retired priest who was a friend of a friend. When I spoke with him he told us he would only marry us if we got married in the church first. So we would have to get married in the church and then do a "recreation" ceremony at our venue. With that option we might as well have gotten married in the church to begin with! This priest was really nice and an extremely funny guy but not what we were looking for...

I then started to panic, freak out, re-consider my feelings about not getting married in the church. I considered just finding a justice of the peace or someone with no religious ties. I tried come up with a friend or family member we would want to marry us but I couldn’t think of a single person. I became a messed up stress case, having nightmares, losing sleep, crying and basically becoming a crazy person.

Then a simple wedding officiant website saved the day. It was called So Cal Officiants (They just changed their name to Great Officiants) They are a database for officiants in Southern California. At this point I was thinking we just needed to find someone, religious or not. While searching this site I clicked on the “about our officiants” tab and saw a selection for Catholic priests! I immediately filled out an availability request.

The site hooked us up with a priest named Father Geoff. His first email to us was very informative with a lot of details including a sample wedding outline and all the information we could ever need to get our marriage license. He was also open to changing any format of the ceremony. He seemed like a very organized guy, which is always a good sign. Now the reason he can marry people outside the church is because he was suspended from being an active Priest. The reason he was suspended was for voicing his opposition to Prop 8 in California. From what I understand he was asked to encourage his parish to vote yes on Prop 8, banning same sex marriage, and he didn't feel right doing that and voiced his opinion on the subject during mass. If you're interested you can read about his story here.

I was very inspired by his story. This is a man who gave up a lot to let his voice be heard. He knew it was against what the Catholic church believes and he said it anyway. It felt really good to find not only a Catholic priest who could marry us but one who shared the same beliefs as Mr. Castle and I on marriage equality. I was happy and relieved to finally be able to say we had found our officiant. 

After all the anxiety and stress that went with finding our wedding officiant, something that Father Geoff said when we met in person really stuck a chord with me. He said, "You have already done the hardest part; you have found your soul mate." I try and remember this on the more stressful days of planning. We have found each other in this crazy world. Our wedding will be a wonderful celebration of our love, no matter who marries us, what cake we eat, or what centerpieces we chose. Thinking about this keeps my wedding craziness away. :)

Did you have a hard time choosing an officiant? Has a wedding related decision turned you into a crazy person?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's go time

We are back in NY after a thrilling holiday trip out in California. We did some wedding planning, saw lots of family, and had an amazing time with our friends. This trip will definitely be one that is always fondly remembered.

But before I get into specifics about our trip let me interrupt to say, we are now 5 months away from our wedding! Umm where did all our time go!? How is it already so close to our date!? Cue mini freak out.
Image via

Ok now that I've had a chance to breathe... I'm realizing that it's time to shift into gear and start making decisions. In other words, it's go time. I'm an indecisive person by nature. I always tend to weigh options and wait to make a decision until it feels "right". Well I'm just going to have to get over that because it's time to get things going! Invitations, decorations, guest book, favors, etc... it's time to make some decisions and do some serious planning! And try to do it all without having an anxiety attack...

We did get a good amount accomplished in California. We met with our venue and chose our linens, menu and cake! Of course during our meeting we were starving so every food option sounded amazing, but I think we made some good choices. We also bought frames for our table numbers, and the biggest and most important in my opinion... we have a wedding officiant! If you read any of my other posts on the subject, you'll know we were having a hard time... But we made a decision we're happy with, and I'll fill you in on all the details next time!

Did everyone have a good holiday?  Anyone travel cross-country like us?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

California already!?

It feels like we were just in California, but at the same time it feels like it's been forever since we were last there. Either way we're heading back for a thanksgiving/birthday/wedding planning trip! We have to meet with our venue to have a planning meeting 5 months before the wedding and we will be at the 5 month mark on the 28th! Eek! And since Thanksgiving is right around that time we decided to use the meeting as an excuse to head home for the holiday! Since I moved to NY, 4 years ago, I have never been home for Thanksgiving, or my birthday which also occurs while we will be in Cali. I'm excited to eat good food and spend time with our families!

The only downside to our trip is since we are coming for Thanksgiving we will not be able to afford the trip out for Christmas. We chose Thanksgiving over Christmas because of the 5 month meeting. This will be Jeff's first Christmas away from home and my second. I'm bummed we won't be with our families, but I'm looking on the bright side and thinking how cool it will be to spend our last un-married Christmas just the two of us. It will be nice to relax and enjoy each other company on this holiday. Sort of a "calm before the wedding storm." When we go home we're usually running around trying to spend as much time with each of our families, driving from one location to the other. It will be nice to have a laid back Christmas for one year.
personal photos ahead
Jeff and I in Rockefeller Center weeks before becoming engaged

I'm sure after we get married and have kids holidays will become even more stressful. We usually spend Christmas Eve with my Mom and brothers. Christmas day we head over to  Jeff's families house for dinner, them move on to my Grandmother house to see my Dad and his family in the evening. I'm always worried about someone feeling they didn't get to spend enough time with us. (The last couple years I haven't gotten to spend much time with my Mother on Christmas day) Our system works pretty well and we will also be using it for thanksgiving, but I always feel guilty about someone not getting enough of our time. When we have kids someday I'm sure people will be letting us know more openly that they wish they had more time with us...
My Mom and I showing off our matching peace sign sweatshirts

Well we will have lots to do in California from our planning meeting, Thankagiving, visiting with family and friends, and my birthday (at Disneyland!) I'm a little nervous because we only have one more trip planned after this one before the wedding. So we've got to make this one count!

Do you split up your holidays with your fiancé/husband/ significant other? Do you feel like someone doesn't get enough of your time?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No love for the poms

I love poms, also known as pomander balls. I think they are so fun, and can look very elegant if done correctly. Mr. Castle on the other hand thinks they look similar to a bath loofah.

I admit I see what he means, but I don't think he sees their potential. 

Image via / Photography by Julia Newman Photography
Image via / Photography by Paul Versluis
Image via weddingbee
I have typically seen them made out of tissue paper, but they don't have to be. They can also be made out of card stock paper, to give them a little less "loofah" quality.
Image via Pizzazzerie
Or they can be made with ribbons.
Perhaps Mr. Castle will let me incorporate these babies as long as they look as un-loofah-like as possible. Here's a cute one.
Image via The Idea Room
My thoughts for the loofah poms is as aisle decor. In trying to keep our floral budget down, I did not include any aisle decor and I worry it might look a little bare. To remind you of our venue, and also because I can never look at enough pictures, here it is.
Image via Palos Studio
The only decoration we currently have planned is a flower arrangement for the top of the gazebo. I'm sure if that was all we had it would still look amazing. But I'm really liking the last one made out of crepe paper so I think I'll give it a try!

Do you have any experience making poms? Have you seen them in person? Did they look like a loofah?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thanks but... no thanks?

We have been struggling to find our "perfect" officiant. It's been a much more difficult task that I had imagined it to be. I guess when you have specific requirements it turns out that way.

Here's the situation. Jeff is Atheist and I am Catholic. We have imagined a ceremony that is respectful of both our beliefs. In doing such we have been on the search for, let's say a "liberal" Catholic priest. Someone who is comfortable helping us to create a unique ceremony that obviously acknowledges God, but doesn't make him the star, so to speak.

In a previous post I mentioned how we found a great guy. A retired Catholic priest, now married, very liberal, but he charged waaaayyy to much so we couldn't use him. So we looked elsewhere. I then came across a great resource for Southern California officiants. It's sort of an officiant database called so cal officiants and on their site they had a list of three Catholic priests. Awesome. Their fee for a priest is still on the higher side, but less than half of what the previous priest I mentioned was charging. Double awesome.

The site hooked us up with a priest named Father Geoff. His first email to us was very informative with a lot of details such as a sample wedding outline, right down to how and where to get your marriage license. He seemed like a very organized guy, which is always a good sign. He also shared in his email that he was suspended for voicing his opposition to Prop 8 in California. From what I understand he was asked to encourage his parish to vote yes on prop 8, banning same sex marriage, and he didn't feel right doing that. If you're interested you can read about his story here. This is a subject very near and dear to mine and Jeff's heart as we are pro marriage equality. I'm sure it took a great amount of courage for father Geoff to publicly announce his opinion, even though it is against what the Catholic church believes. He seemed like just the "liberal" Priest we were looking for.

We were hopeful and optimistic that we had found our officiant.  Then I get a random call from my Grandmother the other night saying this: "Hi Sharon, we got Father Dennis to do your wedding. So that's all set, call me back." ........ Um what?

Let me explain that I did ask my grandmother if she knew any priests who would do a wedding outside of the church back in September, and she said she might know someone. In October I asked her again for this priest's information and she told me she would try and get in touch with him. Then I never heard anything again until the, "We got him for your wedding" message. I never asked her to ask this priest to marry us I just asked for his information. I am grateful for her help, but also worried that this Father Dennis might not be a good fit for us. I have never spoken to him, I don't know if he would be willing to help us create our ceremony, or if he feels comfortable with it being probably a less religious ceremony than he is used to officiating. It kind of gives me anxiety to think about having to talk to him. What if he is soooo not the right guy for us. Then I have to tell my Grandma, thanks for hunting down this priest and asking him to do our wedding, but we don't like him and don't want him marrying us?

I'm not sure what the outcome of this situation will be. I'm hoping we won't hurt anyone's feelings with our decision, but at the end of the day this is our wedding and we want to be happy with who marries us. Geez I never thought this part of wedding planning would be so tough! Trying to stay positive and calm... I guess I'll end with: to be continued...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Invitation Inspiration!

With our save the dates taken care of, it was time to start thinking about our invitations! While Mr. Castle did an amazing job designing our save the dates, I didn't want to pressure him into designing our invitations. If he really wanted to do them I wasn't going to say no... but he wasn't jumping at the chance. The closer we got to the wedding, the more projects we already have to work on and we both don't need that DIY invitations stress.

So I started searching for some invitations that caught my eye on Etsy, Minted, Weddingpaperdivas, and more. Here are some of my favorites!
Image via Etsy/ seller LetterBoxInk
Image via Etsy/ seller dearemma
Image via Etsy/ sellar goldenrectanglepress
Image via Minted
Image via Rifle Paper Co
I know that last one is a save the date, but it's so cute! I think it could work as an invitation. I am looking for a way to incorporate our kitties....

I wish there was some sort of overall theme to theses invitation examples, but as you can see these ideas are kind of all over the place. We definitely favor the old Art Deco/Broadway "playbill" style invitations. Simple elegant design, but not too serious, and a touch of orange wouldn't hurt...

Did you design your own invitations? Was your decision difficult to make? 

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Save the Date Reveal

I am so happy with how our post card save the dates turned out! They were designed by Mr. Castle and we had them printed by vistaprint. There were some complications that held us up, which were completely my fault. If you buy clear address labels make sure you buy the right kind for your printer... laser printer labels do not work in an ink jet printer... With new labels we fixed the problem and made a trip to the post office to send them out. 

Like I said, sooo happy with Mr. Castle's design. He did such a great job! 
Personal Photos / Designed by my fabulous fiancé

He put so much effort into choosing the perfect font, colors, and design. It was fun working together to put on the labels and stamps. We got it done fairly fast while watching The Big Bang Theory, one of our favorite shows.

When I put theses in the mail I felt a huge wave of emotion. It's the first moment when we were actually inviting people to our wedding. As we hit all these little milestones of wedding planning, finding a dress, choosing vendors, sending out save the dates; each one that brings us closer to our wedding gives me happy butterflies in my stomach. :)

Did your save the dates go smoothly?