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Countdown: I do

Yay! (2007 style)The Big Day is here! I can hardly believe it.

Was I able to sleep after all? Mostly…

I am meeting the Wonderful Women at my parents’ house at 6:30 am (the only downside to an afternoon wedding) to start hair and makeup with the stylist. Then… onto the venue. 

You know, more or less, what happens next.

How do I feel? Excited and lucky to be marrying the man of my dreams. Practicing our vows last night on the side of the ceremony room with our judge moved me to tears.  

I also feel a little fancy. I’ve never been pampered like this. 

I know that as long as we get married today, nothing can go wrong. We’ve worked out all of the details and if something doesn’t go as planned, no one will notice.

We will be going on a “Mini-Moon” after the wedding, so I promise to update you on the wedding itself next week, when I’ll be posting as a married woman.

 I like the sound of that.

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Chloe' and Chief Wonderful Woman before bachelorette partyToday feels like the first day of the wedding. I will be meeting my Chief Wonderful Woman with the Mother of the Bride for pedicures and manicures after a very New Jersey lunch of thin crust pizza at my favorite restaurant. Meanwhile, my fiancé and the Gentlemen of the Wedding are having haircuts and shaves.

The two genders have commenced separation. 

We’ll come back together for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. We sent the readings to the bridal party about a week ago and we will practice the set-up together in the actual ceremony space. Hopefully this won’t be too difficult. We are getting married “in the round,” so we’ll need a little coordination.

Dinner, though, should easy. My favorite dish on the menu is fried calamari. Mmmm. The diet can’t possibly still be important, right? How much damage can you do in one meal? 

In a traditional move, my fiancé and I decided not to see each other before the wedding. I am staying with my parents and the Chief Wonderful Woman while he is staying in a hotel near the venue.

I hope I can sleep tonight.

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Wedding favorsTwo more days. It is hard to begin these last few blogs with anything less than surprise about how quickly time is moving!

Today is the last day of preparations (we hope!) We are going to drop everything off the venue for the set-up, including table markers, chocolate favors, etc. Last night we took a final dance class with my parents, which was really fun. (I particularly love how we’ve learned some new things because of the wedding.) 

Guests are starting to arrive and the fun frenzy – rather than the planning frenzy – is beginning.

I imagine that many of you thought I am crazy to think that I could blog everyday before the wedding. Indeed, it is hard to think clearly and focus on important things to share with you.

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While there are only four days left before the wedding (and we fly to New Jersey tomorrow), I’m taking a break from all-things-wedding to present “Family History: Ideas for Collecting & Assembling” at the University of Michigan’s Work/Life Resource Center’s 4th annual event on work/life issues. The title of this year’s conference is Connecting the Dots.

I was contacted by UM’s HR department after someone read the description of a similar class offered at Rec & Ed and one presented at the Ann Arbor Book Festival last May. You never know what opportunities will lead to other ones.

A description of the workshop:

Family History: Ideas for Collecting and Assembling Researching and writing your family history doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In this session, learn tips on how to gather information and brainstorm ideas before translating the stories and research into a form that you can share with family members.

The idea for this workshop, as well as earlier ones and a memoir writing class I taught in NJ a few years ago, came out of a family history project that my mother and I completed together. Continuing the work of her late sister, my mother researched documents about our family’s emigration from southern Italian (Sala Consilina) to northern NJ in the late 1800’s. My mother, a professional photographer, and I visited the town a number of times and collected not only more documents pertaining to the family, but also an oral history. Our relatives there were incredibly generous in sharing their stories.

We paired her photographs with my narrative poems re-telling the family’s history. The result is a manuscript entitled, “Cent’Anni.” The manuscript as a whole is still looking for a publisher, but individual poems have been published. If you are interested, here is one that is available online:

“Teresa serves dinner at 20:00” Conte: Journal of Narrative Writing (Dec. 2006)

I loved collecting oral history and crafting poems out of those voices and so I decided to begin Word Arrangement, a personalized poem company. And that’s how this blog and venture was born.   

I can’t wait – only 4 days left! – to becoming a family with my new husband.

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Italian Tribune Wedding Announcement

I had no idea that you have to pay for wedding announcements in most newspapers. (Don’t look for our announcement in the Star-Ledger or NJ county papers.)

I guess it makes it sense: the announcement isn’t necessarily news and it is more like an advertisement.

That said, I really wanted to announce the wedding in New Jersey’s Italian Tribune which my family may (or may not) have been reading since it started in 1931. (It is not to be confused with Michigan’s Italian Tribune which has been publishing since 1908 and we subscribe to.)

We discovered that the Italian Tribune will publish announcements for free and we recently send in our information along with a photograph of us at a friend’s wedding in Tuscany last summer. We were so happy to see that it was recently published!

Thanks, Italian Tribune!

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Theresa's cake

My fiancé and I were surprised yesterday by a cake celebrating our upcoming marriage at a potluck dinner for his program. Theresa Ramirez, a pastry chef whose wedding cakes you might remember reading about here, made this beautiful and delicious cake. Thank you so much, Theresa!

Even though I’m on the inevitable pre-wedding diet that I tried to avoid, I enjoyed a nice, big piece.

So, I tried to swear off a pre-wedding diet. I’ve been inundated with information (otherwise known as “ads”) about how to lose weight quickly before your wedding. They are in wedding magazines, Facebook ads, Google ads, etc. They are disheartening and could make anyone sad for the unrealistic expectations on women’s bodies.

It is important to lead a healthy life, which includes healthy food and exercise. Trying to focus on that instead of the wedding clothes, my fiancé and I joined a gym. It is the Meri Lou Murray Recreation Center, a reasonably priced county gym. It hasn’t been too hard to go regularly.

Unlike some gyms I tried in NJ where many of the patrons looked like Soprano’s extras, this gym isn’t daunting. There are a wide-range of folks there, from kids who look like they might be on a team to senior citizens who park their walkers in the corner. 

So, we go to the gym regularly and eat good cake when we can. That’s a well-balanced life, if I’ve ever heard of one.

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Giving a similar talk in Maplewood, NJ (summer 09)

Today I am presenting at the Rochester Writer’s Conference.

Brainstorming, Work, and Creativity: Thinking Outside of the Box

Right brained or left, it doesn’t matter – being creative is essential in the current economy. Access your inner poet and your muse with poet and entrepreneur, Chloe Miller, who will lead a discussion of how to connect creativity with business planning and the generation of concrete ideas. This is a hands-on, interactive, process-driven voyage of discovery. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves.

Chloe’ Yelena Miller, received an MFA in creative writing from Sarah Lawrence College. She has poems forthcoming or published in the Cortland Review, Alimentum, Lumina and Privatephotoreview.org, among others. She teaches writing online for Fairleigh Dickinson University, edits Portal del Sol and reads for The Literary Review. She founded Word Arrangement, a personalized wedding poem company and related blog.

I gave a similar talk to the PIM group in  (Professionals in the Media) Maplewood, NJ this summer.

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