Friday, June 27, 2008

AN ADDENDUM TO MY LAST POST (THE NAME OF MY BAND)

Some of you have already contacted me regarding the name of the band we used for our wedding. I have provided the info below, but want to make sure you all know I have absolutely NO affiliation/connection with this band (no one in the band is a friend or a family member, for example!), so you can be assured this is an honest assessment/review:

The name of the band is: "The Touch" -- they are not a "big band" -- which I love about them - it's about 5 or 6 guys who do what they do EXTREMELY well. To me, they feel very "unwedding-band" like, and just play really cool, fun music.

You can check out their site at www.thetouchpage.com, and you can reach their manager, Barbara, at omnipop entertainment -- www.omnipopbands.com, 516.937.6011. She's extremely sweet and helpful, and will bend over backwards to accommodate even the most last-minute request.

My brother-in-law mentioned to me that he saw The Touch play a wedding at a friend of theirs the week before ours, and played Radiohead's "High and Dry". Radiohead is one of TallGuy's most favorite bands, so I asked Barbara a few days before the wedding if they could play that song, since it was one of his favorites.

Not only did they play the song extremely well, but the band leader did a little "shout out" before playing it - i.e. that it was a favorite of the groom's and I had requested it -- it was so amazing and TallGuy was so blown away.

Good luck to all with the band shopping!

COMMENTS ON A (MY) WEDDING: WHAT I LEARNED AND HOW I LEARNED IT (PART II)

Now that I've had some time to process what seemed like a dizzying, whirlwind few weeks (wedding and honeymoon), I've been able to think about what I want to write about and what thoughts/nuggets of advice I wish to convey.

Just for fun, I thought I'd write a post about things that surprised me on the wedding day and evening, now having gone through the process. I think this may help brides-to-be think about wedding planning in a different light, because these are certainly a few things I wasn't expecting to have happen....

1. CONGA LINES = SO NOT CHEESY.

So, if anyone told me I'd have a conga line at my wedding, I would have told them they were insane. I had this grand vision of this really elegant event in my head (much like a beautiful, intimate dinner party a la Pride and Prejudice - but with dancing to a great band), and ridiculous gimmicks like the chicken dance, the electric slide, and the conga line, were, well things I was REALLY trying to avoid.

At one point, the fantastic, fantastic band we used (anyone in NYC let me know, I can give you their name -- reasonable for a band, and so much fun - everyone was up on their feet all night) began to play one of my FAVORITE WEDDING BAND SONGS EVER -- "Jump in the Line" (Harry Belafonte).

You all know the song (I'm hoping)? It's the one from "Beetlejuice" when the dinner guests are all possessed and dancing at the dining room table ("Jump in the Line! Rock your body in time! OK I believe you!" "Shake Shake Shake Senora! Shake your body line!")? In any case, it's a wonderful, "get up and dance" kind of song which I had asked the band to play.

Imagine my surprise, then, when one of our guests started a conga line -- right there on the dance floor -- and EVERYONE dancing joined!!! I think there were about 30 people in a line on the floor at one point, and I'm telling you, it was one of the highlights of the night for me (I also got to lead the line, which was pretty cool :-))

To sum it up--things as spontaneous as a conga line may occur, which you may have thought were totally cheesy and totally weird beforehand---but at a wedding, when that much joy, and that much happiness is in the room? It totally works. If people start playing coke and 7 up..... you will know your guests are having fun!

2. "OH, SURE, I'LL EAT ALL NIGHT - STOP WORRYING!"

I've heard time and time again that brides don't have a chance to eat during their weddings. I was so not into believing that cliche, and completely fooled myself into thinking that I would chow down along with everyone else.

I don't know what it was- the nerves, the excitement, the complete whirlwind, or just lack of time because we were chatting up people... but I really struggled to sit down and eat all of the wonderful food our club provided. At one point, the captain (who was coordinating the event) gently suggested that TallGuy and I come eat our dinner since we were making the rounds greeting everyone.

We finally did -and I had some steak - but that was about it. It's not like I was trying NOT to eat -- it just was really difficult to see people and be a gracious host while downing a ton of food. My suggestion - try and get through cocktail hour if you can, and make sure to SIT your butt down - at least for 20 minutes or so - during dinner to eat. And have dessert!!!!

3. I'LL TOTALLY HAVE TIME TO TAKE EVERYTHING IN. TRUST ME! I WON'T FORGET A DETAIL OF MY WEDDING.

We had a huge beautiful flower arrangement in the cocktail room? The milk and freshly baked cookies were served by waiters to people on the dance floor? Um really? The wedding was SUCH an amazing night, but there are SO MANY things that I am just learning happened - through photographs of the room set up for the ceremony, through recollections of my friends, and a variety of other sources. Just take the time to sit back and enjoy everything that day/evening, but realize that it's almost impossible to take it all in at once -- you'll have photos and maybe video and friends and family to tell you about what happened that you may not have seen.

I find these impressions interesting, because I really thought I wouldn't be surprised after my wedding - but I was, on many levels. Remember to expect the unexpected as you plan - things are not always as they seem, but that doesn't always have to be a bad thing!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

COMMENTS ON A (MY) WEDDING - WHAT I LEARNED, AND HOW I LEARNED IT (PART I)

Thank so much for your sweet, thoughtful comments. I really appreciate it!

One comment from Mom2lo is a perfect segway into my first substantive post about my experiences:

"My goodness! That cake looks gorgeous and delicious! And are those cupcakes I see? Yum!!!"

Ahhh, the cupcakes. This was a game-time decision, and leads me to the first rule of thumb, which is comprised of three little words I think every bride needs to remember:

TRUST YOUR GUT.

The second three words? DON'T FREAK OUT.

Wedding favors were never high on my priority list. While it's a cute concept, I searched far and wide for months, and couldn't find anything that wasn't (a) cheesy or (b) ridicuously expensive. To me, spending hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on favors was not important (or realistic)- I'd rather put that $$ into my budget for the flowers, or the music, or the bridesmaids' dresses. Just a personal decision, but one that I felt strongly about.

We decided we would get our favors through a family friend in the restaurant business, who could put together a sampling of mini cookies, brownies, etc. in little bags. TallGuy and I ordered bags in bulk from a catalog we were given, and we thought we were on our way. TallGuy and I had designed a sticker label to put on the bags, and while at first I was against using a cheesy saying, I thought "Sweet Dreams" was to-the-point, and not too sappy.

A few days before the wedding, I thought everything was all set, but then there were complications with the bags that were ordered, and the alternatives (that we could buy in bulk) were not appealing. (Choosing favor bags may not seem like a big deal, but there are no crafts stores like Michaels in Manhattan, and our time/options was limited). Based on what the bags looked like, I rather would have had no favors at all than what was available. The mini cookies/brownies concept as well wasn't quite working out the way I thought it would.

Thursday night rolled around (the night before the rehearsal dinner), we were basically without favors, and time was running out. I kept thinking about creative, "quick fixes", and all I could think about was one word:

CUPCAKES.

There's a Crumbs bakery (which has some of Manhattan's best cupcakes, in my opinion) right down the street from my apartment. I love cupcakes and I go in there basically every week for a vanilla flavored with vanilla icing and rainbow sprinkles. Yum.

I almost did a cupcake wedding cake, but the place I had my wedding included the wedding cake, so I figured I'd go the traditional route without an extra cost for changing it up.

In any case, I turned to TallGuy and asked him, "So ...cupcake favors?" I then called some of the yummiest cupcake places in Manhattan (Crumbs, Magnolia Bakery, etc.) to find out prices and whether or not it were (a) affordable and most importantly (in my desperate state, I was willing to pay a bit more for peace of mind at this point) (b) doable 2 days before the wedding.

I was able to get through to Buttercup Bakery, and their price was the best of the bunch. They could do a large order at $1.25 per cupcake, so I ordered cupcakes in all pastel colors to match my decor, and made sure that some of them had rainbow sprinkles (my preference) and some without (TallGuy's preference). Although $1.25 was more than I wanted to spend per favor, I was willing to sacrifice price at that point - I figured that it was a good enough idea that, in the long run, I'd kick myself for the few extra dollars if I ended up with favors that guests didn't like or enjoy. Plus, I knew that not everyone at the wedding would have a cupcake, so I ordered fewer than the number of guests that were attending. It was a good call, because there were definitely a few left over.

While Buttercup couldn't deliver the cupcakes, my parents were awesome and volunteered to pick them up the morning of the wedding and bring them to the location. I was worried a bit about them staying fresh throughout the day/evening, but when they were put out on trays at 12 AM for people, they tasted delicious, and were a hit. In fact, our event location saved the few that were left from the wedding, and put them out for the brunch - they still tasted good then!

TallGuy didn't think we'd need the "doggie bags", but that turned out to be the best part, since most people ended up taking theirs to go --both at the wedding and the brunch -- the sticker label, which had the "Sweet Dreams" phrase and featured a cartoon-y bride and groom -- added to the whimsy, and I thought the whole thing ended up working out better than I could have anticipated.

The moral of this story? (a) Do what you think is best, and run with it. (b) Don't freak out in the process, because it's going to get you NOWHERE. Was I a bit panicked that I was favor-less 2 days (actually less) before the wedding? Were there some tears? Absolutely (but only in front of TallGuy!). But I knew that if I had to stick to my plan-B gameplan and just figure it out. I was proud that I was able to put something to the table (literally) that guests seemed to enjoy, and no one was none the wiser for this last-minute decision.

To sum it up, there will ALWAYS be gaffes, snags, complications, and surprises during the planning process -- even up to the very last minute. But if you remember that every "problem" has a solution, and that the wedding will still be fantastic and amazing regardless, it will all work out. Go with what you think and what you know, and don't look back. Your guests will thank you for it (and maybe have some cupcakes too!)

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

COMMENTS ON A (MY) WEDDING - WHAT I LEARNED, AND HOW I LEARNED IT (AN INTRODUCTION)

Hello everyone! I hope you have all been well, and that each of you has had a wonderful and sunny beginning to your spring/summer season. I really appreciate the comments/posts from you guys, and your kind comments were so sweet and nice to come home to.

TallGuy and I are back from Italy, where we honeymooned for 2 weeks -- first in Venice, then in the Amalfi Coast. What an amazing time. We are jetlagged and tired, but still enjoying all of the memories that we have compiled in the past 2 weeks - both from the wedding and the trip.

Our wedding was May 17, 2008. And it was everything I could have ever dreamed it would be. The entire day (pre-wedding), and the actual ceremony and reception were exactly everything I wanted and hoped for - the day before (the night of the rehearsal dinner) was POURING RAIN - literally all day. I was worried that the day of the wedding would be the same - our wedding wasn't to be outside, but TallGuy and I did plan on doing photos at Grand Central Station, and there was a rooftop deck that could be used during the cocktail hour. Although rain wouldn't have made a huge logistical difference, I was hoping that it would at least be nice enough to take advantage of the outdoors. Was it ever! The day of the wedding - weather-wise - and everything else - was absolutely magical (at least to me). Saturday the 17th was a sunny, GORGEOUS day for photos and balmy enough for a partially outdoor cocktail hour, and all of our vendors turned out to be FANTASTIC.

Most importantly to me and TallGuy, all of our guests seemed to have so much fun. We wanted it to feel like an absolute party - more like a dinner party really - and I feel as if that goal was achieved.

Does that mean that everything went 100% to plan? Definitely not. In this series of posts, I'll certainly mention those elements, and how I learned from them.

While I am going to focus my attention in this series on my own wedding, I want everyone to know that I still identify with myself as The Wedding Fairy -- and my goal is ALWAYS to help people learn from my experiences. Please keep that in mind as you read my posts, look at my photos, and read about my thoughts. I want to share my ideas in order to help brides-to-be with their own planning--so if you have any questions, or comments, or want to do any general venting, please feel free. I love hearing from you, and having a dialogue with you guys is what makes this site interesting to me (and hopefully interesting to you all).

I know that I have a few comments/questions unrelated to this series to get to. And I promise I will get there.

For now, sit back and enjoy the show--the point is to entertain but also, of course, to help.

Here are a few photos from the wedding -- I still wish to remain identified as The Wedding Fairy (and hence remain anonymous, at least for now, on this blog), but I hope to post a few photos besides these "scenery shots" since a few of you have asked (I've posted on here of the back of me and TallGuy during the ceremony!)

Stay tuned!