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HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, MOM & DAD!

I know I’ve written a lot of anniversary blogs lately (The Dateiversary, The Unanniversary, my sweet grandparents’ 63rd anniversary), but today is my parents’ 32nd wedding anniversary, and I decided to write another anniversary blog, because I can’t think of a couple I know more in love than those two. Many people actively look for the opposite of the examples they grew up with, and so I know I’m very fortunate to say I really hope to build a marriage just like theirs.

My mom, Laura, and dad, Murry, met in December of 1979. My mom had broken up with her boyfriend the day before, Dec. 8th, and on Dec. 9th, went to an “interline party,” where several different airlines came together to throw a holiday party. She was a flight attendant back when they were “stewardesses,” and my dad was there with the specific purpose to meet one.

My mom, in uniform.

A mutual friend introduced them, knowing they both liked to write and were vegetarians. (Which I still find hard to believe; my dad is a good ol’ boy from Texas and I remain convinced he lied about this to get in with my mom.) My dad had a Fu Manchu mustache, gold chains, and a shirt unbuttoned all the way down to his belly. My mom recalls, “He looked like Mr. T, I guess. I thought, ‘This guy is so not my type.” My dad reminisces, “I had some velour shirts and stitched boots that were really neat.”

They dated for nearly 2 1/2 years, all long distance. Because she worked for an airline, my mom flew for free and would visit him whenever she could. He would always meet her at the airport with champagne and roses. Every. Time.

They both wanted a family more than anything. They loved to read, camp, hike and host potlucks. They shared a sense of humor and the same life goals. They adopted two dogs together, and my mom eventually started leaving bridal magazines around the house.

My mom and Freddy, the greatest dog my parents have ever had.

On one of my dad’s trips to see her, at the airport as he was about to board his flight home (that was back when you could walk your loved ones all the way to their gate), my dad stammered out “Would you… Would you…” And my mom barked, “Would I WHAT?!” And my dad asked “Would you marry me?” My mom’s version of the story is that she sassily replied, “Let me think about it,” and waited to shout “Yes, I will marry you!” until the very last moment before he walked down the gateway. His response? “Okay. Don’t tell anyone.” Then he got on the plane and left.

Once he’d had a few hours in the air to think about what he’d done, my dad proceeded more traditionally. He bought a diamond and had a ring made just for her, and then formally asked my grandpa for her hand, to which Grandpa Gil hollered, “POP THE CHAMPAGNE!”

They got married a few months later, on August 21, 1982. My mom says this was the only day the church was available… Even though it just so happened to be her older, then-unmarried sister’s 30th birthday. (A bit of a bridezilla move on the part of someone who is so vocally against bridezillas, if you ask me…) My mom’s beautiful wedding gown was re-made from an opera house costume, and they had a live jazz band. Their first dance was to “How Deep Is the Ocean,” and they honeymooned in Hawaii.

I’ve written separately about my mom and my dad, and what incredible parents they are, but I think the best gift they gave my brother and me was the example of what a loving marriage looks like. When he got home from work, he would always hug and usually dance with my mom, before seeing what kind of trouble Billy and I had gotten into; they always made a point to take time for each other, keep dating each other.

They go for a 3-mile walk together every morning. My dad works nearby, and usually brings her home lunch. He cooks her breakfast in bed for no reason, and takes her on surprise day-dates to the movies. My mom learned to cook his favorite recipes from his grandmother, and play golf, his favorite activity.

I asked them what their secret to a happy marriage is, and my mom told me, “We just love and like each other. We’re each other’s best friends. He’s really the perfect husband — a very kind, compassionate man, with a sense of humor. If you had a shopping list of what you wanted in a mate, except for the Fu Manchu mustache and gold chains, he had everything.” And my dad’s advice? “Learn how to make really good cinnamon rolls.”

He also added, to her, “You’re never boring,” and then to me, “It was always very clear I’d have a wonderful life with your mom. When she wasn’t there, something was missing, and something comes over you when you realize things are better when they’re there.”

Dad, Mom, me & Tony at our engagement party this weekend… Forgive the blurriness - this is the best picture we have of all four of us, we were so busy having fun!

Tony and I will be very blessed if we have a marriage even half as loving and happy as theirs. Thank you for setting such a beautiful example, Mom & Dad! Happy anniversary!

MOTHERHOOD

Me & Courtney.

A sketch I co-wrote and star in with one of my best friends (who also happens to be one of the funniest people in the world), Courtney Pauroso, was featured on Funny or Die today! It was directed by Dominic Russo, co-creator of Comedy Central’s WORKAHOLICS and was originally directed onstage in the Groundlings Sunday company by Jim Rash and Lisa Schurga. (There’s even a little cameo by my husband-to-be, Tony!) It’s called MOTHERHOOD and is about all the truths of becoming a new mom that no one talks about. (Basically, all my worst fears about having a baby… If you ARE a mom, please comment below and tell me I’m wrong and it’s all butterflies and rainbows!)

After next August 1, 2015, this will no longer be a wedding blog, it will be a newlywed blog… And maybe one day, it will even evolve into a blog about being a new mom myself. But for now, I’m having enough meltdowns from wedding stress (our engagement party was last night — blog about that joyful madness coming soon!), that I don’t need to add a crying baby into the mix. Tony has the cutest niece and nephew, and several of my bridesmaids have the most perfect babies of all time, I’m having enough fun living vicariously right now (while still being able to shovel sushi and champagne into my mouth more frequently than is wise for my checkbook.)

Please, watch, like, share, laugh and tell me it’s not this bad!

ENGAGEMENT PHOTO SHOOT TONIGHT!

Dress preview!

We’re taking our engagement photos tonight and I am SO EXCITED!!!! So far, I’ve locked down 3 pairs of Spanx, 2 outfit changes, and 1 screaming match with my fiancé over his hair… And the shoot has not even begun yet! (Pretty sure Tony's wishing it was over already. As we speak, he's blowing leaves off the deck in anticipation.)

We chose a few locations that are really personal to us, and I selected the above dress because it incorporates two of our wedding colors (Tahoe blue and emerald green), with my dove grey manicure and gold bows for our dogs completing the on-theme look. Tony decided to rock something more masculine — namely, scars all over his arms, eagerly provided by our dogs, who I made him bathe this morning. I’ve got wedding-prep adrenaline coursing through my veins, I’m so stoked.

Can’t wait to share the photos with you all!

THE SINGLE LIFE

THE SINGLE LIFE Season 2 is UP!!!! This is straight-up the best webseries on the internet and needs to be a TV series, and I’m not just saying that because my hilarious, adorable fiancé is in it. (I’m also saying it because it’s produced by Glamour Magazine, and is so funny and so well-written and acted, and also stars a surfer, a pop star and the most beautiful blonde. And I got to make a teeny tiny cameo.)

But seriously. This show is great not only because of everyone involved (I’m not kidding about that — the 2nd season was directed by the powerhouse behind the greatest Funny or Die video of all time), but also because of how relatable it is. Dating sucks, and social media makes it even crazier. You can go online-shopping for a boyfriend, and all relationships are forced down to junior high levels when you have to decide when, and what, to label them on Facebook. When it works out, it feels like the happiness is literally changing the chemistry of your body. I remember how lightheaded I used to get whenever Tony would pick me up for a date, I was so excited to see him.

I recently wrote an article for Hello Giggles about all the guys you should date before you get married, because I think that for every relationship that goes horribly wrong, you learn something about yourself and what you need out of a relationship (and what crazy behavior to stop if you want another relationship), and all of that leads to the person you’re meant to be with. I have a few friends (including one of my bridesmaids!) who the fairy tale came true for, and they married their high school sweetheart. And from what I can tell, it is like a real life Disney story.

But, I’m glad I went through the horrors of dating. I figured a lot out the hard way, and it made for some fun stories. In college, I once “bought” a date with the guy I had a crush on at his soccer team’s auction and learned paying for a date does not make it a real date, nor does it make a guy any more likely to actually want to date you. (Ladies, I can’t hit this point home hard enough. Don’t pay for dates!) And I figured out that the guy with a tramp stamp of his fraternity’s letters probably isn’t interested in being a boyfriend. And, if you let your Texas grandmother set you up on a date, the guy will proudly present you with a home-cooked dinner of meats, announcing that he “shot everything on the table!” (This last one actually sounds like Tony’s dream date.)

All those guys led me to Tony and, if we’d met each other any sooner, who knows if we would have been ready to be with the person we wanted to marry. And Tony’s especially lucky, because he gets the best of both worlds… He’s engaged, but gets paid to “cheat” on me, falling in love with beautiful blondes on THE SINGLE LIFE and HART OF DIXIE, and then coming home to me and our three blonde dogs.

If you haven’t seen this show yet, get on it! You can scroll down to catch Season 1. Each and every episode is amazing, and I’m so proud of Tony.

63 YEARS OF LOVE

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I’m heartbroken to share the news that my Grandpa Gil passed away early last week, on July 30th just as the sun was rising. He was at home, surrounded by his wife, family, love and his beloved 17-year-old cat Lyle and I must say, as devastating as it was, how lucky we all should be to live a life as full as his, that should come to an end so peacefully at home with the Frank Sinatra Sirius satellite radio station playing us out to wherever we’re headed next. He’d been in hospice for a week, and my younger brother Bill and I were fortunate enough to be able to go home in time to spend a long weekend with him, which I will treasure forever.
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I waited until today to write about it because last week was simply too sad, but also because today would have been his 63rd wedding anniversary with my Grandma Marilyn. So, it felt appropriate for my wedding blog, to celebrate his life by telling you about the most important part of it: His marriage to my grandma. They are, and will always be, an inspiration, and also a reminder that it’s not the wedding that’s important, it’s the life you build together afterward.
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My grandma and her dad.

My grandma grew up on the slopes of the highest mountain in Panama, where her father had a coffee finca before they moved to the Canal Zone, where her father then worked at Panama Canal Company. My grandpa was a southern gentleman from North Carolina who, as a First Lieutenant in the Finance Department, was stationed in Panama. He worked with my grandma’s mother and when he heard she had a blonde daughter visiting home from college at Tufts University, told her it had been too long since he’d had a home-cooked meal and angled for an invitation to dinner. He got one.
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The church where they got married.

On August 4, 1951, they were married at the Lutheran church in Balboa, Canal Zone and their reception was at the glamorous Hotel Tivoli, the only hotel on the Pacific side. My grandma was 19 and my grandpa was 24.
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Hotel Tivoli

My grandma had the right perspective on weddings (and it was good for me, living in the Era of the Bridezilla, to talk to her about it)… She wasn’t all too concerned with the wedding, she just wanted to be married to my grandpa. I asked her where her dress is now, and she looked at me like I had two heads; she purchased it off the rack at Filene’s in Boston, her younger sister later wore it for her own wedding, and no one can remember what happened to it after that. It was just a dress, after all.
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But, she does remember how handsome my grandpa looked in his white jacket, and that they served champagne flown in by her mother’s military attaché friend in Chile, and that they spent their honeymoon at the Washington Hotel on the Atlantic side of the Canal Zone, where the President of Argentina was staying in exile at the time. Her parents gave them a black cocker spaniel named Tootsie as a wedding gift.

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And did they ever love each other. My grandma moved to the States for my grandpa, and my grandpa resigned from his partnership in Jack in the Box back when it was justa handful of restaurants, so they could move to Boston for my grandma to go to Harvard, at a time when not that many women were going to Harvard.

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They had two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandchildren they loved deeply, and countless pets they, perhaps, loved most of all. (I come from a family of animal lovers; my Grandpa Gil got to meet Maggie over Easter, and was the biggest supporter of the decision to keep her.)
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With my grandma’s parents.

Most of my memories of him are accompanied by Glenn Miller or the Sweet and Lowdown movie soundtrack. He loved jazz, Lucho Azcárraga and Big Band music. He read Leonard Maltin’s movie review books from cover to cover and adored classic films (especially the ones starring Jane Russell), and he’d make weekly trips to the library to borrow them. He recently watched It’s A Wonderful Life, and especially loved the guardian angel Clarence, which my family takes comfort in, and the idea that he is now an angel for us.
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A product of the Depression, he loved to take my grandma on dates to Costco, where they’d peruse the aisles while dining on samples. Sometimes, on special occasions, they’d splurge and catch a movie on the big screen and treat themselves to In-N-Out. He saved nearly every newspaper and magazine he ever bought, carefully folded and stored. His favorite foods were North Carolina barbecue, Cheerwine soda (bottled in Salisbury), ambrosia and chardonnay on ice.

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He was born in Salisbury, North Carolina, raised by a single mother and his doting grandmother (who had 11 children of her own!), and they called him “Sunny,” for his sunny disposition. He was an accountant, although he always dreamed of being a forest ranger (despite not liking camping or hiking.) He saw active combat in the navy in the Pacific in WWII and served in Panama and Virginia during the Korean war. My mom wants everyone to know, “He hangs an American flag with the deepest respect, emotion and understanding of the sacrifice, service, loyalty, patriotism and bravery made by his fellow servicemen and women throughout our history.” He was a member of the Jamestown Society, his ancestors traced back to the original European settlers of the United States.
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He had the thickest southern drawl and his pet name for all loved ones was “my honey,” which sounded like “money” the way he pronounced it. “He taught his daughters to drive and shoot and dance and play poker, believing they were useful skills for primary school-aged children,” my mom loves to recall. He never met a stranger, and any and all stray animals became a family member. At the party for their 50th wedding anniversary, he toasted the love of his life… Curly, their rescue poodle. He looked forward to seeing Tootsie, Curly, Chewy, Tober, Susie, Jack, Moses, Shadow, Powder Puff, and Toni (the cat, not my fiance), Calico, Coco, Zorro, Joey, Spike, Freddy, Liza, Mama Kitty, Mitty the Kitty and countless others in heaven, and his wish was to be buried with the ashes of all his pets, so he wouldn’t be alone (my mom and aunt are currently inquiring to see if that is possible/legal.)
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A proud veteran, he’ll have a military funeral at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery next Monday. He lived and loved fully, and he was loved deeply; I can’t imagine life without him. I love you, Grandpa Gil, and know you’re swaying to Moonlight Serenade in heaven, a glass of iced white wine in hand, to celebrate your anniversary today. We miss you so much.

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HAPPY UNANNIVERSARY, TONY!

Exactly one year from today, I will be Mrs. Tony Cavalero. I AM SO EXCITED. If you’ve been following this blog, you already know I’m a lucky girl and a lot of my wedding dreams have come true. I’m marrying my best friend and the love of my life, my own personal Ken doll, Tony. Our wedding is going to be in Lake Tahoe, my favorite place in the world, at my parents’ best friends’ house, the same house where Tony proposed. And it’s all happening in 365 days.

No, seriously. I get to marry that guy. Yeah, the one in the gold glitter suit.

I was going to write, “And the countdown begins!” But, the countdown began pretty much when I was given this child-size wedding gown as a reward for surviving reconstructive surgery after diving face first into a pool:

And, the countdown officially kicked into high gear when Tony proposed to me in December (if you check my email history, you’ll see that very night, I drunk-emailed several photographers, a florist and a rehearsal dinner venue.) But now, it’s starting to feel more real. Normal brides who don’t require, oh, say, an 18+ month engagement, are starting to plan their wedding for the same day. All of the details I’ve been dreaming of for years and Pinning for months need to be narrowed down and decided upon. By the time the holidays roll around again (give or take a month), I need to choose my dress.

It’s overwhelming, thrilling and, (to the bridezilla in me), a little sad, because once I decide on something, that’s it forever, no more dreaming about what that aspect of my wedding will be like. I can already tell that I’ll probably get the post-wedding blues when it’s all over, and be that girl who keeps her wedding portrait as her Facebook profile pic for years. But, then I remember that this wedding is going to actually happen, in real life, not just in my head. And, more importantly, that I get to be married to Tony, and this will just be one of many awesome days in our life.

(I will still wear my wedding dress and drink champagne whenever I’m left alone in my house, though.)

You already know why I love Tony. As I’m writing this, I’m drinking an iced latte that he got up early, when it was still dark out, to leave in the fridge for me before heading to work. Life with him is so fun. The happiest place in the world to me is cuddled up on the sofa with him, with take-out and a glass of wine, our dogs bouncing all over us, while Tony makes me laugh so hard I cry.

Such a good dog dad.

I’m going to a wedding this weekend and Tony has four Groundlings shows in two days, so we decided to celebrate our “unanniversary” early. Well, Tony did — last Monday, he surprised me with a quick getaway to the Parker Palm Springs, where we spent 48 hours eating and lounging in the pool (sometimes, doing both at the same time.)

Our view for the majority of the trip, since it was 111 degrees.

Even at 1am. The pool is open 24 hours.

Side note: My eye kind of looks like the one in the ad for The Strain, right?!

Night moves.

Love this sign they had posted. Super relieved it didn’t apply to us.

When we took a break from the pool, we made s’mores at midnight, a Tahoe tradition and a major wedding dessert, if my mom has anything to say about it.

Tony making me s’mores.

Me eating my s’mores.

And when it was finally time to go to sleep, we’d gently doze off to the sounds of men beating the crap out of each other.

Tony was in charge of the remote. Obviously.

Before we discovered Norma’s delivered to the pool, so we could eat in the pool, we ate all our meals there. The first day, we ordered every appetizer on the menu:

And for breakfast, I had a milkshake. We did not need two straws, as I chose not to share.

Tony was cool with that, he was just relieved I didn’t order the $1,000 frittata.

WHAT.

On the last night, Tony took me to The Tropicale, a restaurant straight out of the Rat Pack era and Palm Springs’ heyday, where we listened to a piano player belt out tunes my Grandpa would’ve loved (and I love, too).

Tony ordered a plate of meat, and I decided to opt for a healthy salad:

Tony’s meat.

My salad. You’re right, those ARE two pieces of fried chicken and it IS soaked in ranch dressing and DOES have an entire avocado on top and I DID eat it all!

Life with Tony is an adventure and, with surprises like this, and take-out and wine and bouncing dogs on the sofa, I just might survive life after the wedding…

Our unanniversary dinner at The Tropicale.

Happy Unanniversary, Tony! I can’t wait to marry you! And to everyone else: Don’t worry, I’ll find ways to come up with a lot more anniversaries, besides our Dateiversary and our Unanniversary, before our wedding. Maybe the First I Love Youversary? The Move Inaversary? The First Time Tony Felt Comfortable Farting In Front of Meversary? (I’m also accepting suggestions in the Comments section below.)

MARRIED AT FIRST SIGHT

I’m sort of super embarrassed to ask this, but is anyone else watching that insane new show on fyi called Married at First Sight? You know, the one where two total strangers first meet at their own wedding? (I know. I’m ashamed of me, too.) I just can’t help myself when it comes to all things wedding and trashy TV, so this was a double whammy.

Cortney & Jason, my fave couple.

The concept of this show makes The Bachelor look like a traditional, real way of finding love. Basically, a team of “professionals” (a sexologist, psychologist, spiritualist, and sociologist) create three “perfect” couples based on “scientific matchmaking,” whatever that is. Because they get legally married the moment they meet, the show follows their first couple weeks of marriage and at the end of the season, they decide if they want to stay together or not. It is essentially a mockery of everything marriage stands for; how can you promise to give the most selfless, deep, unconditional kind of love forever to someone you’ve never met?

Monet & Vaughn, who seem to be the most normal humans on the show, as they’re about as awkward and freaked by the whole situation as I would be.

WHAT. And I thought the Kardashians’ televised weddings were a ratings gimmick! I don’t think it’s possible for reality dating shows to get anymore ridiculous than this. At first glance, it seemed like another ratings ploy that further perpetuates the idea that marriages in the U.S. are a total sham. (Which, to a certain extent, they are; strangers can go on this reality show and get married, but a gay couple who’ve been together for decades still can’t in some states? I have a lot more to say on that topic, though, and I’ll save it for another day and a more tasteful blog.)

Doug & Jamie. I get the heebie jeebies whenever they’re together.

Look, I tuned in because I love trainwreck TV as much as the next girl who’s too tired to figure out what is happening on The Leftovers. I wanted to see what crazies would sign up for it, willing to forever explain on future first dates they’re divorced because they married a stranger on live television. And because the gross side of me wants to watch people live some horrific nightmare, walking down the aisle in front of all their loved ones toward a person they’ve never met. Who signs up to put the fate of the biggest decision of you life in the hands of a reality show?!

But, upon further consideration (if, like me, you like to meditate on the depth and wisdom of reality TV shows), I riddle you this: What is a traditional way of meeting these days, anyway? Most people on the streets are buried in their phones, most guys at bars don’t look all that interested in relationships (judging by the collegiates they’ve usually got perched on their laps), and the cutest couple I know right now met on Tinder. There’s no such thing as “normal.”

And because I happened to take Anthropology 101 at USC, I also got to study arranged marriages in other cultures. My notes are buried somewhere in my garage and my memory of the actual knowledge I absorbed is hazy (sorry Mom, I know how expensive those classes are), but from some googling I can see the set-up works for some people. It’s the antithesis of a love marriage; you rely on your parents or a matchmaker instead of your gut and may not be in love when you get married, but that love grows and the stats for staying together appear to be higher than for “love” marriages, which start with a lot of heat and then, 40-50% of the time, fizzle out.

Besides, it would be kind of nice to take all the heartache and second guessing and exhaustion and awful first dates out of the equation, and rely on matchmaking to find someone who’s actually right for you… Instead of chasing that bad boy type you just can’t quit.

Jamie, after she got married to a stranger and realized that was a pretty stupid move.

And, there’s something to be said for love at first sight. When I saw Tony in the Groundlings lobby in those ridiculous sandals and socks, something in my gut just knew. And the old saying “When you meet The One, you just know” is a cliche for a reason. Sometimes you just do. The romantic optimist in me likes to watch because maybe it’s possible to fall in love this way…

The next episode is on tonight at 9ET/10PT. Will someone please watch, so I can gossip with you about it? Tony has zero interest and my dogs are sick of me talking to them about weddings. I’m rooting for Cortney and Jason because they’re super cute and actually seem like they could be soulmates, and I break into cold sweats pretty much every time Jamie and Doug are together. This show is crazy!!!!

THE ENGAGEMENT PARTY INVITATION SAGA

Our engagement party is less than a month away, and I am relieved to say I’ve gotten (most of) the invitations in the mail. The lesson I took away from the process is: If the rest of the wedding planning is going to be as time-intensive and complicated as simply putting these invites together, I should have given myself two years to plan the actual wedding.

If you had told me getting to this point might give me an aneurysm… I probably still would’ve done it. #bridezilla

I used Postable to harass loved ones for their addresses, which was a lifesaver in staying organized, and a huge timesaver in not having to learn Excel. Every bride should use this site; you create an account, they give you a custom link, you send it to your invite list, they enter their address, and Postable alphabetizes and organizes it into an Excel spreadsheet for you. (The only downside is people who have an allergic reaction to effort, and simply reply to your email with their address instead of clicking the link and doing the exact same thing. So, you might have to enter a few yourself while binge watching The Bachelorette.)

Another major timesaver? Buy a personalized ink stamp with your address on it! 

The invites themselves were where things got complicated. Since Tony and I live in L.A. and work in Hollywood, it was important to us to have the party here; we’re having a destination wedding in Lake Tahoe next summer that not all of our friends will be able to travel to, so we wanted to be able to have a celebration close to home. And we wanted the invitations to reflect the city we love.

I even found these adorable old Hollywood stamps to stay on theme!

So, my mom sent me the cutest vintage Hollywood postcard she found, and our idea was to have a calligrapher write the party details on the back, so we could send the invitation as a postcard. Finding the calligrapher was the easy part; a friend recommended Courtney with Typecast Lettering and not only was she a joy to work with and the kindest human being, she also was willing to go back and forth on designs until we achieved the exact look I’d hoped for, from all my obsessive stalking of Pinterest.

My favorite reference photo for calligraphy.

Printing the cards was where we ran into trouble. A stationary company came recommended to us, and the owner quoted us a price that was in our budget. We committed to working with her nearly two months before printing. And, a week before I needed the invites, the day they were to go to press, she sent me a bill for significantly more than she’d quoted. When I responded in a panic, she said she never gave me the initial quote; when I forwarded the quote (that she’d sent us, in writing), she said she’d made a mistake and if I couldn’t pay what it actually cost, I could go elsewhere. I have never worked with someone so unprofessional; from what I can tell, her business tactic seems to quote low, lock someone in, and then when it’s too late for them to go elsewhere, pull the bait-and-switch. I was livid.

Flip phone fury!

This all happened on a Thursday. 4th of July was on Friday, so everywhere else was closed the next business day for a long holiday weekend. My mom had already sent an email (with me bcc’d) to several of her friends, apologizing for my delay in getting the invites out… I needed those cards. Frantic, I started googling and calling any and every print shop in the greater L.A. area and the wedding patron saint was listening, because I found Gold Image Printing. I told them my sob story, my budget and my dream of having gold foil on the invite. And then mentioned I needed the invites in exactly 7 days, including the holiday weekend. And they said yes.

I was literally corresponding with five different people at Gold Image to make it work in time, several of whom worked late that night to make sure all of the images’ sizing and colors were correct. They were texting samples of gold foil, re-sizing the postcard and lettering, and going back and forth with our calligrapher to get it all perfect in time to print on schedule. Courtney again saved the day, re-sizing all of the calligraphy images that night to make our rush order possible.

Seriously. Gold Image sent things like this on a holiday weekend, when I was out of town and couldn’t come in person to see. SO GREAT.

And look how beautiful they turned out! For every vendor who sees weddings as an opportunity to take advantage of people, there are also companies like Gold Image and Typecast Lettering, who not only behave professionally, but also go above and beyond.

Since so many people from different parts of our lives have generously decided to make a trip to L.A. for the party, too, we decided to make a weekend out of it. Several of Tony’s friends and family members are flying in from Washington D.C. and Colorado, my mom’s gang of besties are caravanning down from NorCal, and my grandpa’s best friend, who is pushing 90, is rolling in from the Bay Area with two pals. Half of my bridal party (several of whom have new babies) are coming from all over California. It’s a lot of time and effort to travel, and we want to make it worth their while, with non-stop fun. So, for all of the out-of-town invites, I found some matte gold paper and printed in emerald green ink a list of hotel, activity and restaurant recommendations. And on the Friday night before the party, whoever is in town can come with us to see our wedding band rock out at the House of Blues. Saturday night, we’re all meeting for an early bird dinner and then going to see Tony perform at Groundlings. And Sunday, the big soirée!

Out of town invite with the gold accommodations & activities insert.

Tony and I blocked off an entire weekend to put together the invitations, put on some Motown, and got down to business. I had purchased navy envelopes and a gold calligraphy pen for the addresses and a navy pen for the names on the postcards. Tony sweetly surprised me with a personalized stamp he had made of our address, and he was in charge of stamping the envelopes in gold ink (which he took very seriously - see below).

The measuring was his idea, I swear!

I drank about twelve coffees over the span of two days, and did my best to imitate this calligraphy sample I found on Pinterest:

And, what ours looked like:

Can you tell my mom is paranoid?

We’re hosting the party at one of our favorite restaurants in Hollywood, owned by a friend of a friend who generously is letting us take the place over for the night. I am so excited. The menu is set, signature cocktails selected, massive dessert bar designed, wine purchased. When I proudly (/stupidly) finished running the party plan past my mom, thinking we were all set, her response was: “But, I want something spectacular to happen. I don’t know what. Something that will make it so no one ever forgets this party.”

Tony’s idea. My mom is not into it.

So, like, no pressure or anything. I thought about it for a while after we hung up, and have come to the conclusion that the only thing that would really achieve this in her brain would be to have a celebrity show up and hang out with her in front of all her friends. So if you know one, hit me up and let’s cut a deal.

Do you think Bill Murray likes dessert bars?

She called back later to say, while we’re brainstorming all things surprising and spectacular, we should also make homemade party favors. It then occurred to me that my dad’s worst fear had come true; we are, essentially, hosting two weddings. One this summer, cleverly disguised as an engagement party, a test-run for the main event next August 1, 2015.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to see if there are any YouTube videos on how to make homemade marshmallows for the party favor my mom has dreamed up…

OUR BIG FAT POSTABLE WEDDING

Tony and I are super excited to announce we’ll be working with Postable for our wedding! (Well, if you read my previous post about Postable, you know I was already working with them. Now, they’re just working with me, too!) I’m going to be writing about them from time whenever all-things-invitation come up, since they are the site I’m using to stay organized with addresses and wedding stationary (and also to hang on to the last shreds of my sanity. Invitations are stressful.)

The thought of creating an excel spreadsheet gives me hot flashes, cold sweats and nightmares about my days as a Hollywood assistant, when I could never figure the damn thing out (I ended up taking my old sorority’s templates for Contact Info and Who’s Dating Who, deleting all of it, and re-entering whatever info my boss needed. I was a bad assistant.)

So, you can imagine the relief I felt when I discovered I wouldn’t have to drudge up my old Who’s Dating Who template to use for my wedding guest addresses. Instead, I’m using Postable. Here’s why:

It’s free.

All you do is create an account (which is 100% private), and Postable creates a custom link for you to email to anyone you’re inviting to the wedding. They click on that link and fill out their information and voila, you have an alphabetized address book!

You can download all of your addresses in an Excel spreadsheet they create for you. Or, they can organize them into labels so all you have to do is hit print or email to your calligrapher.

They will even mail your Thank You cards for you; they have a super cute selection of cards, you type personalized messages (or a mass one, if you have no manners), and they print, hand stamp, and mail them for you.

Of the guests who actually opened the email with our customized Postable link, I kept hearing back from people, “I wish I’d known about this site.” This was generally from newlyweds or friends who love sending holiday cards; I hate to generalize, but nearly all our bachelor buddies just replied to the email with their address. Instead of clicking on the link to write the exact same thing. Note: You don’t have to create an account to share your address. You just enter it. It requires same amount of energy as replying to the email. I wish there was a way to get that across to people… But, that’s not so much Postable’s fault as it is the psychology behind someone reading the email and thinking “Don’t make me do work for your frickin’ wedding! I already have to chip in for a frickin’ Vitamix! I will not click that frickin’ link! Enter my frickin’ address yourself! FRICK!”

I also wish there was a way to stay on top of RSVP’s. Like the Stages of Grief, there are many stages of RSVP, and it would be nice if the site could help you cope with all of them — who are you still waiting on to send you their address, even though you’ve emailed them 3 times? Who entered their address late, after you already sent the invites? Who has RSVP’d yes, who has RSVP’d no, and who has RSVP’d that they will RSVP the morning of the event when they’ll “have a better idea of [their] schedule?” It would be cool to have a way to keep your master guest list on the site, so you can cross-reference the above-stated madness.

We’re in the process of mailing out our first round of nuptials-related paper (the engagement party!!!), so I’ll keep you posted on how it all shakes out (Postable pun intended!)

A Brief Note on Brands I Write About

Like every bride, I was thrilled to be engaged; like many, I’ve dreamed of my wedding for my entire life; like most, I had no idea where to begin. This blog is so important to me, and is a reflection of my relationship, taste and what we’re doing for our wedding, so I’m only writing about companies I’m actually using as a bride myself. I’m going to write about these websites and brands only from the perspective of how they’ve helped (or annoyed) me in my planning process. The majority I find through my obsessive stalking of Style Me Pretty, Martha Stewart Weddings and every wedding-related magazine ever published; others I find through word of mouth and friends’ recommendations; and some find me. I love my readers and will only be sharing things I think will make their wedding planning a little simpler, or more fun, too!