The Week Before

The week before the wedding, my father, stepmother, mother, sister and her twin babies all rented a house together close to the wedding venue in Delray Beach, FL. Even my brother joined us from Seattle towards the end of the week. It was a real departure for my family, the first time my parents have “vacationed” together since they divorced around 1980. As you can imagine, having them both under one roof in the days leading up to the wedding was a real blessing for me. I use the word “vacation” loosely only because I don’t think any of us would consider those days a relaxing care-free experience. But not for any of the reasons we might have imagined in advance.

I knew the week leading up to the wedding would be busy and stressful. I had a lot of last minute planning that had to be accomplished once getting down there. I expected long lists of things to do, days filled with errand running and lots of fretting over last minute decisions and changes. But no. I had a whole ‘nother ball of wax delivered to my plate.

Shortly after Erin and I arrived in Florida, she decided to visit a walk in clinic since a cold she was getting over seemed to be getting worse, not better. The doctor diagnosed her with bronchitis, sinusitis and pink eye. Pink Eye! Immediately upon hearing that my imaginary hypochondria kicked in. I was absolutely SURE that just a pair of days before the wedding I would catch pink eye and then be quarantined from my wedding guests and a photoshop nightmare for my photographer. I spent the next several days avoiding Erin like the proverbial plague.

Sure she looks OK, but pink eye is lurking under there!

The day after Erin was diagnosed, the tooth area where I had just had a root canal started bothering me. It wasn’t horrible, but it didn’t feel right. And since I had a week in the Dominican Republic coming up, I didn’t want to risk leaving it to chance. So, I found an endodontist thanks to Google and Dad and Jan took me to see him. Funny old man, apparently he had trained the guy who did the root canal I just had done about a week before leaving for FL. He is also considered the endodontist to the stars, and even Larry David was trying to get him on the phone while I was getting looked over.

I will admit it, when he said that the tooth I had already done was fine….but the tooth next to it needed a root canal, I started to cry. When he said the price tag would be $1200, I started to sob. But what choice did I have? I consulted with Damir and my parents and we all agreed. Just get it done.

Later that afternoon, standing virtually naked in the back of a dark tanning booth letting some stranger paint me some shade of tan, as drool slipped down my chin from all the anesthetic injected during the earlier root canal, I had to laugh. What the hell is going on with me?

The house we rented, though spacious, was very interesting. If an 80’s cocaine overdose could be translated into architecture, this would be it. I didn’t get pictures of the best parts, but here you’ll get the gist below.

Though it wasn’t the most relaxing of weeks for me or the rest of my family, I truly hope we can do it again…and soon (minus the medical drama). It was so great not having to shuttle between houses or worry that I was spending too much time with one parent over another. I have a vision of shared holidays, summer vacations, birthday parties and celebrations in my head. I hope they see the same.

The Flowers

One decision I really debated over in the wedding planning was whether or not to forgo the florist and just do my own flowers. I mean, we didn’t need that much…just 2 bouquets for me and my sister and seven small table arrangements.

I really surprised me during the planning process when several people advised me against it. On a bride blog that I wrote for anonymously, I got several commenters telling me I was flat out crazy. Florists in disguise perhaps?

What I can tell you is that in the end, it was awesome.

Here’s how it went:

I ordered 3 varieties of flowers on about 3 weeks before the wedding to be delivered to our venue 2 days before the ceremony. were great– they were on top of the order from the moment I put in my payment.

I ordered:

— 72 Stems of Peony Pink Metropole Garden Rose (also called a cabbage rose* almost identical to a light pink peony– but much cheapr)
— 72 Stems of Piaget Garden Rose (a darker shade of pink than the Metropole)
— 100 Stems of White Ranunculus (1-5 blooms per stem)

Enough to make:

7 table settings consisting of 3-small vases of flowers, 2 bouquets, and because it turns out we had way more than I needed for tables and bouquets, we had two large arrangements for the altar and reception areas.

Our ceremony didn’t start until that evening, so it was no trouble at all to gather my ladies (my sisters, mother and step-mother) to help with the arranging. I had stored the flowers in my hotel room in buckets (actually, the room’s clean trash cans were converted for this purpose) after cutting the stems when they first arrived. On arrival the blooms looked a little sad, but once cut and placed in water, they opened perfectly and were huge, gorgeous blossoms that smelled heavenly.

The best part of having done the flowers ourselves is that each time I looked down at my bouquet, I thought of the loving hands of my sister, mother, stepsister and stepmother who all came together to do this with me.

I felt real love in that bouquet.

Wedding Recap, Part 1

It was worth every penny, ever tear shed, every ounce of stress felt in the 15 months of planning for 2 days of celebration. In short: the wedding exceeded all of my hopes.

There were so many things that I was worried about months, weeks and days before the wedding, but when the day finally came, I was calm and cool and ready to commit myself to this amazing man who I am now proud to call my husband.

Revisiting the long list of worries I blogged about months before, I am happy to report: everyone danced (with gusto!); my vendors were warm and capable; nothing fell apart; I didn’t fall down in my dress; the food was incredible; I felt like a million bucks (even if a sweaty pool by the end of the night); the ceremony was moving and true to who we are– and my brother did a fantastic job officiating; it didn’t suck. In fact, quite the opposite! Though I definitely missed my friends who were not there beside me, I was so appreciative of all the notes, texts and calls on the day of. Keeping it just small with the family was the right thing for me.

I owe so much to my parents who made everything possible, my sister who was the perfect Best Lady, my brother who officiated like a pro and my step-sister who did a great reading. I truly am blessed.

More details to come!

So Much to Look Forward To

It’s official: I am getting married in less than a month. I am at that stage of wedding planning where planning and thinking about the wedding takes up the majority of my non-sleeping and non-working time. There still feels like much to do, but we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty details. For the most part, all the big stuff is done. Mostly.

There’s so much to look forward to in the coming 40 days:
– My sister and a cousin of Damir’s are throwing me a bridal shower this weekend in Manhattan. Erin is staying the whole weekend and we’ll have some girl time together at a swanky hotel (for free, thanks to work connections). I am looking forward to seeing the small group of ladies who will be coming. The shower will be in my favorite Scottish Pub….haggis for all!
– The week before the wedding my family has rented a beach house near Delray Beach. This will be the first time I sleep under the same roof as both my parents since about 1979. I am deliriously happy about this. It means so much to me to have them all close by and not have to worry about shuttling between one parent and the other. There will be lots to celebrate, my mom’s and Erin’s twin have birthdays in the days before the wedding!
– Obviously I am looking forward to the wedding itself. Though I sorely regret the absence of friends we won’t have by our side, I am glad we are doing something so small. It feels less scary and intimidating that way to me. I know it’s going to be beautiful and imperfect, lovely and exciting. I’ve written the ceremony and adore what we’ll say to one another as our vows. And I love that my sister will be standing up with me, and my brother will be officiating.
– I look forward to the adventure of marriage! Yes, it’s true! And specifically to the man I have chosen. Being Damir’s wife certainly comes with challenges, cultural and domestic, but I feel confident I know what I am getting myself in to. I am marrying a man who I adore, who makes me laugh, who listens (even when I know he doesn’t want to), who dreams big and often, who has a wonderful imagination and adores me to the core. Who could ask for more?
And finally, I look forward to changing the conversation. Wedding planning talk is a bore, so I commend you if you made it this far down the post. I will be happy to come home and start my next project, whatever that may be!

What’s Up with My Wedding?

I had promised that I wouldn’t bore you with wedding planning crap, but I have to get this out there: Lately I am kind of dreading my own wedding.

There, I said it. The ugly truth is out there.

Being kind of an event/travel planning control freak has not aided me in this process. I want a hand in everything, but from far away this is proving difficult. And annoying. And painstaking. And expensive. And so overwhelming to the point where I just want to bury my head in the sand.

But what’s really doing me is are my anxieties and my expect-the-worst-scenario-nature that are really getting the best of me.

A summary of my worries:

I am worried that no one will dance.

I am worried I am picking the wrong vendors (DJ, photographer, flowers, etc.)

I am worried that everything will fall apart and everyone will point fingers at me and call me a bad person/wedding planner.

I am worried that my family and Damir’s family won’t find the middle ground to come together and have a good time.

I am worried that I will trip and fall while walking down the grassy aisle.

I am worried that I am making people travel a long distance for something they don’t really want to go to.

I am worried that it will suck.

I am worried no one will like to food (and not having a chance to do a pre-tasting doesn’t help that worry)

I am worried I won’t look my best (humidity + Terra’s Hair = NOOOO!)

I am worried we won’t get the wording of the ceremony right, or people will think it’s cheesy.

I am worried Damir will regret that I talked him into this type of wedding.

I am worried that we will be so busy feeling the need to host all our guests and meeting their needs that we will not be able to focus on the importance of what we are doing for each other, you know, getting married.

I am worried that I will be worried.

And finally, I am worried that my friends are pissed that we are keeping the guest list to just the family. It was a really hard compromise/concession we had to make, but ultimately unavoidable for us. I hope they know that I love them deeply and this shouldn’t be a reflection of the value of our friendship. Hopefully they’re delighted it’s one less wedding to have to go to.

Should I just cancel the whole thing and call it a day? I don’t think that’s the answer, because I do believe in my heart that I can make this work. I am just in the weeds right now and at some point the puzzle pieces will join and the day will be beautiful and exactly what I wanted, or at least mostly so.

To be ordained

One thing I am so happy about with regards to the “big W” next year is that my big brother has agreed to officiate the wedding for us and my sister will be standing up with me as my most awesome Best Lady. Now, neither Damir or I have any idea yet what the actual ceremony might entail, but its already comforting to know that up there at the front with me will be the love of my life, and my brother and sister.

Hopefully the ceremony will be just like the picture above from circa 1978– my sister on one side, my brother on the other and me in a wedding dress. Though I don’t imagine they’ll be wearing costumes, but I’d certainly be open to it if they really wanted.

I always wanted to say that my brother married me. Ha! Get it? Try the veal, and don’t forget to tip your waitress.

Its very confusing though to understand whether or not my internet ordained brother officiating is actually legal in the Sunshine State (that’s Florida). The law states the following:

741.07 Persons authorized to solemnize matrimony. (1) All regularly ordained ministers of the gospel or elders in communion with some church, or other ordained clergy, and all judicial officers, including retired judicial officers, clerks of the circuit courts, and notaries public of this state may solemnize the rights of matrimonial contract, under the regulations prescribed by law.

So the question is: what is a “regularly ordained minister”?

Of course we can go to City Hall and have it done “for real” but it would just be nice to have some clarity on this issue: yea or nay?

On a related note: one more decision is in the books, we picked our photographer. Super exciting!

Bay(by) Watch Continues

The Baby Watch continues though I think Erin is getting pretty close. It looks like next year we will be celebrating their first birthday along with our wedding (which is just about 1 year away now).

Speaking of the wedding, one of the more important decisions I have to make is about photographers. Photography is really important to me, especially it’s the one aspect (other than the marriage itself) that you take away with you. The flowers?Ditched the next day. The music? Forgotten. The dress? Likely to be stored away in some closet. But the photos…they last.

When Dad married Jan, nearly 20 years ago now, their photographer delivered terrible shots. I remember that they took pictures of the proofs, just to hang on to some images of the day, but otherwise the images weren’t worth the price to pay for them. I dread that happening to us. They must have been so disappointed.

There is a photographer I really like, who has beautiful images (and does a very cool book documenting the day) and she has shot tons of weddings at our ceremony/reception site. In fact, she was the wedding photographer for the F&B manager (basically the on-site party manager) for the Sundy House. She is good but of course she is expensive, maybe about $1100 more than I had planned to spend, including the pictures (digial), the wedding book, a DVD, an engagement photo shoot and a lifetime portrait deal. If I cut out all the extras, I am sure I can get the price down, but still she will be expensive.

There is another photographer, who seems to do weddings on the side of his documentary and photojournalism career. He is basically no frills– you get a CD of all the images with complete rights for printing and editing. But, he comes in about $900 LESS than what I had planned to spend. I like his work, but feel nervous that this isn’t really his speciality.

I am definitely torn.

I am So. Sorry.

Dudes. Here’s my problem.

I don’t know what to say lately! In recent weeks my life is being dominated by work. When not at work, I am doing research for the “BIG W”, set for May 2010 or a possible honeymoon. When not at work or doing research, I am thinking about the gym, at the gym, or trying not to eat constantly. When not at work, doing research or thinking about my waistline, I am trying to sleep. Usually not successfully since I am thinking about all that other stuff. That leaves me little time to entertain you with my witty observances.

If it helps ease the pain of my absence: I miss you. I really do. It’s not you, it’s me.

I just don’t want to bore you with rant after rave after rant about the ridicutrocities of wedding planning. It’s my own choice to put myself through this maddening process, so I have no right to complain, nor have I gotten to the part of planning that’s good yet (god, I hope there are good parts down the line) and worthy of our conversation. Right now I am in the stage which I call, “HOLY SHIT, THAT’S WHAT THAT COSTS? FOR REAL?” It’s not the most fun stage of event planning.

But, trust me when I tell you there is very good stuff on my horizon. Interesting stuff too. I promise. Here is a little tid bit in the meantime. I went to Boston recently to see my sister who is nearing the completion of her pregnancy with twins. How cute is she?

Oh, and I will also leave you this nugget. First, you know I love babies with wigs. Cute! But what’s possibly even cuter? Doggies with wigs. Check it out from my favorite pet store, Trixie + Peanut:

Who can’t love that?

One step forward…but…

Damir and I went down to beautiful Delray Beach, Florida this past weekend to check out potential wedding venues. We were so grateful that my parents could also meet us down there and help lend us some moral support– I am not sure we could have done it without them!

The good news is: we found a place we both really liked! Tropical, unique, interesting, yet close to bars, restaurants, airports and a great beach not too far away. Perfect! We haven’t signed the bottom line yet, so definitely it isn’t a done deal yet. But at least we both could agree that we liked the venue and the location!

Delray Beach is a funky little town that we really enjoyed. Situated between Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach, it has a funny mix of culture and style. Great for people watching! A bevy of restaurants, bars and boutiques to choose from, and a certain old-Florida style that I like. There is a free shuttle bus that goes up and down main street and to the beach. People were all incredibly friendly, and we ate some really great food!

There are, unfortunately, a few logistical problems we have to tackle about the reception space. We need to come to terms with what is realistic, and not throw our budget out the window. Tricky since of course I want everything that I want and it will be tough to scale back and not go into oodles of debt. We have a good chunk of time to plan, but these first big decisions are the most tricky. I can’t wait to get to the fun part of planning!


For some reason I was under the impression that planning a wedding should be a joyous and fun process. After all, I love to plan stuff. And this is supposed to be a happy thing, bring family and friends together in celebration of love and stuff. But this wedding shit sucks. It really really really sucks. At every turn there seems to be a looming obstacle, and I find we are getting farther and farther (or is it further and further? whatever.) away from the original vision. And the cost! Jesus Christ on a triscuit. With each decision made, we have to undo two others.

I am just frustrated with this.