Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The second ever Wedding Planning Is Killing Me giveaway

This one is for brides-to-be in the NY area. I've got 4 tickets to an awesome Wedding workshop event hosted by Lindsay Landman Events and The Knot. Each winner will get 2 tickets so two commenters can win! Just leave me a comment telling me you'd like to attend and if I get more than 2 comments I'll use again to make my selection. (UPDATE: I forgot to mention, this giveaway ends at noon on February 26, 2009.)

The deets:

You're invited to the most stylish bridal event of the season!

Lindsay Landman Events and The Knot have teamed up to bring New York couples the most creative, innovative and smart way to plan your sophisticated City soirees. Meet and learn from the best wedding vendors in the biz in a relaxed, creative and inspirational atmosphere. Get your planning questions answered at the panel discussions moderated by top bridal editors and experience the finest cuisine, cocktails and decor New York has to offer.

* Each couple receives an amazing goodie bag worth more than $250 and a chance to win the fabulous raffle prizes including an all-inclusive getaway to St. Lucia and $1000 towards your wedding flowers!
* Try on designer gowns and jewels to find your wedding style with on-site hair and makeup consultations.
* Learn from the pros at two panel discussions moderated by top bridal editors.

Saturday, February 28th
11 AM - 3:30 PM
The Xchange
at The Terminal
640 West 28th Street, 9th Floor
between 11th and 12th Avenues

For more information and to see a highlight video of last year’s event, go to

11am: Custom vendor consultations, cuisine and cocktails begin and continue throughout the day
12pm to 12:45pm: Panel Discussion: Wedding Style & Trends
Moderated by Anne Chertoff, wedding expert and author of The Wedding Organizer
12:45pm to 1:15pm: Informal fashion show featuring bridal, bridesmaid and everyday style
1:15pm to 2pm: Panel Discussion: Bridal Beauty & Fashion
Moderated by Heather Levine, Fashion and Beauty Editor, The Knot
2pm to 3:30pm: More fantastic finds and food as well as goodies and gifts.

UPDATE: This giveaway is now over. Great news! All three commenters will get two tickets each to the show! Winners please email me at ksheinin at (change the at to @) with the names and email addresses of who will attend the show. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Two conversations

I love Jewish humor:

IC calls a Judaica store in Brooklyn to see about ordering yarmulkes for our wedding.

IC: Hi, I wanted to find out about ordering yarmulkes for, like, a wedding...

Woman: Like a wedding? What's like a wedding?

And I love my brother, always able to put everything in perspective:

Me: So, the problem is, we want to honeymoon, alone, for a few days after the wedding. But T&C is sooooo expensive and we have a 3-bedroom penthouse suite at our wedding venue hotel so it's hard to go to a mad expensive hotel room or small villa which won't be nearly as nice. But there are lots of guests staying on past our official wedding dates and we won't really be alone alone at our venue hotel.

My brother: Waaaaaaaaaaaah. Poor you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

It's the first ever Wedding Planning Is Killing Me contest

I don't know a single teenage girl who didn't use St. Ives Apricot Scrub.

Hell, teenage girl? It's the only product IC had in his medicine cabinet when we first started dating.

So it seems fitting that the first contest on this site (and many more to follow) would offer this awesome assortment of St.Ives products as the prize:

St. Ives pic for contest:

Included in your prize package will be:

St. Ives Smoothing In-Shower Exfoliating Body Polish, 8 oz.
St. Ives Protective Cleanser with SPF 10, 4 fl. oz.
St. Ives Mineral Therapy Body Wash, 13.4 fl. oz.
St. Ives Mineral Therapy Advanced Body Moisturizer, 18 fl.oz.

This is what you have to do to enter: in the comment section below, tell me your favorite beauty tip. For example, my favorite beauty trick is using a blowdryer on my eyelash curler for a few seconds before curling my lashes. The result is total vavavoom.

The winner will be chosen at random, by's true random number generator from the total number of comments received. The contest will go on all weekend long and end Monday at noon at which time I will notify the winner.

I can't wait to read your tips!

UPDATE: The contest is over and the winner is...Comment #12! The screenshot is below. Congrats, Stacy!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The hotness

Get thee to the Barney's Warehouse Sale. I went yesterday, and though it was a total zoo**, I went home with these beauties:


I'm not sure if I'm wearing them under my dress yet, mostly because I'm fixated on wearing blue shoes for reasons unclear to even me, but they'll obviously be part of many a wedding weekend ensemble.

**How big a zoo is the Barney's Warehouse Sale in its first few days? First a little background, there are no dressing rooms and women try on clothes in the aisles, some stripping down to their underwear with nary a hesitation. The Barney's Warehouse pros wear bathing suits under their clothes. This is an actual conversation:

Me: Hi, are you guys selling underclothes this year?
Salesgirl: Underclothes?
Me: Bras? Underwear?
Salesgirl: Oh, let me find out.

A different salesgirl walks by.

Salesgirl: Hey Betty, do you need underwear or bras?

I hear her say "need" and am like "whaaaa?"

Betty looks at me and says: No, anything goes, you can try on however. I saw this one lady...

I stop her right there. She thinks I'm asking if it's ok to try on clothes without wearing a bra or underwear. And she's cool with it!

Bucking tradition

I love flowers. Chocolate. Thoughtful cards. And going out to nice dinners. But I despise Valentine's Day with a passion that grows yearly.

It's not even the pressure of the day, that you must be completely romantic and wear red or pink and have an exchange of gifts on a random day in February.

No, I hate that this day is completely meaningless to me and IC. It's not the day we met, not the day we started dating, not the day we got engaged, it's just nothing. Love is special and intimate and original to the two people involved. Valentine's Day is a holiday for the masses to celebrate their love. It has nothing to do with us, and I want no part of it.

Similarly, there are a lot of parts to a wedding that have nothing to do with the couple and while I know some of these things are traditional, we're going to skip them.

One thing we're skipping is bridal shower/bachelor/bachelorette parties. We love our friends but hate the idea of having some sort of last hurrah (or, worse, some brunch with all women where all the attention is on me while I open presents and ooh and ahh. Could not be less me.) before getting married. What does it have to do with our marriage? And why can't we have hurrahs after we're married? And why do these kinds of parties have to be gender-specific. Most of my friends are male, how could I leave them out? Also, our wedding is 3 days long with all of our friends and family. If that's not a hurrah, what is?

And on the same note, we're not having a bridal party, no bridesmaids, no groomsmen. Only our families will be under the chuppah with us, or family as bridal party if you will. We plan to involve our friends in other ways, we may ask seven of them to read the Sheva Brachot during the ceremony, two of them will sign the Ketubah and the reception will be all about celebrating with them. But we're trying to keep the actual ceremony focused on each other and don't want to get distracted by what's usually done.

It's easy in wedding planning, and in life, to get carried about by what must be and to lose focus off each other. IC and are trying to be very conscious of that. And, no, we'll never, ever celebrate Valentine's Day. Ever.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

I must rave

I'm obsessed with Canyon Beachwear, a California-based beachwear company that has a store in New York. They have a drool-worthy website on which I spend much of my day dreaming of wearing their original and fabulous designer swimwear on a beach of my choice. I covet their gorgeous bikinis and adorable cover-ups.

I think my wedding weekend wardrobe will consist of this tunic, and this one, and these two bikinis. Oh and this one, definitely in white to have the whole bridal look going on. The last one has a skirt bottom, my favorite bikini look, in particular if I don't lose those 10 pounds I've been planning to lose before April. And I'll be rocking these flip-flops in my favorite color, brown.

I used to live nearby so while I'd been to Canyon Beachwear's NY store many times before to fullfill my swimwear needs, I only discovered their website when I started looking for a beachbag to use as a giftbag for our guests. I couldn't decide which one I wanted because they are all so cute. I wrote to the company and their CEO wrote back offering to make a personalized beach bag for us! They're going to start making these personalized beach bags for future destination weddings so if you're planning a beach wedding, I highly recommend buying from Canyon Beachwear.

The bag will be in their accessories section or you can order them via their toll-free number, 800-863-6681.

I can't rave enough about Canyon Beachwear and their terrific staff. They were helpful, creative and generally awesome.

Now that I've shown you the beachbag, I'll be showing you what I fill it with over the next few weeks! Get excited! Finally some fun wedding planning!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Whywhywhywhywhywhywhy, no really, why did I decide on 'Do It Yourself' invitations? Since when am I creative? Why am I buying a perforator (what the hell is a perforator, spell check has no idea)? Why am I learning about different types of card stock? Who knew little envelopes cost like 4 times the amount of big envelopes? I'm not even sure I'm saving money on this whole extravaganza! And the best part? Most of our guests have already booked their flights! There's very little mystery over who is coming and who is not coming. We have maybe 4 undecideds, in total! And yet we're still sending out incredibly complicated, yet pretty freaking cool, invitations this weekend. Because apparently, that's what's done. But if you run into a harrowed, confused redhead at your local paper store measuring yards of blue twine, that's me, just don't ask.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marry us!

We chose Turks & Caicos for our wedding for many reasons. It's beautiful, secluded yet accessible and just generally fit a lot of our criteria for a destination.

The one big drawback, for us, was that there was no rabbi on Turks & Caicos. We were so surprised by this. There are Jews everywhere. Even in Kabul, Afghanistan there were two synagogues (of course, there were also only two Jews in Kabul and they hated each other and each went to their own synagogue--true story, google it). There are Chabad Houses all over the world. But none in Turks & Caicos. So close to Miami! Who could believe it?

While neither of us is very religious, we did want a Jewish wedding and pretty specifically wanted it to be either Conservative or Orthodox instead of Reform.

We started looking for a rabbi but ran into a problem right away. Our wedding is on a Monday and everyone flies home on Tuesday. Passover begins on Wednesday and most rabbis just couldn't get away then.

My mom suggested we contact a rabbi she knows very well, one who performed my brother's Bar Mitzvah. He asked to meet with us and IC took to him like a house on fire. He was perfect, with the dry wit and humor that IC was seeking. He also seemed very wise. And then he said "you asked me for a rabbi to perform your marriage. I can not say then 'I am that rabbi!'" We were like "no, you totally can." But he was fairly adamant that he'd find us someone else. He suggested some funky, bohemian rabbi thinking that that was what we wanted (he called us "sophisticated" like 3 times. We both giggled.). But we didn't, we wanted him.

We gave up on that rabbi and moved on. We priced flights from Aruba to Turks & Caicos as we had met an amazing rabbi on that island over new years. It was madly expensive. We looked at No, I'm not kidding. I contacted two other rabbis who I had heard lecture in the past. While I was waiting for an answer, our rabbi called and agreed to do it.

We're so happy about it! We love the fact that he has a real connection to my family and also the connection between him and IC was really amazing. It's the perfect fit and we couldn't be happier.

Tell me whatchoo want

You know that song "Puttin' on the Ritz" (as opposed to the Mase song I quote in my subject line)? There's this line in it to which I've always felt some relation: "spending every dime, for a wonderful time." The rest of the song, about dressing up like million dollar troopers, trying hard to look like Gary Cooper, not so much. That is to say, that while some girls covet bags, shoes and clothes, I always liked spending most of my money on travel, restaurants, and general experiences over objects (the exceptions to this are bathing suits, sunglasses, books and skin care products). A wonderful time, in other words.

This has proven to be a bit of an issue when registering for wedding gifts. We weren't going to register at all, partly because I find it kind of tacky to ask for specific wedding gifts, and partly because giving money in lieu of actual presents is customary in both of our cultures (mine Russian, his Israeli, both New Yorkers where cash is the norm) (Sidenote: yes, I realize I just called registering tacky but my culture says cash in an envelope is ok). Also, IC and I are both in our 30's and we've had our own apartments for some time, we already have a toaster, a blender, and two fondue pots!

But people started asking for our registry and, encouraged by comments I received when I asked for advice on whether to do it, IC and I took a trip to Bloomingdale's to register. Three hours later, we had about four items on our registry, none of which we wanted all that badly. We made a slightly better list on Amazon though, honestly, if we really wanted a hamper wouldn't we have bought it already?

So, we started looking into a honeymoon registry. But there are some major problems with that too. For one thing, most of the honeymoon registering sites take a big cut of the guest's contribution. Why would we let our guests give 9% (or more!) commission to a site who is really just passing cash along to us? Also, we don't really know where we're honeymooning yet. We're planning to look into various Cays in Turks & Caicos, but haven't narrowed it down at all yet. Ambergris Cay, Salt Cay, Pine Cay, or maybe none of the above. So we can't even ask for specific items because we don't know what items will ultimately be available at our chosen location.

In closing, I don't know how to handle a registry and it's one of the few moments in my life where I really feel the weight of being an immigrant. It seems so odd to me to form a registry but I realize it is expected of us and I don't know how to do it. Suggestions? Thoughts?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sit down

I haven't been able to sleep. I've been hopping out of bed super early with my mind racing, all wedding all the time.

I have to admit, when brides have made a comment like that to me in the past, I really didn't sympathize. Don't worry, princess, your hair will be styled just so and you'll have the exact shade of teal tableclothes your little heart desires. But I'm not thinking of menu wording or seat cards. I'm not considering whether we'll have the talked-about after-party bonfire on the beach with a s'mores station. That's all fun planning, and I hope that part comes later.

Right now it's all airline offer codes, and fighting for group deals, and having to ask people whether they will attend despite the fact that invitations haven't gone out yet (this is actually as much for them as for us. Airline prices are madly fluctuating and we're starting to get afraid that when people start booking for our specific dates, they'll really spike).

Other examples of unfun issues we're dealing with right now include, but are not limited to that we still don't have a rabbi, and when we do find a rabbi to fly in he'll need kosher meals and where do we find that in Providenciales? IC has some concerns about the dance floor space (he thinks it's too small and we may end up renting a dancefloor to put right on the beach). IC still needs a suit. The invitations are ordered but the reply cards still need designing and printing. There are a million boring, annoying details to think about and my mind is buzzing all the time with every last one of them.

I need a break so on this early Saturday morning I want to blog about something frivilous and fun. And by fun, I mean funner that airline problems.

Reception tables.

I really like long tables. It feels very family and festive to have a long table full of your friends. Small round tables lead to people only hanging out with those around them. I wanted to make more of a cohesiveness between all the guests as they are spending a whole weekend together.

I got this image from, a destination wedding planning company in Turks&Caicos (we're not using a wedding planner, at least not yet, because all of the details thus far are not something anyone but myself or IC could handle without a lot of guidance). I like the U-shaped look but I think I'd prefer to have seats all along the inside of the U as well:

I love this look, from Martha Stewart. In a perfect situation, I'd love to have one very, very long table to fit all of our guests. It's not possible, though, for our location, the measurements of the location don't allow it:

Also from Martha Stewart, this is really pretty but I don't think high centerpieces work for long tables. I want people across from each other to be able to see and talk to each other with nothing in their way:

Two more long table examples, the top one from Martha Stewart, the bottom one from Blogger Brides.

Now, as I said earlier in this post, I am completely not up to thinking about anything like this yet. Maybe our venue only has round tables and if so, whatever, round table us up! I'll live, and live well. But there's something about picturing how I'd like things to look on our wedding day that makes me really happy. Even if things don't work out as I've pictured them, just the act of daydreaming while I'm working on all the aforementioned boring details brings me a little joy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Picture it

Even though IC proposed at the end of September, and even though we're getting married two months from today, we're planning to do an engagement photography session this weekend. I only learned that such a thing existed in December or so. I love, love, love pictures, so once I found out about the concept of engagement photographs, I wanted it and wanted it bad. The problem has been that despite the global warming we were promised, the weather has been frickin' freezin'. This Sunday, though, it's supposed to be in the 50's (that's like summer at this point) and sunny. We think we have a photographer we like that will do it at a reasonable price. Once he confirms, I'll link to his work to show you all. Update: It's Dave from DMoment Photography. Check out his work here. We particularly liked his engagement photos. He also blogs here.

The only consideration, really, is where to do it. We want to do it somewhere meaningful to us. We live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, pretty close to Central Park. And while I'm sure that if we decide to do it in the park it will be beautiful, I wish I could think of something a little more original.

We spend a lot of our summer on the beach in Atlantic Beach or Long Beach in Long Island, so I half-thought about doing it there, but figure with the wedding happening in Turks & Caicos, we'll have enough beach shots.

I would, of course, love to do it in Brooklyn, on the boardwalk, on the beach, in the streets, whatever, because, well, that's the best borough, but IC has some crazy Queens dedication that I'll never fully understand. So that brings us back to our neighborhood. The best idea I've got is to take some shots on the little island where Amsterdam and Broadway meet as we can see this island from our apartment. These are shots taken from our window of the island:

View from window

Picture 007

But even still, how many shots can we take on that island?

So, I'm looking for suggestions from New Yorkers on picture-taking ideas. Primarily we're interested in the Upper West Side but I suppose we're open to a bit of travel if it's something really cool.

And if we end up in Central Park it's not the end of the world. I just want some pro pictures of me and my baby, to remember this beautiful time when everything was hectic and insane, but we took the time out to document our love for each other and our anticipation of our future.

Suggest me up in the comment section if you're not barfing too hard over the last paragraph.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Final chapter: My dress search, a story in many parts

I did it, I got the dress.

Despite my post below, I actually wasn't very optimistic. The last Kleinfeld's sample sale was a bust. I tried on a few dresses, they were all too small, or ugly, or "wait, that's the sale price?". And also, while my mom hasn't been the world's most useful mother-of-the-bride (bless her but "every bride is beautiful" is just not helpful when shopping for a gown), the fact that she wasn't with us that time just made it unlikely I was going to get my dress. She might not have a strong opinion but I felt like I needed her thumbs-up on it.

I got there at 3pm, when doors opened, and both moms were waiting for me near the front of the line. We were number 56 and they were letting in 6 girls or so at a time. The line was very long behind us.

I chose 3 dresses to try on. The first was a Pnina. It's like I just couldn't give up on it. It was too small, and not nearly as *wow* as my original Pnina love.

The second dress was Aire, and it wasn't something I'd normally pick off the rack but I put it on, it fit perfectly, and I quite loved it. It felt very Caribbean. And it was cheap! Marked $1100 and 20% off! I mean, it's sick that that is considered cheap, but all you ladies who have bought wedding gowns feel me on this, I know you do, under a grand for a wedding gown, it's a bargain! This is not exactly it, but close, especially the skirt part:

So I'm thinking, wow, ok, I could totally do this dress. It's white, I really wanted ivory, but two months out of the wedding date and at this low, low price, whatevs! Should I even bother trying on the last dress? Eh, why not.

It's an Edgardo Bonilla. When my mom and the sales lady zipped it up, it was so obvious. This. Is. It. For those following along at home, I had no dress, no dress, no dress and then TWO dresses! But the Edgardo one was just more like the picture that had now formed in my head of what I would look like on my wedding day. The Aire one was definitely workable, but the Edgardo one was it.

I'm not going to post a photo, I actually don't have one of me in it because, duh, Kleinfeld's doesn't allow photographs and I can't find the image online anyway, but also because IC is adamant that he doesn't want to see it and I don't want to ruin the surprise for him. But I will say that it's ivory, and it's a classic, classic dress. Really beautiful and simple. There are some wild gowns over on Edgardo's site but this is not one of them. It's strapless but has like a beaded shrug attached to it. I'm going to make it detachable and wear the shrug under the chuppah and then just be strapless the rest of the night.

The major thing I'm feeling right now is WHEW. I just need some small alterations but no more bridal sales, no more running around. In total I visited about 15 bridal salons and tried on about 60 dresses. Our long national nightmare is over, I have found my gown.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

I have a good feeling about this one.

The title of this post is what I say to IC's mom right before we go on a dress-seeking excursion. I said it last Saturday when we woke up bright and early to go to the Saks in Short Hills, lured by a 50% off Bridal Sample Sale advertised on the Saks website. "I have a good feeling about this one," I said as she smiled hopefully at me.

When we got there, though, my good feeling faded. There were no dresses. I don't mean there were no dresses for me, in my size or in my style, there were NO dresses. Saks is closing all of its bridal salons with the exception of NY and Beverly Hills so all the dresses from around the country were to be shipped here and sold at 50% off. I don't know why there were no dresses, or why the Saks website led me to believe there would be. I just knew that that day was not going to be the day when I find my dress.

I actually went to the Saks bridal sale in New York--alone and twice. Both times I only had about an hour. Most of the dresses were bridal size 10, which are street size 6, and therefore just a smidge too small on me. It's completely frustrating trying on dresses that are too small, and the ones I found that did fit me just didn't work. It's also amazing that I'd still be paying like 3 grand for a dress at these bargain sample sales. The idea that I pay that much for a dress and it isn't perfect, well, it haunts me. I'd rather spend that money on other things; vacations, good restaurants, fancy bath products, a freaking car, anything else but a dress that I don't love that I'll only wear once.

Of course, having said all this, I have a good feeling about this one: I'm meeting both moms to head over to Kleinfeld's for their sample sale today. Of course there happens to be a blizzard outside and it's my busiest work day of the month but, I have a good feeling. Maybe it will just be there, at a low, low price and fit me perfectly. Maybe. You know, if there are any dresses there, any at all, it will have been more of a success than our last trip. So maybe that's the only win for which I should be hoping.

Monday, February 2, 2009

It's done. Ish.

We're getting the contract today and the wedding date is set as April 6, 2009. Our guests will be invited for April 4-7 to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. "Provo" to those in the know.

I'm suddenly gun-shy about publicly revealing the name of the location. I don't know what I imagine will happen; an uninvited guest will fly to T&C to crash our wedding? With all those Russians and Israelis there? Probably not. But I noticed that many wedding blogs don't give away the name of their venue and I wonder if there isn't something to that. What do you all think? Have I just let IC make me paranoid about sharing too much on the interweb?