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I’m joining the ranks of brides who have a few personal achievement goals to meet before the big day. Since before B and I got engaged, I’ve been growing out my hair. I’ve worn it short for the past four or five years, and so I’m ready to have it long again. I know that bridal experts suggest wearing your hair in a similar fashion to your everyday style. But, for our August affair, I’d really like to wear my hair up and off my neck. I don’t want a stiff-looking updo, definitely something loose and natural looking. But it still requires long hair. Here’s the progress so far!

Last March with two of my bridesmaids (Christie and Lauren)– ignore the flannel-ware.

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You can see that my hair barely touches my shoulders. OK, so a little bit of work to do.  By the time I was in my friend and bridesmaid Melissa’s wedding in June, my hair was looking like this. This picture was taken on the way to her bachelorette party in Atlantic City.

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Despite its very short length, a hairdresser was able to make it look like this…

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Photo by Exposure Photostyle

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Photo by Exposure Photostyle

Isn’t she just a beautiful bride?!

dsc04407B and I stole a few moments to take some pictures with my sister. This one is a bit blurry, but you can see what my hair is doing. I want it a bit more natural looking than this– I don’t usually do poofy things with my hair, but I think I’d also like it to have a bit of a wave like my hair normally has.

On the day we got engaged at the end of July, my hair looked like this…

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(Brandon was excited in this picture, because he knew we were getting engaged and I still didn’t. How silly.) At engagement shots in November…

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Photo by Kamila Harris Photography

And most recently, it looks like this!

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I was very intent on making a hat at my cousin’s shower. Anyway, at this point, it’s past my shoulders in the back, but I feel like I have big swathy-chunks of hair from the front layers. What should I do about this? Is it OK to cut and put layers in, or should I just let it grow for the big ol’ day? I know it’s a small inconvenience– that is, hair that’s a bit of an awkward length at the moment– so I need to keep the end goal in mind. Any suggestions?

And, for those of you brides who have joined the Post-Wedding Chop club, is it worth it? Do you wish you’d kept it long? Recommend a new cut for a new life?

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At the last wedding I was at, my aunt leaned over to me and said, “Don’t have kids in your wedding! They steal all of the attention!” as the adorable ring-bearers were walking down the aisle (one with a pacifier). My response? “Only if they do their job right!” I’m so excited for my adorable child attendants! They’ll steal the show, I hope, and I’ll love every minute of it!

One of my earliest posts chronicled my search for the elusive flower girl dress. So, I caved. I went with the Jim Hjelm for our lovely flower girl, Paloma.

The dress on the left, with the pleated skirt, will be in sage, with celadon accents.

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I was thinking of ballet flats like these, from JCrew, for her tiny feet.

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I was also hoping she’d wear this adorable clip in her air, from Banner Boutique. Her hair is a short, flapper style cut, stacked in the back. il_430xn_58471751

 And, like I’ve already mentioned twice, she’ll carry a pomander. Like this. Oh, have I mentioned that I’m a rockstar and making it myself? Cause I’m a rockstar and making it myself.

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When I’d first posted, I wasn’t planning on having a ring-bearer. But, I’ve done what I do best, and I’ve changed my mind. I am a nanny for an 18-month-old. Ciaran, the little boy, and I have quite a great relationship; I love him dearly, and had been good friends with both his parents prior to his birth. So, when it came to thinking about a little boy to walk my adorable cousin down the aisle, B and I didn’t look far. Ciaran is young, however, so we’re not expecting him to walk down the aisle; that said, we don’t want his parents to go out of the way to buy him a baby-tux, so we’re suggesting that they look for a cute blazer, instead. Something like this, also from JCrew.

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With cute little khaki pants, a green shirt, and a boutonniere (that I’ll also be making by myself), I think he’ll make quite a fetching ring-bearer. Also, if he decides not to walk, then he’ll just be a very well-dressed 2 year old. Yes, he turns 2 the week before the wedding. I’m hoping that we’re safe from the Terribles, and that he peacefully decides whether or not he’d like to participate, without tantrums of any sort involved.

Fingers crossed!

Are you opting to have children in your ceremony?

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Over the past week or so, I’ve been thinking a lot about this conundrum. What am I really looking for in this wedding? I mean really. looking. for. I’ve found myself an absolute sucker for buy-in. Yes, I think, I must have the letterpress invitations; I must give out favors to all of my guests; I must must must do everything any wedding magazine tells me, because this day needs to be absolutely perfect.

The more I think about my attitude, the more disgusted I get with myself. This is a day about Brandon and I, and about the community which embraces and honors our commitment to one another. It’s a wedding. It’s a wedding, it’s not a photo shoot. I need not strive for perfection; no one will care about the shade of green that my shoes were even halfway through dinner. What matters is that our day is deeply personal. Authentic. It shouldn’t matter to me that I think one of my FMIL’s requests is cheesy, because it’s about the symbolism of it. I need to continue to remind myself to embrace the authenticity of the event, even when things don’t go as planned.

Authenticity, authenticity, authenticity! This is my new mantra. And, really, the more authentic, the more absolutely perfect the day will be.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about Church flowers. Initially, I’d wanted fresh flowers on all the pews. Let me refresh your memory of what our church looks like:

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So… I counted at one point. But I’ve forgotten. All I know is that’s a long-ass aisle, with an exorbitant number of pews. It seats 750! You can hardly blame us, then, when I realized that fresh flowers on all of the pews was definitely pork spending in our budget.

Without shame, I present our solution: silk. Yep, that’s right, silk flowers. I’m going to do it, and it will hopefully is going to look good. My dear cousin also used silk flowers (and I wouldn’t have been able to tell!), and I trust her to-be-wed judgment best of all. I saw this picture on the Knot, and thought, of course I can make that!

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I probably won’t monogram the cones– I just found out that my Aunt has a ton of them that her daughter used for her wedding– also with silk flowers. Since hydrangeas are a theme flower for the day, I’ll probably use them in my DIY fake arrangements. Also, I’ve seen real hydrangeas that I was positively convinced were fake. They’re a good flower to work with, I think.

I would still like to have some fresh arrangements in the front of the church, however. Perhaps some ferns; we can then pot them in our new apartment (which I must blog about soon!) OR, we can do themed arrangements, like these:

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However, my mother and I are terrified that they’ll get lost in the huge expanse of the Church. It will be like Where’s Waldo? all over again! It’s just so huge that I’m afraid no one will see them, and we will have wasted our money. We can (and will!) recycle them, incorporating them into the reception somehow– perhaps at the gift table or near the place cards?

Our florist gave us a few very helpful hints when considering church flowers that I thought I’d pass along:

  1. If there’s more than one wedding at the Church per day, call the other brides scheduled to be married and split the difference of the flowers. Go with a simple white, and you can combine costs to use the flowers at the Church all day; then, donate the flowers to the Church. You may have trouble obtaining information about the other couples from your Church, but if they relent, you could easily reduce a $300 arrangement down to $100.
  2. For centerpieces in the front of the Church, consider using triangular bases, such that the Florist will only incorporate the flowers into the facade of the arrangement, like a set in a play. Since they will be facing front, from the altar, and the congregation will get no perspective on the fullness of the flower, you can use 1/3 the number of flowers as a normal arrangement. The downside of this idea is that you will not be able to easily recycle these flowers; the jig is up if the front-heavy arrangement graces the gift table.
  3. Don’t skimp on your bouquet. Get the most elaborate, beautiful and expensive bouquet that you can afford. Your attendants don’t need anything special. Aside from the pictures, their flowers will end up abandoned on a chair or table while they dance the night away. Your flowers, however, are a part of your ensemble. (And, traditional ettiquette dictates the groom’s family pays for the brideal bouquet!)  
  4. Lastly, don’t sink all of your money on church flowers. In the grand scope of the event, with the average wedding reception lasting 5 hours and the average ceremony lasting 1, the church flowers will be visible and appreciated for a mere 1/6 of the event. That’s so little time, and so little money to be wasted. Instead, opt for nicer arrangements at your reception, or more elaborate bouquets that will be appreciated by guests and your attendants thoroughout the event.

Next up: the reception.

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Mama Mia!

My mother bought her dress! I’m so excited about it, I just had to show off my hot mama!

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This is my mom, my sister (Rachel, Maid of Honor) and I at my cousin Melissa’s bridal shower last month. She’s so pretty!

The dress that she picked is by Cameron Blake, an affiliate of Mori Lee. It’s so her! The lace detailing on it is really delicate and lovely. She wanted to cover her arms, but was having some difficulty because the wedding is in August. This lace bolero jacket, however, will work well in August. The assymetrical bodice is so flattering.

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This picture is great, because my mother has the same sort of coloring as the model pictured here. And, she’s considering wearing her hair in a similar style updo! How coincidental. The color of this dress is aqua, which my mom tried on. It looked nice on her, but “aqua” is quite the misnomer. It’s irridescent, and almost bronzey in some lights. The dress that the bridal salon was so gracious to special order (at very little extra cost) comes in this color, Wedgewood Blue

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It will look so pretty on her with her bright blue eyes and blondey-blond hair. She’s going to pair it with silver accessories, which I fully support. I’m not sure what her plan is for jewelry– maybe pearls? She doesn’t feel like she needs a lot, just a nice pair of drop earrings.

My hair stylist, who I simply adore, was talking about her own wedding experience as we were talking about my impending nuptials. She told me to take the time to appreciate the small stuff. While we’re getting dressed, she said the bridesmaids will require a lot of attention. “Take some time just to notice how lovely your mother looks,” she suggested. That will be a very special moment, the time with my Mom and I.

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Well, I’ve posted on Bridesmaids dresses, the reception and the ceremony locations. I’ve not posted about my dress, for it will remain a lock-stock-and-barrel secret until my wedding day. However, here’s what I’ve been thinking about floral design.

My florist, Janene of In Full Bloom, specializes in “intensely personal flowers.” She’s so great to work with, and I really enjoyed my time with her this winter. I won’t post bouquet options for myself, because as I came to think about my own bridal bouquet, there was truly no other option than white calla lillies. Beautiful, classy, a bit modern, but in traditional white. So chic. I also love the sharp contrast of the green stems– I think that will seperate the white of the flowers from the white of my dress.

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For the bridesmaid’s bouquets, I have a special surprise in store. Also, when talking with my friend, Melissa, on the phone the other evening, she exclaimed, “I found your blog!” This brought on a few mixed emotions– surprise, for one– and also regret that I can’t share all of the surprises I have in store for them. However, here’s a few pictures that have inspired me for their bouquets.

What’s not a surprise is that they will all be all-white bouquets. I love the simplicity of white-on-white that my bouquet will have; I was having a hard time, however, finding an appropriate shade of green to accompany their dresses. So, it’s white flowers for us all!

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I posted earlier about my flower girl, Paloma, and the pomander I’d like for her to carry. That idea is still my primary option, and will also be in the works as a DIY project.

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I can make one of those, right? Power to the people! The question is– green or brown ribbon? I’m thinking brown. Thoughts?

Next up: Church flowers (another DIY project) and Centerpieces.

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Well. Yesterday I did what I swore I would never do. I flipped into Bitchy Bride mode. I didn’t want this to happen; I like to think I’ve been fairly easy-going with this entire process. (I feel as though I should delete that last sentence right away. It reminds me of When Harry Met Sally: “You’re the worst kind. You’re high maintenance, that thinks she’s low maintenance.”) Yesterday, however, I realized that I hadn’t at all worked on the rehearsal dinner, and my mother-in-law was waiting on me to do the booking! Well, I panicked, since I figured the site B and I loved would have been booked. However, all was well in Restaurant World.

FARMiCia is an adorably chic restaurant in Old City Philadelphia. All of their produce and meat comes from a farming co-op outside of the city, assuring that the meat is free range and everything is FDA-Organic. I really enjoy this restaurant, because I think it really supports many of our ideals, including support of local business and farms (going to school in Indiana has made us fairly agriculturally aware). It’s location is in the heart of Old City, one of my favorite places in the world. Here’s a peak!

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This is the space that (most likely) we’ll be using for our event. It seats just the right amount of people, so I’m hoping it works for us.

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So lovely! It makes the drama and frustration of having it sprung on my like that dissipate. Looking forward to enjoying the yummy yummy food. I’m thinking I’ll wrap two or three sunflowers together with raffia and use mason jars for centerpieces, along with the apples that are there. Since we’re using green as a color for our wedding, the apples will help tie it together, I think. But, then again, it needn’t mimic Saturday’s blessed event.

One aspect that is a bit frustrating about the rehearsal is that the church requires our rehearsal dinner be held on a Thurdsday evening, as they have weddings in their facility on Friday night. It makes me feel bad for our attendants, who have to take an extra day off if they’re coming in from out of town. But, then, Friday will hopefully be less stressful, full of relaxing, and spending time with the people I love. Which is far more important than having to throw myself a rehearsal dinner.

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