31 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

Ok, so it's two photos. It came that way on their website! And they're both too beautiful for words. Largo Photography, if this was a page in my album, I would be the happiest bride on earth.

Two months to go, baby!

I think we've hit the home stretch! Today is exactly two months until the Big Day, until we exchange vows, promise to love each other forever and become man and wife. Oh yes, and two months till I get to wear the most beautiful white dress ever, a sparkly tiara, a long flowing veil, and have people tell me all day how beautiful I look! But I'm more excited about the first one. Of course.

I've been thinking over the last few weeks about how much I've accomplished so far. Everyone keeps asking me if I'm nervous, if I'm excited, if I'm ready, and you know what? I'm not nervous, I am excited, and actually, yes, I am pretty much ready. So the reason I'm not freaking out (people have asked me that too) is that if it turned out the wedding was next week we'd be pretty much okay. A wedding, with all the essentials, would totally happen. Yes, there are lots of little things that aren't done, but they could easily be pulled together in a few days or left out entirely, and no one would be any the wiser.

This is what I've got:

1)The Venue (the most important part, right?) - The last payment is due in two weeks, we've set aside the money for it already, and they're very helpful, organised and on track. We have a meeting there later today, actually, to work out more details.

2)The Food - All included in the venue cost, as is the bar.

3) The Dress - Is hanging at this very moment, behind a door at my parents' house, covered in a white sheet. The only downside here is that it still needs to be shortened. I have an appointment on the 2nd of October to do that, but if the wedding was bumped up to next week and they couldn't do it, I'd probably just have to go buy tall shoes :-)

4) Shoes - Ruby Slippers, check.

5)Photographer - Half paid, booked, money set aside for the balance. Now if only she would call me back about that e-shoot.

6)DJ - Deposit paid, booked, met with, etc. We just need to give him a final list of important songs and do-not-plays.

7) Officiant - We've booked and been for pre-marriage lesson thingys.

8)Flowers - Are being organised by the florist sister of a friend of mine. I've met with her and she seems on track. I'm fairly laid-back about the flowers, really - as long as I get the deep, dark red calla lilies for my bouquet the other red flowers can be anything from lilies, tulips or peonies. Ditto I want the bridesmaids to have white lilies, but white tulips or peonies will do if they can't find the right stuff. So it should all be good. She's got lots of leeway.

9)Bridesmaid Dresses - Should be almost complete. Three weeks ago the dresses were mostly put together at their first fitting, so they should be done shortly. She's also doing the matching groomsmen ties and my veil.

10) Hair & Makeup - both booked and organised.

11) Jewellery - Despite my jewellery dilemma, I do HAVE all of it - necklace, earrings, tiara.

12) Table Runners - not even necessary in the essentials list, but they're done and waiting.

13) Lots of other little things like candles, most of the pew cones, table listings, etc, are also done!

14) The Honeymoon - not really part of the wedding, but it's booked and paid for!

15) The Rings - in my drawer.

WHAT I DON'T HAVE (aka the moment of truth):

1) A Cake - This is the biggest item we don't have. Truth is, I'm sick of how much cakes seem to cost. I can't imagine that taking two sponge cakes that in a bakery or home industry shop cost R40 and R30 respectively, and placing one on top of the other, would cause the cost to escalate to R850. Seriously, what are they using to hold the top one on? Gold dust? But we have an appointment next Saturday at a place that's supposed to be more reasonable. I'll keep you posted.

2) Vows. If the wedding was NOW, we could just have the officiant read the generic "for better, for worse" vows, and it would all go on as planned, but we really want to do our own personal vows with something that means something to us. We're also thinking of doing a Chocolate & Wine ritual instead of the unity candle. More on that later if we decide to do it! We also need to choose readings.

3) Favours - Those pesky Oscar chocolates are almost complete, but they still have to be glued together (I did the two sides separately) and allegedly painted gold. This sounds like a mission!

4)Tons of stationery to be printed: The table listings for the hanging placecards (once we know who's coming and decide where to seat them), the placecards for each individual at their place-setting, the pictures of the classic actors for the table names and for the hanging placecards, the menus, the programs (which have to be designed), etc.

5) I don't have a garter or nice underwear. I bought a bra but it's as uncomfortable as all hell, so I might just go bra-less. If the dress is snug enough.

6) I don't know what the groomsmen are wearing. I hope they have black suits. I've done the ties, that's it. Mr RS must organise that.

7) I really want to get white parasols for the girls and myself (such a pretty photo op!) but it's not essential.

8)Ditto sparklers for the first dance, and also so you can do fun stuff like this:

9) Thank you gifts. I'm still working on that!

You see, this is why I'm not flipping out! It's all just little things, none of which really matters in the grand scheme of things. If the menus never get printed, if the parasols never happen, if there are no favours - it doesn't MATTER. There will be a wedding, people we love will be there, and we will become man and wife, and I will cry. And now I'm excited.

I actually do wish it was next week.

29 August, 2008

Photographer Friday

As I promised earlier in the week, this week's photographer of the day is The Shooting Gallery.

I tried really hard to narrow these down to ten, but in the end I just couldn't! They have so many phenomenal images that it's just unbelievable. I love them all - the soft romantic ones, the bright fun ones, the "fashion shoot" ones...I love the use of flare, colour, and post-editing without going overboard like some photographers do. In short, their images are perfect. Yum.

28 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

Beautiful bridal portrait by AHS Photography. I love the clinical feel of the metallic background coupled with the soft white of the bride's veil and dress.

27 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

It's so magic and other-worldly. Beautiful pic by Timwill photography.

26 August, 2008

Jewellery...decisions, decisions...

When it came to my wedding jewellery, I wasn't really sure what I wanted. But it didn't matter, because right after I got engaged my sister suggested I borrow an old necklace she had been given by her mother-in-law. At that point I was so frazzled by how much everything was costing (the first month of engagement sure is an eye-opener) so I jumped at the idea of a free necklace that could also double as my something borrowed! And no, I wouldn't have done it if I didn't actually like the necklace. But I did. It's really pretty:

So far so good, right? I even went out and bought long drop earrings that kind of matched the square setting of the diamonds (not real) in this necklace. I don't have a picture of those, but they look something like this, only square-cut:

Even further, even more good, right? Or so I thought. Until I started looking at wedding blogs and photography blogs, and came across THIS:

Otherwise known as the most beautiful necklace I have ever seen, it's a piece designed by the fabulous Erin Cole, and worn at her own wedding, which must tell you something about how much she liked it.

Now there is no way I could ever get hold of the actual Erin Cole necklace. First of all, I couldn't afford it. Second, I live in the wrong damn country. And third, there's no way I would ever buy something without trying it on first (though I have yet to try my sister's necklace with my dress, at least I know it looks good on my neck!). So my choices are:

(a)Wear my sister's dang necklace because it's really pretty anyway;

(b)Find a similar Erin Cole-knockoff;

(c)Go to a bead shop (and crystal shop) and attempt to recreate the thing with my own two not-so-crafty hands (this is desperation talking, people). But that would involve finding beads/ crystal pendants of a similar kind, and, well, we're pretty limited here at the arse-end of Africa.

So, basically, I'm screwed. Another option I had was to wear my sister's necklace at my wedding, and use the alleged, doesn't exist yet, Erin Cole knockoff for my engagement shoot. Because I still need a necklace for that too. But I can't find ANYthing I like!

Here are some pictures I found online that I like:

(only not green)

I'm seeing a trend here with the double strands, what do you think? But I don't like ANY of them nearly as much as The Erin Cole. Boo, hiss. :-(

Two months to go and I'm still freaking out over my jewellery! Am I a Bad Bride?

Photo of the Day

I don't post ceremony pics that often, and I really love the focus on this one by The Wiebners. Oh, and the fact that the decor is gorgeous doesn't hurt!

24 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

I love the soft, romantic, almost-sepia-but it's still colour feel of this image by Cook Images.

23 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

Back to regular scheduled Photo of the Day-ing!

This one is by The Shooting Gallery, a new find of mine that I just love! It was incredibly hard to pick just one photo to put up here. I might need to feature them next Friday.

Martha Stewart fabulousness

Martha Stewart isn't as big a deal here in South Africa as she is in the USA. Over there she seems to reign supreme, on high, as the Queen of Decor, Weddings, Entertaining, Crafts and Homemaking. And here we get one or two of her magazines and that's about it. Still, it seems that planning a wedding online (read as: stalking blogs and living on forums) I was bound to run into her sooner or later. And I did, a little while ago, when someone recommended her Wedding Planning Tools.

I had to check this out. I'd already been to two websites which promised easy-to-use guest list, RSVP and seating charts, but I was sorely disappointed with both of them. The one wouldn't let me drag my guests around to other tables, and the other didn't seem to want to let me add any more people than myself and Mr Ruby Slippers. Um, ok, NOT what I'm looking for in a gust list, thank you very much. That's more of an evening at home, not a wedding reception.

So I logged onto http://www.marthastewart.com/ and went to Weddings. And I must say I was very impressed! I'm not a technophobe, but clearly at least one of those other websites was too much for me to handle. Martha's wedding section is incredibly user friendly and fast. There are places to add your guests, divide them up into parties (families, couples etc), list who they're connected to (Bride's friends, groom's co-workers, etc), track RSVPs, and SEAT them! This was what I really wanted the website for. I needed something where I could adjust the size of the room, the number of people at each table, have varying sizes and shapes of tables, and move them around to see the layout I wanted. Martha doesn't disappoint. Here is a screenshot of my first attempt at seating my guests...most of whom have yet to RSVP, but that's another story.

This is just a rough guide of where people might sit if they actually come. Hence the big gaps. But I'm finding it an extremely useful tool! Actually, my biggest problem now is not what table to seat people at, it's where to place said tables! Not only "where do we have the dancefloor?" but "Who sits closest to the head table and who sits furthest away?" Because that's basically like grading people according to importance, which is so not cool.

Martha also lets you keep track of vendors, payments, checklists, budget and timeline.


22 August, 2008

Photographer of the Day

Yes...you read right. After reading my friend Blogstalkerazzi's blog, and her wonderful insights into photography, I thought that perhaps once a week, I should feature a photographer more prominently than just one photo. And what better day than Friday...Photography Friday...it's so alliterative. And ever-so-slightly-stolen from Jessica.

The talented Tomas Flint was kind enough to drop by and comment on my blog earlier today, so he gets the first mention! I've already posted one of his photos before, my all-time favourite hanging dress shot:

And here are a few more of his gorgeous photos:

Firstly, I love the way his pictures don't all look the same. Look at the three "hanging dress" shots - all completely, 100% different. I love the one with the guests grabbing their escort cards - such a great sense of motion. And the one with the bride wiping away her tears is just a beautiful capture of emotion. I think my favourite (aside from the first dress shot) is the one of the couple leaving in their car - it's just so beautifully framed, the sepia was a great choice for the almost nostalgic feel to the photo (they are leaving, after all) and their expressions are perfect.

You can find Tomas's blog here and his main website here.

21 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

I was just going through my favourite photographer list, and discovered quite a few I haven't featured yet! So without further ado, here is a nice fisheye ceremony by Drew B.

20 August, 2008

There's no such thing as a Free Wedding

Back in January, one of the city's most prominent wedding venues, Oakfield Farm, had their annual (or is it bi-annual?) Wedding Expo. There were all sorts of competitions to enter throughout the day for giveaways that would happen at the big Fashion Show at the close of the expo. Having just got engaged the month before, I naturally I entered everything, as did all the brides, I'm sure! There was a big prize-giving at the end, and people won things like gift vouchers from dress designers, R5000 photography from certain studios, etc. Then they came to the grand prize of the day, which was to have your wedding at Oakfield Farm, to the value of R30 000, which would include everything from the use of the chapel, the hall, flowers, decor, horse & carriage, food, honeymoon suite, pretty much the whole shebang. A dream come true, right? You'd think. So they drew a name from the hat, and the winner wasn't there. Yup, she'd left. And the rules state that you have to be there to collect the prize. So they drew it again. She also wasn't there. Couldn't believe it. So they drew it a third time...and...it was ME.

Yes, I won the free wedding at Oakfield Farm! So why aren't I jumping around like a nutter, and why didn't I say anything before? Well. I WAS jumping around for a while. I cried and called Mr Slippers, who was away in Cape Town at the time, and everyone kept coming up and congratulating me. Then when I wentto the office after the expo to collect my prize, the two ladies there didn't seem to want to tell me anything. They kept going, "Oh, we don't really know what it entails, and the lady who does know isn't here today." And as much as I tried to ask them ANYthing, they wouldn't tell me. So I took down the name of the lady I was speaking to, Karen, and she said she would get this "other lady" to email me the next day. So the next day I waited but heard nothing. Meanwhile Mr Slippers kept having to field all my calls that something wasn't quite right, and he started getting pissed off that Oakfield Farm were not helping me out, and that I was getting upset because I was starting to think it was all a big scam. (My mother thought so too; she was all, "Don't get too excited, this is too good to be true." And boy, was she right.)

So my fiance phoned Oakfield himself and just explained to the person who answered the phone who he was, and asked who the person was to speak to about the prize. And she said Karen. Yup, same Karen who told me she was NOT the person to speak to. Oh and Karen wasn't in that day either. Funny, because she had told me she was going to ask "someone" to email me that day...how could she do it if she wasn't going to be in? I smelled treachery. So eventually two days later we got an email from Karen. And, as I was beginning to expect, it was more full of provisos and limitations than anything else. "Your dream wedding at Oakfield Farm for R30000?" Sure, BUT:

1)We could only hold it during 'the quiet period', which is May to August,or it might have been June to August, even.
2) It could only be on a Monday to Thursday.
3) (And this is the clincher) The date can not be booked more than 60 daysbefore the function. Which basically means that even if we wanted to get married in the freezing cold of June, we would have to wait until April even to begin picking a date. And guess what would happen then? Probably everything would be booked up and we'd have to wait till the next month to book forJuly, when the same thing could happen! And if it goes past the end of their quiet season, it's goodbye to your prize, which expires January 2009.

So maybe we could, at a push, find a date...ok, BUT - two months is not a lot of time to give your guests as notice. The invitations have to go OUT then, not start being printed! And the worst part is you wouldn't be able to get any vendors you liked - Photographer, DJ, hairstylist, make-up - who is going to be available at such short notice?? It's the stupidest idea ever! And I am somewhat shocked that a reputed wedding venue, who KNOWS what it takes to plan a wedding, would expect someone to be able to put up with all of this, and still have the nerve to use the term "your dream wedding". I'm sorry, but my dream wedding does not include having it in a month I don't want, on a day I don't want that half my guests aren't going to be able to make anyway (who comes to a wedding during the week and parties till late?), using a photographer, DJ, etc that I didn't want either. Assuming I could even FIND vendors in 60 days. Seriously, it was SUCH a scam. But wait, there's more. On the Oakfield website they listed the prizes for the expo, and made specific mention that this prize could be exchanged for 30% of its value. So we asked Karen about this. She ignored the website entirely(at this point it had been taken off the site, conveniently, though I had copied and pasted the info beforehand) and said that the most they could offer in cash was R5000. At this point we were so hacked off with the whole dodgy issue that we just went,"Fine, give us the money!". Which they did. About the only thing they did that wasn't veiled in promises of something else.

Sooo...we got R5000 out of the deal. Which, in itself, is awesome. I just wish that I didn't feel like Oakfield completely tricked me. And my mother pointed out later that the other prizes were probably just as iffy. For instance, the R5000 photography voucher - no photographer is that cheap! Which means that you would probably get R5000 off one of their package deals, and that photographer's packages were probably like R20000 anyway, so if youwanted to use it you would still be shelling out R15000 which you probably can't afford anyway. And that's how they get you. You THINK all these people are winning all this fabulous, cool stuff, but in reality they're probably never able to use it because it comes with so many limitations. So I just wanted to warn everyone going to any of the up and coming wedding expos - don't get excited about prizes, because apparently no one will give you anything for nothing in this world. There's always a catch.

Thanks for reading! This was more of a rant than a blog. Regular scheduled blogging returns shortly.

19 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

I love it when trees look like this! By Sarah K Chen. All her work is so fresh and beautiful!

18 August, 2008

Photo of the Day

Love the dark shadows in this one by Jean-Pierre Uys.

17 August, 2008

Veiled in Mystery

So a while ago I posted about the dilemma of a birdcage veil versus the long, flowing veil of my dreams. And the long veil won out! I'm so sorry I can't have two weddings and wear two veils, but I really want the flying veil shots. Someone suggested that I wear the birdcage for the reception, which is an excellent plan. But I just think I'm going to be too attached to my veil to want to let it go so soon! So a long veil it is :-)

Now there was only one huge, massive decision to be made. What KIND of long veil are we talking about here? Long, like floor-length, or long like it's still coming in the door when I'm already at the altar? And once the length is decided, what about a blusher? Chin-length, waist-length, floor-length? Do I even want a blusher? Mantilla veils look really pretty, have great lace edging, and don't cover the face. How many layers of veil? One, two, or three? Square-cut or rounded? What about edging - crystals, beads, sequins, or lace? Or no edging? Scattered sparklies all over or just plain? Embroidered patterns or nothing?


So I turned to the best resource I know - photography blogs! Nothing like seeing what works at a real wedding to find out what is best for you. Now I don't have any limiting facors like a beach, for example, where a long veil can be impractical. It could rain but I like to feel that it's unlikely to, so I'm not letting that sway my decision. No, my only factor in my decision is What Do I Want? (I love that! It's all about me!!)

Here are some examples of my dilemma. My NEW dilemma (do they ever stop?):

I quickly discounted this short blusher veil because it's too short:

My bridal consultant seemed to think an elbow or fingertip length would look good with my dress, but I wasn't convinced:

Meh. Not long enough! But my dress does have a gorgeous embroidered train, which it would be a shame to hide. Then I started looking at mantilla veils. How stunning is this:

And then I found a great fingertip length mantilla, which looks really pretty:

But, ultimately, not long enough. So I looked at long mantillas:

Wow, Wow and WOW, right? I couldn't get over how beautiful these looked! But something was wrong...I realised after looking at these that I really, really wanted something to cover my face. But I hated the big, bushy, poofy veil that grows out of your head like a great meringue:

I liked the sleekness of the mantilla veils; and I loved the fact that they were flat on the head, letting their beauty come from their soft cascading fall. But I wanted something over my face, and I still wanted a long veil that we could 'play' under and get great sweeping veil shots like these:

And then I discovered the Drop Veil. Basically just a huge circle of fabric that you can place on your head however you want - even all the way around, or short in the front and flowing as a train at the back. It was when I saw these pictures that I was hooked:

Gorgeously stunningly wow! I love the flowing simplicity of it all. My search was over! Bring on my drop veil!

Here are some other beautiful photos:

My veil is sorted! Fiiiiinally!