April 8, 2008

Cold Feet

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:19 pm by Jess

I had no idea “Cold Feet” would be so serious.

My wedding is two and a half months away. Meanwhile, my best friend is getting divorced. As one would expect, she is visiting bars and theraputically indulging in the local eye candy. She recently called me to say that not only had she enjoyed the view, but she had hit it off with someone and she was getting ready to go on her first date – that went along with the obligatory “Is it a date, I’m not sure it’s a date, he didn’t say…” business – in a very long time.

My gut reaction to this was of course, jealousy. I wanted to be going out, getting dolled up. It made it worse that she and I used to do this together, both single, both in shape, both fresh from college. I went to bed that night dreaming about old boyfriends, missed opportunities and more.

So it was official, I have cold feet. The first time this kind of feeling happened wasn’t so bad. The jealousy wasn’t actually jealousy, turns out, just a sheer curiosity of “What if.” Or rather, “Who else.” Unfortunately, this second feeling was worse, more intense and more disturbing.

The second wave of cold feet was panic. It happened as I lay down to go to sleep, about two weeks after my bout with jealousy. I closed my eyes and began to mentally assess the decision of marriage. I have done this before with Jonathan, with friends, even with a Pastor, but this was the first time that my lone brain and conscience dove deep into the heart of the matter, without anyone else’s words to distract me. And my brain said, “How can you be making a decision that will affect the next 75 years of your life?!” “How can you be making a decision after 1/4 of your life that will affect 3/4 of your life?!” and on and on. (Oh yes, I plan to live until I am 100.) Now I say this with the honesty of someone who has had real panic attacks and is frightened of ever having one again: I would not joke, I had a small panic attack. Actually, I visualized the morning after my wedding, waking up and seeing Jonathan and the thought that ran across my brain was, “I have now made the decision and if it is the wrong one I will have to live with it for the rest of my life.” In my visualization of this I began to have a panic attack at the thought that the decision was behind me, and then in real life, in my bed, I began to have a small panic attack.

Perhaps you know what I am talking about. Jon is fully aware of all this but seems to be much less affected, so actually, perhaps your husbands-to-be know what I am talking about.

The next morning I met a friend for coffee to discuss this “episode.” We had a long and important talk. I was nervous to tell her my real opinion, and elated to hear that she was of the same opinion as me: People aren’t meant to be monogamous.

I know this might shock many people. I am not saying that they shouldn’t be, or that they cannot be. I think the opposite on both counts, in most cases. However, from the evolutionary perspective to just plain old daydreams of the average adult, I don’t think manogaminity is 100% natural. (Yes, I said manogaminity, because that is the word that she and I coined after racking our brains to no avail for the real word.  I like this one better, and I am keeping it.) The decision of marriage then, to me,  is a promise to be manogamous, and a decision to honor that promise knowing full well that I may be tempted, I may someday be really tempted for reasons that seem absolutely cruel, and that I will also be tested. And I expect the same from him.

I am still wallowing in the cold feet a tad bit. This sort of decision in modern day, when we aren’t marrying to bring two villages together, or to have kids to work on the farm, or to give motivation during war time, when we are marrying for this pretty modern reason of reciprocal love, is extremely intense. However, the excitement of knowing that this person I love will be bound to me, and me to him for such a long time starts to feel very special, exciting and lucky. I think there will definitely be times when I second guess this decision – or so I have heard from EVERY SINGLE married woman I know – but as long as I feel those other three things, it’s the right thing.

April 7, 2008

Oh Switzerland, must you be so difficult.

Posted in Cultural Differences at 6:18 pm by Jess

One of the biggest concerns about our wedding was finding someone to marry us. The two obstacles we encountered were 1) Religion (Jon being a Jewish convert and me being Agnostic) and 2) An outdoor ceremony.

Our first thought was to have close family members and/or closest friends take turns in reading texts, poems etc. I felt this option was viable because I am not very religious, (thus I don’t need religion for the wedding to be a formal, fully profound event) and so the things I would like to be said should come from someone who knows me and Jonathan. However, having family members speak, instead of witness and enjoy, was odd and less than agreeable.  When I mentioned the idea to my mother she completely balked, “Then it’s an informal get-together and not even a real ceremony. The non-affiliated air of the officiant is important!” she said. She always does articulate things better than I do…

We lit upon a seemingly perfect idea. There is a family friend of Jonathan who is very spiritual and who knows us both well, as I gave him English classes when we lived in Neuchâtel. So, he knows us both but not enough that it would be awkward.

Long story short, he refused to speak for us on the grounds that he is part of a highly orthodox/strict religious sect. Something more similar to a cult I believe. He and his whole family have subscribed to it and not only can they not aid a non-religious wedding, they may have to consider coming at all if we really cannot “think of the true center of a wedding, God.”

Next up we tried the civil hall officiant. She married us officially. Oh yes, we are married already. For over a year. I suppose I can let the cat out of the bag (or have I already?) since we finally told our parents recently too. The logistics of a marriage in Europe are that the legal “real” marriage takes place at city hall. It can actually be a whole wedding ceremony with guests etc. Some people choose to do just this and not have a religious ceremony. Others choose to have the “Civil” wedding, either alone with the two witnesses or with a few close family along, and then have a larger religious wedding. This latter ceremony includes the church wedding, the cocktail hour and the reception dinner. The thing is, no one here can seem to understand why Jon and I want to have a “Second” ceremony if it is not going to be religious, and we have already done the civil.

Well, because the civil marriage is not generally separated from the ceremony in America, I do not feel married yet. Legally I am, and thus I have the visa and permit to live in this country and stay with Jon. However, from my upbringing, a marriage takes place in front of friends and family. There are vows and rings exchanged. Promises are made. It is a witnessed event. Therefore, I am (and nor is he) emotionally married. I literally do not know the date of the civil papers we signed, and I am currently experiencing all the normal cold feet of a woman approaching her first marriage.

But I digress. So, the civil attendant would not preside over a short ceremony in the outdoors because it would be “unethical.” I don’t get this, and I cursed about it for some days. She could legally do it, but she chose not to because she believed it would morally nullify what we did in her office. She also added that it was very strange that we were having an outdoor wedding.

Yes, brides in America, please be aware that you are LUCKY to be able to basically choose the most random of places and then turn them into a location for a (religious or not) wedding. Here it is pretty rare for the ceremony to take place outdoors, and the vendors and officials all seem very confused by it. We were even shocked to discover that the site where we will marry has only been used twice as a marriage!! (I mean, it’s a GEM! And now we get to work out all the kinks with the site because they really only have little experience with wedding arrangements. Sweet. ) Basically people here only do this kind of ceremony if its religious, thus it would be in a church…

So what to do?

The solution came this past week, when we met with a local Protestant pastor who is very open-minded.  Finding her was a little difficult because we originally called a pastor in the village in Jon’s original birth village (Yep, he was born at home). They said we had to call the pastor of our current village, since that is where the “connection would be.” They then said that their pastor was a visitor from another nearby village, and then eventually we tracked her down. She is, as I said, open minded. She has given us a book to read and for us to pick out the readings that we would like, and then she said she will merely “surprise us” with one reading of her own choosing. The only negative side is that she is insisting on a much longer ceremony than I wanted. I was thinking forty minutes max; She says an hour. Also, though I liked her and am very happy that our day will have the formal air everyone expects, I don’t like the feeling that I am not “allowed” to deviate from normal tendencies. It is logistically nearly impossible, and then the people I spoke to about our predicament were very wary of the idea of a creative wedding given by friends and family. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of me in this passage, even if I am happy with the outcome. But I was too nervous to dissapoint people with a “too informal” ceremony, and still am. It isn’t just about pleasing us two, in fact I want my close family and friends to feel a real and deep set of emotions along with us, and if they really feel that wouldn’t happen with a more “creative, mixed ceremony” then for me it’s not worth it.

Oh well. You win some you lose some. On to the next thing!

April 3, 2008

Bad Timing for a Wedding

Posted in About this Blog at 11:46 pm by Jess

The woes of the US Economy don’t just hit the banks and big-shots here in Europe, they also hit the lowly bride-to-be. There’s no way that I could have anticipated the turning of economic events that have taken place this year when Jonathan and I chose the wedding date last summer. Now it seems it is the worst timing.

The disappointing aspect to the situation is that nearly no Americans are coming to the wedding. I am not angry, and as the string of No’s flooded into my inbox or to my mother’s telephone last month I only felt fear and worry. I am fearful for my family, and for everyone suffering as all must be through this low point, and also worried at the prospect of moving to America next year, when this thing might not be over. Certainly I am disappointed. Up until last month 3/4 of those Americans I’d invited has already said no for various reasons – though mostly for money. I was already lamenting the fact that we’d chosen PEAK season for airfare in the worst kind of virgin-tourist decision style. I reminded myself that this was to allow the most important persons to be with me (Interestingly, almost ALL the most importants are involved in school and dictated by summer breaks) and this soothed me some. From then on a group of ten or so Texans were leaning towards coming, and sending promising signs.

A month ago the economy tumbled, and they decided to stay home. I believe the reason I did not cry, or get upset, is because I know they want to be here and it’s out of there hands. It’s really just bad timing for a wedding.

The irritating aspect is that my parents are paying the majority of the wedding bills and as the dollar continues to fall, so does the reach that their dollars have here. Which in turn means that as the dollar falls, the amount that Jon and I need to come up with on our end, in Francs, rises.

Taking all this into account, it is not surprising that I did nothing at all for the wedding during the month of March. I don’t have trial hairstyles to do here, or makeup runs, or dress fittings here. It’s been incredibly stress-free (so far) and to be honest, I forgot it was going on for a few weeks last month. When I did, I felt down that I was not in America where I could be having these appointments, get-togethers, maybe even a bridal shower. I’d be spending evenings browsing magazines over coffee with my friend in Barnes and Nobles, and weekend days in Michaels with my mom, finding craft materials. Here, I tried once to wait for Martha Stewart Weddings incredibly cumbersome site to load, gave up after fifteen minutes and never visited again.

One day, Jon even asked me if I was still happy to have chosen to have the wedding here.

Well, I could answer him honestly yes at the time – when I was probably at my lowest about this thing – and so I know that it was the right choice. I live here; we live here. I am a very DIY, hands-on kind of planner. I could not enjoy something that I had to plan blindly. Besides, Switzerland is, ah-hem, a tad bit prettier than Indiana. I feel absolutely no real connection to Indiana and would have insisted upon a destination wedding somewhere in America we’d never been. I.E. This shin-dig would’ve become very expensive.

Now that it is April things are picking up speed. I suppose the debut of spring has a profound effect on my mood as well, and I’m more motivated to tackle this list of things to do. And what a list it is. What was I thinking not doing anything in March?!? Oh yeah, I work better under pressure…

I am happy to have the wedding here. I am thankful that my close and truly intimate family is coming. My oldest friend is flying in for 36 hours in total. My other best friend is coming for a whole week. Jonathan is currently trying to coax me down from my soap-box about Geneva’s prices and indulge on a manicure here with her. Good thing he started early. My mother, brother, father and mother’s two best friends are coming. These two women are incredibly goofy and lovable and will bring a presence to the wedding that is truly unique. In fact, there is a part of me that really connects with them, and really only comes out when they are around. They take care of my mom too. So, they’re presence is a blessing.

Additionally, and this may sound crass but I’m a pragmatist, the small number of travelers means much less logistical work for me. I can actually visualize all of their flights, train rides, and the weekend flowing. (I do visualize it. I don’t sleep much.) I only get hung up about getting them to the wedding. Details! Seriously, I really just need one person to rent a car, or for Jon’s Aunt to be generous enough to help chauffeur, and to be honest, with the economic situation as it is, I am not inclined to ask travelers to rent a car. This detail I KNOW will work out, so I am not worried.

Finally, as the realization that very few Americans were coming has hit home, I have found myself scratching things off my list of to-do’s. I very much wanted to go the extra mile in crafty projects for this wedding. My mom constantly warns me not to overload myself, and I remind her that as I am not having a Bridal Shower, Bachelorette Party, or Rehearsal Dinner, I really can stand to make a newsletter for the reception toilets. I’ve got the time. Yet, now that it’s just the small group coming I’ve scratched that off the list.

If I sit down and think about the depth of this action, well, I get really confused. This post could get long as I attempt to explain to you, and to myself, where my motivation came from to do all these little crafty touches/matching color schemes (marketing, expectation, pride, the desire to impress?) and where they’ve gone now as a result of not having the audience I anticipated. Why don’t I still want to do these things for the few who come? Why don’t I want to do them for all the Swiss (whom I know nearly all of) coming? I still want to find sexy teal shoes (to no luck), but I’m knocking off the Bathroom Newsletter and a few other things.

I think Switzerland has a lot to do with this. Living here has given me perspective and intimate knowledge of a balanced life. I’ve also discovered the ability to enjoy, without guilt, the pleasures I find in life. Therefore I can actually look at a list of potential wedding crafts, calculate how many weeks are left, and weigh that against my desire to get the camera back out, get out for long walks as spring commences, to make collages, to relearn Italian, to go hiking in Italy, to make actual meals instead of dumping tuna and crackers in a bowl as I narrow my “list” down, and to clean the apartment at a consistent rate. When I do this weighing exercise, life wins out. Imagine that. I don’t think that I would have the same answer in America, at least not me, prior to this experience.

In face of my disappointment about bad-timing, and my subtle irritation about people who do not write me back, and dresses that have not been ordered, I am able to pinpoint with clarity the things that matter. A single card, out of the blue, from a friend in Neuchâtel who I see often enough, showed up in the snail mail to wish us Congratulations. My Dad is learning French. He would never tell me, but his girlfriend does, and he’s even ordered CDs! My mother is reading a self-written poem (hmm, Dad might too, but two poets reading is likely as smart an idea as having two chefs make the meal) and she is currently also taking French class and practicing the poem in French with a tutor. My best friend is learning a special blessing dance to perform for our guests. My other friend is flying here for 36 hours, did I mention? Last but not least, there’s Jon, which is all there really needs to be.

(A clear sky wouldn’t hurt either.)

April 2, 2008

Two European Bridal Events

Posted in Attire at 8:57 pm by Jess

For your calendar if you live in the area, or you’ve got it like that and can flit over :)

french-mag-6.jpg

and much later in Paris,

french-mag-7.jpg

you can visit their website at http://www.mariageaucarrousel.com

Personalized Wedding Candles

Posted in Favors at 8:57 pm by Jess

How about this for a personalized, and appreciated favor: They smell so good, they come from Provence!

Visit Alcante Bougies (That means candles in French)

March 23, 2008

Having a Logo

Posted in DIY Projects at 2:26 pm by Jess

Are you considering having a monogram but cannot decide on one? Are you an artist, or do you and and your fiancé share a love for a specific item (like coffee, chocolate, or in our case, Hawaii)? If so, you might consider having a logo instead of a monogram, to utilize throughout your event. You can use anything that you fancy, but I would stick to the simpler the better. A graphic image is best, for recoloring and for transforming into other medias.

from clipart

It says “Two become One”

 

A logo can be used in the same ways as a monogram, however it is slightly more flexible. A logo can more easily be turned into a rubber stamp, which can then be used on a myriad of surfaces including paper, tablecloth, napkins, and candles.

image from Elizabeth Ann Designs

I recently read this post at Elizabeth Ann Designs blog which goes over the basics of creating or picking a visual graphic. As you can see, she found her logo from a rubber stamp. That is a great idea, because then you already have a stamp that you can use on surfaces when you want, and you only need to make it digital.

For Jon and I, a monogram was not interesting, or personal enough. And, it seemed a bit formal for the mood we are creating. Instead we leafed through some of my old doodles until we found one that struck us. We loved this one because it reminded us both of Hawaii (it was drawn on a plane leaving it), which is extremely important to the story of us. We both share a deep love for that place, and even if there is absolutely no Hawaiian element or theme to our day, this is a personal touch that invokes it just enough. Maybe no one else knows, although hopefully they think the design is pretty, but we know. And if someone asks we have quite the story to tell. :)

This is our logo:

square_card_flower.jpg

Using Adobe Illustrator we changed the color to a version of Teal. Then, we have slowly begun incorporating the logo into our wedding details.

menu-cards-1.jpg

on menu cards

invitations-5.jpg

on invitations

Now all you need to do is pick an image, and get creative! You do not need to use this image on absolutely every surface and in every project, but in a few key places, people will notice and you can add this personal touch.

March 19, 2008

Three New Ideas Meme

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:49 pm by Jess

Can I tell you that this meme has kind of freaked me out? I’ve seen it going around other blogs for two weeks now, therefore I am certain it’s nearly impossible to complete this meme without repeating, or unknowingly copying someone, but I’ll try. Thanks to Southern Fancy for my first wedding blog meme. Check hers out too! I am not sure what constitutes a local attraction here, because just about EVERYTHING does to me. As long as there is water and mountains in the scene, it’s a local attraction. I am going to compile goodie bags of local treats in May and I cannot wait to show them to you, since they will be filled with European goodness. I am going to to a trial run, a.k.a. Birthday Splurge next week at the upscale grocery. I am more excited about this than a new purse.

That’s a lie.

Alright, The Rules:

  • List your top three new favorite wedding ideas
  • Link back to the post of the person who tagged you – this will create a continuous stream of posts that readers can follow
  • Tag a new person and share the rules.

Alors, on y va?

1: I already wrote about moving websites on this post and I think this is definitely a new idea. Websites and blogs are getting better and better and the newest, best websites integrate sound, sight and feeling to wow their audiences. Entering these websites is like going to a super short chick flick! HA!

2: Registering for tableware that has spunk. On the one hand I love having solid white dishes, the better to show up the food. However, today’s young-at-heart, creative couples also want to add a little more personality to the table, and to their registry, and funky plates are just the thing.

Porcelain and Paper at Etsy

ANYTHING that grabs your eye on Toast and Table, I particularly liked this set though.

Jessica Rust (who has a new wedding registry feature)

3: The last new idea is a design idea: Feathers!

How amazing! This feather cake is made by Cakes4Fun in the U.K. “The cake is then finished with a wonderful ‘feather effect’ that is created from rice paper. We then dust the cake with sparkling edible glitter to complete the stunning effect or can colour the tips of your cake to achieve a totally different finish!”

A Feather Fascinator by BD Designs

A feather lamp found at by Moss. I want one for my bedroom anyway. I doubt anyone can afford to buy this sucker, but a crafty DIY bride could pull it off with artificial feathers!

Eh Voila! Those are my three ideas. And now, I cordially tag…A Little of This, ALittle of That

March 17, 2008

The most MOVING Wedding Websites

Posted in Linkaliscious (just another excuse to list)! at 2:45 pm by Jess

We are inundated with wedding websites are we not? So inevitably when I click a new link, just as that new tab is opening and I see the first nanosecond of content, I wonder to myself, “Is this going to surprise me?”

I guess I should clarify: Many websites impress me, but rarely surprise, and ultimately MOVE me. Often when I open up a website I lean forward immediately and set to clicking. I click to a new link within the first two seconds, and if I don’t like what I see there, well I give it one or two more clicks to new pages or archives and then click that X. Sometimes the website impresses me and I file it into my bookmarks, but I still feel I am clicking along the same routine.

Then every so often I hit upon a website that makes me lean back in my chair and my arm goes still. Instead of clicking I just watch, listen and I actually honest to goodness feel moved. I sit there and stare, mesmerized at the photos, taking in the music, and to be perfectly honest (I blame the period that started the next morning) while watching one of these websites one evening I actually started to cry and cried for a few minutes browsing through the photos!! Geez…

So here is a small list of websites that I feel have done an exceptional job at design, message and feeling. They actually moved the viewer to FEEL something, and hey, that is what the wedding is all about: Feelings. ( One of them I happen to keep as one of my multiple “homepage(s)” this week so that I can jam to the music!) So go ahead, click on the link (the Website, not the blog) and enjoy!

317 Photography and Blog

Amorology and Blog Coming Soon

StudioStems and Blog

Olivia Leigh and Blog

Cotton Birds Cake Topper

Posted in Cakes, Centerpieces and Reception Decor at 1:57 pm by Jess

Cotton Bird Designs at Etsy!
I think these would make great cake toppers, and you would also be supporting the handmade scene. This artist is really talented. I wonder if the artist would consider custom making birds in a specific color of pattern, to match a couple’s theme?  The little legs are so cute, and the best part is that this cake topper would then become a decorative piece in your home afterwards, without looking like too wedding-cake-topperish. Know what I mean?

March 14, 2008

A Candy-Apple Wedding

Posted in Inspiration Boards at 11:42 pm by Jess

Today I have made a board for Megan, who will be holding her wedding on a Tuesday! I think that this decision caused her and her fiancé some concern and stress, but in the end they have decided to stick with a date that is meaningful to the couple. In her words her wedding will be Simple and Elegant. I don’t see why one would need any more words than that to have a really beautiful and meaningful day.

megan-apple-red.jpg

Megan’s main color is bright apple red along with classic white. Her fiancé is an outdoorsy type. They live in Tennessee, and I am sure that they will be able to find a way to incorporate that state’s natural beauty into the day. Perhaps the rehearsal dinner could be a casual picnic with good TN fare, somewhere with a beautiful view. On red and white picnic blankets, of course! ;)

I love this Bicycle cake topper for the outdoorsy couple, as well as a rustic looking table number card. These Thank You cards are extremely simple in feeling, with a professional-rustic quality to them.

Escort Cards could also be done with minimalism – gilding the edges in red like shown in this photo, but I would also suggest that Megan and her fiancé take the time to write out a personal message to each guest as a way to add a personal and meaningful touch as they walk through the door.

A white Ikea candle (here is one for 2.25!) can be a simple but eye-catching centerpiece, like shown in this photo on the board, surrounded by red rose petals. Alternatively, one could have a mixture of sizes of white candles and scatter petals down the center of the table as a “runner.”

I also thought that it would be a great budget-friendly idea to use this Candle Carver I noticed on Brooklyn Bride, and line up bright red apples down the center of the table with small tea lamps lit inside.

Megan really wants a three tier round cake and this one is smashing. If she doesn’t go the way of a wedding cake, I would suggest serving seasonal red berries with ricotta or marscapone in a small glass cup. Strawberries are also in high season and could be offered along with Angel Food Cake and whip cream in Buffet Style. Wouldn’t that be cool – A Strawberry Shortcake Buffet?!

 

What about one chocolate covered strawberry, (or more :) ) on each plate as a small seasonal favor. If she had the time, she and the fiancé could spend a Saturday afternoon out picking strawberries about a month before the wedding, and then make a simple jam from this at home (it just takes sugar and berries and about a half hour), then pour a small portion into as many tiny jars as there are guests, and give this as a favor. I actually am considering doing this for my own wedding for sure!

In terms of flowers, Megan knows what she wants. No Gerber Daisies, just elegant red roses. She might consider having a mixed red and white rose bouquet, or using white baby’s breath for a traditional looking bouquet.

Like Southern Fancy recently mentioned, colored shoes are thought of as a personal and more exciting touch to the day’s wardrobe. I like this simple but sexy pair.

I hope this helps Megan! I love thinking of Tennesse, where my father’s family is, and I know you will have a beautiful day. I get married just 4 days after her…WHOA!! :)

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