About Rachel&Sam

Thursday, December 2, 2010

No one said post-wedding was going to be so hard

Planning a wedding is far from easy. I get that and my previous blog posts probably hit the ball home, too. Although, you would think that going through the blood, sweat, and tears of planning a wedding that post-wedding would come out smelling like roses.  Not so, said the cat.

First, although not required, I decided to change my name to respect the family that Sam and I have newly created.  This required me to go to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and DMV first thing the day after we returned from our honeymoon.  At 9 am on the dot, I entered SSA and it was there, after an hour of waiting, that I realized I left my marriage certificate at home and had to book it over to the County Clerk to get another copy, so I could wait another hour to have my name changed.  Annoying, yes. But that was done. 

What they don't tell you at the SSA, or at least the Arlington County SSA, is that the name change won't be processed for 24 hours. Fast forward a few hours later to me sitting at the Arlington DMV. After two hours of waiting, I was finally called up to the window.  Unfortunately, the clerk informed me that my name hadn't been processed yet and that I would have to come back later for my license.  Fantastic. I love using vacation or flex days to wait in lines. The next thing that happened, I care not to share on the blog, but let me say it ended in tears of frustration and the first time I questioned, why does this have to be so hard?!  I was starting to feel like "Rachel No Name."

A month later, I went back to DMV only to find out that my NYS birth certificate was not an acceptable form of identification and that I would have to return to home to get my passport.  $60 later in cab fare, I had my new ID, but was completely frustrated once again by the back and forth required to get my license. Why is it that a NYS birth certificate is less acceptable than another state's birth certificate?!

I decided for "convenience sake"  and to limit confusion, to change my name at work. Once we returned from the honeymoon, I submitted the paperwork and heard nothing back. I started sending out weekly emails to human resources inquiring into what actions had taken place on my name change and if there was anything that I needed to do on my end. There were weeks where I didn't hear anything. My name finally changed almost two months later.

I thought I would be sad about changing my name, but because it was such a challenge on all fronts, I think I saw it as a goal as opposed to losing my maiden name and all that implies. I did, however, get very upset when I had to change my "518" phone number to a "703". Sam and I created a family plan with AT&T, which is great because he now has his own iPhone to play with instead of mine.  What I didn't know when we went in to start the plan was that individuals on a family plan need to have the same area code.  It didn't make sense for Sam to get a North Country number since we both live in Northern Virginia, but I wasn't ready to give up my number. Changing my name was something that was my decision and it was hard and I cried, but I did it.  Changing my number was not part of the deal.  I had my number for eight years and it made me feel connected to the North Country. A little piece of Rachel is now gone and some random person in the North Country gets to have it.

It's weird, right?!  I'm more upset about losing my number than my name.  I guess I can explain it like this: Sam asked me to marry him and I said yes. I chose to marry him like I chose to change my name.  No one asked me if I wanted to change my phone number and if they had, I would have said no. Instead, I didn't really have a choice.

OK, its out there.  I'm done whining about this.  As a heads up - don't ask me my new number. I don't remember it anymore.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Week Anniversary - what what!!

Married three weeks!  Where does the time go?!  To celebrate, Sam lit a Glade scented candle and we're watching the Braves play the Giants.  There was just a 6-3 double-play.  Marriage is teaching me lots about baseball. . . 
Clyde loves the Braves. Also, low res ring shot!  Hot.

Actually, I'm not feeling that hot right now.  My tum is doing flip flops and Bonnie drank all my water.  Despite me feeling like total crap, I wanted to post the link to my photographer's note for some of the pictures.  She sent them to us two weeks ago and got us all twitter-pated.  I didn't want to lose the link on a long facebook wall, so I am using the blog for filing purposes/easy access.  If you have seen the pictures, check them out again and get excited for the new ones that will be coming soon-ish.  We should be getting together with Stacie in the next few weeks to get more images.  If you haven't seen them, take a look!  They are really lovely.  I still get butterflies looking at them.  Ok, I need to get more water and pay attention to the game.  YAY marriage!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Intrepid Honeymooners - Day One: Rehoboth Beach, DE. . .

We said goodbye to our Bonnie and Clyde before packing up the car to drive to Rehoboth Beach, DE. 
Starting our drive to Rehoboth Beach, DE
Our trip drove us over the Bay Bridge and through the farmland in Eastern Maryland and ultimately in Delaware.  Sam and I, being the nerds that we are, listened to last weeks 60 Minutes Podcast on the drive.  We arrived at the Delaware Inn at 3 pm, where Sharon, the house manager met us to give us our keys and told us about the area.  After dropping off our stuff and layering on some sunscreen, we walked three blocks down to the boardwalk to take in the beach and the boardwalk.  It was sunny, gorgeous and, thanks to the September off-season, relatively un-crowded.  We purchased some peanut butter fudge and saltwater taffy before walking up to Dogfish Head Brewpub, which was less than a quarter of a mile from the B&B.  
The B&B we stayed in
We arrived and put our name on the list for a table and ordered up two 2 oz tasters of 120 IPA, a beer we both tried for the first time in April, and at 19-20 percent ALC., 2 oz is all you need.  We were seated in a booth and ordered our next round – Punkin Ale and 75 Minute IPA (a mix of 60 Minute and 90 Minute).  We ordered fried pickles for an appetizer.  I had a crab cake on a Caesar salad and Sam had a tuna steak sandwich with fresh cut fries paired with a Palo Santo Maron.  We took our time finishing our beers and watching the Jets v. Pats game.  A little girl came over to our table to ask if she could take our picture, which made me want to laugh at the randomness of it all. 
Intrepid honeymooners

We grabbed some beer and gin from the Dogfish Head Shop before heading back to our room for a nap.  Then commenced inevitable the post-wedding crash.  We slept for an hour in what I will dub a very serious nap before getting dressed to go see the ocean at night.  We had walked on the cold sand for a few minutes when I decided to record the sound of the ocean’s waves and Sam decided that I needed to dip my toes in the ocean.  Unfortunately, in one of those “of course” moments, a larger than normal wave took us by surprise and soaked us. (Thanks, Hurricane Igor.) Check out the video below. Don't think your computer is screwed up.  It was night time and we weren't carrying a light.  So the screen is black.  I was trying to capture the sounds of the waves and then. . . 

Sopping wet and sandy, we walked back to the B&B to clean up and sleep until just before sunrise.  Neither of us had ever seen the sun rise over the ocean before, so we got of at 6:15 and walked down to the beach to catch the show.  It was breezy and cool, but beautiful and I am so glad we were able to take it all in.  We went back to the B&B and slept for another hour and a half before going down to Chef Angie’s breakfast of organic yogurt, fresh fruit, homemade granola, steel cut oats, banana and black walnut muffins, sweet potato biscuits, veggie sausage, and scrambled eggs.  I wanted to bring Chef Angie back to DC with me.  She is amazing. 

We needed to get on the road around 10:30 am to get to NYC on time, so we showered, packed up our stuff, and hit the road for the three and a half hour drive to Riverside Drive.

More pictures of Delaware!

The host of the post-wedding crash
Salt Water Taffy!
The beach - I like the submarine-like sandcastle
Dogfish Head 120 on tap! - 2 oz is about all you need
Fried pickles, Punkin Ale for Rach, and 75 Minute IPA for Sam
Dogfish Head Brewpub in B&W
A little girl asked if she could take our picture - adorable!
The start to our walk on the beach

Thursday, September 16, 2010

1 Days - Waiting for the Team

Wedding adrenaline is slightly annoying.  Mostly at 5:30 am when you can't fall back asleep.  So today, I walked around the dog park in front of our building from 6 am to 7 am.  Now 45 minutes later and everyone is still asleep, which is good because it gives me time to clear my head and make a to do list for the day.  Also, the bridal team will start arriving this morning and we will be running around picking them up and getting all of our wedding business up to the hotel.

Last night, we had our rehearsal with our priest at Our Lady of Lourdes, which went pretty well, but I was definitely nervous that I would forget something Fr. Avella told us that we would need to relay to the bridal party.  Thankfully, our friends, Andrew, Marisa, and Mia, came by to help us and to go through the process, too.  It also gave Mia the opportunity to practice walk/running down the aisle.  She did a very good job!

I'm still a little nervous about relaying all of the wedding to-do's during our rehearsal in the park today because its going to be such a big crowd (35 people).  I don't know if I can keep the attention of 35 people, but I sure as hell am going to try.  I typed up everything that Fr. Avella relayed to us last night and said it out loud to Sam and my parents to make sure I didn't miss anything.  In an ideal world, we can just do a quick run-through in the park with minimal questions and then take some nice group shots with our photographer before heading to dinner.  Dinner will go til around 8 or 9 pm.  I hope to have the most delicious crab cake ever.  :-)  We plan on going out for drinks after the rehearsal dinner, but I may call it an early night. The 4-5 hours of sleep a night for the past week have made me a tired bride and I was informed I need to sparkle tomorrow. ;-)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

3 Days - OK, I'm excited!

It's official.  I'm excited for the wedding now.  I turned in my draft this afternoon and my supervisor said I could go home. I wish I could describe it, but as soon as she said those words, a serious wave of adrenaline came over me and I could not wait to get the show on the road.

This past week, I lacked a lot of the enthusiasm that hit me this afternoon.  I had gotten phone call after phone call asking me how excited I am about this Friday.  I felt like I needed to keep feigning excitement, like Miranda on S&TC when she found out she was having a baby boy - "A BOY!"  Don't get me wrong.  I can't wait to be married.  This day has been a long time coming, but the work that has needed to be done at work and at home has sapped a lot of my energy and enthusiasm.  I hope people weren't concerned with my lack of "I CAN'T WAIT!" but I was more concerned at the time in making sure I had enough chocolate truffles for our wedding guests and ensuring that my objective drafts at work were in the best condition they could be in before I leave for our honeymoon for two weeks.  But today the work ended and the truffles are made.  There are a few small things that still need to be done, but they are little and will be finished.  I can finally sit back and bask in marrying Sam.  

3 Days - The Non-Wedding Dream - The Road Back to Normalcy

I have been waking up a lot recently with dreams about the wedding and what can go wrong and it puts me in a weird, somewhat anxious, wedding planning-focused place. I wouldn't recommend starting your day with those kinds of feeling.

Today was a different story, though! Today, I woke up to a dream about going to dinner with a friend and then going to Ithaca to speak to one of my professors about statistical analysis. I felt refreshed and a little nerdy, and I loved every moment of it!  I think this means my sub-conscious is making the shift away from the wedding and back to my normal, nerdy life and that is awesome!

I am working hard to be in the moment for the wedding and to relish the coming together of our family and friends and making the ultimate commitment to Sam.  I'd be sad if I got so caught up in the stress of the day that before I knew it, our wedding would be over and I wouldn't remember a thing. So my focus the next three days is to take each moment in and focus on why we're all coming together.  Then I get to look forward to the future. There are so many good things that will happen after the wedding that we get to look forward to. On Sunday we leave for our honeymoon, a break we have been craving for over a year, but more importantly, I am excited for the day that Sam and I get home from work and we make a delicious dinner (something I haven't done in ages), go for a long walk, and watch a movie or a football game before going to bed. . .you know, normal things.  Soon, my friends, we'll be there!

Monday, September 13, 2010

4 Days - Something Old, Something New

My sister asked me what my something blue was the other day and it got me thinking that I should probably go through the rhyme.

Ok so here it goes.

Something old - my grandmother's bracelet
Something new - my wedding dress
Something borrowed - my sister's clutch
Something blue - my bridesmaids :-)

I just finished the truffles about an hour ago.  They look pretty good, but if I have to smell chocolate again before the wedding, I may be sick.  That is the one thing about making truffles; as soon as the chocolate hits my hands I no longer have an appetite for it.  I should probably make truffles more often.  My bum would thank me for it.

Sam and I finally did the laundry.  There were five loads which will take the rest of the evening to fold, which means we might get it folded tonight but it will sit in the basket for days after.  Despite the reality of our laundry habits, my goal is to get it folded and put away before my parents arrive on Wednesday.  One can dream right :-)

Tomorrow is my last day of work before the wedding!  I'm getting excited for the big day, but I also have this anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach about getting all of the details right and remembering everything that I am supposed to do.  Yesterday, Sam told me before bed not to worry that there is no such thing as perfect.  I know that.  I have repeated it to myself during the past year and a half of planning, but I have poured a lot of my time and energy into the details and it would be nice if they all worked out, right?  A newlywed friend at work told me today that he and his wife had similar anxieties before their wedding, but he assured me that the feeling will go away soon.  I'm looking forward to it!

All right, its on to the laundry.  The sooner our clothes are folded, the sooner I can cuddle up with my soon to be husband. Bon soir!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

5 Days - "Is there a clean comforter we can just put down?!"

In response to the question in the post title, the answer is, no.  We don't have a clean comforter to put down. Ugh.

In our efforts to tidy up the apartment before my parents get into town on Wednesday and the wedding festivities begin, today we folded laundry, stripped the bed, and sorted the dirty stuff to be washed.  Well its 11:30 pm and I just realized we don't have any clean sheets because they are all in the dirty laundry bin that we were going to wash tonight but things got in the way and now it won't be done until tomorrow evening.  Fantastic.  So now we are scrambling for a solution so we can get to bed on time.

Goodnight, all!

5 Days - Elephants and the iPod

 I had my latest wedding dream/nightmare that I thought I would share with you.

In my dream, I was getting ready to walk down to the ceremony and it was pouring rain.  Fantastic.  I have been mentally preparing myself for rain because Weather.com says there is a 30 percent chance of rain and Accuweather.com says that there is a 35 percent chance of thunderstorms.  Now the low percentages and the fact that we are still five days away from the wedding should calm my anxiety about the weather because I know deep down that this is a low risk, but the little rain icons that are on the websites are driving me nuts.  Anyways, back to the REM cycle. Bill Owens, the catering manager, informs me about the rain and tells me he is going to move everything inside for the dinner, which I am ok with because it is "Plan B" and something I always anticipated could happen.

The time comes to go to the ceremony and I can't find my veil.  I am running up and down the stairs to find it and then decide I am not going to wear it if I can't find it.  So I turn around and walk back downstairs only to learn that the iPod isn't charged or isn't working and my father is dressed for the rehearsal and not the wedding.  I tell dad to change and we switch out the iPod.

Then all of a sudden the sun comes back out and the reception dinner goes back outside. Wonderful.  This dream took a turn for the better.  Next, I am getting ready to walk down the aisle and, all of a sudden, the elephants for the Barnum & Bailey Circus start parading through the Arts Club courtyard.  Seriously?!  Elephants? I didn't seem upset though, which is not how I expected I would react. When I woke up, I googled elephants and dreams and the search results said that elephants can symbolize inner strength and wisdom. Western cultures believe elephants in dreams represent good luck, whereas Hindus believe that elephants represent God's power to remove obstacles.

The beginning of my dream didn't start out so great, but the appearance of the elephants at the end did make me feel better.  I don't really care whether they represent good luck or just free entertainment!  :-)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

6 Days - Gettin' Crafty

My sister came down today to help me finish up the different odds and ends for the wedding.  We finished putting the ribbon on the cupcake tower.  I am really proud of the end result.  I only burned myself on the glue gun once, too!  The blister on the tip of my middle finger is awesome. . .
Elise indulged me in my latest craft hobby of stamping and embossing by helping me make some more thank you cards.  I plan on bringing them with us on our honeymoon road trip so we can work on them when we get some downtime.  My goal is to get them done and out the door before the holidays.  Here's hoping!

I put together all the gift bags for our groomsmen and bridesmaids.  I personalized each bag by stamping names on the front of the bag.  Elise said it looks very "anthro".  I hope that our team really likes what we put together for them.  Our goal was that our gift be something they can use over and over again.

Check out my hanger!

I've been packing and organizing.  I love packing and organizing.  LOVE IT!  Packing means this stuff will stop cluttering our apartment soon!  De-cluttering the apartment is a close second to the excitement of getting married.  Less awesome than marriage, but the chance to see the top of our dining room table again will feel pretty f-ing fantastic. Things are organized in boxes by destination - ceremony, hotel, rehearsal dinner, and reception. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

11 days - She's a helper

I received some help on our wedding programs and itinerary from Bonnie.  She's a good little wedding planner.

11 Days - Feeling like crap but there is still work to do

Holy nauseous, Batman.  

Unfortunately, programs don't wait for migraines to end when you're working under a tight timeline.  Tonight, we are printing our wedding programs.  I wrote them a few weeks ago and the paper came in soon thereafter.  I was thinking they looked a little plain, but on a recent trip to Michael's with Marisa and Mia, I found a cool stamp (I have a slight craft obsession) that will add a little flourish to them.  I have been a little concerned that my new crafty hobbies might come across as kitschy instead of cute, but I have to trust my instinct that I am editing my homemade touches the right amount.   

Eleven days!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

12 Days - Another craft, Rach?!

I'm glutton for punishment.

So I was looking at Paloma's Nest - home of the adorable ring bearer bowl that I covet. (No ring bearer = no ring bearer bowl.  It's a sad truth.)  I also spotted this little number:

I saw it, and maybe I got a little caught up, but I immediately thought, "I could totally do that! I have stamps and wooden hangers!" So, I went to work. 
Please note that I realize that Batkins is missing an "s".  I only have one "s" stamp. 

Same with "A".  

I've seen the options.  Now I just need to decide what to stamp on the hanger. . . 

13 Days - "13 days!"

Ok, I'm stressed, but not in an unproductive way.  This is productive stress.  The stress that makes you call your vendors and put ribbon on your cupcake tower.

Earlier this week, I ordered the cupcakes and started calling my vendors to make sure we are all on the same page.  Today, my friend, Gina, and I brought all of the recycled glass carafes and bud vases to the florist. Now that is a wedding task to check off the list!  The fact that there are two less bins of wedding stuff in my living room makes me feel infinitely more capable of keeping my apartment clean and therefore, much more happy.

There are still some other key tasks that I need to do in the next 13 days:

  • Finish decorating the cupcake tower - I spray painted the cupcake tower a few weeks ago with chalkboard paint and then planned to later glue ribbon along the edges.  I had a plan in place; there was a hot glue gun in a box somewhere and there was no way I could be out of the glue sticks. (I wasn't quite so crafty in the past.)  So the night my friend, Betsy, came down to help me out, I dug  my craft box out of the closet to retrieve my glue gun.  I should have questioned my past craftiness before because the only glue stick I had was in the glue gun and there was no way it would be enough for the entire tower.  So the hunt begins for more glue sticks and then decorating the cupcake tower - part deux can be finished.
  • Programs - They are written.  They are saved on my computer.  They are not printed, yet. 
  • Send the itinerary to the bridal party - I will do this very, very soon!  I promise. (Thank you three day weekend.)
  • Truffles - Next weekend, I plan to be elbow deep in chocolate, making some of the most delicious truffles ever. . . which also means I will be folding and decorating favor boxes.  I have about 1/4 of the boxes finished.  (See the picture and think craft genius while looking at it.)
  • There are other things. . . Decorating at the church, getting the readings to our priest, putting together the "Welcome to DC" letters for our guests, finalizing the menu of the rehearsal dinner, yada yada yada. . .

Don't think that I am not planning on relaxing at all in the next two weeks.  Sam's dad got me a gift certificate to a spa and I plan on getting a manicure and pedicure the Wednesday before the wedding.  It is going to be wonderful!

Check out the finished $10 Challenge - Cake Topper Edition via the lovely Laufa!  Thank you, love!  I may or may not have played wedding with them right after I took this picture. . .

Thursday, August 19, 2010

29 Days - Damn, I'm productive!. . . and tired

I am knocking tasks off my wedding to do list like it is going out of style!   

Tonight, we went to dinner at our good friends'--Andrew and Marisa-- house.  They have this little thing that Sam and I dream of called "a yard" that allows you to do crafty things,  like garden or spray paint wedding stuff.  I alternated between discussions of a potential trip to the Bahamas in the Spring (yes, please!), chasing my baby love, Mia, around, and spray painting the cupcake tower and some other wedding decor on their sidewalk.  With exception to Marisa's and my 30+ bug bites, the endeavor was a huge success.  (Mia also got to see four doggies, which sent her into baby heaven.)  

I also crossed programs off my to-do list last night.  I remember when my sister's wedding came around, the programs were kind of a panicked afterthought.  I wanted to avoid calling my eight months pregnant sister in tears for programs, so I knew I just needed to get them done. Of course I didn't want to pay for them either, so I spent an hour and a half last night searching for a free template for wedding programs.  Boring! This yawnfest plus my 10 hour day at work resulted in me falling asleep sitting up, but I am proud to say that once I woke up, I found a template and typed up the programs!  Once I get paper, we will be golden.

You may be thinking, if Rachel is falling asleep while sitting up, she may need more sleep.  I agree with you and have instituted a new 11 pm bedtime.  Of course, its 11:26 pm right now, so that shows you how well I do with bedtime schedules. . .

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

31 Days – One Month!!! But Who is Counting. . .

I find it incredibly surreal that our wedding is one month away. I have gotten a lot of messages asking me how I am feeling or, more specifically, if I am freaked out. In all honesty, I feel incredibly calm right now, which a lot of blogs call “Wedding Zen”. Although, I am curious whether or not this is faux-“Wedding Zen” and in a week I will be in a wedding panic, and the real Zen part won’t hit me until much closer to the wedding, if at all. In an effort to remain calm, I continue to remind myself that we have been planning this wedding since April of last year and have been an active bridesmaid in four weddings; I know what to expect during the month leading up to the wedding. 

That doesn’t mean my subconscious isn’t trying to mess with me. I had another dream about the wedding. This go-round it was one of those stereotypical “if it can go wrong, it went wrong” dreams. The flowers didn’t arrive. It rained cats and dogs. The iPod didn’t work. Rings disappeared. My friend, Janet, got a dog (that was a random part.) You name it. Things went wrong in this dream. I knew things would be fine when I woke up the next morning and told Sam about it.  Instead of worrying, we had a laugh and went back to sleep.

On a side note, we tried our wedding beer tonight.  It smells like a Belgian-style Trippel but tastes a little tart.  Sam seems concerned, but I'm not worried.  We have brewed before and we know that the flavors in the beer will continue to evolve in the bottle over the next month.  The brewers at the Shenandoah Brewing Company told us when we bottled to try our beer a month before we actually planned to serve it so we would notice the development of the flavors. I'm excited to toast our marriage in one month with our beer.  Its going to be one tasty toast!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

41 Days - Sam - "That's practically a month."

Not quite, Sam, but close. :-)

We're zeroing on W-Day and I thought I would share some tidbits with you as the countdown continues.

  • The room rate at the Hotel Lombardy has been decreased by $10.  The room rate is only available until August 16th, so book soon!  For guests that have all ready booked at the Hotel Lombardy, the hotel has ensured me that guests will be guaranteed the lower rate.  Go Team Munn-Batkins!
  • The room rate at One Washington Circle Hotel is no longer available.  
  • RSVPs are streaming in!  I was initially very concerned about the number of phone calls I would be making after the August 17th due date to see who would be joining us in September.  I have been pleasantly surprised, so thanks!  If you haven't responded yet,  there is still time; If you have, high-fives for you!
  • My bridal shower and the Munn Family Reunion were last weekend, which I can only describe as overwhelmingly wonderful.  I'd like to thank my mama, my Aunt T, and my bridesmaids, Bridget, Michelle, Elise, and Heather for putting together a beautiful shower.  Also, a big thanks to my aunts, cousins, and friends that attended.  I was so happy to see you all and it really made me excited to see you again in September.  After my Bridal Shower, around 90 members of my family (my grandparents, their eleven children and their spouses, my cousins and their spouses, and now their children, too) got together to celebrate the 64 years my Gram and Boppy have been married and the legacy of love they have created with a local band, bouncy house, and beachside bbq.  I've said it before and I will say it again, I feel pretty blessed to have such an awesome family.  I also see where I get my party planning skills because it was a pretty kick-ass party. 
  • And now for some final planning details
    • Wedding musicians are expensive in this town!  I just got a quote from our church's organist that blew my mind.  First, he told me how much an organist would cost, which I was sort of prepared for.  The mind-blowing part came when he doubled that amount to include a cantor, who would sing only one song!  Imagine me sitting there with my mouth wide open in horror.  (See Right.) Seriously, I was nauseous after that phone call.  When Sam and I discussed the quote, we decided very quickly what was necessary and what wasn't for our day.  Bye-bye cantor.  The Responsorial Psalm will not be sung, but spoken by a loved-one, and most of our guests can get by on doing the Hallelujah without a prompt from an over-priced voice.  Anyhoo, that'll be a fun phone call. . .   
    • My dress is no longer 18 inches too long!  The dress fitting process did not come without its own stress, specifically changes to the dress were made that I did not OK, but its over and it fits.   This has been another exercise in letting go of what I cannot control.
    • I had my hair consultation a few weeks ago.  My 'do was beautiful. I then went out without an umbrella. . . that was a mistake.
    • Sam is in the midst of planning the itinerary of our amended honeymoon - an East Coast brewery tour.  Paris is on hold until next year.  Instead, Sam and I, armed with our GPS, ipods, and rental car, will be making stops along the northeast to sample American and Canadian craft brews and taking in the start of Fall in New England.  Our beer glass cabinet is not going to know what hit it!
    • I have a few more crafts up my sleeve, which involve the cupcake display, aisle decor, welcome bags, and some reception decor.  This will take various amounts of spray paint, ink, glue, and an ample dose of patience.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

57 Days - In Times of Stress. . .

These past few weeks have been busy, overwhelming (not necessarily in a bad way), and stressed the max. 

I give you the Stress Originators:
  • Lack of sleep -  We averaged about 4.5 -5 hours of sleep last week while we were working on our invitations.  Thankfully, the invites are addressed, stuffed, and out the door.  (I'll worry about RSVP stress later.)
  • Lack of results - I joined Bally's gym at the beginning of June in order to get myself in better shape for the wedding.  I started working with a trainer less than a week later.  He adviced me to cut calories to around 1200 - 1400 per day, keep a food journal, and mix cardio and strength training four nights a week for at least an hour.  I was committed to my goal and motivated.  Unfortunately, at my one month weight-in, my trainer told me I hadn't lost any weight or body fat.  This started the emotional roller-coaster that was "WTF! You have got to be kidding! - angry stage, then "Rachel - Pity Party for One" stage, to "acceptance that I am doing what I can and I can't do anymore" stage.  I'm still going to the gym and I have one more session with my trainer, but my first dress fitting was last week and I was adviced not to lose any weight.  Dear goal, meet the drain.
  • Busy, busy, busy - Big project at work, weddings, visitors, travel, gym, invites, yada, yada, yada.  As a result, our apartment is in God-awful shape.  My past roommates will tell you that I don't do well in apartment chaos.  For real.  My favorite appliance in college was my Wet/Dry Dust Buster.  So last night, I looked up and I realized what our schedule has been doing to the apartment and I went on a very stressful cleaning spree, where I needed to pick-up everything in sight and vaccuum. . . ten minutes before I was supposed to go to bed.  I don't think Sam likes when this side of me comes out.
  • Los Budgets - Life, wedding, saving for a house, bills. . . there isn't much money to spare in the Munn/Batkins household. We've all been there.  There's no point in belaboring the point.
  • Other people, places and things - I call this the straw that breaks the camel's back stuff.  Its detailed and messy and almost always comes out of left field.  
The Metaphors:
Most days you can stay the course.  Things get stressful and you keep on keepin on because that is what you have to do. C'est la vie!  Then the straw hits at just the wrong place and just the wrong time and then you cue the waterworks.  This may or may not have happened yesterday when I was chugging along and juggling all of these stress balls and then the "straw" hit me and my evening fell apart. 

Insert Coping and Stress Relievers:

Moral of the story: 

I stress, you stress, we all stress.  Somedays, we stress harder then others.  When those days hit you, grab your honey, a box of tissues, and some nachos and let it all out.  Go ahead and get messy.  I have found that messy cries are usually the most cathartic. Chances are these measures won't take away the stress originators, but it'll make you feel better for a little while.  Here's another tip - make enough nachos for leftovers. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

65 Days - The High Cost of Weddings

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is $19,581.  (What does The Onion think about that number?)  $19,581 is actually a drop in average wedding costs.  In 2007 the average cost of a wedding in the United States was around $27,000! (EEK)

According to CostOfWedding.com, DC weddings on average cost couples between $27,342 and $45,570 total.  They go on to say that couples should expect to pay, on average, 50 to 100 percent more when choosing well-experienced professionals, designer labels, popular event locations, unique or custom products and services.

A DC budget wasn't a Rachel and Sam budget.  Thankfully, we're not alone.  CNN outlined a few tips for people planning their weddings on a budget by using creative methods and give mention to two blogs I have been following.  Check it out!

Here are a few ways that we have tried to save on wedding planning:

  • DIY projects - centerpieces, cake topper, tiered cupcake holder, and other decor
  • Booking a non-hotel venue
  • Shopping unlikely wedding shops for sales - Saks, Anthropologie, and Marshalls
  • Exhaustive research and internet shopping
  • Finding non-established vendors for stationary
  • Asking for help
  • Cutting our budget and then cutting it again.
Just some thoughts!  We're open to more ideas if you want to share! 

OK. Back to the invites :-)

66 Days - rolling with the punches

The past few days have been an exercise in acceptance and moving forward.  Dwelling doesn't help anyone, least of all yourself.

  • The Bachelorette Party was a great time with some wonderful ladies.  Unfortunately, it didn't start off on the right foot.
    • One of my bestests had heat exhaustion and at the last minute couldn't make it to the party.  I was really sad to not see her, but it wasn't her fault that my bachelorette party followed a week of 100 degree weather causing her to spend the weekend sick in bed.  
    • We missed the bus to NYC for my bachelorette party by five minutes.  Correction, they gave away our seats to standby passengers because the train to the bus stop was cancelled and made us late.  The next bus was booked, so Bridg booked us tickets on the next train, which was a lot more expensive but it was a solution that got us in town on time. 
    • We got to NYC where my friends were waiting for us and I had a great time.  I couldn't let the negativity surrounding the start of the day affect me because my girls came a long way to see me and the last thing a bachelorette party needs is a pouty bride.
  • My printer has become haunted by the spirit of Martha Stewart and the Etiquette Gods.  When trying to print the invitation envelopes with a pretty font, Martha et al. made my printer eat five envelopes, which couldn't be wasted.  I could have panicked, (seriously, I thought about it), but frankly, I don't have the time.  The invitations need to go out this week, which means Martha gets her way and I am handwriting the invitation addresses.  No picture perfect envelopes for this couple.  The wedding industry complex is probably gasping in horror.  Oh well.  I read a lot of blogs with picture perfect stationary and my first instinct was to worry that my handwriting wasn't good enough.  I didn't want people to judge our wedding because the envelopes aren't perfect.  Then I realized the people coming to our wedding love us and they don't care about picture perfect envelopes, so I shouldn't worry about them either.
There are 66 days left until W Day and I would be fooling myself if I thought everything would be perfect and obstacle-free.  Nothing is perfect and that's all right.  The best thing I can do is accept the imperfections and move on because at the end of the day, Sam and I will be married and that's all that matters.  (I read this post from A Practical Wedding, one of my favorite wedding blogs, which kind of hit it all home for me.  I was never one that wanted to get married at 20, but this young girl seems to have everything in a proper perspective.  At such a young age, her thoughts on marriage and wedding planning are objective and display a maturity that I didn't have as a sophmore in college.  Check it out if you have a few minutes to spare.)

So, moving forward. . .This will be the last update for a few days.  Wedding planning, and work are about to get nutty.  Thank goodness Sam has been good about making me dinner and keeping me sane.  Here are some things on the wedding radar:
  • The invites will be out by the end of this week/beginning of next week. 
  • My first dress fitting is this Saturday.
  • Our friends Paige and Will are getting married this weekend! :-)
  • I must must must send the cake topper to Laufa to paint!
  • We need to finalize the ceremony readings and our vows.
  • Wedding programs!
Ugh, I'm done thinking about it.  See you next week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

74 Days - Wedding Day Perspective

I found this post again last night and I am so glad.  Now that we are nearing the end of planning our wedding, its nice to remember that whatever the outcome of our wedding day, the most important part will come during the days, months, and years to follow:

"How you live your married life, each and every day, or rather the sum of your days, eventually becomes a much more powerful testimony of who you are as a couple. . . Were it up to me, and were my husband and I so extraordinarily lucky, I’d rather let our fiftieth anniversary than our wedding be that ultimate statement of who we are together."

75 Days - Gift Registries

"Where are you registered?"

Emily Post and the etiquette gods have explicitly stated that it is beyond rude to include the information in an invitation.  EEK!  Not one to piss off the etiquette gods, I gave the registry card reminders to my sister and she is sending the reminders in my bridal shower invitations.  Woot!  Job done. . . or not.

My friend, Barry, said that the shower reminders are all well and good for the women invited, but how are the dudes supposed to figure it out?  Uhhhh.... I had to look it up.  Martha Stewart informed me that the registry information should be passed on via word of mouth or we could include the information in our wedding website (click here). But just in case you ask my mom and she can't remember or if you think wedding websites are silly, here is our registry info:

Crate & Barrel 

You can search for the registries by our last names and our wedding date.  I'll post a link to this post on the side of my blog under the "Guests: Need to Know Posts" under "Registries". 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

79 Days - June 29, 1946

A very happy 64th wedding anniversary to my Gram and Boppy.  I am blessed to be a part of your legacy and I aspire to have a love like yours.

79 Days - What is the world coming to?!

Bridal diapers.  I cringe at the thought of being a grown woman who has accepted the responsibilities of marriage and yet is unwilling to take the time to go to the bathroom like an adult on the big day. 

Repulsive and ridiculous.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

98 Days - Bridal Breakouts - The Sequal

For those of you that have been following my misadventures of wedding planning, you might be asking yourself, "Hey, Rach?  How is that epic breakout going?"* Well, I will tell you, friend, I went back to Proactiv recently.  I used Proactiv for several years when I moved down to DC and had very positive results, but after three years, I discontinued use when my skin started to dry out and I became concerned about premature wrinkles from a thirsty epidermis.  However, with just a few months until the wedding and my skin deciding to add some pressure to the pot, I decided I needed to go back and see if Proactiv could help me out again.  

I've been back on Proactiv for about a week and the results have been somewhat positive.  I'm clearing up, but I have definitely noticed that my skin is super dried out and I need to moisturize often.**  There doesn't appear to be a happy medium in skin care right now.  I've decided to decrease use of Proactiv to once a day and will monitor the situation daily.  I also looked up dermatologists in the area, just in case.  

*For those of you that were not wondering about the epic breakout of May 2010 and were thinking, "TMI, Rach." Sorry you feel that way.  I'm open to a fault and its all a part of wedding planning.

**This might be a good reason to pamper myself with a facial at a spa, but money is always tight and the house down payment that is in our savings account is not going to pay for itself.  Six dollar masks from Lush will have to do the job for now! :) 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

99 Days - Signed, Sealed, Delivered. . . All most!

Invitations are ordered!  I budgeted for the wedding stationary the same way I budgeted for all of the wedding expenses.  I saw what The Knot recommended to budget and then I cut that amount by 20 percent, at least.  Ruthless, I know.

For individuals looking to save money on wedding planning, I can't stress to you enough going the DIY route whenever possible.  The easiest way to save money on invites is to design your own.  However, last time I checked, I have negative experience in graphic design and not surprisingly, its not a skill that can be developed overnight.  That didn't stop me from trying, of course.  First, I googled and tried and tried again.  I debated stamps, word docs with clip art, and hybrids of the two.  Realizing my efforts were in vain, I decided I needed a reality check and the help of a professional.  Step one: Find a designer.  Chelsea, of SeaRaine Designs, is a new designer recommended to me by my very own, KB.  Chelsea listened to what Sam and I were looking for in our wedding stationary and designed our invitation suite for a very fair price.  I worked with her for about a month over email to create downloadable invitations and RSVPs.  She was receptive to my changes and offered me great advice when I was scratching my head.  We took Chelsea's designs to Zazzle.com and printed up 120 sets at a savings of over $200 dollars.  They should be here later this week!  Now I just need to remember how to do a mail merge. . . 

Monday, June 7, 2010

101 Days - Anticipation is building!!

Can you believe when we got engaged, the wedding countdown was 504 days!!  Now we are rounding the 100 day corner and the anticipation is building in the Munn-Batkins household!*

We met with Fr. Avella today to drop off paperwork and discuss our ceremony.  Since Sam was raised Episcopalian, we will celebrate the Catholic rite of marriage outside of mass, where our ceremony will conclude with nuptial blessings and a final prayer from Fr. Avella.  It will be short (about 30 minutes), but very sweet.  

Also, it wouldn't be a good talk with Fr. Avella unless our national past time is a topic of discussion.  Sam and Fr. Avella share an affinity for baseball, so we discussed the much anticipated start of Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals tomorrow.  DC is certainly twitterpated in the hopes that Strasburg will put some wins on the Nats' record and butts in the tax payer funded stadium.

* Sorry it has taken a while to update the blog.  I was busy turning 27, preparing for a big meeting at work, and meeting my nephew. . . in my sister's belly!  Also, the pool opened and you better believe I would rather be floating around than wracking my brain trying to think of ways to save money on the wedding.  Everyone needs a break!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

123 Days - Update by Photo

When my mom and Aunt T were in town, some of my girlfriends got together to help me with a DIY project for my centerpieces - gold-leafing bud vases.  I read about the project in a December issue of Real Simple.  Let me be straight with you; there was nothing simple about this project.  We got half of the bud vases accented with gold leaf before I decided that it would be nice and add dimension to the reception if only some of the bud vases were accented with gold. . . A very big thank you to my mom, Aunt T, Marisa, Beth, and Adrienne for helping me.  The vases look beautiful!  Thank you for humoring me.  (Also, a big message of love to Adrienne, who brought Georgetown Cupcakes for my Mom and Aunt T to have a tasting!)

Since Sam and I decided to brew beer for our big day, we knew that we couldn't have normal champagne flutes for toasting our marriage and so began the Epic Beer Glass Search of 2010.  I looked EVERYWHERE for beer goblets and chalices to personalize.  In a day of frustration, my bridesmaid and college roommate, KB, graciously offered to help me with my search.  Ask and you shall receive, friends!  She is a GENIUS and officially the Queen of Google.  Within a matter of hours, KB produced the perfect personalized chalices.  The Rachel and Sam chalices arrived a few weeks later as early wedding presents from KB.  I am blessed to have such a wonderful friend!

We are very proud to announce that our littlest friend, baby love, and flower girl, Mia (She is all of that and more!) is officially walking!  Woot, Meemers!!  Now, here's hoping she is ready and willing to show her moves down the aisle in September.  No pressure.  

Four months to go!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

127 Days - Wedding Dresses: Part 1

I've been thinking a lot about wedding dresses lately.  So my next few posts are going to cover my thought process on wedding dresses, how they make me feel, and why they shouldn't be such a big deal.  

I won't lie.  I am like a lot of women (and some men too!) who have imagined their wedding days since they were small children.  Your wedding day is meant to be the happiest day of your life.  You wear a beautiful white dress, you promise to love your honey forever and seal that promise with a kiss, and then after smushing cake in each other's faces, you dance your socks off!  But through the course of being an expert bridesmaid and helping my girlfriends plan their special days, as well as spending a crazy amount of time planning Sam's and my special day, I have come to realize that there is no correct way to have a wedding and that every couple has the right to plan a wedding day that is personal.

This thought process was solidified last week, while I was watching a wedding show with Sam on television that pits four brides against each other in an effort to win a honeymoon at a resort in the Caribbean.  These wedding shows are the crack cocaine of wedding planning - addictive, but deadly, and often in the end make you feel bad about yourself.  I had to resist the urge to be sick all over my living room when one bride said her budget was $55,000 (It still gives me chills), but I resisted the urge to change the channel because I am glutton for punishment.  One of the brides, heretofore referred to as "Turquoise" was planning a wedding for under $10,000, which having been in the planning process for a year, I consider to be small miracle and a girl after my own heart.  Turquoise and her groom planned a morning ceremony and reception at a venue that looked over a pretty beach in order to save money (Great tip!)  When the moment arrived for her to walk down the aisle to greet her groom, she surprised everyone when she appeared wearing a turquoise wedding dress.  Turquoise wore the dress in memory of her mother, who passed away a few weeks after the girl became engaged. The color turquoise was her mother's favorite and was a way for the girl to incorporate her mother's memory into her special day.  Turquoise solidified my full support when a self-proclaimed traditional bride in the congregation made a face that looked like she had been sprayed by a skunk as Turquoise walked down the aisle.  She understood Turquoise's rational for the dress, but it wasn't the right choice for a wedding.  The self-proclaimed traditional bride felt that a bride must wear white on her wedding day.

Yes, its tradition in modern, Western cultures to wear white on one's wedding day.  Its obvious when you look at any wedding magazine, blogs, and bridal shops.  But Google would have you know that white wedding dresses didn't become popular until after the Victorian era, when women married in any color and the dresses were meant to be worn again.  White dresses, in our society, are typically believed to be symbolic of purity, but in fact, blue, not white, was the symbol of purity in the Middle Ages and is where the phrase "something blue" originated.  With that in mind, I have one thing to say - Suck it, evil, self-proclaimed traditional bride!

Images are from Etsy Sellers: AwesomeToppers, Goose Grease, and SugarRushCakes