Archive for June, 2011

It suddenly dawned on me that my wedding will absolutely not be complete without a harp plinking (strumming? plucking?) away in the background as I walk down the aisle. Naturally, I moved the need for a harpist up to priority #1 (moving things around willy-nilly on my to-do list is a wonderful perk to having a whole year and a half to plan). In an absolutely predictable fashion I turned my search to google (harpist, northern VA). Never to disappoint, google answered my call. I was instantly faced with a list of 4,000,000 pages relating to my search. I picked the top six harpists, perused their pages, sent them my contact information and impatiently watched my inbox.

Within 24 hours I had three out of six responses. After a couple back and forths over email, with the three harpists that responded I now know that I am currently in the wrong line of work. If I could work 8 hours a day playing the harp I could probably retire next year. Seriously, someone teach me how to play the harp, I bet I’m really good at it AND I’ll cut you a GREAT deal on your wedding.

Little did I know, the harp is a very particular instrument. It needs to be placed on a hard surface, out of direct sunlight, between the temperatures of 65-85 degrees. We’re getting married in a garden, on grass, in June. Luckily I found a harpist who has played at Raspberry Plain before and was more than willing to play there again (even on grass, in a garden, in June).

With all of this harp searching business the reception music temporarily took a backseat. I quickly refocused my attention on this very important aspect of the wedding day. I turned again to my trusty coworker/friend/sanity keeper/constant source of work time entertainment and shamelessly asked her if I could steal the awesome DJ from her wedding in April. She of course said yes and gave me his contact information.

After a week or so of back and forth emails between my two music makers, I’m happy to say that both contracts were signed today and mailed to their respective artists along with the required deposits. We have music not only for our garden ceremony but also for our indoor reception!

At this rate we’ll be done booking vendors before we know it!


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The first thing that every bride focused magazine, app (yes there’s an app for this), website, etc. declares the number one most important thing to do is set a date. As I mentioned in my first post, we started checking out venues and thinking about dates in January. John and I decided on the end of June due to the fact that I would be graduating from George Mason University with my masters degree in May 2012 and as much as I love final exams I couldn’t imagine writing three or more 20 page papers in the final weeks of wedding preparation. We chose our venue, Raspberry Plain, and picked our date: June 23, 2012 (if you stop reading now you’ll be about three weeks late to the wedding).

At the end of my spring semester I decided to take six credits of course work over the summer in order to graduate in December 2011. All of the sudden a June 23rd wedding seemed much too late, much too hot, and an all around questionable decision. But alas, we had a signed contract with June 23, 2012 printed in bold at the very top of the very first page.

As the months passed we booked a couple of vendors and moved along with wedding planning. As part of our engagement party weekend my mother, my future mother-in-law, and my grandmother decided to go and take a look at the venue to get a better idea of what things would look like in late June. The perfect landscaping and spectacular blooming flowers that had been dancing around my head for the past five months were no where to be found. Due to the high temperatures throughout May and June, all of the flowers had bloomed and died leaving only their sad withered flower ghost-corpses behind. The ceremony location was not what I had envisioned. I slowly started to process my options. I pushed the first thought (PANIC!!!!!!) out of my head to make room for a more logical course of action. My next ideas weren’t much better (make them make the flowers bloom later, perfectly control the weather to prevent early blooming, PANIC!!!!). Seriously though, how have we not figured out how to control weather by now?! After the waves of panic subsided I was faced with my only rational options, I could try to find a new location or move the wedding up a couple of weeks in order to give us a better chance at beautiful, full flowers on our wedding day. Honestly, neither option did much in the way of helping to calm my racing thoughts.

We spoke with the venue coordinator and quickly realized that a signed contract makes it pretty tricky to change locations and that (MIRACULOUSLY) a date three weeks earlier was still available. We contacted the photographer and the florist to check for availability on our potential new date. I’m pretty sure that I held my breath the entire 15  hours that it took for them to respond. I’m also quite confident that our photographer probably thinks that I am completely insane, as I had the new contract with the new date signed, scanned, and sent back via email within 30 seconds of him sending it to me.

Long and panic stricken story short…we’re having our wedding on June 2, 2012 (if you stop reading now at least you’ll show up on the right day) in a beautiful location.

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On June 18, 2011 my mother graciously welcomed 50+ people into her home to celebrate mine and John’s engagement. John’s sister, Sarah, made beautiful flowers out of tissue paper to decorate the tent with (yes there was a tent).




Everyone pitched in with the food John’s mom Kathy made awesome individual oreo cheesecakes, awesome wings, and a killer Mediterranean orzo salad. Sarah made the famous 7 layer dip and a super delicious spinach dip. My mother prepared salmon, flank steak, and a couple of side salads. I contributed with a chimichuri sauce, a dill lemon sauce, and a veggie Mediterranean salad. Prep for the day went smoothly (we had a practice run the day before with my brother Ryan’s graduation party). As 4 o’clock rolled around our guests started to trickle in. The small crowd seemed to multiply and every time I turned around there was a new addition to the party. It was a challenge to get around to every different group of people, I felt like I couldn’t give anyone as much time as they deserved. It was awesome to have so many people from so many different parts of our lives together in one place!

The weather forecast threatened to rain us inside but thankfully the thunderstorms skirted the party and we were blessed with sun and a slight breeze. Kathy and Sarah brought along two great gifts, a signable round serving platter and a signable matted picture of John and I. You have your guests sign the platter with special markers and then bake it for a certain amount of time on a certain temperature so that they become permanent! Our guests wasted no time sharing their congratulations and advice with cute notes to the both of us on each of the signable items. We now have two wonderful mementos from our day


John and I got to practice for the big day with a spectacular cake from amphora, it was a gigantic cake that was super delicious (even John, who hates cake, liked it!).




There were copious amounts of food, beer/wine, beer pong, and corn-hole. A group of us carried the party well in to the night emptying the coolers for the good of tournament after tournament of lawn games.

We couldn’t believe how many people came out to show their love for us, our guests most definitely made the party a memorable and special day. We can’t thank you all enough for making the time to celebrate with us!

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I decided to begin documenting our wedding planning process through this blog to give all of you a chance to try to keep up. John proposed on Christmas Eve 2010 and we’ve been making slow and steady planning progress ever since. This post will serve as a fast forward from December 24, 2010 to now. So far we have the ceremony/reception location decided on, the photographer and florist booked, a date finalized (not as easy as it sounds), and our honeymoon booked. It’s a random assortment of items checked off of the “wedding to-do list” but starting a year and a half out gives you plenty of time to get things done ahead of schedule.

We are getting married at Raspberry Plain in Leesburg, Virginia on June 2, 2012. Both the ceremony and reception will be held here.

My mom and I spent a couple of weekends in January checking out a few local venues. After going to a couple locations and bringing John and his family out to weigh in we decided on Raspberry Plain.


These pictures are from our initial visit in January as you can see from the snow on the ground.


This a shot of the Formal Gardens where the ceremony will take place.


This is the Grand Conservatory where the reception will be held.

After attending a coworker’s wedding and seeing some of the picture proofs I knew that I had to make an appointment to talk to her photographer. After a lengthy phone meeting we decided that this husband/wife duo was the photography team for our big day. After a few emails back and forth, we returned a signed contract with a deposit to hold our date. Definitely check out their website, the work that they have done is absolutely amazing.


We checked out a couple of florists and ultimately decided on a company that does all of the growing, assembling, and creative design in house. A friend went to a wedding this weekend where our florist provided the flowers and said that the bouquets were absolutely stunning.

For our honeymoon we’ll be traveling the Palm Island Resort located on a small island in the caribbean near the Grenadines. The resort is an all inclusive location that we got a great deal on (thank you livingsocial.com). Because of the great rate (53% off!) we had enough money budgeted to upgrade our room and add an extra night with money to spare.

PhotobucketThe room that we have reserved.

PhotobucketThe pool area.

PhotobucketOne of the five beaches on the island.

Needless to say we are really excited for how things are coming together so far. The next things on the list are finding a caterer and beginning the hunt for the perfect dress.

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