Monday, May 2, 2011

Engagement shoot: to market, to market

Andrew and I had our engagement photos taken around Capitol Hill this past Saturday (finally, yay!), and I can honestly say the whole experience was even more fun and laid-back than I expected it to be! We staged plenty of poses around the Dome and Senate-side grotto before heading to Eastern Market for some more informal photos against a backdrop of brick walls and produce stands. To our delight, the weather held up and despite the wind making its presence known on occasion by messing with my hair in the midst of a shot, it couldn't have been a prettier day.

My mother's sister, Daria, was visiting with us for the weekend and we dragged her along for the ride -- but she captured some great behind-the-scenes moments from the shoot and was able to wander off on her own at Eastern Market to peruse the antiques and jewelry vendors. Even our photographer, Lisa Boggs, came back with acquisitions of her own: a gorgeous amber ring and an adorable, floppy sun hat :)

Lisa tells me that she should have some of the shots up on her blog by Thursday, and I can't wait to see how everything turned out! A BIG THANK YOU to Lisa for her patience with us novice models and for her awesome ideas on composition, and also many many thanks to my makeup artist, Gina Robinson, for making me look so pretty! 

{Andrew and I ham it up between takes; courtesy of my aunt Daria}

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I DO NOT: When engagement rings are no longer engagement rings

Yesterday afternoon, I opened up an email forwarded by a writer friend that often sends me wedding-related links and stories that she thinks I might find interesting. Except this one came with the caveat that I would have to write a blog post after reading it. I was intrigued. 

The original message was from one Olga Topchaya, Director of Marketing for Leon Megé Inc, which bills itself as a "luxury jewelry company." Olga touted the launch of an "unprecedented product" in engagement ring fashion based on the philosophy that "fashion is not merely a style; it's a state of mind." Go on.

"An engagement ring is not merely for the engaged." 

Wait . . . 


"The rings will transform and expand the meaning and purpose of an engagement ring," wrote Olga.

At first I thought it was a bad joke. Believe me, it is not.

For every non-occasion in your dating or single life, there's a ring for that:

Le Petite Indépendance: enables a single woman to own an engagement ring
Le Petite Amour: a token of affection
Le Petite Liberté: a symbol of freedom from society’s standards for love necessitating Marriage – proposal for cohabitation
Le Petite Promesse: an oath that an engagement will occur at some point in the future
Le Petite Allusion: a woman wears to drop a hint to her significant other her taste in an engagement ring before he makes a mistake

The list goes on.

Like a bad flashback to the scene in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days where pitch-man Matthew McConaughey comes up with the cringe-worthy slogan "Ladies: Frost Yourselves" as a ploy to get women to buy their own diamonds instead of receiving them as gifts from gentleman romancers, Leon Megé's utterly transparent scheme to boost sales under the pretense of feminism is seriously the worst case of life imitating art.

From the press release accompanying the email: "Megé asserts that our society has dictated that a diamond ring has to be a symbol of engagement. 'Especially in today’s world, where marriage rates are declining and divorce rates are increasing, it seems hardly fair that such luxury should be reserved for the bride,' states Megé."

While I appreciate Mr. Megé's indisputably sincere and heartfelt concern for all the unwedded women of the world and for our nation's rising divorce rate, aside from being just a ridiculously stupid idea altogether, this marketing blunder accomplishes nothing more than the cheapening of what engagement signifies and what marriage means. Let me wax philosophical for just a moment.

I dated my fiancé for 8 years before we got engaged. By giving me that ring and asking me to marry him, he meant that just being together wasn't enough. That we were going to be together always. That he cared enough about me to put up with my moody sniping and griping, my spontaneous late-night cheese fry cravings, my large and occasionally overbearing family, my flighty memory, the slow incursion of my stuff into every available space in the apartment including in his own tiny closet, and all the other good and bad and annoying stuff that comes with me. That not only did he love me and did I know he loved me, but that he wanted to declare that love before friends, family, and God.

Even if the Western World's symbol of engagement had instead evolved over time to the wearing of a necklace or a pin or a tattoo or a piece of twine instead of a diamond ring, the ultimate value is not in its market worth but in its meaning. By equalizing everybody so as not to leave out anybody, it becomes special to nobody.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Behind the Lens: Lisa Boggs

After many emails, phone calls, and meetings with potential candidates, in January Andrew and I unanimously decided on a photographer for our wedding. The skilled shutterbug who will be documenting our big day from start to finish is a Tennessee transplant to DC, Lisa Boggs, who runs her own photography operation out of Great Falls, VA.

As I previously mentioned, I found Lisa through a local wedding blog that has gradually become less of an indulgence and more of an obsession, United With Love. Pretty much everything featured on that site is amazing, so I figured she would be nothing short of amazing herself. And I was right.

Before Andrew and I even met Lisa in person, she and I spent over an hour on the phone chatting about ourselves, our relationships (Lisa's already been married for a few years), our families, and growing up with food allergies -- it's nice to be able to commiserate once in a while. Lisa is energetic, super sweet, and quirky in the BEST of ways and is just so much fun to talk to. And not to brag, but she's won WeddingWire's Bride's Choice Awards two years in a row. She has a very creative eye and loves colorful exciting weddings, so I'm sure my pastel color explosion will keep her camera occupied.

We had originally scheduled our engagement shoot to take place on Saturday of last weekend, but it being April and it also being DC (where you have a better chance of predicting the weather correctly by flipping a coin than our local weathermen), our plans were foiled first by massive thunderstorms and then by gusting winds when we tried to push back to Sunday.

So we've rainchecked for Saturday, April 30, and I hope to finally have some photos of Andrew and me looking like a happy engaged couple to post on here within the next two weeks. In the meantime, check out Lisa's blog to get an idea of her artistic sense and what our shoot might turn out like!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cake cannibalism?

My friend Christine drew my attention to this creepy news blurb. Does that count as cannibalism?

Monday, January 31, 2011

Going fruity

A number of people have asked about my general ideas for my wedding color palette, so here are some images that might paint a clearer picture of what I'm going for. I'm looking at watermelon and canteloupe/peach as my primaries, with light lemon and lime accents.

Think: 1920s garden party, early summer florals, gentle breeze and cold pitchers of sweet cocktails and fruit drinks...

{all above via elizabeth anne designs}

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I DO: BHLDN, a romantic and affordable wedding line

I have always loved Anthropologie. Not just because I was a cultural anthropology major in college and have an affinity for the name, or because their clothes and home decor are too cute for words, or because the PA-headquartered company's first store -- located on the Main Line in Wayne, PA -- was only a short drive from my parents' house when my interest in fashion began to bud.

I've loved Anthropologie because they "get it." They get me. They know that girls like me don't want to dress like vixens or runway models all the time -- they want to feel comfortable and cozy in the clothes they're wearing or in the sheets they're sleeping under. They know we want quality clothes that will last, and that we're willing to pay a little extra for them. They know we value attention to details, like hand-beading, dyeing, ornamental buttons or mood-lifting patterns.

So today's news that Anthropologie will be rolling out a wedding line, BHLDN (pronounced "beholden") next month is simply warming the cockles of my heart. As my friend McLean explains on her fashion and life blog, the line will feature original designs from the brand as well as pieces by Fleur Wood, Tracy Reese, and Catherine Deane created exclusively for Anthropologie. Dresses will run from moderately priced ($1000) to moderately expensive ($4000). 

If the styles, fits, and detailing of these dresses and accessories are any reflection of Anthropologie as we know it I'm sure brides everywhere will be queuing up for the launch -- fittingly, on the most romantic day of the year: Valentine's Day.

your wish, coming true—introducing BHLDN.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Martha Stewart debut

Had a great long weekend up in New York, and got to spend some quality time with a bunch of my close friends -- including my MOH and a couple of the bridesmaids.

I rendezvous-ed with Marisa at Penn Station an hour before the show and limped to the studio on my gimp foot (I forgot to mention in previous posts that I fell off a pair of 5 inch heels 45 minutes into the New Year, and seriously mangled my right ankle). After what seemed to be ages waiting in line in the blustery cold, we were ushered in to the studio to be prepped, to primp, and to submit our questions and release forms prior to taping.

The aforementioned gimp food proved fortuitous in the end, as it ushered me and Marisa to the front of the line and the front row of the studio audience.

The taping took almost two hours and it was a fun experience, but although we came back with some nice things (like an espresso machine, a swank pair of Hanky Panky's, and some Oscar de la Renta perfume) there weren't as many bridal takeaways as I had hoped. I think the most useful thing I went home with was the winter issue of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine.

Check out the preview for our TV audience debut here, where Marisa's bright orange shirt makes an appearance:

The show airs today (Thursday) at 10am on the Hallmark Channel.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I DO: In love with United With Love

Hands down, United With Love is my favorite new wedding blog obsession.

Recently started by Nole Garey and Juli Smith, who were once DC brides themselves, United With Love features real Washington weddings and offers a plethora of creative DIY decorating ideas, playful themes, and unusual color palettes that so closely mirror my own taste. (Let's be honest, pretty much everything I'm going to do at my reception will probably have been stolen from a post I saw on UWL). It's hard not to find inspiration in a post, and I'm always clicking the refresh button to see if something new has been added.

And, without wasting an entire day at the office perusing the blog last month, I would never have found my photographer, Lisa, in the sea of DC vendors!

Washingtonian: Unveiled

Washingtonian Magazine is hosting its annual wedding showcase on January 23rd.

Aside from working the check-in desk at a bridal expo for extra cash in college, I've never attended one of these things and am yet to be sold on their merits. I tend to suffer from information overload (a la those annoying Bing commercials all over TV), and I feel like I would be over-inundated with different ideas and suggestions for vendors for every service I need to book all at once. I much prefer to do one thing at a time -- nail down a venue, find a priest, then get a photographer, a caterer, a florist, and so on and so forth down the line. Everything at once would just overwhelm me. Not to mention, $55 is a steep price to have advertisements thrown at you all day.

So I've entered to win tickets for free, and if I happen to get picked then I'll probably go. Otherwise, I'll just keep to my system and get any vendor info I need online from peer reviews on sites like Wedding Wire, Martha Stewart Weddings and The Knot, and from an occasional purchase of Washingtonian's Bride & Groom magazine. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Back from radio silence...

Once again, I've failed to update the blog regularly. For shame! Especially since December was such a busy month with a lot of goings-on that were definitely worth posting on here. So I'll try to get through a few updates as succinctly and as interestingly as I can.

Firstly, my friends' good juju with the Martha Stewart Show has rubbed off on me, and yours-truly will be in the all-bride audience next week for a very special weddings episode! At the encouragement of my Martha-in-training friend McLean, I submitted a very hastily-assembled pitch through the show's website as to why I deserved an invitation. Apparently, Martha's screeners bought it. So on Thursday, January 13th, I'll be heading up to New York City for an advance taping that will air at a later date (usually the show is live). And, I'm excited to say, I get to bring a fellow bride as a guest -- so that means my dear college friend Marisa (who ties the knot with fiance Aric this May) will be in tow. We've both been instructed to wear BRIGHT COLORS and be prepared to tell our engagement and wedding planning stories, so I'm hoping that means we'll get some one-on-one opportunities with Martha and possibly have the opportunity to win some prizes! At the very least, I expect to come home with some sweet audience swag. McLean and another friend, Kristina, told me they came back with amazing gifts from their audience experiences.

Secondly, we have booked an amazingly talented photographer, Lisa Boggs! :::The crowd roars!::: This development warrants its own post, so more on that later.

Thirdly, we have reserved a date at St. Mary Catholic Church in Old Town Alexandria for our ceremony, and will be importing our own Ukrainian Catholic priest! Both DC-area Ukrainian churches are far away from where we live, our venue site, and our preferred hotels for guests and are additionally not in areas that are easily accessible by metro or other public transportation, so exchanging vows at either location would've caused a lot of problems for everyone. It took some wheeling and dealing to convince parties on both ends, but it looks like we'll be able to pull this all off... and with only a little extra donation in our church coffer each Sunday.

Lastly, there are a ton of wedding showcases, expos, sales, and so-on ahead on the calendar to kick off the new year, and I will try my best to hit as many of them as I can!