fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

What the ladies will be wearing July 5, 2009

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Empress Carlota and ladies in waiting


As I wrote earlier, we have decided upon Wine and Lapis.  (A rumor from Chicago tells me that Wine is soon to be discontinued for Sangria, but because David’s is a national chain, I’m not worried– if anything, the ladies can get their dresses in Wine on sale.)


Amy made a delightfully useful spreadsheet with each possible dress in item number, along with the colors it comes in (Wine and Lapis, Wine only, or Lapis only), and details, bodice style, and description of the skirt.  She assures me that as people report in on the dresses they’ve purchased, I can fill in their names and have all information in one place.  For shoes, I just told them to choose black ones they liked.

Here are photos of some of their options, in either Wine or Lapis:


Picture 1


Picture 3


Picture 5


Ladies, if you’re reading– remember that you need to order by September, and to remind the consultants that you receive twenty dollars off of your dresses.  And let me know when you’ve chosen!

(photo of Empress Carlota and her ladies in waiting, from here)


The Dress July 3, 2009

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Last Monday, while in St. Louis with my madame du honore, I found the dress.  You might recall that I found another dress last spring, back when the wedding was for this summer.  But with a winter wedding, and a more formal, layered, textured plan for colors and decorations, I thought a different kind of dress might be better.


We arrived at the shop when it opened; we recognized Sue from when we had been there with Erin and Jennifer last summer to try on maids’ dresses.  I had a list of dresses I knew I liked from the website.  While Sue gathered them, Amy and I went back through the maids’ dresses, re-examining colors and considering different combinations.  We still loved lapis, but did we need a neutral to be the second color, or could we have another strong color?  What about truffle (chocolate brown)?


Then, Sue outfitted me with special undergarments and a giant skirt, and I stepped up on the pedestal to “dive” into the gowns.  (Sue always said, “Lift your arms like– dive in towards me.”)


We narrowed it down to two that had features I loved.  And then Sue brought out a new one, with yards of old-fashioned lace trailing and accentuating.  The gown is white, but the lace is a darker ivory.  Perfect.  Within forty minutes, I knew it was the one.


While Amy tried on some more gowns, we encouraged and commented upon a mother-of-a-bride in with her son (a groom) trying on dresses to wear to his wedding.  She was slender, with short blonde hair, and in one of the dresses–a chic, slim black dress–she looked especially fantastic.  When she came out, her son approved, and I couldn’t help but gush, “That looks amazing on you.  You look tres Manhattan chic, like you’ve just come out of an embassy party, being photographed for a magazine.”  We continued to chat, and in the meantime Amy and I discovered that we didn’t need a neutral after all.


While Sue ordered my dress, we spied dresses in wine, and decided that the two dress colors should be wine _and_ lapis.  The mother-of-a-bride asked me an ordering question, and was embarrassed when Sue rushed to tell her, “Oh, she doesn’t work here–she’s a bride!”  I said, “I don’t work here– you really do look amazing in that dress,” and everyone laughed.


Then!  My cousin Larry and his new wife Crystal came in– they had been married the previous weekend, and she was dropping off her dress to be cleaned and boxed.  So I took them around to see and approve the wine and lapis combination, and then to show off my dress.  We heard about their honeymoon, caught up on family gossip, and Crystal offered to lend me their cake cutter and knife.  “It’ll be in the family!” I gushed.  I take it as a good omen that they showed up.


Meanwhile, Sue ordered my dress.  In 15 weeks, it will arrive.  I can’t believe I have a dress.  I wish I could have a snatch of the lace to keep with me.  I suppose I will have it right around my birthday.  I’m not posting a full photo, but here are some detail images of the dress.


Picture 2


Picture 1


Picture 4


Picture 3


Lavender and blue March 24, 2009

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In this lavender inspiration board, I love, love, love those full, lush flowers in the top left-hand corner.  I can’t even tell if they’re real– it looks like the most amazing still life painting. And look at the tiny flower girl in the center– I love that as an unposed, lovely photograph. Finally, look at the invitation in the center, right-hand side– what an interesting way to have the lettering, totally cursive at a bias, with the letters filling the entire page.  The color combination is also fresh: lavender and red.



Oh, and cool, sweet blue.  Could I pull off a blue gown, like the tulle dream in the center?  And I want the bouquet in the blue windowsill, AND those pale blue beads.  And I adore the white lettering on the blue stationery.  Can regular printers print with white ink, if we make our own invitations?


I think pale blue, with tons of ivory, would look amazing with the lapis dresses.  And with the touches of lavender.  Am I going to far?  I think when the colors are as muted and sweet as these, it’s impossible to overdo it.


Serious color inspiration March 2, 2009

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Once we decided upon lapis for the brides-ladies’ dresses, my search for all things deep blue-to-purple commenced.  Add to this a love of lace, gold, and texture, and you can see how my eye spied the following collection of images.








(Sigh of contentment.)  Beautiful, beautiful things.


Beautiful beige January 27, 2009

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It might be these bright winter days with no snow, but lots of light that are making beige and “neutral” colors seem so appealing.

Look at these amazing tulle ball gowns for lights that Seeking Everyday Beauty made:


Here’s a close up:


And guess what they’re made of?


Old sewing patterns.  Beautiful, worn, patterned pieces of tissue.  One of my classmates last year used sewing patterns in her artwork, and in her senior thesis installation, which was a series of mixed-media paintings and writings that focused, in part, on a woman’s sense of self.  Patterns for women’s clothing are such a great medium to use for that kind of exploration.  But I’m loving the beige, the soft fullness, and all the possibilities– I imagine wrapping gifts with the patterns, and using pale colored ribbon to finish them off.


A simple Esty search for “beige” reaped more beautiful things:









I’m tempted to keep deep lapis as the dress color for the lady bridespeople, and accessorize them in all shades of creamy pale.


Ritzybee had an entire inspiration board around beige:


I adore the giant fabric flower on the shoulder of that gown.  I also think, with my basic sewing skills, I could make flowers like that from cheap cast-offs of pale, creamy fabric from fabric stores.  If they don’t turn out well enough to use for the wedding, I could still decorate little blank books, drawer pulls, and gifts with them.

PS: My friend Shelly contributed her ever-wise and dashing two cents to the question of registry inserts–go back to that post to read her comment.  We should all be so lucky as I am, to have someone as no-nonsense as her around to prick the faux-bubbles of constricting etiquette.


Winter forecast ahead? December 11, 2008

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Okay, friends and family, hang on to your hats– we’ve been thinking, and there might be a change in plans.

I currently am applying to PhD programs…hopefully, and in best case scenario, we will stay here.  Same place, same lovely apartment, same jobs and group of wonderful friends.  But– I’m also applying, for example, at Notre Dame, at a school in DC, and at the University of Aberdeen.  Scotland.  Scotland!

Which is great, exciting, fabulous.  The more we think about it, though, the more we worry that this summer might hold a major (and expensive) move.  Our wedding savings is going well, but even traveling to St. Louis and staying there is a little extra expense, and moving could really stretch our budget.  What if we need to move, and then do the wedding long-distance from wherever _that_ place is?  It’s worrisome.

I tentatively floated the idea of: What if we pushed it back into the winter, not the summer, of next year?  We have mixed feelings.  We’re ready, eager, and excited.  But the unknown causes a lot of stress, and the idea of having it in the winter instead of the summer is a huge relief– it means that we can settle into a possibly new location, job/program, and abode, and settle down before the traveling to our wedding.  It means not worrying about having all the funds and savings we’d like to have for the wedding.  And it means resting and really looking forward to it.

We haven’t made any sure plans in that direction– I haven’t contacted the church or any of our vendors.  But in our minds– we’re leaning in that direction.

Potential complicating factors: we have another close family wedding in October–what if they’re very comfortable getting married after us?  Is it a terrible feeling to be going “first”?  I have several girlfriends having new babies or thinking about new babies– does this ruin their plans or create stress?  Will everyone be disappointed in us?

Of course, as my dad put it, “It’s _so_ hot in St. Louis in July.”  I can imagine a winter wedding with even more candles that I’d been planning before, and cozy cookies for favors (maybe Christmas ornaments for favors?), and greenery everywhere.  We could even go back to the original inspiration: my green ring, and not fear a red kilt and dark green color scheme.  And finally, if Lady Aisla Rose is toddling by winter 2009, wouldn’t she be the loveliest escort for a groomsman ever?

Any thoughts?  Reassurances?  Ideas?


Colors: Lapis, lavender, and red November 21, 2008

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From pinks to purples.  After much discussion and examination of the David’s Bridal catalogue, it seems hopeful that a dark blue/purple will look lovely and not clash with the tartan Matt will be wearing.  I will be taking the kilt to David’s soon with some girlfriends to double-check, but meanwhile: I’ve been dreaming in deep plum and lavender.



(The dresses in the upper corner of the Board above are actually from the David’s catalogue.)




(How amazing are these roses!?)





My thoughts run–deep indigo and lavender. Lavender and champagne (with 10 bridespeople, some of them would wear the lapis, and some would wear a lovely champagne/ivory color).  Lavender with ivory, and some pink.  Lavender with shots of crimson red, even.  Unexpected, and still romantic.


One potential wrinkle–Matt’s younger brother and his fiancee have chosen purple as their main color.  I want to be sure that our weddings don’t “match,” or steal her thunder via color scheme.  They’re using purple, gold, and white.  Hopefully, if we use the lapis, we would have lapis, lavender, ivory, and red–a soft palette, with lots of muted colors…hopefully this would make the two looks feel very different.


I would love to be inspired by my gorgeous engagement ring and go with greens, but red and green feels too Christmasy.  And I’m just not a navy blue kind of person.  


Finally, check out this bit of literary whimsy from Wikipedia’s entry on “purple”:

“Robert Burns rhymes purple with ‘curple’ in his ‘Epistle to Mrs. Scott’. Burns is, as far as we can tell, the only writer to have used the word. A curple refers to 1) the small of the waist before the flare of the hips or 2) a derriere, rump or behind.”


(Last bouquet on Martha  Inspiration boards from Style Me Pretty.  Dragonfly print from via Style Me Pretty.  All other bouquets from Google.)