Catching Up

Hey, how lame is it when people go "sorry I haven't posted, I've been busy"? Yeah, that's pretty lame, right? The thing is, I have been busy; I've been so insanely busy that yesterday I didn't even make the bed, and if you know me at all, you know I'm the kind of person who, even if the bed has been unmade all day, MAKES IT IN THE EVENING BEFORE SHE GETS BACK INTO IT TO SLEEP. Yep, that's the kind of crazy, uptight, Type A freak person I am. And yet yesterday I didn't make the bed at all. Sean came home from work and said "wow, I can't believe I'm going to marry a person who doesn't make the bed."

Oh yeah, that. I'm getting married. Did you forget about that? I kind of did, or rather I didn't exactly forget about it---I'm now the proud owner of three wedding magazines, plus Emily Post's Guide to Wedding Etiquette, a fat tome that I page through obsessively for a few minutes a day, SO WORRIED AM I THAT I HAVE NOT ANNOUNCED MY ENGAGEMENT PROPERLY, THE HORROR!---but rather that I sort of haven't had a second to think about it. With my mum and sister arriving two days after we got back from London---and all the hijinks that ensued while they were here---my wedding planning hasn't really got off the ground. I mean, don't get me wrong, I totally know what flowers I want in my bouquet (white peonies, tulips, and hydrangeas) and what song I want to dance to with my dad---Turn, Turn, Turn by the Byrds (alright with that, Dad?)---but as for a location? Ha! A date? Ha! We know exactly what we want, but those two major things hinge on some very complicated....complications, you see, and without them as my backbone, I'm not really sure where to start.

My wise friend Alison advised me to think about the things I can think about now---my dress, for example, because lord knows, I love a good dress---but I started trying to research that yesterday and almost had a panic attack at how overwhelming it all was. I mean, I like this? I think? But without the brooch? Maybe? Do I have to try this stuff on? Because eh, right now all I feel like doing is sitting here on this couch, stuffing myself with the Cadburys I brought back from England, and reading what Emily Post has to say about engraved invitations versus letterpressed ones.

(By the way, has anyone ever bought their wedding dress on Craigslist? I'm so used to looking for everything on Craigslist---I found both my job and my apartment there, as well as my super awesome 1950s turquoise typewriter for $15---that I figured I'd try it for dresses. And it was.....well, it was not very successful, although it would have been way more successful if I'd been looking for an 80s-era prom dress with a synthetic lace Peter Pan collar, that's for sure. Next up: eBay, where I feel certain that I will pass out from some sort of stress-induced exhaustion after trying to figure out whether I can trust a certain seller's feedback, but hey, it's worth a try, right?)

One thing I am obsessed with right now is making my fingernails look nice. Trust me, I can count---on the fingers of one (non-manicured) hand---the number of times I've had a manicure in my life, and yet lately my favorite pastime is getting out the nail file and the Wet n' Wild Mega Last in Lost Love (wow that doesn't bode well, come to think of it, but it's a lovely super-pale pink) and shaping and filing and varnishing my nails to within an inch of their lives, the better to show off my pretty ring. Anyone need their back scratched? A can opened? Because I'm here for you, man. I've got the goods.

If I sound like I'm a little laissez-faire on the idea of wedding planning, by the way, I assure you I'm not. But I've spent ten years collecting ideas for other people's weddings---first interning here, then working here, then writing this--and I suppose that now I'm just sort of frozen at the idea of organizing my own. I don't want to spend a whole lot of money but I do want it to be lovely and fun and laid-back, and since I am not really a laid-back kind of person myself, this is proving a tad problematic. Probably I should just read some more Emily Post.

In other news, it is pissing it down outside right now---cats and dogs, I tell you---which means that a) I finally got to wear my tartan wellies to brunch this morning for, like, the second time this year, and b) since I had nothing better to do, I actually got around to uploading all of my Rome pictures. Now I just have seven thousand of London, four thousand of the English wedding we went to, and two thousand of my mum and Susie's trip to San Francisco to deal with, so I'm thinking they should be on Flickr sometime around 2012. Which, coincidentally, is probably about the same time I'll get around to researching florists and caterers.


PS: If you've ever wondered how to prepare for a trip, I have a guest post up at Amalah's Advice Smackdown dealing with exactly that. Basically, the gist of it is Be A Little Neurotic. Like you're surprised.

Nov 01, 2008

Oh, god, the stress of wedding planning. I told myself I would stay calm and I totally did through most of it, but about three days before the big event, I totally flipped out (that included forgetting it was my dear husband-to-be's birthday and then sobbing because I had forgotten it). I don't envy you that time at all.

And, yes, you have to try on dresses. I hated dress shopping. It was awful. I was called fat, unreasonable, and picky (well, it was my wedding dress) and did not like the process at all. But my dress! My dress! I loved! I loved so much!

It was exactly the opposite of the dress I thought I wanted. I had printed out pictures of this other dress, but when I put the other dress on my body, I looked square. And boring. And when I put my dress on, I looked wonderful and felt wonderful.

Please try on a dress before you buy one. That's all.

Nov 01, 2008

That dress is GAWJUS! And yes, unfortunately, you do have to try them on. I avoided a lot of the poopooshishi boutiques because it's just not my style (ended up buying the dress I loved off the rack) but I was totally surprised by the types of dresses that looked good despite how I felt about the style in pictures or on the hanger. Take a good friend or two and it can be fun! Like the right guy, when you find the right dress, you just know.

Also, I'm a control freak and couldn't give up any of the planning to anyone else, but I did "hire" a friend to play coordinator on the big day. That way she was the one freaking out when the cake lady was late and stuff like that (I didn't know a thing about it until after the honeymoon). I was still a little stressy, and anxious until the ceremony was over, but it was easily the best day of the whole process. =)

Nov 01, 2008

You might want to look up "Maggie Sottero" for dresses. They are all so beautiful, but might be a little much for your taste? Either way, check them out!

Good luck with planning, I'm sure it'll all come together wonderfully :)

Camels & Chocolate
Nov 01, 2008

I've never been much of a Craigslist girl, but another of my SF friends got engaged right before you and Sean, and she went out and bought her wedding ring on CL! I thought that was a bit weird, but she got a brand new $5,000 ring for half price, because the couple split before tying the knot. Dresses, maybe not so much...

Nov 01, 2008

When you go dress shopping, make sure you bring/wear a strapless bra because when I went dress shopping w/ one of my friends, she didn't and they let her borrow one. Sounds okay until they bring in a graying, gross, obviously-borrowed-a-lot-bra. This was even at an upscale place... So, there you go. My little tip for the day.
House of Jules

Nov 01, 2008

I *almost* bought my reception gown on Craigslist. Went to the woman's house to try it on and everything (which was not as weird as I thought it would be). But then I went to a Judd Waddell sample sale and HELLO! Found my dress, and got it at a big discount. If you don't mind some smudges on the underneath of your dress's lining (where it brushes the floor), go to the nicer boutiques and check out their sample sales. I found quite a few candidates that way.

Nov 01, 2008

Oh yes you totally have to try on the dress. Especially because the sizing on wedding dresses is so silly. They tend to be big in the chest area I noticed which is fine if you have a chest which I don't really, so that was fun. But every place will have a great tailor who can fix just about everything, including adding boobs in the bra (I love my wedding pics for that reason alone, cleavage!).

Take some friends and have a ball, my dress ended up being picked out by a friend, I never would have looked twice at it, and ended up being the one.

Nov 01, 2008

I got my wedding dress on ebay, and I was so pleased with it! I tried on several dresses at David's Bridal and a couple of boutiques, but didn't find what I wanted. The trying-on process helped me, though, to figure out exactly what I wanted, and then when I saw the one on ebay, I couldn't stop looking at it. And I only had to get it hemmed, not seriously altered. Of course, at ebay prices, a dress plus alterations can still be a lot cheaper than buying one from the store. Good luck!

Nov 01, 2008

I bought the coat I'm wearing over my wedding dress on Craigslist. I couldn't find anything suitable for an outdoor wedding in 40-degrees-ish cold at the bridal salons in LA. Since I'm getting married in Wales, I NEEDED something warm. I found exactly what I wanted on Craigslist in Utah . . . the seller was my exact size and agreed to ship the coat to me. I'm having the style of it heavily altered, but the size was perfect from the start and the seller was great, so it was an easy transaction. It is all about the seller, and I got lucky, but I don't think there'd be anything at all wrong with at least looking on Craigslist!

Nov 01, 2008

Oh, yes, I agree. You MUST try on wedding dresses. It's fun at first, until you keep trying on things that look great on the hanger and not-so-great on you.. but like others have said, it will help you narrow down what you really want. And definitely try on dresses that don't "strike" you right away. Mine was so-so until I put it on and Ouila! Perfect! Have fun!

Nov 01, 2008

I don't know anything about wedding dresses (seriously. we eloped.) but my friend Lisa bought hers on ebay for some outrageously cheap amount. She even bought a couple of dresses because when they're less than $20, who cares if it's not quite right, you can just sell it again!

Nov 01, 2008

If I don't make the bed in the morning, I too make the bed at night right before I get in it. Sometimes my husband is already in bed and I make it around him. Yup- I do that. He thinks I'm a nut, and loves me anyway.

Wedding dresses- look until you decide what style you like best- then try on.

Nov 01, 2008

I loved planning my wedding. The hardest part was not being able to use EVERY SINGLE IDEA I came up with. I could have planned four different weddings and loved each one of them. Ultimately, I loved our wedding (down to the Simpsons cake toppers) and wouldn't change it, but I had so much fun planning. I wouldn't be surprised if you found the same challenge planning yours. :)

Nov 01, 2008

My friend got her wedding dress on eBay from one of the Chinese tailors on there. She sent him a picture, he made it, and she saved literally thousands of dollars. Her dress was so crazily budget friendly, but it looked like a million bucks.

I've gotten cheap dresses from tailors abroad on eBay as well, and have had good luck. The bright yellow horrific high school reunion dress (the creepy woods picture--hopefully you remember) I bought for $25 from a tailor was purposely ugly, but it fit like a dream!

It seems like the sort of thing that would be hit or miss, and I would plan for some extra alterations, but if it works, you'll get just what you want and save a ton.

Nov 01, 2008

I also got my wedding dress on Ebay. I tried on some dresses at a few different shops for fun and fit, but like the previous commenter, I saw my dress on Ebay and couldn't get it out of my head. I went back and forth with the seller a few times to determine the right sizing (it was a lace-up corset back, so a little wiggle room there) and when I got it, it fit perfectly and only needed a hem and a hook to hold the train up for dancing.

My wedding was so much fun, and my only piece of advice for you is to go ahead and obsess as much as you want about your wedding right on up until the day before, but at that point, just let go. Let someone else (Mom, sibling, maid-of-honor, location coordinator, etc.) deal with any issue that arises on your wedding day and listen to your vows, taste your fabulous dinner and delicious cake, and make out with your brand new husband on the dance floor. Because it's a day you'll want to remember for how wonderful it was, not for every little detail that maybe wasn't as perfect as your perfect, perfect plan. It will be perfect even if it's not. Congratulations.

Nov 01, 2008

No worries on the photo uploading...Its taken to 6 months to post half of the photos from my last 2 month trip!

Nov 01, 2008

Have you ever seen Jenny Packham dresses? Hers are simple shapes, with gorgeous details that make them look vintage-y. I'm getting married next spring in one of her dresses and I swear every time I put it on I feel like I'm in the Great Gatsby. I will warn you that they are exceedingly pricey - I spent twice what I wanted to - but you can find sample sales (I bought mine for 30% off, which of course helped me justify the extra expense - I cannot resist a DEAL). You can also search for used dresses online - lots of online bridal stores have 'sample' sections that are great if you know just which dress you want. Good luck - and a belated congratulations on the engagement!! I got engaged two months ago and SO know what you mean about the bridal magazines (it's so surreal that I buy these now!) and the wedding planning process (overwhelming, even for a compulsive list-maker). Best wishes to you both!

Rebecca faulkner
Nov 01, 2008

Get a custom made dress! I live in the East Bay and have a faaabulous dressmaker here- a wee little italian lady who specializes in replicating couture gowns! She did my Audrey Hepburn/Funny Face style 1950's wedding gown. Oh, and she made the bridesmaid dresses that were copies of some super expensive ones from J.Crew. Cost me next to nothing. Email me if you would like her info! Also, go to Etsy for all your wedding accoutrements!

Nov 02, 2008

Hire a wedding planner. STAT!

Nov 02, 2008

I have two unsolicited tips for you:

One: bring your own strapless bra to fittings; one you think you will be wearing. If you are going to wear a corset, wear it when you try on the dresses. It makes a HUGE difference.

Two: If you decide on a strapless dress, or are somehow talked into one (as I was,) I beseech you, get the little optional straps that can be clipped in later. You do not know terror until you are mid-way through your first dance as a husband and wife when you realize that the strapless dress you had custom fitted to you has become loose during all the dancing and has now started slipping down; your bosoms are about to make an appearance in front of your entire family and friends and your now husband has to hold your dress up for you for the remainder of the dance.

Nov 02, 2008

I think someone needs to develop a web site called You'd type in some pertinent details - name, age, height, star sign - and press submit, and then one perfect wedding dress would appear on the page. In exactly your size and color. Dress, tailoring, pressing, and delivery - for $69.95.

Nov 02, 2008

Yep, you definitely have to try them on - shortly after I got engaged, I found a dress I had been coveting on super-sale at a store that was going out of business. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven, and then I tried it on and...meh. The one I ended up buying was probably something that wouldn't have caught my eye in a magazine, but it looked and felt gorgeous on. Oh also, if you haven't checked out Pearl's Place yet, it's worth a look ( - it's a bridal store in Louisiana that somehow is able to offer pretty substantial discounts on dresses that are ordered through the mail.

Nov 02, 2008

So, I just got married and I have a GORGEOUS dress I need to unload on someone. It may or may not be your style, but if you want, I can email you a picture of it...Let me know

Anne in SC
Nov 02, 2008

You have to go try on dresses! Plan on taking all day, and take only one or two of your girlfriends who will be honest with you. (Too many and it's like too many chef's in the kitchen). At some point, take a break - get lunch, have a cocktail and then return to try on the favorites. They look totally different on than on the hangers. Once you've found the one you like, only THEN should you begin looking on Craig's list or eBay if that's the route you want to take. Otherwise you may order one you think you like, get it, hate it, have to by another, and then find you've spent more than if you just started at the dress shop. Not too mention sizing - and then altering if you get it wrong - but almost all dresses have to have something done so don't worry about that.

Good luck to you. And remember to have fun. After it's all done if you didn't, you'll wish you had.

Anne in SC
Nov 02, 2008

Oh, I also do the make up the bed thing before you get back in - otherwise the sheets feel nasty, all wrinkled and stuff.

Nov 02, 2008

If it makes you feel better, I've been engaged for over a year now and you've already done about 10 times as much as me in the planning department. I think I thought about buying a wedding magazine once...that's about as far as I've gotten. So, seems like you're already on the right track. Good luck!

Nov 02, 2008

Don't bother looking at dresses until you've decided on the when and where. The type of dress you choose will be highly dependent upon your venue. You don't know how many dresses I've seen for sale on eBay and Craigslist because the bride bought a different one after they chose the venue - too formal, not formal enough, too heavy for outdoors, etc.

Nov 02, 2008

I am so glad that I eloped. However, I did make sure that I got my dress because come hell or high water, eloping or not, I was damned determined to have a beautiful wedding dress. I found my dress at a bridal shop. It happened to be a discontinued model, the only one they had, in my size, hanging in the back room. Which convinced me that every woman finds the right dress! So will you and I know you'll look so stunning in it!

Nov 02, 2008

P.S. I forgot to mention that I went to Trudy's in Campbell. I think they have an online store too! :-)

Nov 02, 2008

Unfortunately, you DO have to try on the dresses. I hated the whole dress-trying-on process, but it had to be done. Within the first 5 dresses I tried on, I realized that a.) the style dress I had been wanting for YEARS looked HORRIBLE on me, and b.) the style of dress (drop-waist) that I loved, but was SURE would never work for my body (short, not much waist to speak of, wide booty), was actually the ONLY style that really suited me and made me look good. And I would never, ever have tried on that style if the consultant helping me hadn't insisted. Trust the consultants - they know what they're doing. And hey, it only takes a few minutes to just try a dress on, no matter how much you think you hate it on the hanger!

Also, if you are dead set on having peonies and tulips in your bouquet, then you're going to want to pick a wedding date in late spring/early summer (May or June)... I have my heart set on peonies, tulips, and ranunculus - and just found out, as I started meeting with florists, that peonies and tulips are DONE by the middle/end of June. And my wedding is mid-July. Of course, I can certainly GET peonies - for $12 A STEM. Uhhh, yeah.

Anyways, best of luck with the planning! It's exhausting, but SO FUN :)

Operation Pink Herring
Nov 02, 2008

You have to try on a few dresses, but after you figure out what you wedding dress size is (it's different than your regular dress size! four sizes bigger, for me... where's vanity sizing when you need it?) you can totally start scouring CL and Ebay. also had a ton of dresses (Just don't buy the one I have my eye on)!

Nov 03, 2008

Holly, a good friend of mine DID buy her wedding dress on Ebay, and it worked out really well. She went around and did the typical wedding-dress-trying-on routine at a bunch of fancy boutiques til she had a good idea of what style she was looking for, the buzzwords (beading!duponi silk! and, uh, since it wasn't me, I don't actually know any, but you get my drift), and what designers she liked and thought were high-quality. So then she was able to shop Ebay knowing what she wanted. So her dress was a store try-on version, and it was a little too big and needed to be cleaned, but she had it altered and dry-cleaned, and for about $200 she had a very lovely and (formerly)expensive dress. So I totally recommend it!

Nov 03, 2008

Holly, you've probably gotten loads of recommendations on wedding blogs to peruse, but I highly recommend It is really lovely, provides some good inspiration (not you're lacking in that). I say let the place dictate the date (or at least that's how I approached it).

Best of Luck!

Nov 03, 2008

Someone I know bought their wedding dress on ebay and it was a disaster -- it was not the quality advertised at all -- more like that of a Halloween costume, not a wedding gown.

Good luck with all your planning!

I have been engaged for almost two years and we still haven't planned everything -- granted there are money, school, family and legality issues with us, but don't feel bad about a month without any solid plans!

Nov 03, 2008

The bride whose wedding we went to about three weeks ago bought her dress online (eBay or Craigslist, I can't remember), and it was awesome. Also, it had been worn by several brides from all around the world, so it came with a great story as well. If it were me, having a dress that had already been used by a bunch of girls before me would also make it easier to get rid of, which would be a major plus considering I keep EVERYTHING (and for no good reason).

Nov 03, 2008

OR: you can just go to Vegas. It totally worked for me. And lest you think we have nothing in common, you should know I have those same wellies. And feel equally ecstatic any chance I get to wear them.

Nov 04, 2008

Yes, once you know the style and approximate size, DEFINITELY look at Craigslist. Also, the message boards on indiebride are an AMAZING resource for everything having to do with wedding planning. Go to and then click kvetch. Once you pick a location and a date, there are relevant threads for vendors, general bithcing, buying/swapping/selling stuff, DIY alternatives and amazing inspiriation from real people not trying to sell you stuff. There are great bay area and sf threads (but there are people from every metro area and many other countries, plenty of UK brides).Lots of indiebrides get their dresses via craigslist or ebay, but yes, some of them do end up selling the first thing they find and trying again.
If you can't find something off the rack you like, I highly recommend finiding a dressmaker to custom make something for you - it will be cheaper than a bridal salon which charges up the wazoo.
P.S. Hooray for you!
P.P.S. is also a good site.

Nov 04, 2008

Ugh, wedding planning has totally gotten me stressed out as well. It's so HARD. Also, I totally looked on craigslist today, and you really might find a gem if you keep looking. You have quite a while don't you?