More mixed metallic inspiration

I’m in love with all the mixed metallic inspiration palettes that are out there right now, and I can only hope that our wedding will be half as beautiful!  Check out some of these amazing ideas from the world wide wedding web.

From “The Sweetest Occasion”

This combination of gold, silver, bronze, and pewter is so dramatic, and the use of lotus pods and fuchsia accents is truly inspired!

From “Libby James Blog”

Vintage glamour?  Why, those are two of my absolute favorite things!  The metallics in this palette aren’t quite as in-your-face dramatic, but they certainly combine to make an amazing impact.  If I were having a spring or summer wedding, I would probably copy this entire wedding Single White Female-style.

From “Bridefinds”

I’m loving the bold, mismatched metallic bridesmaid dresses.  I’ve never been a fan of the cloned dresses, and this seems to be a great way to let every bridesmaid’s style shine.

If only I could incorporate every idea into my one wedding!

Color my wedding

I had a great deal of trouble picking a color scheme for the wedding.  I’m not exceptionally good at pairing up colors or envisioning how a palette is reproduced in a live wedding.  When Sol and I decided to get married in January, I had vague visions of sparkly everything, gold and silver décor abounding, and of course, karaoke.  (Karaoke doesn’t have anything to do with the color scheme, I just knew from the start that I wanted karaoke.)

Several very crafty and design-minded people in my life advised me that mixed metallics do not a color palette make, and I needed at least one solid statement color to anchor the whole scheme.  I looked at navy blues, deep purples, black, teals, and charcoal grays, but nothing caught my eye.

Nothing caught my eye because I kept conjuring up imaginary weddings in which the black bridesmaid dresses matched the black chair ties, the purple flowers matched the purple napkins, and the teal program covers matched the teal ribbons on the bouquets.  There’s nothing wrong with any of that stuff, and there’s certainly something to be said for color continuity, but every wedding I’ve ever been to has had the matchy-matchy thing, and it is just not my style.

I did a little research and found that contrary to my advisors’ closely held beliefs*, mixed metallics can and do make a lovely color palette for weddings.  Just look at these inspiration pictures!

In the end, I decided on ivory and champagne with accents of gold and silver.  I believe this palette captures the season without being too obvious, and sets the mood for a dramatic, glamorous, slightly gaudy, but definitely celebratory affair.  That’s just Sol and me all over!

*My advisors are completely on board with my palette now. 

Now it’s my turn to pop the question

Because my bridesmaids and Maid of Honor are so important to me, I couldn’t just call them up and ask them to be by my side on January 12th, 2013—I wanted and needed something a little more special.  I loved all of these ideas (click on the image to get the scoop):

Paper doll bridesmaids

The BM and MOH “contract”

The BM keepsake box

I wanted something that reflected my wedding colors and gave me the opportunity to express exactly why I wanted each of these ladies to be my bridesmaid, so I went with a handmade card, similar to this:

I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut the chevron pattern out of gold glitter paper, used Skor-tape (a super sticky tape) to adhere the zig-zags to off-white cards, and used my inkjet printer for the text on the bottom right-hand corner and the inside center of each card.  I wrote a personalized note for each girl inside et voila!

Personal photo

Personal photo

I love the way they turned out, and my bridesmaids were overwhelmed.  I’m glad I was able to do something that showed them exactly how much they’re willingness to put up with me means.

Friends 4ever

I always tell people that Sol is my best friend, and I mean it, but my girlfriends are right up near him on my list of priorities, and they definitely some of the greatest people I have ever known.  When I got engaged, my first thought was:  Holy crap, I get to marry the best guy in the world, and my second thought was:  When can I start calling my friends and asking them to be bridesmaids?  These are the women that I was thinking of:

Lisa:  Hands down, one of the most stylish and with-it people I have ever met.  She’s that rare combination of incredibly intelligent, stunningly beautiful, impossibly good at everything she does, and one of the nicest, sweetest people I have ever met.  If she weren’t so amazing, I would probably hate her.

Erin:  My oldest friend, and one of the only people from my childhood that I still talk to.  It’s pretty amazing how, in spite of the life changes that Erin and I have gone through over the past twenty years, we still manage to pick up exactly where we left off every single time we see each other.  I love Erin for so many reasons, but mostly because she is the most staunchly individualistic person I’ve ever met.

Kelly:  The perfect balance between hilarious, crazy person and kind, committed mother, wife, and educator.  Kelly is one of the many S- sisters who “adopted” me and made me feel at home from the first time that we met.  I admire her because even in the midst of raising two amazing kids, teaching fourth grade, and kicking ass in the gym, she still manages to find time for her friends—something that I also strive to do everyday.

Katie B.:  My work wife and eternal(ly welcome) houseguest.  Although Katie and I have only been close friends for about a year, it seems like a lifetime because we literally spend about 90% of our time together.  Not only do we work together (I use the term “work” loosely, since we spend a lot of work time talking about crafting), but we also have weekly “family sleepovers” during which we eat delicious homemade food, watch SVU, and basically laugh our faces off for five or six hours.  It’s the highlight of my week.

Katie J.:  One of my best friends for eight years, and the quickest wit north of the South Side.  Without a doubt, Katie is one of the most insane, out-of-her-mind, acerbic, hilariously funny people I have ever met in my life.  Her sense of humor and wild streak almost hide her generous and loving spirit, but I see it all the time.  Those S- sisters are the best.

Casey:  My best friend, kindred spirit, partner-in-crime, etc.  When Casey is pissed at her fiancé or when I’m ready to kill Sol, we frequently lament:  “Why can’t you and I just get married?  Life would be so much easier!”  There is really no way to describe our friendship or what Casey means to me, so I’ll just say that I knew she would be my Maid of Honor from the first week we started hanging out.      

So there you have ‘em: six of the most important people in my life, and the only people I could imagine standing next to me while I take this huge next step.  It’s hard enough to find the one person you want to spend the rest of your life with, but to find seven?  That’s one in a billion.

Strike a pose

The photographer is arguably the most important wedding vendor because the pictures last forever and one is more likely to flip through a photo album than sit through a painfully long wedding video set to super cheesy music and PowerPoint transitions (more on that later).  But, despite the significance and potential implications of our decision, we spent about 0.03 seconds choosing a wedding photographer.

Laura Meyer of Laura Meyer Photography is not only a trusted and reputable professional photographer in the field, but I’ve also known her for six or more years.  She photographed my good friend’s wedding a few years ago, she’s set to do my best friend’s wedding in September, and she’s done so many beautiful photo shoots in between that I realized right away that there was no other choice for this important part of our wedding day (and our engagement photos) and that she is worth absolutely every penny.  Don’t believe me?  Check out her website:

http://laurameyerphotography.com/

Everything sounds picture-perfect, right?  (I couldn’t help myself; please excuse me.)  There’s only one problem:  I am the least photogenic person on the planet.  Hands down.  My hair is never in the right place, my face is always at least partially contorted, and my body manages to look 100% unnaturally posed approximately 100% of the time.  I’m not really sure where this issue originated; it suffices to say that I’ve been going through an awkward phase since infancy.

It doesn’t bother me that much, because generally I don’t pay people lots of money to take horrible pictures of me—they’re generous with both their time and ill-timed shots.

At a wedding, October 2011

Thank you, Jen, for catching me completely off-guard. It’s unfortunate that this is literally the best picture of me in existence.

It will, however, bother me if I can’t manage to take a decent picture on my wedding day, and I end up looking like this:

Source:  awkwardfamilyphotos.com

Source: awkwardfamilyphotos.com and hopefully not my future wedding photo album

Laura is an amazing photographer, and I’ve made my fears known to her.  She promises that she won’t have a problem getting photos that I love, and I believe her.  Till then, I’ll just have to practice taking pictures like a normal human being.

Our church

We are thrilled to be getting married at St. Vincent de Paul Church in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood!

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Chicago

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Chicago

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Chicago

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Chicago

Going to the chapel

There was never any question as to whether Sol and I would get married in a church.  We both grew up going to church every Sunday, and despite the fact that neither of us attend mass as often as we used to (or should), the religious aspect of marriage is still very important to both of us.  Plus, when you get married in January, a quaint outdoor ceremony is pretty much out of the question.

I’m Catholic, but Sol’s religious tradition is a little fuzzy.  His father grew up in the Mennonite religion and his family identifies as Christian, but he has been interested in converting to Catholicism since I’ve known him and has enthusiastically participated in every Catholic mass we’ve attended together.  Due to his rigorous studying schedule, however, he has so far unable to commit to the intensive conversion process, which can take eight months or more.

Since Sol is planning on eventually converting to Catholicism, we easily agreed to be married in a Catholic church.  My childhood parish is beautiful, but it’s in the suburbs, and to borrow a phrase from Sol, it’s gotten pretty bougie in the past few years.  (Don’t know what that means?  Find the definition here.)  As a result, we haven’t attended mass there in awhile.

When we do go to mass, we attend St. Vincent de Paul on the DePaul University Lincoln Park campus.  The church is an unlikely combination of incredibly ornate décor and a young, upbeat, neighborhood vibe that always makes us feel welcome and part of a community.  I’ve been a registered parishioner practically since I started at DePaul, so reserving our date was no problem at all.

Because Sol’s not Catholic yet, we won’t be able to have the full Catholic mass that we both want, but celebrating the rite of marriage in a gorgeous church that we’ve both come to know as our own is going to play a huge part in making our wedding day special and personal.  Check out the next post for pictures!

And the winner of ASNTKB* is…

So we want a live band, and we need karaoke (as much as anyone needs karaoke).  In Chicago, apparently this is a tall order.  You’d think brides and grooms would be clamoring for bands that will permit crazy uncles and weird second cousins to be vocally unleashed on 70s music, but this is not the case.  Not only are the choices slim, but many of them are quite expensive, as well. 

Have I mentioned how much I adore Melissa, our wedding coordinator?  She took a slightly insane request and came back with two excellent options, complete with budget breakdowns, discounts, and possible upgrades within just a few days.  I had unsuccessfully searched for a band for two weeks.  Busy/impatient brides:  GET A WEDDING COORDINATOR.  But I digress.

We first met with a representative from Standing Room Only, and we were impressed.  He was direct, amiable, and didn’t give us the hard sell, which I personally appreciated.  The set list was diverse, and the price was surprisingly reasonable given the 9-piece ensemble.  However, when the discussion turned to karaoke, the rep seemed a little…something.  Not quite apprehensive, not skeptical, but something in that ballpark.  He suggested that we reserve the karaoke for the last half hour of the reception because he didn’t think people would dance while guests were singing.  We left the meeting feeling weird—the band was great on paper, and had we been searching for a regular live band, Standing Room Only probably would have been our choice.  However, it just didn’t seem to perfectly suit our karaoke vision. 

The next week, we took a meeting with Jeff Stitely from Stitely Orchestra.  Not only was he polite, professional, and organized, but he also had worked with Melissa before and came highly recommended to us.  More importantly, he knew exactly what we were looking for and seemed to determined to give it to us.  He offered us a package with 7-piece ensemble and a DJ; the band would do one set, take a fifteen minute break during which the DJ would play Indian music, come back for a second set during which guests could do karaoke if they choose, take another fifteen minute break filled with Indian music, return for a third set of either live music or karaoke, depending on the demand, and finish off the night with a half hour of DJ music filled with all the 90s dance music Sol could ever hope for. 

Both bands are equally talented, but Stitely Orchestra was the clear choice for us.  Within a week, we had signed a contract, and Jeff Stitely sent us brownies as a thank you.  Brownies and karaoke?  Am I dreaming?   

*This obviously stands for Amanda and Solomon’s Next Top Karaoke Band.

Musically inclined

Some girls care about the dress above all else.  Others focus on finding the most elegant and luscious flowers around.  Still others search for the most exotic and extravagant caterers they can find.  Not me—this girl wants the best, most fun, most outta control, can’t-sit-down-for-a-minute-because-my-feet-won’t-stop-dancing music around.  In my world, this means a live band.

I’ve been to weddings with awesome DJs.  There are some professionals that really tune into the vibe of a wedding and can read the dance floor like a book.  I’ve also been to weddings with awful DJs, and they are quite painful to both watch and listen to.  The difference between a good and bad DJ is huge and has an equally huge impact on the wedding.  In my opinion, however, a wedding band is a different animal. 

A live band, even a so-so one, has a much different energy than a DJ.  While it’s easy to ignore a DJ for at least a little while, a wedding band quickly becomes the center of attention and draws people to the dance floor.  Live bands are spontaneous, acutely cognizant of how people are reacting to the music, and in general, the mark of a true celebration.  What you lose in song variety and selection, you gain back tenfold in ambiance. 

Sol and I are very musical people, and while we initally toyed with the idea of hiring a DJ, we ultimately decided to upgrade to a live band because we want our wedding to be the best, craziest time anyone has ever had on the second weekend of January.  To make this happen, we not only decided to hire a live band, we hired a live karaoke band. 

We’re karaoke junkies.  We can’t help it.  Everyone knows this about us.  It would not feel right for us to have a party without it.  Even though we know that not everyone will be into it (although we’ve had nothing but positive feedback from guests) and we’re certainly not having open karaoke during the entire reception, this particular feature of our wedding is unique and special to us.  And it’ll make for an amazing video. 

Next up:  finding this all-important live karaoke band.

Crowd pleasing

I was not at all prepared for the disasters of putting together a guest list.  I’m not sure exactly why I thought it would be so easy—he writes down his family and friends, I write down mine, and voila!  In under an hour, we’ve magically come up with the appropriate number of people and no one gets left out or sneaks onto the list!  This dream scenario is surely the most naïve expectation that anyone has ever had, because let me tell you, there was nothing magical about it.

I have always wanted a smallish wedding.  Maybe 100 people, but certainly no more.  Despite my love for karaoke and being extremely and inappropriately loud, I don’t like being the center of attention for long periods of time and crowds make me extremely anxious.  I really thought that inviting close family and close friends was the way to go.

Sol, on the other hand, has grown up in a family and community culture that clearly backs the idea of “strength in numbers.”  Indian weddings are huge events, and it’s not uncommon to have 400, 600, or even 900 attendees.  As he dictated the names of his extended family, friends, parents’ friends, and associates, I grew extremely panicked.  Without writing one person down from my side, our list contained almost 200 names.

I freaked.  I’m not proud of it, but I did.  There may or may not have been a throwing of the engagement ring in his direction.  At this point, my overreaction is the stuff of urban legends.

When all had subsided and the ring was back in its rightful position on my finger, we attempted to pare down the list.  Sol was in a tough spot—he wanted us to have the wedding that we wanted, but he was bound by family and cultural traditions, as well.  I tried my best to be okay with the fact that our wedding would probably be about three times larger than what I originally wanted, and he promised me that no matter how many guests we had, he’d stick by me to make sure that I was comfortable.

To date, we are inviting 296 people, and I’ve made my peace with it.  I even count myself lucky that so many people want to help us celebrate our marriage.  And, after all, it’s just a party—on Sunday, January 13th, it’s just us two.  Just what I wanted.