Monday, April 30, 2012

She's Still Preoccupied with 1985

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-We picked a color palette and a "feel" for our wedding
-I espoused my love of old stuff
-I really, REALLY don't love David's Bridal

So you'll recall from my last post that before I even thought about what I wanted my bridesmaids to wear, I ruled out David's Bridal completely.

But what did I want them to wear, anyway?

I had quickly established purple dresses, with a red dress to distinguish my MOH, and that I wanted all the girls in the same dress.  As for what that dress would look like...

Okay ladies (and gentlemen?), it's confession time: I know I said it's impossible to find a bridesmaid dress which is truly re-wearable, but gosh darn it, I wanted to try to find one!

To me, what makes bridesmaids dresses so un-re-wearable are their length and the fabric from which they're made.  Nobody wears floor-length dresses to anything other than prom, and, in general, nobody really wears dresses made of shiny, satin-like fabric except for on rare, super-formal occasions.  Our daytime, just-on-the-casual-side-of-the-scale wedding means that floor-length shiny dresses probably wouldn't be affordable anyway.

Just to re-iterate, this makes the requirements for these dresses:
-available in a dark purple (and red)
-shorter than floor-length
-not shiny
-also not fugly because, hello, I love my friends- basically, it needed to be something I would wear on any given day (well, any given special day) because if I wouldn't wear it, why would I ask my friends to wear it? not terribly specific.  Basically, it narrows down the field to anything but this:

It's like the 80s threw up all over this photo // via Bridesmaid Trade
Erm, let's narrow that down a bit further.

Because this is a church wedding, I really didn't want my ladies in strapless dresses.  Sure, we could get sweaters/pashminas/scarves to wrap them up in, but then we'd have to hunt for said sweaters/pashminas/scarves.  Also, not everybody likes strapless dresses, and I wanted to make sure nobody hated whatever got picked.  If possible, I wanted to find dresses that would cover their shoulders, though this wasn't a strict requirement.

When I say "not floor-length", what I mean is anywhere from knee-length to tea-length- and certainly nothing shorter than the knee because, again, we'll be in a church, not a club.

I guess you're just not allowed to sit down when you wear this dress // via
My final requirement was that the dresses cost less than $200- preferably closer to $100 (or less) but unfortunately, you get what you pay for, and the most important requirement here is Not Fugly.

So the search began!

At first, I was determined to find a not-bridesmaid dress for the ladies to wear- ie a dress bought from a store that doesn't sell bridesmaid dresses.  If their dresses came from a Regular Clothes Store, I reasoned, then they would look like Regular Clothes and not bridesmaid dresses.  Naturally, I turned to ModCloth first, and I found this lil beauty:

Soda Fountain Dress in Grape and Cherry, via ModCloth

FACT: This dress, in every single color, has been on my ModCloth wishlist since the first time I saw it...I've just never clicked "purchase" because I like trying on clothes before buying them and I haven't had an "excuse" to buy this dress.  So CLEARLY it passes the "would I wear it?" test!  Pictures of the models wearing it put it at roughly knee length, the shoulders are covered, it's in the right (ish) colors, it fits the vibe of the wedding, and it DEFINITELY fits the not-expensive requirement...

But this is not what my ladies will be wearing.

Originally, I had asked the girls to give me their measurements, in the event that I found a dress online that would be "the one".  I figured the only way to ensure that the right sizes didn't sell out before everyone got a chance to buy theirs would be for me to purchase them all at once and have them reimburse me, and to do that, I'd need measurements to make sure I got the exact right sizes for everyone.  The only problem with that is, well, not everyone is particularly responsive to Facebook messages, so around the time I was considering this dress, I didn't have measurements from everybody, and someone even pointed out that, really, it would just be easier to have everybody try on and purchase their own dresses.

That kind of rules out ModCloth as an option.  (Many of the most popular sizes of these dresses sold out quickly, anyway.)

Even so, I spent an awful lot of time drooling over ModCloth dresses before I finally put the idea to rest...

(technically 2 different dresses, but they go together so well!)
Okay, okay, so most of these dresses don't actually meet all of the requirements, but rules are made to be broken!  And more importantly, THEY'RE ALL SO GOSH DARN PRETTY!!!!

Alas, it seems the only way to satisfy my craving for ModCloth will be to buy one (all?) of these dresses for myself instead.

So, no David's, no ModCloth...just where will my ladies be buying their dresses?  You'll have to tune in next time to find out!!

Did you go the non-traditional route when looking for bridesmaid dresses?  Does anyone else share my obsession with love for ModCloth?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, April 27, 2012

You Won't Necessarily Love David's Bridal

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-We picked colors, although getting there was a little weird
-We decided our wedding will not be a black-tie affair

From Disney's Mulan // via deliriant on tumblr
So, I've been a bridesmaid in a grand total of 2 weddings thus far (and both of those lovely brides are now in my bridal party!) and I actually find it really fun.  I've learned a lot from both of these experiences, and I hope that what I've learned has helped me make the experience of being in my bridal party a pleasant one for my ladies.  (Of course, the weddings I was in were for two really low maintenance brides who are far less controlling than I am in their everyday lives...)  What's the most important thing I've learned?

There is no such thing as a truly re-wearable bridesmaid dress.  They just do not exist.  The only place you could ever re-wear a bridesmaid dress is a formal dance (if you're still in school) or maybe, if you're lucky, as a guest at another wedding of equal fancy-ness.  If your goal, as the bride, is to dress your ladies in dresses that are guaranteed to become a part of their regular wardrobe, you have to let each girl pick her own dress from whichever store she likes best.

Enter: the mis-matched bridesmaid trend.

I actually think this is can look really lovely, and definitely makes for beautiful photos:

Photo by Erin Hearts Court // via flutterfly events
Photo by Jamie Bott Wedding Photography // via Fifties Wedding
However, I just...don't want to do it.  I don't know if it's because I'm old-fashioned or what, but I like the look of matching bridesmaids, and it just feels...right for our wedding, even if we're not going fancy-schmancy.

So we made the decision to have my attendants all in the same dress, with my MOH in a different color.

Remember our color palette?

I decided to put 6 of my ladies in purple, and my MOH in red.

Next decision: where to buy the dresses from?

Both of the weddings I've been a bridesmaid in had us in dresses by David's Bridal.  I completely understand why the brides went this route: they're all over the country, they have a decent selection of styles and colors, and as far as bridesmaid's dresses go, they're pretty affordable.


Let me first state that the following is my OPINION, based on my own experiences, and is in no way meant as a critique of those brides' decisions.  My two wonderful friends had lovely weddings and the bridal parties looked gorgeous.  I am not trying to complain about the experience of being in either of their weddings.



Sorry, that's a little harsh.


In the first of the two weddings, all the bridesmaids got together to go shopping with the bride at one time.  I don't remember if we actually had an appointment, but it certainly didn't feel like it.  It was a very busy afternoon and the sales associate was distracted; she seemed to think it more important to get us all out of the store quickly than to help us make a decision about which dress to choose.

In the second of the two weddings, the bride had already chosen her favorite style and we went to our respective stores to try them on and place orders.  Every dress style is sized slightly different- this is true of pretty much any garment, which is why I find it difficult to shop online without the ability to try things on.  I honestly would not have been surprised if my size in this style had been different than the size of the previous style.  In wedding #1, I wore a size 4- which is, admittedly, not my normal dress size.  In most stores, I'm a size 6.  The day I went to try on dresses, I was feeling particularly bloated, so when the associate asked what size to pull for me, I said "A 6- hopefully!" in a sort of joking tone.  I tried on the 6 and it was much too big- I'm not exactly a chesty girl anyway, but I would've needed to stuff this thing with pillows to fill it out.  It hung on me like a pillowcase, clearly not my size.  When I voiced these concerns to the sales associate, she told me that since it's the sample, it's been tried on by hundreds of girls and therefore stretched out- a "real" size 6 would be smaller.  I told her that I understood, but it would make me feel better if I could try on a 4- and she said no.  The woman would not allow me to try on a size 4- probably because another girl walked in and she didn't want to deal with me anymore.  She drew up the paperwork to order a 6 and, low and behold, when it came in, the dress was way too big for me and needed to be altered, as there wasn't enough time to exchange it.  The seamstress looked at me like I was crazy when I tried it on for her to pin- she literally needed to take the dress in at every seam in an attempt to take the dress down an entire size.  After all her hard work, the top still didn't fit properly, and I felt like you could see down my shirt all day!

{personal photo} See?  It's all bunched-up and gap-y!  And Mr. Geek is making a funny face! (Though that has nothing to do with the size of my dress)
In short- I was NOT going to subject my ladies to the horrors of David's, affordable or not.

So where would they be buying their dresses from?  And what dresses would they be wearing?

You'll have to tune in next time to find out!

Has anyone else ever had a horrible experience with David's Bridal?

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

And I Do My Little Turn On the Catwalk Part 2

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure:

-I tend to pose when there's a camera around
-Mr. Geek makes goofy faces when there's a camera around
-We worked on toning down both of our tendencies for our engagement shoot

After posing out on the swing set, it was time to change clothes and head to the next location.  Since I knew my costume change would take a while (as I'm a girl), I handed Emile my ring and a Scrabble board to see what would happen next!

These are our initials, by the way.  We're not making a dirty joke.
I asked him to take a few shots spelling out the date and location.  By that time, Mr. Geek was done changing clothes, as evidenced by the below photo

Once everyone was ready to go, we went down to Leesburg's historic downtown for some more beautiful photos like these:

Gotta have a shoe picture!
Then it was time for one more costume change and a metro ride down to Old Town Alexandria, the place where we first fell in love.

Hey look, we're both looking at the camera!
This is an instance where silly faces are a good thing
The next day, we went into DC for the last batch of pictures.  We danced on the Mall:

We went to the Museum of American History, mainly just to play around, but there were a couple of cute photo opportunities:

And finally we went down to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial

This is also where we shot the "interview" in our engagement video I showed you in the first post!

Where did you go for your engagement pictures?  Did you buy a new outfit or shop your closet like I did?  Did you do your own hair and makeup (like I so obviously did) or did you get it done professionally?  Were you lucky enough to have a "friendor" for a photographer?

Much love,
The Geeks

Monday, April 23, 2012

And I Do My Little Turn on the Catwalk

Confession time:

I love having my picture taken. 

Acting like  a supermodel, around age 12 or so
Sure, I went through a phase where I hated having my parents' camera in my face,

At the beach, age 7 or so
but for the most part, I've always been good about putting on a show when cameras are around.

We were lining up for a little race through the neighborhood; I was more concerned with the camera getting my good side.  Shout out to MOH (the one in the Alabama shirt) and BM BabySis (the lil toddler on the end)
Maybe it's because I was a dancer from age 3 through high school

That's me standing on the far right, tap class, age 9
but then again there were times when, even in costume, I didn't have the patience for pictures.

Age 9 again...MOH has more patience than I do in this picture
Mr Geek, on the other hand, normally reacts like this when there's a camera around:

Ring Banquet at Virginia Tech, 2009
Ring Dance at Virginia Tech, 2009, with BM BabySis
If he even looks at the camera at all!
So we had a bit of a challenge on our hands when it came time to talk about engagement photos.

Wait wait wait- engagement photos?  But I haven't talked about booking a photographer yet!

...that's because we haven't booked a photographer yet.  Still.  Yikes.  I'll get to that in a later post.

See, Mr. Geek has this wonderfully talented friend named Emile.  He's one of those guys that's good at everything he tries- and incredibly humble, to boot.  One of those things Emile is good at is photography!  (See where I'm going with this?)

Since Mr. Geek moved up to Leesburg, he's wanted Emile to come visit and see the area.  Almost immediately after we got engaged, Mr. Geek asked Emile if he'd like to spend MLK weekend with him and, if he wouldn't mind, take some pictures of us.  We paid for his airfare (since flying from Louisiana to DC is not cheap), covered his meals all weekend, and showed him a good time at some museums and touristy things in DC, and in return, he took some beautiful pictures of us.

Want to see?

Our first set was taken on the swing set right outside of Mr. Geek's apartment.

This photo and all following courtesy Emile Frey
To ensure there were no goofy faces (well, not too many, anyway), I told Mr. Geek to just look at me most of the time instead of the camera.  This gave us pictures with natural smiles on both our faces instead of awkwardness or forced facial expressions.

Of course, staring at each other the whole time made it kind of difficult to not just do this:

and it also didn't necessarily prevent goofy faces
This is actually one of our favorite pictures from the weekend!
but at least those goofy faces made me laugh!

We have a ton more photos from the e-shoot weekend...but you'll have to tune in next time to see them!

Do you like having your picture taken?  Does your groom?  How did you get over camera-jitters?

Much love,
The Geeks

Friday, April 20, 2012

A Good Book

Previously, on Our Geeky Adventure

-I bought an old dress [MR. GEEK DON'T YOU DARE CLICK THAT LINK]
-We established a theme of "geeky-ness" and "adventure-ish"
-We decided to express "geeky" with books

I've been reading wedding blogs for...longer than I care to admit.  As such, I have become extremely...uh...inspired by a few trends featured in bloggy weddings.  ["Inspired" sounds so much nicer than "obsessed".]  In becoming obsessed with inspired by weddings I've seen on blogs, I've discovered two key words pop up again and again:




[And "intimate" but I've touched on that already.]

Now, ladies (and gentlemen?), let's be honest- as nasty as the WIC is, the WBC is pretty bad as well- the Wedding Blog Complex.  You know- the idea that you have to create every element in your wedding yourself and you have to hold mustaches on sticks and hang bunting everywhere because, in the end, the reason you're having this wedding is to get featured on a hip, cool blog?

Wait, this post isn't a rant.  Other people have ranted about this before.  So I'll just say this- in the beginning, I fell victim to the WBC as well when I found myself inspired by Rustic and Vintage weddings.  (Remember how I wanted our theme to be A Good Old-Fashioned Love Story?  It's because I wanted our decor elements to be books and vintage-y things.)

I'm pleased to say that, through talking with Mr. Geek about our wedding and, more importantly, our MARRIAGE, I've come to terms with the fact that it's more important for our wedding to be a fun party for our guests than to look perfect and pretty and trendy.  You would think this would be an obvious conclusion for me- I've never exactly been in with the "in crowd", why would I want our wedding to be?

Still, vintage decor elements aren't a bad thing!  You saw how going vintage has worked for us already- remember how affordable my definitely vintage wedding gown is?  It was with this success already under my belt that I convinced Mr. Geek to join me for an afternoon of antique stores in Leesburg, even though he had spent many similar- and painful- afternoons with his mom growing up.

Unfortunately, I was a bad blogger bride and didn't take any pictures on our antiquing adventure!  But trust me when I say it was a blast.  We went to several quaint little stores and found, in addition to elements for our wedding, a ton of beautiful pieces of furniture we wanted to buy for the house that we probably won't own for another 5-7 years.

Want to know what we got?

Weeeeeeeeeeell I'm not going to show you all of it in this post, but I will show you what we're going to do as centerpieces!

Old books!

Pretty old books!

Which old books, exactly?  Perfect ones.  Want to know why they are so perfect?

That first stack consists of:

Did you know: Mr. Geek is a chemical engineer, and is of German descent.

MAGIC, you guys.  Also, SCIENCE.  Need I say more?

And the second stack:

Okay so...neither Mr. Geek nor I are actually fans of Dickens, per se...the perfection of this choice is much, much geekier than that.  Anyone here a fan of LOST?  If you're not...I'm not going to take the time to explain it fully here (because that would be impossible) but Desmond, one of our favorite characters, carried a copy of Our Mutual Friend on him everywhere, though he'd never read it.  He'd planned for it to be the last book he read before he died.

Okay confession: I wanted this one because it was pretty.  I mean yes, I've read the story and I really like it, but most importantly- it's really pretty.

...yeah okay this one's pretty too.  I actually kind of hate Dante.  Buuuut I love Les Mis!  And also Ben Franklin!

These are the only books we picked up on this trip, and, to be honest, they are probably the only vintage books we'll be buying.

Notice there are only two stacks...

You'll have to wait until a later post to find out why, but it has to do with our placement on the formal-casual spectrum.


What will your centerpieces look like?  Did you fall victim to the WBC?  Don't you just love the smell of old books?  (And new books, for that matter.  Any books, really.)

Much love,
The Geeks

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Friends with Benefits

I have this friend that I've known since, oh, about the fourth grade, who's always been there for me.  School projects, Girl Scout stuff, even Christmas decorations- I've been able to rely on this friend for almost anything.

Even when I went away to college, and then moved up to the DC area, I've been able to visit this friend fairly often.  Sometimes these visits aren't particularly productive; sometimes it's just to say hi.  But it's nice to know he's always there for me.

I'm talking, of course, about my friend Michaels.

Why are you looking at me like that?  Who did you think I was talking about?

You see, since I've always been able to rely on dear ol' Michaels for craft-related emergencies, I knew I'd be able to rely on him for wedding planning.

Armed with a buy-one-get-one-50% off, Mr. Geek and I decided to pop in for a visit with Michaels just after Christmas to take advantage of the sales.  We didn't have a particular goal in mind; I'd assumed this would be one of my just-stopping-in-to-say-hello visits, and the coupon was mainly a just-in-case measure.  We did, however, have some inspiration to guide our browsing.

You'll recall from a previous post that the theme Mr. Geek and I settled on for our wedding is Our Geeky Adventure.  This means our decor elements need to fall into one of two categories: geeky things and adventure/travel things.  Books translate the geeky theme rather well, and I liked the look of having the ring bearer carry a book or a stack of books instead of a pillow.

via United with Love // photo by Mary Kate McKenna Photography
via Weddingbee // photo by Hanssie Trainor Photography
Once I showed pictures like these to Mr. Geek, he liked the idea, too.  We had both figured we would use a Harry Potter book with a ribbon tied around it, because we weren't too keen on cutting one apart to place the rings inside.

And then my friend Michaels came through for me, like he always does.  He had an entire shelf of hollow cardboard decorative containers, some shaped like books, some shaped like suitcases, some shaped like treasure chests.  They were covered in different patterns and colors and came in several different sizes.  Best of all, they were all on sale!

I won't hold you in suspense any longer.  We snagged this little guy for our ring bearer to carry:

This book is tiny- the perfect size for Mr. Geek's little nephew to carry in his hands.  And it's covered in maps- matching our "adventure" theme perfectly, though subtly.

Mer Pacifiq means Pacific Ocean in French
Here's the inside.  My ring decided to model for me to show you this little book's utility.
Later, I'm going to hot glue some ribbon inside the hollow space so the rings can be tied on.  We've gone back and forth about whether or not our little ring bearer will actually be carrying our rings down the aisle- there is the distinct possibility that, in his excitement, he'll decide to show us how far he can throw this little book.  Regardless, pictures will be taken with the rings inside to pretend it was done that way.  Of course you lovely readers will be the first to see the finished product!

To bring in more of the adventure part of Our Geeky Adventure, I thought it would be a good idea to use a suitcase (preferably vintage!  You know, so we'll be featured on hip blogs!) as a card box.

via Intimate Weddings  // photo by Steep Street
photo by achandler on Weddingbee
via Ruffled // photo by Jonas Peterson
Mr. Geek told me not to tell you this, but I'm going to anyway- he didn't even know what a card box was, or why we would need one at our wedding, until I showed him some of these pictures.  Once I did, though, he liked the suitcase idea, too.

Well, wouldn't you know it, Michaels followed through once again.  On the same shelf as our little book, in the same pattern even, we found a (cardboard) suitcase!

With buckles and everything!
It's covered in the exact same map motif, and it's nice and sturdy even though it's only cardboard.

Later, I'll make some sort of sign that says "cards"- either in a frame sitting next to the open suitcase, or individual letters hanging from twine inside, like in the inspiration photos above.  I'll be sure to keep y'all in the loop when it's finished!

What is your ring bearer carrying down the aisle?  Do you trust him to carry your rings?  What are you using for a card box?  Did your groom know what a card box is?

Much love,
The Geeks

*all photos personal unless otherwise stated