Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Gifts for the Bridal Party

At our welcome dinner, we gave out thank you gifts to everyone who was involved in our wedding. Our friends and family were so incredibly generous, and we wanted to make sure everyone had a personal token of our appreciation. Here's what we gave everyone:

My parents love baking and had really enjoyed previous trips to King Arthur Flour, so we signed them up for a class on baguette making earlier in the week. They had a total blast and we were delighted to be able to use the many loaves they made during the welcome dinner!

Roger's parents had mentioned they were very excited to have some formal family portraits to hang on their walls, so we gave them a silver photo frame with our wedding date engraved on it. Now that we have our photos back from the photographer, we'll have one of the family portraits professionally printed for them so they can always remember the moment.

For our bridesmaids, we got some of my favorite things: monogrammed tote bags and pearl earrings! The groomsmen each got a bee-themed bow tie to wear the next day and a different pack of Timeline cards, since most of them had played with us in the past and really enjoyed it.

Each of the flower children received a stuffed toy of their favorite animal from Jelly Cat, because I'm a total Kate Middleton fangirl, along with a book about being a flower girl/ring bearer (someone should really write a non-gendered child-attendant book!), and the beautiful flower wands my sister handmade for each of them. She even included a monogram for each kid!

And for our readers and ushers, we got a special "Gray Barns Blend" of lemon verbena and mint tea custom made by Free Verse Farm, and gave it to them along with a small tea pot to enjoy it in.

I had such fun putting together these gifts, and I hope they helped show just a small amount of our gratitude to our incredible friends and family. This wedding was 110% a community effort, and we were overwhelmed by how wonderful everyone was the entire year of our engagement. Thank you to everyone!

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Vermont Welcome Dinner

Maybe it was crazy to host a big party at our house the night before our wedding, but uur guests came from all around the country, so we wanted to make sure they had a full weekend of fun activities to help us celebrate. Everyone was a great sport and braved the chilly temperatures in our barn and the terrors of Vermont pizza. It was a blast to see everyone!

Laura and Molly helped me surprise Roger by making this cheese cake, which I knew he'd really wanted to have at the wedding. They took a few pinterest images and made something delicious and beautiful! And, we got to use the baguettes that my parents had baked the day before at the King Arthur Flour cooking class that we'd gotten them as a thank you gift for all of their support throughout the wedding planning process. It was perfect!

I'm so glad we asked our good friend Madhumita Das to take photos of the evening! As I learned at my bridal shower, you're too busy during these events to remember to take photos yourself, and although I know we made her job difficult with the low lighting in the barn, I think she captured the party as it was and got some gorgeous images. I especially love this photo of my sister:

And, Jill was awesome enough to set up our guests with a custom Snapchat filter, an awesome nod to my love of social media:

Afterward, we headed back to the hotel, ready to become husband and wife!

Friday, December 8, 2017

St. Nicholas Day 2017

Saint Nicholas Day was a little quieter this year than it has been in the past (2012 and 2014 seem to have been captured over here), because I've been a bit lazy with wrapping and it turned out we didn't want to eat any German food that evening, but it was still fun to mark the day with some citrus and a few gifts.

I actually gave R. most of his gifts that evening because of travel plans, so don't worry—it's not usually this big of a haul! As per tradition, it usually fits in a pair of slippers in the morning.

Our lives have been in such flux the last few years that it's fun to keep a few small traditions like this going. Now that we're more settled (though you wouldn't know it from how much work needs to be done on the house!), I'm looking forward to creating more routines around the holidays like this!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Retweeted by Town and Country

I am stupidly excited about this!

Does it warrant it's own blog post? Yes. Because there isn't enough joy in the world lately and this—the retweet, the article about princesses, the references to a Sarah Lawrence girl, all of it—is bringing me an immense amount of joy and I want to remember that.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

A Rehearsal to Remember

After decorating the Skiway, we went back to the house to get ready, and things got a little frantic.

Roger had to: A. fix a leak in the water heater in our barn, which suddenly decided to start pouring water all over our rehearsal dinner space about 15 minutes before we had to leave for the hotel, then B. run to Dan & Whits to grab emergency champagne when we realized the Coop had failed to include the two cases we'd order in his pick up, and then C. go back to the house after we got to the hotel when he realized he forgot his belt. 

It was a whirlwind, and stressful, but we made it to St. Thomas Episcopal Church relatively unharmed, and from there on out, things were a lot more relaxed. 

When we arrived, so many people we love were waiting for us outside the church, and it was such a magical feeling to see everyone and to finally feel like things were getting real.

Because people had to travel so far, I was a little worried about people being late, but everyone managed to make it in on time, even Rob and Dave, who must have been driving pretty fast after they got a late start out of Boston that afternoon.

The rehearsal went off without a hitch, with our ushers, readers, and bridal party all working out perfectly. We had gone over the ceremony with our priest about a month earlier, so everything went pretty smoothly, although we had to decide on the spot if we would kiss during the ceremony (a funny moment was when I said no and Roger said yes at the exact same moment--spoiler alert, we did!), and we had to remind him that our friend Christine was reading the prayers at the end of the service.

Not all of the flower children were able to make it to the rehearsal, but about half of them were, including head flower girl Hailey, who, as the only one over the age of three, was able to help her two-year-old cousin Zoe walk down the aisle the next day.

And, in between the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, I ran over to my office, to leave our wedding cake and reception sign near the refrigerator, for my amazing friend, colleague, and day-of coordinator Laura Jean to bring over to the Dartmouth Skiway the next day.

Then, it was time for dinner!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Holiday Weekend in Woodstock, VT

We had a lovely weekend of holiday festivities this weekend, starting with the Hanover Christmas tree lighting, hot cocoa and cookies and a gingerbread house at the Hanover Inn, and drinks with friends on Friday evening. On our way home, I commented on how full I was from the appetizers we'd eaten, and then we bought a pizza anyway.

Saturday we spent lazing about, then had headshots taken, did a bit of shopping and then lazed about some more. Glorious!

And then on Sunday, I woke up to a small flock of turkeys invading our back yard. We hadn't seen them in a while, so I was pretty pleased to see the five of them wandering about. Kitty was intrigued.

They made their way out of the yard and I kept reading in bed, until I heard a loud rustling outside, which turned out to be their friends, about 25 of them. The rustling was two turkeys flying into the tree to keep lookout. It was pretty spectacular and an excellent way to start the day.

In the afternoon, we headed to Billings Farm and Woodstock to see some of their holiday displays. This coming weekend is Wassail Weekend, which sounds extremely idyllic, but tends to be quite crowded, so it was nice to spend some time wandering around the empty museum and admiring their animals and holiday decor.

We also stopped briefly at the Woodstock Inn to see their Christmas decorations:

And left with some inspiration for our house. We aren't decorating much this year, but a few festive touches here and there will be lovely.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Decorating the Dartmouth Skiway

The day before our wedding, on Friday, October 20, the Dartmouth Skiway let us start setting up the reception area at 8:00am sharp. My parents, sister, Courtney, Molly, and I arrived as soon as they opened with plenty of decorations in hand, while Roger went to pick up our beer order and handle last minute things at the house.

With all the candles, books, photos, and other ephemera, we had a very full truck:

Our plan was to put together two long tables on either side of the dance floor, along with a scattering of high top tables. All of our rentals came on time, and the caterer and bartender also came that morning to check in.

We didn't quite follow the above plan, but it was close, and we were so pleased with the set up. As you can see below, we moved the high tops to be around the dance floor, and put the cake table front and center.

Things actually went a lot quicker than I expected (many hands make light work), and we were finished with decorating by 11am. I'm so thankful to have had my family and Molly there. They are all much better at decor than I am, and also much better at staying calm under pressure, so they basically did everything while I kind of puttered around giving direction. The best decorating crew a gal could ever ask for!

The best part of the day, though, was when Roger came to drop off the beer, and we saw two moose making their way across the parking lot and up the ski slope! I've wanted to see a moose for ages (since there was one wandering around Mahopac when I was in college), and I finally got my wish. A good omen for our marriage, I think!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving 2017!

Image Source:

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! This year, I have so much to be thankful for: our marriage, our new home, my incredible family and friends. 2017 has been a year of change and excitement, and I feel such gratitude for the generosity of spirit that so many people around me have shown. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, because it's centered around gratitude, and food, and family, and feels in that way a bit apart from capitalism and commercialism.

Today is only the second Thanksgiving I've spent away from my parents (the other was while I was studying abroad), and although I miss them, I'm so thrilled with the new traditions I'm starting and the ones I'm maintaining. I hope today is filled with all good things for you!

(And, if you're looking for a poem or prayer to read at your Thanksgiving table tonight, I'm rather partial to the words of this hymn.)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Modcloth, David's Bridal, Designer Loft: How to Pick a Wedding Dress

Although I won't say I was one of those people who had their whole wedding planned out by the time they were five years old, I definitely had an idea of how it would look, and what I would look like at it. I knew I would wear a ballet-length a-line dress, likely made out of lace with a v-neck and three-quarter sleeves. I also, somewhat offhandedly, had pinned a lot of art deco style gowns over the years. But I knew I was going to go more the length that my grandmother and Kate Middleton had taken and have lace and sleeves.

Spoiler alert, it didn't happen—here's what I wore:

Almost immediately after Roger and I got engaged, my mother, Liz, and I took a secret trip to David's bridal to try on dresses right after Thanksgiving weekend. Coming up short (I don't even think I have any photos from that trip!) I took to the place I am most comfortable in the world: the internet.

During their pre-holiday sales, I ordered a ton of dresses from Modcloth, and genuinely liked most of them quite a lot. Of all the ones I tried on that round, I was most excited about this Pisarro Nights white dress, which surprised me, because it wasn't anything like what I'd been thinking I would want.

This one from Chi Chi fit the bill, though it didn't have a v-neck. It's a perennial favorite on Modcloth, so it's still up if you're looking for a wedding dress. I liked it well enough, but thought I looked a little squat in it, so back it went!

There were also some clear losers, like this beige sausage casing:

This dowdy number off the set of Downton Abby:

And this longer version of the one I thought I'd wear, which made me feel like I was on a 1970s photo album cover:

None of these were quite the right fit, but one that I'd seen online, the All Aisles On You, seemed like it could be a perfect fit. It was the same silhouette as the white dress, but looked a little more glamorous. It was also, unfortunately, sold out. I ended up refreshing the page a couple times a day for literally a month until it came back into stock and snapped it up, a wedding miracle.

This was my very favorite, and of course it's the one I don't have a real photo of. I loved it so much that I actually kept it, and can't wait to wear it to a Gatsby-themed New Years Eve party one of these days.  For a very long time, I was pretty sure it was going to be The Dress.

My mother had other plans. (And, she may have been right. Even just from trying it on, many of the sequins and beads have come off, and I need to have a tailor go over the whole thing to secure them. But I love it so much that I'm planning on doing just that!)

So, in February, she came up from Florida and dress shopping we went, with Shelby, Liz, and Sue in tow! Our first stop was David's Bridal in Manhattan, which had a few of the Jenny Packham dresses I liked but hadn't seen in the Connecticut one. The service there left a little bit to be desired; they yelled at Liz for trying to sit down in a chair outside my dressing room, and then yelled at Shelby for trying to bring over a dress for me, and then generally didn't offer me any guidance or help as I was explaining what I wanted. This was a little frustrating to me, because things are so overpriced in wedding world and I was looking at spending more money on an article of clothing than I ever had in my life, and it felt a little like I was at a sample sale looking for bargain bin pieces.

None the less, I tried on a few dresses and didn't just walk straight out. This one was my favorite, with art-deco beading and a v-neck. I especially loved how it draped in the back.

I was also quite fond of this bridesmaid's dress, which had pockets and a lovely neckline. It was vetoed by my mother for not being white.

And this Jenny Packham one just wasn't working on my frame (which is strange because, as you'll see, at the next place, I tried on a dress that was very similar and which worked much better):

None of them bested the dress I already had at home, though, so onward we went.

Our next stop was Designer Loft, where we finally got the wonderful wedding treatment I'd been dreaming of! Their price point started out only a little higher than what we were looking at at David's Bridal, but the service was 10 times as good, easily. They worked with me to pick out dresses that actually looked like what I wanted, helped me into the dresses, and clipped me up so that I could get an idea of what the dress would actually look like after it was tailored (all things that David's Bridal couldn't be bothered with.) I would highly recommend stopping by there if you're in the market for a dress!

Every dress I tried on there was beautiful in its own way. I was surprised by how much I loved the clean lines of these two dresses, which made me feel like Jackie O., especially the long-sleeved one:

And the sales associate also had me try on dresses that felt more art-deco and beaded like the pieces I'd tried on before. I loved the flutter sleeves and the intricate beadwork on the first one:


This Grecian style gown came out of left field, but it felt like wearing a nightgown and I really liked it:

I was just so impressed by my associate's ability to find dresses that matched what I wanted, and also dresses I would never have considered that just looked really beautiful on my body. She has a real talent and it was so hard to pick because all of the dresses felt stunning, for different reasons.

In the end, though, it came down to two.

This first dress was stunning, and reminded me of my prom dress from 2006 (the most beautiful dress of all time). When I had thought, many many years ago, of what type of dress I would wear, this was exactly it.

But, there was also this one, which I dubbed "the seaweed dress" because the asymmetrical beading pattern reminded me of the seaweed we used to have to swim through when I lifeguarded at a lake. I'd wanted to get married on a beach, so having a little nautical touch felt good to me! It didn't have any of the elements I'd wanted, but everyone's reactions were priceless. They loved it. 

It was clear to me that both of these dresses would beat out the little ditty I had at home, but surrounded by so many opinions, I just couldn't make a decision. I felt beautiful in both! We headed home empty-handed, and I came back myself a couple weeks later to make the final choice.

Trying the dresses on again, it was clear that the seaweed dress was far and away the winner. It was so comfortable that I could see myself dancing all night in it. The bustling example the tailor held up was even more beautiful than the train. And when she placed a new belt over the bow and mentioned she could make a matching headpiece, I knew that everyone was right, and this was the dress!

Now that the wedding is over, I can say unequivocally I made the right choice. It was hard to realize that I couldn't wear all the dresses I loved, but I think marriage is often about making a choice to stop making choices, and like our marriage, this one just felt right.