Going to the Chapel

Oh what a pickle!  Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I have two wedding officiants.  Some people are struggling to find one and we have one too many!  It is kind of a funny story really.  So sit back, grab a glass of sangria and I will tell you about how we ended up with two people officiating our wedding.

It all started with my parent's marriage.  My dad went to Catholic school and ended up becoming friends with one of his teachers who just so happened to be a priest (a very young priest probably only 3-4 years older than my dad).  When it came time for Mama CS and Papa CS to get married he asked his friend, the priest, to marry them.  They didn't get married in the Catholic church.... scandal!  But since they were friends the priest agreed to do it for Papa CS.

Fast forward 4 years and this same friend/priest (friest if you will) baptizes me.  Lets get in the time machine once again to present day.  The priest is working in DC and I have met him a couple of time overs the course of my living here.  Once Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I get engaged I convince Cuke that we MUST have the priest who married my parents officiate our wedding as well.  Mr. Cucumber Sammie agrees and I set off to find the friest.

An email, a few phone messages and a couple of months later and no reply from the friest.  Nobody has any updated contact information for him or thinks he left his 'job'.  Basically there is no way to track him down.  Finally in desperation, I call his 'job' and see if they have any forwarding information.  They tell me he has moved and can forward an email for me but can't tell me his information.

This all happened over the course of months and in my mind I had to start forming a plan B.  Plan B was to have someone we know perform the wedding ceremony.  After months of ruminating over this plan B, I start to love plan B!  I can have total control over writing the ceremony.  I won't have to worry about any restrictions the friest might have or want to include.  I can be in charge and I love to be in charge!!

Our roles became reversed and Mr. Cucumber Sammie couldn't imagine a wedding without the friest.  Finally after convincing him to come to the dark side or the plan B side, he is on board.  I tell him we are never going to hear from the friest and if this was any other vendor he would have fired them already.  Good point.  We ask BIL CS to be our officiant.  Bada bing, bada boom, done!  Except......

No more than 12 hours after we ask Officiant #1 (BIL CS), I get a voicemail from the friest.  He would love to officiate the wedding and can't wait to talk to us more about it.  He says he is saving the date!  Ahhhh.

So now we have two officiants!  We can't tell either one never mind because we want them both to do it.  We are just going to have to figure out a plan where they are both included.  I have a feeling this is going to be so much easier said than done.

Any suggestions for two officiants?  Run into any snafus while wedding planning?!

Ring of Fire

Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I set off on our ring-palooza (which makes it sound way funner than it actually was).  First up: Mervis Diamond Importers.  Mervis has about three stores in the DMV (District, Maryland, and Virginia) area making them a small family run chain.  Any one from the area can probably recite their radio commercials because they are on.... All. The. Time!

Any whoodle, about a month ago Mervis was running a 'ring' event where they promised a plethora of wedding band designers, discounts, cake and vodka (I still can't figure out why the vodka but I am not one to argue).  Cake!?!?  Off we went.  The event was the very first time Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I tried on rings and we were positively giddy.  There were tons of people there so we got brought up to Zeb Mervis's office for our consultation!  Now I know what being in the inner sanctum of a celebrity feels like.
The Man, The Legend's desk chair
While it was a really classy event, unfortunately it came with some really 'classy' prices.  There may have been some tears in the car ride home because I thought I had significantly under budgeted the wedding rings.  And now the whole wedding was ruined!  Very calm and mature of me.  Even with the 20% discount, we couldn't really afford anything.  The rings were absolutely stunning though.

Onward and upward!  I am completely susceptible to tv ads so the next stop was Jared the Galleria.
When we first walked in, we were immediately greeted and brought over the display cases.  After seeing my engagement ring, the ooh-so-helpful sales person asked if he could clean it for me.  Yes, please!  It took only about 15 minutes for Mr. Cucumber Sammie to find the ring that he wanted.
Tungsten band with a brushed metal finish for the majority of the ring and just a little bit of detailing on the outer ring.  It was a very handsome looking ring.  And just like that he was done.  Didn't feel the need to go to any more stores or look at any other rings.  How do guys do that?!

I took a little bit longer than 15 minutes but not by much.  I guess channel set diamonds have become quite the trend because Mr. Helpful Salesman let me right to the good stuff.  Unfortunately it was not vodka like the other jeweler.
Oh how I heart you.  Looks great without my engagement ring, all by its lonesome and looks extra fabulous with the e-ring.  Of course, I can't make a spontaneous decision like Mr. Cucumber Sammie so no rings were purchased that day.

 After one terrible trip to another jeweler that must not be named (seriously, they tried to convince us that if my CukeSammie ever got in an accident, his ring would not be able to be cut off and could cause severe finger damage), Mr. Cucumber Sammie finally talked some reason into me.  Not everything in wedding planning has to be a big production.  If we find the rings we like and they are in budget (and they are, cue happy tears!) we should just get them.  It doesn't require hours and hours of research.

So back to Jareds we go!  I can't wait to show you personal photos of the rings.... especially with my engagement ring.

Does your fiance ever need to talk sense into you?  Don't you love rings with diamonds!?

Diamonds are forever

Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I have started the search for our wedding bands a long time ago.  We could have been our normal selves and put this off for another couple of months but there were some jewelry 'events' we wanted to attend.  You know the 'events' where they lure you in with 20% off and cake!  We are suckers for cake and discounts.  Wedding bands were something we didn't budget a whole lot for so we wanted to take advantage of all the opportunities to save.

There were quite a few events coming up that we wanted to attend but first to the research mobile to see if we were really getting a good deal!  I knew exactly what kind of ring I wanted so my search should be easy.
{Image via Diamond Ring Previews}
The problem with the research mobile is that sometimes the GPS gets a little wonky and you end up off course.  Also known as I totally got distracted looking at shiny things.  Originally I thought it was silly given our budget to try and get an eternity band.  But....
Its so pretty! {Image via JeewlryAnt}
And then I realized that it probably can't be engraved which was something important to me.  After my love affair with all those diamonds I felt guilty and went the opposite direction with a plain silver band.
Delicate and classic {Image via Angara}
But while the simple band is a classic it seemed a little too plain.  This is the point when things really went down hill.  So many rings, so little time.  Maybe I want a rose gold ring.
So beautiful {Image via Apples Of Gold}
I love the two tone look of this ring and it is simple enough to be classic but definitely not boring.  I don't know how the brushed metal would go with my shiny engagement ring.  I am sure it is a stunner though.  Another ring I thought about has certainly been making the rounds of the inter-web lately.  The finger print ring!
{Image via Design Town}
The designer takes an imprint of your fiance's finger print and uses it to create the design on the inside of the ring.  I heart the sentiment but am not crazy about the outside.  Unless I took my ring off all the time and showed people (which I am totally not above doing) nobody would know how special of a ring.

Decisions, decisions.  You will just have to stay tuned.  Did you get overwhelmed by ring choices?

P.S. Mr. Cucumber Sammie had no idea what he wanted.  All he said was he wanted plain and would get a 'feeling' about a ring when he put it on.  Obviously that leave me with nothing to show you.  So selfish!

Feel like someone is watching me

Unfortunately I have been less than crafty lately (who I am kidding, I haven't even started being crafty.... my cricut I got for Christmas is still in the box) so I have nothing to show you.  However there are less than two weeks until our engagement session with Nicole.  I am so excited and have been busily preparing.  How have I been preparing you are about to ask?

Well since you are dying to know I am happy to share.  First up is the personal hygiene category.  I have been dutifully using the Clinique 3 step system in hopes of getting that bridal glow.
Unfortunately it is not really working yet.  I justify my less than perfect skin on the change in the seasons.  I have only been using it for a week so I am hoping it just takes some time to kick in.  I also made a hair appointment on that day for a blow out and will probably get my nails down just so she can photograph my gorgeous ring. 

On the fitness front, I have been working out more.  And by more, I mean once or twice a week instead of none.  I don't have a routine down yet but Mr. LP has been an all-star about running lately so I plan on tagging along with him.  I know there is very little I can really accomplish before next Sunday but I will hopefully jump start my routine for the wedding (which is in 200 days... ahh!). 

I have no clue what I am going to wear yet so don't even ask.  I don't have work on Monday so I am headed to the mall hopefully I will have something to show soon.  Cute shoes are a must though.

Most of my preparation has been in the form of  stalking other photographer's blogs.  We aren't getting married in DC so we want tons of photos of us in our neighborhood and at the historical landmarks.  I feel compelled to create a file of my favorite photos since we don't have unlimited time. 

I doubt we will go to any of the Smithsonian's but I love this one.
 These next two are really nice with the early evening light.  Mr. LP and I don't like a lot of PDA so I really appreciate the 'just walking down the street enjoying the day, not making out' feel.

What is that.... just us walking down the street with our totally cooperative dog.  Of course!
I am totally in love with this shot which appears to be quite popular.
The between the pillars shot on the left (source)
See what I mean (source)

This shot is Every Where! (source)
We will be taking our photos during the craziest time to be down on the National Mall.... the Cherry Blossom Festival.  It is going to be insanity but we are hoping to get great shots like this:


L.O.V.E. (source)
Have I missed any iconic DC landmarks?  Any suggestions on how many outfit changes is too many?!

Another One Bites the Dust

Goal 101 completed! (Attend a college athletics game besides GWU) On Thursday I got to go see some of the March Madness games at the Verizon Center here in DC.  Mr. LP is a huge sports guy and managed to score us tickets.  At first I was only so/so about going but now I am a total convert.  The games were A... wait for it.... mazing!

Not only that but I am on the Butler Bandwagon!  I can't wait for my sweatshirt to arrive in the mail so I can show my bandwagon pride (no I didn't go to Butler and until a couple of days ago didn't even know where it was). 
Hint, hint Mr. LP (source)
There are so many reason to support Butler.  First of all, their mascot is a bulldog.  So adorable!
I love you (source)
Secondly I am convinced their head coach looks like the adult version of Harry Potter....
Just imagine him with a scar (source)
Anger Harry Potter (source)
See what I mean!?!?  Will you be joining me on the Butler Bandwagon.  Let's go Dawgs!

No Man's Land

I have been bridal-brainwashed.  My wedding will be a total failure unless I hand make........ Napkin Rings!  (Please note that in the weeks to come that sentence will probably change several times stating various failures).  I have no idea why this has become such an issue especially since Congress Hall has some lovely dinner plates which I am sure would look just fine sans napkin ring.
{Congress Hall
I think the craziness comes from the lack of color in our floral arrangements.  They are hopefully, mostly going to be fluffy white hydrangea in white milk glass.  Boring!  This table clearly screams for colorful napkin rings!

I would love to do something like this:
Colorful and fun!{Image via Country Living}
Or this:
Love the monogram {Image via MayaMade}
But there is no way either one of those is probably going to happen.  I don't own a sewing machine so option 1 is out and I am in no way crafty enough to do option 2.

Lets talk about something a little more my speed.  First up a napkin ring that is slutting it up all over the internet right now.  The Martha Stewart pom
Beautious {Martha Stewart}
This would be a great way to add some color.  I could totally do these in orange.  But I don't know if I am that 'crafty' which is my code word for 'I am lazy'.  I would probably get through about 5 of the 125 that I need and take a nap instead. 
{Martha Stewart}
Oh yeah.  Now we are talking.  Easy, check.  Cheap, probably.  But is it too easy/ not enough of an impact?  If I am going to spend hours making something I want people to notice I made it, GD it!

And last but not least an easy paper one from iDiy.
{Image via iDIY}
Again, super easy.  But I think lace might be taking our decor into a place I don't really want to go.  However if I did lace then I could but lace on the votive candles..... .ooooh options.  Now I am getting carried away.

What do you think?  Should I go with the easy less of an impact or the paper poms which will most definitely drive me crazy?  Or should I just give up now and realize that I am never going to do either of those options.

Happy St. Patrick's Day

For us in the LemonPuppy household, St. Patrick's Day is more than just green beer and corned beef.  It is about celebrating with family and friends.  A couple of weeks ago we brought the LemonPuppy up to Philadelphia to spend a little quality time with her very best friend..... her sister*: 

Bet you can't tell which is the LemonPuppy
Is it this one?!?!?
Fooled you... there she is... looking creepy
As it turns out we are a boxer family and my parents have a boxer as well.  They are the very best of friends and like to do lots of things together.  Like what you ask?

They love to wrestle
And wrestle some more
They like to take naps together.

This lasted all of 20 seconds
It is great having the two of them together because they can entertain themselves.  Why do you need humans when you can play tug-of-war with another dog?!

That poor toy never stood a chance
And finally after all this excitement it is time for a little 'quiet hour'.

Brushing each others hair
And snuggling
 'Cause we are the two best friends that anyone could have'....

*They are in no way related by blood.  If you wanted to be technical about it I guess my parents dog is my sister so LemonPuppy is her niece.  But going into that much detail would be weird, unlike devoting an entire post to an imaginary friendship. 

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Testing 1-2-3

Four Down... One To Go!  I am so excited that my bridesmaids have started picking out their dresses.  BM Smoked Salmon Sammie ordered hers almost 3 months ago and I finally got to see it when I went over her house for dinner the other weekend.
{Image from Macy's/No longer available}
The only requirements for the dress was that it was above the knee and navy.  The website makes it look a little more purply but it is definitely navy in person.

This weekend Mama CS ordered 6 dresses from JCrew for the Sammie Sisters to try on.  After a couple of returns and reorders they both managed to walk away with a dress.
{JCrew's Blakely}
{JCrew's Alisanne}
 Unfortunately they weren't being very cooperative and refused to let Mama CS take any pictures of them in the dress.  I guess I will just have to be surprised.
{Monique Lhuillier for Nordstrom}
And BM Egg Salad Sammie has chosen this lovely number for her dress.  I going to be a bridesmaid in BM Egg Salad Sammie's wedding a month before mine and the dresses she picked for the bridesmaids look eerily similar to the one above.  I guess she favors this style.

Now I can't for the life of me figure out what to do about the jewelry.  I kind of just want to say forget it and have the bridesmaids pick out whatever they want.  This is hard.  I still have more than 3 months so I am going to put it off.  Excellent plan!

Any thoughts?

Hook, Line and Sinner

It WORKED!!  After my post on my floral inspiration, the florist sent me a quote.  (Dear Blogland, I would like $1 million dollars.  Just throwing it out there).  And the best part is the quote is a number Mr. Cucumber Sammie and I are thrilled with.  I am about to start playing the lottery soon because it is coming up all aces for Miss CukeSammie.  The magical florist is still about $500 more than the other two but would I pay $500 for peace of mind about our centerpieces being gorgeous!?!?  You betcha.

Starting the florist search seemed rather daunting.  For some reason I was completely overwhelmed by the number of options.  I searched many sites including TheKnot, WeddingWire and even the hive's vendor reviews.  Every search left me more and more confused.  Finally I went back to the basics and started with the venue provided vendor list.  Congress Hall had about 10 vendors listed for florist.  For whatever reason, in the beginning I was hesitant about contacting them.   I think a part of me thought I could get a better deal by going with someone not on that list.  I know how ridiculous that sounds.  I mean, they are on the preferred vendor list for a reason.   

I looked over each florists website and made a list of my top 5.  I ruled out anyone coming from Philadelphia because even though it is only 2.5 hours away I figured they would probably charge a pretty delivery fee.  I contacted my first choice on the list..... and she was already booked for our wedding weekend.  What?!?!  Commence bridal tail spin.  After 15 minutes of freaking out, I called all the rest of the florists and set up appointments for the following weekend.  Then I called Mr. Cucumber Sammie and told him to clear his schedule, we are road tripping it to Cape May.  In hindsight I probably should have called Mr. Cucumber Sammie first.  Oh well. 

First up on the short list of 3 appointments was Manic Botanic.  Manic Botanic was my early favorite based solely on their website.  Tons of amazing floral inspiration pictures and real weddings from our venue!  Even their adorable store front did not disappoint.
Lillian, the fabulous store owner, took over an hour to meet with us and talk about everything we were envisioning for the day.  It was not until our later appointments how much I appreciated our meeting with Lillian.  She wanted to know everything about the wedding, the colors, the feel, the details and she added her own suggestions.  She seemed to be invested in making our wedding beautiful even though she had only just met us.  And to give you something to drool over, take a look at her awesome work:
Image and Design by Manic Botanic
Image and Design by Manic Botanic
Image and Design by Manic Botanic
Image and Design by Manic Botanic
I had set up two more appointments for that day closer to Cape May so we had to keep truckin'. Next up we went to see Cape Winds Florist and An Enchanting Florist.  Both of their prices were completely reasonable and they both would have given me exactly what I wanted.  But that was it.  There was no real pizazz.  I had to supply all the inspiration and creative and they would produce whatever I asked for.  I guess I was just looking for a little something more.  In the meetings they just asked for the basics and then told me the price.  No brainstorming, no stroking my bridal ego.  Nada.
An Enchanting Florist
Yes, very enchanting
Cape Winds Florist
There is no big reveal here.  We are going with Manic Botanic and I am tickled!  I can't wait to start working with Lillian and see what she comes up with.  Now I need to excuse myself and start combing through the budget to find where I can make cuts to turn my flower dreams a reality.

Hello Lover
And of course we stopped to say hello to the venue.

Do you think this is the beginning of the end of our budget?  Did you just have to have something even though you were probably only paying for peace of mind?