Blogspirations

August 6, 2010

I know, that made up word wasn’t even convincing as a clever title. Somehow, I’m okay with that.

This summer I’ve had the privilege of writing about a plethora of love and wedding (both of wish are closely intertwined) related topics. As much as I’d love to pretend I came up with these ideas solely out of the corners of my complex mind, I must give credit where credit is due.

This summer brims of inspiration by the following:

Wedding Gawker: This blog is among the most visually stimulating and appealing wedding blogs I’ve stumbled across. I admit to visiting this website on an almost daily basis and…well…gawking at the brilliantly unique weddings displayed here. I love it.

Style Me Pretty: Inspiration, DIY (Do it yourself) guides, and latest fashions? Excellent resource.

Offbeat Bride: I’d definitely consider myself in the category of “offbeat” (Although I’d prefer words like “eclectic”, and “eccentric”…) and I’m entirely fascinated with new wedding concepts and themes.

Boston Wedding Group: This blog offers some very helpful wedding tips, for things I would have never thought of!

Intimate Weddings: B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l ideas, wonderfully captured.

Glamour: This blog by the ever-popular Glamour magazine fuels much inspiration for blog topics. Thanks Glamour! Specifically, Meredith Bodgas — a fantastic writer and editor! Her articles never cease to amuse and inspire me!

Kiss the Groom: This blog is gorgeous. That’s all you need to know before you visit it.

The Knot: This blog provided me with such insight into the mind of a bride, and sparked much inspiration because of it! They even have a Boston blog spawn, Boston Weddings.

Beantown Bride: Boston + Weddings + Beautiful? Simply, Bliss.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Inanimate objects in our office

Love really is all around…

Writing your Vows

August 4, 2010

While I do consider myself a bit of a writer, I have to admit that I am fairly unqualified at administering any sort of wedding vow advice.  Because of this I will concede to a more knowledgeable source… the folks at The Knot.

Wedding Vows & Readings: 20 Tips for

Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

The 20 questions you need to ask when you’re writing your own wedding vows.

So you thought it’d be great to write your own wedding vows, but now a healthy dose of writer’s block (not to mention fear of embarrassing yourself) has hit you squarely on the head. Don’t know how to transform your heavy, life-altering, feelings into a string of coherent words? You’re not alone — but don’t worry, your goal is within reach: Just take it one word at a time. Here’s the homework you need to do (and the questions you should ask) to make your wedding vows perfect.

Prep Step A: Get clearance

Make sure your officiant will accept personalized vows. Catholic and Episcopal congregations, for instance, may require you to recite all or part of the traditional vows, though in most cases that’s left to the officiant’s discretion. Remember: Even the most accommodating officiant will want to review your words in advance.

Prep Step B: Make a plan

You need to tackle the logistics to make sure you and your fiance are both on the same page: Are you each going to write your own, or will you write them together? Will you show them to each other before the ceremony?

Knot Note: If you’re feeling shy, opt to write your vows together and even recite the exact same promises. If there’s more you wish to say, privately, say it in the cards you exchange on the day of your wedding or on your honeymoon.

Prep Step C: Create your outline

An outline can help to establish a structure that you both stick to. For example, plan to first talk about how great your fiance is, then about how great you are as a couple, then about what you’re vowing to each other.

Prep Step D: Find your voice

What overall tone do you want: Humorous and touching? Poetic and mushy? It’s your call — the most important thing is that your vows ring true and sound like they’re from your heart.

Prep Step E: Cut it down

Finally, pick a length and stick to it by keeping the mantra pithy and to the point in mind — anything longer than a minute or so, and no matter how gorgeous your prose, the audience will start to squirm.

Ready to Write!

What exactly do you say? To help you think of sentiments to include, take turns answering this list of questions. When you’re done, look through your answers for the phrases that best capture your intended message and incorporate them into the structure of your vows.

What did you think when you first saw him/her? Start from the beginning — you didn’t want to go out and now you’re grateful your friends dragged you out? How to use: When we met at __________, I knew __________.

When did you realize you were in love? The more specific you are able to be, the more touching the story. Was it when he helped you bring your sick puppy to the vet? How to use: I knew I was in love when ____________. Don’t underestimate the power of humor. Throw in at least one more playful sentiment (When she recited Don Mattingly’s RBI record…).

What do you have now that you didn’t have before you met? Focus on the heart and head, not material possessions. Has she taught you to appreciate beauty differently? Has he helped you learn to savor creating a home-cooked meal? How to use: Before I met you, I ___________. Now I ___________.

How has your worldview changed? Life has likely gotten better since the two of you joined forces, so tell everyone about it. How to use: Because of you, I see the world __________. Having trouble? Think about the new things you’ve tried with your mate — what have you experienced together that you never would have on your own?

What do you miss most when you’re apart? This will probably be something mundane but powerful — what about his smile first thing in the morning, or the way she puts out your lucky mug for your morning coffee? How to use: You are such a part of me that when you’re gone, I __________.

Where do you see yourselves in 10 years? 20 years? 40 years? Go deeper than Happily married in a big house. What are your long-term hopes, dreams, and goals? How to use: I look forward to __________, laughing and __________ as we __________.

Is there a line from a movie, song, or poem that says it all? It’s okay to borrow, as long as it’s not too much of a cliche (we’re sorry, but You complete me is suffering from overuse). Instead modify something familiar to personalize. How to use: Subtly. I watch you ________, and I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Do parts of the traditional vows resonate with you? Maybe you’re not so sure about the obey part, but can you really go wrong with love, cherish, and…? How to use: Try I promise to cherish and honor you ____________, but add a time frame and funny reference for levity: …all the days of my life, especially when curled up on the couch with takeout.

Can you think of a funny or touching experience that put your partner in a new light? The way he played with your little cousin or helped your grandmother up the stairs showed you that under his macho exterior is a wittle, bitty bunny wabbit and you love him for it. How to use: When you ____________, I saw you for the _____________ person you are. And that made me want to ____________.

Is there a harrowing experience that strengthened your bond? This one rides tandem with #9. How to use: See #9.

What goals and values do you both have? Stating your common bond may just expose your inner Wordsworth. These ties — whether your shared faith or your mutual love of wine — will also help demonstrate why you’re a perfect pair. How to use: We share ___________, so together we can ___________.

What about him/her inspires you? What is it about your fiance that you’d like to improve in yourself? What do you most respect about your partner? How to use: Your ___________ has shown me how to be___________.

What promise can you make to codify your devotion? Here’s an opportunity to personalize your vows — many couples pledge their endless love, but how many promise to take the dog out in the morning, even in the snow? How to use: I promise to always ___________.

How will you change together? You know what your goals are — think about the steps the two of you will need to take together to reach them. How to use: I look forward to ___________ as we __________.

What metaphor (or simile) would capture your love? Think of something that describes or defines your love: Is it strong like a castle? Peaceful like a mountain stream? How to use: Our love is like a ___________ because it ___________.

Why are you entering the bond of marriage? Think about why marrying your fiance is so special. You may be surprised how the answer leads you to the perfect words. How to use: To me, marriage is ___________. With you, it’s ___________.

What will keep your marriage strong? Find the bedrock of your relationship. What makes your relationship tick? Is it your resilience? Your shared sense of humor? How to use: Even when ___________, we will have ___________.

What are you most looking forward to about married life? The wedding is just the beginning. How to use: I look forward to ___________ as we embark on ___________.

What do you expect out of married life? Defining your expectations will help you make and keep promises. Think about your dreams, and what you’ll have to vow to do to make them come true. How to use: I know our marriage will ___________ and I vow to ___________.

What words do you associate with love? Make a list of romantic terms so you can avoid overusing love — too many repetitions dilute its power. How to use: My devotion/adoration/ passion is ___________.

Centerpieces, at any formal occasion, are extremely important. Weddings are undoubtedly an important occasion.  Centerpieces set the tone for the wedding, and allow a chance to branch off the main color themes to explore accent colors. They give an opportunity to bring texture and dimension into the wedding decor. It also offers those at the wedding reception a constant visual reminder of the overall theme.

I’ve discovered some ultra-unique, but still chic ( I think…I mostly said that because it rhymed…) centerpieces and I thought I’d share my finds with you.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Paper Bouquets

August 2, 2010

I found these via weddinggawker, and there is no doubt in my mind that I will make something like these beautiful paper bouquets for my wedding.

I have http://www.awkwardfamilyphotos.com to thank for my newest obsession, looking at creepy/hilarious wedding pictures! Here are my favorites from their wedding selection. Hopefully this will provide a gentle nudge to consider us at Nieubreed to avoid having your photos pasted on this fabulous site…

10 reasons why you should hire us to be your Wedding photographer:

1. We believe moments like this are intended to happen off camera…

2. Yes, we think you both make a great catch. But we’re better versed in subtleties…

3. We don’t think love is a waste…

4. We are just as creeped out by this as you are.

5. We try to get in your head to capture your personality in beautifully captivating ways…but not literally.

6. We try to make you look as comfortable and natural as possible…this just isn’t right.

7. Again, we think moments like these are better left off camera…

8. We believe in fabric diversity.

9. We don’t think a ring is a fair trade for an apple either.

10. We can imagine a plethora of more romantic things to pose with.

I know that I’ve mentioned that romantic movies are often unrealistic and absurd. But even I can admit, there are parts in certain movies of the romantic variety that for reasons unknown give me the chills.  So I thought I would compile a short list of these moments that still to this day warm my heart.

Love and Basketball

I love this movie. I love everything about this movie from the characters to the writing. My favorite moment is near the end when the two main roles are playing basketball for the hearts of one another.  This only sounds ridiculous if you haven’t seen it. Each and every time I see this I am mentally and emotionally taken back to the first time I watched this. Each and every time I feel the heart-wrenching pain that Monica (Sanaa Lathan) feels, and wonder if he’s going give up on them.  When he says “Double or Nothing”, my hopes are restored immediately.

Garden State

You know, now that I think if it… this movie wasn’t actually that romantic.  But I still put this in the running as having one of the most romantic moments. Sam (Natalie Portman) is an annoying yet adorable character that jumps into the life of Andrew (Zach Braff).  My favorite scene isn’t even with just them two, but I thought it was one of the most honest and romantic pieces in a movie.  Andrew, his friend, and Sam are clad in trashbags and decide to release any anguish and inhibition and scream into a pit. This moment made me want to let go and scream in the rain with someone I cared about. I remedied that urge by screaming into my pillow. Still cathartic, less rainwater and soggy socks involved.

500 days of Summer

This is not a love story. But it’s a great movie. The most romantic part is without a doubt the scene in IKEA.  Summer (Zooey Deschanel) and Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) traipse through IKEA pretending like it is their home, and It’s hilarious and all kinds of adorable. I will make it a point to do this some day…

Check the clip out here.

Notting Hill

There was a phase in my live where I would watch anything with Hugh Grant in it, and this was no exception.  Julia Roberts plays a character that closely resembles herself – a world famous actress used to getting whatever she wants. Hugh Grant plays a simpleton British Bookstore owner.  She ends up screwing this poor man over (more than once), and upon realizing the error of her ways, she comes back to him. This moment is one of the most honest moments Julia Roberts has ever starred in.

What are some romantic moments in movies that you love? Share them, I’d love to see!

Shh! Sneak Peek…

July 28, 2010

I love everything about this moment from Ali & Chafic’s wedding…

Vodpod videos no longer available.

“How We Met”

July 26, 2010

I’ve always thought it intriguing and extremely romantic to hear about how couples have met. There’s just something so divine about how any single encounter could be the catalyst to a beautiful and lasting relationship…and chances are you are all the while completely oblivious.

One of my favorite stories I can remember offhand about a first encounter were my Aunt and Uncle.  When they first met, his very first words to her were “I don’t like your purse. That is an ugly purse.” Needless to say they did not start on good terms… But it ultimately resulted in one of the most beautiful relationships I have ever had the privilege of witnessing.

I stumbled upon this article here on 5 true New York couples meeting in different ways, and it simply fascinates me.

Here’s one of my favorite stories from that article:

ON A PLANE

Elizabeth Sauer, 23, a legal secretary from Elmwood Park, N.J., and Jonathan Rivera, 23, a police officer from Union City, N.J., met on a US Airways plane.

When Elizabeth boarded her flight between Newark and Charlotte, N.C., she was looking forward to some quiet time alone with her magazine.

But the moment the neighboring seat was occupied by good-looking stranger Jonathan, she sensed the latest issue of Cosmopolitan could wait. “First he asked me if I had gum and then he bought me a bottle of water,” recalls Elizabeth, who was immediately struck by his friendly, laid-back attitude.

“I thought, ‘Well, at least he’s not some annoying elderly person engaging me in a conversation that lasts the whole journey.’ “

However, by the time the plane reached Charlotte, the pair were chatting like old friends.

They had a 90-minute layover before taking separate onward flights and continued their flirtatious conversation in Starbucks.

“Even though we were visiting family in different parts of Florida, he suggested we meet up right away,” says Elizabeth, who had recently separated from her husband after three years of marriage.

“I thought it was crazy, but I agreed.”

A few days later, Jonathan drove more than 400 miles from Orlando to Fort Lauderdale and back to escort her to a Halloween night at Universal Studios.

Elizabeth, flattered he had made such a big effort to see her, says, “We were waiting on line for parking and I asked, kind of joking, ‘So, is this a real date?’ He said, ‘It is, as long as it ends in a kiss.’ So I said, ‘I can make sure that happens’ and leaned over and kissed him!”

The theme park visit last October was such a success they met up the day Jonathan returned to New Jersey when he introduced Elizabeth to his family.

“His mom said, ‘I hope you marry her because your babies will have the most gorgeous green eyes,'”says Elizabeth. “It was a bit premature but I guessed this was going to be a serious, long-term relationship.”

Five months on, amid talk of moving in together, the romance has truly blossomed. “I love the way that, as a tough-guy cop, Jonathan is my ultimate protector and also so trusting and kind,” she adds.

“We enjoy being together, but we also respect each other’s space.” As for meeting her perfect match on a plane, Elizabeth believes higher forces were at work. “I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend that day I boarded the flight — far from it.

“They say love happens when you least expect it. It had to be fate.”

I think there’s something strangely beautiful about first interactions, especially unique ones. Well, non-creepy unique ones.  It’s probably why I like the movie “Once” so much. It’s all about that first encounter.

(Nieubreed does “How We Met” photo shoots! If you’re interested, let us know!  We’d love to capture your love story! Plus, I’d love to hear about you met your significant other!)

This past weekend I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity of taking part in a beautiful union (of the matrimonial variety) of two wonderful college friends of mine. I was honored to be chosen as a bridesmaid, and was overjoyed to be a part of the wedding party! It was a fantastic time, and one weekend to remember forever.  While I was all the while wishing Nieubreed could have done the cinematography and photography for this charming Iowa wedding, I had a wond’rous time.

Now, this was my second wedding I have been a bridesmaid in and I really think I’m getting quite good at it. I’ve even caught a bouquet or two in my day, so feel free to call me a pro. As a seasoned professional (haha), I thought it would be best to provide some tips I would give to bridesmaids. Neither of the brides really prepared me for these experiences, and I really wish someone would have given me some tips before my first one. Feel free to steal these tips and pass them on to your bridal party, they aren’t copyrighted…yet.

  • Bring a back up pair of shoes.  This is for a majority of reasons including: You deciding last minute that the vertically challenged man you’re walking down the aisle with would prefer you not tower over him like an amazon warrior–in that case bring flats or shorter shoes! Or, perhaps you realize that blisters are beginning to form caused by your spankin’ new peeptoe Manolo Blahnik stilettos (or in my case, Target’s…times are hard!)–in that case bring a more comfortable pair to wear for the reception so you can get your groove on. Additionally, if it’s an outdoor wedding and the soil has been softened by recent precipitation and you don’t want to sink down with every step wedges or flats are an excellent option! There is nothing fun or attractive about getting stuck on your way down the aisle with your escort.
  • If it’s an outdoor wedding, wear and bring: Sunblock and BUG SPRAY! No one will care if you reek of spf and Off! because they’ll all be jealous of your healthy non crispy and bite-free supple skin. I swear Mosquitoes have an affinity for weddings, they were in full attendance this weekend (they didn’t even RSVP! rude.) If you are really concerned about the bug spray and sunblock smell, look for unscented kinds. Also, Vanilla is a natural and sweet-smelling insect repellent. Goodbye Bath and Body Work’s bug friendly scents, hello Vanilla Extract! Trust me, it works and still smells great.
  • Don’t bring that guy that you just started dating to the wedding. If you have a plus one as a bridesmaid or groomsman, let it be a friend that already knows other people at the wedding or a significant other you’ve been with for a while. There’s no one I feel more sorry for than the poor strangers that agreed to have their second date at the wedding their woman or man is in. They look bored/sad/pitiful/lonely the entire time because you’re doing wedding party things like pictures, eating first, and having a good time with the bride and groom while they’re sitting with a fake smile pretending to have fun in a room full of strangers. It’s cruel, really.
  • Eat before. You’ll smile more. You’ll thank me later.
  • Bring Ibuprofen. There were at least 4 people last week that asked me if I had any last weekend, as wedding days are long and sometimes stressful.
  • Keep hydrated, especially if it’s an outdoor wedding. One of the bridesmaids last weekend became extremely ill because it was scorching hot and she wasn’t drinking enough water. Poor gal, she didn’t get to enjoy the reception!
  • Don’t get drunk. You know your limits, maintain them! I know this seems extremely obvious, but there has been someone in the wedding party at almost every wedding that I’ve been to that has been completely tanked during their toast at the reception…and it looks sad. Save that for nutty Uncle Hank who never quite got off his feet, or Crazy Aunt Hattie with all the cats.
  • Don’t forget to HAVE FUN!

Image Courtesy of the groom's fabulous parents! I'm the "tan" one...