fireflies and cottonwood

our wedding blog

In love: Njur Design December 16, 2009

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It arrived in the mail, demurely wrapped in brown parcel paper, covered in Polish stamps.

Inside, a white box shimmered with silver handwriting, a translucent label, and ivory ribbon.

My heart started racing.  I opened the box: first, I saw the silver handwriting, on a small tag, on an ethereal fabric flower.  The color of the fabric?  Imagine the inside of a seashell, lit by candlelight.

And I hadn’t even ordered a fabric flower. I had ordered a bolero, to wear atop my wedding gown.  It will be chilly in January, and I wanted something to cover my arms.

I had been scouring Etsy for more than six months. I looked at lace boleros, ones knitted with mohair or cashmere, little jackets with beads and satin, and tulle confections and capelettes.

Nothing was quite right. Either I worried that the lace wouldn’t match the lace applique on my dress, or the fabric wasn’t luxe enough, or when I contacted the seller I didn’t feel good about working with them.

Finally, I happened upon Njur Design. First, I noticed that there seems to be a narrative for the collection, and for each piece.  Notice that the garments and jewelry have natural names, and seem part of a near-enchanted landscape.

Now, look at the fabrics.  Oh, the billows of her skirts, the unique lenghths of ribbon falling, the unusual textures and play of shadow and light.

I contacted the designer, and she is amazing to work with.  I ordered the Ice Mountain Bolero.  Honestly, if I had found Njur Designs before I had purchased my wedding gown, I would have happily ordered my gown from her as well.  Look at the Spring Frost dress—-breathtaking!  Maybe for the next fancy party I go to, I’ll have her make me the Spring Frost in a grey or deep blue…

Back to opening the package.  The flower corsage was a lovely, gracious gift.  After I oohed and ahhed over it, and showed it to Matt, I carefully pulled the bolero out of its wrappings.

Oh, my.  It is even more beautiful than in the photographs.  The fabric is incredibly light, the lining is a dream, and it feels like I’m wearing something made by elves.  I cannot describe how the fabric looks in the change of light.  It is exactly the color of the wide ribbon the florist will use for our bouquets, and matches the lace on my dress.

And, the button!  Speaking of elves.  The pewter button that fastens it is itself a work of art, clearly handmade, and signed on the back.  I like to imagine that the designer found it in an enchanted mountain stream, high above the valley.

I am in love.  The sleeves are dramatic and the whole thing fits me perfectly.  I cannot wait to wear everything together: the gown, my golden shoes, Janet’s veil, earrings Matt bought me for the occasion, and this bolero: a perfect piece of art.


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


“Full court dress with feathers and trains” February 23, 2009

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My gorgeous ring has inspired new dress dreams.



Technically, this dress is from the 1930s, but I will call it “Edwardian revival.”  Look at the sleeves, and the amazing skirt.  Sigh.



According to “Victorian web,” this lady was attending court, in response to an invitation that required: “The Dress Regulations are: Ladies: Full Court dress with feathers and trains. Gentlemen: Full Court dress.”  

Do you think I could get away with asking that on our wedding invitation?  😉



I think this third one is my favorite.  The sleeves are amazing, as is the slight train.  I also love the silhouette, and the draping of the waist and around the shoulders.

First image from , third from


Big hair January 5, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 11:49 pm
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I got my hair cut over Christmas break; it occurred to me that this might be the last time I get it cut before the wedding.  And since I was with my sister the aesthetician, I of course began asking about hair extensions, volume, and how to make hair “big.”


I can already anticipate some of my bridespeople trying to talk me down from this (Jodut), but we so rarely have the chance to wear ball gowns, and bejewel our hair, these days.  A tight, clean chignon?  No, thank you.  A “bridal ponytail”?  Oh, no.  I don’t even wear a ponytail on _normal_ days.  For the wedding day, I want huge, Victorian, voluminous hair.  I’m thinking Keira Knightley in any of her period pieces, John Singer Sargent ladies, and women immortalized in Grecian statuary.



This hairstyle is wonderful… although, I might like it even a little bigger in the back.  



This is a pretty nice contemporary version– I like the falling-apartness of it.




Yes– this is very, very pretty.




A real Victorian!  Look at the height on her hair!  And look at her curves and creamy skin.  I love the delicate strap of her dress.  And isn’t she absolutely aware of how splendid she is?!




Another Victorian– I like that the curls are a bit out-of-control.


I think that I’ve described the way I want my flowers to be– lush, heavy, unbound, and very undone.  I think this also could describe my ideal hairstyle…but of course for the hair, it will have to be a little bit “done” to avoid falling apart over a long day.  

My dress does not have a full skirt, but does have elaborate beading; I think that because the form of the dress is relatively straight, my hair can be more full.  And, because the beading is ornate, my hair also can be.  Finally, my veil is cathedral length–I’m not sure yet where it will fit into all of this hair, but I’m sure we’ll find a way.

Images from,,, Livin’ la Vida Segunda, and, respectively.


The Dress. July 14, 2008

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I think I found it.  With Lynette and my future baby niece by my side–what a wonderful day.


Belchertown Bridal, in Palmer, Mass.–the interiors are all green, like my ring.  The owner was amazing–her nametag reads “Your fairy godmother,” and I recommend her and the shop to anyone.  It was a very low-key, relaxed, and fun experience.  We gathered as many gowns as appealed to us.  It was so much fun hearing the crinolines and taffeta rustle, and feeling the weight of the dress fall over my head.


I chose elaborate gowns.  I like ornamentation, full skirts, beading, and even color.  My dream would be like to look like a portrait of a lady in the European rooms in the Metropolitan Museum.  Or a John Singer Sargeant subject.  Lynette chose simpler ones, and I was often surprised at how I liked them as well.


After I had tried all of our picks on, Kathy asked if she could choose a few for me to try.  Of course!  She brought two that hadn’t appealed to me at all on the hangers, but they were _perfect_ on.  Two that she brought ended up being my number one and number two favorites.  The one I loved the most I tried on three times–and Kathy was gracious and helpful each time.  Little Aisla was perfectly well-behaved, and sweetly looked up from eating when the rustling from the dresses distracted her.  And Lynette was the best “guide”–she gave comments, helpful suggestions, and was as happy and as excited as me.


The third time I put on The Dress, Kathy started bringing veils, and tiaras.  I don’t think I want a veil, and I didn’t think I wanted a tiara…but it was so beautiful on my head!  I didn’t want to take it off.


I’m not going to post a photo of The Dress, mostly because it looks very, very different in the photograph Kathy photocopied for me from the catalogue.  In the catalogue image, the model is very tan, and the dress is ice-white.  In real life, on me, I am very pale and the dress is ivory/champagne.  It’s such a different effect that it doesn’t even look like the same dress.


I will say that it reminds me of an Edith Wharton character, or maybe even Emma, from Jane Austen.  It’s not a full skirt in the front, but it comes out a little in the back into a slight train.  The ivory taffeta lays over ivory satin, and this double-fabric effect creates nice depth, and even a subtle bit of shadow.  There are very slight straps, and this keeps it looking more demure than sexy, which I like.  There are thousands of tiny beads, and silver embroidery, all over the dress.  But it isn’t really _sparkly_, just a subtle lightedness and opulence that comes from the beads, clear on ivory.


I think I will still go look at more dresses with my former roommate Jodut, who is also engaged, but I really think this one is it.  I love daydreaming about it, and I can’t wait to wear it again.  I love the way the color and beading look against my skin.


Finally, the fact that I’ve chosen a pretty fancy dress means that I need to rethink what the wedding party might wear.  I had been thinking fairly casual, even simple black dresses.  I don’t think those will look right–black is the wrong feeling next to this delicate-but-rich dress.  I am thinking, as far as colors go, that pewter and pale pink, or pink and champagne and cream (either set off with dark green) might be nice.


Not this dress… June 23, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — girldogtorch @ 8:23 pm
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…although I could turn it into a party dress afterwards, just by cutting off the back.  (It’s like the mullet of dresses.)