Tag Archives: vendors

I wish I could win it, but instead I’ll give it to you (or you, or you)

You may have noticed that I have some affection for our wedding photographer. Let me tell you a little bit about her.

us & our wives

I met her in college when one of my roommates was all, “My friend and her girlfriend are coming over for dinner, cool?” and I was all, “Cool.” And then we started hanging out more and playing boardgames and living a few blocks away from each other and then living a few states away from each other and now living a few towns away from each other. She introduced me to roller derby and I took care of her dog once.

Both the dogs, coexisting (this is a more informal pet-picture, but there are more on her website)

Sometimes she comes to visit us and takes our pictures.

and she makes us look really cute! AND! She makes it feel really natural and fun.

Why, might you ask, am I telling you these perhaps seemingly-random facts about Amazing Photographer Ellie Leonardsmith? Well, it’s because today, she’s doing An Awesome Photography Giveaway.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Winner gets 1 hour of free photoshooting with Ellie! Pick your poison: she’ll take pictures of you in your wedding clothes, in your street clothes, running naked through the streets… what I mean is, whatever you want to wear, she’s willing to take pictures of you in it.  She’s also happy to hang out at your house or a park or around town and just take pictures of you being awesome by yourself, with your friends, or with puppies.  Kittens are also acceptable.  And babies!  Happy to photograph babies, too.

  2. How to win: comment here and tell us about your most valued picture and why it matters to you (for example, I have a picture of my dad and me on the dock up at camp when I was maybe 4 years old.  I’m wrapped in a towel and probably shivering, and we have the exact same profile.  I love that picture.).
  3. I will use a random number generator to pick the winner!
  4. Deadline to comment is 5pm EST Monday January 24th.
  5. You must be within or willing to meet within an hour of Boston; specifics to be worked out with Awesome Photographer Ellie.
  6. Photoshoot is free, and afterwards CD of images, prints, or albums can all be purchased through her.

You can see examples of Ellie’s work all over my blogs, but also on her website.

Also, I get nothing out of doing this, except her gratitude and excitement that I get to give my awesome readers something that I think is really awesome!  I say awesome a lot.  Now, comment away!

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We invite you…

We interrupt your regularly scheduled recap posts to bring you – ready for it? – our invitations. Okay, so these were a long time coming, and I’m sorry we didn’t share them sooner, but here goes. I had seen a lot of other people’s prospective invitations, and it helped us to hone in on what we did and didn’t like in invitations. To start, we knew we liked an outdoor theme: birds, trees, leaves. We knew that fancy folder invitations were really pretty, but that we didn’t have the finances or the patience to do something fancy. We knew that we would keep our invitation, and maybe immediate family and best friends would, too, but we also knew a lot of people would throw it away, and so we only wanted to put enough effort into it that we loved it and were okay with other people not realizing how Absolutely Amazing our invitations were.

Turtle's face to express how awesome our invitations were

A friend of mine from roller derby does graphic design stuff, and she offered to design and print our invitations essentially for cost. The whole process involved a lot of running around for us, which worked because Turtle was unemployed at the time; if you are employed and a busy person, this might not be the way to go for you. The three places we got quite intimate with were: Lisa’s house, Kinko’s, and PaperSource. I didn’t keep the best track of how much we spent on the invites, but I think it was around $2/invite, which apparently is awesome. Yay us!

Anyway, we sent Lisa our basic thoughts, and she sent us back some mockups.  She pretty much nailed it right away, with a few minor changes.  Here are some of the first images she sent:

We liked the simplicity of the designs, and we loved the way Lisa played with the colors and borders.  But something wasn’t quite right – we couldn’t agree one which tree we liked, and none seemed quite… “us”.  And then! Then it occurred to us that we already had a tree that we loved!

Remember our stamp?  The one that we used for our Save the Dates and for our favors?  Well, here it is again, in action:

What did we end up picking? Answers coming in Part 2…

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Dear Past Miss Bird,

The past month of marriage has been awesome, but you knew it would be.  You’re pretty smart.  Here’s the thing, though: you don’t know everything, and you can’t prepare for everything. You’re doing a great job trying, but here are some lessons I’d like to share with you:

There will probably be drama.  It will probably not come from places you expect, and will come from places you don’t expect.  The point of this is not to say that you should be paranoid and always on the lookout for it, but that, really, you should stop worrying about it, because you can’t do anything about it.  Whatever the drama is, it has nothing to do with your wedding – it’s just a reason to bring up something that is already there.  It will not matter on your wedding day, so why worry about it now?

Identify the details that are really, really important to you, and make them happen. The rest of them just don’t matter, and they don’t have to be amazing.  You can spend the morning stamping table numbers two days before your wedding, and you will get compliments on them.  They’ll be cute, and everyone will notice the flowers more, anyway.

Good job picking vendors you loved.  Trust yourself on that one: if you don’t love them, move on.  It makes all the difference in the end. On that note: skip out on David’s Bridal, even if the dress looks pretty! The customer service will sour the whole thing.

Find the things you would be willing to let other people help with early, because people will appear to help, and they want to feel useful.  Take advantage of this; it’ll make them feel good, it’ll make you feel good.

EAT THE FOOD. Stop being nervous.  I know, easier said than done – but the food is GOOD. Eat it. (But only eat enough that you have room for pie afterward.)

 

Take advantage of every opportunity to be celebratory with people you love.  Again, they want to be involved, and you will be so happy you spent the time with them.

And, self? Even if you don’t do any of these things, it will be amazing.  I know you’ve read that on a hundred other websites and you’re thinking, “blah blah blah, I know, I know”… well, it’s true, and you don’t know.  But you will know.


With love,

Ms. Bird-Turtle

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Flower of my heart

amazing everything.

This is a picture of combined awesomeness.  In this picture, you can see the beautiful table that our amazing caterer set up, and at which our wonderful wedding coordinator (Hi Laurie!) arranged for our pie-cutting to happen.  You can see the hair wreath that I had made for my lovely wife, and you can see the hair flower that I purchased from another Bee on Esty.  You can see my amazing suit, version 2.0, which fit just right, and you can see our beautiful, beautiful flowers.

So, I have a million things to say about our vendors and the people that we worked with.  I really cannot say enough good things about most of the people who played a role in making our wedding happen.  But let’s focus, people: let’s talk about our flowers.

When we started our wedding budgeting process, I think that most of the numbers we picked were pretty arbitrary.  I had been following 2000 Dollar Wedding for awhile, and I thought, If they can do it, we can do it. Well, it turns out that they could do it, but they also weren’t having the wedding that we were having.  It turns out that while you can pay $20 for one person’s pretty good meal at a restaurant, caterers don’t work the same way; everyone we talked to suggested we expect to pay $70-90 per person.  The point of this is that our budgeting was really off in the beginning.  And my original willingness to stretch to pay $200 for flowers ended up seeming ridiculous. Flower people we talked to agreed to contact us, but never did; they tried to hide disbelief on their faces when I told them we wanted to keep it under $200.

Well, screw it, I thought. I don’t really care about flowers.

Hah.  Here’s where that funny part comes in – you know, the part where you’re marrying another person who has their own opinions?  Well, Turtle could give on not spending $1000 on flowers, but she knew she wanted flowers.

photo by E. Leonardsmith

Well, one day I was walking along, thinking nothing about flowers for our wedding, when I ran into a friend at the farmer’s market.  I had just gotten a flat tire on my bicycle and I needed to pick up my car from the garage in the opposite direction of my house (I promise this is relevant), and she offered to drive me home… but first she had to grab a few things from the market.  So I followed her around, and I met her friend Melissa, who was working at her flower booth.

photo by Melissa's Flower Farm

Her gorgeous bouquets were $5-$10 each.  I sort of sidled up and asked if she might be able to make some similar bouquets – just beautiful, whimsical varieties – for our wedding. It turned out she lives just a few minutes from our venue, and not only could she do it, she would be happy to deliver them for no extra charge.  On top of that, when I asked what the cost might be, she looked surprised and said, “Oh, the same as these!”

We arrived on the morning of our wedding, and the room was set up, flowers in vases on the tables… our two bouquets were all wrapped up for us, and ready to go.

photo by E. Leonardsmith

During the ceremony, I glanced down at my flowers and there was a little brown spider sitting on them.  I know spiders creep a lot of people out, but since Charlotte’s Web and my parents’ reminders growing up that the spiders ate mosquitos, I love them.  It felt like it was all pulled right out of nature and handed to us – or that we were just fit perfectly into the wonderful weave of the world.

Okay, call me corny, but I loved our flowers.

So here’s my advice, which is and will be the same for your dress, your caterer, your band… hold out until you find what feels right to you and your partner.  Nothing is so important, so necessary, that you should settle – which is not to say that you need the best thing, or the most expensive thing, but the thing that feels right for you and who you are.

Now, if you’re in the Boston area, go check Melissa out.

What are your must-haves?  What did you happen across when you least expected it?

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On clothing and not standing around in one sock

We are having a thrilling evening this evening.

First, I could not find the keys anywhere for a petsitting job, so 2 hours went to searching for them. Yup, two hours, just searching for keys.  Did I mention that this is not my week? Also, my check engine light came on.  See, again: not my week.

But right now – right now, folks, I am sitting on the couch while my lovely fiancee flits around setting things up for the big event: trying on wedding dresses.

What? you say. Didn’t you already do this? you wonder. Oh, silly you, just because we already bought one dress (each) doesn’t exclude the option of buying another. Or four others, if you are Turtle.

We got our dresses all altered up and Turtle does not like her dress. If she can’t find something else then she’s stuck with it, and that’s the deal we’ve worked out.  In the meantime, some giant J Crew boxes showed up at our house today, and Turtle washed her hands and feet so that she didn’t dirty the dresses.  Once her appendages had been thoroughly cleaned, we began the process: she with the opening and on-trying, and I with the bemused watching and faithful documenting.

open the box! out will pour hope and glory!

um, maybe instead of hope and glory there's just tissue paper?

box inside a box!

hope and glory? is that you?

Dress #1 - not so much with the glory. interesting back, but it didn't fit quite right.

pretty fiancee! All mine!

dress #2 - so pretty, but way too big, and a little stiff. I got tired of taking pictures, if you couldn't tell.

Neither of these dresses was *the dress* – whatever that means.  So we dug around in the boxes to find dresses #3 and #4, and lo and behold – they were not there.  Turns out they shipped separately.  So with under three weeks to go, the additional dresses will be arriving soon.

In the meantime, something else arrived in the mail!

package for me?

a vest you say? why, this is the wrong color...

Okay, readers, maybe some of you are thinking that you already saw me in my muslin fitting.  So the truth is that I was so excited about my *actual* suit’s arrival that I did not document the thrilling unwrapping process. Sorry to disappoint, but moving on:

I got an email last week that this was done:

photo by MacheteNSons, click image for source

I got it in the mail a day or two ago, and this morning we had a little photo shoot in the sun:

glorious!

beautiful lining! is that mild satisfaction on my face?

There are a few things that need to change, so I’ll be parting with my new-found suit to send it back for alterations.  Guys, I cannot say enough good things about A.J. and Lianna at MacheteNSons – this whole experience has been overwhelmingly positive, and I have been really impressed by the customer services. That, coming from someone who works in customer service, is saying a lot. THANK YOU, A.J. & Lianna.

So the struggle to dress the future Bird-McTurtlesons continues, but we are making progress! Yes, my friends, I truly believe that progress is being made! And I am thoroughly impressed by the ability of some tailors to fit you over the internet. Amazing.

Have you/are you in the process of the/did you struggle with clothing yourself and/or your future spouse?  Did you consider driving all the way to NY in one day just so your beloved could try on a dress she found on the internet? Did you consider scrapping the whole thing and showing up in jeans?  And is there anyone who reads this who is looking for a tailor? Cause, seriously, I love the ones I found.  Lastly: how hot do I look? And how pretty is my future wife? Discuss.

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Bridal bulge

Last night we went back to David’s Bridal. Oh, David’s Bridal, why do you and I never quite get along? Is it the airbrushed matching families in your giant window ads, your oh-so-hetero marketing, despite the legalization of same-sex marriage in both MA and NH, or the fact that every time we show up your employees seemed 1. perplexed by us (two dresses? both for the bride? confusion), and 2. annoyed that we don’t know where to go, despite the fact that they never told us?  Perhaps a combination of all of the above.

We were told to go back for our dress pickup at 8pm last night, so we did.  We thought ahead enough to bring our shoes – maybe they would want us to try them on?  It was called a pickup, and while last time they mentioned specifically that we should bring our shoes and our undergarments for the fitting, this time they told us to bring the pink slip with our info on it, and that was it.

So we arrive, and, as usual, the staff are annoyed at us for looking around and not knowing where to go.  Thanks DB’s staff, you’re so sweet!  We make our way through throngs of wedding parties – apparently Wednesday night is a big night to find your wedding dress – back to the alterations area, where someone comes to help us pretty quickly.  She’s blond, cute, upbeat, and cannot for the life of her figure out which one of us is Bird and which one of us in Turtle, nor how to pronounce our names.  This is sort of a theme for the rest of the evening.  I spend a good period of time worrying that they will actually alter my dress to fit Turtle, and then we’re really in a bind.

So they give us our dresses, we put them on (should have brought that bra, oops.)…and I bulge.  That is to say, my eyes bulge, because I can’t breathe.  Really, my dress is so tight around my ribs/waist that I am physically in pain.  I have Turtle unzip it until it absolutely must be zipped again.  And then – and then! – the alterations woman seems offended.  “We just took it in an inch and now you want us to take it out! Did you have dinner before you came here?!”

To which I, of course, respond, “Yes, I did have dinner, and I do plan to eat on my wedding day!” One meal should not make my dress asphyxiate me.

So then our alterations expert has to go get her manager, because apparently there might be more charges, and it’s all probably because I didn’t wear my bra, and they keep implying that I’ve gained weight.  A little part of my is afraid that I have, but before that I lost 8 pounds, and really a pound or two would not make my ribs fat. Ugh.  So I’m feeling guilty about being the “wrong size”, my dress is ridiculously uncomfortable, and they’re talking about charging us more money.  Where’s that nice woman who was so happy for us last time we were there? Can we have her back?

And in the meantime… Turtle hates her dress.  Not really my story to tell, but we are now on a 4-week countdown to “Woo hoo let’s get married” and “Quick let’s find a dress you like!”  If we don’t find one, she’ll wear the one she has…

At one point last night, the alterations manager said, “It’s a wedding dress.  It’s not supposed to be comfortable.”  And I thought to myself, “If someone had told me that six months ago, I’m not sure I would have bought one.”  My suit is going to be comfortable.  If we hadn’t already paid for all this stupid dress stuff, I would just scrap the whole thing.

I think maybe I’m approaching wedding zen? As more things are getting not-done or going not-quite-right, I can let go a little… yes?

What would you do with four weeks down and dress dissatisfaction on the rise?  If you did this all before, did you have the most wonderful dress-fitting experience ever?  If you work at David’s Bridal, how are you going to make us uncomfortable little lesbians happy again?

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Vetting the (Gay-friendly?) Vendors

would you have went with another venue had the owner NOT dealt with gay couples before? This is something I’ve been thinking about lately b/c there seems to be a real emphasis around the blogosphere on vetted gay-friendly vendors and yet a part of me thinks that maybe some really awesome allies just haven’t had the chance (pleasure) of working with a gay couple yet. So everyones gotta start somewhere, ya know? Love to hear your thoughts!

This is a really interesting question!  Thanks, Ms. Awesome, for bringing it up.

First, it’s really, really important to us that the people we work with are comfortable working with us – us as a lesbian couple, us as a crunchy couple, us as a couple on a relatively small budget.  Us as a couple of women who don’t always agree with each other and often want something in a very. specific. way. if you know what I mean.  Again, top priority = comfort.

So, not having worked with gay or lesbian couples before is so not a dealbreaker.  I’m sure lots of people haven’t been given the amazing opportunity to meet or work with people as awesome as gays and lesbians are.  We emailed one wedding coordinator (before we found out our caterer has one built into the package) and they hadn’t worked with any same-sex couples before.  But here was their response:

“We haven’t worked with lesbian couples before, but would love for you both to be the first!”

I loved that they included both of us in their response (I may be the one writing about all of our planning, but we are doing this *together* – that’s the whole point), that they were eager to work with us and talk about our vision for the day (ugh, did I just say “vision for the day”? Sorry.), and that she was very open to the ideas I had put out there.  I think one reason to ask these questions is to get a feel for how people respond to these questions and these situations.  If someone panics or looks nervous when I say, “Have you worked with a same-sex couple before?” it is cause for concern, because I don’t want anyone at our wedding being uncomfortable because we’re a same-sex couple.

That said, our vendors get extra points for being gay.  We did not search out gay vendors or even vendors who were advertised as “gay-friendly” or anything like that – we just looked for people we liked, and music or food or a space that we liked, depending on what it was we were looking for.  After we had decided to go with our caterer, he came out to us – points for him!  But it wasn’t what made us decide to go with him – it’s because the tart he made was delicious and my mouth still waters every time I think about it.

I also keep reading about places that offer same-sex wedding planning, and one of the things they list as a reason to have someone else doing the planning is so that you don’t have to come out to each and every prospective vendor.  But the thing is, that feels like an important part of the process for me.  I want to see people’s reactions, or lack of reactions.  I want to say, over and over, I am getting married to a woman.  Here I am, here we are, and what flower arrangements can you make for us?

Since I came out – whoa, a whole few more posts, not a story for this one – I have mostly been very comfortable coming out to people, but I admit that there have been some people, coworkers mostly, that I mostly-happily allowed to go on believing that I just hadn’t found the right man yet.  There have been some people I found on facebook that I did not add as a friend because I didn’t want them to know, for fear they might not like me anymore.  And – this is kind of shocking – I kept it a secret when I first joined roller derby because I thought everyone else was straight.

Once you’re done laughing, continue reading.

Since getting engaged and doing this whole wedding thing, pretty much all of my fear around coming out is gone.  I’m getting married!  And it’s awesome!  And I’m really, really lucky.  And anyone who can get that is someone that I would be happy to work with.

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