February 15, 2011

A Lakeside Storybook Wedding: Leading Up

Posted in recaps at 7:05 am by Elizabeth Nixon

I’m back with the leading-up-to-the-wedding events I hadn’t yet covered in my very first recap!

It was pretty much a bunch o’ yardwork!

Here’s an “after” shot of the ceremony site:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

And:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

But just a few weeks earlier, it’d looked like this:

Personal photo

Starting a year before the wedding, my Dad and I began to de-thatch and prep the acre-large property for reseeding. Long story short long, we should have started completely from scratch and torn up the old lawn, because there were just too many weeds. Spring of ’10 was an epic rainy-weed-season in NorCal, with rain comin’ steady all the way up to the month of June! For some reason, the seeds we planted in August ’09 didn’t take. Nor did the seeds we planted twice in the spring.

Morning glory, hollyhock, delphinium, zinnia, cosmos and other seeds planted at just the right time in March/April barely grew an inch by the time the wedding rolled around in late June. Even the 80+ lavender bushes and plants we kept in our greenhouse didn’t fare well. It was just cold and unsunny all winter/spring long! Equaling NOT a good gardening year for even the greenest of thumbs.

Lesson learned–if you’re planning to landscape your backyard for a wedding, just be prepared for anything Mother Nature may have up her malicious-wedding-ruining-weather sleeve!

What ended up–somewhat–saving the day? Emergency fast-growing grass seed planted two weeks before the wedding (when the sun had finally decided to shine again).

And some last-minute cosmos to hide ugly spots by the rosemary bushes on the lawn terraces we built (where we had the chairs for the ceremony lined up):

Photo courtesy of our friend, Allie Gergley

The terraces:

Photos courtesy of Tanja Lippert

Oh, btw, since I’m sure it will be helpful to somebody, somewhere … you know how long it takes two people to build 10 lawn terraces out of a huge slope completely covered in overgrown rosemary, that will fit at least 100 wedding chairs? About five days.

We didn’t bother with seeding grass right by the lakeshore. The grass looked OK there (in a natural, rustic kinda way):

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

And so did the piles of tule reeds. (That I had considered removing, until I scooped some up and realized the pebbly sand underneath covered with rolly-polly bugs was far less pretty than the dried reeds!)

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

It truly was a labor of love, fixing up the property.

We even worked it into part of the ceremony, lest any guests forget all that damn work we did to help tell the story to our guests:

“They are blessed to share their wedding day with you, their family and friends, And thank each of you for making the long journey here. They have invited you to this beautiful place, to Clear Lake, where the bride grew up. She played on the lake shore here at her grandparents’ house, and had a special bond with her grandfather, Grandpa Paisley. Miss Paisley spent many days, weekends and summers with her grandpa–baking pies, gardening and taking the rowboat out on the lake. And most important, the two of them were always sharing a good laugh or inside joke. If there could be one person, other than Professor Paisley and her Dad, who meant the world to Miss Paisley, it was her grandfather. During their years together, Professor Paisley and Miss Paisley have come here many times, on days like today, together, so humbled and awed by the purity of their surroundings. Mt. Konocti became a shelter, a respite, and a temple to them. In the past year, they have enjoyed restoring this property to a portion of its former glory. A garden the bride’s grandfather envisioned more than 40 years ago when he built this house, but since his death four years ago, the garden had fallen into neglect. So it was with great joy that Professor Paisley and Miss Paisley brought it back to life. They wanted to show you the beauty of these lakes, fields and ancient oaks. They wanted you to get away from LA, or Utah, and breathe in not only the cleanest air in the state, but the third cleanest air in all of the United States.”

That last bit elicited lots of laughs from our guests. I was proud of my comedic writing!

Some of the words above, though, we stole borrowed from Mrs. Cherry Pie’s ceremony vows.

Thanks to Mrs. Cherry Pie for the inspiration! We weaved in our own words and meaning to help make it our own. Mrs. Cherry Pie’s vows were so great, Mrs. Cowboy Boot also used them as inspiration for her personalized vows.

Funny, I just realized that means those vows (or very similar ones) were used three years in a row by Bees! Mrs. Cherry Pie in ’08, then Mrs. Cowboy Boot in ’09, then Mrs. Paisley in ’10. Who will be the Bee to use them in ’11, I wonder? ;p Them sure is good vows, and I’m not joking. Loved. Them.

Now. Just because. I have some old-timey photos of the property to show you. I literally grew up here, and have so many great memories, I just have to share them with the hive! So, if you will, let’s rev up the DeLorean and wisk ourselves back to the heyday of the early ’90s!

But first, check out the lakeside lawn on the day of the wedding, won’t you? Because this shan’t be a good time-travel without due comparison of lawns then-and-now:

Photos courtesy of Tanja Lippert

And here is that same area 20 years ago. About 15 yards of lakeshore eroded over that time, so the lawn was much, much bigger! And oh so much smoother-looking, boo hoo!

Yes, that’s little Miss Paisley at age five or so, on the left in the red shorts. For perspective, directly above my head and up from the alligator head is where the base of the dock ramp starts (just out of the picture). When the lawn eroded, we had to build an extension to the dock ramp! (Which much to her chagrin, was NOT weathered enough to Miss Paisley’s liking by the time of the wedding. Gasp! So, yes, the day-before-wedding-day also involved some beige paint to help the new-and-old railings all blend in together.)

Would it sound less miss-snooty-perfectionist if I mentioned I was the one who was workin’ the paint brush? No? Well OK then.

In the front yard, my totally rad maid of honor Morgan helped me prep the dance floor area on the lawn. OK fine. She also helped with the painting of the dock railings. But back in April, she spent about five hours shoveling old dead plants, leaves, a few rotten tennis balls and a badminton birdie.

This shot is taken from the porch of the guest house:

15 years ago, that exact area where we’re standing used to be my grandfather’s rose garden. He’d clip roses from them for me and leave them on my pillow, along with a chair (yes, he’d put a chair on top of my bed and leave it there for me to find when I got home from school. It was my way of knowing he’d stopped by my parents’ and my house–he was a funny one like that).

That’s me again, this time around age eight, in my Easter bonnet.

Here’s another shot of that area at the wedding. We had the band set up on the brick patio in front of the guest house. That’s the carport to the right, completely covered in white canvas painters’ cloth to hide the catering setup:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

It really was so wonderful to restore the property a little bit. (Non-sarcasm.) I mean, it hadn’t been touched since my grandfather’s death in 2006! It was like the Secret Garden. Most of the plants had died and been overgrown with weeds. I would cry “It’s wick!” every time I discovered some old plant still struggling along.

Check out this clip at about 3:10 to get the reference:

Let me tell you, bride-to-bride, I wouldn’t have had it any other way or the wedding at any other location, but it did take a lot of bride-sweat and bride-hours. A solid four weeks of work (by Professor Paisley and me) plus at least a dozen weekends by my Dad and a few by my maid of honor. PLUS a full four days’ labor by the men in our bridal party, to get that property ship-shape for a wedding!

All that time, and the fact that my grandmother invested $4K on an arborist to trim all the oak trees (to prevent dead branches from nailing a guest on the noggin) and it probably would have been a leetle less expensive for everybody had we gone with our first venue choice, which had been Nestldown in Los Gatos.

But, I honestly don’t regret the time and work it took to have the wedding there. Our friends and family volunteered and enjoyed helping, and while it all seems like a lot of work and stress, it wasn’t stressful at all. It was fun. Honestly, there were no pre-wedding tears involved! We were just worker bees who took the time to sip a beer, have a break, go for a swim or kayak paddle. It was a chance to bond with our friends and families.

Plus my parents viewed our free labor as an investment in the property. (Eeeek, God forbid it gets sold anytime soon!!!! :( Professor Paisley and I better start saving our pennies now so we can buy it and keep it in the family after my grandmother passes away!) Furthermore, during those days and weeks of working, I almost felt as though my grandfather was there watching over me, smiling with approval at each shovelful.

Ahh, the memories at that place! And oh, how it used to be such a lushly landscaped spot. Here’s one more view of the front-of-the-house steps, back in the day:

Here’s the same area by the house on wedding day. See the front steps? Well, the bushes got bigger. Annd they’re about the only things that survived:

Photo courtesy of Tanja Lippert

OK, I lied. ONE more photo from the early ’90s and I promise I’ll move on! (I can’t help it, I swear! I’m a Cancer, and as we know, Cancers are ruled by their childhood and place great importance on such memories … says the lady who doesn’t believe in astrology but uses it as an excuse for being a nostalgic sap.)

Here is that same area of lawn/fence, minus the old hollowed-out tree, which got removed around ’99:

This photo taken by our friend Allie really sums up the days before the wedding!

It was dirty, dirty work.

A few more pre-wedding-prep photos taken by brother paisley, showing general assemblage of crafts, mason drinking jars, straw flair, lights and our homemade tables. Yeah, my Dad built the long tables!

The catering table we built was perfect for holding all the projects on the day before the wedding:

One of my favorite stories post-wedding was hearing how my Mom, just as guests were arriving for the ceremony, realized her feet were filthy from running around doing last-minute things, and so she went and stood in the day-old bathtub water where all of my DIY wedding flowers had been stored–to quickly give her feet a scrub.

I told her at least her feet–literally–smelled like roses.

Makes you kinda glad you’re not having a country, DIY, backyard wedding, no? Oh, wait, you ARE?!?! Heh. Well, you’ll probably have some broken finger nails, blood, sweat and bruises in your future.

Annnd, you’ll probably look like this at your rehearsal:

Photo courtesy of our friend Allie

Barefoot and dirty.

Flanked by a group of ragtag and weary groomsmen/slave laborers.

Well, if the above wasn’t a riot enough for ya, just wait until I come back next with the deets from the rehearsal. OK fine, nothing dramatic or exciting really happened. Hm. So do you want to hear about the night before rehearsal day?!? The one where I stayed up alllll night arranging my DIY wedding flowers? Do ya, do ya? You guys do realize me telling you these pre-wedding-work stories is replacing months worth of therapy sessions for me, right?

Tell me, any other extreme-backyard-wedding-DIYers out there?

January 31, 2011

A Lakeside Storybook Wedding

Posted in recaps at 5:04 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Hello ladies, I’m back to formally introduce A Lakeside Storybook Wedding and unfurl the carpet for my RECAPS! Can we get a woo to the hoo, an A-men sistah and an audible sigh of “fiiiiiiiiinally” up in he’ah?!?!

Today when the mister burst through the door with the news that the oh-so-longed-for CD of professional wedding photos had just arrived in our mailbox, I felt overcome with happiness to return to the hive.

So let’s start at the beginning of the Big Day.

Professor Paisley and I awoke together after a pretty good night’s sleep. Thank goodness insomnia-girl (yours truly) actually slept like a babe due to pre-wedding exhaustion … remember, my wedding was completely DIY and an at-home, backyard hootenany. There was a LOT to do in the week leading up! I’m pretty sure the day before I was running from task to task and didn’t even stop to eat. Mama Paisley made a sandwich and chased after me to shove it in my mouth so I could eat. True story.

Anyway, on the morning of we stopped for breakfast and coffee on our way to drop me off at the hair salon at 11. Once there, I learned they were short-staffed and only had two girls for our group of six. Not all the ‘maids were arrived yet, and since there wasn’t much I could do about any of that, I decided to “let it roll off my shoulders” like mom always advises, and join my maid of honor at a nail salon next door for some luxurious pampering.

Or so I thought.

That’s when I got the phone call that the seating chart was missing, as well as a whole bunch of the placecards I’d spent hours on the night before. And THEN, my caterer called, and said the credit card (which she was supposed to have run five days earlier) just got declined (it shouldn’t have–nothing was wrong with it) and she needed a nearly-$1,000 check TODAY. Say whhaaaaaat?!?! So, I resolved those issues and forced myself to get over it and let it go. While my feet soaked, I juggled a notepad on my lap and re-drew the seating chart for 100 people. Yep, from memory. Luckily, I was able to do it, although it took about 45 minutes and was rather annoying and stressful.

I swear little evil wedding gnomes were going around stealing wedding charts, placecards and other small things during our wedding day.

An hour later and I was next door back at the salon. My brother came to pick up the seating chart. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures, all of us were too busy thoroughly enjoying mimosas, doughnuts and hanging out. I didn’t even notice the time go by! All of a sudden it was 2:30 p.m. (half an hour after I should have left) and my makeup hadn’t been started. Oops. They rushed through my makeup and we ended up getting out of there at 3.

I jumped into my maid of honor’s car and then all of the makeup promptly melted off. It was about 120 degrees in the car! Oops again. (Always, always wait for the AC first). In this case the car was a borrowed one without AC.

We got to the bed & breakfast at the lake for pictures where my lovely photographer Tanja Lippert had been capturing all the individual shots of the bridal party, plus their getting-ready shots. I darted upstairs to wash my face, peel off the false lashes which looked, well SO false, and redo my makeup (it had really all sweated off). We discovered the bed & breakfast had TURNED OFF the AC in the bridal suite, the proprietor’s excuse being “because we had to run the shower for my mother-in-law” UM. Since when did turning on a shower mean you had to turn off the AC in one room on an 86-degree day?!?! That didn’t make sense to any of us.

Quick to action, my girls brought up a fan, when that didn’t cool down the room, one of them checked a room next to our suite and found it open, unoccupied and AC’d!!! We quickly commandeered the room for makeup-doing, then hopped back into the bridal suite for me to slip into my lovely gown, the Lia by Melissa Sweet.

And as all such photos deserve a soundtrack, please click play:

The boys getting ready:

All photos by Tanja Lippert.

Now that I’ve officially introduced you to my wedding day, next up I’ll rewind to share some behind-the-scenes pre-wedding set up as well as the rehearsal, so please stay tuned.

Tell me, do you plan to stick to a strict timeline the day of, or would you prefer to roll with it? Or let someone else be in charge like I did? If you don’t want to leave timeline-tracking to your salon (obviously that plan backfired for me a little), will you plan to designate the clock-watching duty to a bridal party member?

Either way, just remember to enjoy the day. But not to the point where you forget to check the clock even once while getting ready, like my mistake. Also, start earlier! I’m not a morning person so I was OK with starting later, plus since our wedding wasn’t until 6. But if I could redo the day, I’d probably have everybody arrive at the salon by 9.

June 28, 2010

The Paisleys Tie the Knot!

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:32 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

We did it! We tied the knot! Words fail me right now to describe how fun, how meaningful and how amazing it was to marry my love on a perfect, warm summer day at my grandma’s house by the lake, where I grew up. The day was magical, personal and far exceeded my expectations.

Mr. Paisley, I love you so much, and am so very proud to call you my husband!

Our day was so happy, so charming and so full of love. It was intimate, with only our dearest friends and relatives. There were cool summer cocktails, delicious Spanish tapas, the best live “backwater blues” band I’ve ever heard, and the best wedding cake I’ve ever tasted.

I’ll let these few teaser photos speak for me until I get my pro photos back.

I must now get back to cuddling with my new husband in our honeymoon cottage in Napa Valley (we’re staying local for the honeymoon…sooooo relaxing to not have to travel far the day after your wedding!!!)

Stay tuned for many more posts on the plentiful DIY projects during the CHAOTIC days leading up to the wedding, the day itself including getting ready, the ceremony and of course the great party afterward!

June 17, 2010

Budget Bouquets, Boutonnieres and Bowers!

Posted in Deals, DIY Projects, Wedding Design at 6:52 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

So, you want to know how to save a bundle on flowers?

Did you perhaps receive a florists’ quote exceeding $4,000, for what you thought was a rather skimpy amount of blooms?

Of course, not to knock the florists’ talents! It’s well worth the money to avoid the hassle of planning and arranging for your own floral needs at your own wedding! As professionals, florists deserve to mark up their product, just like any other vendor would.

That said, I am an avid gardener and passionate arranger of flowers and so I will be doing it myself all for under $300. In fact, just don’t be surprised if this bee decides to branch out into floral designing, because she loves it so! Can we see a “Paisley’s Petals” somewhere in my future?!?! I kid, I kid.

I would totally come up with a better name than that! (Sorry any “Paisley’s Petals” that are out there!)

Anyway. If you’re going the DIY route, first off, establish a budget. This, we saved until the week before the wedding, like big stupid heads.

We were going to try to source everything from our own garden, but it was a tough winter on our flowers.

So. All the Paisley money has run out, being that it is a week before the wedding. Fortunately, a generous, last-minute gift from Mama and Papa Paisley of $300 was enough to play with, considering we have our own garden full of filler blooms.

That money brings us, courtesy of Sequoia Wholesalers:
15 stems Dahlias (light pink)
20 stems Billy Buttons
40 stems Veronica (white)
100 stems scabiosa (white)

And, from Fiftyflowers.com:
56 stems peach Juliet peony roses

For some reason, the thought of putting together my own bouquets and 22 centerpieces scared Mama Paisley. For some reason. I honestly don’t know what! ;)

She ordered me outside to prove my flower-arranging worth, and, not to brag, but less than 10 minutes later I came back with a nicely shaped, full, pink-and-white bridal bouquet that I would have been happy to carry on the actual big day. Except Mama Paisley said it stank (the smell, not the looks) and put it outside. But, Mama Paisley looked relieved, and I was happy to assuage her fears and show off in front of her and MOH Paisley.

Arranging flowers is what I most look forward to doing the day before our wedding.

For “filler” flowers, I have this, my mom’s garden, to work with:

A nice, big, Mock Orange:

Some Feverfew:

Lamb’s ears:

Pink Veronica:

And much, much more:

With these as fillers and my Veronica, Feverfew, Scabiosa and oodles of the showy, white-and-yellow Matilija poppies, (that grow on the roadside in Lake County) my centerpieces will resemble Saipua’s aesthetic: loose, organic, gorgeous!

Source

A cross between the above, and this:

Source

For my bouquets, using the peach Juliet roses, they will turn out something like this:

Miss Cowboy Boot’s bouquet! With peach Juliet roses, I believe.

The Billy’s Buttons I might use for the boutonnieres, or perhaps the centerpieces.

Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!

Are you taking on a HUGE do-it-yourself project that everybody and their brother just shakes their heads at when you tell them about it? But you just don’t care what they say because you luuuuurve doing said project? Maybe it’s baking your own cake? Baking batches of macaroons for your dessert table? Sewing your bridesmaids’ gowns? Letterpress printing your own invites? ;) Do share!

The Paisley Party Draws Nigh!

Posted in DIY Projects at 5:50 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Wow! How did we get to ONE WEEK before the wedding SO. DAMN. QUICKLY?!? There are so many things left to do!

I need to buy my groom’s present, buy my makeup, floral supplies, do the candy buffet…I’ll spare you from the whole list, but, suffice it to say that I added up all the hours (of gardening plus projects) and they equal 60 total hours of work! Before you join me in a spine-chilling bridal scream, let me assure you that divided by the number of wonderful helpers we have this week, it all comes down to just three hours per person. Whew! That was close, guys, that was close!

Some of the projects I’ve completed:

Programs!

All ready to go and tied with navy blue picot-edged ribbon bows and in their cute antique basket (that was my great grandmother’s).

Bunting!

Made from old favorite shirts using pinking shears and old ribbon, so it was free!

Signage!

I hand painted it on an old oar that was lying around, here’s a close-up:

Small hand painted driftwood signs to go into the petal-tossing bowls:

Close up:

I ran out of room on some of them so I substituted “bride and groom” for “them.”

Keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming post detailing the rest of our many DIY projects: the “kissing menu” project, photobooth construction, arbor-decorating, straw flair (a la Mrs. Snow) and much, much more as the Paisley hootenanny draws nigh and nigher!

Have you spaced out your DIY projects appropriately, in a time-conscious manner? Or are you Miss Procrastinator like your very own Miss P?

June 14, 2010

A Storybook Ending…

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:15 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Storybooks are my favorite, from the fairy tales Grimm to Babar the Elephant to yes, even storybooks’ physical manifestation via Storybook Land at Disneyland.

I owe a great part of my admiration for storybooks to my mom, a children’s librarian.

To pay tribute to her, my wonderful bridesmaid Alexa will recite a reading based on the book “A Runaway Bunny.”

To tie in the theme, I created program backs using the pages of my favorite children’s book (about a wedding, of course!) “A Frog Went A-Courting” adapted and illustrated by Nina Barbaresi:

I used different pages so about every row, if they put their programs together, can get the gist of the story:

Here’s the front of the program–it’s pretty cool how the colors match the books’ colors!

By the way, here is what the aftermath of cutting out 100 programs, and their backing, and assembling them, looks like:

Yes, it looks as if wedding threw up on my parents’ rug. Sorry parents. It’s only for 10 more days!

Anyway. Back to Alexa’s reading. It is inspired by a few I found around the internet, and it incorporates direct quotes from the book as well.

Here is the full text of what she will read during our ceremony:

“As many of you know, this book is a conversation between a mother rabbit and one of her bunnies who wants to run away. As some of you know, the bride’s mother happens to be a children’s librarian, and if you couldn’t already tell by the programs, such literature holds a special place in their hearts.

A certain truth about relationships is revealed in Margaret Wise Brown’s classic children’s book The Runaway Bunny.

In the book, the bunny tells his mother “I am running away….If you run after me, I will become a fish in a trout stream and I will swim away from you…” to which his mother responds that no matter how far he wants to go, no matter how well he wants to hide, his mother will be there: “if you become a bird and fly away from me,” says his mother, “I will be a tree that you come home to….if you become a crocus in a hidden garden…I will be a gardener and I will find you…… if you become a rock on the mountain high above me I will be a mountain climber, and I will climb to where you are,” the book reads.

In our closest relationships we need to give each other the freedom to be ourselves by holding space for each other’s evolution safely in our hearts at the same time as we maintain our deepest, closest connection. Our partner can change and explore, always knowing that we will be there. It is this balance between communion and autonomy, between adventure and intimacy, held in a profoundly mutual and loving space that we wish for Miss Paisley and Professor Paisley throughout their lives together.”

And that’s it! I love it!

In keeping with my storybook theme, I plan to watch one of my favorite uplifting Disney movies, Enchanted, starring Amy Adams and McDreamy, on the morning of my wedding.

Throughout the day, probably right about when some passive aggressive comment floats by my ears or when a freak California summertime rain cloud looms, I’ll envision an army of happy singing animal cartoons there to help me take it all on the chin.

Or when I walk into my reception, and realize my DIY flowers have all wilted from the oppressive heat, I’ll imagine my fairy Godmother, with a flick of her wand, has showered make-everything-pretty dust all over my reception.

My mom told me a story the other day at the dinner table, it was about a little boy’s dismay at a felt story board she presented during children’s storytime at the library. He kept pointing at a window pane my mom had just placed onto the Three Little Pigs’ house on the felt board.

“It’s not a window!” he said.

“What do you mean? It is a window,” my mother patiently explained.

“No, no, no, it’s not!” the little boy said in frustration, struggling to explain.

“Do you mean because there’s no glass?” my mother asked.

“Yes!” the boy said, with obvious relief.

“There may not be actual glass on this windowpane, but you can use your imagination to pretend there is.”

Just like the felt story board is just a simple backdrop for an often intricate, wonderful story, so is the wedding a simple backdrop for another story: your deep and meaningful relationship with your new husband. The candy buffet, the annoying distant cousins–all are just like one-dimensional felt props to your multi-faceted story.

When I look around at my decor, and it isn’t glinting quite the way it does on the pages of Martha Steward Weddings or on the screen of Style Me Pretty, I’ll remember the lessons taught from reading, use my imagination a little, and take a page from Enchanted to look on the bright side: I’m embarking on my true-life, happily-ever-after ending with my new husband, and the beginning of the rest of our lives. :-)

Do tell, what’s your favorite children’s story book that never fails to put a smile on your face?

A SATC Bachelorette!

Posted in Fashion at 6:28 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

My OC girls threw me the most fabulous night out on the town, Sex and the City style. The movie had just opened (I know, I’m a little late posting this), and, ardent fans that we were, we had been planning for months to make a day of it and see it together.

When my bridesmaids (who live in NorCal) realized they needed to host a party there, an 8+ hour drive from the OC, and we quickly realized that what with graduations and schedule conflicts, nobody from down here could make it up there, my OC girls decided to turn SATC day into a celebration of my devotion to one man, since they are awesome like that.

What was meant to be just a last minute, mini-bachelorette turned out to be my largest (with five of us altogether) bachelorette party! (Stay tuned to read about the other bachelorette party!!)

After getting dolled up in our carefully-planned and coordinated SATC-inspired outfits, we hoped in the car (fully intending for our men to pick us up later on):

Miss Paisley and her great and gorgeous friend, D.

More beauties: S, whose hot car got us there, and A, aka “Agnasty,” my recently-engaged-friend who will probably soon discover the joys of Weddingbee!

We arrived at The District, and I confirmed with Professor Paisley that he could come pick us up later if A’s boyfriend-now-fiance for whatever reason couldn’t… (but he did, thanks Dave!)

My outfit, by the way, totaled just $10, since I got the skirt on clearance at my fav, Anthro, and everything else was already owned.

We started out the night enjoying quite the spread at Ra. The girls pulled out all the stops, ordering dish after dish and drink after drink:

Ra must have known what was on our agenda for the evening, check out the cute stir sticks in our Cosmos!

We cheersed!

We noshed!

We flirted with our sexy waiter and laughed hysterically every time we called him “sexy” to his face!

We cuddled!

We kissed (on the cheeks, lol)!

We posed, giggled…and posed some more!


Miss Paisley, C, and S!

By the way, this is what happens if you even just TRY to pay the tip at your bachelorette dinner:

Your $20 WILL get torn in half and then silly, suggestive photo-ops will occur.

We made our way to the flick, SATC style:

And one of the many highlights of the night, as I walked in, I received a standing ovation from the crowd in the theater, sneakily and brilliantly choreographed by the fabulous A!

Inside, much silliness continued as we ate delicious Sprinkles cupcakes, photographed our cute shoes and then thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Afterward, the antics continued complete with free drinks and free comedy (where I was of course a main target by the comedian) at a local pub. It was a fabulous night and we had a complete blast! Thank you girls! I really <3 you!

Have you had more than one, intimate bachelorette parties, or did you do it up once in grand fashion with a whole dozen or more of your gals?

May 29, 2010

Paisley (Finally) Reveals Her Dress Pics!

Posted in Fashion, Hair at 1:40 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

I think I waited until a month before my wedding to show you guys my dress because I was secretly worried some readers would criticize me for picking such a ubiquitous dress. Yuppers, mine is an extremely popular one….as the bridal shop informed me, and the alterations place, and many people around wedding blogosphere.

Actually, my seamstress ever-so-slightly-passive-aggressively informed me it is not popular anymore. So maybe I have nothing to fear! According to her, it’s practically vintage! She got “thousands, literally thousands of this dress like two, three years ago” and I quote.

Sweet! Not only has everybody and her sister worn my dress, but now it’s old, too! ;)

You know what I say to that? What-freakin-ever! I fell in love with my dress two years ago after seeing it in a magazine, and despite trying on dozens of others, I couldn’t find another I love more.

And so without further ado, I give you, arguably one of the most popular dresses of the ’10s, (and for good reason) The Melissa Sweet Lia:

Please ignore my un-makeuped, un-hair-did, early morning face with puffy eyes. Ugh.

Focus instead on the back, in all its whipped cream-like, buttery, double-faced satin glory:

Woah. Is my back really that huge? Yes, yes it is. But it’s good for things like sports and amateur hatchet-throwing contests:

I came in something like 3rd place, and I’d like to thank my huge back.

Anyway, here’s a photo of the veil I’m wearing. Cathedral length Jeniffer Leigh “Corby” veil. I like that “Corby” is only one letter removed from Professor P’s actual name. ;)

Next up, I’ll need help from all of you ladies in deciding where to place my veil. High up near the top of my head like in the picture? Or lower on the back of my noggin?

Stay tuned for pictures of my hair, makeup, dress and veil in one great big, happy trial run!

Did you choose a popular or, as some in the wedding blogosphere say, “overdone” wedding item, whether it was a dress, veil, color scheme, or other element for your big day? Did you have any regrets about your choice to go a popular route?

May 28, 2010

Let Me Anthropologize…

Posted in Deals, Fashion at 5:57 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

…if you don’t like my favorite store, because this post borders on Anthro-worship.

But where else would I shop for my bridesmaids’ gifts, since it’s the best store ever, right? (Note: I only ever shop for sale items here, however.)

The question then, was, which of the lovely things in said store should I gift them? (Paisley ‘maids, please go away now! No more reading!)

I recently fell in looove with their monogram necklace:

Source

They were out of stock online, since this was a winter item, but if you call customer service, they’ll locate items in-store around the country and ship them to you for free! Or at least the New York City store shipped them for free! Icing on the cake, because they also were the only store in the country to have all the various letters I needed. And for the sweet, sweet sale price of $10, I threw in one for myself, too!

I’m not sure yet if I’ll ask the girls to wear these on the wedding day, or instead ask that they go bare-necked, as I am. What do you think, are they wedding-y enough?

They’re also getting gloriously-beautiful earrings in two of our wedding colors: rose and pale aqua.

I have been collecting these earrings for over a year, waiting for the expensive baubles to go on sale, and waiting for appropriate styles individual to each girl, so I know they will love them and hopefully wear them again.

They’re so pretty and delicate, it makes me want to get my ears pierced so I can wear them, too! It’s probably really, really good that I don’t, or I would have bought ‘em all in double. Yep, my mantra in this present-buying business has been “one for me, one for you!” ;)

All told, I spent around $200 on their gifts. But full price it would have been more than double that! So, score!

Their gifts will be a surprise, but I did let my maid of honor peek at them through pictures, so she could get her favorite.

Speaking of maids of honor, I got her an extra gift, a gorgeous green beaded necklace.

Yes, I also couldn’t resist buying myself one to match. ;) Anyone else have trouble resisting buying for yourself when buying gifts for your bridal party members?

May 27, 2010

Easy as Tie

Posted in Fashion at 2:57 pm by Elizabeth Nixon

Or not.

How hard can it be to pick a tie?

O-oh, oh, let me tell you, it can be a challenge. I *almost* regreted going when Prof. P asked me along this afternoon, if only because with less than a month until our wedding, I’m so over it and making more decisions! But, once there, we had a lot of fun!

We’re narrowing it down, but need a little help from the hive, so please vote in the poll below! Here’s an inspiration board I created, with the help of two photos from our very own Miss Apple Cider and Miss Cowboy Boot!

All photos unless noted are by Miss Paisley

Upper left: Source
Middle right: Miss Apple Cider
Lower left: Source
Lower right: Miss Cowboy Boot

I lucked out that Miss Apple Cider also used David’s Bridal navy chiffon for her ‘maids, because I desperately needed to see a good picture of the color, as the DB website color is not accurate, and all my maids live far away.

The suit in the middle of the inspiration board? That’s what the guys are wearing. Tan seersucker.

That preppy bow tie in navy with pink dots is my favorite at the moment.

Here’s a better look.

Next to the ensemble, I arranged a pink tie to act as the bridesmaids’ bouquet and a pair of navy slacks to simulate their navy chiffon gown, to see how it would all look together. Prof. P had a fun time cracking jokes about how the Paisley ‘maids were apparently wearing dresses made out of pants, while I’m sure the Jos A. Banks men were wishing we’d go home already. But you know what, they can deal, because they were equally annoying!

Side rant: the store guys were kinda saying sexist stuff to us! They were trying to be funny, but failed miserably. No doubt they figured they were building rapport with Prof. P saying stuff like, “Ohh, better go with what SHE says! That’s the only opinion that matters! Hahaha!” Or, “Well, guess that one doesn’t meet HER standards,” said patronizingly.

Yeah, thanks for ALL the ‘spect you showed me today, gentlemen! I mean, this “little lady” can barely contain herself with excitement and enthusiasm to return to your store!

If money weren’t an option, I’d be outta there! But, their 60 percent-off-6-or-more-ties-sale that’s going on for the next two days has me sold.

Here are the contenders:

(For reference, our colors are pale aqua, navy blue, peach and pink.)

Option A (the navy bow tie above)

Option B

The light blue, pink and navy striped tie

Option C

The striped bow tie

Option D

The peach, navy and light blue tie

Which do you like best?

option a

option b

option c

option d

Have you found ties for your groomsmen yet? Was it difficult to match them to your wedding, or was it simply a cinch? Maybe…easy as tie?

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