Thursday, December 27, 2012

Looking Back and Looking Forward

What an amazing year! I never anticipated this blog going completely into wedding mode and I'm thankful that you stuck with me during a time when home and interiors took a back seat.  To be honest, I got a little tired of the wedding world myself about a month ago and took a little break.  It's time to fulfill my commitments to Weddingbee, where readers are owed a few more blog posts about our wedding.  From there, it's back to the world of home improvement, interiors, design houses, and maybe even a little real estate here and there.

There will still be a few more wedding posts, but I'm so excited to share some big projects in the works, including a collaboration with my favorite artist.

I hope you have a wonderful 2012! 

 The front of our Christmas card, thanks to Jen Fariello

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

From Weddingbee: The Ceremony

Our marriage ceremony was moved indoors due to a storm blowing through our area earlier in the day.  After our first look, we took portraits, but we did some more after the ceremony and I thought I'd save those pictures for a later post.  Let's move on, to the ceremony!

Just beforehand, word came that the venue was allowing our dog inside the building for our ceremony. We had originally been told that Baxter was not allowed inside, so we had thought the rain was the end of our outdoor ceremony and his participation.

Moving the ceremony inside meant that we've process into the space from the side.  I stayed up on a landing while most of our bridal party processed, so I didn't get to see any of what took place before I got into the room. 

All but one member of our wedding party were seasoned veterans of weddings, so the procession of the adults was pretty straightforward.  Marc's best man is his co-host on his radio show, so we're calling him DJ Best Man.  Then came GM Blue, who has been mentioned before. Last, was the rookie.  Marc's oldest nephew was a groomsman for the first time.  He's a Star Wars fan, so we'll call him Luke Groomswalker.

DJ Best Man, GM Blue, and GM Luke Groomswalker

Next up came the ladies. First came Sister Mink, who was carrying my new nephew in utero.  Next up was Dr. Bridesmaid, who is married to GM Blue.  Last in line was my "work spouse," MOH Mink.

Sister Mink, Dr. Bridesmaid, and MOH Mink

Now, I have to share my secret wish for the ceremony.  I did not want our wedding ceremony to be a quiet, serious affair. I wanted people to laugh. Having our niece and nephews involved along with Baxter would hopefully allow something funny to happen.

We seated our parents and the siblings whose children were in the wedding in the front row just in case any of the little ones were nervous. It was obvious that my youngest nephew wasn't going to make it down the aisle, so my brother (Sister Mink's husband) held him in the front row.The other three would take walk with Baxter. I heard about how this all went down from different people who were around the room.  Here's my best summary:

The two oldest nephews held onto Baxter and that last more brought up the rear. When the boys first stepped into the doorway with Baxter, everything was just fine.  Baxter somehow saw Marc over at the front of the aisle and decided that the preferred route to take was the direct one.  Baxter wanted to walk to the left, in front of the crowd, to Marc.  The boys had to convince him to circle around the seated guests to the back of the room so they could walk the aisle.

Junior Mink wants to go left and our nephews convince him to go right.

When the boys got Baxter to the top of the aisle, our guests started clapping.  I could hear the applause from my landing and assumed that they were just was reacting to Baxter being there. 

When Baxter saw Marc at the other end of the aisle, he picked up the pace a bit, which was probably a bit challenging for our photographers.

This last image cracks me up.  Baxter is probably headed right for Marc and the boys look excited and a little relieved that their job was done.

I was a little worried about Mini Mink's walk down the aisle because she can sometimes be a little shy.  We was amazing! I'm told that she took her flower girl job very seriously and came to a full stop each time she dropped petals on the floor. 

It was finally my turn to walk down the aisle.  Coming in from the side was kind of nice since I was able to survey the whole room before our guests stood up.  I debated whether I'd walk down the aisle alone, with my father, or with both of my parents early in our engagement and ultimately decided to walk with both of my parents.

 I mentioned much of the day being a blur back in my post about getting ready and I have to admit that the walk down the aisle is not ingrained in my memory.

I love that I can pick people out in the background of many of these photos. In the one below, you can see my brother holding my youngest nephew, the ring bearer who didn't make it down the aisle.  I can also see a colleague, an old neighbor, and my cousin's husband.  

My brother, Sister Mink's husband, read our first reading. I picked out The Master Speed by Robert Frost for two reasons. First of all, Frost is my father's favorite poet and I love his work, too. We've been reciting lines from Frost poems from years.  I don't know how I first came across The Master Speed, but I've seen it mentioned on Weddingbee time and again.  It's a wonderful, short poem that Frost wrote for his son's wedding.  Second, the line "Together wing to wind and oar to oar" spoke to both of us.  I think it beautifully captures the team aspect of marriage in a simple way.

DJ Best Man was Marc's pick to read our second reading, which was an edited down version of a quote that's attributed to Bob Marley. We used Marley's full name, Nesta Robert Marley, in our program, knowing that some might not know who that is.  Sure enough, some of our friends told us after the fact that they got a laugh over that.

The ceremony was not long, so it was soon time for the main event: the vows and our exchange of rings. 

Our officiant was our friend and former neighbor, Patricia Barth.  Patricia lived in Charlottesville while serving as an interim pastor at a local church and we got to know her and her husband at our little neighborhood's dog park. There are a number of fantastic officiants in our area, but we thought it would be special to have someone who knew us in that role.

Though we're a bit non-traditional in other areas of our lives, Marc and I decided that we were attracted to fairly traditional vows when we looked over options for our ceremony. Patricia gave us some books that covered wedding traditions and ceremonies of dozens of cultures and we picked out passages and lines that appealed to us.  She put the ceremony together from there.

We wound up making our guests laugh during our vows. Marc spoke his vows in his normal voice. I speak in front of large groups routinely at work and I guess my "presentation voice" came out when it was my turn.

One thing I remember from the ceremony is that Marc and I held hands the entire time and I never stopped smiling.

Baxter was pretty happy throughout the ceremony, too...

Within minutes, Patricia announced us husband and wife and we were walking down the aisle!

We stopped for a smooch at the end.

When we got outside the room, I remember thinking that the ceremony went by so quickly. As the rest of the wedding party came into the foyer, Baxter come over and I was able to take a few pictures with him. 

It wasn't the ceremony we imagined, but it turned out beautifully.

Do you have a rain plan?  If you had to use your rain plan, did it work out? What would you do differently?

All images by Elisa B Photography
Did you miss a Merry Mink recap?

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

MLS Photo of the Day

I can't help but take a look at the new MLS listings on the weekends.  I'm going to list the condo in the near future and I think it's interesting to see what's on the market fairly regularly. 

There's a great local website that allows easy browsing of new listings and I recently found one that made me a little sad for the owners.  There were just four images on the listing.  One was of a swing set in the yard and the others were exterior shots.  All of the shots were taken from roughly the same area.

I assumed that the listing would say something about more photos coming soon, but instead, there was no write up.  The "remarks" section of the listing was totally empty.

I really hope the sellers check their listing and get this corrected.  I don't know what a real estate agent's job is like, but I know what listings catch my eye and make me imagine myself in a home.  Three exterior shots and a swing set don't do it for me and I'll be a buyer at some point in the future.

When you look at real estate listings, what catches your eye?  If there was something you could make every listing have, what would it be?

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Friday, November 23, 2012

From Weddingbee: The First Look and Ceremony Space

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to share my recent posts from Weddingbee.  For those who are new to my blog, I've been writing about our wedding planning as Miss Mink (now Mrs. Mink) on the Weddingbee for about a year.   Rest assured, I'll be back to home and design blogging when I've fulfilled my commitment to Weddingbee. 

A pretty severe storm had just blown through the area around our venue, Pippin Hill Farm and Vineyards, and there was a break in the weather.  As soon as I saw a little sunshine, I wanted to get outside and take some pictures.  For all I knew, we had the only break in the weather in front of us.  The ceremony we so wanted to have with the Blue Ridge Mountains behind us wasn't going to happen, but maybe we could get a few pictures of the view that sold us on our venue.  Goodness knows the pile of dirt that had been there when we signed our contract wasn't the selling point!

Of course, first looks come before portraits, so I anxiously waited for Mr. Mink to be put in position so we could have our first look.  Just as I felt butterflies when the men arrived at the venue, I was nervous for this moment.  It made no sense.  Mr. Mink is the kind of guy who says you look great in pajamas.  I knew his reaction would be sweet and positive...

...and it was.

Want to see that from another angle?  I actually like this black and white images because I'm staring at Elisa, our photographer, and Mr. Mink is staring at Edward, Elisa's husband and second shooter.  It's as if we're both wondering if we're doing this whole first look think correctly.

I think we did it right.


 Elisa and Edward left us alone for a few minutes to take in the room.  The "granary" room at Pippin Hill was going to be our reception space all along.  We had been faced with three options when it was clear that the ceremony would not be outside. 

A. Have the patio furniture moved and set up the ceremony chairs on the patio. We would be assessed an extra fee of several hundred dollars.  We'd be outside for the ceremony, but some guests would be exposed and would get wet if the rain started to fall again at an angle.  What's more, the cocktail hour would have to be in the vineyard's tasting room.  The patio might not be a space for guests to gather later in the evening.

B. Have the ceremony in the vineyard's tasting room, which would not allow for everyone to be seated.  This would allow the patio to be used later in the evening.

C. Have the reception tables pushed to the sides and set the ceremony up in the middle of the main room. This would leave the patio and tasting room open for use later on. I was told that we could have vows in front of the open door, which might give us the mountain background. I thought that was a bad idea for photographs and suggested setting up in the opposite direction, but everyone said the doorway would work out.

Which option do you think we picked?

To be honest, I wasn't happy with any of the suggestions because of how they'd affect our music.  We hired local musicians William Walter and Tucker Rogers to play the ceremony and cocktail hour.  Originally, William and Tucker were supposed to set up on the edge of the Pippin Hill patio so they'd be heard in during the ceremony and cocktail hour. 

With this set up, guests would be inside for the ceremony, then move outdoors for the cocktail hour.  That meant there would be no audible music during cocktail hour. Music is so important to us and the set up was disappointing.

Music aside, I think our DOC, Amanda Gray, and her team did a wonderful job making the best of the situation.  If you ignore the reception tables on the outskirts of the room, it looks pretty, doesn't it?

I thought Pat and Sherry from Southern Blooms by Pat's Floral Designs did a beautiful job with the flowers and I loved how my lanterns looked lining the aisle.

 Did your ceremony space wind up looking a little bit different from what you expected?

All images by Elisa B Photography

Did you miss a Merry Mink recap?

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

From the Weddingbee: The Men Get Ready

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to share my recent posts from Weddingbee.  For those who are new to my blog, I've been writing about our wedding planning as Miss Mink (now Mrs. Mink) on the Weddingbee for about a year.   Rest assured, I'll be back to home and design blogging when I've fulfilled my commitment to Weddingbee. 

Mr. Mink and his groomsmen arrived at our venue just before a massive hail storm moved through the area,  Knowing they were getting ready while we watched the storm, I sent Sister Mink to the groom's loft with my gift for Mr. Mink.

My gift to Mr. Mink was a nod to all the gifts he's given me in recent years.  I have a thing for a particular jewelry designer, David Yurman, and every year, Mr. Mink gives me a piece of it for my birthday or for Christmas. He jokes that he never expected to have someone he considered to be "his" jeweler, but he's become friends with the woman at the store where he buys my gifts.

Originally, I thought it would be very fitting if Mr. Mink picked out a wedding band that was designed by David Yurman, but he didn't wind up liking any of the ones he saw.  I decided that I had to give him his first piece of Yurman, so I bought him a set of cuff links as a wedding present.  For fun, I also bought a pair of socks by his favorite clothing company, Tommy Bahama, and made a "in case of cold feet" label for them.

Months before the wedding, while on a walk with Junior Mink, Mr. Mink told me that I should write a little list of wedding traditions and practices that he should know.  I knew that he wasn't aware that some couples exchange wedding gifts and I deliberately didn't tell him.  I felt like he had done so many wonderful things throughout our planning process that I didn't need a present.  So kept quiet and was excited about the idea of surprising him.

This image of Mr. Mink pouring beer in his new socks cracks me up every time I see it.

Mr. Mink said that as they were starting to get ready, he said it'd be nice to have a beer and as if on cue, someone from the venue came up the stairs with a bin full of ice and beer.  Mr. Mink had delivered some special beer to the venue the day before and was happy to see his Tripel Karmeliet in the bin.

Then it was time to get down to business. 

That's GM Blue, Dr. Bridesmaid's husband

Yeah, business.

Did anyone else surprise their groom with a present?  Was anyone surprised by their groom on the big day?

All images by Elisa B Photography

Did you miss a Merry Mink recap?
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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From Weddingbee: And Then, The Rain Came

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to share my recent posts from Weddingbee.  For those who are new to my blog, I've been writing about our wedding planning as Miss Mink (now Mrs. Mink) on the Weddingbee for about a year.   Rest assured, I'll be back to home and design blogging when I've fulfilled my commitment to Weddingbee.

Just as we finished getting ready, Dr. Bridesmaid noticed that the men had arrived at our venue, Pippin Hill. You'd think that after knowing Mr. Mink for seven years, that this wouldn't be a big deal, but I actually got butterflies when I saw him coming down the little hill. 

Minutes after the men arrived, the inevitable happened. The rain I knew was coming arrived.

Photo by Dr. Bridesmaid

If you look at the bottom of these images, you can see the ice cube-sized hail on the ground.  I don't know why someone even bothered to put two ceremony chairs outside, but I was worried they'd get carried away because the wind was so strong.

 Photo by Dr. Bridesmaid

I had been so anxious about how bad the rain would be all morning long. When the downpour started, my bridesmaids went into consolation mode. Instead of the anticipated breakdown, I started laughing so hard that my stomach hurt. What else was there to do at that moment? It was a spectacular storm.

When the lights flickered, I was thankful that I had accumulated my massive cache of candles for Pippin Hill's main room. Just as I was wondering if they had a generator, Kelly from Pippin Hill's staff came into the bridal loft to assure me that they did.

Within minutes, the storm had blown through, but there was a lot of water left behind.  The bottom of the path that led from the parking area down to the venue had been turned into a moat, but at least the storm had passed.

Photo by Dr. Bridesmaid

The timing was actually perfect.  The guys were getting ready, so we had time for one last glass of champagne before our first look and bridal party portraits.

Did you miss a Merry Mink recap?

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

From Weddingbee: The Ladies Get Ready

For the next couple weeks, I'm going to share my recent posts from Weddingbee.  For those who are new to my blog, I've been writing about our wedding planning as Miss Mink (now Mrs. Mink) on the Weddingbee for about a year.   Rest assured, I'll be back to home and design blogging when I've fulfilled my commitment to Weddingbee. 

Once we arrived at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards, I nervously frittered about, organizing things in the bridal suite.  My MOH and I were there before Jeanne Cusick of Cville Makeup and Elisa of Elisa B Photography, so there wasn't all that much that we to do. The rest of the bridal party, Dr. Bridesmaid and Sister Mink, joined us soon after and the venue staff brought the food I had ordered. 

Much of the morning and afternoon are a blur. I don't know what came over me, but I stopped caring about all the details at some point and just wanted to go get married. When sweet Jeanne asked me if I liked something she was doing with my hair or makeup, I wound up looking at my MOH or Elisa. I guess I checked out a bit.

We hung around the loft, nibbled on the food, and champagne.  Amanda Gray, our DOC, had dedicated one of her interns to the bridal loft, so we didn't really have any tasks.  The intern steamed my veil and delivered little things I had in my bag that had to be placed elsewhere in the venue.

Dr. Bridesmaid brought her fancy camera (she's a fantastic photographer) and wound up documenting some things that I'll share in a future. I don't have as many photos of her in the loft because she wasn't doing much lounging around!

At whatever point Amanda's timeline instructed us to put me in my gown, that process commenced. I have an oddly nostalgic feeling when I look at this image of me showing of my monogram label.  I never liked my monogram (the letters don't intertwine, so it always looked strange to me), but I love that label.

I held that dress onto my body at the waist just to so I could avoid having one of those "hands on breasts" pictures.  

I was in my gown so quickly that Elisa asked us to unzip it and do it over again. You'll notice that in this second zipping up picture, I already have my bracelet on.

In just a few minutes, I went from sitting around in my robe to dressed and ready for the evening.  I'm so glad this was a moment that I shared with friends who have loved and supported Mr. Mink and I throughout our relationship. 

MOH and Sister Mink

Throughout the afternoon, I was checking outside to see how the sky looked.  Storms tend to come through our area quickly and I was kind of hoping we'd have a tremendous storm in the early afternoon and have clear skies by ceremony time.  The realist in me knew that no matter what, the ceremony was happening indoors.

All images by Elisa B Photography

Did you miss a Merry Mink recap?

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