Thursday, January 31, 2013

Words to Get Married To

So remember when I mentioned that sending out the invites last week was a major “it’s gettin’ real” moment?  Well,  we recently had another one, a MAJOR one, when we edited our ceremony outline.  Last summer on our second wedding planning trip to Montreal, we met with (and ultimately chose) an awesome officiant for our wedding. He spent forty years traveling all over the world as a Franciscan monk (how cool is that?) and has used that experience to officiant tons of weddings.  What we absolutely love about him is that he is very knowledgeable in all faiths and is such a sweet and gentle person.
Image via

Both of us are Christian (I’m Catholic, FH is Lutheran) but aren't practicing, so we didn’t feel the need for an overly religious ceremony.  We did however want a ceremony that was both spiritual and personal, which is exactly what our officiant offered.  When we visited with him for the first time, he walked us through the type of ceremony he typically does--literally walked us through.  We left our meeting with a warm and fuzzy feeling--we felt as if he had actually married us!

A few weeks after that initial meeting, he sent us a ceremony outline and gave us free reign to make any changes/edits.  Since this was nine months before the wedding, FH and I didn't take a look at it again until a few weeks ago.  We read through the ceremony and even though we made a few changes (FH is a pro at red-lining documents), the outline the officiant created was beautiful.  It really made us pause for a moment and think wow, in a few months the words here will join us in marriage.  It was a pretty intense "it's gettin' real" moment for sure.  

Here are some details I'd like to share regarding our ceremony;
  • The officiant will welcome guests in both French & English (my family is Haitian so I thought it would be a nice touch to add in some French--plus we will be in Montreal!)
  • The readings will be done by family members or more specifically, my two cousins.  Side note: I'm waiting until we get closer to the wedding date to ask them--I would have had both as bridesmaids but I felt having more than 7 BMs would be too much for us.

  • The first reading is from "The Prophet" by Kahil Gibran
    • “Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same piece.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver to the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the Hand of Life can contain your hearts,
And stand together, yet not too near together,
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow."

  • The second reading is from the "Traditional Irish Blessing"
    • "May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
May God be with you and bless you;
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortune,
Rich in blessings,
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.
May the road rise to meet you
May the wind be always at your back
May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home
And may the hand of a friend always be near.
May green be the grass you walk on,
May blue be the skies above you,
May pure be the joys that surround you,
May true be the hearts that love you."

  • The officiant will also do his version of a hand fasting ceremony which both myself and FH really liked--it seemed pretty unique to us as well since we’ve never seen that at a wedding (in person) before.

I know some people may not find those words romantic, but what I love about the first reading, “The Prophet” is that it emphasizes the importance of maintaining your own identity within the marriage union.  FH and I are very independent--the first 4 years of our relationship was long distance in which we saw each other one or two weekends a month, so we (painfully) had to learn how to keep our lives from revolving too much around each other.  When the officiant first read this to us, it immediately struck a cord and reminded us of all that we had been through together in the first years of our relationship.  And we knew we would be keeping this reading for the ceremony.

As for the second reading, I think it’s so sweet and it actually brought a tear to my eye when I first read it.  I found it on a wedding site a few weeks ago and couldn’t get it out of my mind, so I shared with FH and he really liked it as well.

Are there any special readings or rituals you’re including in your ceremony?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Scan-tastic! (aka the Registry)

So I probably should have posted about our registry a long time ago--we put together the various registries wayyy back in September, about a month after we sent the Save the Dates.  But we've had to do some major updates to the registry since mailing out the invitations last week.  Now the registry was a bit of a challenge for us.  See, FH and I have been living together for three years now, so we pretty much have most household items that we need.  But even though we already have most things that people typically add to registries, we still wanted to partake in some scanning goodness.
KitchenAid Martha Stewart Blue Collection / Image via
We ultimately decided to register at three places--Macy's, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon.  As a fourth option, FH was also adamant about adding in a charity registry, so we opted to support a charity that helps with various relief efforts in Haiti (particularly after the devastating earthquake 3 years ago).  The charity we chose was Partners in Health--we heard about them through our favorite band Arcade Fire who has partnered with them for many years now.  I know adding a charity to a registry isn't necessarily for everyone, but again since we don't really need much, it seemed like a good option.

In terms of the traditional registry, we didn't have much to add.  In fact, I keep getting reminders from all three registries that I should be adding in twice the number of gifts as guests invited.  We tried really hard and just could not add anywhere near this amount of stuff.  But there are definitely a few key things that would be fantastic to have.  We are both very much in to cooking and wine, so you'll notice a trend in our selections.  Feast your eyes on the registry porn below!
A registry wouldn't be complete without a KitchenAid mixer / Image via
Le Creuset Cast Iron Skillet / Image via

Mikasa Champagne Flutes / Image via
Charter Club Bedding, Damask Stripe 500 TC Queen Sheet Set / Image via
Mariposa Cheese Board / Image via
Haier 8-Bottle Wine Cellar / Image via
Krups Perfecto Pump Espresso Machine / Image via
Wusthof Gourmet 12-Piece Knife Set with Block / Image via

Honestly though, not really sure how many gifts we'll get considering we're having a destination wedding.  People will already be spending a good amount of money to come celebrate our big day with us so I'm keeping my expectations low on receiving anything--at the end of the day, having most of our invited guests take the time and expense to come celebrate our wedding is way more important.

Did you struggle with creating your registry too?  Are there some absolute must-haves on your registry?
Friday, January 25, 2013

Freestyle Fridays - Wishing for Summer

 It's been an awfully cold week here on the East Coast--unfortunately all the sunshine and warmth that my skin absorbed in Mexico last week is now gone (boooo!!)  So as a consolation, this week's Freestyle Friday playlist is all about summer, that glorious time of year where you can wear short shorts, sandals and tank tops. 

This past summer was unbearably hot and I actually couldn't wait for it to be over--being in an NYC subway station in 100 degree weather is something no human being should have to experience.  EVER.  But now I'm kicking myself this week for even thinking such blasphemous thoughts.  Stinky, hot subway or frozen hands & ears?  You decide.   In the meantime, hopefully these songs will make you feel warm inside (and out).  Enjoy!

Freestyle Fridays - Wishing for Summer by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Thursday, January 24, 2013

It's Gettin' Real: The Invites Have Arrived

As we get closer to our wedding date, there have been a few moments recently that have made the wedding seem more real, as opposed to this abstract event I've been planning for 12 months now.  One of those moments was when I received a huge box in the mail recently--the invitations had finally arrived!

This is the outside of the pocketfold invitation with our monogram (and of course a peacock feather!) / Personal Photo

This is the right interior of the invite, showing the RSVP postcard.  The insert behind it called "Cocktails, Dinner, Dancing" has more information for guests regarding the reception, booking the hotel room and RSVP'ing for our Rehearsal Dinner / Personal Photo
As I mentioned previously, I ordered these from a shop on Etsy and opted to have the designer include guest addressing and return addressing on both the outer envelope and RSVP postcard--we are inviting 137 people so needed 70 invitations.  I also ordered 10 blank invites just in case we have some last minute changes to the guest list and need to invite a few more people.  In terms of making sure we have no surprise guests, I paid extra to have her print out each guests names on the RSVP postcard.  Because of this, we skipped the inner envelope (which also helped save a bit of money).

When I received the invites, I thought they were absolutely stunning.  But I think there may have been some slight miscommunication between myself and the designer--I thought she was going to print in the number of guests invited on the RSVP postcard as well but she didn't--I guess I forgot to specify that.  So to me, this was truly the first DIY project I've had to do so far (and I know that it's pathetic of me to consider this DIY but as I've said before, I am terrible at most arts & crafts).

So I journeyed to Michaels (which is actually quite a fabulous place!) and bought an extra fine permanent marker to write in the number of invited guests per RSVP card and x-small glue dots to seal the pocketfold, then headed to the post office for those pretty white rose stamps.  Here is a pictorial account of my "DIY";
Step 1: Remove the glue dot seal on pocketfold
Step 2: Very carefully write in the number of invited guests on RSVP postcard
Step 3: Add stamp to RSVP postcard
Step 4: Re-seal pocketfold with a fresh glue dot
Step 5: Carefully ease the invite into the envelope (I love the huge peacock feathers but it was difficult stuffing them into the envelope)
Step 6: I cut a piece off of a dish sponge to make an envelope moistener and put a bit of water in the ramekin to seal the envelopes
Step 7: Since each envelope is over 1 ounce and supposedly "odd-shaped", I had to put two stamps each
FH even helped out at the end--I sealed the envelopes with my makeshift envelope moistener and he put on the stamps.  Oh and quick tip--apparently the postage is increasing in price starting this Sunday 1/27, so I literally just dropped the invitations off at my local post office today to have them hand cancelled.  I know it may seem like I'm sending these out a tad early, but since it's a destination wedding, I'd like these in our guests' hands sooner rather than later so people can book their travel arrangements.  Like I said, it's gettin' real!!  Now let's see how many people actually complete and return the RSVP postcard...

Did you also have an "it's gettin' real" moment when you received/mailed out your invitations?
Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Color Blind

One of my favorite interracial couples, Iman & David Bowie / Image via
The idea for this post came to me during my annual trip down to Cancun with FH and his family earlier this year.  While this is my 7th trip to the beautiful Mexican city (my first two times were with a BFF and the last 5 times have been with FH), this trip made me much more aware of how FH and I may appear to outsiders.

So as you guys may know, I am Haitian-American and FH is 3rd generation American of Italian/Norwegian descent.  Being in an interracial relationship up here in New Haven and NYC is so 10 years ago--it’s so common that we are not even close to being considered an anomaly anymore.  In fact, a new census study last year showed that the rate of interracial couples in the US is at an all-time high, with 1 in 10 couples considered interracial (and this is any mix, not just black and white couples).  But sometimes when traveling to other places (whether that be a different state or different country), I notice that our type of relationship isn't nearly as common.  Now luckily for us, we’ve never gotten any nasty or rude comments (or at least none that we’ve been aware of), but sometimes we get the “stare”.  It’s more of a “well then, an interracial couple” stare than a hostile one, but still a stare nonetheless.  FH is usually completely oblivious to any sort of looks, while I find myself a bit more aware.  And not going to lie, I definitely feel like some sort of circus attraction sometimes (not too often, but it also depends on where we are).  Despite that though, I've never really felt mistreated or hated on.

But sometimes these stares gets me thinking that only 50 years ago, it would have actually been against the law for FH and I to have even considered getting married.  It boggles my mind that there was a time when such a limitation on love was implemented, simply because of the color of our skin.  We could have literally been beaten and jailed for having the audacity to be in a relationship.  I feel so lucky to have been born in this era--and while of course things are far from perfect and people still get discriminated against for the type of relationship they are in, it's still not nearly as terrifying now as it must have been for interracial couples back in the day.

At the time I was growing up in Queens, NY in the 90s, my neighborhood was a diverse melting pot.  Remember how I mentioned that when my bridesmaids are together, we look like a U.N. summit?  Well my tendency to seek out friendships with people from all different backgrounds had no doubt transferred over from my childhood.  Growing up, my friends were black, white, Hispanic and Asian.  My first crush (in kindergarten!) was half-Italian and half-Haitian.  In high school, even though I often found myself as the only black person in quite a few classes, no one treated me differently or made me feel like an outsider, ever.  I truly cherish where and how I grew up--it was like some idealistic utopia that you only read about in novels.  And now that FH and I are getting married and will eventually have a family of our own, I can only wish and hope for the same experience for our children as they grow up.

I really am looking forward to having children that will be of mixed race, but I find myself worried sometimes over certain things.  For one, I hope they will never feel like outsiders.  I hope they can be proud of their unique mix and learn to embrace both races (despite only being able to check off one "race" box when filling out those dreadful forms).  I hope FH and I can find some where to settle down that is as safe as it is diverse, so that no child or family stands out for looking different.  And while there may be a chance that our kids will look NOTHING like either of us, it will be amazing to know that they will get the "best" of us like any other couple, traditional or otherwise :)

Are you in an interracial relationship or born of interracial parents?  Has your experience been mostly positive or negative?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Flower Power

Early on in the wedding process, I was convinced that we would not have any flowers at the wedding.  Flowers are beautiful but I couldn't stomach the price tags for floral arrangements (mind you, I hadn't done any research into costs and just assumed that this would be well outside of our budget).  I originally planned for the BMs to carry feather fans and I would carry a silk bouquet, like the ones in the images below.

Beautiful silk bouquet / Image via
Feather fan / Image via
Feather fans / Image via Etsy Shop IvynDell
As for the table centerpieces, I figured we could have feather and/or candelabra ones, like the ones below;
Ostrich Feather centerpieces / Image via
Candelabra centerpieces / Image via
So with these images as inspiration in mind, I started looking in to actual costs and the logistics of having to order from multiple vendors for the various items above.  It turns out that ostrich feathers and silk bouquets were not nearly as cheap as I thought they would be.  That silk bouquet above?  The retail price was $195 on Etsy.  Yikes.  The feather fans for the BMs ranged anywhere from $40 - $65 (later on I discovered that this was more pricey than a small floral bouquet). 

At this point I was starting to reevaluate including actual flowers into the wedding, because it seemed that we'd end up spending the same, if not a little bit more for the non-floral items I had in mind.  We asked our wedding planner for florist recommendations and when we went on our second wedding planning visit to Montreal, we came prepared with the images below (from one of my Pinterest boards of course).

Peacock & Pink Cymbidium Orchid Bouquet / Image via
Peacock and Calla Lily Bouquet / Image via
Low centerpieces / Image via
High Centerpieces / Image via

Teal and Gold Tablescape / Image via
After looking over the images with the florists, we ultimately decided to work with Montreal-based florist Madame K.  She had some great ideas on how to make the various ideas above work and also had great recommendations that ultimately saved us a good amount of money, like mixing in some inexpensive flowers within some of the pricier ones to make the arrangements look more full.  She also recommended having high and low centerpieces--not only does it add dimension to a reception space, but using the smaller centerpieces also saves us some money.

We will also be reusing a lot of arrangements between the ceremony and reception spaces (the two large arrangements that will frame the ceremony space will also be used to decorate our sweetheart table).  In addition to the floral elements, we will also be renting large candles, clear vases and mirrored pillars for the ceremony, and votive candles and more vases for the reception.

Are you using real flowers in your wedding decor or are you going a different route?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My "Something Blue" is...Shoes!

Since blue has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember, it was important to me that the color be incorporated within the wedding.  With the color teal chosen as a main color for our peacock-themed wedding, integrated in everything from the Save the Dates, to the invites, to the bridesmaids' dresses, I wanted to utilize teal/blue in another, not necessarily traditional way.
Image via
Everyone knows the old saying "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue", so for my something blue, I decided that I wanted it to be my shoes!  So of course the next logical step was to create a board just for shoes on Pinterest for inspiration.  Can you guess which ones I ultimately decided on?
Vivienne Westwood / Photo via
ABS by Allen Schwartz Shoes / Photo via
Badgley Mischka / Photo via
Kate Spade Reanna / Photo via
DV by Dolce Vita / Image via
Badgley Mischka / Photo via

Kate Spade Corinne / Image via
Badgley Mischka / Photo via
Peacock Feathers & Blue! / Image via
Badgley Mischka / Photo via

And the winner is...the glittery gold and teal Kate Spades (Corinne)!  When I saw that shoe--that perfect shoe which encapsulated both my wedding colors so seamlessly, I just knew I had to have it.  Initially in my search, I was pretty set on getting a shoe that was either 3" or 3.5" since I plan on dancing up a storm, however Corinne only comes in 4" so I'll just have to spend the next few months breaking her in.

What will your "something blue" be? 

Monday, January 14, 2013

My Journey to the Dress Part II: 1st Fitting

I am so excited to share that I had my first fitting last week!  After purchasing my gown from the Pronovias flagship store in NYC back in May, it has been 8 months since I last saw myself in my dress.  Since then, I've avoided looking at other wedding dresses in the event that I see one that makes me regret purchasing mine.  Luckily, that hasn't happened, but I was admittedly nervous in the days leading up to the fitting.  What if they ordered the wrong dress? What if they ordered the right dress, but I hated it?  What if my accessories didn't match??  The whole white, off-white, ivory, cream versions of white is extremely confusing!  I had nightmares the day before the fitting where each of these situations happened.  But when I woke up in the morning, I realized I needed to get a freakin' grip.  If by any chance something did go wrong, there was still 4 months for the salon to fix it.  So with my accessories, courage and mom in tow, we drove into the city, had a little bit of drama trying to find parking (but that's NYC for you), and ultimately made it on time for my appointment.

When it was time to step into the fitting room, I held my breath while the seamstress opened up the garment bag...and the dress was finally revealed!  Not going to lie though, for a hot second I actually wasn't sure if it was my dress.  I couldn't remember the bodice or the skirt looking the way it did but I kept my crazy thoughts to myself and decided to wait until I put the gown on to make any judgements.  Once the dress was on though, I knew absolutely that this was still my dress.  This time around I am even more in love with it because;
  1. This was the first time I put on the actual dress that I will be getting married in, not the raggedly sample dress I originally tried on 
  2. I had brought along my wedding shoes, veil and hair fascinator which gave me more of a holistic view of how I will look on my wedding day
  3. Mom's wholehearted, enthusiastic approval of the dress once more 
  4. My calorie counting has been working--my dress needs to be taken in several inches in the bodice (whoohoo!!) 
Sorry to be a MAJOR tease, but I can only show you an image from my fitting of the shoulder up;
Taken by my mom (hence the slight blurriness) / Personal Photo
It also turns out that I don't need to wear any kind of bra or undergarment with the dress.  I was pretty shocked because my lady lumps are on the bigger side, however the seamstress said because the bodice is corseted and the material is pretty thick, everything will be held in very tightly.  She said wearing an undergarment would be uncomfortable and I'd be way too hot.  So instead, she's sewing in cups--which is totally fine by me!  I spent the past few months doing a TON of research on the different types of undergarments, so I'm glad I no longer have to spend the money on one.  My next fitting is in early April (right before my bachelorette party in Vegas!) so I'm hoping to be halfway to my journey of Michelle Obama arms at that point :)

How was your first dress fitting?  Exciting? Terrifying?
Friday, January 11, 2013

Freestyle Fridays - Vacation!

Today's Freestyle Friday mix is all about vacation/traveling, inspired by the fact that tomorrow I will be sipping tropical drinks, eating fish tacos and sunning myself in paradise (otherwise known as Cancun).  It also doesn't hurt that we've just been upgraded to first class (holllla!!) on the way down, hence the addition of Fergie's "Glamorous".  If you're going on vacation soon or just want to feel like you're going away, this playlist is for you.  Enjoy!

Freestyle Fridays - Vacation by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark
Friday, January 4, 2013

Freestyle Fridays - Making 2013 My B*tch

Happy New Year to you all!  In this edition of Freestyle Fridays, I wanted to include some songs having to do with change, making things happen and new beginnings.  I have some BIG changes and goals lined up in 2013 (including getting married in a few months--whoohoo!!) so I wanted to create a playlist with inspirational messages. 

The songs range from totally cheesy (Celine Dion "A New Day" and Hoku "Perfect Day") to truly uplifting (Bob Marley "Three Little Birds" and Glora Estefan "Reach").  So sit back, enjoy and let the good vibes flow from the universe through you...okay now I sound like a hippie--you get my point though ;).  Wishing you nothing but amazing things in 2013!

Freestyle Fridays 1/4/13 by Primp My Bride on Grooveshark

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Incorporating our Personalities into the Wedding

As I've mentioned in a previous post, we are going with a peacock theme for our wedding.  Meaning that in terms of decor elements and color schemes, we are utilizing peacock colors and feathers as inspiration.  However a "peacock theme" isn't really indicative of us as a couple--after all, it's not like either of us breeds peacocks for a living or that we met over a shared love of peacocks LOL.

So with that distinction in mind, we wanted to make sure that some real aspects of our personalities and/or relationship are incorporated into the wedding itself.  As I've mentioned, FH and I share a passion for travel so the fact that we're hosting a destination wedding is 100% in line with our shared interests and is very "us".  I've also mentioned that we are totally obsessed with music, so it truly wouldn't be our wedding if music wasn't a main attraction (besides us of course)!  In addition to having a dance party that will go into the wee hours of the night (we have the DJ and reception room until 2am), I wanted to brainstorm other ways to subtly show our love of music.

Totally stealing this vinyl guestbook idea / Image via
I came across the above idea while browsing for ideas and thought it was absolutely perfect for us.  What we'll do is get some vinyl albums, print out labels of our favorite album covers to include in the middle and have guests give us their "autograph".  Being an inept DIY'er, I already found a few shops on Etsy that specialize in this which I'm pysched about.  I will also purchase frames for each vinyl (like the image above) so that after the wedding we can hang the signed albums in our home.  I'll make sure to have metallic pens (most likely gold since that's one of the wedding colors) and a sign next to the vinyls to ensure that guests know what to do.

Currently the hardest part is just narrowing down which album covers to use.  I'm guessing we'll need about 4 medium sized vinyls in order for guests to have enough room to sign (since we're expecting around 100 people, I'm thinking 25 signatures per vinyl should work).  FH and I love many bands, so I'm thinking of choosing 4 of the 5 album covers below--just not sure which ones since we love the bands equally;
Clockwise from top left / Arcade Fire Funeral, Bloc Party Silent Alarm, M.I.A. Kala, Radiohead In Rainbows, Yeah Yeah Yeahs Show Your Bones / Personal Album Covers
How are you and your fiance incorporating your personalities into your wedding?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Groom Style

5 month reminder email from TheKnot / Image via
My email inbox was flooded the past few weeks with reminders from TheKnot, Martha Stewart Weddings AND reminding me that 1) I've got about 5 months to go until the big day and 2) It's time to pick out the men's formal wear.  Now being the OCD planner that I am, I had already started discussing formal wear with FH over a month ago.  When I first brought it up though, I was very surprised by FH's response.  I had naturally assumed that I'd have a hand in picking what he and the groomsmen would wear.  In another wedding-related move that had caught me off guard, not only does FH want to buy his suit and get it custom made but he also didn't want me tagging along to the tailor's to pick out his suit materials and get fitted.  He's like "If I can't see what you're wearing until the wedding day, then you shouldn't be able to see what I'm wearing either!"  And you know what?  I really respect that he's so keen on doing this himself.  I had once again (incorrectly) assumed that this was a detail where he wouldn't take the initiative. 

FH has a pretty decent sense of style, and even more so when it comes to formal wear so I wasn't too freaked out by this.  I did however share with him some images I pinned on the Pinterest board I created dedicated to all things groom (I obviously created this well before I was told to butt out).  He checked out some of the styles I found as a reference point, but ultimately he is making his own decisions.  Because our wedding is formal and the bridesmaids will be in gowns, the only criteria I asked him to stick to was that his tux and the guys' tuxes be formal and that the guys integrate teal somehow within their outfits to match the bridesmaids' dresses (whether that be teal ties and/or teal pocket squares).  Here are some of the suits I sent him for inspiration;

Sleek Suit / Image via Bridal Musing's Pinterest page
Image via
Various Bond tuxes.  Yum. / Image via
FH actually really likes Mario Lopez' wedding tux / Image via
 FH's brother was in town last month, so he took him and another groomsmen to the local tailor shop to talk about the tuxes and figure out styles.  He has to go back to get measured since his suit will be custom, but he already picked out the suits that the groomsmen will be renting.  Also, he's not a fan of bow ties so I think he's going the skinny tie route.

What about your groom?  Do you have to dress him up or is he adamant about picking out his own style?