About Rachel&Sam

Friday, December 18, 2009

275 Days - Esquire

Tuesday, Sammy was sworn into the Maryland Bar Association!  His father, Frank, and his wife, Robin, joined us from Atlanta to celebrate this huge accomplishment.  

Two reasons I fell in love with Sam are his intelligence and his dedication to his education.  He's a little nerdy and that is awesome!  

I recorded Sam's swearing-in ceremony for your viewing pleasure!  Its about 36 minutes total, but you can watch it in parts.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

288 Days - Status Update

Some people might be offended, but this is HILARIOUS!

I am glad Sam doesn't have a Blackberry!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

289 Days - The Dream

I had my first wedding dream since getting engaged last night. I had to write it down because it cracked me up.

It was raining. My girls and I were doing our hair and makeup in a room attached to St. Joseph’s in Dannemora. Sam arrived on a submarine in a tuxedo. . . naturally. He and his groomsmen came up to the room where I was getting ready with my girlfriends to chat. He told me one of his groomsmen were concerned he would be very nervous on our wedding day, so they gave him a laxative. For some reason, I was convinced this wasn’t a problem. I asked Sam if he was certain he needed a laxative to help him relax and he said he didn’t think so. Exit laxative from dream.

Fast forward through me briefly waking up to one of the kittens licking my face and me putting her in the hall. . .

It’s wedding time! My girls and Sam leave to get lined up at the church entrance, which is on the other side of the building. So I am now by myself and I am getting dressed. . . except I realize that my girls took my wedding dress so it wouldn’t get wet as I wore it to get to the church entrance. I suddenly realize that I am running incredibly late!! I have one leg in my stockings and am wearing a red/orangey dress – running through the rain to get to the entrance of the church. . . no umbrella. I also notice another bride stalking around outside with her bridesmaids. Her dress was lovely. Apparently her ceremony is right after ours, which made me run faster. We must have been behind schedule. So I run into the church and there are a bunch of people I don’t recognize. I see these two red-headed boys wearing what can only be described as 70’s rust colored suits with bowties (yikes!) I finally find my girls and throw on my dress, which thankfully is only a quick zip and snap.

There ceremony begins. Fr. Chris is officiating. We hold hands, say our vows, kiss and that’s it. Married!

I am guessing this means that no matter what craziness ensues on our wedding day (I can probably guarantee there will be craziness), we will still be husband and wife. That makes me very happy.

Friday, November 27, 2009

294 Days - Bonnie & Clyde

Meet the newest members of our family - Bonnie & Clyde! They are two month old rescue kittens from the Animal Rescue League of Arlington. They were in a litter of six known as The Breakfast Club. (They were "Eggs & Bacon" haha!) Bonnie is grey and white and Clyde is black, white and very fluffy!

We have been wanting to make an addition to our home for a while and have been in debates over a dog or a cat. We finally decided we would get a cat because we would feel guilty leaving a dog home all day while we are at work. Of course, one cat turned to into two kittens. Since the kittens were in the same litter and were socialized, we decided if we got two they would be able to keep each other company during the day. Plus that's twice the lovin' and the cuteness!

Please meet our little loves:

I am also proud of our decision. Today, there were no vacancies at the Rescue League. They were filled to the brim. It was so sad. If we had our way, we would have taken them all! Of course, I would have been a crazy cat lady, as a result, but if you look up the definition of sadness, you'll see a picture of a cat or a dog in a shelter. Go get a rescue kitty!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

305 Days - Things that make you go, "Ooooh!"

I love my wedding dress and I am so excited to wear it, but if an unlimited budget came around and I got the option to wear a reception dress, this would be it, my friends:

LOVE! Its so simple and elegant. Beautiful lines. Stunning fabric. Dear J.Crew, stop sending me catalogs with dresses that make my heart melt.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

313 Days - The Name Game

This seems trivial, but I am currently making a list of all of the derivations of what my name could be after the wedding. Sam has consistently said that it is my decision about what my name should be after the wedding. (He actually just suggested that I change my last name to MunnsterPenny. I'll take it into consideration.)

I'm pretty torn. I have been Rachel Munn for 26 years. Its everything I have ever known. It represents who I am and what I have made for myself as an individual. However, being called Mrs. Rachel Batkins is very exciting. I feel like a lot of little girls practice writing out their name and attach their future husband's last name. I won't lie. I've done it. I get butterflies when I write out my name with Sam's last name and I can't help but smile. Also, I don't think there is a way you can mispronounce Batkins. Munn, on the other hand, has resulted in being called Miss Moon on several occasions, including my graduation ceremony from American and meetings at work.

It seems like the name game is a pretty common debate. Decisions can be based on a woman's perspective on her lifestyle, which can tend toward feminism or traditionalism. Women ask themselves questions like, am I abandoning my last name if I take his last name? Wouldn't I want the same last name as the family we become when we get married? If I keep my name, monograms would never work. Haha!

Thankfully, I have 313 days to make this decision. If we are three days before the wedding and I haven't decided yet, that is the time to start showing concern.

Friday, October 23, 2009

329 Days - Gram & Boppy

I LOVE my grandparents. They are awesome. But when Sam and I made the decision to have our wedding in Washington, DC, I also knew that the trip from the North Country would be too hard on my grandparents. Obviously I would love for my grandparents to be present on my wedding day, but I don't what them to feel the stress of traveling for at least ten hours. I think if they do come, they wouldn't be able to enjoy it and then what's the point?! Yes, they will certainly be missed on our day. No one wants to get married without beloved family being present, but Sam reminded me that we will be in the North Country next Christmas. He suggested that I bring my dress and he bring his suit and we will renew our vows in front of Gram & Boppy. (One example of why Sam is so incredibly thoughtful.) I called Gram today to let her know what Sam and I have been discussing. For those of you that know her, you can imagine Gram letting the tears flow, but she seemed pretty relieved. I feel very, very good about this decision. I am also going to try and get a copy of my grandparents wedding portrait and have it in a place of honor at our wedding ceremony and reception.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

337 Days - $10 Challenge: Cake Topper Edition

In an effort to continue to save money on our wedding planning, Sam issued me a Cake Topper Challenge! He wanted to see if I could find a cake topper for $10. Ask and you shall receive, honey! I give you the Cake Topper Kit from Etsy seller GooseGrease:

For $10, my bridesmaid, Laura and I are going make a custom cake topper for Sam's and my wedding! I am super thrilled because not only do I love a bargain, but I love that it will be personal to Sam and me.

Hopefully, Sam's next money-saving challenge will be this easy. . .

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

338 Days - The List

So its been a while. . . sorry about that. Life has been crazy busy. We are still settling into our new place. My work engagement keeps me at work for nine to ten hours a day. Also, my sister's wedding and all of the details that needed to be covered up to her wedding day were pretty time consuming (Joyful, but time consuming.)

I haven't been too interested in our wedding planning because of everything going on around us, but as disinterested as I have been, I made a list of things that we have made decisions about, what we have accomplished, and what details we need to decide. I figured this list could fulfill blog posts for the next six months. . . such as:

1) The meaning of it all - Our meetings with Fr. Avella - the priest at Our Lady of Lourdes in our neighborhood, Fr. Chris Looby's involvement, Pre-Cana & Foccus;
2) The last name game;
3) To cake or to cupcake?;
4) Can I make a bouquet?!;
5) Can an i-pod wedding reception be any fun?;
6) The attack of the ballooning guest list!
7) Bride-Zen vs. Bridezilla. . .
8) Wedding brew - what to name it?

So I have this list, , but I don't want to talk about those things yet. Instead, I want to watch my sister's wedding video's that Sam recorded. It was a beautiful day, overflowing with love.

My favorite part is right before they kiss! The two of them have so much love and anticipation on their faces! They look ecstatic!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

354 Days - The Dress is Here!

I got my dress! It's lovely. I don't know how much detail I should go into. Technically, it is supposed to be a surprise, right?! I found it at Saks Fifth Avenue (on sale!) It's ivory, it is simple but has very sweet details, and it is not strapless- per Sam's request. I think that is as far as I can go without giving too much away. A lot will need to be done to get it ready for our big day. It will need to be shortened by at least seven or eight inches (Lets not kid ourselves. Probably a foot.) and taken in at the bust. I will deal with it all in good time. So now it resides in my closet. Sam has promised not to look. . . I am slightly suspicious, though. It might take a trip to a friend's house for safe keeping from prying eyes.

I also made a decision about my bridesmaids' dresses. In an effort to be more focused on the meaning of our wedding day and not get too caught up in details, I decided that the ladies will wear whatever dress they like as long as it is in the same color family. I don't care about the fabric or texture or about the girls being matchy matchy. Personally, I don't like the idea of my girls looking like cookie cutter images of each other. They are all beautiful ladies with unique personalities and I think their dresses can be a reflection of who they are. Also, they will be more comfortable on the big day in a dress that they pick out themselves. Plus, I think it will look pretty in pictures.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

One Year!!! - Wishing it was sooner.

Why did I ever stress about making decisions for the wedding?! (I am sure several people are having "I told you so" moments right about now.) I mean besides the fact that people were asking what our plans are for the wedding, the persistent questioning only lasted for a month or two. The questioning did make the first two months a little crazy though. Next September 17th seems like a lifetime away now.

We chose our date for several reasons, but now we feel like if we could, we would get married sooner. Tomorrow even. . . Obviously we wouldn't do that to our friends and family, but I hope you can see what we are thinking. When Sam asked me to marry him, that was it! To me, our lifetime commitment to each other was made at that moment. Now after five months of being engaged and to have to wait a year longer to be recognized as legally married seems silly.

Where are we in the process you might ask? This week I will email our priest and try to book the church. I am trying to be content with looking at blogs for inspiration and reading up on ways to save money, but there is only so much you can look at before your head spins.

This weekend will be a welcome reprieve from wedding planning. I am going to Philly for my sister's bachelorette party! :-)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

366 Days - Getting excited. . .

We are now less then thirty days away from my sister's wedding! This can mean only one thing. I've got lots to do!!

1) Toast - not toasted. Lately, I have been taking notes on my toast to the bride and groom. I have been looking at pictures and reminiscing. Thankfully, the internet is full of wonderful resources, as well. These are things I shouldn't do. Thank you, internet lady:

2) Shoes! I have to go get shoes. I tried to do this last weekend but got seriously sidetracked with shoes I may want to wear next September. MUST FOCUS.

3) Wedding gift - I am debating whether or not I should get something from their registry or if I should get her something special. Its not everyday your twin sister gets married. I should mark the occasion with something awesome. Maybe a new Barbie house for their new place. . .

To be continued!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

376 Days - Other things

We do other things besides moving. Just a heads up.

Today, we spent the afternoon with Andrew, Marisa and Mia, our favorite friends that live in our neighborhood. Andrew and Sam watched the Georgia game and the Michigan game and Marisa, Meemers and I went to walk around the mall. We looked at wedding invites, jewelry for my sister's wedding, and continued the search for green recycled glass. (We found some, but I have come to the conclusion that mile long lines and I don't mix well. So we made a hasty bee-line exit.)

Marisa and I also discussed what kind of flowers we might do for the wedding and whether we would go the do-it-yourself route and order wholesale or whether we would let a florist take care of it. If we did go DIY, I thought it might be something fun for me and my bridesmaids to do the night before the wedding. I'd get all the supplies and the flowers and they would each make their own bouquet and put together centerpieces. Less expensive than a florist? Probably. Stressful? Also, probably. The florist, on the other hand, would take the stress out of the flowers. Of course it all comes down to price and if it is going to cost an arm and a leg, I am not interested.

I also went for my second run this morning in preparation for the DC AIDS Walk/5K. . . sort of. It was 90 degrees around the time we went to run, so we went to the gym and I climbed on the elliptical machine and "ran" for 25 minutes. Sam and I are running in the 5K on October 3rd. (I know what you are thinking. "A 5K? Big whoop, Rach." but for your information. I am not a runner. We ran this last year and it was a painful day.) I started running this week to start conditioning for the 5K and I am using my sister's October 10th wedding as added motivation. I am hoping this will start some sort of trend where I stay in shape and exercise on a regular basis. My desk job cannot be good for my bottom.

376 Days - We're surrounded. . .

. . . by boxes. The move yesterday went without a hitch. Thank goodness! Although, I wish I had taken a picture of this place to give you an idea of everything we moved. For only living in a one bedroom apartment, we certainly have a lot of stuff.

We couldn't walk into the kitchen yesterday without climbing over our dining room table, several rows of boxes, rubbermaid bins stacked three high, as well as our all our dining chairs. It was a mess that we chose not to look at until this morning. Today, we unpacked a large portion of the boxes, but there are still a lot of our belongings that we don't know what to do with that are scattered. Oh well for now. The majority of it is behind the sofa. So if we sit on the sofa and only face forward, we can avoid the whole mess entirely.

PS - Here's the last look at the old place before we said goodbye. . .

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

380 days - I need to vent.

I am going to preface this post to let you know this has nothing to do with our wedding planning and everything to do with how much I hate moving and this new apartment.

Ahem. . .

Right now I wish I had a bat because I would smash every window in this apartment this very instant. We are officially living in the new place although all of our furniture, with exception to two camping chairs, our TV, bed and a pink chair, is still residing at the old apartment. We have no organization for clothes- they are within two different suitcases, two different bins and three different spacebags, so we spend 20 minutes every morning wondering where his pants are and where my blouses are. For those of you that know me, you know I love/need to be organized. Waiting for a dresser until Friday is testing me.

Other things that irritate me about the new place:
  1. Our toilet screeches every time we flush the toilet. It could wake the dead it is so loud.
  2. Our stove-top wouldn't light until today - not that we can cook anything on top of it because ALL of our pots and pans are at the old place, which I still need to pack.
  3. Our oven decided to fill our entire apartment with smoke - baking is now out of the picture, as well.
  4. We did our first load of dishes in the dishwasher last night. Fifteen minutes after I went to bed, Sam said I needed to go into the kitchen. . . to see the HUGE puddle of water taking over our floor!!!
I have been trying to think of ways to calm myself down. Breaking all of the windows doesn't seem to be an option. Weird, I know. I can't drink because I need to be up early tomorrow to get to work for 7. I want to scream, but our neighbors that play video games until 1 am may call the police. . . I have to do laundry. I wish I could pay someone to do our laundry.

. . . I just got back from switching our laundry over and a couple in the laundry room offered me the use of their pre-paid laundry card. Confused, I asked them why they would want to let me use their card. They said they were moving and they needed to return their card to the building, which is why they needed to use the rest of the money on their card - the building gives tenants the cards when they move in and they expect them to be returned when tenants move out. This makes sense to me. BUT. . . when I asked the couple where they were moving to, they said "down the hall." They said they had $27 on their laundry card and had to wash everything they own, even the clean stuff, because despite the fact that they are moving within the building, they still need to return their old card. Conclusions - nice neighbors. Ridiculous building.

I miss the Brandywine.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

387 Days - Pack n' Play

As I write this I am waiting for the internet and the cable to be shut off. Sam and I are moving the TV and a few necessities down to the new apartment tomorrow. We have been packing all evening. Check out the mess. . .

I just spilled ginger ale everywhere. Awesome.

Can I tell you how much I love moving?! This is my eighth or ninth move since 2001 and I'm over it. How is it that two people in a one bedroom apartment have so much stuff?! At least we are getting movers to move all the furniture. The prospect of doing this again makes me ill though. One reason why I would love to be looking for a house instead of moving to a new apartment is that we wouldn't be moving again in a year. I have reached the stage of wondering why we even bother to unpack everything when we will just be packing up again in a few months.

The dishwasher is running and I need to go pack the air mattress, bed and bathroom linens, toiletries, and clothes.

I won't be updating until next week. The cable and internet won't be set up at the new apartment until this Friday. Then, my dad is coming down on to help us move the bed down to the new apartment and to get the little sister into her dorm this weekend. The movers will get the rest of our furniture and boxes on the fourth. Wish us luck!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

394 Days - Travel to the North Country

Tomorrow we go to the North Country for my friend, Michelle's wedding and my sister's bridal shower. While I am running around in taffeta and heals, Sam will be chilling with Bob and Jules- my parents. My parents are pretty funny and laid-back, but it will be the first time I leave Sam with them when I am not in the other room. The last time I left Sam alone with my parents, my mother told him she would kill him if he hurt me (nice and cliche, Mom). So I expect he will have a great time.

I am excited that he will get to see the North Country in the summer. He has visited during a Thanksgiving when he ran the Turkey Trot in freezing rain. He also came up last Christmas. It was seven degrees when we got off the train and by the time we got to my parents' house, the temperature dropped down to two below. Cold is an understatement in upstate NY. I am hoping it won't rain this weekend, so he can appreciate the beauty of the Adirondacks and hopefully we'll have time to get out on the boat for an afternoon/evening.

I must go pack for this trip. I am definitely lacking in motivation, though. Work has been really hectic and by the time I get home in the evening, I am ready to pass out. Now that it is past ten, I suppose I should dig out some shoes and a tooth brush. ugh.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

396 Days - Meet the team!

Meet the ladies and gentlemen of the bridal party!

Mia Moylan - Flower girl
Daniel Batkins - Groomsman
Kim Brown - Bridesmaid
Andy Batkins - Groomsman
Laura Collier - Bridesmaid
Ryan Collins - Groomsman
Michelle Liberty -Bridesmaid
OJ Reuter - Groomsman
Heather Gorman - Bridesmaid
Kyle Bruse - Groomsman
Emily Bonsignore - Bridesmaid
Andrew Moylan - Groomsman
Elise Munn - Bridesmaid
Tyler Love - Best Man
Bridget Munn - Maid of Honor

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

401 Days - Buh-bye, Brandywine

We're moving! Sam is officially over the hour commute to and from Old Town Alexandria. As a result, we did a little craigslist research and received a few recommendation of places that are between our jobs on the Yellow and Blue Metro Lines. The place we decided on is a one bedroom, 790 sq. ft. apartment in Arlington that was recommended to us by Sam's classmate, Joel. It is right near the Pentagon City Metro and about $200 less in rent per month! Also, our very good friends live just a few blocks away and the church where we will be married is just a ten minute walk, as well.

We officially say goodbye to The Brandywine on September 7th. (Actually, the movers are coming on the 4th. Potato - Potahto. We'll have a few days extra to clean up.) We're sad about leaving. We love this apartment. It became our first home together and where we learned to be roommates, as well as a couple.

Our application is being processed right now and this weekend we will go in to sign the lease, which will start on August 21st. Let the packing and purging begin!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

407 Days - You have got to be kidding!

I left a message with the reception venue yesterday to tell the catering manager I was ready with a credit card to put down our deposit. Today, he called me to tell me that there was a five percent surcharge for using credit cards. WHAT! Five percent is a pretty hefty amount when it comes to the costs of renting a reception venue and all the related catering costs. The crazy thing is that I have done quite a bit of research on credit card rules. (I am doing work on credit card interchange fees). According to Visa's rule book, merchants aren't allowed to charge surcharges to consumers. The same thing goes for the small merchants that put up signs with $10 minimum purchases - not allowed!
Even though I know these rules, I don't plan on calling Visa to tattle. Why, you may ask? Yes, it would be a lot easier to just charge my credit card, but I don't want to upset my vendor. I would like to build a good relationship with our catering manager. The last thing I want is for an "accidental" cake drop on our wedding day. (I don't think that would actually happen, but I don't want any bad feelings. I feel like our venue is one of the best deals in DC. So we will pay by check and spread the costs out over a longer period of time and all will be well.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

411 Days - Sam meets The Arts Club

He came.
He saw.
He liked.

Sam and I went to The Arts Club yesterday. We were given a tour by JP, the beverage manager, who told us about the courtyard and the salons, as well as the potential details of our bar (We like JP!). Sam had a meeting at work to get to after our tour, so we couldn't stay long. The good news is that we'll be calling The Arts Club on Monday to officially book the Federal-era mansion for our wedding reception!! Woot!

Friday, July 31, 2009

412 Days - July 31, 1982

Happy 27th Wedding Anniversary, Mom & Dad!!!

412 Days - We did it! Well. . . he did it!

The bar exam is over!! Sam took the exam on Tuesday and Wednesday in Baltimore this week. He said there were parts he felt really confident about but there were a lot of difficult multiple choice questions. It was stressful, but now its over. We'll find out on November 6th what the verdict is on his scores. It seems far, but I think it will be nice to not think about the bar for a little while.

In related news, my promise to not bug Sam about wedding details until after the bar exam is officially over! Kidding. Sam was really open to looking at ideas I had while he was studying. I just tried to keep planning down to a minimum in his presence. But now. . . . I get to ask for all sorts of opinions with none of the guilt!! And he will be free to give me the ultimate guy responses, like "I dunno" or "Whatever you want."

Actually, Sam has been thinking really hard about what our first dance should be. We are big living room dancers, so I think we will be testing lots of songs out. We want something upbeat. Yes, romantical ballads are beautiful, but they are also BORING to watch after 30 seconds. My friends, Heather & Ryan, did a tango for their first dance, which was the opposite of boring. In fact, it was quite sexy and the guests loved it! I don't think that Sam and I will tango, but we do want to be fun. Maybe this. . .

Too sexy!! hahahaha

Sunday, July 26, 2009

417 Days - The Maryland Bar Exam

This is a very big week for us! Sam will take the Maryland Bar Exam on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. We are taking the train up to Baltimore tomorrow evening to get settled and hopefully have a quiet night before the exam. Sam has been studying since mid-May doing Barbri classes and practice exams. Up until a week and a half ago, he was still working at his job during the day and taking the bar prep classes at night. Since then he has been putting in 12 hour days of studying.

I think Sam has been handling the stress of the exam really well. He has been following the Barbri study schedule to the letter and hasn't gotten behind. Also, he has done really (and I mean REALLY) well on the practice questions and exams. I'm so proud of him.

When we spoke about it last week, Sam said he was excited about this week, not because of the test, but because the test will be over. He is right. This is a scary exam, but once it is finished, he is done with law school and studying the law. That calls for a big toast!

Here is to the last time we will see this. . .

Thursday, July 23, 2009

420 Days - Tears. . .

from hilarity!!  Sam and I watched this a few minutes ago with tears streaming from laughing so hard.  Well maybe I was the only one cry-laughing, but it was awesome.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

422 Days - How funny is this!?!

I saw this on the Offbeat Bride Blog today.  This is one of the funniest save-the-dates I have ever seen.  I wish I had one ounce of this kind of creativity.  Anyway. . . Enjoy!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

426 Days - Continued

I just got an email from theknot.com telling me that we are 14 months away from the wedding.  WEIRD!!  I feel like I should let The Knot know that we are also a week and a half away from Sam completing the Bar Exam.  We are 35 days away from going to the North Country for my friends, Michelle & Casey's wedding, and my sister's bridal shower.  We are one month and two weeks away from helping my youngest sister settle in at GWU.  At some point in the next month and a half, we will be looking at apartments in NoVa. We are also 85 days away from my sister and her fiancĂ©'s wedding.

The email said I should work on my budget.  Thank you, The Knot, for the reminder.

426 Days - Everybody's working for the weekend

I just started my job a few weeks ago as a policy analyst for the federal government.  Most people just smile and nod when I attempt to explain what a policy analyst does, and to them, I should just smile and nod back.  (In case your curious, a policy analyst looks at government programs and policies and does all sorts of statistical and analytical techniques in order to conclude whether or not the program/policy operates effectively, efficiently, and/or equitably.)  When I see myself explaining my job description, I imagine the poor, hapless listener staring at me and hearing Charlie Brown's teacher, "wa waa wha waaaaa!"  So I just leave the description at what I have said and 99 percent of the time, the person I am talking to does not press me to divulge further.  

People do like to hear about the benefits, though.   I will tell you about my favorite- a maxiflex schedule!  I work nine hours for nine days every two weeks, as opposed to the normal eight-hour, nine-to-five everyday.  Working nine-hour days, allows me to work my 80 hour schedule in nine days, instead of ten and then I get every other Friday off.  That's right, kids.  Three day weekends every other week!  (Insert heavenly choruses here.)  

"But Rachel, how does that relate to wedding planning?"

Good question.  It doesn't have to do with wedding planning, unless I need it to involve wedding planning.  If I am in a pinch, having every other Friday off gives me the opportunity to meet with vendors and avoid the weekend rush of crazy DC brides.   See below. . . 

Scary, scary ladies. . . EEK!

Monday, July 13, 2009

430 Days...A realistic look.

Sometimes I go into magazine and wedding blog overload.  I find myself either so excited about too many potential details or I am completely non-committed and ready to elope.  I need to back up and look at the big picture.  I am marrying the man I love- my best friend.  When I am able to look at the big picture the decisions regarding the color of the flowers and whether we have a band or a DJ seem pretty superficial.  I don't really need to plan anymore for at least a few more months.   We have a reception venue that caters, a photographer, and soon a church.  We are one evite and an ipod away from a wedding! We don't need to rush to book the other vendors and and we can save more for the wedding.  I want to be able to relish our engagement and enjoy the planning. 

Therefore, I think I am going to start my posts with a countdown to the wedding.  This may drive me crazy in about a year, once we get down to the three month marker, but for now I think it will remind me that I am in no hurry.  When I say 430 days out loud, it calms me.  I've got time. 

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dinner Dates in DC

I am very excited to announce that our rehearsal dinner has been booked! Sam's father has graciously offered to host our rehearsal dinner. Since our engagement, we have been tossing around ideas of hosting our rehearsal dinner at a restaurant that means something to the two of us. We were able to narrow it down to two restaurants- Old Ebbitt Grill and Brasserie Beck. We chose Old Ebbitts because we went there for one of our first dates (see below) and they have AWESOME crabcakes! Plus it is a piece of DC history. Beck's is one of our favorite places to celebrate special occasions. Sam likes the beer selection there and I like any places where french fries (frites) are a legitimate appetizer. Unfortunately, after looking at the fine print in Beck's contract, we realized the minimum there was not in our range. So we decided to try and proceed with Old Ebbitts and we requested a formal quote. I submitted the request last Wednesday and on Thursday, received a response and formal quote, which we sent to Sam's father that evening. The next morning, I got a phone call from Old Ebbitt telling me that we were booked in the Cabinet Room and I just needed to sign the contract. I was stunned and thrilled! It was an awesomely easy step in planning our wedding and I hope the rest of the wedding details will go as well. (I doubt it, but a girl can hope!)

How Sam and Rachel first got to Old Ebbitt Grill:

We are very excited to have our rehearsal dinner at Old Ebbitt. Sam and I had one of our first dates there. Three weeks into dating, which was a 14 degree day in February of 2007, Sam asked me if I wanted to go for a walk. Sam told me that along the GW Parkway and the Potomac River there is a trail that we can take as far as we would like to go. We parked his car at his office in Old Town Alexandria and started our walk North. It was cold out, but the sun was shining and we were having a good time. After walking for about 45 minutes, we started to approach Reagan National Airport, where the yellow and blue line metro trains stop. Sam said that if I was tired or cold, we could get on the metro and take it the rest of the way into the DC. I told him not to worry because I am a North Country girl and I can handle cold- the fact that I was bundled up in a wool jacket, earmuffs and gloves helped, too. Another 45 minutes later, I may have regretted that decision as we approached the 14th Street Bridge. The bridge crossed the Potomac River and connected Northern Virginia and Washington, DC. It was our gateway to the arbitrary finish-line. Unfortunately, during the ten minutes it took to cross the bridge, the wind decided to kick up and it reminded us that walking dates in February are not for the meek. We were barely able to hear our conversation as we were subjected to windburn, sunburn, and numb fingers and toes. I also realized that although I had dressed appropriately, Sam definitely had not. He was wearing some leather gloves with a light jacket and a polo underneath. He was frozen to the core. When we got across the bridge, we hurried over to Old Ebbitt Grill, a historic restaurant in DC that is near the White House. After two hours and fifteen minutes/seven miles of walking, I was definitely ready for heat and food. We settled into a corner table that looks into the atrium, where if I remember correctly, there was a wedding reception going on. :-) We split a bottle of pinot noir and ate a fantastic meal and then very wisely decided we would take the metro train the seven miles back to Old Town. By the time we got back to Sam's apartment, the sun was no longer out and we were both exhausted. We napped for a solid seven hours, which I think is a fabulous way to end a cold, yet beautiful day!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bridesmaid Contract

When Sam and I got engaged, it wasn't long after that we started discussing who would be in our bridal party. I would be lying to you and myself if I tell you that I didn't know for months, if not years, who I would ask to be a bridesmaid. I think Sam knew as well. He emailed his friends the week after we got engaged and I think they all ready have a bachelor party in the works. ;-)

I, on the other hand, waited to ask until this past weekend. I waited for a few reasons - 1) We got engaged in April, right before finals, so planning wasn't supposed to be my priority at that time; 2) Three of my girls were still incredibly busy with their own wedding plans and one of my friends has been volunteering in Colombia since last September - I didn't want them to worry about helping me plan for an event that was more than a year and a half away. We have time.; and 3) I wanted the manner in which I ask my friends to be in my bridal party to be special, because each of them means so much to me.

Fast forward two and a half months. I realized last weekend that I didn't want to wait any longer and I am sure a lot of them were scratching their heads as to why I hadn't mentioned it yet. So I started searching for cute ways to ask. I thought of making greeting cards with sassy/quippy text, such as, "Thanks for this awesome taffeta monstrosity, Rach! So glad I agreed to be a bridesmaid!" to "I don't care what they say, sherbet orange looks fabulous on everyone!"

I also found this piece of literary genius - Bridesmaid Contract. Read it. I'll wait. . .

Although I found it to be HILARIOUS, I read a lot of articles about how upset some other bridal parties had gotten after receiving the contract from some seriously evil and passive aggressive brides. I didn't want to risk it. Also I wanted to make sure my girls knew that our wedding was going to be fun and relaxing and besides looking fabulous, they had nothing to worry about. So I adapted the heinous contract above so that it suited me and my ladies and emailed it to them. (What happened to the greeting card? Email is so eco-chic and budget -friendly. Two things I am trying to be.) Ahem. . .The Email:

From: Rachel
To: (Redacted)
July 5, 2009
Subject: Special Request

Hello, my loves! I would consider it an honor for you to be a part of Sam’s and my wedding day as a member of my bridal party. You are the honey-est of bunches & oats to me, and you have been throughout my life, which is why I couldn’t imagine going through this day without you by my side. I hope you will say yes to being a part of Sam’s and my special day!

If you need help making the decision, below is a contract for the wedding. I want to make sure we are all on the same page.

xo, Rach – heretofore Rachel.

I, (State your name), do solemnly swear:

______ My hair will remain at whatever length I want.

______ If I change my hair color, I will consider consulting Rachel because Rachel loves sassy hair.

______ My nails will remain the color and length that I prefer.

______ I will gain whatever weight I want. Rachel is my friend and loves me regardless. I promise to be healthy though.

______ Assuming there is a shower or a bachelorette party, I will be as involved as I can be.

______ I will hold Rachel to her promise that the bridesmaid dresses will be fabulous and won’t cost an arm and a leg. I will provide opinions on color and style, because I know Rachel likes input and gets bogged down by options.

______ If I get pregnant, YAY! Rachel loves babies and pregnant people. If I am not pregnant, Rachel has an extensive bar in which to imbibe in front of said pregnant people.

______I will dance my socks off at the reception and all other spontaneous dance parties that will most assuredly pop up between now and the wedding. If Rachel is not around for the aforementioned dance party, I will take a picture or a video. Rachel promises to watch or look at said picture and dance with you remotely. Consider this the telecommute of dancing.

______ I will tell Rachel when she is being crazy/unrealistic and why, specifically. I will not let Rachel go off the deep-end.

______ I will freely give hugs and support to Rachel from this day forward. Rachel loves hugs.

I do hereby swear that I will adhere to all of the above & other stated bridesmaid “duties” for the wedding on Friday, September 17, 2010.


(sign, print and date)

So there you have it. One of my next posts will let you know who the fabulous maids and men will be for our special day. Maybe I will find a video of a drum roll. . .

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday, America!!

No wedding news today.  I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Independence Day!  Today is my FAVORITE holiday!  I love getting together with family to have a BBQ and watch fireworks!  Unfortunately, this year, the Maryland Bar is putting  a cramp in Sam's and my patriotic celebrations.  I am heading to work, while he studies away.  Hopefully, when I get home the roof of our building won't be booked and we can watch the fireworks from there.  Here's a photoshopped taste of the awesome fireworks in DC!  (Source

Saturday, June 20, 2009

El Budget

So one of the factors that may really put a damper on planning a DC wedding is our budget. According to www.costofwedding.com, the average cost of a wedding in our area is between $27,284 and $45,641. EEK! After picking up our jaws off the floor, we thought realistically about that price range. Sam and I consider that amount to be a really good down payment on a house and definitely not appropriate for a one day party, albeit a fabulous party. So without giving you too many details about the finances, we do not intend to pay ANYWHERE near that much.

One of the good things about starting our wedding planning now is that it gives us an opportunity to shop around and look for good deals. My sister is getting married in October of this year and she has graciously gifted me with her copy of Bridal Bargains, which I have been scouring for ways to save money on our big day. I also picked up a copy of The DIY Wedding, which has given me a lot of ideas on how to save money, while also adding some personal and environment-friendly touches to our big day.

I am also a firm believer is researching what other brides have done to save money. So I have been checking out wedding blogs for inspiration. Some of the best ones I have found are Style Me Pretty, A Practical Wedding, Snippet & Ink, and Etsy Wedding. What I like about these blogs is that they provide ideas of how a couple can create a wedding that is meaningful and personal without giving in to the hype of the bridal industry. That's the goal - a wedding weekend that is meaningful, personalized and budget-friendly.