Friday, January 30, 2009

So close.

Today, at 3pm, we're doing a conference call with our favored property to bang out the details of the rooms, venue and food. If IC is satisfied with the call (see, it's all about me until the time where it's all about him), it's happening. In April. In Turks&Caicos. It's all completely exciting and nerve-wracking but at the end of the day if we're married to each other, it will all have been worth it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A destination wedding is plainly unlike other weddings. There are so many more moving pieces. Where will they sleep, what they will eat, where will they go, what will they do, how will they get there are all questions most regular weddings never have to deal with. And a destination wedding planned in like 2 months, well, that's unlike anything at all.

We're like thisclose to securing our location, the invitations are ready to be calligraphered (calligraphied? calligraphed?), and I'm having a few people over to help construct the invitations (because as previously mentioned the most un-arty girl in the whole world has decided to go with an arts&crafts project for an invitation) as soon as they arrive. Then the invitations go out and we need the reply card back with the quickness. In fact, we probably won't wait for the reply card in most cases, just get a response via email or phone. We need the hotel to hold a block of rooms for us and we need to give them a fairly accurate count asap.

So my etiquette question is this: can I ask people how they're looking before the invitations even go out? Like, now? We're working off a "likely" list of attendees which is about 2/3 of our guest list (see, IC, I can count and do percentages, 80 of 120 is 2/3 or 75%! JUST SAYING.). If someone on our likely list already knows that they're unlikely, I'd like (like, like, like) for them to tell us. But is it totally rude to ask? I mean, I know it is. But can I do it anyway?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Music. Makes the people. Come together.

I don't know why I used a Madonna line in the title, it's unlikely that any Madonna will be played at our wedding. I know this because if there's one area where I can see myself being demanding, know-it-all and bridezilla-esque, it won't be about my dress, the food or the favors, it's the music.

There will be NO Macarena, no chicken dance, no "Electric Slide", no "Shout" and probably no Madonna (see, I'm not totally inflexible, look at that probably right there). In fact, I want to decide on every single song played at our wedding (and at the welcome dinner, and at the cocktail hour, and at every opportunity when music is played). Like, every single one.

Which brings me to this: for what, then, do I need a DJ?

IC spoils me. The official song of our engagement weekend was "Whatever you like" by TI (not the corny parts about stacks and Petron, just the chorus). I wanted some crazy Do It Yourself ("what's 'DIY'?"-asked the immigrant IC on Saturday) invitations, I got it (more on these later). And he's been completely patient about all the wedding details like room configurations, menus, response card fonts and every other annoying thing that goes into putting on a wedding. But when I say no dj, he says no way.

It's not that ground-breaking. Lots of people are having Ipod weddings. Why not us?

I think IC is more worried about the logistics than about my musical selections. Who will be there to cue our first dance? Slow it down, speed it up, feel the crowd? I don't know but I'm just not too worried about it. I think I can gauge when in the night we might have to go for slower music and when we'll bump the Biggie. I admit, it's partially because I not-so-secretly think I'd make a kick-ass DJ. But mostly it's because if I were to hear any of the songs in the second paragraph played at our wedding, well, I wouldn't take it well. And I don't want the DJ riling up the crowd. They're either riled or they're not. I hate the DJ yelling into the microphone to get on the dancefloor. Just not my thing.

I haven't totally nailed down the reception music list yet; ok, fine, it currently has six songs on it, but I have decided on the music themes for the welcome BBQ and the pre-reception cocktail hour. The former will be all reggae with a strong focus on Bob Marley as he seems to appeals to the young and old alike. The latter will be sultry sounds like Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Ray Charles perfect for cocktails under a setting sun. The rest I'll figure out and produce a list to give to a capable professional dj. But if he Macarenas me even once, his ass is toast.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Favor for a favor

I don't really get the whole concept of wedding favors. I mean, I enjoy eating Hershey Kisses off the table as much as the next wedding guest but ultimately, what's the point?

But with a destination wedding, I feel we have to provide some sort of welcome bag. Some ideas so far have included playing cards, luggage tags, sunblock.

As I mentioned in the last post, I really like taking photos, so I was thinking a beach-themed frame with a photo of the guest in it (as I've likely taken a photo of nearly every attending guest at some point over the years, or can get one). But then IC said "why would they want a photo of themselves?" and I guess he has a point. But they definitely don't need a little photo of us so that just about concludes any thoughts I had for incorporating pictures into the gift bag.

Thoughts? Ideas?

UPDATE: The other thing I really like, in life, is music so I've considered making a mix cd of music that will be played at our wedding. But A)people will likely have a lot of the songs already and B)those that don't have the songs probably aren't into them to begin with. But maybe a mix cd.

You get what you pay for?

One of things that I learned while doing my current crash course in everything wedding, is that many photographers will do a destination wedding for free. All we'd pay for is their flight and hotel room and they'd be there the whole time shooting photos (or, they wouldn't be working the whole time but they would be shooting more than just the wedding). It works out much cheaper than hiring a photographer and I emailed a few good ones yesterday and they all seem interested. I also love the idea of a professional photographer being on hand for most of the weekend. I'm a HUGE picture-taker and it almost bothers me that I won't really be able to do much snapping during our wedding weekend.

My fear, though, is that people who aren't paid for their work can't be relied upon to work. I'm concerned there is a higher probability that they won't show up, or will be more likely to slack if they do. Am I being unfair? I suppose I would do a good job in exchange for a free vacation somewhere warm, but would I do as good a job as if I were being paid for it? I'm not sure.

What say you all? Do we go with one of the "free" photographers or do we suck it up and hire one on the island (massively expensive, by the way).

Sunday, January 25, 2009

It's all happening

It's all starting to come together and for the first time in this whole process wedding planning has started to

It's still stressful, there are so many moving parts and details, I'm essentially planning a vacation for 80 people, but I'm finally seeing the big picture.

And little things are starting to make sense too. As my friend Lisa pointed out in one of the comment sections, it turns out I'm not much of a planner, but I'm actually focusing on all the little things that need to be done.

Also, and this is the crazy part, I've actually managed to do some small creative things in our planning which is particularly amazing because I'm not at all crafty or artsy. It's so exciting when I get a creative wedding idea and IC has just been the most encouraging, amazing fiance of all time. I read this post during a full day of wedding mania and looked at my wonderful IC who was patiently looking at reply card options, deciding whether our centerpieces would feature shells and encouraging my ebay purchases to make our invitations unique. Love. Him.

My trip to Turks&Caicos was a success in that I saw us getting married there in a way I didn't when we were in Aruba over new years. I saw five properties in total and the fact is any of the five would work. There's one that is my favorite, but two others that could easily fill the role of venue and not miss a beat. I'll post here when a decision is reached, we're very, very close.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Quote of the day

"I like the idea of an old rabbi. Scholarly. With like a Jewish humor. He's been around the block, ya know?"

-IC on what he wants in a rabbi.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"We can get married in Gibraltar near Spain"

My parents have a thing for cruises. And when I say "thing" I mean we did a family cruise every New Year from the time I was about 10 until um, last year. And lest you think I hit 30 and somehow got out of going on a yearly vacation with my mommy, New Years 2008 my brother and I managed to convince my mom, kicking and screaming, to skip the cruise and just go to one island, and then somehow we convinced her again for 2009 and had IC join us. Both times it was Aruba. They have direct flights, good hotel deals, solid food and POKER (IC and I both love the Texas Hold 'Em. I'd say we fell in love over one-on-one poker games at his apartment. My other specialty blog is a poker blog). But Aruba is just too crowded and condensed for how we envision our wedding. Love the island, would go back every New Years till the end of time, don't want to get married there.

In the 20 or so years of cruising, I've seen every single Caribbean/Central American island/country under the sun. I can now confirm something I suspected all along: cruising is just about the worst way to get a feel for a location.

Sure, I remember some places vividly. My grandmother, brother and I walking around in the pouring rain on the teeny tiny island of Isle de Saintes. The fact that only four people live on the creepy Devil's Island. The imcomprehensible amount of bugs on the Amazon river that would go crunch, crunch under our feet by the dozens. The public beach in Barbados where we were the only people on the beach, something I loved and everyone else hated. The tour guide saying "Christopher Columbus discovered Dominica in 1493 and pretty much nothing has changed since then" and me thinking "yeah, that seems about right."

But ask me to tell you the difference between St. Martin and Martinique and I get fuzzy. St. Lucia vs. St. Bart's, no idea. I can recall the port of St. Thomas, but that's only because every single cruise stops there but have no rememberance of St. John or St. Croix, Tortola or Tobago. I mean, I can tell you the things that everyone knows about places they've never been to, like St. Martin has a French side and a Dutch side and St. Bart's is the playground of the superrich, but I couldn't tell you what restaurant you must check out, what resort is the one to stay at or which beach is the most unforgettable. And these things, ultimately, are what I love about travel--the discoveries. The cruise ship would pull in, we'd briefly check out the chotckes sold at the dock and then we'd pile into a cab and have the driver take us to the nearest beach. We'd lounge there for x number of hours and then head back to the ship for lunch and a nap. I'd been to all these islands but I'd never been to all these islands.

Which brings me to my current location, Turks & Caicos. I've been here before, I'm sure of it, though not to Provo where I am now. But I have no special recollection of the place and so it is brand new. The water is as unbelieveable as they say. This photo does it no justice:

Windsong view

I saw two places today, Windsong and Alexandra, both pretty magnificent, but both with plusses and minuses, and plan to see four more tomorrow. You can follow along in my flickr set, though my connection is ridiculously slow so uploading pictures is difficult and having the internet in drip, drip, drops is making me a bit crazy.

But I think this is it, I think this is where we'll be married. The island has a laid-back vibe, unlike say Grand Cayman, but not too laid-back, like, say Jamaica (ok, maybe I can speak about the islands a bit but that's because I was in Grand Cayman last year and Jamaica has the laid-back reputation the world over). The people are super friendly. I've only had one meal so far, at Conch Shack, a Provo institution, and it was pretty good. And they have poker, which was a complete surprise, though I'm told I won't get to play any during my wedding weekend. I say we'll see.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


So, I'm doing it. Well, we're doing it. But really I'm doing it. I'm leaving for Providenciales, Turks&Caicos tomorrow, by myself. I have seven appointments to see all different kinds of properties, each with its own pros and cons.

West Bay Club


Ocean Club



Northwest Point

Nikki Beach

I'm sort of dreading the trip (and, yes, it's been hard to get sympathy from my friends with my "waaaaah, I'm going to the Caribbean alone"). But I am. For several reasons:

1) IC and I are still in the, apparently nauseating, phase where we don't like to be apart at all, let alone for two nights.

2) I find the idea that I have to, all by myself, pick the place for us to get married quite daunting. One thing that works so well in our relationship is the bouncing of thoughts and ideas off each other. And while IC is the sweetest guy in the world and I'm, um, not the sweetest girl in the world, I'm a total optimist and am actually the waaaaaay more agreeable one around strangers "yes, that's awesome, wow, wonderful" while he asks the pointed questions and gives me the pessimist's point of view of the situation.

3) I am terrible, awful, horrible, can't do it, at talking about money. I have to ask all kinds of questions about how much things cost and if they can make it any cheaper. Hate.

4) I feel pressure to come back with a place. If I don't find something that works, we're not getting married in April, simple as that. The idea of looking at new dates and places is just... oyyyyy my head.

5) This one is actually the worst. What if I take this trip, find a place and we still can't make it happen? One major thing right now is that Turks&Caicos doesn't have a rabbi on the island. People tell us things like "you can just fly one in". But can we? Like who? And from where? And do they stay the weekend? Do they bring their wife? We don't know. Also, the original plan to have people come Fri-Mon is falling apart. Apparently, T&C is quite a religious island so it will be hard to get people to work our event on a Sunday. So now we're thinking Sat-Tue but there are no direct flights on Saturdays. Also, Passover is that Wednesday so we'd be leaving people with one day to get ready for the holiday (and it's one of those holidays you do actually have to "get ready" for, even us secular Jews). And this is just a teeny tiny little slice of the kinds of problems we've been having and why this blog exists.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Learn something wedding-related every day

"Do you know that in Judaism, your wedding starts the moment that you get engaged, and only ends a year after your wedding?"

-Meg at A Practical Wedding.

Part 3: My dress search, a story in many parts

After I got over the Pnina dress, I started looking at more streamlined, beach-wearable gowns. And, there wasn't anything wrong with any of them, but at no point did I feel "it".

The third one is just the second one with a piece of fabric on my arm showing me what it would look like with a little sleeve because I remain unconvinced (despite the Pnina dress) that the strapless look is for me. My #1 body obsession, frankly my only body obsession, is that I hate my arms. And I know a little sleeve won't do much but I think it will just make me feel slightly better.

My favorite of the "fine but not it" bunch of dresses was this one at Pronovias:

It's a nice dress, and I think it looks good on me, but it was in the $2k range which, while I recognize is the bottom of wedding gown ranges, just seemed like too much for a dress that A)doesn't look it and B)doesn't make my heart go pitter-patter. It's a very nice gown, and I understand the wedding industrial complex says that everything must be ridiculously priced in order for two people to swear their love and commitment to each other, but I feel like I've tried on similar dresses over the years and they were like $250, though of course without the train.

So, where am I now? I think we're going to move ahead with an April 5th wedding date, which limits my gown options. I'm actually happy about that. If I focus on samples and previously worn dresses I won't spend a sum of money that I find absurd on a dress. Again, I get that 2k is "cheap" for wedding dresses but 2k is a vacation and I'd rather spend that money to lay on a beach somewhere with IC than on a dress I'll wear just the once. And I have a back-up plan just in case I find myself in March without a dress. I've seen a dress that will work, that fits me, and that's pretty great, good enough that I won't post a photo of it here in case it ends up being my wedding dress. I still hope to see something that will make me gasp an audible "wow" or get the feeling that this dress must be my dress. But if it doesn't happen, that's ok. I've got a groom that I feel must be my groom and all I ultimately care about is making a life with him.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Ok, let's

It looks like we're going to try for April and I'm going to go down to Providenciales, Turks&Caicos for two days next week to figure it all out. I hope it works out. If anyone has any Provo resort suggestions, leave them in the comment section.

Tuesday imagery

I love this blog. LOVE. It's helping me voice (ink? type?) the problems I've had with this whole wedding planning thing while focusing any ideas I had on what it will be. For example, IC said the other day "so our color is blue, huh?" I hadn't noticed but the images that I enjoy of other people's weddings tend to be blue. So yes, blue it probably will be. Israeli flag blue or Dallas Cowboys star blue? Maybe both.

Other images which have appealed to me recently:

The photo of this Moongate does not mean I've given up on a Turks&Caicos wedding in April. But, yes, moongates are a feature of the Bermuda island landscape.

This image is from I Do Wedding Planners, per Karin in my comment section, a wedding planning group in Israel. I am in love with this chupa:

I got this one from Tropical Destination Management, wedding planners in Turks&Caicos. I love long tables. I think they're so much more festive and intimate (although I'd probably have people sitting all along the inner "U" shape of the tables):

So, to sum up: I like the way moongates look but they're mostly available on only one island--which is our back-up June island. I love the Israeli chupa, though we're definitely not getting married in Israel. And, I enjoy long tables though if we pick a resort which only has round tables I'm not going to get long tables shipped in or anything like that.

And that's WITH this site focusing my vision.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Do we?

"We need to talk," IC said last night. We had spent a really nice day with his family, eating, hanging out and watching the Giants decide they'd rather be golfing. After they left, he had some work to do and he delivered the above line when he was finally done. This was prime Sunday veg out time! Talking is for chumps!

"Are we getting married in April?" he asked.

URG, the question everyone keeps asking me. And I have no idea.

We still haven't picked a place and April is 2 1/2 months away.

The cons to getting married in April:

1) We have to pick a place, very quickly, and rush to get the invitations out and RSVPs back in.

2) A dress for me, a linen suit for IC, both of which would pretty much need to fall in our laps at this point.

3) We'd have to find a photographer, a DJ, a florist, and whatever else the wedding industry tells us we need, post haste.

4) Would we be giving our guests enough time to price tickets and get the time off from work?

The pros to getting married in April:

1) We'd be married. In April!

2) If we don't get married in April, the Caribbean is pretty much out as a destination (as the wedding would then take place in June at the very earliest and it's simply too hot then). We'd have to look at Bermuda which, while very nice, is a little more buttoned up than either of us. We'd also have to start from scratch in many ways. While it's nice that I'd now be looking at vineyards in California and small islands off of Georgia, I'd be learning a whole new topography and will have wasted all of my Caribbean knowledge that I've gained over the past few months (quick, ask me the difference between Barbados and Barbuda).

3) While I joke about the wedding industry in the Con section, there is something to that. If we get married in April there's only so much time I can spend thinking I need some dumb trinket (no, really, what is the point of a wedding favor?) or worrying about different aspects of the day that ultimately won't matter to anyone, including me.

If we do it in April, it will likely be Turks&Caicos and I will have to take a quick 2-day trip there to look at a bunch of places in the next week. While it may sound like "awww, poor me, I have to go to Turks&Caicos" I'm actually not excited at all to take this kind of trip without IC. He definitely can't go due to work and the idea of running around to various locations and having extensive wedding conversations without him is not at all appealing.

So are we getting married in April? I don't know. I want someone removed from the situation, who doesn't have the ulterior motive of wanting a vacation in April or grandkids 10 months later (or alternately, wants us to push it off because getting time off in April will be harder for them than June), to tell us "look, it's just not enough time, give up on the April idea" or "don't listen to the wedding magazines that say you need at least 6-9 months to plan a wedding, this is do-able, just do it."

Comments very appreciated.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Part 2: My dress search, a story in many parts

We all know a story like the one I'm going to tell. A good girl, went to church every Sunday, volunteered at the soup kitchen on weekends, had her first kiss at 22, with a nice boy from her book club who held her hand and told her she was pretty and then one day- BAM- fell in love with a Hell's Angel biker and spent the next 3 years running after him while he treated her badly and dated strippers.

I thought I knew what I wanted in a dress. I wanted simple, not too frou-frou, not too poufy, not too complicated. And the good girl in my story thought she wanted a nice boy who would treat her right and call her everyday. But really we both wanted something edgy and different, something unacceptable and wrong, something we couldn't really ever have.

That's the analogy I've come up with to describe my feelings for the Pnina Tornai dress of my dreams.

I was at Kleinfeld's Bridal with IC's mom when she saw a row of dresses across the room and said "those are Pnina Tornai dresses". Apparently, Pnina is a huge star designer in Israel and, as previously mentioned, IC was born in Israel. In the U.S., her dresses are exclusive to Kleinfeld's. We picked out a Pnina dress, and several others by other designers, and headed to the dressing room.

I don't know about you, but I've never thought the words "wow, I am a princess" ever before. I looked AWESOME. Pnina's style is a corset top and big poufy, flowing bottom. I couldn't stop looking at myself in the mirror and twirling all around. This was it. This was it! It felt so good! It had to be right! Pnina was actually in the store and she was completely sweet and came over and chitchatted with us. I was babbling. "My fiance is from Israel, my ring is from Israel and maybe my dress will be from Israel!" Lalaland. Clearly, no dress could be better than this dress.

But, like the girl in my first paragraph, the dress was as wrong for me as the biker was for her. Sure, it felt good and I suppose she and I both daydream that we could fix this crazy, mixed up world so that we could be together (her with the biker, me with my Pnina dress), but we can't.


Oh, did I not mention is was ELEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS?

It's not the fault of the woman helping me at Kleinfeld's. When she asked me my budget, I said "I don't have one" because I thought I was already looking at the highest end dresses at like 6k. I was totally wrong. I was nowhere near the ceiling.

Also, and this part hurts the most--the dress and I are just not right for each other in the long run. The plan is, and has always been, to get married on or near a beach. Where am I going with my poufy dress? How poufy is it? Very:

Posting this pic brings me to one of my top pet peeves throughout this whole process--why do some gown stores, such as Kleinfeld's, not allow photographs (Kleinfeld's goes the extra mile and requests "no sketching"). It's entirely possible that had IC's mom taken a photo of me that day in my perfect Pnina dress that I would have looked at it every day and finally decided, to hell with right or wrong, I'm marrying the biker! Or, something. But I have no image to remind me how perfect that dress was on me and how I had never put on anything so beautiful. And, if I wanted to steal the design or "sketch" it, couldn't I just do it from the photograph on the website? So silly to ban photographs when a girl is trying to spend thousands and thousands on a dress. I might buy a dress from a place that doesn't allow pictures, but it's really unlikely. A purchase this expensive requires thought and consideration and staring at a photo of myself saying "I love this dress, this is the dress I will buy." And frankly, I look better in this dress than the model. Yes, I have a swelled head but really, I have boobs whereas the dress looks big or off-center on her. This picture does the dress no justice.

It took me a long time to get over the Pnina dress. Even now, I sometimes check the boards on Wedding Bee or Craigslist hoping someone is selling their Pnina, maybe at a fraction of the cost, and maybe we can make it work. I realize it's the equivalent of looking at the biker's Facebook and Twitter. But I'm trying to move on, I'm keeping busy, trying to look at other dresses--but you just never forget your first love.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Learn something wedding-related every day

"Remember when it comes to wedding invitations, they should always be handwritten – even if it is a more informal wedding."

-Ritzy Bee.

Part 1: My dress search, a story in many parts

When I shop, I am super decisive. That's hot, that sucks. I don't really have much range. I either love something or hate it, and if I'm even the slightest bit undecided, it goes into the hate it pile.

But dress shopping has been an entirely different experience. At the very start I got a glimpse into how helpful my mom was going to be when she said "every bride looks beautiful, just pick a dress." Thankfully, IC's mom is super straight-forward "that's ugly, take it off" and exactly the kind of person I need by my side when shopping for a purchase of this magnitude. She helped me figure out what styles look best on me, and she is really good at telling when something is just not for me.

But still, I am dress-less.

How did I get here? Let us recap.

I only started looking at dress photos after IC proposed. And I saw one right away that I liked a lot. It was Amsale and it just looked glamorous and different.

I went to their shop to try it on and stood in front of the mirror saying "I really think this is it." IC's mom snapped some pictures. I really thought "wow, I'm buying the first dress I tried on."

Then I got home and looked at the photos. And, I looked fat. Here's why that's weird: for most of my life, I was fat. Or, when I'm being charitable, big (really big) for my frame. I can tell you how it wasn't my fault that I teetered on size 14-16 in 2004, about how I had back surgery and had to eat laying down and couldn't even walk or do any excercise but the truth is I was always overweight. And despite that, I never really looked at myself in photos and thought "geez, I'm fat" like I did when I saw myself in this dress.

This is me in April 2002, not quite at my heaviest but definitely on the road there, with IC back when we were really, truly, swear to G-d, just friends (but as my mom said over New Years "I think you always loved her" to which he had no choice but to say "yes, always"), I've got rolls of fat showing and my arm is the size of a linebacker's but look at my face, and I don't just mean my double chin and huge cheeks--does that girl think she's fat? No way.

K and Shai

Today I am a very happy size 8. Would I be an even happier size 6? Or size 4? Sure, but I love my body and would rather have what I've got with minimal upkeep than be a regular gym-goer who only eats lettuce for a smaller size.

All of this is to say--why they hell am I feeling fat in my dream dress? I don't know. I guess it just doesn't fit right on me. Fine, here's my fat shot:

And lest you think it's in my head, here's me in another dress at Amsale, on the same day, which fits very nicely but ultimately isn't my style:

Tell me I don't look half the size.

So, back to the drawing board. Except I don't have a drawing board. Man, I wish I had a drawing board.

In love

This is not wedding related, but I figure it's mostly chicks reading this blog so you all will understand my excitement. I bought Christian Louboutin shoes today for $110 at Saks (the discounts at Saks are pretty amazing, Bergdorf and Barney's less so. It's like they don't know there's a recession!). They're not the stiletto kind, which, while admittedly the hotness, look ridiculous when women look like they're about to topple in them, they're just really cute with a small heel and give me some adorable toe cleavage.

Ok, fine, FINE, I'll post a photo of them.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


When we got engaged someone told me to start collecting wedding images that I like to help direct my wedding vision, or lack thereof. Maybe I'll see a veil or a place setting and want to duplicate it for my own. I tried to do that. But, well, I didn't get far.

I have, in total, three images:

I don't even remember what this is, or where I got it. Is it a cake? What I liked about is the flower. When I picture myself carrying flowers, they're blue and look sort of like that.

Then there are these two images, both by photographer David Wolfe in Grand Cayman. I really like his work and if Grand Cayman were to somehow work out (doubtful), he'd likely be our photographer. The first photo is taken at The Wharf, an incredible restaurant in GC. We had been there during our trip and could not rave enough about the food. I'm still thinking of the Wahoo I had there. I didn't even know it was The Wharf when I asked David where it was taken. It's just such a beautiful setting. It looks like what I imagine our reception will look like (except, for some reason, I prefer long rectangular tables to smaller round ones).

The second photo appeals to me because you can see some sort of floor and (I think) the ocean in the background. I'm still not sold on the whole ceremony in sand idea and I definitely don't want the reception to be on the beach. But if there were some way to have it very close to the beach as this reception appears to be, that would be my preference.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

About the current favored venue

There are a lot of aspects of Nikki Beach Turks&Caicos that I like. The photos look really beautiful, they would let us party all night following our wedding, it's secluded and it's small enough that we would be the great majority at the resort. But this article mentions some things I like...less.

"go-go dancer girls (shipped in weekly from Miami) sashaying to house music on the poolside bar."

I'm not sure what's worse, actually, the shipped in go-go dancer girls or the house music.

The rest of the article makes it sound like it's a disco-club with obnoxious rich people thrown in:

"It's the spearhead of an attempt to trade on the Turks' sun-soaked beauty while swapping the islands' sleepy reputation for more hardcore tropical partying.


Chillaxing aside, this is still Nikki Beach, home of infamous Sunday house music day parties, tabletop champagne fights, and Winter Music Conference celeb-DJ events, so better save sleeping for the plane ride home. And that better be a private flight, poseur. "

I like sleepy! And I don't think I've ever chillaxed.

It's still under consideration, obviously, but the major draw-back to booking a wedding so far away from home is that I won't get a chance to see what it's really like there. Maybe the go-go girls are good entertainment. And maybe the house music is played quietly as people relax. Oy. Maybe.

UPDATE: This writer visited Nikki Beach just last month and makes no mention of go-go girls or house music.

Spending the first thirty dollars

I am about to make my very first wedding-related purchase (the only other wedding related items I own are The Knot's guide to destination weddings, purchased for me by my adorable and sweet future-sister-in-law and a Williams-Sonoma Bride&Groom Cookbook, an engagement gift from my cutie-pie friend Lisa) and it's two pairs of flip-flops. Blogger brides featured one of them and when I visited the ESNY bridal shoe site I saw another pair that I'd like.

As we're still not sure if we're getting married on the actual beach or just in an area overlooking the beach, I can't say whether I'd wear these during the ceremony. But they're cute enough that it's a possibility. Anyway, I could always use another pair of flip-flops and I'm picturing myself wearing these around the resort even if I do opt for regular shoes for the ceremony and reception.


The number one annoying thing people have been telling me is "it's your wedding, you can do whatever you want." Sure, I could. If I were a jerk.

When IC and I first started talking about getting married, a place I had been to long ago popped into my head. The Gran Hotel Bahía del Duque Resort in Tenerife, Spain, where I had been with my parents when I was sixteen. I just remember being wowed by it. It was so beautiful and majestic. I showed it to IC and he agreed it looked amazing.

And then we priced the flights.

Our plan from the start was to cover the room costs for our guests. I know, I know, insanity, but he is insistent that this is what we must do. But flight? They're on their own. Putting aside that rooms at Bahia are prohibitively expensive (and assuming we'd get a big enough discount on the group rate to make it fit our budget), flight to Tenerife from New York is well over a thousand dollars a person, with a layover.

So, yes, I could certainly say nuts to my guests and have them spend over two grand a couple to fly to Spain for 4 days to see us wed. But, realistically, we couldn't do that.

Same goes for Italy. IC and I spent a truly magical 10 days in Italy last summer, driving around in a convertible, insanely in love, in a country where the landscape, the people and the food suited us perfectly. It was the best trip of our lives. We'd daydream about getting married on the black sand beaches of Forte dei Marmi, with the glorious mountains providing the backdrop, or having our dinner reception at the best restaurant either of us had ever been to, ever, Bottega del 30. Our friends had rented a villa in Lucca, so we knew how spectacular the houses and location were, and we considered renting several villas to house our 80+ guests. It worked out to be well cheaper than any of the hotels we were considering. But the flight, again, was way too expensive and too long for a short trip.

Trying to keep the flight cost low, we started looking at Caribbean islands with direct flights--Aruba, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico. Each didn't work in some way. We were in Aruba over new years, and while we would happily return to one of the few islands with legalized poker (we both love poker and basically paid for our last two vacations--Vegas and Aruba with the IC's mad poker skillz) it just wasn't right for our wedding. For one thing, all the beaches are public so they tend to be very crowded. We were looking for something a little quieter with a more chill atmosphere. St. Thomas had pretty much the same problem. With the cruise ships come the crowds. Puerto Rico was a consideration but San Juan is more like a city on a beach than a resort town. We'd like something more secluded.

Our first trip together was to Grand Cayman, a little under a year ago. We stayed at the Westin Casuarina and had a great time. The island was beautiful, the food was incredible and we loved the soft-sand beach. But. But. We nicknamed GC "lockdown island" because of its never-ending rules. Thinking about having a wedding there only solidified the nickname. For example, all weddings outside must end at 10pm. What?! Say the ceremony is at 6. Cocktail hour, and then we sit down for dinner at 7:30. Two and a half hours and we're done? No, thanks. Also, GC does not allow music outside on Sundays and, as we're Jews who can't get married after sundown on Friday or before sunset on Saturday, this posed a problem. The hotels there tell us they could get us an exception for the ceremony but it's unlikely the government will grant one for the reception and, even if they do, the exception would state that we could create a playlist on an ipod and someone could hit start but no further touching of the ipod would be allowed and no dj could be present. Seriously.

I looked at lesser-known islands. Tortola, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Barbuda, Bonaire. And then I sort of fell in love with the Four Seasons in Nevis. The flight was more than we'd like our guests to pay, $700 pp, but the hotel was giving us a good group rate and hello, it's the Four Seasons, you just know everything will be perfect. Then hurricane Omar hit it. Initial projections were that the hotel would be back to up and running by late February. Then March. Now late April. It just couldn't work.

And now? Now I'm into Nikki Beach Turks&Caicos. Again, the flight is more than we'd like (we were hoping for 500 bucks or less, direct flight. T&C is in the 650 range, some days there are no direct flights). Nikki Beach looks beautiful and with only 60, or so, rooms, our 80 guests in their 40 rooms would pretty much take over the place (and man oh man do I feel bad for those other 20 rooms when they encounter our Russian-Israeli fiesta). We're pricing everything out right now with fingers crossed. I'm told this is the hardest part, choosing a venue, and without a doubt it's been painfully difficult. But I do see that light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope it's not an incoming train.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Me, me, me

I never thought I would get married. It wasn't that I had anything specific against the institution, in fact I wholly supported others doing it and doing it well, I just never envisioned myself wearing a ring, walking down the aisle and swearing to G-d I was going to love this person forever. At best, I thought, I might live with someone forever. Who needed the vows?

And then I fell in love with IC. We had been friends for 10+ years, best friends for about half that, and our relationship from day 1 was on a marriage track. It wasn't scary, like I thought it would be. It was the most normal, natural thing in the world and suddenly the vows really, really mattered. I want to marry this man in front of G-d, our families and our friends. I want to swear to be his forever and to take care of him in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer (wait, do Jews even do that? Whatever--I want to swear whatever Jews swear. And I think I want us to write our own vows too, just as soon as we nail down every other detail necessary to get a wedding going.)

Somewhere around week three of our relationship IC said "I know it's early but I have to ask you a couple of things." Did I want children? Would I take his last name? And, obviously, we'd have a destination wedding, right??

Right. Yes. Definitely a destination wedding.

We are close friends with a couple who had a destination wedding a few years ago in the Bahamas and it was just perfect. You're on a beach with your best friends for a weekend. Nothing could be better.

IC proposed this September past. We told everyone we wanted to get married asap. No reason to wait, we knew everything there was to know about each other and we wanted in. We talked about late February or early March. People laughed. It takes time to plan a wedding, they'd say. Pshah, time. We're in love! And it's basically just throwing a party. We don't care how it happens we just want it to happen. We started looking for venues, focusing on the Caribbean. The projected late Feb/early March date got pushed back to late March. Then late April. Then we found out that our religion, we're both Jews, doesn't allow weddings in late April ("Counting of the Omer"). And there's only one weekend left in April, the first weekend, where a wedding might be possible. Most of May is taken up with Omer Counting too and, anyway, Russian tradition (I was born in Russia, he was born in Israel, both live in New York for most of our lives, he represents Queens I was raised out in Brooklyn) discourages marrying in May (although turns out that's a widespread superstition). So now we're at June. Maybe. We're still hoping for that early April weekend to miraculously happen.

When I say I never wanted to get married, I mean it, to the point where I never pictured my wedding. I didn't know what kind of dress I wanted or what kind of flowers. I never pictured a setting or a color scheme. I had missed out on years and years of daydreaming and was now starting from scratch. I never mocked the girls who loved weddings and planned every detail of theirs by the time they were 8, but I had never wanted to be one of them either. Oh how I'd like to be them now.

It's over three months since the proposal and I have got, literally, nothing accomplished. Oh, I can tell you about every resort on every Caribbean island from St. Thomas to St. Vincent, Tortola to Tobago. But we don't have a venue (I'll illustrate the problems we've had finding one in future posts. Please, contain your anticipation!). I haven't picked a dress. I never even heard of engagement photos until like last week. I don't understand the concept of favors. I'm still unclear on the word "bustle".

This blog is here to help me work everything out. I have bored and annoyed my non-wedding-planning friends on Twitter, Facebook and my 18 other blogs (kidding, just the two others!) for long enough. It's now time to annoy and bore the masses, right here on my wedding blog. I hope you'll help. I really, really need it.