Wedding

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By Katharine

While perusing REI’s website a while ago, we discovered the perfect cake topper for us:

It’s so detailed- they even have zip-off pants!

Last week we finally received it (after a long backorder wait) and it turns out to be just what we were hoping except that it is WAY bigger than we thought. Guess we’ll need to have a big cake!

And just in case you aren’t sure why this cake topper is perfect, check out this photo of us from a recent hike.

(Ok, yes, we did kinda pose to make it look similar)

Now we just have to decide what kind of cake (or cake alternative) to put it on!

The Proposal

By Katharine

Since the holidays we have been trying to tackle a lot of wedding stuff. Although we didn’t really come close to finishing all the items on our January To Do List, we still have made some progress. We’ve tried out a bunch of rehearsal dinner locations and are considering two of them. We chose a hotel for all our out of town guests (pretty much everyone!) and we are meeting with a photographer this weekend. We have a few other projects in the works, but more on that later.

All this wedding stuff and putting together photos has made think about our trip to Wyoming and how Nathan proposed. For anyone who hasn’t heard the story, Nathan and I were in Jackson Hole, WY with my family to celebrate my parents 40th anniversary. We spent the week fishing, hiking, and generally enjoying Grand Teton National Park. Nathan had asked that we plan one day for ourselves to explore on our own, look for wildlife, and to allow him to take a gazillion photos without feeling rushed. Also, it was the perfect way to celebrate our 3 year anniversary. So I gladly planned a day for us… we took our time photographing some moose, we saw the famous Snake River overlook, we had lunch at a lodge by Jackson Lake, and then we did a walk/hike around Coulter Bay.

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Little did I know that Nathan was planning to propose- he had already talked to my parents and brother about it, so I was the only one who didn’t know! ¬†So on our hike around the bay, we stopped at a bench and Nathan set up the video camera. He told me that he wanted to get a shot of us looking at the mountains and the lake, but I thought it was silly and gave him a hard time about it. Luckily he didn’t let that throw him off and he got down on one knee and proposed with the most beautiful backdrop. And he got it all on video! So now you can share in the moment ūüôā

All of our videos are on our youtube page.

Bridal Shower!

By Katharine

Nathan and I went to my parents’ house in PA for Christmas and my maid of honor Kara threw me a wonderful bridal shower! It was a pretty laid-back affair, but it had the most important thing: friends and family. Only one of my close friends couldn’t make it, and my grandmother hosted the event at her awesome house.

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We didn’t play a lot of silly games because that isn’t our style, but Kara did ask Nathan a bunch of questions about himself and us beforehand so that they could quiz me to see how similarly I would answer. For any answer I got wrong, I had to eat a gum ball (which wouldn’t have been so bad except these were some really old gumballs haha). In the end, I thought I did pretty well. She asked what superhero he’d be – I answered Superman because I didn’t know many superheros which was exactly what he wrote. If stranded on a deserted island, we both would choose fire starter as our one thing to bring.¬† We both remembered that we had our first kiss while watching the Cosby show and I knew that if he had to compare me to an animal, he’d go with a mole. (I’m not really a morning person… and I’m super blind without my contacts.) And I knew his dream car was a Toyota Tacoma… although since our Yosemite trip I think we’ve decided a Subaru Outback would be better ūüôā

Still, Kara and Nathan stumped me on quite a few and I ended up with one hell of a wad of gum! I guessed his favorite food was milk and cookies while he said steak and mashed potatoes. I didn’t know his favorite movie (Sandlot or Top Gun) although he later agreed my guess (Love Actually) was also good. If he were an animal, he would not be an eagle, but rather a hawk (I still contend that this was close enough, but Nathan claims he purposely did not pick eagles because they are known to be scavengers.)

And there were a few questions that Nathan answered very sweetly, reminding me why he’s such a keeper ūüôā For what outfit he most likes seeing me in, he answered “Boots, wool socks, hiking shorts, ice breaker shirt, gray hat and a backpack…because that means we’re on an adventure, having fun and just enjoying being together.” And his favorite thing about me? We’re best friends and I can be myself around her, she picks me up when I am down, corrects me when I am wrong, but loves me for who I am.¬† I could say the same about him!

The rest of the shower included my family and friends showering me with awesome kitchen gifts – thanks! and I got a great collection of recipes.¬† Plus, Kara made a kickass pumpkin spice cake which was delicious. yum! (and she could probably be a professional cake decorator, don’t you think?)

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Afterwards, my friends and I headed to the only bar in Hockessin, DE (it is quite the place to be, let me tell you!) and had some drinks and fun catching up. All in all, it was a wonderful shower – Thank you Kara!

By Katharine

Now that it is officially 2011,¬† the year of our wedding (wow!) I am realizing there is a lot to do… Our wedding is exactly 7 months from today! Starting in December I began making a list of wedding related things that I thought we needed to work on once we finished final exams and got through the holidays. Now, here we are, and here’s our list, ready to be checked off:

1. Food Tasting with the caterer for the reception

2. Finalize guest list. Design, order/print, and send out save-the-dates. Get addresses!

3. Reconnect with the photographer we are considering

4. Decide where to register and start making a list

5. Continue researching hotel options for all our out of town guests – sign up for a block if possible

6. Start researching DJ’s

7. Continue researching / trying out other rehearsal dinner locations

I am pretty good at making To Do lists. I am less good at checking things off my To Do lists.

We are still going back and forth on some parts of our guest list and haven’t even begun to think about what we want our Save the Dates to look like.¬† (We are still in the process of sending out our year-end cards and thank you notes for Christmas.) As we began addressing all the cards, we decided to invest in a return address stamp, and when we were researching options, we came across this:

Sure, they spelled my name wrong, but still, Nathan and Katharine, from Los Angeles, right next to each other in their catalogue?? We considered it a sign that we should buy our stamp from them!

Other than ordering the stamp, the only thing I think we’ve done so far is decide where to register, but we haven’t actually set up any registries.

We do have a 3-day weekend coming up, but we were thinking of using that to go to Vegas. And the following weekend we will be in Arizona for my grandmother’s 90th birthday… so I think that means we better make good use of our weeknights this month if we expect to accomplish even half of this list!

Wedding Colors

By Katharine

When people find out you are getting married, the first question they ask is when and where. Nathan and I now have an answer for that, but I am always surprised by the next question: Have you decided on colors?

Really? That’s the next question? Well, apparently it is, and a vague answer of ¬†“We’re thinking maybe some sort of blue and/or green” doesn’t seem to satisfy the asker. I’m not the only one to find this question rather strange and hard to answer, but sometimes it’s easier to give in than to fight it. So after successfully buying a wedding dress, my shopping helpers took me to the hardware store to mix and match paint chips. We started with all the blues and greens and settled on a dark/medium blue called ‘ribbon blue’ with a lighter green called ‘fennel leaves’. I wanted another accent color and one of my lovely bridesmaids had suggested yellow. ¬†So we mixed and matched a pale yellow and all agreed that it added to the summer feel and helped lighten and brighten the blue and green. So, after getting Nathan’s approval, we have settled on our colors! The girls decided I needed to rename the colors because just saying “blue, green, and yellow” also won’t satisfy the asker. So I can now happily announce that our colors are:

blue

“Blue Jay blue”

green

“Parrot Green”

yellow2

“Pale Canary Yellow”

Noticing the bird theme? Don’t worry, the wedding won’t be bird themed!

Note: The paint chips were from Dutch Boy, and I can’t find the exact colors on their website for some reason, so these are just my best approximation using paint.

By Katharine

Nathan already mentioned that I did some wedding dress shopping the weekend our parents were here. It was actually a fun experience for me and I was glad that I got to share it with my mom, Nathan’s mom, and my sister-in-law. I will admit that initially I was a little hesitant about the whole thing… I mean you have to get an appointment, let strangers dress you, and then there is all the emotional pressure to find the dress. Not just any dress will do of course, you are expected to know it’s “the one” when you try it on. You might even cry when you find it! All of which is not really me… I am way too practical for all that!

But as it turns out, maybe I’m not. Because I did find the perfect dress. And even though neither I nor my mom cried when I tried it on, I did pretty much know it was the one… because every dress after that was compared to it! (and really couldn’t compare).

Our search started on Friday in Santa Monica at Dina’s Bridal, a no-frills store run by a mother and daughter. It got great reviews online and I definitely had a good experience. They had a great collection of affordable (<$1000) dresses, with many less than $500. I was the only person in the store (I did have an appointment) so I got all the attention I needed from Gina (the daughter). I actually had brought ¬†a few pictures of dresses that I liked from various bridal magazines and Gina did a great job finding dresses that were similar. She also had me try a few other styles, but apparently I knew what I liked since the first two were our favorites! The only downside is that you can’t take pictures until you buy the dress so my Mom and I had to try to keep it all in our head for comparing later.

Then we headed to Montclair Bridal, a much fancier shop on Montana avenue in Santa Monica. I had guessed that the dresses might be out of my price range but my mom encouraged me to make an appointment anyways just to see the difference. Luckily I’m not the type to fall in love with a dress and justify spending $3000 on it… because there was one that was beautiful. Honestly, I could see and feel the difference… the high quality silk was lightweight and draped perfectly. And they gave me the royal treatment and made me feel like a bride… but really, $3000 for a dress to wear for one day? Not gonna happen! But if you are lucky enough to have a larger dress budget, then I do recommend the store. They were very helpful and¬†knowledgeable. And they do have other dresses in the $800-1500 range as well. (Note: according to their website the store has actually closed even though I was there 3 weeks ago… not sure if that means people just aren’t buying expensive dresses these days or if something else happened.)

On Saturday Nathan’s mom and my sister-in-law joined us to check out Alfred Angelo and David’s Bridal in the Pasadena area. Neither was a particularly great experience. At AA, the person helping me seemed more interested in picking a dress for me that she thought was best rather than listening to what I wanted. After emphasizing that I wanted something very simple for a casual outdoor wedding, she thought this would be perfect:

Everyone else including myself did not agree. She also told me I wasn’t “fun” since I didn’t want a crazy dress… All in all, not a great experience with Alfred Angelo even though I did find one dress in the end that was pretty nice.

Then we went on to David’s Bridal. I hadn’t made an appointment because I didn’t think I was going to want to go, but since AA was so uninspiring we wanted to keep looking. We went to the location in Duarte, and it was pretty hectic. I had 4 different people helping me, they temporarily lost the example pictures I had brought, and I waited about 5-10 minutes in each dress until someone would return to help with the next one. They also didn’t seem to know their stock very well. The one thing I did like was getting to try on my size rather than one that was way too big and made to ‘fit’ with huge ugly clips. In the end, I didn’t find a dress there that I loved although there was one that was ok. ¬†It was also nice to take pictures (both at AA and David’s Bridal) since my bridesmaids don’t live in the area.¬†Still, I kept thinking of the dress from Dina’s which I remembered being so much better, but without pictures to compare, it was hard to know.

Dina’s wasn’t open on Sunday, so I had to wait until the foll0wing weekend to go back with my sister-in-law and a good friend from work to see if the dress was a perfect as I remembered. And it really really was! Generally when making a large purchase like this I have to think it over a lot and basically know I’m going to buy it before I get there. But with help from my two friends and the amazing feeling of being in what was certainly “the dress,” I knew I could go ahead and get it. It was a little more than I was hoping to spend, but definitely within the right range (not $3000!) and very much worth it. I can’t show pictures or give too many details because Nathan will see this, but the dress is exactly what I wanted: simple but flow-y and feminine, plain but beautiful, and it made me feel amazing!

All in all, the dress shopping experience was a lot of fun for me despite my initial hesitation. And now one more thing is checked of the list… date, venue, caterer, and a dress! Next up: Colors. More on that to come!

By Nathan

It might be surprising since Katharine and I have been together for over 3 years, but our parents just met for the first time a couple weekends ago.  The weekend was full of sharing stories about our childhood and taking care of wedding stuff. But before my parents arrived, the weekend started off with Katharine and Bryan wedding dress shopping in Santa Monica on Friday afternoon.  Paul then later concluded some business stuff in the area and we all met at Literati for dinner.  Literati has become one of our favorite restaurants because it is within walking distance and it has an incredible mushroom soup that we love.

Then on Saturday morning my parents arrived, and after introductions we headed back to Middle Ranch. ¬†My parents have already toured the venue but this was Katharine’s parents first time. ¬†After walking the grounds and touring the inside of the club house they agreed this was the perfect location for our wedding. ¬†We started laying out potential ceremony arrangements, trying to answer some logistical questions like, which direction we would be facing? where would the sun be during the ceremony? and where would Katharine enter from? ¬†While we were walking around outside, a storm started to roll in, kicking up strong gusts of wind. ¬†This picture was right after Katharine was hit in the face with a flying leaf. One of the few downsides to her beloved trees. Hopefully the winds will be calmer on August 6th!

During this weekend we thought it would be a good time to try some rehearsal dinner locations.  For lunch we then headed east to Dish, a resturant in La Canada Flintridge.  Everyone liked the food and the location was fitting for a rehearsal dinner since you can reserve the whole bar area (which is also about half of the restaurant).  They have great banquet pricing and a nice relaxed atmosphere that we think suits us. We still have quite a list of possibilites to try in the Pasadena area but this one looks promising so far.

After Lunch we split up guys and girls.  The guys headed to the shooting range while the girls went dress shopping.  My brother met up with us at the range and we enjoyed going through almost 200 shells between the 4 of us.  I think this will be a great pre-wedding activity for the guys while the girls spend hours getting ready for the wedding.  Plus I think the pictures will be one-of-a-kind.

For dinner we all met up again at another potential rehearsal dinner location, Green Street Tavern. ¬†It provided a nice¬†atmosphere¬†for the two families to meet, but we didn’t feel like it was quite the right place for our¬†rehearsal¬†dinner since it was pretty small and very dark. But Katharine’s mom was able to impress my dad with her¬†magnifying glass¬†flashlight to read the menu. ¬†Still, the food was amazing, I recommend the wild boar meat loaf, and I think it was a good time had by all.

The next morning we had brunch with our parents at Bread and Porridge and further discussed family histories and wedding plans.  It was a nice ending to a event packed weekend.

More Photos

By Katharine

Last weekend Nathan and I made great progress in planning our wedding- We selected a venue and a date and signed the contract! We will be getting married on August 6, 2011 at Middle Ranch in Lake View Terrace, CA.

I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders now… and now I feel like we can start thinking about the smaller details like invitations, colors, decorations, etc.

The venue search was pretty involved for us, we started with a ridiculous list I made of places in SoCal that had pretty trees (my one requirement) without any idea of pricing. Then I started adding expected pricing as best as I could from various websites and I realized that most of these places were way out of our league. So then I made a second ridiculous list of more budget-friendly venues. ¬†Together we combined the reasonable ones from each list to get a list of 50 possible places. I don’t know how it came out to be a perfect 50, that was not intentional! We narrowed those down to 11 that we wanted to pursue and started making phone calls. Our first call was already completely booked for summer 2011… and we started to freak out a bit, but luckily most other places had some open weekends. We ended up visiting 5 places and liking 3. And we are very happy with our final decision. Plus, catering is included as apart of the package, so we now have our caterer selected as well!

How can you go wrong with a place that has trees like this:

We really liked Middle Ranch because it has a very laid back atmosphere, but is still elegant with an open/airy feel. We will have access to a nice lawn area for the ceremony and a lodge and outdoor patio area for the reception. And there are beautiful large trees speckled throughout… so I love it!

Well, we can officially begin the countdown to our wedding!

You can see more pictures of the venue here.

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