Monday, November 30, 2009

Trial with Ten Hair and Makeup

I had a hair and makeup trial with Tricia Catenaro from Ten Hair & Makeup on Saturday. Marc, my sister and I went out to her apartment in White Plains, where we were greeted with bad reality TV, clementine oranges, and a cute canine. These are a few of my favorite things!
Here's my before picture. I cannot even believe I'm sharing this picture with you! Truly terrible. My eyes are generally not quite so puffy; it was all the holiday merriment that did me in!

Tricia goes to work on my hair while Willow and I hang out.

Makeup done! Love the bright eyes and the muted lips. Exactly the romantic look I'm going for. I'll want to wear some fake lashes on the day of, but we didn't do those on Saturday.

Shots of the hair!

The trial wasn't the only thing I did on Saturday. Afterwards, we took the train into Grand Central, and went ice skating for an hour in Bryant Park. Great rink- Marc and I went late one Saturday night last year, and had a ball then, too. There were a lot more bad skaters on the ice during this year's daytime visit (not just children- some of the parents were lousy, too, and a full grown man skating with his girlfriend nearly pulled me down during a shaky bit). Then, we went back to my house and I cooked our All Potato Feast in a broiling hot kitchen for an hour. Taking all this into consideration, I think my makeup held up remarkably well.

So I'm sold! I sent in my request to book. It's weird, I didn't imagine I would book anyone at all for makeup, and I figured I would go to a salon for hair, but now that it's all set, I'm very much looking forward to not having to run around the morning of the wedding. Instead, I'll be home, with my dog, my music, my friends, and some bagel and lox. A bride's paradise!

Friday, November 27, 2009

All I Want for Christmas.... is gifts!

Now that we've gotten that pesky Thanksgiving holiday out of the way, it's time for CHRISTMAS! Are you ready for parties, gift-buying, present-wrapping? Ugh, not me. It's so much work. And by "it", I mean finding a gift for my mother. That's the hardest thing I do every holiday season. I've done very well for Mom the past few years, thanks to some clever sample sale shopping (A DVF wrap dress, a LuLu Guinness handbag), but between the wedding and six months of unemployment, I'm working with a much smaller budget this year. Sorry Mom! I'll try to think of something!


And while I do that, I will think of some things I'd like for myself! I've already come up with a few wedding-related ideas. When it comes to making my Christmas list, I often think of things I was hoping to buy anyway. The first thing I'd like is my wedding day fragrance- what's more bridal then smelling like roses on your wedding day? I totally love the Rosewater Eau Fraiche from Crabtree & Evelyn- so romantic and lovely.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

My Sister is Here!

One bad thing about planning my wedding in NYC is that none of the rest of my family lives here. They're all down in various parts of Florida. I'm enjoying wedding planning, but I know without a doubt it would be more fun if my family was here to help me out. This is just one reason I am so glad that my youngest sister Sarah is here for Thanksgiving!

We are going to have a ball. We have some wedding stuff lined up- hair and makeup trial on Saturday, a few dress-up sessions in my dress, one at a bridal store to get her opinion on a crinoline, maybe some department store makeup counter visits. We're also seeing a Broadway show (White Christmas), making our very first trip to the Macy's Parade, having Thanksgiving dinner with some dear friends, going ice skating, and most importantly, having our first ever All Potato Thanksgiving Feast. The name is somewhat misleading- we're not doing it on Thanksgiving proper, and we are allowing a few non-potato items to sneak in, but the purpose of the event is a celebration of our favorite food on earth, the Potato, so the name fits. I can taste them now!

This picture is several years old (notice my shaved head!), and it's my favorite picture of the two us. I love our faces, and the fact that the picture contains a version of our favorite food, the Potato.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Growing out my nails

One of my new favorite blog reads is The Daily Nail. She's attempting to do 365 different nail designs in 365 days. Her designs are a riot- bacon nails, Vegas nails, Twilight nails, she does it all. I wish I had the energy to do all that, but I don't. She must have an amazing nail polish collection!

In my regular life, I keep my nails trimmed as short as possible. I am going to try to grow them out for the wedding, with the help of the nail salon down the street. Here's a funny thing about New York City: for all the talk about how much more expensive things are here (and plenty are), there are some things you can get wicked cheap, like manicures. The nail salon down the street, which is clean, sophisticated, and stocked with all the good magazines, will do a manicure for $6. I figure I'll get two or three before the wedding to help my nails grow properly, so by the wedding day, my nails will be long enough to balance out my short, sausage fingers. Bacon nails and sausage fingers, there's a healthy duo.

My nails for Jess and Kyle's wedding- loved that vivid blue!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Cookies? No, FROSTED cookies.

I don't talk a lot about wedding planning with my friends, but I really should start doing it more often. I figure they'd be bored by it because they aren't wrapped up in it like I am, but it's that exact reason that makes them the ones with all the good ideas. Today I was telling my friend Jocelyn about our Milk & Cookies idea, and she was like, oh, you mean like a Frost Your Own Cookie bar? Yes!!! I did not know I wanted that until you said it just now!! A few containers of frosting, some sprinkles, and BAM! Inspiration is everywhere, people.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My Miss Bride Shirt from CAKE

I won a giveaway over at The Lazy Bride's Blog a few months back- a free Miss Bride T-Shirt from the CAKE line at Inkbox Design Boutique. Isn't it cute? CAKE has some really cute stuff- they do a Dog of the Bride shirt! I've been wearing this shirt like crazy- the cotton is so soft and light, it's perfect for lounging around the house, or throwing over a cami and hitting the town!

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Virtual Makeovers at DailyMakeover.com

I found this great website, DailyMakeover.com, where you can virtually try on hairstyles! My sister was looking for some hairdo inspiration, so I helped her out.

You can upload one picture for free, and try on a great selection of celebrity and pre-set hairdos. The tools are great and really easy to use, you can really make the hairdo fit (although sometimes I was too lazy to do so).

As you can see, I had a lot of fun playing around. Ignore my super serious expression; the picture was originally me trying to capture my eye makeup.
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This is how I see my hair for the wedding- soft updo, sweep in the front.

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Do blondes have more fun? Sadly, I'll probably never know.

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Wish I had curly hair!

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Sassy! Love it!


I have a hair and makeup trial scheduled a week from tomorrow; hopefully I'll look at least half as good as I do in these shots, yuk yuk yuk.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bridging the Divide between China and our wedding

Speaking of my sister Lee, about six months after her wedding to Jon, the newlyweds moved to China to teach English. So far, they are having a ball- making new friends, seeing new places, feeling like millionaires. Life is a lot cheaper in China! Unfortunately, that doesn't extend to airline flights back to NYC for, say, your sister's wedding. It's looking like my sister will not be making it back for the wedding. Unless one of you fine readers wants to sponsor the trip? I'm sure you all have a few thousand bucks lying around that you're just dying to get rid of.

A pic Jon took during a recent snowstorm.

I've been thinking on ways to keep my sister involved in the wedding process. I've asked for her opinion on several issues- she's the one who found my perfect wedding shoes on eBay, and helped me decide on a color for the tissue paper pom-poms for the reception. I don't just want to include her; I trust her taste. We did come from the same mother, after all, and Mom's taste is a force to be reckoned with.

Now I'm starting to think on the wedding day itself. We weren't planning on hiring a videographer, but do you know how cheap and easy to use video cameras are these days? This is not the breadbox with VHS tapes your father had to rest on his shoulder. A friend of mine has a Flip camera, and that thing is amazing. She let me use it to shoot video a few months ago at a karaoke party, when a bunch of us were screaming along to "Don't Stop Believin'". I figured the whole thing would be a dark, thunderous blob, but when she posted the clips to Flickr, it was amazing. I could see everyone, and hear individual voice parts- I heard things on the video I hadn't heard in person!
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Source: theflip.com

Marc and I are hoping to save up enough Amazon.com credit card reward certificates to be able to at least substantially subsidize purchasing one of these suckers. I could video blog the wedding day in real time! Imagine that. "Here's me in my Bridezilla robe!" "Here's me with no makeup on, AHHH, I'm scary!" "Here's me having a panic attack, get me some bagel and lox, stat!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Real Weddings: Jon & Lee

I've decided to start regularly featuring pictures from real weddings. Today, I start with a very special wedding: my sister's wedding last December. All photos by Marc.

My beautiful sister, having a fruit snack on her way to the chapel.

The rings, in my hand.



There they are, tada!

Grammy, Mom and Dad and the bridal party watch the happy couple ring the bell in the back of the sanctuary.


The extended family crowds together for a picture!

Cousin Jack and I play around with some wedding props.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Honeymoon, Here We Come!

We've had the hardest time figuring out a honeymoon destination. There are just too many places in this world. Seriously. I think there should be just one of every kind of place (beach, city, mountain) and that's that. Saves us all the trouble of having to make tough honeymoon decisions.

When I first started imagining our honeymoon, I knew I wanted to go somewhere warm, where I could shed my coat after a long, grey winter and get some sun on my face. I first thought of something like this:
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Bora Bora! So gorgeous. But as I looked into it, I realized that there's probably not enough to do in Bora Bora to keep us entertained. We are New Yorkers, after all; we get bored easy. A Mariachi Band in full party gear walks into our subway car and starts singing "De Colores", and we turn our heads and wonder, gee, do I still have that Lean Cuisine in the freezer?

So then, I started thinking about Hawaii.
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Hawaiilifeofluxury.com, how appropriate.
Hawaii has stuff going on! Like waves. My parents lives in Tampa Bay, which is a fine place to live, but one thing that's sad about Tampa is that there's no surf. You wade into the water and the water carefully kisses your kneecaps. Forget that, I want to be knocked over, spun around a few times, and thrown back onto the shore. I want to be picking sand out of my teeth for weeks. So we start looking at airfares and eeeee, flying to Hawaii from NYC is a long flight and pretty expensive, particularly for two people who were hit hard by the economy (I was unemployed for six months, and Marc saw his freelance business all but dry up). We want somewhere warm, somewhere where there's stuff to do, and we want it to be affordable. This is all but impossible.

UNTIL! My beautiful, wonderful, generous aunt and uncle swoop in and offer us use of their timeshare property, anywhere we want to go! They are so nice- they did the same for my sister last year, too, and their sons in years past. This amazing gift not only saves us a ton of cash, but helps narrow down the 10 billion honeymoon options into a more reasonable 4 million or so.

As we get off the phone, my Aunt mentions, oh hey, there's a really nice opening at the Marriott Grand Chateau on the strip in Las Vegas, you should think about that. My initial response is, oh, well, Vegas is fun, but we've been already- we went back in 2006, right after we started dating, to see two friends get married with The King. Been there, done that. We got to thinking about it, though, and there's a lot of things we didn't get to do last time we were in Vegas. Like shoot machine guns, or take a road trip out to the Hoover Dam, or see any shows. And there's plenty of things I would do again- eat a big steak, go to the champagne buffet brunch on Sunday, play $1 Blackjack down on Fremont Street. Vegas in April is warm enough to lounge at the pool. The Marriott property looks really nice- quiet, because it doesn't have a casino, and there's a kitchen in our room, so we can eat in if we're feeling thrifty.

New York? No, that's Las Vegas! A shot Marc took on our last trip.

So, after countless hours spent looking and thinking and wondering, we reached a decision- Vegas it is!


Look out Elvis, we're coming back!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Shoes with Something Blue

Of the four Somethings a girl needs on her wedding day, I knew blue would be the hardest to work in. New, old, borrowed, fine, but blue? I figured I'd just wear blue underwear or something, until I saw a great idea: blue rhinestones on the bottom of your shoe, tucked right into the part of a heeled shoe that doesn't touch the ground. So after my sister found me the perfect wedding shoes on eBay (thanks Lee!), I rushed right over to Michael's, bought my craft supplies, and tada!

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I had a hard time figuring out what to put after I did "I Do" on the first shoe. I briefly considered putting "Marc" on the other shoe, before realizing that "I Do Marc" wasn't exactly the romantic wedding message I was going for. Ended up going with our wedding date and a little heart.

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Hope we can get some cute shots showing off the shoes on the big day!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Flowers: Fake It 'Til You Make It

I like flowers. Does anyone not like flowers? I like to think about flowers, I like to look at flowers, I like to violently rip flowers out of the ground and domesticate them in vases in my home. But I have never understood the deal with weddings and flowers. When did the two become like peas and carrots? The root of it (and so many other things for me, as you'll come to find) is that I'm cheap, and I never got why flowers for weddings were so expensive. As much as I like flowers, I could never see paying so much for something that would be dead shortly after the party. Plus, there's the scary part of having to trust someone else on the day of the wedding; if they show up and the flowers are orange and yellow and brown, what can you do? Nothing. Scaaaaary for an opinionated girl (read: control freak) like me.

So when the time came to plan our wedding, we got creative. First, we picked a date where our church is already full of flowers- the Saturday after Easter.



Doesn't it look nice? I am so glad we will be able to have our wedding at such a joyful time in the church calendar, that just happens to provide me with a fully flowered sanctuary.

Once that was out of the way, I had to think about bouquets, corsages, etc. Etsy.com has been a godsend to me during the whole wedding planning process, because I love love love love LOVE shopping online. Being able to work directly with an artist on something that is custom made to my specifications from the comfort of my broken, crooked desk chair? Sign me UP. There are lots of really talented silk floral designers on Etsy- I stumbled across Ardesign's work window-shopping on the site one night, and I instantly fell in love. She was putting together the things I was imagining in my head. And shortly thereafter, I received her beautiful creations:

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I'm glad to have flowers done and done. And I'm so glad that we'll be able to keep some of the arrangements used at our wedding for the future. I can just imagine our kids playing with them one day, the same way my sisters and I all snuck into our mother's closet to secretly try on her wedding dress (glad we did it then; it'd be way too small now!).

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Armageddon

I saw a guy in the subway station tonight with a sign- "REPENT SINNERS, JUDGMENT DAY IS COMING MAY 20, 2011".  First thought?  Oh good, not until after the wedding.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Milk & Cookie Bar

We've been thinking for awhile about what exactly to serve at our dessert reception (besides cake, natch). The options are pretty much endless. But a duo I saw last week at a bridal fair will most likely make the final cut- milk and cookies!

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Source

Marc expressed some concern about keeping the milk cold, but that can't be too hard, right? Look at this cute idea from 100 Digits! Jugs in buckets!

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This does not help my desperate longing to go to IKEA. It's just more stuff to add to the ever-growing list. It doesn't help that I'm finally employed again after 6 months of unemployment. I HAVE MONEY, I CAN BUY THINGS AGAIN, YAAAAAAY. Someone please come over here and save me from myself.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

My cushion cut engagement ring

As I've said before, Marc and I are big planners, so it shouldn't have surprised me about a year into our relationship when I found out Marc was saving for an engagement ring. I suppose I shouldn't get a big head, he didn't say he was saving for an engagement ring FOR ME. Could've been anyone! And honestly, that was fine by me at the time, I wasn't ready to get married yet.

When we were ready to get married, it was nice knowing that he had already thought about and planned for my engagement ring. He was a big fan of the Diamond Forums at PriceScope.com, and I quickly jumped in, looking around for diamond info and lots and lots of diamond "porn". They have a 180 page "Eye Candy" thread, a browser's paradise. I looked through every page of that thread, hoping something would catch my eye, and it did!

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panda08's engagement ring

Before Pricescope, I didn't know much about cushion cut diamonds, but after seeing a few pictures I was HOOKED. Definitely needed one of those beauties! I loved that they had such a classic look, but still felt unique, because they aren't featured in rings as often as other cuts. We looked around at some retail stores, but many don't carry cushion cut diamonds, and the ones that do generally don't have much of a selection. Tiffany just added a gorgeous cushion cut ring to their lineup, but theirs is square, and I wanted something with more like the one I saw in panda08's pictures. Plus, we knew from doing our research that the best way to get the most stone for your money was to pick your stone first and then have it mounted.

So off we went to the Diamond District one terribly cold January Saturday. A lot of vendors were closed for the Jewish Sabbath, but thankfully we were able to find one that was open. We chatted for awhile with a woman at Blauweiss/Berkowitz, telling her what we were hoping to spend and showing her pictures of the ring I liked so much. She knew she could help us, and set us up with an appointment for the following Saturday (because she had to do her research and pull diamonds for us out of the vault).

Waiting a week to see the diamonds was pure torture, but finally the day came and we were back. They had pulled about 6 stones for us, and we looked at them from smallest to largest in carat weight. The most important thing to me was the look of the cut; I wanted something between a rectangle and a square, something soft, something that really looked like a fat overstuffed couch cushion. The first 5 stones were almost there, but not quite (some were too square, some were too rectangular), and I began to worry that we weren't going to find our stone, but the 6th stone! PERFECTION. And it happened to be the biggest stone we saw, what a coincidence. I can't lie- for the money we were spending, I wanted the biggest stone we could get. I was willing to compromise on some of the other Cs, particularly color, to get more carat weight. The stone we picked was a J, which is about as far down the color scale jewelers recommend going, but that didn't bother me. I actually sort of liked the warmth in the color of the stone; I thought it gave the stone personality.

So, we shook hands and Marc signed the papers to set up the wire transfer, and about a week later, we got to go pick up the ring! I put it on my finger, came home to stare at it, and have been staring ever since. Of course, I took a break to make sure to share lots of pics with my friends over at Pricescope. Now if you'll excuse me, I've been writing this entry for some time, I have to go take a rock staring break.


A picture my friend Jan took a few months ago- love it!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Inspiration- Soda Bar!

Check out this gorgeous idea from Project Wedding- a soda bar!



We adore this idea. You're looking at a serious fruit soda addict here (I got a 1.5 liter of Mandarin Jarrito with my name on it in the fridge right now). And I think it's such a playful, fun detail for an afternoon church reception. We're already scoping out Costco for viable glass bottled candidates. IZZE looks like it might work.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Here Comes the Breasts

Today, I received what is indubitably the most important thing I need for my wedding day. Yes, that's right, I finally found a bra.

It's not easy being a busty girl. I wasn't even an early bloomer- I remember being flat-chested enough in middle school that other girls made fun of me for not having to wear a bra. Two years later, I wake up, and I'm a DD. I TOTALLY showed those hos. But bra shopping isn't easy at that size- a lot of stores don't even carry it. And strapless bras? Forget about it. I managed to find one online (more on that later) a year or two ago- chocolate brown. It fits well enough, but chocolate brown isn't going to cut it for the wedding (especially given the cut of the gown).

I was featured on The Knot Live as their "busty bride". I was glad to see the dress Randy picked for me had a similar neckline to the dress I already bought. We did the fitting the day before the shoot, so right after leaving Kleinfeld (yes, I got to go there and YES, it was even more beautiful than it looks on TV), I figured, ok, I'll just run right out tonight and buy the strapless bra I can wear for this and for the wedding.

Ha! Can't believe I thought it would be that easy. I get to this big wedding store, and ask if I can try on their bridal bra in a 32DD. I even checked on the website to make sure they had it. But did they have it in stock? No. The salesgirl comes back with a 34D. Ugh. That drives me crazy, when they don't have your bra size and they just bring you whatever else they can find. Bras aren't something you want to buy in a size that's anything but the PERFECT size. I even humored her and tried it on, and it was just what you'd think- too small in the cup and too big in the band. I ended up wearing the chocolate brown bra for the shoot, folded in at the top so you didn't see any brown parts stick out of the dress.

I wasn't sure what I was going to do for a bra, then I remembered my favorite bra resource: BiggerBras.com. I can't believe I buy bras online, but it's true, I get all my good bras online. Here's what I've found to be the secret: get fitted in a high-quality bra store, find brands you like, buy online. The site always has sales or coupons that get me some really great deals. My last in-person fitting here in NYC was at Orchard Corset, and I highly recommend it. You haven't lived until a stranger knows by looking at you what size bra you wear and that one breast is bigger than the other (I never realized that until she said it- and she's right!). As for buying online, I really like to buy Prima Donna brand bras, but I'll go for any style that has a lot of support (generally lace, but I'll buy other styles if they don't look too stretchy). BiggerBras.com also will let you return bras, which is what I was going to do if the bridal bra I ordered didn't fit. But it does! You can't imagine the weight off my shoulders (and chest and back) this is. Now I'm ready to take on the world!!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dirty little secret

Sometimes, I put on pieces of my wedding ensemble (usually the veil, but occasionally the whole kit and caboodle), and march around my house, occasionally stopping to look in the mirror, admire myself, jump up and down, and squeal. I call this game "I'm the Bride!", because it often involves a chant of "I'mthebrideI'mthebrideI'mthebriiiiiiide!!!!"

Bridal Fairs and I don't have a song

I went to a bridal fair tonight. I don't know why I like to go to those things- I already have a dress, a venue, a photographer, and pretty much everything else I'm interested in spending my money on. What's the point? Oh yeah, CAKE!!! This one had lots of treats floating around, and I did my best to track down each and every one of them. I had several little button cookies, white cake with maple brown sugar icing, a little shot of milk, and all the candy I could find (as if I didn't get enough on Halloween). Even brought home some treats in a cup for Marc, since I knew he'd never forgive me if I ate cake without him. In addition to treats, there were lots of models in pretty dresses to look at, and really, who tires of that?

I did meet one vendor that piqued my interest- a private wedding dance studio. Marc and I love music, we love to dance, and we're not bad dancers, but we could definitely use some help putting our first dance together. Even a song would be a good start. I try to go through my iPod to find something that would be appropriate, but all I end up with is crazy ideas like "I should TOTALLY walk down the aisle to 'Circus' by Britney Spears" or "I wonder how many people would notice if we danced to 'You are the Music in Me' from High School Musical 2?" Clearly, my ridiculous taste in music doesn't help.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

First Up? The Dress

A lot of engagements begin with a ring. Mine began with a dress.


Sneak peek of the dress. But which part? I'll never tell. Sorry, this is all you get until the big day!

From the very beginning of our relationship, we were never afraid to plan for the long-term. Two months in, we booked a trip for four months later. Being lovey-dovey is one thing, but booking non-refundable plane tickets to go to a friends' wedding in Vegas? That takes serious guts. Then the following February, we booked a cruise- for late September. Again, totally crazy, but totally us- we like to plan ahead. And we're cheap. The early bird gets the worm!

We never directly talked about us getting married to each other, but we had discussed enough that I knew when I asked one December night over dinner at our favorite Italian restaurant, "So, what do you think about getting engaged this year?", that the answer wouldn't be no. That's it, we're getting married, engagement ring in the new year, wedding not this spring but the next, and could you please pass the parmesan cheese? I couldn't help sharing this news with my good friend Amanda later that week, particularly when she mentioned over sushi one night that she was hoping I could go with her to David's Bridal to look at a bridesmaid dress for a wedding she was in. Sure, I'd love to go, and oh, by the way, I might want to try on some wedding dresses....

Fast forward to David's Bridal. I knew the dress I wanted to try on- I had seen it somewhere online months earlier, and was always finding myself peeking back at the website to make sure they still carried it. When we got to the store, they had it in my size. And it fit perfectly. And it was on sale! $350 off. Still, I had a moment of doubt- is it really sane to buy a wedding dress before you're even officially engaged? I called Marc- honey, we really are getting married, yes? Because I'm about to buy a wedding dress... Ok, I love you, too, byeeee. That was it. Credit card down, dress on order. It came two months later, and now it hangs in the middle of my teeny NYC apartment (because it won't fit in the closet- it hangs from an exposed pipe in the bedroom instead), a reminder that we never doubted that we wanted to get married and, thankfully, that I've never doubted my taste in wedding dresses.