Friday, September 11, 2009

The wedding gift that changed our life

We've been married for almost a year and a half. In that time, we've found a lot of uses for some of the items for which we registered. The plates, glasses, cups, flatware- use them every day. The pots and pans, most days in a week. The mixer, about once a week.

But none of those things really changed our life. We did just fine without them- our life isn't any different because we got them; prettier, perhaps, since everything matches, but it didn't change things.

There is one gift that we got, however, that has really changed the way we do things around our house. It wasn't on our registry, and was actually a shower gift.

This is our go to cookbook, for just about everything. My mom's go to cookbook was McCall's, and we have a Joy of Cooking, but this is really the one that teaches you how to cook, in plain english, with items you already have in the cupboard.

Favorite recipes include ice cream (best Christmas present last year was the Kitchenaid mixer attachment), pizza dough (a doubled recipe makes enough for 3 pizza stone sized pizzas, and keeps in the freezer), and crackers. Yes, crackers. For really cheap (like, 20 cents cheap) and 15 minutes time, you can have amazing homemade crackers. They are Calvin's specialty, and he makes them all the time.

We've given the cookbook to every member of our families, and talk about it whenever cooking comes up. It is that fantastic. And who knew that a cookbook could change your life?

What was your most useful wedding gift? And what is your favorite cookbook?

Monday, August 31, 2009

How to pack the dance floor

A couple of people asked on my last post about how the dance floor got so packed so quickly. I must say, the same thing happened at my younger brother's wedding this summer- and didn't happen at many of the other weddings we have attended. It seems that there are a couple of things that can make a difference.

1. The bride and groom must be happy.
If they are happy, it is much easier for everyone else to be happy.

2. The right music is crucial- and live music helps.
Of the three weddings we've attended with live music, 2 had tons of dancing. Of the DJ or ipod weddings, roughly 25% (2 of 8, I think) had a lot of dancing. Regardless of how the music is played, it should be music that everyone, from grandparents on down, should be able to tap their feet to. Our big band played standards from the 1930s, '40s and '50s; my brother and his wife had a funk band that played classics from the 1970s through today. But in each case, most people knew most of the songs.

3. A dance floor in the middle of the room helps.
All of the weddings that I've attended with a lot of dancing had the dance floor in the middle of the room, surrounded on three sides by tables, with the DJ or band on the 4th side. This makes it easier for people who are not dancing to be part of the dance floor, and if people stop to take a break, it is much easier for friends to get them back on the floor.

4. Booze is important.
'nuff said.

5. The bride and groom must be on the dance floor.
My mom asked me if we would go around from table to table at the reception. To her initial dismay, I said no- we were having a receiving line so we wouldn't need to do that. I said that I planned to be on the dance floor the entire night, and if people wanted to talk to me, they could dance with me. Whether it was the right thing to do or not, it worked.

Anyone have other tips to add about how to get the dance floor moving?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Dance Dance Dance

There were two things that our photographer, Ken Blaze, said about our wedding that he had never seen before at a wedding.

1. The dance floor was immediately packed following my dance with my dad.

Some dear family friends

The best man and his then girlfriend, now fiancee - we're going to their wedding in Calcutta in October!

College friends

Flower girl and ring bearer

2. The longest conga line- it extended way beyond the dance floor

Led by my piano playing youngest brother. He was so proud that he got is bowtie tied- specifically so he could look awesome at the reception when he undid it.

During the band's first break, we took a couple of group shots of friends. I'd highly recommend doing this.

The "chicas", from high school. Quite a bit different than our prom picture, I believe.

The requisite college alumni picture. Which still needs to be sent to the alumni magazine.

The group shot I wish I'd gotten- of all of the friends/families from my church that I grew up with.
And then we boogied into the night.

One of my good friends from college. At the winter formal in school, we would swing dance to at least 1 song, and did the same at his wedding.

And there you have it- our wedding in a nutshell. My youngest brother danced with 19 women (his girlfriend was in South Africa), my other brother did shots of Zwack with my uncle, and friends kept saying how much fun our wedding was- which was our original goal. To throw one helluva party.

All photos courtesy (and copyright!) of the amazing Ken Blaze.
The beginning
Getting ready
First Glance
To the Chapel
I Do
Receiving Our Guests
A little time for us

Let the party begin!
Sneak Peak
Dinner and Dessert

After dinner

After dinner

After dinner, it was....
....time for dancing! (Big surprise, I know. No way you guessed that one.)

My youngest brother, pianist extraordinaire, played the song for our first dance. Ben Fold's "The Luckiest", which may be a bit cliched- but is one of my brother's signature songs that he plays whenever he is around a piano.

Our dancing lessons really paid off.

It was so fantastic to have that time together on the dance floor.

Following our dance, I danced with my dad while the band played "Fly Me To the Moon".

This is my favorite picture ever of my dad and I.
My dad and I used to attend Girl Scout Father-Daughter dances when I was much younger- but both of us were more of the wallflower type than tearing it up on the dance floor. But the lessons that Calvin and I took, and my parents are still taking, really paid off.

The crowd really got into it as well.

Calvin's cousins and mom

Random people I don't know. Seriously- they are friends of Calvin's parents, and I have no idea who they are. And Calvin doesn't want to admit it, but he doesn't know who they are either.
At the end of the dance, I gave my dad a hug.

As did Calvin.

And then the party really got started!

All photos courtesy (and copyright!) of the amazing Ken Blaze.
The beginning
Getting ready
First Glance
To the Chapel
I Do
Receiving Our Guests
A little time for us

Let the party begin!
Sneak Peak
Dinner and Dessert

Saturday, March 21, 2009

A little shower help....

My mom and I are planning a bridal shower for my brother's fiancee. My own shower had a theme of "Around the Clock", where guests brought gifts that corresponded with something that I would be use at that time of the day.

But we're stuck on what to do as a theme for the shower. Her mother throws fabulous tea parties, so that is out. We're planning on having it on a Saturday afternoon in May.

So- what was the best themed shower that you have been to?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Surveying the Bridesmaids

Yes, I know, long time no post. One of these days I really will get around to finishing my wedding recap...

Anyways, on to more practical wedding planning things! I'm a bridesmaid in my brother's wedding, and his lovely fiancee sent out an email earlier this week about appropriate attire.

An excerpt is as follows:

"I think I have talked to all of you about possibly getting dresses from jcew and it seemed like everyone liked the idea. So, I have created a survey to find out which styles and colors you all prefer. We do not have official wedding colors so things are pretty flexible...all we know is we want things to be colorful and summery! On the survey I choose the 4 colors that I liked the best initially...but feel free to comment on other colors if you like something else (I don't pretend to have good taste). I like the idea of having different styles in the same fabric so you can choose a dress according to what you will feel comfortable in. So here's the link to the survey...You will want to have the jcrew website opened while you are taking the survey so you can see what I'm talking about!"

Absolutely brilliant. The survey (created at SurveyMonkey) asked questions about fabric and color choices. Since J. Crew's short bridesmaid dresses range from $150 to $285, depending upon fabric style, she also asked about the affordability of the dresses.

Has anyone else created an online survey for any part of wedding planning?