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?