Saturday, January 31, 2009

Happy Blog Birthday... Me!

I know it's hard to believe that the magic that is "With This Ring, I Thee Obsess" began a whole year ago.

Image: Here

And Happy Birthday to...

He looks like a monkey and he acts like one too!

Guess who else celebrated January Birthdays?

My Dad.

My Sister and LP
(Why is my sister attacking LP in this photo? Was she giving her an early birthday hug?)

My Friend, Jennifer

My friend, the Wickhouse

Andy's sister, Nik

All wedding images by Sarah Alair.

Friday, January 30, 2009

tw + ac: The Ceremony, Part Two


Picking the music for our wedding was a bit of a struggle. The English Major in me focuses on the lyrics, whereas Andy might have wanted to walk down the aisle to a song about a breakup because he liked the drum solo in it. I finally decided that I wanted some surprises at the wedding, so I asked Andy to pick out the song that I would walk down the aisle to and our first dance. This caused the only argument that we had throughout the entire wedding planning process. Our argument isn't significant enough to document, so here's a word of advice to other brides-to-be:

Silent Treatment = Getting the Good TV for the Night and Offers to Help Fold Things

The Beatles

Nick Drake

Bride's Processional
Andy's Surprise Pick
Paul McCartney and the Wings

Hearing the introduction to this song was the only time the teared up that evening. I remember someone "whispering" loudly, "Look! She's already crying." I kind of remembered hearing the room take a collective breathe when we turned the corner, but thought that I had made it up, as I'm not normally one to turn heads. But Andy's sister and my friend trix both said the same thing. It was such a great moment. I kept trying to make eye contact with Andy, but he wouldn't look at me because he was afraid he'd cry.

I don't know why brides get crap about being all emotional. The dudes were the saps at our wedding. Andy was worried about crying and was shaking like a leaf when I got to the top of the aisle. And my dad was crying and trying to have a moment about "trying to be a good parent." I just wanted to listen to our music and wave to people! I swear, someone slipped me a valium when I wasn't looking.

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! - Stevie Wonder - Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!


My Catholic family members weren’t too pleased with our decision to not marry in a church. The church that I wanted doesn’t do Friday weddings and I didn’t feel it very moral to join another church just to get married there. I tried securing the priest from the church that I grew up in, but he couldn’t perform our ceremony because it wasn’t in a church. (Fourteen years of Catholic school tuition and they can’t loan me a priest for 30 minutes?) Also, Andy’s Lutheran (pity that he won’t be joining me in Heaven. Ha. Ha.), so we'd have to have an Interfaith ceremony. We agreed that it was easiest to get married at A New Leaf and work with an officiant to include God.

For our readings, I had given my good friend carte blanche to do a reading of her writing or selection. She ended up selecting the lyrics from the song, What Are You Doing the Rest Of Your Life?, by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman. Here’s an excerpt:

I want to see your face in every kind of light
In fields of dawn and forests of the night
And when you stand before the candles on a cake
Oh, let me be the one to hear the silent wish you make
What are you doing the rest of your life?
North and South and East and West of your life
I have only one request of your life
That you spend it all with me

We followed it up with a modern interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8, 13 performed by my brother. It was odd standing so close to people as they read.

Then, our officiant read our responses to several questions that he sent us before the wedding. Oh my God. I might have chosen my words more carefully if I had known about this. But it was so funny. Both Andy and I and our guests were cracking up the entire time. It feels odd to put something so personal up on the Interweb, so here’s a peek at our words:

My Words for Andy

Andy's Word for Me

Then, we began our vows. I didn't want to stress Andy out about writing our own vows, so we used traditional vows. They were sweet.

And then we kissed! (If you look closely, you can see that I'm on my tip-toes - and I still can't reach!)

And then we walked down the aisle to Stevie Wonder! Yeah, Stevie! I actually "forgot" that Stevie was about to play. I was reaching back for my flowers when I heard the first few beats. I became happy all over again. My friend from work said that they cried when she heard the Steve start to play.

When we walked out, we were greeted with hamburgers (a total hit with the guests) and had an impromptu receiving line before going back to the Apartment for some photos with our officiant and wedding party and heading downstairs to join the fun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

tw + ac: The Ceremony, Part One

My insane work schedule aside, the ceremony posts are the real reason that I’m behind schedule on documenting our wedding -- which has probably become old news to the Internet. Our wedding ceremony was the best 30 minutes of my entire life. When I think of it, I can feel a smile in every inch of my being. What’s not to smile about something that a friend referred to as “the most genuine wedding ceremony that [she’s] ever seen?” But, as others have said, "I'm afraid if I shake it too hard the glitter will fall off."

Remember when I wrote this in my very first post ever?
As soon as we chose a local wedding over a destination wedding, I began fantasizing about a intimate, laugh-filled, candlelit ceremony…
Mission accomplished.



(Sorry for the close-up, LP.
This is the only candlelight photo I had. But you look cute! Sassy, even. )

and laugh-filled.
(Bare with me - I'm still lazy on the editing down of the number of photos.)

Up Next - Music and Words

Monday, January 26, 2009

tw + ac - Arriving at the Wedding

I love these next few photos because I think that you can see the pure joy on my face as I see A New Leaf. Shrink me down and superimpose a Christmas tree and some 70s bellbottoms and the photo below could be a photo of me on Christmas morning in 1979.

The moment that we had been waiting for all year had finally arrived - and it was so worth the wait! I think that Andy and I  (and hopefullly our generous parents and Aunt Ruth!) would agree that every dime we all spent was justified at this moment.

Looking Down on the Black Table Room

Looking into the Storefront

The Garden

We took advantage of the last of the daylight and took some family and wedding party pictures. Once again, I never asked permission to to post anyone's photos here. Here's my sister, brother, and I (I know that that they can't get mad, well, they cant't stay mad at me.).

Our flower girl had been caught in traffic and missed the bus leaving the hotel, so she met us at A New Leaf. How kick-a*s is her little dress?

Before I knew it, it was time to put on my veil for the ceremony! Hooray!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"More Champ?"

I know that I'm behind on our wedding recaps, but my work burn out is stifling my ability to create flowery prose. Also, I need to take a break at looking at photos of myself. I never thought that I'd say this, but I'm tired of looking at our wedding pix (but mostly tired of looking at pix of myself). The more that I look at them, the more that I find to criticize. So, I'm stopping for a bit. In the interim, I thought that I'd completely blow my original topic schedule and work on some vendor reviews - specifically a review of my day-of-coordinator, Katie Kozlowski of Dettagli Weddings.

I know that there are some newly-engaged girls reading my blog, so I wanted to share the scoop before Katie gets booked up for all of the good dates in 2009!

The biggest piece of advice that I'd give to brides-to-be (other than to tone your arms so that you don't hate your pix too!) is to hire a day-of-coordinator (DOC) to run the show. Like everyone else, Andy and I definitely didn't have an infinite wedding budget. Not to mention that, after a few caterers told me, in front of Andy, that a DOC was waste of money and that "[they'd] basically be [our] DOC," I definitely got some, "whatever"s from Andy after I brought it up. But right before we went to bed on our wedding night, Andy said, "I don't know what you paid for Katie, but she was worth every penny." I honestly believe that Katie was the force behind my calm demeanor on the wedding day. If you're Type A or a control freak, this is the best thing that you can do for yourself. Knowing that someone is there to take care of it all will release you from the back of your own mind!

I had spoken to two wedding planners before calling Katie at my caterer, Briana's, suggestion. As they say, the third time was definitely a charm! The very first time that we talked on the phone, Andy thought that I was on the phone with one of my girlfriends. This girl is Sweet. As. Pie. But, she's also incredibly professional. At both of our meetings, she was fun while keeping scatterbrained, ADD me to an agenda. Come the week of wedding, she did everything for me:
  • I didn't speak to a single vendor during the two weeks before the wedding. I gave everyone an idea of what I wanted and told them that "Katie Kozlowski has final say on all decisions." She did it all. I couldn't even tell you when anyone was at the venue setting up.
  • She picked up my giant carload of wedding projects on Thursday morning and, when we arrived at the venue on Friday night, everything was magically its place.
  • I - completely unplanned - handed her $1,000 cash in an envelope at the rehearsal dinner with a simple, "There's a spreadsheet waiting in your inbox outlining who gets what" and she didn't bat an eye. When I spoke to her at 8:30 a.m. the next day, it was already organized into envelopes.
    • Re: tips - Katie saved us thousands of dollars - literally. I was using the Martha Stewart tip guide and some other online resources to calculate tips. I had planned on about $3,000 of gratuities, including the caterer, who did not include gratuity in the invoice. Andy and I were PANICKING the day that the invoices were due. We had total buyer's remorse. I e-mailed Katie for advice, sent her the total of all invoices and the pertinent information  - our planned tip, independent business, business owner, etc. - and she told us who should get what. (Apparently, if it's not specified in the contract, you don't have to tip 20% to caterers if you tip the captains, waiters, bartenders, coat check, etc. individually.)
  • At the wedding, Katie was everywhere. She was doing things for me before I even knew that they needed to be done. I'd be talking to someone and she'd whisper, "More champ?"* and be off refilling my champagne glass faster than a jack rabbit on a date. (I've always wanted to use that phrase!) At one point, I had seen her standing across the venue in my peripheral vision. Not even 30 seconds later, she was behind me whispering, I just saw you touching your hair, let's put a bobby pin in it. I don't even know where she pulled that poppy bin out of.
    • Whenever I mention Katie's name now, Andy says, "More shamp?" in a girly voice. He's a nerd.
Over the summer, I met with Katie on a particularly rough day after my grandma passed away. I had a mini breakdown and confided my sadness to her. She was so nice. She offered me her Blackberry to check my e-mail, consoled me, and never brought it up again. There are not enough words to express how much I appreciated her discretion.

I don't want to belittle her professionalism by commenting on how adorable she is, but I seriously want to shrink her down, carry her in my pocket, and steal her entire wardrobe - or at least her shoes and jewelery - while she's not looking.

Katie has left her position at a major production company to pursue wedding planning and coordination on a full-time basis. I can't wait to see what the future holds for her exciting venture. You can contact Katie via the Dettagli Weddings web site. You can read more about her previous gigs on her blog.

P.S. Look at how much fun she had on her own wedding day:

Images: Katie's Wedding - Beauty on Call; Our Wedding - Sarah Alair Photography

Monday, January 19, 2009

Surrendering Our Birdcage Veils

Well, Tara, Colleen, Natalie, Robin, and Darcy, it appears that a new bridal brigade is storming Chicago. We're old news! :)  But that doesn't mean that we can't watch them longingly from afar.

I love the name - and header - of this blog: Wed in the White City 

If I missed any other local brides, please comment below or e-mail your web site address to Also, if you're currently planning a wedding and would like to share your experience with others without commiting to a blog of your own, please contact me about guest blogging or becoming a contributor. Support from my virtual bridesmaids was so helpful to me during my planning phase and I'm happy to share my established community.

P.S. So jealous of you all! I miss wedding planning so much! Let me know if you need any help.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I Want to Get Remarried...

...wearing this exact ensemble:

Image: E! Online

Oh, how I wish that I had worn a dress worthy of a statement necklace.