Category Archives: Wedding

Savannah Honeymoon!

We needed to have our formal honeymoon last just a few days, as we both had commitments to return to. We wanted somewhere warm and within our own time zone, ideally. We’d both been to Florida several times, meaning that was out. So that left islands somewhere in the Carribbean or someplace else along the east coast. We had family who had been to Savannah and enjoyed it, so that seemed a natural choice.

Simply put, we had a wonderful time!

Priceline offered a package deal with the flights, hotel and rental car bundled together. We chose to stay at the AVIA hotel, just a couple of blocks from the riverfront in the historic district. Again, following my new practice of mentioning or asking, I made it clear to the front desk staff that we were on our honeymoon – and the extra care given was really nice. We ended up in a quiet room overlooking the city that felt like it was above our price grade. We got the turn down service and chocolates on the pillow, plus free bottles of water. Little touches, but it was all nice.

We drove down to Tybee Island and over to Hilton Head in South Carolina. We saw Fort Pulaski and Bonaventure Cemetary. And we played what amounted to a real-life game of PacMan, wandering random patterns and gobbling up the squares of Savannah in a day-long walk one day. Savannah is very walkable. We also crossed the Savannah river several times, both on and above the water in a drive to SC. In Hilton Head we played an 18 of mini-golf, where Sage made a hole-in-one! Three days was just about the right amount of time to have a great time.

Anticipating the input of my other half, I’ll share with you our dining experiences. Our first night we ate at Vic’s on the River and had some delicious upscale regional fare. Although we were full by the time dessert was offered, Sage noted that they offered a sweet potato créme brulée… we’d come back for that later. Two times in our stay we ate “breakfast” (the timing of which merits the quotation marks) at Goosefeathers Express Café and Bakery – very good and very friendly table staff. In Hilton Head we ate at Aunt Chiladas and got our cheap Tex-Mex fill. Our last night we got local seafood at The Fiddling Crab and then scooted over to Vic’s for that dessert we’d missed…

Great fun.

Wedding Lessons Learned

As a professional project manager, my brain is wired to do certain things — one of these is to conduct a “Lessons Learned” review after each major project. Let me assure you, our wedding was a major project. So here goes with the lessons learned:

1) Five hours at a reception is no time at all
1a) Do a “drive by” visit with all your guests at their tables as early as possible in the reception. Do not stop to talk with them in any detail. Otherwise you’ll never finish.
1b) Target a more leisurely visit with key individuals later in the reception. Seek out folks you don’t otherwise have an opportunity to talk with much in person, especially if they have traveled a distance to be with you. But still don’t tarry long, your time is precious during this event.

2) Delegate and trust – things will happen that you did not anticipate. If you focus your energy on them, you can’t be “there” for your guests or enjoy your day yourself. Find someone you trust to hand the issue off to… people will step up and take care of it for you.

3) Write out your speech’s key points and list of people to recognize. You will need it, your brain will be fuzzy. You don’t want to forget Aunt Agatha after she knitted all your favors, etc.

4) Keep track of invitation responses and gifts as they come in. Send thank-you notes right away. We did this and it really helped to keep things organized and flowing. We used Google docs for key lists so we could both update them and always stay in synch.

5) People really enjoy having more information available before the ceremony. We did a wedding website with a background story on each of us, our love story, details on the events and venues, and a means to log invitee’s responses via a web form. With the exception of just one individual, this went over really well and we got positive comments throughout on it.

6) Everything is negotiable, and it never hurts to ask. We were willing to pay a fair price, especially for great service, we just didn’t want to pay more than the next person. This is something that was uncomfortable for us to do, but we did it and it worked out for us wonderfully. We got price breaks or were able to negotiate lower cost packages with most of our wedding vendors, just for asking.

There’s likely many more we could share, but these are the ones that come to mind now. We’re happy to share with others following our path…

The Long Awaited Day

Yesterday was our wedding. What a wonderful day… a large amount of which is attributable to other folks pitching in to make it special. Most of the day went according to plan, but for those things that didn’t, or weren’t in the plan, others stepped up to make it work. So much so that nobody knew where the missteps were. The church service was beautiful, the photography fun, the reception and music outstanding. Warm smiles and well wishes abounded. We are very grateful to the people who came to share our day with us, several from a good distance. We’re touched by your friendship and support. What a great way to start our new life together!A photo montage from our wedding

Rehearsal Dinner

Mmmmmm, meat. If you can’t say that, you really won’t like Argentine food. Or at least the Argentine food we had at Tango in Arlington. Effectively, what you get is a double portion of meat of whatever style you order. And if you’re smart, you order the fried potatoes (not french fries) and the puré porteño (mashed sweet potatoes and squash). Great stuff. Add in a bunch of good friends, some nice wine and/or sangria, and you have yourself a first class blast. A very nice way to ease into the life changes coming your way the next day!

Sparkles!

Last night I was able to give Sage the engagement ring I’d envisioned originally. Man oh man does it sparkle!

I guess I should explain.

I had started looking for a ring quite a while before we got engaged. Nothing I was finding in the stores (or anywhere else with pre-made rings) fit my vision and standards. Let’s just say I can be picky with some things… and we needed something that would be somewhat understated, wearable in daily situations and not be uncomfortable for her and others when she dances (I’ve actually been cut by other women’s rings encountered in line).

So I started looking at diamonds. Oh boy, what a subject to get immersed in. Cut, clarity, color, geometries, Sarin reports, Helium reports, AGS certifications, etc., etc. all fed into my perfectionist sub-personality. (BTW, Good Old Gold helped greatly here in the end.)

And I was looking for a custom designer to make my vision come to life. I found and decided on Mark Morrell who is, amazingly, located very close to where I live. It turns out I liked one of his standard designs. Although we never met, I knew this was the guy to make our ring – but the man has a backlog, you must understand.

When I decided it was time to get engaged, the ring was not available. So I was fortunate to have and be able to use my maternal grandmother’s ring for our Mt. Auburn moment.

But now the real one is here and on her finger. Should you notice that glimmer on her hand, you’ll just have to ask her to see it. And the matching wedding band will be there with it, in just a few days! 🙂

Finding Your Seat (At the Wedding)

Well, our wedding date is coming up very soon. All the replies are in and now it is time to figure out where folks will be sitting at the reception.

We had great hope for the Bridal Toolkit from Bed, Bath and Beyond (BB&B) — it includes a guest list manager (which allows for uploads from a spreadsheet) and a seating chart builder application that reads from that data. Unfortunately, their default spreadsheet template doesn’t allow you to upload all the fields (eg: group names for a set of guests). It appears to be built around the idea that you’re fully bought in to their complete tool set and therefore would be building the list through their site’s screens. Problem is, we had our own wedding site – thank you very much – so we had our own collected database to work from.

After the first upload to BB&B, we were able to see our guests and then download the complete BB&B guest list spreadsheet (with all the columns, not just their starter set from the template). Sadly, the second attempt at uploading this expanded data resulted in duplicate guest names and still the additional fields were not accepted. And there was no way to simply wipe the slate clean in their tool and start again… you have to delete each guest one at a time, and that wasn’t working very quickly. Couple that with some other weirdness with their tool in real life use and that was it. Time to find another option!

After quite a bit of googling through many similar sites (that also want you chained to their site, to their advertising or direct revenue credit) and some shareware (on windows, not my primary platform) applications, I finally hit the jackpot.

Luckily another couple apparently had similar challenges about a year ahead of us, and as a result they created http://www.fluidtables.com/ . This is an incredibly (almost too) simple web application to do just this one part of wedding planning quickly and easily. It knows how to deal with uploaded guest lists, and even (gasp!) gives you the ability to wipe the list clean and start over. That, coupled with some tweaking of what data I uploaded (think embedded unique codes for later spreadsheet data merge), got me very close to the finish line – in no time.

Thanks, Chris @ http://www.fluidtables.com/!

Marriage License

Just picked up the Marriage License (officially, you file an “Intent to Marry” form and get back a “Certificate of Marriage” form). This will await completion by the church Pastor at our ceremony. Tip for others getting married in Massachusetts: shop around for which towns charge the least for this – you can do this in any town/city but the fees are different. We chose Westford for the fee and it being very local. And Westford also bundles in a certified copy of the completed certificate for you, as part of their fee.

Wedding Reception Entrees Tasting

One of the benefits of getting married (besides the obvious ;-)) is being invited to taste a lot of food. Today we traveled to our reception venue to try out the contenders for our main dish selections.

We offered our guests the choice of Chicken, Fish or Vegetarian meals. The vegetarian selection varies seasonally but will be something like a sun-dried tomato, spinach and cheese torte in phyllo dough. However, there were a few choices of chicken and fish dishes at this venue, which we had to select from to get to the two final selections.

Let the tasting commence!

Our options (we realized later that we should have taken these photos before tearing into the meal, but we were hungry!) – click on any image to enlarge it:

All of the meals will ultimately come with the same sides – a very moist (and likely butter filled) Jasmine rice and a ring of zucchini around seasonal string vegetables (this day it was haricot vert, asparagus tips and red peppers).

And the winners are: the salmon and the chicken Francese. For those folks that indicated food allergies or concerns, we have made arrangements to suit, for most people this means plain grilled chicken. If you’re attending and wish to change your selection, please let us know A.S.A.P., as we will need to provide final counts to the venue very soon.

BTW, we are keeping the other selections secret, so you’ll have some surprises on the day.

Wedding Cake Winner!

Well, we have a winner in our wedding cake selection “bake-off”. The Icing on the Cake in Newton will be supplying our cake. Sage particularly liked their butter cream frosting (and she is our sweets expert, so this weighed heavily in the evaluation) and they were willing to come up with some options to manage the cost. We think folks will like our design… but the proof will have to wait for a few more weeks. 😉

Formal Wear

Weddings create opportunities to learn about all sorts of things. For instance, what is and is not appropriate dress for particular times of day in a wedding. But with that comes the realization and power of knowing that we as individuals can do what we choose, regardless of the “proper” customs, and that bending the rules of dress for weddings these days is pretty common.

For our wedding we have chosen to put our (small, all male – but for the bride!) wedding party and the father of the bride in tuxedos. The groom will be wearing a tailcoat (which I just happen to already own). And of course the bride will be in her special gown and the mothers of bride and groom have chosen their own fancy dresses.

With our color scheme being ivory, sage green and purple, we decided to mix some color in. Here’s a screenshot from the rental company’s web site, showing the wedding party tuxes. We ultimately chose to put everyone in the tabbed “tux shirt” collars rather than what’s in the image, and I think we’ve created a great look that will go well together.

Wedding Cakes!

This past week has included two cake tastings in preparation for our wedding, which is coming up soon!

Wednesday brought us to “The Icing on the Cake” (TIOTC) in Newton. They were really friendly and helpful in figuring out what we wanted for our cake. Paula and Chelsea (a new customer service trainee) went over our options and worked with us on design and pricing. And we got to sample a few small pieces of the cakes they had available. SB has a preference for almond cream frosting, influenced by several cakes she’s had from a chef up in the Peterborough, NH area. Well, TIOTC has an Amaretto cake flavor that was a great approximation of that memory. Very nice.

Saturday morning brought us to KonditorMeister in Braintree. A very different experience from TIOTC, we were one of many couples (and their guests) in the shop for tastings. This is much more of a large scale, polished operation. While we did a little browsing of their cake portfolio book, our consultant Lynn went off and came back with a platter of large cake samples. The owner and “Konditor Meister” himself came by and greeted us warmly, congratulated us on our wedding, etc. Very nice. We were also presented with a couple of fancy choloate-dipped strawberries in “Bride and Groom” trim:
Bride and Groom strawberries
Again, we were able to work up a cake concept that we liked and got the pricing determined. Once that was done, they presented us with a box full of pastries (and we were able to box up our cake sample leftovers too).

Both of us at K-M tasting room
Mmmmmm, cake!
At the end, I just happened to mention that they didn’t seem to have an almond flavor on their list, and Lynn went to check with the owner — and came back with several take-away samples of other pastries they do in almond flavors!

Wedding Invitations

Sage and I had quite a challenge to find a wedding invitation that worked for us. One of the challenges we had was in finding something that we not only liked the appearance of but that we also felt comfortable about from an ecological impact standpoint.

What we settled on was the “Seal-n-Send” one piece invitation and reply card set (model VCMD7556), mated with a custom post-it note to provide the details for our guests to sign in to our wedding website. After login, our guests could see all sorts of info on us, our wedding and leave their invitation reply via a form on the website. If a guest so chose, of course they could use the attached reply card for their response (or even respond by phone to a line hosted via Google Voice).

The total solution minimized the ecological impact from paper and fuel consumption and provided the capability to manage the responses in a very efficient way. We hope our guests appreciated the solution as much as we do!

Invitation image
Our Invitation, Redacted for Privacy