Saturday, March 31, 2012

Crisis Averted

Remember the whole kerfuffle about not being able to use our friends and family as musicians at our wedding? Well, crisis averted! We got special permission from the Cardinal's office to use whoever we want as our musicians. Hooray! I can't wait for our guests to hear all of our talented friends and family members!

Friday, March 30, 2012

If I had 640 million dollars...

If I win the Mega Millions jackpot tonight, I'm going to buy lots of awesome things for the wedding, including:

These Harry Winston earrings

 An around-the-world honeymoon on a private jet

A wedding dinner catered by Grant Achatz

 Dom Perignon for our Champagne toast

A Rolex as a wedding gift for Adam

I bought one ticket, so my odds of winning are approximately one in 175,711,536. But, hey, someone's got to win! What would you buy with your millions?

I'm as free as my hair.

I am terrible with my hair. It's fine and pin-straight, which means it doesn't hold much of a style. I definitely want to wear it up for my wedding because a) it won't hold curl for an entire day, and b) I just don't want to mess with it. Here's some inspiration.
Olivia Leigh Photographie
Martha Stewart Weddings
Glamour Magazine
Speaking of hair, if anyone has any stylist recommendations in the River North/Gold Coast area, send 'em my way. I get my hair cut by cosmetology students, so I don't have a regular stylist.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not-So-Beautiful Music

Back in August when Adam and I booked Saint James Chapel for our ceremony, we asked the wedding coordinator if, instead of using the provided musicians, we could have our friends do the music. Specifically, we wanted my good friend (and professional pianist) Nicholas to play piano and organ for the whole Mass.

The coordinator checked with the music department and said that wouldn't be a problem. Yay!

Fast forward to a few days ago: I emailed the music department because we want to start planning our ceremony. I said I just wanted to make sure it was still OK to have Nicholas play. I received an email in return saying that their policy is that no outside musicians are allowed to play with the exception of a soloist for one song. I spoke with one of musicians to no avail. Rules are rules, he said. I spoke with the chapel's wedding coordinator, and she said that she can speak with someone at the Cardinal's office to see if they'll waive the rule for us. In the mean time, I'm going to try to convince the music director to let us have our way.

I grew up singing in church with my family, and going to weddings with my parents while they sang for other people's celebrations. Adam and I have talented friends and family members whose talents we would like to use to make our celebration very personal for us. I will be so sad if all these talented people end up sitting in the pews on our wedding day instead of using their gifts to help us begin our marriage. Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Marriage a Luxury Good?

 I recently read an article in the New York Times that stated more than half of births to American women under 30 happen outside of marriage. I thought that maybe this trend indicated that more Americans are viewing marriage as a choice, not a mandatory motion to go through to have a child. But when I got deeper into the statistics, I found that this was untrue. "About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with some post-secondary schooling and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less" Furthermore, statistics that show college-educated women get divorced less often than their less-educated counterparts. So not only is getting married a luxury good, staying married is as well.

So why aren't women getting married anymore? It appears that women's views on marriage have changed. Certainly the stigma of single motherhood has significantly decreased. Another reason is that women have increased earning power and don't need a husband to support them and their children.

But there's another interesting answer. A different New York Times piece cited a new book concluding "low-income women [see] marriage not as the beginning of their lives, but as the payoff." Women are choosing to wait to get married until "they had put together enough resources to have a nice wedding." Of course, they are also waiting to find a man who is also settled and stable enough to be a good husband, but this focus on the wedding bothers me because it doesn't take a big, expensive wedding to get married. All it takes is a trip to the courthouse and - here in Cook County - $60. During Adam's and my "pre-engagement" period, I thought a lot about this. I knew I wanted a big, traditional wedding, and that it was likely we would have one, but I forced myself to strip all of that away and think about the courthouse. If all we did was go to the courthouse and sign a piece of paper, would I still want to marry Adam? The answer was yes, because a marriage is so much more than a wedding.

Marriage is a valuable social institution. It's so valuable that millions of Americans are fighting to gain access to it. Marriage helps you live longer, make more money, and gives your kids a better, more stable life. It's unfortunate that fewer people are receiving these benefits because they think they can't afford a wedding.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Obedience Training
Now that a lot of the reception is taken care of, Adam and I have turned to our planning of the ceremony. Adam and I are Catholic and are having a full Catholic wedding. The best place to start when planning a Catholic wedding is to pick the readings because the readings tend to guide the songs you pick. We got a book from my uncle, our priest, with many common readings. As we read through them, we realized a common theme: submissive wives. One reading states, "As the Church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything."

This did not sit well with me. I consider myself to be a feminist, and while Adam might choose a different word, he also believes that marriage is an equal partnership. Clearly, we will not be choosing this reading for our wedding.

And, no, I will not be vowing to "love, honor and obey" Adam. He's welcome to take that vow if he wants to, though.

Are there any Catholics out there with suggestions for readings (particularly from the Old Testament) that won't offend the feminist in me?

Monday, March 26, 2012

Roll Call

You know the guest book, right? The satin-covered book with lined pages and a matching pen?
Well, those are out. Nowadays, everyone has fun, nontraditional guest books. And I totally get it. There's nothing fun about a list of names in a fancy book that'll just get tucked in a box somewhere. Pandora's box has been opened, and now we have about a million options.

Wedding Bee
There's the Polaroid guest book, which would be a lot easier if Polaroid hadn't gone and discontinued their instant film. You can still get instant cameras and film, but they're rather pricey.

Style Me Pretty
We could have everyone sign bottles of wine to be opened on different anniversaries. This could be perfect for us because we're big wine people.

Martha Stewart Weddings
Then there's this gorgeous thing from Martha Stewart. I love the bright colors and the idea of opening letters from all your friends and family. Plus, it'd give me an excuse to go to Paper Source.

StarDust Celebrations
As a nod to the creation of a new branch of the family tree, a popular choice in indie weddings is the thumbprint wedding tree guest book.

Wedding Bee
My cousin and her husband did this at their wedding several years ago, and it's hanging in their house. I love that because they see it everyday, unlike a lot of these.

There are so many choices! What's your favorite guest book idea?

Friday, March 23, 2012

I'm a Bee!

Perhaps you've heard of It's a wedding website featuring blogs from 20+ brides...including me!!! That's right! I'm a Bee! I'm very excited to share this blog with the world. And it'll be a pretty big chunk of the world, too, because Weddingbee generates over 16 million pageviews per month.

You'll be able to follow my blogs on Weddingbee under the nickname Miss Treasure.

As for this blog, you shouldn't notice any changes. All of the posts that will be running on Weddingbee for the next few weeks will look very familiar to you because they're pulled from the archives of this blog (tweaked a bit for anonymity and timeliness). You guys will be total Weddingbee hipsters.

Thank you so much for reading my blog these last few months. I've had a blast with it, and I can't wait to see where else it takes me!

Miss Treasure

Happy Hunger Games!

After devouring the books a few weeks ago, I'm so so so excited to see Katniss and Company on screen today! Who else is going?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wide-Angle Lens

I recently found this picture online, and decided that it's a must-have for our ceremony. / Photo by ZR Weddings
Isn't it gorgeous?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Football and Weddings

This recent New York Times article discussed the difficulty of scheduling a wedding around college football. I've already discussed how Adam and I scheduled our wedding around Notre Dame's football schedule, but football has impacted our wedding in other ways, too. We'll be cutting our honeymoon short a few days so we can be back in Chicago to watch the Irish take on Miami at Soldier Field the Saturday after our wedding.

Notre Dame football was important, but we had to consider another team's schedule because my brother Christopher plays football at DePauw University.
Next year will be his senior year, so we wanted to schedule our wedding on a weekend where he wouldn't have a game. But DePauw changed conferences this year, so the schedule wasn't set when we got engaged. In fact, their schedule just came out last week, and unfortunately, he'll have to miss a game to attend our wedding. Sorry, Toph! At least it's not their big rivalry game.

And then there's high school football. My youngest brother, Joey, plays football at Bishop Luers High School, and he'll have to miss his game on the Friday night before our wedding. He'll be a sophomore next year, so I feel less bad that he has to miss the game considering he probably won't be a starter. It's still a bummer, though.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guilty Verdict
We're not exactly having a low-budget wedding. Most weddings are expensive, and things cost even more in the city. I haven't felt much guilt about the amount of money we're spending on our wedding until very recently. I think it's because we've booked all the things that are the most important to us, like the venues, photography, catering, and music. Now, we're moving onto things that are less important, like flowers and transportation to shuttle us to different picture-taking locations, which makes writing those checks more painful. It's not like we're even going over-budget on these items; I just don't care enough about them to even pay for them at all! Why do we need a trolley when we can hail cabs or take the el? Pictures on the el would be awesome! Why do we need a florist when Whole Foods flowers look just as pretty? Every dollar we spend on fancy flowers could've been spent on another hour of photography or not spent at all. And don't even get me started on the guilt I feel for making other people spend money to attend and/or be in our wedding.

Did anybody else feel any wedding-related guilt? Any tips on how to get over it (other than just scratching everything and eloping)?

Monday, March 19, 2012

Playing dress-up with diamonds

A few weeks ago, I had problems with my laptop, so I took it to the Apple Store to get it fixed. While the Geniuses fixed it, I had some time to kill. I figured I might as well get my ring cleaned, so I walked across to the street to the jeweler where Adam bought my engagement ring.

While my ring was cleaned, I perused the selection of wedding bands. Roberto, the salesman Adam worked with to buy my engagement ring, pulled a few out and let me try them on.

I tried on this ring. I loved how thin and delicate it was, but I didn't like the way the diamonds looked. They were almost too sparkly next to the understated Asscher cut center stone in my engagement ring.
Then I tried on this ring. I liked how the baguettes complemented the baguette side stones in my engagement ring, but I didn't like that the center diamond was bigger than the others. My engagement ring's setting is such that no wedding band will sit flush to it. I'll have a gap between my engagement ring and wedding band (unless I get a specially made contoured band, which I don't want). If I wore this ring, it would constantly turn and look off-center because I can't solder the two together. This ring made me realize that I want an eternity band.
This was the last ring I tried on, and I loved it. Even though it was a bit too blingy for my taste, I loved that it was traditional yet modern and that it complemented my engagement ring without upstaging it.

The wedding ring hunt is just beginning, but it's good to know what I like and dislike. I'm excited to find the perfect ring!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit!

Something that a lot of people know about me is that I am of Irish descent. Something that not a lot of people know about me is that I studied abroad for a year in Ireland, minored in Irish Studies in college, and speak a bit of Irish. Clearly, Saint Patrick's Day* is my favorite holiday.

Today, like every year, will be spent with our friends doing some day-drinking and taking lots of photos like this.
Unlike every year, we'll be doing it all in shorts!
 Lá Fhéile Pádraig Shona Duit, mo chairde! Sláinte!

*If you must shorten it, it's "Saint Paddy's Day," not "Saint Patty's Day." Paddy = Patrick, Patty = Patricia.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Changing My Mind

Adam will tell you that I don't like to admit when I've made a mistake, but I'm going to own up to my mistake right now. I have changed my mind about bridesmaid dresses. I wrote before that I have two bridesmaids and I left it up to them to pick their dresses. This winter, they did.

Over my spring break, I went to visit Lauren in Kansas City. When I was there, she showed me her dress. Then, the following weekend, my sister came home for her spring break and spent a couple of days with me in Chicago. I got to see her dress then.
While I liked both dresses separately, I didn't like them together because they were completely different shades of grey. I thought I wouldn't mind the different shades, but when looking at the pictures side-by-side, I did.

Now that I've decided I want the same shade of grey, I've realized that I can't have them both pick out their own dresses, especially when they both live hundreds of miles away from me and I wouldn't get the chance to see the dresses in person. So I have to pick for them, which means we're back to square one. Sigh. Add it to the to-do list!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Our florist is Whole Foods.

After I received a quote from a florist that totaled over $350 for 3 bouquets, I decided that there had to be a cheaper way to do things. Now, I'm not big with DIY projects (my philosophy is that if it can't be done while drinking a glass of wine, it's not worth doing yourself), but bouquets don't look that hard to make, so I decided to give it a try this weekend. Here's how I did it!

Step 1: Buy supplies.
We bought white hydrangeas, green hypericum berries and green trachelium at Whole Foods for a total of $22. We also purchased floral tape, straight pins and ribbon from Michaels for about $10.

Step 2: Cut the stems.
Turns out that hydrangeas have really thick stems that cannot be conquered by ordinary scissors and need a chef's knife. (Step 1.5 is to wash the raw chicken residue off your cutting board from dinner last night.) If you have roses or really any flower with a more delicate stem, scissors or pruning shears will be just fine, but we had to pull out the big guns on this.

Step 3: Prune the flowers.
Strip all the leaves off your flowers. Be careful not to pull off flowers that all branch off of a main stem. This step is extra easy if you have your maid of honor to help you.

Step 4: Arrange those suckers into a bouquet.
Start with a base of a few flowers and build out. Just play around with your supplies until you get a shape you like.

Step 5: Wrap the stems with floral tape.
Make sure to hold the stems nice and tight while you do this.

Step 6: Cover the tape with pretty ribbon (or twine or lace or whatever).
Michaels didn't have the black and white striped grosgrain ribbon that I really wanted, so we got the brown and blue equivalent instead to give us an idea of the look.

Step 7: Secure the ribbon with straight pins.

Step 8: Admire your work!

Step 9: Display your flowers in a beer mug and make a mental note to include a vase on your registry.
 So there you go! That's how to make a bouquet. It took about 20 minutes from start to finish. I'm glad we did a practice run because we didn't have enough accent flowers and greenery to achieve the look I really wanted. Next time, I'll know to buy more. But, hey, even with more fillers, it's still a much better deal than the $165 the florist wanted to charge!

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's his wedding, too.

Photo from Emerald Weddings
You know the story: Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy falls in love with girl. Girl wants to get married, but boy doesn't. Girl tricks him into proposing, and then plans the entire wedding. Boy makes jokes like "She's just telling me what to wear and what time I need to show up." Everyone laughs and shakes their heads knowingly.

The modern wedding industry is sexist toward men*, casting them as reluctant grooms so turned off by the thought of marriage that they can't possibly be involved in planning their own wedding. Going even further, the WIC has invented a reality where grooms aren't just incompetent, they're actually a barrier to wedding planning. Brides Magazine does a feature every month in which they make their lone male editor do some sort of wedding-related task and then laugh about how bad he is at it. I've read "advice" in wedding magazines that tells you that your fiancé probably wants to help, but he is "too lazy or distracted" to follow through with his plans (actual quote from The Knot).

Part of the idea behind feminism is that strict gender roles aren't good for women OR men. The idea of women as weak homemakers who are bad at math is just as detrimental to women as the idea of men as sports-loving, beer-guzzling macho men who just want to eat chicken wings and get in fights is detrimental to men. In the wedding world, women are expected to plan the whole shebang (and love doing it), and men are expected to show up reluctantly the day of with no idea what to expect. But weddings aren't surprise parties for the groom.

I'm glad that women and men are recognizing that this is all total BS. Some guys are so into wedding planning that they are blogging about it.

In our planning journey so far, I have conducted the majority of the planning. There are several reasons for this, including my more flexible schedule as a student and my love for planning parties. But Adam is still very involved. We meet with most vendors together and CC each other on emails. When I take the bar exam this summer, all wedding planning power will transfer over to him temporarily, and I'm confident he can handle it. Why wouldn't he be able to? I chose to marry him because I want to build a future with him, and I anticipate buying a house, parenting children, and planning our retirement together in that future. Planning a wedding is way easier than any of those things.

Is your fiancé equally involved in planning, or does one of you do more work?

*Not to mention that it's extremely heteronormative. Sometimes there are two grooms and sometimes there aren't any grooms at all! What then, wedding industry?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I need what?

When we registered, each store gave us a checklist of items to include on our registry. Some things made sense, like dishes and steak knives, but some things were a little over-the-top, like a couch and a mattress. Then there were the things I had never even heard of. For example:
  • soup tureen
  • saucier
  • crisper (This was under "bakeware.")
  • cruets
Do you know what any of these are? Better yet, do you have any of these in your kitchen?

Friday, March 9, 2012

Put a ring on it

One night last May, Adam and I went out to dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine, and as the bottle emptied, our conversation turned to marriage. We had discussed getting married before, so this wasn't entirely shocking. Adam asked me how involved I wanted to be in the ring shopping process. I said that I would like to have some part in it because I had a pretty distinct vision of what I wanted, and I'm way too Type A to let someone else have complete control over a piece of jewelry I will wear every single day until I die. I asked if he wanted to go shopping so that I could show him what I wanted. He got really quiet and then admitted that he had plans to go ring shopping the next day with a good friend of ours.

I think my jaw hit the floor. While we had discussed marriage, I didn't think Adam was quite there yet. After I processed the fact that he was there, we decided to go shopping together the next morning.

I knew that I wanted an emerald or Asscher cut center stone with a plain white gold or platinum band and possibly some tapered baguette side stones (I told you I had a very specific vision). Adam only knew that I preferred square stones and that he did not like solitaires. I had never tried anything on before, so we both tried to keep open minds.

We started our day at Tiffany's on Michigan Avenue. I tried on several different rings, but this was my favorite ring, confirming my suspicions.
They also had an Asscher cut solitaire, which I loved. However, we were disappointed by the service, and the prices were a lot higher than what we could get elsewhere, so the search continued.

Next, we went to Fey and Co. in Lincoln Park. There, I tried on several more rings, but came back to a very similar setting to the one I liked at Tiffany's. Adam and I decided that we preferred an Asscher cut stone, but they didn't have any in stock. Instead, the salesman brought out three princess cut stones and let us look at them under a microscope. I think I would've gotten much better grades in science class if it had been like this! We learned all about the 4 Cs (cut, color, clarity, and carat) and examined each diamond to see what we preferred.

A few days later, we went to Dimend Scaasi in Jeweler's Row because they specialize in Asscher cut diamonds. There, we got to see a few Asschers for the first time, confirming that this is definitely what we wanted. We narrowed it down to two settings.

Even though I wanted a say in the ring, I still wanted to be a little bit surprised!

In the end, Adam went back to Fey and Co. to purchase my ring. He decided to go with the simpler setting because it was more timeless and he could use the extra money to get a nicer center stone. I could not be happier with my ring, and I'm so glad I got to be part of the shopping process.
Were you involved in ring shopping, or was the ring a total surprise?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Video Killed the Radio Star

It started after a friend-of-a-friend's wedding was posted on Style Me Pretty a few weeks ago. Adam and I looked over the pictures and watched the wedding video.

When we created our wedding budget, we addressed the issue of videography and dismissed it pretty quickly. We figured that we'd rather spend our money on great photography instead of splitting that section of the budget between the two and have a mediocre photographer and a mediocre videographer. We figured that we would hang the pictures on the walls of our home, but we would never watch the video.

But after watching Rob and Nich's video, I realized that video brings out qualities that photos just can't, like hearing the vows and toasts, and seeing the couple's first dance.

So I did what any good lawyer would do in this situation: I did some research. Good videography is pricey. We would easily spend roughly the same amount on a videographer as we will spend on our photographer, and I'm not sure I can justify going over our budget by that much.

I found a more affordable DIY option in which you get 5 HD flip cameras, hand them out to guests on the wedding day, and send them back where the footage will be edited into a video. The only problem with this is the quality of the video. It's obvious that everything was recorded on a hand-held camera, even if it is HD. To me, that's like having all our wedding photos shot by my point-and-shoot camera. It's better than nothing, but not ideal.

So now I'm back to square one. Should we fork over the cash, or go without a video? What do you think? If you had a wedding day video, is it something that you'd absolutely include if you had to do it over?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Secret Single Behavior

Tres Sugar
The New York Times recently published an article about the quirks of people who live alone. Adam and I both live alone and have for the last 4 years (save for a brief summer-long stint of living together). My lease is up at the end of August, so I'll move into Adam's condo about a month before the wedding. Even though we spend a lot of time together, I'm trying to savor my last 6 months of single living. This means embracing my Secret Single Behavior, a phrase coined by Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City about the things people do when they're alone.

Some of the things I do are:
  • eat cereal for dinner
  • take my clothes off and throw them on the floor
  • leave my clean clothes in the laundry basket and take them out as I need them
  • watch HGTV for hours on end
  • stay in bed until noon
After we get married, I guess I'll just have to take advantage of Adam's business trips to do some of these things.

What's your secret single behavior?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How I Met Your Father

Growing up, I performed in lots of musicals. I loved performing so much that I planned to major in musical theatre in college. Eventually, I joined the debate team, realized I was pretty good at arguing, and decided to pursue a career in politics and/or law instead. I enrolled at Saint Mary's College as a political science major, but I wasn't quite ready to give up on musical theatre.

Adam was also involved in theatre in high school as the president of the drama club and has studied piano since he was 6. Despite his artistic inclinations, Adam enrolled at Notre Dame and decided to study finance. He still loved performing, though, and got involved in theatre at Notre Dame.

During his senior year, Adam served as the assistant stage manager for the Pasquerilla East Musical Company's production of Footloose. I was in my high school's production of Footloose just the year before and jumped at the chance to reprise my leading role. I was not cast in the show. In the spring, I mustered the strength to re-audition for PEMCo's musical revue. This time, I made it! Adam, while not known for his singing ability, was talked into auditioning for the musical revue by friends. Shockingly, he was also cast. Shortly after casting, Adam and his housemates (also PEMCo members) decided to throw a party for the cast. Adam offered to pick people up on campus and take them to his house off-campus. I didn't have a car, so I asked for a ride. Adam (and wedding party member Phil) picked me up from my dorm and took me to Adam's house. It wasn't exactly love at first sight, but throughout the course of the show, we wound up getting to know one another a bit. We struck up a friendship, and - in true musical theatre fashion - kissed at the end-of-show cast party.
Tiny babies at that fateful party.
But then Adam graduated from college and moved to Chicago, and I went to Ireland to study for a year. We remained friends, but I had a huge crush on him. We kept in touch, and when I got back to the States, I met up with Adam on a trip to Chicago. He took me out to dinner at a romantic Italian restaurant, and we have been together ever since!
Taken during our first month of dating
At this point, I was just about to start my junior year of college in South Bend, so we did the long-distance thing for the first 2 years of our relationship. Then I graduated...
...and moved to Indianapolis to start law school. Adam bought a car and we visited each other on weekends.
At Barrister's Ball during my 1L year
I finally moved to Chicago in 2010 when I was accepted as a transfer student at Loyola. And now we're on the road to happily ever after!