Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Photo Phun

F's family has a tradition where the bride and groom pose for pictures with a wider range of extended family than is usually the case (not just the parents and grandparents -- all the aunts and uncles, the cousins, etc). This can take a long time, so I was thinking of things that might make it a bit more fun, and help us get cooler pictures. I brought this question up to F., and we thought of providing some props for fun posing:

A picture frame
Cowboy hats
Space helmets
Giant foam Illini fingers
Feather boas
A multicolored dupatta
Something Chicago-themed -- what is Chicago-themed? Wind?
A giant beach ball

If you have any ideas, post them in the comments!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


My mom had the bright idea to use smaller (10-person) cakes as centerpieces rather than have one big wedding cake. I like this idea! The flowers in this photo are not the right color and the cakes will probably not be white, but the cakes I imagine would look something like this:

What I like most about this plan is that we can have a few different flavors, so everyone with different dietary needs will be happy. The folks on my mom's side who have gluten allergies can get a gluten-free cake (flourless chocolate, maybe?) and we can also have a vegan cake to satisfy the vegans and the folks on F's side who don't eat eggs. And then we can have a third kind of cake that's just cake.

I have also found out that it's easy to come up with DIY cake stands. That bumps this idea out of the "maybe" column and into the "hell yes we're doing it" column.

We started talking with our contact at the venue about setting up a tasting in February. The ideas we've got for the wedding menu sound absolutely delicious, the decorations will be beautiful, and everyone will be very happy.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

coordinated-but-not-matching bridesmaids

I have this plan where my bridesmaids' clothes are coordinated with each other but they don't match. Explaining this idea to people has been difficult, though. Now, after months of waiting, I present for your viewing pleasure: Bridesmaids That Coordinate But Don't Match!

At the ceremony (the bride is in the center):

At the reception (once again the bride in the middle):

For both of these, I tried to pick a style of embellishment and a family of colors that would coordinate well. The top set has more traditional-feeling style elements (zardosi and kundan work, contrasting borders). Most of the outfits have some amount of orange or turquoise in them. For the bottom set I chose mostly single-color outfits that had sheer fabric. Those all happened to have metallic, swirly embellishment. The similarity in style gave me freedom to choose a wider range of colors. FYI, I don't have 10 bridesmaids. I'm just trying to show a lot of options.

Monday, September 21, 2009

everything's coming up Milhouse

F. and I have been in Chicago since Thursday. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding (he also came to it, of course). That kept us busy until Saturday night, but on Sunday my parents visited. F. and his mom and my parents and I spent the day working on wedding stuff, and we got a lot done! I had been starting to wonder if we ever would, so I'm glad we did all this.
F's mom had collected a stack of Indian-style invitations. We looked through them and picked out a couple whose styles we like. My plan is to take those, and some more American-style samples that I liked, with us to India. We'll try to get something between the two styles. That means we need to have all our invitation wording written up before we go. We've got to write the program, too.

We drove out to our ceremony and reception venue to meet with one of their event managers. We talked with her about the schedule on the actual day as well as what kind of a planning schedule we should follow. This was the first time any of the parents had seen the place, and they really liked it. The last time F. and I had been there was in the middle of November. This time we got a chance to check out the garden, too. It looked great! There's a plaza that will be a perfect place to set up the mandap.

Next we checked out some locations for the mehndi party, which my mom is in charge of. Looks like we'll have mine done Friday night (since it will take so long) and the guests can have mehndi done at the actual mehndi party on Saturday at brunchtime. This way I can even do some of it, which will be really fun. There should be time for it to dry before the garba starts Saturday night.

My mom surprised me by saying she was thinking of wearing Indian clothes at the ceremony. This will be so fun! We went back to F's parents' house for dinner, then the moms and I went upstairs to play dress-up. My mom will probably wear a lehenga choli, since she doesn't like the way sari pleats lay on her. Now I'm going to start sending her links so she can check out styles! I'll have to pick out her outfit when F's family and I are in India. What a big responsibility, picking out my mom's clothes.

We also talked with a decorator about the mandap. He showed us all the ugly plastic white ones with lights all over them first, saving the cool wooden one for last. I was starting to get worried, and then he pulled up a photo of it. Its pillars look like peacocks! It's shaped like a clover leaf! I liked it a lot. Just in case the quote's not in our price range, we're going to look for one or two other decorators to compare against. But if we're happy with the price, we'll probably go with this guy.

That was everything we could fit in one day. My parents are driving back to Michigan this morning and I'm taking the train to Champaign for a conference tonight.

So, the next few steps are:
  1. Finish the guest list.
  2. Get a visa for the India trip.
  3. Email the venue and let them know we want to have the ceremony on that round plaza.
  4. Email our awesome photographer and let her know the date so we can schedule things.
  5. Buy a printer with which to make save-the-date cards. (We figure that since F. works from home, and we'll probably need to print a ton of wedding stuff, it is worth it to just buy one.) Make save-the-date cards.
  6. Decide about the decorator. Put the decorator in touch with the venue so we can decide about hanging things from the ceiling.
  7. Take care of little things like a guest book, place cards, a box to put cards in, and all those other details my mom wrote down while we were meeting at the venue. See if we can rent vases from either the venue or the decorator and just put our own flowers in them.
I'm sure there are more things on this list, but that's most of what I can think of that needs to (or can) be done before we leave for India.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

wish fulfillment much?

Last night I had a dream that I went shopping and bought a wedding outfit --- and cycling shoes. From the same store!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Shaadi ka date tay huaa

F's mom talked to her astrology guy and found us a good date, so the wedding is officially going to be the weekend of July 24th next year. We also went back and forth a lot and decided to have it in the Chicago area. Sure, I'm not in Chicago, but I explained to F's mom how important it is to me to get to plan this, and I think she got it. We worked out some ideas about how to go about things logistically (for instance, they'll get a whole lot of pandits, and we'll phone interview them) that make me pretty comfortable with the plan. Having his family nearby does make some things easier, too: I'd been looking at getting wholesale flowers (like from or something) and arranging them ourselves, and if there are a lot of family people around that will be a lot easier.

I just ordered some sample invitations from Saima Says Design. F. and I looked at some last night, but he doesn't know I have ordered samples. It'll be a nice surprise for him when they arrive. It makes the whole thing seem like it's finally getting started!

F. and I also agreed on what colors to use for decorating (red and orange). I found a photo of a mandap that I really like, too. It's so graceful. Imagine this kind of frame with orange, red, and white flowers & fabric.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

photo mentality

I've got a problem with the institution of wedding photography. I certainly don't object to having photos taken -- one might want to have something to look at and remember one's wedding, sure. People who weren't there might want something to feel like they were involved. Parents might want a little keepsake. Great! But more and more, I feel like people focus more on the photos than on the wedding itself.

Examples (real life people's internet stories, edited and paraphrased and all that):
  • A bride's mom pays to have bridesmaids' tattoos airbrushed out of the photos.
  • Brides with non-traditional hair colors get comments that it will "ruin the pictures."
  • A woman wants her bridesmaids to wear a temporary tattoo, but worries that it's overbearing to request that they change how they look (what if people think it's a real one?). Commenter suggests "have a picture taken of them all putting the tattoos on to show they just did it to support your wedding" -- what, is it not official if it's not in a photo?
  • Bridal makeup is always heavier than day-to-day makeup, because it has to show up well in pictures. Even if it makes the poor girl look really weird to the people who are actually attending the wedding.
It's not photography that makes you married, people! Maybe it's the magazine-ization of weddings that leads to this kind of attitude. These days, weddings are something that people consume as photos in magazines far more often than they get married themselves or even attend the weddings of others. What they see is the pictures. In that sense, is a wedding really an event and a party where two people celebrate their commitment with the people they care about? Or is it one really long and extra-fun photo shoot?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

everyone else is doing it

Apparently when ladies on the internet are planning their weddings, they make things called "inspiration boards" to show the concept of what they want stuff to look like -- I've seen general, whole-wedding ones as well as very specific just-centerpieces ones. I've found a few possible venues in the Boston area, but basically can't accomplish much else on that front until we get there. All I have left to do is look at pretty stuff, so: behold! Styles and ideas for my wedding outfit. (I haven't decided about all red vs. red-and-white, but I have decided I like contrast-color borders and zari/zardosi work, and I hate overuse of sequins.)

Also: I used to like the sparse, Arabic-style mehndi more but now that I've had it a couple of times I think I prefer the dense Indian style. I don't think I will need to buy jewelry (I believe I can borrow F's mom's), but out of what's available to me I am going to go for gorgeous-but-simple (the ceremony will be in the daytime in the summer, I don't want to be armor-plated). I am not sure if I'll wear the dupatta on my head or not -- if I do, that will obviously change my hair options. But I love the 'do in the upper right. If you zoom in you can see her little braids. So awesome!