Archive for December, 2010

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Restaurant.com sale

December 30, 2010

This is only semi-wedding related …

I just bought $100 in restaurant gift certificates for $8.

You could say I took full advantage of Restaurant.com‘s New Year’s sale.  😉

The available restaurants in Morgantown are limited; however, I thought this would be a great way to visit possible rehearsal dinner locations. I got $25 gift certificates for Charlie’s Grill, Montmartre, Mon River Chop House, and Stefano’s.

Randy and I typically visit the same restaurants (Cheddar’s Casual Cafe, Qdoba, Boston Beanery), so these places are new to us and a bit more upscale. I’m excited to branch out!

If you’d like to try new restaurants, here are some tips for buying from Restaurant.com:

  • The sale is only available Dec. 30-31
  • Type “Clearance” in the Promo box when you check out.

    Click me

  • There is a minimum purchase requirement to use the gift certificate – and gratuity is typically added prior to discounting the bill. For example, to use a $25 gift certificate at Charlie’s Grill we have to spend at least $35. They will also add 18% gratuity to the total bill before applying our gift certificate.

Happy shopping (and eating)!

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First wedding gifts

December 29, 2010

Christmas came and went too quickly. 😦

We wait all year for the special day and it’s over in the blink of an eye.

I received a few surprise gift under the tree – a wooden WVU sign and ceramic coasters from my brother and his girlfriend, as well as iTunes gift cards and a calendar (Chriatmas staples I had neglected to put on my list).

The biggest surprises, however, were the two wedding presents we received the day after.

They’re our first!

My mom had breakfast with a good friend Sunday morning and returned with the wedding and bridal shower gifts.

In the first box I found a set of flameless pillar candles with a faint vanilla scent. Although I love to burn candles, I’ve been told the smoke and residues they emit are not good for allergy sufferers (aka Lindsay and Randy). No need to worry about that with these, although I can’t imagine ever completely giving up regular candles. 😉 You can also program the candles to turn on and off at certain times. Pretty cool!

In the next box were two sets of Northern Nights towels.

That’s two complete sets, people. Two bath towels, two hand towels, two wash cloths.

We’ve never owned anything of the sort. We have towels and wash cloths, of course, but the majority of them are 8-12 years old with bleach stains and very few of them match.

I feel so grown-up! I also started fatasizing about owning a home where these towels could be displayed in a bathroom ready for overnight guests.

Strange how a set of towels can do that.  😀

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Christmas traditions

December 23, 2010

(source)

I’ve been thinking a lot about holiday traditions lately and how they often change when two people get married.

Although Randy and I have been together for eight years, we’ve always spent our Christmases apart. It’s not because we don’t WANT to be together (I’ve shed many tears over the years, trust me), but working out a schedule is virtually impossible without one of us spending the majority of the holiday driving.

I made the comment Tuesday night we might have to change things around next year since we’ll be married (and he agreed).

As the words were leaving my mouth, though, I thought, “Why?”

We’re not changing who we are. We’re not moving or changing jobs. We’re not drastically altering our relationship.

Why change what we’ve done for years just because we’re getting married?

It seems silly to me … for us … for our relationship.

(FYI: Having a baby counts as a drastic relationship changer. I fully expect traditions to morph once we have kids. Which, let’s face it, are a few years away yet. :-P)

Tell me …

What holiday traditions changed when you got married? How did you reach a compromise? How did your families deal with the change?

P.S. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from me to you! For the Mountaineers out there, Happy Holidays from WVU too.

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I’ve been thinking

December 19, 2010

Dangerous, right?

I’ve been talking about having a candy buffet as our wedding favor since we got engaged. I have all of my glassware. I’ve bookmarked different online candy sellers. I’ve even saved tons of buffet pictures to use as inspiration.

I think the amount of time and effort required to make it successful finally hit me this week.

Choosing candy … ordering the proper amount … signage … scoops … bags or boxes … “branding” said bags or boxes … doing test set ups for pictures to ensure proper arrangement the day of … transporting it all to the venue … etc.

Also, there wouldn’t be anyone to “man” the table during the reception to replenish empty or low containers.

Of course, it could be that I’m just “over” the idea. 😉

Or maybe the spirit of giving is the culprit.

In lieu of favors, I kinda like the idea of making a donation to the American Cancer Society in our guests’ names. My maternal grandmother died of colon cancer when I was in seventh grade. Randy has an uncle who was just diagnosed with cancer. I also know many people who have either been afflicted by a form of cancer or have a family member who has. I’d be willing to bet our guest could say the same. :-/

So …

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I now pronounce you …

December 17, 2010

Here’s the deal: This is the happy post I alluded to on Wednesday. I promise it’s likely only exciting to me; however, I hope you all can appreciate my school-girl giddiness. With that said, consider this advance warning of the religious topics I discuss below. If that makes you uneasy, please bow out now. If you decide to read on (and I hope you do), know that I judge no one for his or her beliefs and expect the same respect in return.

Visit any wedding website or read any magazine and you’ll likely find this piece of advice:

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

I’ve tried my best to do that, but everything seems SO important. From the venue to the invitations to the place cards, I had a very difficult time crowning one thing King Priority. When all was said and done, I ended up with three numero unos.

Everything else, of course, is tied for second. 😛

You already know I snagged an awesome venue – and an amazing photographer – but my third number one may seem a bit out of place.

It’s not our cake vendor.

It’s not even our florist.

It’s the person who will marry us.

I was raised Catholic and attended Sunday School on a regular basis until I graduated high school. I was active in my parish’s youth group and the regional youth ministries for years. I still have a very dear friend who I would have never met otherwise.

However, as I matured and became more worldly (as worldly as someone can become in West Virginia, I suppose), I came to realize my belief system did not align itself with the Catholic Church anymore. For awhile I attended with my parents when I stayed with them, but I gradually eased myself away from even that. I still attend on Christmas Eve more so out of tradition and respect for the meaning of the season than anything else.

On the flip side, Randy’s religious background is Church of God and Pentecostal. He attended church every Wednesday and twice on Sundays growing up. His mom had very strong beliefs when it came to church, The Bible and the meaning of the passages within.

Randy and his sister never celebrated Halloween. Not even in the modern sense of dressing up in cute costumes and asking people for candy. The symbolism of the day conflicted with his mom’s (and probably his to some degree) convictions.

Although he doesn’t talk about it much, I get the sense he’s grown apart from his religious upbringing over the years. I believe we both have maintained some of the core values even though we may not claim a particular religion as our own (together or separately). To this day, neither of us has sought out a church in town – and we’re okay with that.

We said from the beginning we wanted our ceremony to be unique to us. We want an officiant who is flexible and willing to work with us. We want to say vows meaningful to us as a couple.

I was plagued for months, however, by not knowing where to find someone willing to do that – and Google provided little help.

I looked at my to-do list last month and saw two red (overdue) entries:

  • Hire ceremony officiant
  • Hire ceremony musician

It was then I realized … Oh crud! We can’t get married without someone to perform the ceremony, you silly bride.

I had dinner with Bridesmaid Alicia shortly thereafter and she listened to my story. She then reminded me her brother-in-law (who is a former co-worker of mine) had once thought of becoming ordained to perform his friend’s ceremony.

Ooooh! Could it be the right person was under my nose all along?

I casually mentioned it to him – explaining what we’d want – and asked if he’d be interested. He said yes, but asked me to check into the requirements he’d have to fulfill.

Did you know there are plenty of organizations that offer online ordination?

I figured that’s what he would do (picking whichever organization he likes best), but after reading West Virginia laws I briefly worried it wouldn’t be possible.

§48-2-402. Qualifications of religious representative for celebrating marriages; registry of persons authorized to perform marriage ceremonies; special revenue fund.
(a) Beginning the first day of September, two thousand one, the Secretary of State shall, upon payment of the registration fee established by the Secretary of State pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, make an order authorizing a person who is a religious representative to celebrate the rites of marriage in all the counties of the state, upon proof that the person:

(1) Is eighteen years of age or older;

(2) Is duly authorized to perform marriages by his or her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization; and

(3) Is in regular communion with the church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization of which he or she is a member.

When I read the words “church,” “synagogue,” “spiritual assembly,” and “religious organization,” I took them at face value. Would his ordination through an online organization be recognized?

I called the Secretary of State’s Office to inquire, fully expecting the answer to be, “No.”

I was pleasantly surprised! Yes, my friend can become ordained online and perform our ceremony – as long as he fills out the application and sends the required documents (proof of ordination, letter of good standing, etc.).

Yay!!

I’m over-the-moon happy everything turned out the way it did.

Now I have to find or write a ceremony. Or I could have someone else write it for us.

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Photograph love

December 15, 2010

You all know I love, love, love pretty pictures and great photography.

This, I believe, fits the definition of both:

 

Haaby Photography

Lesley is a blogger for The Budget Savvy Bride, one of the first wedding blogs I found after getting engaged, and I’m actually in love with all of her engagement pictures.

Check them out!

P.S. Big, exciting news coming Friday. It’s exciting for me, anyway, and I can’t wait to share with you!

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Icanhasyummyfood?

December 14, 2010

Yes. Yes, you can. 🙂 Although, there won’t be cheezeburgers.

After taking a few days to think about last week’s rather eventful catering meeting, I’m in a much calmer place (and no alcohol was involved ;-)).

The catering manager sent our initial paper work about an hour after we left her office Thursday. I let the attachment sit in my inbox unopened until yesterday morning.

I needed to have a (completely sane) conversation with myself before I could proceed.

  • How many appetizer choices do we want? Four.
  • Do we really need to provide a full bar? No.
  • Am I okay with that? Yes.
  • Do I like the entrée selections (on paper)? Yes.

Good, good. Time to start editing!

Randy and I initially highlighted eight (!) appetizers that sounded good. Although the manager disagreed, I’m of the opinion that’s too many options – especially if the displays are sitting on a table. I would feel overwhelmed if I were a guest and I don’t want that to happen to ours. I also don’t want to run out of one or two popular items while others go to waste. Picking four seemed like a good compromise.

Unless there is a veto from the parental units, here is the appetizer list:

  • Lobster queso dip with tri-color tortillas
  • Chicken potstickers with Thai and barbecue sauces
  • Italian sausage stuffed with baby portabellas
  • Phyllo and Asiago wrapped asparagus

I think that list covers just about everything. People who prefer a dip have an option. Those who like finger foods have two options. The people who want a heavy appetizer have it. There’s even something for vegetarians (like my photographer). I hope we won’t be occupied with pictures for the entire cocktail hour because I need to eat at least one (or several) of the wrapped asparagus. Nom nom nom! 😉

The main course was much easier to decide.

  • Chicken Bruschetta – Parmesan crusted chicken breast, served with bruschetta tomatoes, red-skinned mashed potatoes and a vegetable.
  • El Paso Pork – Southwest dry-rubbed pork medallions with sweet Vidalia onion jam, served with red-skinned mashed potatoes and a vegetable.
  • Tricolor Tortellini – Sauce TBD

Young guests (flower girls and family) in attendance will munch on chicken strips, fries and a vegetable. House salads will also be served with ranch and sundried tomato vinaigrette available on the tables.

As for the bar, I decided beer, wine and martinis would be just fine. Again, there is something for everyone. The martini list is generous, if I do say so myself. It features Bartlett Pear, Espresso, Green Apple, Pomegranate, and Traditional martinis.

My mouth is watering just thinking about all of the yummy goodness! I’m definitely looking forward to our tasting in January.