Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2009

Looking at the book during the showerHands down, my favorite gift at the shower last weekend was a book that the Chief Wonderful Woman, the Wonderful Women as a group, the Mother of the Bride and my fiancé all contributed to. The Chief asked everyone to send her pictures and she put them together in a square, red book (by Shutterfly.) 

The images are organized by era – infancy, childhood, high school, friends’ weddings, etc. I think I am most touched by the pictures of me with the Wonderful Women years ago… there is the picture of us in college, in high school… these are the people I grew up and continue to grow with.

In this era of Facebook, we often upload pictures and forget about them. I look forward to carrying this book with me from home to home and looking at it in the future. I’ll remember not only my friends and how we all were, but also receiving it at the shower. 

I am still glowing from the memory of Sunday and the memories brought into the present by the book. Thank you.

Read Full Post »

cake tastingToday was a sweet, sweet day. It started off with cake tasting at our venue and ended with chocolate making.  

The Mother of the Bride and I were each given a plate with four different generous slices of cake. The venue made four cakes total and we took home the rest of the four cakes. I had no idea that we would not only taste the cake, but be able to eat it for the rest of the week. That’s what I call preparing for the wedding. 

Our meeting took about an hour, since we discussed many of the final details of the big day (seating, order of the day, etc.) How does time fly by so quickly? It seems just yesterday we were taking off our winter coats and meeting with the same people in January. I’m both overwhelmed by everything that has to be done at the end and amazed by how much we’ve already done. 

I spent the afternoon making the chocolates for the wedding favors. I had planned to make 3 per person, but I ended up making 5 (apparently an odd number is good luck for a bride. I think any amount of chocolate is good luck for anyone!) It was fun, but I could use a massage on my lower back after leaning over for three hours. The Mother of the Bride and I still have to package them in little bags.

Chocolate favor making

To prepare to make the favors, I had experimented with various flavors and techniques for chocolate making in Michigan. I thought that I’d try using squeeze bottles this time, but that proved to be a disaster yesterday. I kept melting the chocolate on low in the microwave and the chocolate wouldn’t melt. When it did, it wouldn’t flow nicely through the very small tip (even after I gave the bottom a good slap.) Finally, I microwaved the bottle some more and it imploded. The bottom was sucked inward and the chocolate was mixed with the melted plastic. That is not something you want to serve to your most beloved family and friends. I threw out the dreaded bottles and bought a new double-broiler on sale at Bed Bath and Beyond yesterday. So today, I knew what I was getting myself into and was ready. 

If you plan to be a DIY bride like I am, I recommend practicing making the items ahead of time (especially if it is food!) I was able to practice in Michigan and then order everything that I needed to have it ready for me at my parents’ house when I arrived last week. I did overdo it a little; there were twice as many bags of chocolate than I needed and I even made more chocolates than I thought I would (see how important math is?) Anyone need a bag? Or seven?

Yesterday was a busy day, too. I finished packaging the hotel welcome bags and wrapped the presents for the Wonderful Women. (More on that after the wedding. Can’t ruin any surprises!) After shopping for the double-broiler (called a “bagno Maria” in Italian – literally, Maria’s Bath?), I bought some special wines to share with our guests at a wine pairing station. We’ve made sure that my fiancé’s home state and our current state (Michigan) are represented. A friend told me that there is New Jersey Exit Wine. Perhaps I’ll look for that. Am I allowed to make the joke about what exit I take for the store? I didn’t think so. 

Tomorrow I’m off to pick up the wedding license, meet with the DJ and visit with my great aunt before going to a dance class with my parents. Somewhere in between then, I might have a slice of cake and a chocolate or two that went awry and wasn’t counting. Luckily, there are more than a few.

Chocolate favors

Read Full Post »

I renamed the bridesmaids the “Wonderful Women of the Wedding,” since they are not “maids.” We could simply call these women, “WOW” for short. And that is exactly the word I kept saying during the shower.

The Mother of the Bride, The Chief Wonderful Woman and two other Wonderful Women went above and beyond, as did the guests with their thoughtful gifts. 

A few highlights… 

The Chief arranged for a platter to be made that everyone could sign:

 Wedding shower signed plate 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chief also arranged for a recipe box. Not just any recipe box, this one has a picture on the top that I took (the joys of sharing with Facebook!) and is filled with various family recipes, some of which match the wishing well items. Recipe box

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Wishing Well wasn’t your usual Well. Instead, it is a great reusable container. Here is a pic of it along with the great gift from Italy from Lisa, another Wonderful Woman:

 Wishing Well and present from Italia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mother of the Bride made the favors: candles wrapped in flowers that look like our invitations and flowers for the reception. Light one and make a wish for yourself and the couple, if you like.

Wedding shower favors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mother of the Bride scanned a part of the invitation and used it as the labels for the Greek food. The Shower had a Greek theme, as we are planning on going to Greece next summer for our honeymoon.

 Wedding shower food with labels

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My cousin Peggy made this beautiful blanket for me. I cannot wait to snuggle under it during the quickly approaching Michigan winter:

Peggy's blanket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the Wonderful Women, Robin, knit this blanket entitled, “The Tree of Life” (by Nicky Epstein.) She wrote, “The Tree of Life is knit from the bottom up – as each tree has a solid foundation – they intertwine and join as one. Filled with flower gardens and joy – may you and Hans – the two strong trees – share a joyful, intertwined life ahead.”

Robin's blanket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Read Full Post »

Bachelorette gang. What a great tiara! Missing: pink boa was removed for better eating.Shower Day is here! I joked to the Mother of the Bride that I should show up with wet hair to help with the “shower effect.” Needless to say, I plan on drying it nicely. 

I look forward to it – and discovering what has been hidden in the dining room and refrigerator that I was banned from seeing before today.

A few things will be hidden from the guests – like my “dress of color” which I hand-carried on the airplane the other day from Michigan. The bridal salon, B. Ella,  said that they could fold it into a little package (wrapped in ribbons, of course) and I could have it pressed in New Jersey. It fit in a duffle bag and is now hanging up in my parents’ house waiting to be pressed at a local bridal gown store. 

I have also been gathering together a number of gifts – from the presents for the bridesmaids to favors for the hotel welcome bags. Phew! Lots of planning and lots of my parents hauling boxes up to my old room. They have been good sports about everything. It is not easy to coordinate a wedding from another state.

Last night was the Bachelorette Party! What a wonderful dinner of tapas, sangria and laughs… just amazing. See how much fun you can have without strippers and penis straws? Thank you, Chief, for spearheading all of the planning.

I keep being surprised by how special all of these pre-wedding festivities have been (from a facial with my step-mother-in-law-to-be to last night.) As anyone less cynical than me would have realized more quickly, it feels good to be surrounded by loved ones, even for a historically traditional celebration which I might have shunned in the past. 

Thanks again to so many people – the Chief, Wonderful Women and Mother of the Bride – for helping with the festivities. We each live in a modern community that we’ve constructed (one that goes beyond family and an office) and I feel so loved in this very generous one.

Read Full Post »

Gallop Park, MIToday is the bachelorette party. My maid of honor, who I have renamed the “Chief Wonderful Woman,” or “Chief” for short, has planned an amazing day for me at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and then dinner in New York City.

Instead of traipsing through the gardens in the middle of the most poetic borough (home to the Brooklyn Book Festival), I am lying in my childhood twin bed blogging. I am trying to avoid getting sick. My body feels like a stone; I am exhausted from so many things, as you might be able to guess. 

The Chief, Mother of the Bride and I decided to cut the day short and start with dinner, which sounds great. I feel terribly guilty for not being in tip-top shape, but I’d hate to get anyone sick at the shower tomorrow. How could I let myself get sick and infect my favorite (female) loved ones? 

The Chief worked closely with me to plan the bachelorette festivities, which I really appreciated. I had strict rules about what not to include (strippers, penis straws, etc.) Otherwise, it was mostly up to her. She worked closely with some of the local bridesmaids (who I call the “Wonderful Women”) and it sounds like a beautiful evening! I can’t wait.

For tonight’s festivities, we decided to invite very close female friends who are local to NYC. I think the very hardest part of the wedding planning has been the various invite lists. As a shy one, it is important to me to have small, intimate groups. Even so, I love many people from different parts of my life for different reasons. 

It was hard for me, who is not only shy, but also a feminist, to decide to limit the invite list to only women. I have male friends who I care about and my fiancé had a co-ed bachelor party, which I didn’t mind (especially since it also didn’t include strippers or … I don’t even want to guess that else it could have had…)

Maybe this shy feminist is slightly more traditional than she realized. It sounds special to gather together as women and celebrate this new step in my life. Planning the wedding, almost like studying abroad and encountering a new culture, has helped me to consider parts of myself that I hadn’t necessarily thought carefully about before.

So here I am, waiting in bed until the evening. As the Italians say, I’ll be “brava.”

Read Full Post »

A good way to relax. Have your picture taken with dinosaurs outside of the ROM in TorontoThere are 21 days until the wedding day and I am reading the Huffington Post’s Complete Guide to Blogging. In my case, these two things are intimately connected. 

The book encourages bloggers to be more personal and spontaneous in their posts. As a poet, I do anything but write quickly. I am personal in my poetry – from an emotional truth perspective – but I don’t tend to divulge too many details. (I promise, you can read many of my poems as fictional accounts of something true. I didn’t sleep with the married man in one poem and I didn’t give birth in the other. It is imagination, workshoppers, I promise.) I think that practicing being more spontaneous will offer even more personal insight into wedding planning. A win-win situation, right? 

So, for my readers and my writing, I’ve decided to test myself and blog – at least a few lines – every day until the wedding day. I won’t over-edit or over-think. If, however, my fiancé asks me to refrain from something, I will. Immediately. My future marriage is more important than a good line.

I’d love to share my experience so other brides can avoid some of the feelings I’ve experienced. I look at wedding magazines and feel isolated – I don’t live a pill-induced-skinny-life with a wedding planner. I’m not surrounded by girlfriends who live nearby and don’t work, so they can help with the details as we sit around and drink Cosmos. 

Instead, I am (not necessarily in this order): an online teacher for two schools, online editor, poet who writes and submits work, blogger, personalized wedding poet, wedding planner, bride, Italian tutor, Italian teacher, conference presenter, fiancé, daughter, grand-niece, home chef and I have errands to run, too. Frankly, this is the case for most working artists. We have a lot of projects.

I have chosen my path – professionally and personally – purposely. I am happy to have the freedom to travel and do my online work from anywhere. I enjoy all of my projects and would be bored if I only had one. I want to plan my wedding with my fiancé instead of spending our life savings on hiring people to do things we can do and maybe even do better.   

Sometimes, though, it is overwhelming. I have found some successful ways to break through the overwhelming feelings and be more productive. I know that the wedding that we are planning is exactly the one we want. And if anything goes wrong, no one else will know (unless you are reading my blog, perhaps? Shhh. Don’t tell.)

I hope that my experience will help to share my experiences, taper some isolation for other brides in my situation and entertain a little. Your comments, oh wise married and marrying ones, will offer feedback to those same brides so they can have the best experience ever.  After all, as my bridesmaid Amy said the other day, “Enjoy everything! As far as I can tell, nothing like this will ever happen again.”

Read Full Post »

Truffles from chocolate-earth.com.If you are a regular reader, you know how much I love chocolate. When New Jersey Wedding Ceremony Officiant and Minister Celia Milton suggested that chocolate could be a part of a wedding ceremony, I asked her to share more details. Thanks, Celia, for these great ideas!

 ***

Many couples include unity rituals in their wedding ceremonies to signify  the joining of each partner into a relationship that brings them to fullness,  allowing them to grow as a couple even as they grow as  individuals. 

Elements like unity candles and sand ceremonies are fairly well known. But if you’re designing your ceremony to reflect your personal histories and future, why not include something that is especially  significant to your  relationship. That’s where the fun begins!  I’ve had couples who shared Tequila; couples who’ve braided colored cords, couples who have planted tree saplings  together, and couples who have fed each other sushi,  but my favorite new unity  ritual is a chocolate sharing. 

I first created a chocolate sharing ceremony for a couple I married last year. The groom is a chocolate sommelier who creates tastings  and walking tours throughout New York City. The bride met him at an event she attended with several of her friends.  Since chocolate figured so prominently in their first encounter, and then became a star player in their reception, (of course, they had a chocolate wedding cake…) it only made delicious sense that we include it in the ceremony itself! 

I asked the groom to supply two of the same truffles they tasted during their first meeting, They were displayed on a crystal platter for the ceremony. During the “love story” part of their wedding ceremony, I talked about  how they met, and made  were several other references to chocolate. Then they fed each other.

The actual chocolate sharing was placed after the vows and the ring ceremony.  (My idea here is that the “formal” vows should come before any informal, “common law” promises like handfastings, wine sharings, or the chocolate.)  It created a nice contrast and made it easy for their  photographer to capture each other. 

I began with a reading before the actual “sharing”. Here are two for you  to consider.

1.  “Chocolate has long  been considered the food of the gods; been used as a metaphor of life. A simple box of chocolates is the perfect representation of what life is like as a married couple. Sometimes you are given sweet moments, so perfect they overwhelm your senses, your emotions. Other times you are given dark and bitter moments, a start contrast to the sweet ones. There will be times that one of you will need to be strong for the other, to nourish the others spirit, and at other times, you will both share joys that will take you above the clouds. Now, you will use the sweetness of chocolate to nourish each other, for chocolate is one of the few foods that feeds, not only the body, but the heart and soul.”  (This is courtesy of my colleague Kelly Hunt,   from Heartfelt Wedding Ceremonies in Wisconsin.) 

Chocolate Ceremony #2  “Now, sometimes, at this point in a wedding ceremony, we might light a unity candle, or pour different colors of sand into a family vessel, but since John and Alicia are such a unique couple, we wanted to celebrate this moment of sharing in a completely unique way. With two delightful pieces of  dark chocolate from the rain forests of Brazil. 

Chocolate is  a delightful metaphor for love and life!  The possible flavors and textures of chocolate are endless. Each truffle, each sliver,  or kiss  promises the discovery of  new treat for the palette. For a chocolate lover, navigating  the world of chocolate is as exciting as a lone  explorer discovering new and uncharted territory.  So too, should be your relationship with each other. Your uncharted territory is the coming years that lie ahead, years that will present so many opportunities to learn and grow, to challenge each other and comfort each other, to revel in the new and find comfort in your history, a history you create every minute of every day.

Your  life together will certainly mirror the experience of tasting  chocolate.  There will be  times that are sweet, filled with cream and honey, and times that are dark and bittersweet.  And probably some times that are really nutty!  But every experience will  nourish your body, heart and soul. By sharing  this chocolate with each other,  you promise to always be present for each other, in darkness and light, in sweet and bitter,  in dismal and delicious.” 

I encourage all my couples to think outside the box (even if it is a heart shaped, satin covered one!), and work with their officiant to wedding ceremonies  that reflect their personalities and tastes!  And if you love chocolate (is there anyone who doesn’t?) , this may be just the perfect sweet note for you. .  You could even have all your guests share in the moment!  (But no milk chocolate please; we don’t want any fingerprints on the wedding gown!)

 

 For more words of wisdom, check our Celia’s blog.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »