Friday, May 16, 2008

Miss Dahlia, signing off

Things get a little bit crazy just before a wedding. (I was actually surprised by this- I guess I thought all of the "things will be so busy" wouldn't happen to me. Well, it did. Things get busy.)

So with the wedding tomorrow, this is Miss Dahlia signing off. Thank you so much for all of your support throughout this wedding process, and when I return from Bali, I'll give the full wedding recap. Now, though, it's time to by the flowers for my bouquet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match

Last night we were double checking the seating chart, making sure that everyone is seated appropriately (i.e. non-drinkers are not located next to the bar, crazy relatives are separated, that sort of thing.) Reflecting on it as we were lying in bed, we started thinking about which "singles" we could possibly pair up. (It actually reminded me of high school sleepovers.)

No, we're not doing a singles table, as most people naturally fall into a particular group (high school friends, college friends, grad school friends) of people. But Calvin's got this friend from high school, and I've got this friend from college, and well, it seems like they would just be perfect for each other.

I know that this sort of meddling typically doesn't work out very well, but it is so tempting.

Anyone else playing matchmaker at their wedding? (And if you met your special someone at a wedding, please share!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

ride wit me*

No limo for us on our wedding day.** Nope, we're saving a couple of bucks, and using my dad's sweet ride.

My Dad's PT Cruiser Convertible, as seen by Google Street View.

If the weather cooperates (although today's forecast say showers), we'll head out with the roof down.

Image found here.

What is your getaway car? (And if you want to use a PT Cruiser, and happen to live in Australia, you can actually rent a PT Cruiser for your wedding here.)

*My apologies to Nelly
**My limo experience was permanently scarred by a rather unfortunate prom experience, where we had a padiddle limo, where the stereo didn't work, the air conditioning didn't work, it smelled a bit like cigarette smoke, and the windows would roll down but not up. In it were myself and 4 friends, along with our dates. 2 of the dates ended up putting their heads out the window and barking like a dog at passing cars.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Down came the rain...

Good News: There is just over a week until our wedding, which means we are clear into 10-day forecast range.

Bad News:

Thankfully, our ceremony and reception are indoors, but I was still hoping to take some pictures around Cleveland's Little Italy. Can't you just imagine the great shots we could get?

From here.

From here.

If it's pouring down rain, I think that walking around town will be a no-go, since I really don't want to trash my dress before the reception. But if it's just drizzling, or a little damp, I think we we could do it, so long as we have a giant umbrella.

What are you doing in case it rains on your wedding day? (And anyone have a suggestion for a giant umbrella?)

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Crazy dreams

Taking the advice of many in yesterday's post, I decided to head to bed early last night. I'm not sure whether it was the exhaustion, the cold or the cold medicine, but I had a crazy dream last night.

It was a Sunday morning, which in my dream was the morning of our wedding. Only I didn't realize this immediately. I went to church, was chatting with people and what not, and started driving to my parents' house around 11:30am. Driving over there, I realized that I had totally and completely missed my hair and makeup appointments, and started freaking out because I was supposed to be at the hotel getting ready so that we could leave at 1pm for the church. I called the hair salon, but the person I spoke to said that they had wondered what happened to me, and that since they closed at 12pm, there was nothing they could do to help. I started panicking, but no one seemed to quite understand why I was so stressed out.

Then the dream ended. And I realized that there was no way that I was going to forget my hair appointment the morning of the wedding.

What crazy wedding dreams have you had?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

getting cold feet....

And arms. And throat. And nose.

Yes, it's attack of the killer cold from Michigan. Sore throat, coughing, congestion, runny nose, the works.

Image found here.

Getting sick was not part of The Plan. And while I'm grateful that I'm getting sick this week, and not next week, it took Calvin over a week to get over his cold, and I'm getting married in, oh, 11 days. And there is still quite a bit to do.

So. What is your best, fast working cold remedy?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Honeymoon Destinations

Just a note to regular readers: this is a guest post I'm doing for Bridal Guide, so some of this you may have seen before. But I don't think anyone will mind looking at pictures of gorgeous exotic locales.

Planning a honeymoon has been one of the most fun parts of wedding planning. It's not every day (or at least, it's not my every day) that you get to plan a two week trip to an amazing destination. Given that importance of this vacation (it is our honeymoon, after all), we spent quite a bit of time scouring the globe for the actual perfect location.

Our criteria:
-ability to stay in smaller, boutique type places
-good food/wine
-city and beach/pool/lazing around time
-if possible, private outdoor swim area

Turns out, there are a large number of places, all over the globe, that meet these requirements.

First place we checked out: Mexico. Specifically Amuleto.

High up on the cliffs overlooking Zihuatanejo Bay, Amuleto seemed like the perfect place to get a away from it all and relish in being married. With solid tripadvisor ratings, it seemed perfect. Pricey, at about $400 USD/night, not counting tax and gratuity, but it looks perfect. Consider one of the main suites:

Complete with hammock

And private plunge pool!

And for a bit more, you could stay in the Palapa suite, which has a unique indoor/outdoor feel to it. Like living in the rainforest with luxury accommodations.

Just check out the shower!

Absolutely gorgeous. Seriously. And while this remains on our (well, my) list of places to go, we ended up vetoing it, since my fiance was not really digging Mexico, and we're headed there next year for the wedding of a friend.

So, no Mexico. We moved our search across the Atlantic, and though of Spain.
So many people (my brother included) have said that Barcelona is amazing.

And you can rent out really nice apartments for way cheaper than you would get in a comparable hotel. Check it out here.

Just a sample of what is available:
Studio apartment in Las Ramblas for 120 euros, or roughly $160.

Nice kitchen

very chic bath

and your own private terrace!

And if we wanted beach time, there is always the Canary Islands.

The above pictures are from the Hotel Palm Beach, which has the modern, design styled rooms shown below. This place has decent tripadvisor ratings.

Or if you want something more traditional, consider the Hotel San Roque, also with good tripadvisor reviews.

The regular room.

Or splurge on the tower room.

Complete with its own terrace

that has views of the ocean.

But after some discussion, we decided that Spain was not the place for us- partly because we wanted some of the amenities offered at a hotel, like fresh linens and room service- and partly because my fiance had his heart set on another location.

Picture is from National Geographic.


And we both fell in love with one place in particular- Ikies. Nestled on the outskirts of Oia, Ikies offered private outdoor jacuzzis, breakfast on your own private terrace, and the nearly impossible perfect 5 rating on tripadvisor.

Check it out.

A view of the property.

Isn't that terrace amazing?

The rooms aren't to shabby either.

Look at how beautiful it is at dusk!

Only trick was, while Greece is new to my fiance, I have been to the Greek islands before. Although it was while I was backpacking through college, and was only on Santorini briefly because we missed our ferry stop in Ios (think MTV spring break, only with Aussies instead of Americans), I still wasn't settled on going someplace I had been before. Besides, we wanted city! And I am not a big fan of Athens. And somehow, to me, Greece just doesn't sound too exotic.

So what if we went to Istanbul as well? Turkey sounds exotic. And we could stay at MiSafir Suites, a place that has (say it with me now) amazing tripadvisor ratings. Just look at it:

That way I could get my passport stamped in a new country as well.

Like all the places thus discussed, there was just one trick. This time, it was that there is no good way to get from Santorini to Istanbul. Flights must go through Athens, and there are two airlines available: Olympic and Turkish. Flights are expensive, and it seemed difficult justifying spending $800 to go to someplace mostly because I wanted to go to someplace new. But what if we just went to Turkey?

Then we could split our time between Istanbul and Cappadoccia.

Last two images found here.

Cappadoccia has a significant history; it was both the home to ancient Hittite civilization, and the underground tunnels were used by early Christians to avoid persecution. The Goreme Open-Air Museum contains many ancient churches, and the underground cities of Kaymakli and Derinkuyu are also places to visit. Perhaps the most popular thing for tourists is to take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise.

Image found here.

Now, there are also many fabulous places to stay in the area:

Sacred House has good tripadvisor ratings; prices range from $130-170/night.

Gamarisu also has excellent tripadvisor ratings; rooms range from $95-$700, with most $200 or less.

So we could spend time in Istanbul, and some in Cappadoccia. We could also travel to Bodrum or another locations along the coast for the requisite beach time.

However, as we were planning our trip, the cost of airline tickets to Turkey kept increasing. And the value of the dollar kept declining. For not much more than the cost of our plane tickets to Turkey, we could fly to Asia.

We had already nixed India (my fiance has been there) and Thailand (May is the rainy season). We had talked about Japan, but it would eliminate the whole being cheaper once you get there, and it would definitely be more of a see-as-much-as-you-can sort of vacation than a relaxing one with some sightseeing. So we settled on the following location:
And then we finally settled on our place:

Bali. (And Singapore- since we get a free stopover with Singapore Airways, and want some big city fun.)

Image from Wikimedia

Image from Saptatours

Image from Younan's blog

I've never been to Asia. My fiance spent three weeks in India with his best friend (his best man) and his family. On the way there and back, they spent some time in Bangkok. But he has never been to other parts of Asia, and really wants to go. (As do I!) And Bali seems to provide the best of all of the places we considered: good food, beach, culture, someplace new, and the possibility of a big city adventure.

We're spending 4 nights at the Elysian Bali Villas. Located in Seminyak, it is near (but not on) the beach, and close to lots of restaurants and more upscale tourist attractions. (In other words, it's not near the college backpacking crowd. Which is good. I did the whole drunken college student thing for a couple of days in Ios, Greece, and that was plenty for me. For life.)

Bedroom looks good...

Complete with our own private pool!

I think I could handle this living room....

We will then be spending 4 nights in Ubud (cultural mecca) in the center of the island, at the Komaneka Resort.

Check out that view!

Overlooking the rice paddies!

In case we tire of the staring at the rice paddies and decide to venture out in the world, there is a lot to do.

Like go to the Sacred Monkey Forest.

Who doesn't want to see monkeys?

And after we leave Ubud, we are headed to Singapore for 4 nights, staying at the Fairmount Singapore (formerly Raffles the Plaza).

The room- pic from

The view (every room comes with a balcony!) - pic from

Needless to say, both of us are psyched for this trip. Seriously. You might even say that I'm more excited about the honeymoon than I am about the wedding.

Where are you going on your honeymoon?

Monday, May 5, 2008

About that travel...

One of the items on my checklist that I took care of this weekend was registering our honeymoon travels with the US State Department. Although I've never registered my travels before, since we are headed to Indonesia, I thought it might be a good idea to do it this time.

Basically, you just provide the State Department with your contact information when you are traveling, so that if there were some emergency, they would be able to contact you. And it's really easy, since you can do it online. Took about 5 minutes or so, and now I know that if something awful should happen, it'll be a little bit easier for the government to find me.

Has anyone else registered their travel with the State Department?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Tracking down the RSVPs

The due date guest responses to our wedding was May 1 (which, as you all probably know, was yesterday). We received 2 more responses in the mail today, which I'll consider on time, since they were postmarked April 30.

Anyways, we have 7 outstanding invitations remaining that are for a total of 17 people. (Yes, this includes a family of 5, where the mother is a reader, the father is our videographer and one of the daughters is our soloist. We know they're coming, but don't know whether they want vegetarian or chicken.) Still, that isn't too shabby, given that we sent out 121 invitations to invite 227 people. That's a response rate of 94%, which is pretty darn good.

Now begins the task of calling those who did not RSVP, and finding out what their intentions are- hopefully, it'll be taken care of by the end of the weekend.

How many of your guests have you had to track down after the RSVP deadline?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

No conflict

Awhile back, Mrs. Tomato mentioned Brilliant Earth in her post about conflict-free diamonds. I wanted to share my brother's experience working with them on his fiancee's engagement ring.

As both of them are laid-back individuals heavily interested (and involved) in sustainable development and social justice, my brother didn't want to involve himself with DeBeers. However, he also knew that DeBeers or not, her wanted to get his lovely fiancee a diamond engagement ring.

After a bit of internet searching, he came across Brilliant Earth, and quickly settled on this ring:

White Gold Halo from Brilliant Earth

Less than 2 weeks later, it arrived at his friend's apartment (my brother knew there was no way it could be delivered to their apartment, as his fiancee gets home from work before him), and a couple of weeks after that, they were engaged.

He's thrilled with the ring, she's thrilled with the ring, and their both happy that it was purchased from a company that provides diamonds ethically.

What are your thoughts about conflict-free jewelry?