Monday, February 28, 2011

Changing of the Guard

Despite the fact that our porch recently looked like this:

I've decided that it's time for Spring to come to the Goodlaff household, which means a changing of the guard on our front door.  Yesterday, guests would have been greeted with a gigantic pile of ice and snow and this lovely, wintry wreath:

Today, visitors to the Goodlaff residence will instead be greeted with this:

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Cutest Little Scene Stealers, Ever

There's only one thing that can upstage a bride, and that's a cute kid.*  And we have two!

Our little scene stealers are two of the most adorable children on the face of the planet, and on the day of the wedding, I'm going to do my damnedest to peek around the doors at the back of the stone hall just so I can see our flower girl and ring bearer ham it up down the aisle. 

Let me introduce you to the smallest members of our wedding party, let's call them Dee and Zee.

Dee and Zee are Mr. Goodlaff's niece and nephew, and we are incredibly thrilled to have them as part of the wedding party!  Us Goodlaffs began dating about three months after Dee was born, so I've known both of them for either all or most of their lives, and we have loved watching them learn and grow and become people in their own right.   I know that sometimes really young children find it difficult to participate in a wedding (Dee will be three in a few weeks, and Zee is about 18 months old right now), but there was never any doubt that we were making the right decision in choosing them to be our flower girl and ring bearer; they'll do great!

A few days ago I got an email from FSMIL (Future Step Mother In Law) Goodlaff with a picture of the flower girl dress that she and Dee's Momma chose, and I almost died from cuteness overload.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Meet Our Vendors: A Cake Walk

Finally, a resolution to the great cake debate!  We have chosen a baker, and we are thrilled to pieces to be working with Donna Imsand, known 'round these parts as The Cake Artist.

A few weeks ago, when Niki Ross came to take our engagement pictures, she wanted to drop by our venue, the Miners Foundry Cultural Center, where a bridal fair just happened to be taking place.  Truth be told, I'd been there earlier that morning with Mama Goodlaff, visiting every cake booth in the place (there were about five).  One of the vendors we talked to was Donna, and after tasting just one of the samples she had brought along, I was pretty much sold. 

When our little motley picture crew stopped into the Foundry, I dragged Mr. Goodlaff to Donna's booth and forced him to eat cake.  I know, I know, twist his arm, right? He agreed that we should set up a formal tasting, which we scheduled for the very next weekend.

We met with Donna on a Saturday afternoon at a local restaurant that her "other half" owns.  She brought a binder full of her work, some of which had appeared in The Knot and other bridal magazines (major points there).  We chatted about the cake bar idea and she was totally open to helping us execute our vision of widespread tastiness, and though most of the designs in her portfolio were detailed beyond what we're looking for, her work is just beautiful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm With the Band

Alternative title: He Went to New York, and She Went to Jared

We've been searching for our wedding bands for a couple months, and a few weeks ago, each of us finally decided on the rings we were going to with, ordered them, and finally have them in hand!

You may remember my engagement ring: it's a vintage replica of a 1930's ring with a ton of personality and the little details that I just love (milgrain! scrolling! art deco!).  It was and still is the perfect ring for me, but when we started the hunt for a wedding band, I began to despair of ever finding a band to go with the contours of my ring.  I was looking for something that matched the style of my ring without overwhelming it; I was looking for a delicate wedding band. 

We looked everywhere: from local jewelers to national chains like Kay and Ben Bridge Jewelers, no one had what I was looking for. Pretty early on, I figured out that my band would need to be contoured to accommodate the curve of the center stone, so we focused our efforts only on bands that would fit, and struck out at nearly every store. 

On one hand, shopping for my band was easy.  "Do you have something like this?"  I would ask the sales people. "No," they replied.  Then we'd walk out.  Pressure to buy was just about zero.  But after being discouraged so many times, ring shopping wasn't fun anymore, and Mr. Goodlaff and I began to consider the custom ring route, going so far as to get a ballpark estimate for the ring I wanted.  It was a big ballpark: anywhere from $500 to $3000, depending on details and diamonds and whatnot.  There had to be a better way. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Casualty of the Wedding DIY War

Mr. Goodlaff and I spent the long weekend assembling our wedding invitations. Here's how the process began...

No, we weren't pretending to be thugs, we were preparing to meet the dreaded adhesive spray glue in the battle for the perfect DIY invitations.  The glue is miraculously effective, but it's messy, and, as you can tell from our improvised face masks, smelly.  Having never used adhesive spray for crafting, it was a bit of a risk using it to assemble our invites, but after a few minutes, we were old hats at it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Topping it Off

What, you may ask, would I be doing with something like this?:

Making it into a fancy hat for my bridal shower in a few weeks, that's what!

MOH Sister Goodlaff (with cooperation and premises provided by Mama Goodlaff) is throwing me a bridal shower in March, and I've been marginally involved in the preparations. The theme for the shower is an Alice in Wonderland-style vintage tea party (without the acid trip).  Mama and Sister Goodlaff have been busy gathering vintage tea cups from secondhand stores, planning table layouts, getting decor, and designing invitations in hopes of creating the perfect eclectic, classy tea party-themed bridal shower. And everyone knows that a classy tea party would not be a classy tea party without a fancy hat! 

Shower-goers are being given the option of wearing a party hat to celebrate the theme and the festivities; Mama Goodlaff has been picking up some hats at second-hand stores, and is even going to rent a few for unprepared guests.  There's no way I was going to miss out on the fun!  However, the white hat with the gigantic pink flower (a Mama Goodlaff bargain find) was not going to cut it--my hat needed a bridal makeover...

Friday, February 18, 2011

Chop, Chop

I wish that the much-vaunted Post Wedding Chop could, in my case, become a Pre-Wedding Chop.  I mean, yes, I have been growing my hair out for almost a year so that it will be conducive to perfect wedding day hair.  But right now?  I hate every inch of it that extends past the tops of my shoulders. 

See, I am not, nor was I ever meant to be, a long-hair kinda girl.  In fifth grade, my hair was halfway down my back, and I used to get golf ball -sized knots at the base of my head. The long hair was a gigantic pain in the ass, so one day my mom took me to the salon and we had it all cut off.  I remember sitting in the chair, telling the stylist to take it up to my shoulders; she was horrified, as was the lady sitting in the next chair over--"but your hair's so pretty. You shouldn't cut it off," they said.  Yeah, but you don't have to live with it, I thought--chop, chop.

Up until a few years ago, my hair stayed varying degrees of short, usually somewhere below my jaw, but no more than an inch below my shoulder (and that was pushing it). 

Like so:

But my hair isn't short anymore:

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Merging: Not Just for Highways

*Before I start, let me say that I'm using Office 2007. The mail merge function looks different in previous versions of Word, but you should be able to find all the same tools that I use here. All pictures are screen shots or personal photos.

First things first: you need to get all of your guest addressing information into a spreadsheet or database.  I used Microsoft Excel, and created data columns for Guest Name, Street Address, City, State, and Zip Code. You can break it down however you want, but this was the easiest format for me to deal with. 

Before you even open Word and start merging, you need to decide which labels you want to use. There are so many different sizes, and if you're using Avery labels, MS Word comes with templates.  You just pick the template number associated with the labels you're using, and you're in business--someone has already done the hard part. In my case, we're using two label types (both are clear labels): for the invitees' addresses we're using Avery template 5164 (3.33" x 4"), and for our return address on the back of the envelope, we're using Avery template 5160 (1" x 2.63"). Labels come in all shapes and sizes, and even if you choose to use off-brand labels, the Avery template number is usually printed on the box somewhere.

So, you've chosen a label type.  Excellent.  Open MS Word. Go to your "Mailings" tab and click on "Start Mail Merge."  Select Labels.

Pick a template, any template. No--pick the one you need.  (make sure to double check the label information on the right to see that it's correct).

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Water's Fine

Mr. Goodlaff and I are in the thick of it now.  Almost a year ago when we got engaged and started this whole planning process, the wedding was a ways away; we knew we were planning an actual wedding, but with the date so far off, it seemed more like I was playing "wedding planning" than actually doing it.  Not anymore!

Now it's becoming very real.  We're so close now, and it's like being only a few miles away from finishing a marathon--there's still a long way to go, but looking back: we've come a long way, baby. A few months ago, we were able to just set aside projects for "later."  Now, we're running out of "later" and more things have to be done RIGHT NOW (yikes!).

Our dining room table has been taken over by wedding projects: bridesmaids gifts, cake plates, the makings of my money-made toss bouquet, the start of my wedding necklace, all the pieces needed to make our invitations.  I suppose it's a good thing that we happened to have a seven-foot piece of plywood laying around to throw on top of the table; we tossed a tablecloth on it to make it pretty, and our new "banquet table" has become our latest crap catch-all/craft station (we eat on the couch--sad, I know).

But even with all this chaos, I can see it coming together.  All our plans and work and ideas are really starting to take shape, and it feels like all this work and all these plans are really starting to pay off--theory is finally becoming practice.  The planning process can get so overwhelming sometimes, but taking a step back and looking at the awesomeness that's headed our way helps calm me down a little bit.  The next few months will be a total whirlwind, and I can't wait. Our guests are making the effort to come and celebrate this moment with us, which is both humbling and a complete honor.  I can't wait to marry Mr. Goodlaff in front of all of my family and friends; I will get to see so many people that I rarely, if ever, get to see, and I'm beyond excited! 

When I think about that and all of the special touches we're putting into our wedding, it makes all of the insanity worth it. Plus, when it's all over, Mr. Goodlaff's going to be stuck with me forever (and maybe then we'll have a normal-sized dining room table free of crap? Eh, probably not...).

When did you start to feel the planning process pay off?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Don't Label Me!

Oh dear, I'm afraid that we're about to break some rules.  Mr. Goodlaff and I are going  to do the unthinkable: we're going to address our invitations using labels. 

Say it ain't so!

Apparently, this is a huge breach of etiquette.  Even though using labels to address invitations is becoming more common, it seems that people still feel strongly about it (the Weddingbee boards are full of people on both sides of the issue). Am I really supposed to hand-address each one of these envelopes? I get it--it's a personal touch.  But I don't have consistently neat handwriting; I don't know how to do calligraphy.   I also happen to like my cramp-free hand.

We could send them out to a calligrapher.  But what's the difference between me putting a label on versus paying someone else to write them all out? That personal touch of me addressing the envelope is gone either way.  One way just costs more. Our way is cheaper and easier (To be fair, I have to think of it this way.  Our budget has no room for a calligrapher, even if we wanted one!). 

Allow me to introduce you to our fancy printed labels courtesy of Microsoft Word's magical Mail Merge function:

Mail Merge, I heart you!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Cake Plate Palooza

On Saturday Mama Goodlaff and I headed out in search of cake plates, more blue vases, and any other wedding-related trouble that we could get ourselves into.  I'm happy to say, the day was a resounding success in the cake plate arena.

As you know, Mr. Goodlaff and I are foregoing the typical wedding cake in favor of a cake bar.  This means we are in desperate need of cake plates, so that the cake bar will look like this:

Different heights, types, colors--basically anything goes in the search for cake plates.  Mama Goodlaff, who is spearheading the search has already found four and has feelers out for more. We hoped we would be able to find some awesome candidates this weekend, and boy, did we ever!

The first find was a pink and orange cake plate, located at Home Goods.  (Ever been there?  It's a happy place...) Price: $16.99.  Score! We wove in and out of some more aisles, when I spotted one just like this beauty:

 It had a pink ribbon (which can be changed), and came with a price tag of $14.99--much better than the $40 plus shipping that I was going to pay online. Moral of the story?  Check the discount stores first, then buy.  What you're looking for may be sitting right there on the shelf waiting for you!

Now, given that we will need upwards of ten cake stands, Mama Goodlaff did a little online research and found out how you can go about making your own cake plates.  Let me tell you, it's just about the easiest thing in the world to do. The right glue, a plate and a base of your choosing, and a few hours, and you're in business.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's Hip to be Square

I've been in invitation design purgatory for the last month or so, and having sent the print files to our vendor (Auburn Printers), I was happy to be free of them for a while, but Friday, when we will get all the pieces back, the Goodlaffs will need to begin the invitation assembly process.

That's right, friends.  We designed our own invitations.  Anything worth doing is worth doing well, or, in my case, anything worth doing is worth doing the hard way.  And I'm only mostly kidding. 

I guess I always assumed that we'd be making our own invitations.  I looked at letterpress, and I looked at invitation suites, and Auburn Printers even let us borrow their invitation sample book to look through.  But my crafty self kept saying, "let's make them! It will be totally fun!!!"  Online searching had yielded a few inspiration invites, but one DIY option was leaps and bounds above the rest:

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Learning to Share? Still working on it...

There's a scene right at the beginning of the movie Chicago (again with the musicals!), where Velma Kelly, having just killed her husband and her sister, tells the stage manager concerned about her sister's absence and its effect on the show: "don't sweat it, I can do it alone."

In life, as in wedding planning, this is very much my mantra. Though I wouldn't say that I'm not a team player, I will tell you that all through school, I loathed group projects, and even now in the working world, I have a hard time letting go of tasks and passing them off to someone else. When I do something, I know that it's being done right. My experience constantly proved that in a group, there was always one person who didn't do their part, pull their weight, or do it right, and not wanting to fail because of something someone else had done, I always ended up picking up the slack.   This lack of trust in people is certainly a failing of mine, and I really am trying to get better, but let me tell you, old habits die hard. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lookin' Swell, Dolly

Two Saturdays ago I woke up, and like a little kid on Christmas, couldn't go back to sleep.  I peeked out the window, and saw the mail lady at the bottom of our complex, filling up all the mail boxes with bills, letters, and magazines.  I watched the process intently, waiting for her to close the boxes and get on her way.  Finally she was done; she climbed in her mail truck and started driving up the hill towards our house. I sprang out of bed, threw on a sweatshirt, and bolted for the door. The doorbell rang, and I gave it a solid three seconds before I ripped the door open, hoping not to seem too eager.  The mail carrier, dressed in her standard mail blues, handed me the box, and I clutched at it. On the inside, I was thinking "MY PRECIOOOOUUUS," but on the outside, I was all smiles. 

"Do you have a really cool doll in there?" she asked me. 

"Uh," I said, wondering why she thought my package would have a doll (of all things) in it.  Then I realized: the package had a Dolly Couture label on it.

I laughed.  "No, it's actually my wedding dress," I told her as I resisted the urge to run inside, slam the door and tear the box open (which is exactly what I did about ten seconds after she walked away).

Once inside, I kicked Mr. Goodlaff out of the bedroom and began to open the box.

But here, we must pause.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Meet Our Vendors: Paparazzi

Because we have such awesome vendors, and because Mr. Goodlaff and I can't help but constantly talk amongst ourselves about how fantastic they are, over the next few weeks, I'm going to properly introduce you to our vendors (a few of whom are friendors), tell you why we picked them, and share how they are helping to make our wedding day a fabulous reality. 

First up?  Our Photographer!

Early on in our wedding planning process, we decided that we would try to include our family and friends in our wedding as much as possible.  This means having people lend a hand with their talents (Daddy Goodlaff is making our cake topper and our archway) and really using our connections to find great vendors. I have to say, we totally lucked out in the photography department. 

Our photographer is one of Mr. Goodlaff's longtime friends from his hometown--a "friendor", if you will. Right after we started looking for our vendors, he brought up the idea of his friend, Niki Ross being our photographer, and after checking out some of her work, we were sold.  We met with her a few months ago, talked details, and settled on a price, and agreed to wait until Fall to do our engagement pictures.  Well, Fall turned into Winter, and we were finally able to sneak our engagement pictures in on the very last day of the last weekend in January.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Dressing the Venue

Let me just say, I am well aware that our venue really doesn't need any kind of decoration. The Goodlaffs are lucky because, unlike some generic hotel ballrooms, our venue is beautiful as it is.

See? (Please ignore the people setting up for a high school prom.)

The Miners Foundry Cultural Center is a fantastic historical building and Mr. Goodlaff and I don't want to take away from that or cover it up beyond all recognition, but we do want to make the venue our own.

You may remember our modern English garden party-ish theme, and there is nothing more garden party than lanterns and globe cafe lights. I know, I know--it's been done. But I look at pictures like these and I'm so in love: 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Was that a "Yes"?

First off, let me just say, I had no idea it was coming. Mr. Goodlaff was sneaky like that.

In the beginning of 2010, I heard that the Broadway musical "Wicked" was playing in San Francisco, and Mr. Goodlaff bought us some tickets for a March show--a belated Valentine's Day of sorts. I was beyond excited to finally see the show that had been playing on my iPod non-stop since I'd seen "Defying Gravity" performed on the Tony's in 2004 (have I mentioned my love of musicals?). We talked about things to do, places to see, and made a general plan for our trip. At one point Mr. Goodlaff told me, "this is not an engagement trip." And I believed him. I can honestly say that it never even crossed my mind that he would propose that weekend.

San Francisco holds a special place in our hearts--it was there that we took our first trip together. That first trip was one of the most perfect trips imaginable.  An accident of overbooking meant that Expedia moved us to the W hotel; we went to Hyde Street Pier, and the boats that you usually have to pay to see were free; we happened to pass by Rasputin Records and popped in, only to see Less Than Jake giving a free, in-store concert;  we had one of the best meals I've ever eaten at Ame;  and after all of that, we figured out that we wouldn't kill each other after being together 24/7. One evening, while wandering the city, Mr. Goodlaff and I ended up right in front of City Hall in the United Nations Plaza, which is gorgeous when it's all lit up. It really was a perfect trip.

Personal Photo

Our second trip to San Francisco was shaping up to be just as good: we had a fabulous room at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis that Mr. Goodlaff's brother was able to hook us up with.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In Which Miss Goodlaff Sticks Her Finger in Her Eye on Purpose

So, I wear glasses.  And you know what?  I love them.  I've had glasses since my senior year in high school, worn them consistently for the last four years, and I've never been one of those people that was in a hurry to get rid of the frames and switch to contacts. I don't want glasses that blend in with or disappear on my face--I figure if I have to wear them (and I do), they may as well make a statement.  

But on our wedding day, I don't want to wear my glasses.  I don't want to have big, thick frames in every picture.  I want classic, carefree, non-reflecting-glasses-lenses-in-pictures beauty. My first option is to not wear my glasses, but then I wouldn't be able to see Mr. Goodlaff as I'm walking down the aisle or anything else happening more than 10 feet away from me.  That plan's clearly out. 

What's left?