One Awkward Wedding: The Final Countown

Oh My

Sweet

Lord

Depending on whether you count today as Day Zero or Day One, the count is either T-8/9 days until #hottwedding. Irregardless of your counting style, August 16 is pretty darn soon. Single digits soon. Deposits due soon. 10 Day Forecast soon.

We have reached THE FINAL COUNTDOWN:

 

My current emotional state is just...weird. Impossible to describe.  Distracted. Impatient. Buzzy. Mildly panicked but much less panicked that one would imagine, considering my natural inclination to panic. I never leave home without my trusty notebook, a gift from a sweet cousin that has been a saving grace over the last month and losing it now would = losing my mind. But as I get closer, there is less and less for me to write in the notebook. Now is the hardest time for me because basically everything is done. Planned, paid for, coordinated, organized, done. All things that I can control are lined up like perfect little mallard ducks and now it's just up to fate to take care of the rest and I'm not great at not running the show.

Por ejemplo, the weather. Despite multiple attempts, I can not (yet!) control the weather. I think if I had a superpower that would be it.

As should surprise zero percent of y'all, I am obsessed with checking the weather. The last thing I do before I go to sleep every night is check the next day's hourly forecast, so I can be prepared. I then check again first thing when I wake up to see if anything has changed. It is insane. Due to this obsession I know oh so well that anything can change at the blink of an eye and sometimes weather.com is just straight up wrong and lying right to your face. There have been multiple occasions where I've been out walking and felt rain drops on my head and my weather app told me "dry conditions would continue." Which... nope! It's raining!!! Are you drunk, weather.com? Are you going to finish that sentence by saying "Dry conditions will continue to not happen because it is now raining?" Otherwise you're just lying to me and I don't like liars.

Basically I think weather.com is just an evil torture tool created by some kind of monster, designed to give neurotic people a sense of control and then constantly toy with their emotions.

Since August 16 showed up on the 10 day yesterday morning - where I checked it at 6:41 AM, the moment my eyes opened - the forecast has said 81 with rain and thunder, 85 and partly cloudy, 83 and sunny (stay that way!!) and 82 with scattered thunderstorms. I know it will change 890978618694 more times between now and then and I know that no matter what it'll be a Tony the Tiger style GRRRRREAT day but I will continue to check every hour on the hour until I'm walking down the aisle.

Other things bringing me mild stress:

  • This zit on my forehead.  Is he going to just hang out there until next Saturday, or is he on his way out? Go away, dude!
  • This weird pain in my inner thigh which is probably just from all the excessive exercise I've been doing in an attempt to channel my anxiety into Madonna arms or is it some kind of glandular malfunction?
  • What I'm going to have for lunch today. This is unrelated to the wedding, I just think about food 24/7
  • Potential family awkwardness/drama/situations at the wedding and remembering to love&accept things for what they are, not what you wish they would be.
  • WHAT IF I FART WHILE I'M WALKING DOWN THE AISLE?! Will the music drown it out?!

But really, I swear on my first edition hardcover of Bossypants, I'm not that stressed! I mean, I'm always stressed anyway, it's kind of my jam, so I imagined that by now I'd be in full scale meltdown mode but really I'm just buzzing right along at my normal level of neurotic. It is surprising and awesome. And if I can plan a wedding with little to no panic, anyone can! I should probably write a book all about stress free wedding planning, now that I'm an expert and it'll become an instant bestseller and I'll be a billionaire and I can move to Tahiti with my husband (!!!) and everyone there will love me so much they'll make me the queen.

That's how life works, right?

I will now make a confession: I will miss wedding planning when it is over and primarily because I will miss the attention. I'm not exaggerating for comedic effect and any bride (or groom!) who denies they, too felt this way, is straight up lying. Planning a wedding gets you 8,000% more attention than usual and it is awesome. Everyone wants to ask you how things are going and hear about it and there's always something to talk about and think about and do and be excited about and I love it. When else am I going to get this much attention? I GUESS if I ever pull off that Queen of Tahiti scenario, which frankly sounds unlikely and then maybe if ever I get pregnant...but that publicity stunt results in me having to care for and keep alive a human child who will then get all the attention that was previously directed at me so I'm not racing into that one. ALSO I read this New York Magazine article that revealed that science has proved that 29 is the most popular year of your life and I'm turning 30 a few weeks post-wedding so basically this is it for me! The end is nigh. I need to just embrace my inner Jenna Maroney and embrace every second of my fleeting wedding planning/age 29 popularity.

 

a48bc7dcbffe75f667db71ea644c3d81 (1)

Preach it sister.

I should probably be ashamed to admit my true nature but there is clearly no shame in my game around here.

Now I must dash off to refresh weather.com (still saying 83 and sunny! Come on, god, work with me here!) and then wander around the office until I can find someone to ask me about my wedding so I can really just maximize the last 8/9 of my Glory Days.

Ok bye!!!

xoxooxoxoxoxo Liz Ho

 

One Awkward Wedding: One Month to Go!

Our wedding is in ONE MONTH! Un mes! Un mois! Xahar! Though that last one sounds like Dothraki, it’s actually Maltese. Which is apparently a real language! Who knew! Mhux lili, that’s for dang sure! Mhux lili! (That means “not me”in Maltese...obvi!) Whatever language you say it in, one month from today I’ll be hitchin’ my star to the Brian wagon. And I can’t wait!

One thing that has sort of surprised me about this whole wedding planning process is how utterly goopy it’s made me. I’ve gone all soft and romantical. It’s hard to put into words, but over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed myself being sort of hyper aware of my, well, love for Brian. Vomtastic, I know, but I can not be stopped. I get giddy just thinking about him and can’t look at his face without wanting to smooch it. I find everything he does utterly endearing. The other weekend we spent basically 48 straight hours together, just the two of us, no pals or distractions and very little entertainment, save HBOGo, and on Sunday night I looked back with glee thinking how much fun we had together and how much fun we always have together and how profoundly happy that makes me.

Which is probably for the best because I think that’s kind of the point of this whole rigmarole, no? Well, that and the presents, of course.

I kid, I kid!

I was emailing this week with a sweet friend of mine who is a newlywed herself. She and her brand new husband were faced with some scary challenges just moments into their marriage. They’d been home from their honeymoon a week when her husband had some scary, unexpected health problems. He’s mended spectacularly and back up to fighting speed now but their scare brought into stark reminder that the wedding party will end, but what comes after is the real deal.

And even after all they’ve already been through, she gushingly told me “being married is awesome.”

AWESOME!

In an entirely uncharacteristic instance of making someone else’s traumas all about me (hah!), I’ve been thinking a lot about their experience as we lead up to our wedding - and thus, our marriage. Sickness, health, richer, poorer, happier, sadder, in times of trouble and anger and family drama and work crisis and children and bad hair days and stomach bugs that produce results you’d never want another person to be privy to - these are the things that you’re signing up for, what remains after the champagne has been drunk dry, the flowers have wilted and the dress is packed away. It’s important not to lose sight of that. To go through all that, and more, and still wake up every day - or at least most of the days - thinking “THIS IS AWESOME,” that is my hope for our marriage.

And I know that might not always be possible. There may be days or even weeks or months where we’re struggling  and having a hard time waking up feeling awesome and that's OK. But I still can't seem to help myself from melting into a complete and total mushball at the very thought of spending my life, the good, the bad and the hideous, with Brian.

He is the best!

1238097_911552284952_1304172020_n

If sitcoms are anything like real life, it’s only a matter of moments until we’re grouchy and cynical, bickering over the TV remote and the trash can, having sex once a year. I want to remember what it felt like to be totally gushy and mushy and gloopy and romantical, so below are a few points on my main man to look back upon if I've ever begun to question why I've decided to lock it down forever with this particular person.

I hope you brought your own barf bag today, folks! It's about to get realllll nauseating up in here.

1175570_911555049412_139094121_n

First of all, he is dead sexy. Let me just state the obvious right up front: the man is a Grade A dreamboat and I derive great pleasure from gazing upon his face (and butt!) every day. Those baby blues? The grin? Mmm-mmm-mmm!

(That’s me trying to type out onomatopoeia for sexy / delicious. Nailed it?)

And he makes me laugh and laugh and LAUGH. Brian is so funny. Not in a “HEY EVERYBODY LOOK AT ME!” way, which is great because those people are obnoxious (trust me, I’m one of them) but he is sly and quick and clever and always knows just what to say or do to crack me up.

We love to eavesdrop on people on the street when we’re walking around and make snarky comments about what they’re talking about. It’s so mean but so fun.

He loves to gossip. He’s almost (almost!) as bad as me.

He is so good at his job. He loves math. Like loves it. Remember that teacher in high school who was like “algebraic equations are fun! This geometric formula is SO interesting” and you were like “UM no this is the worst”? Well that guy is Mr. Scott. And now he’s marrying a woman who barely eked her way out of pre-calculus with C’s.

I am still firmly in the “math sux” corner but he’s certainly doing his best to convince me otherwise!

He’s frugal and brilliant with budgets. And hilariously into low-cost alternatives for expensive things. Like, instead of buying new weights, he filled up an old duffel bag with text books and lifts that for strength training. Weirdo!  He wanted to fill the bag with sand but some killjoy didn’t want sand in her house.

He is playful and fun and adventurous. Why lay on the beach when you can toss a frisbee! Why paddle gently in the lake when you can instigate a six-hour jumping competition? Why eat at the same restaurant when you can try a new one or hang out in the same neighborhood when there are dozens of new places in our city to explore.

1185598_911552958602_1907891279_n

He encourages everything I do, whether big or small, weird or serious. He listens to me complain about work, has been a shoulder to lean on during some difficult family times and always motivates me to do bigger and better things.  When I wrote my piece for Vogue, he was refreshing the internet hourly to see if it had posted yet. He trained with me for my half marathon, pushed me to go faster and better and woke up at the crack of dawn in the pouring rain to cheer me on from the sidelines.

He has this funny way of kind of flopping onto the couch when he’s getting comfy at home - legs akimbo, arms crossed on his chest, pillows propped just so that kills me every time. I can’t help myself from jumping on top of him to snuggle up.

He loves to snuggle. He might find that embarrassing that I just told the whole world, it seems a common misconception that men don’t like to cuddle but this guy can snoogle with the best of them.

I love it!

He cares for my family and for his family and for our family that we’re starting together. He has deep, enduring friendships from childhood. He knows the value of close friendships for both of us and works to nurture his and encourages me to do the same.

He is deeply, passionately curious. He’s always reading the news, listening to the radio, trying to learn everything he can about everything. Everything! I’m serious. Just say a word and I swear to G, he’ll start googling it within the second.

He gets extra curious after he’s been drinking, which is equal parts hilarious and (sweetly) annoying, Some people drink and get angry. Some get hungry. Some get sleepy. This guy just gets more inquisitive. Which is adorable unless you’re one of the sleepy ones, sitting next to him in a cab home from a long night as he rattles off his latest curiosities: “I wish I knew more about Ralph Waldo Emerson” or “what do you know about Kyrzkystan?” or “here are 17 fun facts about race relations in South America.”

What?! Stop reading Wikipedia and let me sleep!

But then, by the light of day, I always think it’s cute again. My clever guy!

I will always remember the first time we tentatively tiptoed into a serious future together, talking about raising eventual children...our children. We were eating at this Italian hole-in-the-wall on the Upper West Side after ice skating in Central Park and it was already the cutest date night. Brian told me that the number one thing he would want to pass on to his our children was a spirit of curiosity. And my uterus just exploded. Straight up, like a firework. Not only have I landed a man who is curious himself, but he recognizes it as an important value to pass to future generations?! JACKPOT! I had this vision of Brian and a little tow-headed kid playing with a telescope – I don’t know why it was a telescope, that just seemed like a natural toy for an inquisitive child and their nerd dad – and it was all I could do not to just fling myself across the table and beg me to impregnate me right then and there, atop the ravioli.

Just thinking about it right now, you guys! My ovaries are leaping around in my torso.

He'll make cute babies, too, based on this photo of him as a five year old that I carry around in my wallet like a complete psycho creep.

20140716_103929-1

LOOK AT THAT FACE!

Also we're talking like, many a year here for these hypothetical nerd children so don't get too excited. The world does not need another mom blog!

Brian loves Asian food, NPR, Larry David, Buzzfeed lists, America’s-Home-Video-style clips of people getting knocked over or otherwise accidentally injured, IPAs, sleeping in, running, The New Yorker, burritos and, best of all, ME!

He lets me know he cares for me and appreciates me in infinite ways every day, through touches, words and thoughtful gestures.

Brian often gets home from work earlier than I do and every night I bustle in the front door, yelling one of the million strange pet names I have for him (buddy, buns, beans, honeybunch, honeybuns, hot pants, cutels, cute magoot, etc) and he comes and meets me in the hall as I’m hanging up my coat and keys and gives me a big fat smooch and I can see it in his face that he’s genuinely excited to see me and to have me home.

It is my favorite part of every single day.

I hope I always remember these things about my BriGuy. And I am excited to learn more lovable things about him over the years ahead.

I can't wait for a lifetime of homecomings and adventures. Of burritos and This American Life and strange homemade contraptions and late night rambles and snuggles and bike rides and pinching that hot booty every chance I can get. I know it won't always be easy. I know we'll face some tough times. But I also know, more than I've ever known anything, especially math, of course, because I barely know any math, that we'll get through it together.

And there is not a single person I would want to go through life with than this studmuffin.

1150369_911551306912_514031484_n

warned you I'd gone soft! I'm just a grinning fool over here, counting down the days until our wedding and our marriage.

ONE MONTH! BIR AY!* IB LUB HLIS!** O LUNA!***

* Turkish

** Hmong, DUH

*** Romanian. Seriously do you guys not know any foreign languages like, at all?! Get with the program!


 

One Awkward Wedding: Liz Finally Loses Her Mind!

Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of my wedding planning. Did that make sense to you? No? Me either.

There is no time for sensemaking. NO TIME!!

Our wedding is in 39 days and counting and so much is happening. It’s starting to feel really real in a way that is at once exciting and a tad overwhelming.

And by a tad, I clearly mean a ton. A metric ton! Unless that’s less than a regular ton...I’ve never been one for math and science.

Someone recently commended me on my zen attitude towards wedding planning and I do (honestly!) think I have kept things pretty mellow which is kind of surprising, considering what  a stress monster I usually am. But I’m noticing that as the days slip by faster and faster even I, Zen Bride Extraordinaire, am beginning to lose my cool.

Last night I dreamt that we were in a chapel and they were performing back to back to back weddings and then, suddenly, it was our turn! But, wait! We weren’t ready! Some of the bridesmaids had their hair done. I did not. One bridesmaid had to leave to “go to another thing” and Brian’s parents were missing. I had spaghetti sauce on my wedding dress. There was no music.

Our #Hottwedding was a #Hottmess.

Now I know about as much about dream psychology as I do about metric tonnage (aka nothing) but if I were forced to dig deep and try to decode, I’d go right ahead and say it seems I’m just a pinch worried about getting everything done and not being ready.

For the wedding, at least. I’m totally ready to legally lock it down with Brian. I am going to marry the HELL out of that guy and I can’t wait. It’s going to be awesome! But the wedding is another story. Try as I might to avoid the pressure to make my One Special Day be perfect through and through, I’m turning into a little bit of a crazyperson!

Would anyone like to hear a very insane and long-winded example? No?

TOO BAD, BITCHES. KEEP READING.

Woo, forgive me. Got a little carried away there! But seriously sit back and allow me to regale you with a tale of madness, mayhem and paper products!

LIZ HO VS EMILY POST: ENVELOPES OF DOOM: ELECTRIC BOOGALOO

So! Like I said, must to the surprise of all parties involved, I’ve been pretty cool & calm on all fronts including getting along with mi madre which, if Say Yes to the Dress says anything about real life, is basically a miracle. At this point in the game we should have had about 15 knock-down-drag-out fights renouncing one another as family, her threatening not to come, me screaming back “GOOD, YOU’RE DISINVITED!", both of us in hysterics, but so far, we’ve managed to avoid major arguments.

Weeeeellll except that little tiny one over the invitations.

Not the actual invitations, mind you. Those I’m pleased as punch over. My pal Jamie who is a stellar graphic designer (and available for hire!) (SRSLY email me if you’re looking!) designed our “invitation suite,” as I would call it, if I were the sort of person who used fancy terms like that. They are everything I could have wanted: classy, simple, whimsical, gorgeous.

20140708_160032

 

AMAZING, RIGHT???!!!!

Oh, and, did I mention cheap? They were so cheap!

Everyone has their priorities in weddings, as in life, on what they think is worth a lot of money and for me, paper products was at the bottom of the list. I like looking at pretty paper and I respect your right to blow the bank on whatever the H you feel like but, the way I see it, that embossed, lined, monogrammed envelope stuffed with 12 different letterpressed cards all tied up in a satin bow and hand addressed by a professional calligrapher are going one place and one place only: the garbage can.

Rough stuff but it is true. I barely remember what most of my friends wedding invites looked like (or birthday invites or baby showers or anything) except in the cases where they were really fancy pants and then I only remember how guilty and horrible I felt when I inevitably chucked them because as much as I love my friends (SO MUCH!) and value their right to fancy invitations, ain’t nobody got space for all that fancy paper.

And YES I know every single aspect of wedding planning is a waste of time and money, duh, but we all pick and choose how to waste our time and money and for  me, this was just not it. Friends and countrymen, feel free to toss these in the garbage can guilt free!

That said, I didn't want the invites to look like actual garbage. Luckily for me, two of my best friends, Jamie and the World Wide Web teamed up to create magic and bring us something that is hella fabulous for UNDER BUDGET. Boomshackalacka. In case you are curious, which you are surely not, but I’ve already started telling this story there’s NO STOPPING ME NOW, we used a Gilt Group coupon for the website Wedding Paper Divas to print our invites, hand designed as a generous gift by Jamie. I would probably never have used this website were it not for the coupon - I cringe at the word “diva,” as it is usually used in a derogatory manner towards women considered to be “difficult,” in a way that is very rarely flipped back on men (am I right, Nicki, or am I right?) BUT sometimes my frugality gets in the way of my morality (I know, I'm the worst) so I couldn't say no to this coupon. And I’m super glad I didn’t. Silly name aside, WPD was beyond professional. They send complimentary samples of their stationery, their customer service was quick and helpful and the quality was A+++.

And our designer was A+++, too! Y'all should hire her. The best way to get a good deal  is to become her friend, because then you get free graphic design and you get to hang out with her and she’s the bomb.com, so it’s kind of like you’re getting paid in the end, really, but if you can’t find a way to worm your way into her life/heart, you could certainly email me for an intro and I bet she’d offer you a fair deal. Just sayinnnn’!

Ok so now we have learned that a) I didn't care much for invites to begin with and b) loved the ones we ended up with so why did c) they lead to the d) most intense melt down of Liz Ho’s Wedding Planning Extravaganza Extraordinaire?

‘Twas not what was inside the envelopes (plain white, came free with the order!) that upset me, you see, ‘twas what was written outside of them.

As I’m sure you can surmise, I was not about to pay for someone to calligraphy (caligraph? is there a verb for this word?) these bad boys, I would have been happy printing them out on a laserjet printer like an uncouth monster but we did still want them to look nice, so my dearest Schmoopster offered to hand-write all 101 addresses. She was very cute about it, sending us samples with different pens and practicing a little bit each night and all was right with the world until we experienced what I am now calling a minor communication breakdown. Others might call it a major meltdown. I'll let you be the judge.

My one and only request with these invitations what that none sent to married couples be addressed in the so-called “traditional” manner, to Mr. and Mrs. Hisfirstname Lastname because that makes my skin crawl. Like, what is that even about? It’s not enough for a woman to take a man’s last name? AND change from a Ms. to a Mrs. when he gets to keep Mr. all along? She also don’t even get her own first name anymore?

I know this is the “proper” way and how Emily Post would do it but I think it’s sexist and stupid, Emily. That bitch is like, 700 years old and not even invited to our wedding so who even cares what she thinks.

Apparently a whole lot of people!

Somewhere in this whole process this point was not made clear and it came to my attention after about ⅓ of the invitations were already addressed that they were, in fact, going out in this traditional manner. My mom and I had a huffy, mildly dramatic phone conversation but managed to end on a civil note, with me agreeing that the already written invites could go out as-is, and Schmoops agreeing that any going forward would at least mention the woman’s name on their somewhere, Emily Post be damned, and we hung up, end of story.

J to the K. One of us, I won’t mention any names (women don’t get names, remember?!) (calm down, Liz) could not … ok...would not… let it go. This person was me, obviously. I hung up and stormed around the apartment, fuming, getting more and more upset.I am a feminist! And now I’m sending these misogynistic envelopes all over America! HOW WOULD THAT LOOK?! What would people think?! Just as paper crushes rock, so will these paper envelopes crush my sterling, powerful reputation! This could not go on!

So I took the mature route, called my mom back and oh, the doody hit the fan. I started weeping - and I don’t mean like, gently crying or sniffling, I mean like, tears down my cheeks, hyperventilating, weeping -- about feminism and individuality and last names and choice and envelopes and women and identities and demanded that my mom re-do all of the invitations,even the ones she had already written.  I could NOT have my return address associated with a Mr. and Mrs. HisFirstname situation. At one point I actually shrieked “THIS IS MY BRIDEZILLA MOMENT! I AM THROWING DOWN MY BRIDEZILLA CARD AND YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO ME!”

Oy yoy yoy.

(Spoiler alert: I did start my period the next day so I blame my hysteria on the hormones. But I stand by the subject of my hysteria!)

My mom fired back that it was a silly thing to waste my bridezilla card on, some people like to be addressed in such a manner, that she likes cares about adhering to certain types of tradition, she is helping to fund this wedding so her reputation is on the line too and maaaayyybe, just maybe, I should think about other people’s values as much as I think about my own.

Game, set, match: Bernie.

Loathe as I am to admit it. And oh, I am so loathe. She's totally right, guys.

And lo, we managed to reach a conclusion. All envelopes already written would remain “proper” as well as those to anyone who might like to be addressed in such a manner, because some people do like tradition and that is ok (it is!), but all others would be a little more progressive.

My sweet  mom, trying so hard to prevent another meltdown took it to the furthest level, addressing married women as Ms. instead of Mrs. or in some cases, completely omitting gendered pronouns at all.

I loved it!

Of course, after all this, I will bet you all a haypenny and a half that not one single solitary person even noticed how they were addressed. And if they did and they were offended, oh well. Please trust that we were just two ladies doing the best we could under the pressures of tradition, the patriarchy, the Wedding Industrial Complex and the most stressful situation in all the land: mothers and daughters planning a wedding together.

We tried! We really, really tried.

I still maintain it was a worthy cause for throwing down my Bridezilla Card. Flowers, playlists, party favors - these things are silly details about one day which will eventually fade into memories in a photo album and therefore not worth truly stressing over. But my anxieties re: the traditional manner of addressing couples reflect something actually life-altering. I have gradually come around to the idea of possibly (probably) (ok, more than likely) taking Brian’s last name, a saga I’ll delve into another time, but I still can’t shake the fear that marriage means sacrificing my personal feminine identity. Elizabeth Scott is one thing. Ms. Scott? I’m still on board. Mrs. Scott, less so. Mrs. Brian Scott?

No way, Jose.

And by Jose, I could mean Jose OR his wife because married ladies don’t get their own first names!

Enough, Liz. ENOUGH!

Like my pal Elsa, I’m letting it go. I understand that women have different ideas of what feels right for them and it is important to honor their decisions and that you can still be married and be a badass individual feminist lady, and names are just names and all that other good stuff and perhaps I need not take everything so seriously all the damn time. And maybe stop reading Jezebel. But I still reserve my right to throw occasional temper tantrums on my road to self enlightenment.

I’ll be sure to send you my mailing address when I get there. Just don’t send any correspondence to Mrs. Brian Scott ;).

And that, my friends, is my tale. What a mess, right? I'm a nutjob.

But other than this, and the dreams, and the nail biting, and the various Google rabbit holes I keep falling into, I'm doing pretty a-ok. I might just survive the next 39 days with my sanity (and relationships!) in tact.

Wish me luck! JK wish my mom luck. And Brian. That poor guy is stuck with this nutjob for LIFE.

Sucks to be himmmm!

The end.

Liz

PS: I am very sorry, I realize this whole post this is probably insanely rude and awkward to talk about/show off wedding invitations because not everyone who reads this is invited.  Believe me, I would have liked to invite the whole wide world but that’s just not a possibility...a post for another time. I’m still too busy barfing with guilt over guest list cuts to discuss it.

One Awkward Wedding: Registration Situation

Yesterday marked exactly 4 months until #HottWedding (Hohenadel + Scott…just get on board, I’m making it happen) and I realized it’s been for-ev-errr since I’ve shared any updates on the planning! Mostly because I haven’t really been planning? We’re sort of at a lull in the excitement, between the long-lead and the last-minute. We’ve booked all the big stuff – venue, dress, DJ, etc – and aren’t quite ready to tackle the little deets like place cards and play lists, so most of our planning is just me reading wedding blog after wedding blog and my mom calling me with lists of random details she thought of in the shower and “just wanted to discuss quickly before she forgot” and me being like “Mo-ommmm lay OFF” and getting weepy and Brian wisely just staying out of the way. But it’s all great! Seriously it’s totally great and honestly not even that stressful. Maybe because I’m not actually doing anything? Maybe because we only think weddings need to be stressful because that’s what the Wedding Industrial Complex wants us to believe?

Think on that!

Speaking of the blessed WIC, there is one Knot-approved activity we have thrown ourselves into wholeheartedly: registering. Like most traditional facets of wedding planning, I initially snubbed my nose at the idea of creating a standard registry. We had plenty of STUFF, I thought, and isn't it a little antiquated, to ask for dishes and things in this modern living-in-sin era? We went back and forth on alternative ideas, like a travel registry or creating our own "experience" registry, asking for things like tickets to the NY Opera or the Mets  or forgoing gifts altogether (JK I wish we were that selfless but real talk: nope*) but in the end, none of those ideas really panned out. Travel registries cost money to set up and we have neither the technical skills nor the free time to build our own.

Lo, we threw ourselves headlong into the time honored tradition of Wedding Gift Registering and if there's anything more fun in the world, I've yet to discover it. The power of striding through stores, registry gun in hand**, scanning item after item of silly things you want other people to buy for you? Can I do this all day everyday?!

And so, in a few short weeks, we went from modern minimalists who were going to register for "just a few essentials!" to greedy gift monsters with not one, not two but three traditional registries. Whoops?

Love may be all we need, but it turns out we want everything.

REGISTRY ONE: BED, BATH & BEYOND!

Highlights:

1) I was wearing this outfit, which I only noticed and documented because I realized I wore this outfit the day we were engaged and the day we went looking for venues and now the day we went registering.

20140309_143252

Apparently this is my go-to wedding ensemble. I should just return my gown and walk down the aisle in this ratty yellow cardigan. Save some $$!

2) Realizing that the overzealous registry consultant planned to tag along with us the entirety of our excursion, pointing out every last item in our wake.

Thank the lord Brian politely spoke up, asking him if we could do it on our own. I’m so people-pleasy, I probably would have just silently stewed, registering for every pricey thing he suggested, just so he wouldn’t feel bad.

Crisis averted!

3) The discovery of the As Seen on TV section:

20140309_162934

We need all of this!!!

4) This Frame.

20140309_165520

PLEASE if you own this I do not want to know.

Items I'm most excited about:

This little pitcher shaped like a cow

Onion Goggles (only sort of joking?!)

Cast Iron Skillet - BScott is a big fan of the cast iron!

At BB&B we managed to find most of the things we were looking for, except basics like dishes and silverware. I wanted plain white dishes but Brian said he didn’t like them…he prefers “cream colored dishes.”  Any specific sets you like, champ? No, just “cream colored.” Sure, sure.

And so, we left with a plan to visit some other retailer to finish off our list and then let many a week pass before we were able to make said visit, during which time whenever my mom would casually ask if we’d thought any more about finishing our registry I’d fly off the handle into a dramatic huff “I’M ON IT, MOM, OK?!?!” and that was a special and exciting time for us all.

And so we come to...

REGISTRY TWO: MACY'S!

Highlight:

1) Macy's herself.

 Holy shit, gang. Have you ever been into Macy’s Herald Square? That place is enormous! And they sell EVERYTHING. Literally. You want it, you can probably get it at Macy’s. Beds. Car parts, probably. Grass seed. Rifles. Everything. I’m sure you’re all thinking this is obvious but I really never realized just how vast the Macy’s inventory is, or the massive size of their NYC flagship store.  What an amazing place!

We sat down with a consultant, Norma, and were (no jokes here!) highly impressed by their customer service and the many perks they give to people who register there, as well as the expansive amount of items they offer. I knew they had china and glassware but didn’t realize how many electronics they carry too. And many at cheaper prices than Bed, Bath and Beyond!

WHAT A PLACE!!!!

2) The man who came up behind Brian and creepily whispered in his ear “the trick to marriage, just agree with whatever she says” and then wandered away.

Thanks?

3) Visiting the 9th Floor where they sell furniture, rugs, clocks and luggage and the only way you can get there is via this creepy express elevator that drops you off in an abandoned hallway.

20140415_190208

Brian looks nervous. What do you think is scarier, the hallway or the weird lady following him around taking photos?

Probably the 2nd one.

4) The discovery of Stella 34, the Italian restaurant/bar on the 6th floor of Macy’s. Guys. This place is classy as HELL. A wood-fired oven, fully stocked, modern bar, the works. And it was packed to the gills with attractive people at 7 PM on a Tuesday night! Who are these people? Why would you go eat and drink in Macy’s?!

I’m so confused and also I really want to go there? Happy Hour directly next to the Martha Stewart Everyday Linens Collection? I can get down with that.

5) The horrified look on our consultant’s face when we returned, having registered for only plates, wine glasses and a dish soap dispenser.

“Is this it?” she asked, with a tone of abject horror typically expressed on teenage children when their parents reveal they're getting an unexpected divorce.

We assured her we were planning to go home and add on more items, comparing against what we’d already registered for at Bed, Bath and Beyond and she told us she would “stalk us on email” if we didn’t.

Um, yikes?

I tease, but I can’t complain. We were legit very impressed with the whole operation over there at Macy’s and again, I repeat: who knew?! Probably everyone, but not us, so it was a real treat. If you're planning to register for a wedding anytime soon, this joint gets two thumbs way up from the #Hotts

What I"m most excited about:

Le Creuset Dutch Oven - the same one Taylor Swift recently purchased for a fan. TAYLOR! MY SHOWER IS MAY 24TH!!! PLEASE COME AND BRING A LE CREUSET!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!

These Adorable Champagne Flutes

We made good on our promise to finish the registry from home (please don't stalk us, Norma!!!) but still had a few items we wanted to add, namely luggage and power tools, and so...

REGISTRY THREE: AMAZON.COM

Highlights:

1) Creating an entire wedding registry from the comfort of my own home, without having to put on pants or interact with other humans.

2) Feeling gleefully smug over adding tools to our registry. How modern! Breaking expectations and gender norms! Boom.

Lowlights:

UGH AMAZON. 

What I'm most excited about:

Drill, baby, drill!

And now, I do believe, we're set for life. We did leave off a few "Must Have" items that didn't really feel right for our lifestyle, like formal china and crystal and the now ubiquitous Kitchen Aid Mixer. And we added a few things that felt fun and personal, like wine stoppers shaped like owls (I love owls. AND WINE!) and beach towels and about thirteen different pitchers, which Brian and Schmoops both told me was maybe too many pitchers. Too many pitchers? Impossible!

I'm cheesy excited about all of this STUFF. As much as I like to pretend to be a minimalist who's so over tradition, I'm really looking forward to filling our home with beautiful new things, thinking about how we received them from our loved ones as we started our life together. AWW!

If you happen to be the sort of weirdo who takes pleasure in judging other people's wedding registries (like me, for example), feel free to view ours at our website. Judge away!

And as long as you're still reading this, might I ask for a little advice?

  • Do you have any secret kitchen gadgets or tools you LOVE love love?
  • Married people - did you receive anything unexpected you wish you'd thought of for your registry?
  • What kind of blender do you have? I'm totally torn on brands - we're currently registered for the Ninja and I've heard rave reviews from a bunch of people, but also a few naysayers. I've also heard good things about the Breville. Any opinions from the crowd? And don't say Vitamix. I know it's the Cadillac of blenders or whatever (are Cadillacs still cool?) and of course I totally want one,but it's just a little too aspirational at this point. Like, as much as I want to be the kind of person who makes my own organic cashew milk, let's be real. See also: $700.
  • When you buy wedding gifts, do you always go with the registry or forge your own path? People have such strong opinions about this, I'm genuinely curious to hear your thougts!
  • If you do go off-registry, any unique suggestions you're willing to share? THIS shop  is my go-to for wedding presents (SPOILER ALERT to all friends getting married this year!).
  • Do you know how to remove make-up from cotton shirts? This has nothing to do with wedding registries, I'm just curious...

And, as always, I've turned a short post into a Russian novel. The End! Happy Thursday, my fine friends. Thanks for reading - don't you have work to do?!

xoxo Liz

* Obviously gifts are not actually mandatory, guests! If it's a stretch to afford, we'd rather see your faces than a gift-wapped box. TRULY!

**while googling “gift registry gun” to confirm proper terminology I discovered there is a website devoted to registering for actual guns. SWEET lord have mercy on us all.)

One Awkward Wedding: Get Down with the Gown

Excitement abounds, you guys. I have officially made the most important decision a woman could ever make in her whole life: I've said yes...to a wedding dress! SQUEE!

I lead with sarcasm because I continue to allow the feminist internet to give me deep guilt and anxiety over all of my wedding-related enthusiasm but there's no need to rehash that here. I'm quitting Jezebel, I swear.

Onward!

A few weekends ago I set out on an epic gown shopping excursion, visiting five stores in the course of three days and, spoiler alert: settling on a winner. The initial plan was to shop in  Lancaster and Elizabethtown, but a colleague suggested I should look here in NYC, as there might be more selection. To this suggestion I said "why thank you, I shall calmly and rationally consider this idea."

Juuuust kidding. I flew into a tailspin of worry and second-guessing and frantic g-chatting but I'll spare you all those details and just cut right to the fun stuff.

Joining me this weekend were my three "bridesmaids" (don't worry I have a whole long story coming about why I don't like the term "bridesmaid"... don't you just love me?), who are my sister Marge and friends Kathleen and Maureen and my Schmoopster, obviously, and I invited Brian's mom, too. I wasn't sure if she would say yes but sure enough, she did, so we were quite the crew. I was having a lot of emotions over bringing such a large group with me...was I putting too much emphasis on an antiquated gendered ritual enforcing the belief that a woman's value is only in her appearance?! Was everyone going to get bored? Were they going to resent me for forcing them to spend a day thinking about ME ME ME?

Possibly, no and NO.

If you're thinking "wait, I thought I was going to read about wedding gowns, why are you still talking about your insane emotional problems?" Um...are you new here?

Fine, fine, I'll get to it! This story is so effing wordy, I'm going to break it up into chapters to give the allusion of a break from the monotony. BUCKLE UP.

CHAPTER ONE: FRIDAY

My mom came up Friday afternoon and I left work early for "an appointment" which was not a lie AT ALL but also possibly misleading them to thinking I was caring for my health when in reality, I was on a shopping spree. (Again, I'm checking the mail daily for my Employee of the Year plaque. Do you think maybe FedEx lost it, or they have the wrong address?) We met downtown and visited two stores, just us. The first store was Saja Boutique on Elizabeth Street in NoLita. It was a super cute boutique carrying just this designer's wedding and bridesmaid dresses. They were all lovely - ethereal and floaty and flattering - but nothing super exciting. They'd be ideal for a beach our outdoor wedding or for anyone who doesn't want to look so traditionally "bridal." Turns out, despite the feminist internet, I definitely want to look bridal. So sue me.

Next up: Lovely Bride in Tribeca. This store was so gorgeous, it was like Anthropologie and Style Me Pretty had a baby - all glitter and chandeliers and vintagey details. I loved it and want to live there. Do you think they'd notice? It was essentially one long room - the front was partitioned by sparkly curtains and mirrors into a series of dressing rooms and in the back, they had racks and racks of gowns. We sat down with a consultant named Lauren who reminded me of a less obnoxious Natasha Leggero and talked about my likes and didn't likes and  most importantly budget and then she took me to the back to pick out some gowns to try on.

I tried on maybe 6 or 8 dresses here and was surprised to discover that many of the dresses look awesome. It helps that they pin and pull them so they fit you perfectly and your boobs are at once securely caged and perky and it's hard not to get swept up in the enthusiasm of the whole "IT'S YOUR BIG DAY!" scene, giving every gown an extra bit of oomph. I thought that trying on wedding gowns would be more  of a traumatic and painful experience...it definitely helps that I'm so vain and love staring at myself in mirrors.

My two faves here were a sparkly strapless number, which looked unlike anything I ever would have picked for myself (I'm more into a slim, sophisticated look) and this super cool slinky textural slip dress that looked like it was covered in little petals which was gorgeous but ultimately maybe not quite "me." At this store we were allowed to take photos and my mom brought her new tablet (a Christmas present from her perfect angel children!) and used that to snap photos...I felt like Michelangelo's David in the middle of a Japanese tour group.

It was awesome.

Here are some unflattering photos from this day. Schmoops is a gold medalist at cutting off heads in photos.

[gallery ids="2629,2630,2631,2632"]

We then went home to my house and drank wine and ordered Thai food and it was delightful! Dee-light-ful.

CHAPTER TWO: SATURDAY

Saturday was the big Ladiez Day on the Town, as it were, with my whole motley crew of attendants. Today's plan was to hit up this gigantic gown emporium in Midtown Manhattan called RK Bridal. It is impossible to accurately describe this place with words, so I will provide visual explanation by way of the hit 90's television program Friends. Perhaps you've heard of it?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUMHDW3xG0M

I'm going to just assume you watched that whole thing and not get into summary but basically this place was a war zone hellscape. They do not take appointments, instead keep a sign up list in order of arrival, with groups waiting over an hour for a dressing room. While you wait, you can roam among the room, which is packed to the gills with racks on racks on racks of wedding and bridesmaid gowns. It is insane and stressful and horrifying and not quite the classy champagne-sipping experience you might dream of, but they do have a huge selection of gowns at a variety of price points so if you have a high threshold for insanity and know what you're getting into, I'd recommend it!

I was prepared. I had a bag of nuts, a bottle of water, a list of gowns I wanted to try on and five minions to help me find them. The store opens its doors at 9:30 AM so we arrived at 9. It was freezing cold and mildly drizzling as we huddled together like refugees on the sidewalk outside of the store. Eventually a staffer opened the main doors and allowed the congregated groups to move into the store vestibule. She passed around a list for brides to sign up...I was 6th. By this point other crowds of women were beginning to pour in and I was getting hella anxious. I get extremely stabby and stressed out in social situations where there is no order, like waiting for a dryer at the laundromat or trying to get on the subway in the morning. (Or basically all aspects of living in New York City...why do I live here again?)

At 9:30:01 a staffer pulled open the doors and bellowed: "YOU MAY COME IN!"

It was like the running of the motherflipping bulls, you guys. Everyone just started sprinting into the store in a gigantic herd. Imagine that scene in Titanic when they're all running for the lifeboats. A staffer was standing on a chair directing traffic - women shopping for wedding gowns were to head one direction, those looking for bridesmaids were to head another. We raced to the dedicated bridal zone, where yet another staffer was standing on a chair attempting to control the crowd. "IS YOUR NAME ON THE LIST?" She yelled? Several sad women who had yet to sign up pushed to the front, only to find themselves already on the second page. Once they'd gained control of the room, they began to read down the list name by name, assigning each bride to a dressing room and an attendant. I was in the first wave of rooms (BOOYAH) to be assisted by a woman named Janice.

Janice won't appear much more throughout this story - she talked with me briefly about my likes and dislikes and then set out to find me some gowns...she'd sporadically reappear to help me in or out of some gown or just sort of stand around staring while one of my peeps did her job for her. She was ... fine. I don't want to throw shade, but she could have been marginally more helpful.

Unimportant. Who needs ya, Janice. We had our own crew. This was when I really appreciated having this group with me - my crew and I fanned out throughout the store, in search of specific dresses I'd had in mind or others that seemed up my alley. I assigned Maureen the special task of bringing me stylish stuff I might not usually go for (she's a very snappy dresser!) and we all combed through the racks of gowns, pulling out our faves.

You were not technically supposed to take photos in this store, so I don't have any snaps of me (I know, you're like WHAT! We need more and more photos of you standing awkwardly alone in ill-fitting white gowns with your head cut off. Well sorry, guys, I can't help you here.) but did sneak a few of the scene:

[gallery ids="2642,2641,2643,2644"]

I tried on maybe 7 dresses here - a variety of different styles and cuts and once again I loved it. I meannnnn, standing around on a raised stage wearing a gorgeous gown while a crowd of people tell me how beautiful I look...um, sign me up to do this forever, please. Of these gowns, I was down to two favorites, but there was always one that stood out for me. There was no "oh mommy" (ugh) moment, no one cried, but I will admit, I'LL ADMIT that when I sipped into this particular gown ...I knew. I could see it accessorized, see it in photos, walking down the aisle. This was (probably!) THE ONE...but I wasn't quiiiite ready to commit.

First,we had to get the HELL out of that store and get some brunch. Ladies be brunchin'!

This was actually my favorite part of the weekend (even more favorite than all that spotlight time!). The six of us went to a cute little Italian restaurant near the store and got a great booth in the corner. They had delicious food and bottomless mimosas - something Brian's mom had never seen before. Needless to say, her mind was blown. We sat there for several hours just eating and drinking and laughing and it was just so nice. I felt very honored and special and loved to be spending the day surrounded by the most important women in my life, knowing they were all there to spend time with me.  It was a fantastic day and I loved every second.

Well, until  we split up and went home and I had my first Official Bridal Meltdown over the budget and guest list but that's another novella for another day. You're dying with anticipation, I'm sure.

One day left! Is anyone still reading this? OH WELL, no stoppin' me now.

CHAPTER THREE: SUNDAY

I woke up Sunday 99% set on the dress from HK Bridal the day before, but wanted to make one  more pit stop to that mecca of the WIC: David's Bridal. We had an 11 AM appointment at the David's flagship store where I did try on a few legit possibilities but mostly just took advantage of the opportunity to goof around.

My girls have this bridesmaid thing on lock, already showing up places in matching outfits:

20140119_113441

Well done, ladies.

Meanwhile, I tried on as many non-Liz dresses as I possibly could...like this ballgown:

image (1)

Which was actually gorgeous! But so not me. Too much fabric. How do you pee? And I couldn't go that voluminous...you've seen how slim my groom is. He'd be hidden!

I also tested out this sensual number that had like, chiffon wings flowing from the back. I made a turban. You like?

14 - 1

And finally this severe trumpet number which admittedly did make my bod look pretty smokin...from the knees up.

image

Better women than I have worn and will continue to wear these style gowns but they always make me think of the feather duster from Beauty and the Beast. Which, despite her obvious sex appeal, is not a compliment. Also, eating, dancing and walking are kind of my main priorities for my wedding (and life) so I remain miffed by this whole trend.

(No offense if you like this style!! To each their own! I'm sorry! How do critics live with themselves?!)

And here's my crew for the day. Maureen is on notice for not adhering to Bridesmaid Dress Code. One more stunt like that and she is OUT of the bridal party!

14 - 1 (1)

After about an hour of being weirdos, we decided nothing at David's was speaking to us and hauled booty back up to RK to make things offish with my chosen gown. The designer I chose was actually 10% off all weekend at RK (booyah!) so our gal Janice told us that as long as we came back a half hour before their 3:30 PM close on Sunday, we could just cut right to the front of the line and grab the dress at the sale price. AGAIN not throwing her under the bus here, but she was apparently semi-misunderstood...another attendant told us I had to put my name on the bottom of the full long list which at this point in the day was at about 640,000. Luckily some manager did intervene and said that since I was just trying on one dress I could cut the line. I'm sure that the promise of a swipe swipe of the ol' Visa had nothing to do with this decision. Now all they had do to was actually find my dress which was  nowhere to be found. Our group poured through the racks. The attendants searched every dressing room, accosted every other woman holding an armful of white fabric, looked over and under and everywhere and they could not find my dress anywhere.

Then a full hour later, just as I was on the verge of an epic hanger and stress meltdown, they realized they had another version of the same dress hanging in the back room the whole time and, oh, would I like to just try that one one?

UM YES PLEASE.

I stepped into an empty dressing room and slipped into the beautiful gown and as I caught my reflection in the mirror, I quietly began to sing Shania Twain's masterpiece "You're Still the One" ...to myself...and then the whole store joined in, a cacophony of voices ringing out through the store and many people were brought to dramatic weeping over the beauty of  it all.

Juuust kidding that definitely did not happen. But I did buy the dress! Well, not this actual dress, this was just a sample, mine is being made by tiny child slaves somewhere in Asia as we speak (I do hate myself, don't worry) and will arrive in the store for me to pick up in a few weeks. Yay!

It was a ridiculous weekend but in the end, I was super happy and y'all, I looked AWESOME I'm not even going to pretend to be humble about it, I looked effing stunning. We were allowed to take photos of the final dress selection, which I stare at daily on my computer but won't show here because I need to keep rolling this suspense out for 6 more months. It looks very similar to a gown that a married friend of mine wore in her wedding...but I won't tell you which friend!

And that, my fine friends, is that. WHAT an epic tale of shopping and social anxiety and female bonding time! I have a LOT more to say about wedding dress shopping in general which I shall share with you tomorrow (STAY TUNED!!) but for now, I bid you all adieu.

1 Million Hugs to all who read this whole thing. You must be very bored at work!!!

xoxo Liz Ho

One Awkward Wedding: Lemme, Lemme Update You

photo

Hot damn we're good looking.

Ok stop reading literally right now if you don't care about wedding nonsense.

Otherwise, buckle up because I have SO MUCH to tell you!

 It is official:  On August 16, 2014 I will become Ms. Has Yet To Decide If She's Changing Her Last Name (more on that later) aka a married lady! Whoop whoop! And we're planning to pull a full Kardashian and sell rights to our photos to the highest bidder so start making your offers now.

Yay! I'm making weird, dumb jokes, because you know I can't handle genuine emotional conversations, so I'll just go ahead and get it out right here at the top: I'm so excited! In 247 days (but who's counting?), I'm getting hitched! To Brian! My favorite guy. He makes me so happy every single day and I honestly can't contain myself from grinning ear to ear like a damn fool at even the slightest thought of calling him my husband. Squee!

Ok, we're done with that.

So. As is customary in all engagements, the moment that Brian popped the question, the world began to pop the other question which was: when? And also the other, other question, which was: where? And thankfully, no one has yet asked the other, other, other question of "why?" so I think pretty much everyone's on board with our impending union.

Phew.

We quickly stepped to planning because we knew a long engagement just wasn't for us. I know it works for some people, but it's just not our style. Because Brian is a teacher,  he has less flexibility in taking time off from work so we pretty immediately zoned in on August 2014 (between his summer teaching gig and the start of the regular school year) or March 2015, during his long Spring break. I was fine with either but ol' Briguy said he didn't want to wait all the way until 2015 to lock this down.

(One more quick interlude to mention how much I like this dude.)

And thus, we had our sights pretty well set on August 2014.

And the rest, they say, is history!

Just kidding, the rest, they say, is many weeks of researching,venue visiting, budgeting, list making and extreme emotional roller coastering.

I know it is gauche to talk about money but it's also gauche to talk about poop and I've never let that stop me, so a quick note on el dinero. I'll go into budgeting in detail another time (who's excited?!) (no one!) but will say here, just in case anyone didn't realize, weddings are motherflipping expensive. Like, SO EXPENSIVE. I always knew they were pretty pricey but now that I'm actually looking into planning one in great detail do I realize the incredible cost that goes into pulling off a wedding.

And I do understand (deeply) that none of these costs are necessary, but we've decided that it is important to us to celebrate our wedding in the so called "traditional" manner and therefore will incur the costs associated with such an event. Just to give you a sense of what we're working with here I've dubbed the term "Regular Classy" which is to say a mid-sized gathering of friends and family for a non denominational ceremony followed by a meal (with adult beverages) and boogieing down in a festively decorated room. She wears white, he wears a suit, toasts are given, tears are shed, badda bing, badda boom: married.

Despite the many hours I've spent reading wedding blogs and attending actual weddings, I honestly didn't have much of a concept of what it cost to pull this sort of spectacle off and let me just tell you, the results are staggering. Hence the emotional rollercoastering. Every time we find something we like we get super excited (UP!!) and then we see the price tag (DOWN!!) and then we become despondent (WAY DOWN!) and decide we're calling the whole thing off and getting married in city hall (SO FAR DOWN!!) and then we have a heart-to-heart and decide no! We love each other! We want to throw a bomb-ass wedding, we'll figure out the money and make it work! And then we're UP UP UP again, repeat, repeat, repeat.

And we're not talking like, releasing humanely raised turtledoves off a yacht in the south of France while Bruno Mars croons live in the background, oh no. Just REGULAR CLASSY in the middle of Pennsylvania and still we're looking at thousands (yes, like 3 zeros) more greenbacks that I ever dreamed of spending.

Blergh!

So gauche as it may be, I can honestly say that money was a very large factor for us when picking where to do this thing. We toyed with the idea of marrying here in our beloved Brooklyn (Go Nets!) but quickly learned that pulling off a wedding in the New York Regional Area is pretty much impossible if you are on our budget range. One venue I reached out to charges $19,000 just to reserve the space. That does not include chairs, tables, decorations, music, food, liquor or doves of ANY kind. The coordinator did say it might include cocktail tables which, for that kind of moolah, better be made out of solid gold or like, human bones.

NINETEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS! For a room! I will never get over that fact for as long as I shall live. And that's probably not even that expensive in the grand scheme of things! What is this world we live in, you guys? What is this world.

(And HERE is where I put the note that if you personally spent that kind of money on your own wedding totally good for you, do your thang. Also: how are you so rich and can I get in on that? Let me make a blanket statement that henceforth, every snarky thing I say about weddings or the WIC is but crazy broke judgmental lady's opinion, don't let me stop you from getting your nuptial onnn in however you see fit.)

And thus, we zeroed our sights on my ancestral homeland of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Armed with a date range and the knowledge that we needed to find a venue that fell somewhere within the tricky Venn Diagram of LOW COST and REGULAR CLASSY, we prepared a list of targets, set up appointments and made the arduous journey back to Good Old Pee-Aye.

And that, my friends, is where I will stop my story today. Return tomorrow to get the skinny on exactly what went diggity down on said wedding venue hunt, because this is already basically an epic novel and I'm just vain enough to think that my wedding planning journeys warrant a cliffhanger.

Until then!

Liz Ho

One Awkward/Awesome Day: Storm King Style

Hola amigos. First, I have to thank you all for the excitement and warm wishes re: Brian's & my big news. (If you haven't heard, we ended the government shutdown! JK we got engaged. Eleventy billion times more newsworthy.) We're supremo excited round these parts! Secondably, can we all just overlook the fact that I skipped my usual weekly recap last Friday? I have a few lame excuses that I'll bore you with this Friday, so you can just start holding onto your seat righttttttt....now.

Meanwhile, I wanted to share more cool nooz: have checked another item off my 30 Before 30 List, holla! 2 Down, 28 to Go.

Last weekend, Brian and I visited Storm King Art Center, this amazing, gorgeous outdoor sculpture gallery about an hour north of New York City. Oh, we also got engaged there, so full disclaimer: I'll start this as a 30 Before 30 / Travelogue post and then suuuper quickly veer into talking about how we came to be betrothed, so you've been warned. I really don't want to become that girl who's all like OMG I'M GETTING MARRRRRIED but also OMG I'M GETTING MARRRRRIED!  So I figured I could kind of sneak it in a bit? Also I'm aware that I have a short window of time where people still find this interesting before they're like shut the H up, we get it already, SO I'll just make the most of this before everyone gets sick of me.

Too late? No turning back now!

30 BEFORE 30: STORM KING; OR, HE LIKED IT & PUT A RING ON IT: BASED ON THE NOVEL PUSH BY SAPPHIRE: BASED ON THE REAL LIFE OF ELIZABETH HOBAGS

20131006_131826

I'm pretty sure I first learned about Storm King a few years ago while lightly stalking the facebook page of a very distant connection who has a cool life and decided it was a Must Visit Establishment if I'm ever going to embody the kind of cultured, hipster lifestyle I so dream of. If you would like to learn more about Storm King, visit their website and/or look at this sad batch of phone photos I managed to snap during the 11 minutes of our trip when my phone wasn't dead (more on that saga below).

[gallery ids="2347,2348,2349,2350,2351,2352,2353,2354,2355,2341,2340,2342,2337,2336"]

Basically blah blah it's 1.5 hours north of NYC, you can get a discount if you drive up in a zipcar or you can take a bus. Great scenery. Foliage. Art. Etcetera, etcetera. Highly recommended, the end.

Now let's get to the good stuff: ME!

We begin with a Lost style flashback to earlier this summer, as Brian and I are making the decision to wonen samen. I'm VERY into timelines, plans and attempting to control every aspect of my life - typically everything still totally falls down around me, but you can't stop me from trying, world! We'd both agreed that, for us, moving in was a step on the path towards officially locking it DOWN and didn't want to live together long before taking the next step. Basically, as I explained it to my mom, moving is a horrific nightmare and we wanted to get that whole scene over and done before making any other big decisions. We'd put "post Labor Day" as the basic timeline for when an engagement might occur, so true to form, the moment the clock struck midnight on Labor Day I was on HIGH ALERT.

We'd talked about engagement rings and though I knowwwww that engagement rings are ridiculous and paternalistic and basically just a marketing scheme by big diamond companies, and the path to our fingers is littered with the bodies of diamond miners... well, no DUH I still wanted one. (I seem to be like, equal parts angry modern feminist and deeply romantic traditionalist and have a feeling that the push-pull between these two dualling personas will be a recurring theme throughout this whole wedding planning process. That should be fun for everyone!) I do still maintain that it is absurd to spend a ton of money on an engagement ring (unpopular opinion alert!) but I mean, if Brian wants to buy me some nice jewelry and love me forever, well, I'm not going to say no to that. We didn't want to go shopping together for a ring, that felt anti-climactic to us, but he still wanted my input on style, so I took an exploratory trip to a few jewelers in late August with my friend Kathleen, who then reported the findings to ole BriGuy.

And then...I waited. Ever so patiently, constantly touching up my nail polish, just in case. 

This was sort of a weird time for me, like, emotionally. I like to be the one making plans, taking control and felt like we were on the brink of a Life Event and I just had to sit back and let it happen.  Surprise, surprise, I think the idea of an "engagement" is sort of backwards and old fashioned - I think it is important for couples to discuss their future as a unit, to make plans together but then when it comes time for the official asking, the man is in charge? Oh hell naw! Butttt then when it came down to it: hell yes!

Brian told me early on that it was very important for him to do this, to propose, to buy a ring, to be the man with the plan and I wanted to honor that - gender parity is important and deciding things together are important, yes, but I guessss that occasionally letting go of the need to be in charge and allowing your partner to do what feels right for them is important too. So I sat back.

And I'm glad I did - in the moment when he asked me to marry him, I could see how happy he was - how happy we both were and it was the right choice for us.

But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Ok that Lost style flashback got long and unnecessarily dramatic. Just a small glimpse into the internal life of Liz Ho. A fun place to be!

So, now it is Sunday, October 6, 2013, skies over Brooklyn are misty and grey but we decide to take our trip nonetheless. By this point I am 99.4% certain that IT IS HAPPENING TODAY! Clues include: it is our only free weekend all fall, Brian has been extra specially nice to me all week and, most convincingly, he had rented the zip car for the day (pickup time: 8 AM!) weeks in advance. Love this guy, but planning in advance is not usually his M.O. I was prepared. I put together a semi-decent outfit, despite the weather and had SPRINTED to the nail salon at 5:01 PM on Friday for a preemptive mani so you can trust my nail game was on point.

We bundled up and picked up our car and the whole while I was giving Brian the old up and down, wondering where he might be stashing a ring. There were no box-sized bulges in the pockets of his jeans or coat...he'd brought along his school bag so I'd assumed it was in there, but he was being super casual and blase about the whole thing. I mean, I was mildly suspicious when he packed a bag in the first place, but it all made sense- he threw in an extra sweatshirt and dry socks, just in case, and tossed in some deli sandwiches, too - and he never acted like he was hauling precious cargo - he let me shove in some clothes of my own and at one point even asked me to hold it for him. I began to attempt to regulate my expectations to a normal level in the event that this was just a regular day trip after all, no life moments to be had, but we all know how great I am at operating in a relaxed emotional state so let's just say I was buzzing like a bumble bee with a Zac Efron sized coke problem the entirety of our trip. (Too soon? Love you, Zac!)

Adding to my nervous state, my cell phone was once again breaking down. This was my second phone in two weeks, this time with a brand new battery, but I kept encountering the same issues I'd had in the past. Today was NOT the day for a phone break down. Not only is Storm King basically an Instagrammer's wet dream, there was a chance I'd have to make some SERIOUSLY important phone calls!

So we wandered the park, checking out the sculptures, goofing around but neither of our heads was 100% in the game. Brian was trying to think on his feet of when and where to pop the big Q and, as I just mentioned, I was... let's go ahead and say mildly preoccupied with both my phone and my naked ring finger. At one point we came upon my very favorite sculpture, this long, winding stone wall curving its way through the natural landscape to a gorgeous lake at the bottom of a wooded hill. We lingered and as we walked away, I mentioned to Brian how much I loved it. Also, at that moment, I managed to get my phone to re-start and pulled Brian back to the wall so I could snap some photos.

Brian was overjoyed with this plan, thinking it the perfect way to get me back to my favorite sculpture without arousing my suspicion but WAIT! We are foiled. Back at the wall we encounter a nice woman snapping a few photos. I strike up a convo and ask her to take our picture with my now functioning phone. She obliges:

20131006_125636

And informs us that she's on site for a photography class and will be hanging around that wall alllllll afternoon snapping photos.

Thanks for ruining our perfect engagement, woman. I hope you get a big fat F in photo class.

Justttt kidding.

We ambled onward (do you like how I'm making this into like, the longest novel ever written of all time? Forget Infinite Jest, just read my blog!) and found ourselves in a sort of remote, secluded area towards the back of the park, with a few funky sculptures and tons of trees. Brian knew this was his moment, but just needed to distract me long enough to catch me off guard.

Luckily for him, I made it easy just by being my usual attention hog of a self - I spotted a statue of a gigantic head, like Easter Island, and ran towards it, yelling "Brian! Take my picture with this head!" I handed him my phone and struck a pose. Brian took a few snaps and handed me back the phone, and then it went a little something like this:

Brian: "This picture is awesome."

Me, looking at the phone: "Yeah, it's pretty good."

Brian: "It's really big!"

Me: "Yeah, the Samsung Galaxy has a really large screen (followed by several seconds of idiot chatter about Samsung Galaxy phones)

Brian: "No, I mean it's awesome and big because it's exciting, we'll always remember this as the picture I took right before I asked you to marry me."

20131006_133951

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My memories after that are a little hazy - I cried, there was some one knee action, Brian said the nicest things a human has ever said to another human and I, of course, said yes.

The ring is perfect, a vintage Art Deco ring from 1939, gold and gorgeous and delicate. Brian said he'd had it for a month (!) and had been practicing opening the box so he could get it right.  All other fellas on the planet, good try, but ain't nobody cuter than this guy. It's a fact.

We excitedly called our parents, or tried anyway. I couldn't get my mom on the phone - it turns out she was on a bike ride with her pals and out of service. I wanted to tell her before anyone else, so left about 73 frantic messages on her cell and at home and then my phone died, so I sent a few crazed texts from Brian's phone. I finally managed to get mine up and running again on the drive home and sent my sister a series of absolutely bananas texts: "WHERE'S MOM?!" "I NEED TO TALK TO MOM! ALSO SIT BY THE PHONE! YOU KNOW WHY!" until my mom called and we got to share the big news. My phone then proceeded to die on regular intervals for the remainder of our trip and despite a super romantic stop at the TMobile store, met its ultimate demise a few hours after we got home, but allowed me just enough time to chat with my siblings, dad and a few pals.

I started making corny remarks about every single thing we did all night as being the first _________ as an engaged couple - our first sandwiches, first drive over a bridge, first bottle of water, first trip to the TMobile store...first time going to the bathroom. God bless Brian, y'all, he's in for a long life.

And then we spent our first night AS AN ENGAGED COUPLE (!!!) sitting around our house in our underwear, eating Thai takeout and drinking fancy champagne. It was the perfect end to a perfect day - one that felt just right for us. There were no helicopters or flash mobs but just a little bit of adventure, a few mishaps, sandwiches, cheesy jokes, bathroom oversharing and pantslessness. All of my favorite things with my very, very favorite guy. I can't wait for a lifetime of days just like this.

*** The end! Thanks for reading all of this! I know I tend to shy away from the heartfelt stuff but I can't seem to help it thee days. #barf! I hope you might let me share, from time to time, our adventures on the marriage train. I promise this won't become some boring wedding blog, believe me, the world needs another wedding blog like it needs another Mormon mommy blog (zing!) (which is to say millions more, love you, Mormon moms!) but I have a feeling there will be some major shenanigans along the way (aren't there always?) and think it might be kind of fun to write through the process, especially working through those battling ideologies, as the Liz Ho who hates the Wedding Industrial Complex and the Liz Ho who has had Style Me Pretty bookmarked since her single days meet in the ring to duke it out. Let the next great adventure begin! ***

One AWESOME Announcement

Hello World! Please allow me to take a brief moment from our regularly scheduled programming for a small big huge amazing FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC Announcement:

Brian and I are engaged!

20131006_134347

Move over, Seth Cohen, there's a new man in town. And this time, he's real!

We're both pretty excited by the whole situation, in case you can't tell by the mega-watt grins.

Can't wait to have an eternity of adventures with this guy.

Many (many, many) more details to come (please, have we ever known me to be short-winded?) but first, just wanted to share the good news. Everyone knows that nothing's official in this world until you tell the whole internet.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must go lie down - I'm practically cross-eyed from staring at my left hand all day.

HOORAY!

One Awkward Engagement

Before you get too excited allow me to clarify my link-bait headline up there, I am not currently engaged. Believe me, when it happens, you'll know.

A quick question: do you guys watch The Bachelor? I do not. Surprisingly! For as much TV as I consume, I generally don't get too sucked into reality programming, for whatever reason. From time to time I will find myself invested one season of a show - the Joey Fatone/Apollo Anton Ono season of Dancing With The Stars, the Boston Rob season of Survivor, Kelly vs Justin on American Idol, The Voltaggio Brothers on Top Chef - but then the next season I just miss all the contestants from the year before and get bored and move on to other nobler pursuits, like feeding the homeless and writing government petitions to stop animal abuse.

Just kidding, I just find other TV shows to fill my time. What a life.

Despite the fact that I'm not a big Bachelor fan, I am hooooooooked on this web series Burning Love. It is a comic send-up of The Bachelor and it. is. hilarious. Season One, featuring Ken Marino as the dimwitted firefighter bachelor (instead of offering a rose, he asks contestants if they will "accept his hose." Double Entendre: Never Not Funny),  is now playing on E!, so do what you need to do to watch that one, and Season 2, a Bachelorette edition is in-season RIGHT NOW at Yahoo TV. Go, go goooooo:

http://screen.yahoo.com/burning-love/

June Diane Raphael, who is srsly underrated IMO, is the adorable, self-absorbed, mildly unhinged Bachelorette who gets to choose from a wide variety of hotties including Michael  Cera, Ryan Hansen, Adam Scott, Jerry O'Connell, Colin Hanks and the real-life Seth Cohen himself: Adam Brody.

seth-cohen

Chrismukkah Comes Early!

This mashup of the Bachelor and the Brodester brought back a swarm of memories from an earlier time in my life, my first engagement.

Say WHAAT?

I know, totally out of left field, this fact, but it is true: I was engaged to...or at least planning a wedding with...none other than Adam Brody himself. No love was stronger than ours. Except maybe the love between Seth and Summer, but they're not real people, so, we win.

Our story: Freshman Year of college my girlfriends and I were all gathered in someone's dorm room watching the televised wedding of the first ever Bachelorette, Trista marry her hunky poet/firefighter fiance Ryan. It was a fairytale wedding of epic proportions and being the incredibly cool kids that we were, we had a whole night planned around it with snacks and crafts and mocktails and it was a delight. We decided that we wanted to look at wedding dresses & accessories & such online. This was before Style Me Pretty and A Practical Wedding and Once Wed and other big wedding blogs which I've only heard about like, in passing conversation, I totally don't read wedding blogs all day, what?!, so we found ourselves at the mothership of the Wedding Industrial Complex: TheKnot.com. We poked around a bit, but to really get to the good stuff on that site you need to be a registered bride.

Really, what's a gal to do in this situation but make up a fake engagement?

And so we did. I'll obviously do anything for a laugh, so I volunteered (probably demanded, let's be real) to be the bride. Who is your groom, they asked? I had no real life boyfriend in the picture (plus planning a fake wedding with a human I might actually come in contact crossed a bridge too far, even for me), so I picked the current man of my dreams, the Jon Hamm of my College Years: Adam Brody. This was back in the height of the OC Days, before Mischa Barton went off the rails, and Seth Cohen was every awkward girl's dream boyfriend: nerdy yet gorgeously handsome, hilarious, quick with a joke, sensitive, lover of holiday tradition. Whatta guy. I suppose I thought that saying I was engaged to a fictional character was extra lame, so I selected Adam Brody, real person, to be my Knot.com husband.

Sure why not. (or why KNOT?! BA DUM BUM, God I'm good.)

I filled out a whole profile with our names, addresses, wedding party (Benjamin McKenzie aka Ryan Atwood was obvz the Best Man), and after a long discussion about whether or not it was politically correct, we settled on a wedding date of September 11, 2004.

(Related: Do you think it is politically correct to get married on 9/11? I feel like yes, move forward, positivity, blah blah, but definitely a weird date to be writing on your anniversary cards every year.)

We goofed around on the site for a while before signing out, but TheKnot does not (knot!) forget. During the months between signing up and our One Special Day 9/11/04 I was barraged with an endless stream of emails promoting deals, reminding me of my wedding planning checklist, honeymoon tips, the works. It was funny at first, but after a while I just took to deleting them as soon as they came in. All good jokes must die at some point.

Then a few months later I went home to my mom's house and she handed me a gigantic manila envelope.

"You got some mail," she said, with a smirk in her eye.

I opened the envelope and out fell HUNDREDS of pamphlets and flyers and coupons from florists, jewelers, DJs, limo services, travel agencies, and other WIC related vendors.

"Getting married?" she asked, clearly having trouble containing her laughter.

"Yes." I said. " To Adam Brody. In a few months. Did I forget to tell you?"

I don't recall the exact details, but I do believe that at this time she just walked away, shaking her head, probably questioning the Lord Above on just what she did, exactly, to end up with me.

After our "wedding" the emails came to a stop, until September 11, 2005, when they sent me a beautiful note wishing me a Happy First Anniversary and urging me to sign up for TheBump.com, their site dedicated to all things mommy.

I politely declined. A fake wedding with a TV star is already pushing it, but I think registering an imaginary fetus might have just crossed the line a little too far.

And that's that. My first engagement. I just tried to log back into TheKnot but I can't remember any of my login info, boo. Probably best NOT to reopen that Pandora's  Box. Adam and I have been happily married for going on 8 years now!

love

Here is a beautiful candid photo of us taken this summer at our lake house. OH how we laugh!

We've had our ups and downs but, as Ben Affleck said, "It is work. But it is the best kind of work, and there's no one else I'd rather work with." (AAAND I just typed that from memory, I need to reevaluate how I use my brain cells.) I know it looks like he's been stepping out with Blair Waldorf lately but do not believe the paparazzi. They are JUST FRIENDS.

The End!