Exhaustion and elation….

Dear friends,

Our countdown says we have just 5 short days left until the big day.  So much time and energy and sweat (and blood!) have gone into making our wedding a fantastic celebration of the joining of our families.  It’s been hard to find time to post about the processes and details of everything, but as soon as we have photos of the day, we’ll post them here and I’ll take a poll of which DIY projects to post tutorials about.

The good news: we’re 99% done with our preparations!  The less good news: well, there’s not much else we’re thinking about right now, so we’re a little one-dimensional at the moment, and have been for a while.  We promise to get back to socializing and entertaining after the wedding and after we get back from our month-long honeymoon.  We’ve already started receiving lots of gifts to help make entertaining more fun and elegant, so we’ll slowly be working through our guest list this fall and winter, inviting friends and family for dinners to reconnect.

As I sit here yawning from lack of sleep, and trying to caffeinate myself so I can at least pretend I’m not as exhausted as I am, I’ve been trying to find a last photo to post before the wedding.  I Googled “wedding exhaustion” and found countless articles about “post-wedding depression” and the phenomenon of the newlywed bride becoming viciously jealous of newly engaged friends – as if their weddings will be better than their own.  This hadn’t ever occurred to me.  We have a handful of weddings to attend over the next 6 months (one actually during our honeymoon, and one the weekend after we get back!) and all I can think of is how grateful I am to be included as a guest and that I haven’t had to make any of their decorations!  I think having gone through this whole process has made me more sympathetic to brides and weddings in general: I will seek out and praise those details that are long-debated and oft-overlooked, I will offer what help I can give that won’t further stress out the couple, and I will dance like I’ve never danced before, because these things are huge personal projects that would only be undertaken if the couple loved each other so much that 12-18 months (or more!) of planning and shopping and crafting and bickering couldn’t break their devotion.  And that’s a big deal.

So…..I humbly thank everyone who has helped us, offered help or support, who will be joining us on Saturday, and those who can’t make it and will be missed.  It might not feel like a big deal to be invited to or attend a wedding, but it’s a big deal to those who sent you save-the-dates, invitations, made out your seating card, and made sure the crust on the salmon was wheat- and gluten-free.  It’s done out of love, not obligation, and it’s proof that you are very important people.

Every time I feel overwhelmed about what’s left to do, and if everything will run smoothly, I think about every single face I’ll be seeing in the audience on Saturday afternoon and I know that everything is going to be perfect in its own way.

I can’t wait to see you all!  Who’s ready to party?  I know I am!



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Crunch time

According to our wedding countdown thingy, we have just 26 days left!  Holy crap! Needless to say, Matt and I have been getting a little bit stressed out about the remaining projects we had planned.  Well, not so much anymore.

Late last week and over the weekend, we simplified our last projects even more!  Here are a couple of examples of what we’ve made less crazy:

  • We had been planning to infuse vodka at home to make homemade aquavit for the toasts (it’s more fun than champagne).  Then we thought over our energy level for this type of project, compared time/costs of bottles, labels, vodka, infusing flavors – vs. just buying some ready made aquavit.  The lazy way won, and we purchased a whole case of my favorite semi-local aquavit: Krogstad.  It’s distilled in Portland, has a nice light taste, and it’s another project totally crossed off the list!  Woot!  This will be served in little schnapps glasses with our wedding ribbons tied to the stems.  Matt’s parents cut about 150 little ribbons for us, to make these a special favor for the guests.  There will be non-alcoholic fancy French soda for those who want (kids, designated drivers, non-drinkers, etc), but we will be strongly suggesting sipping the aquavit rather than shooting it.  It’s strong stuff.
  • We’ve cut two salads from the buffet list.  Instead, we’re going to make one into an appetizer for cocktail hour, and one we’ll just make for the rehearsal dinner.  The cooking for this party, while it’s a large volume, is so simple and fresh!  I’m actually really looking forward to it!
  • Matt had wanted to make my veil, since I had made his bowtie.  It was a lovely idea, but it turned into a project that was so confusing and frustrating that it was keeping him up at night.  You see, he was tying embroidery silk like a fish net. On Thursday, we decided that instead of tying about a million little knots to make the actual veiling, he’d just tie a flat decorative knot for the headpiece that a bit of store-bought netting would attach to.  A 25 hour project just turned into a 1 hour project.  The inspiration for the headpiece (and my hair style) comes from these photos of Alison Sudol (better known by her stage name A Fine Frenzy) modeling Ban.do’s Black Label line of headgear, but mine will be slightly less fluffy all around:


So….this week we’re trying out some of the recipes for the buffet to be sure of the ingredient proportions, finishing up the craft projects, and getting ready to work on food prep.  Our cake maker has made a few versions of the lingonberry cheesecake for us to try when she and her guy come over for dinner tomorrow, but first I’ll be shopping for foundation makeup with my makeup artist (I’m naturally a bit too pink and blotchy for nice photos) and picking up 22 Dungeness crabs for the rehearsal dinner, caught and gifted to us by my sister and her husband!  Amazing!  This week is going to be awesome!

If I haven’t said it enough, THANK YOU ALL.  So many people have helped us put together our perfect day, and we wouldn’t be where we are now without you.

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Wedding Guest alert!!!

Hi!  If you are planning to come to our wedding, please read this!

This is a reminder to all wedding guests that summer ferry lines are not very fun. Especially when you have to be somewhere on time!  Please plan your trip to Freeland with several hours of time to spare, or just plan to drive around via Anacortes.  Worst case scenario is that you arrive early and get to explore the cute towns on the island.  Our suggestion, if you plan to come on Saturday, is to try to get on an early morning ferry and plan for breakfast/brunch/lunch on the island. We can highly recommend the Useless Bay Coffee Company on 2nd Street in Langley, and the farmer’s market at Bayview Corner.

More info on ferries, driving directions, etc: https://bellecoeurwedding.wordpress.com/getting-to-whidbey-island/

Info on things to do, places to eat: http://www.whidbeycamanoislands.com/

Info on Bayview Corner: http://www.goosefoot.org/bayview_corner.html

Also – if you want to stay on Whidbey Island and you don’t have reservations yet, get them now.  It’s becoming very difficult to find openings near the wedding venue, so make some calls soon!  Thanks so much!  We’re excited to celebrate with you!

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Loose ends

It’s been a busy summer already and we’re only a few weeks in! Much of it has been spent tying up the loose ends of our long To Do list, with the help of MANY friends and family members.  I am humbled by the generosity and tenacity of those who have offered help so far….you all are amazing!

Here’s what we have managed to do (with help) just during this past week:

Hair clips - seersucker and bleached peacock feathers

  • Obtained a chest freezer (to allow us to start prepping for the food!) – Thanks Mom & Dad for the loan of it!
  • Finished making embossed Tyvek flags to waive in lieu of rice/birdseed
  • Finished the corsage pins for the mothers of the bride and groom
  • Finished the medals for the fathers of the bride and groom, and medals for the groomsmen
  • Finished hair clips for the bridesmaids, groomswoman, and “flower girl”
  • Made a bow belt for the groomswoman
  • Made a Velcro bow tie for the “ring bearer”
  • Finished the prep work for the wooden sailboat kit favors
  • Bought 150 schnapps glasses from IKEA
  • Had a fitting of my wedding dress (so pretty, Ingrid!)
  • Ingrid also did a dry run of my hair style for the day!
  • Finished building the corn hole boards and started painting them
  • Worked on painting the book centerpieces for the reception tables
  • Decided on a table assignment card display and obtained supplies to make it
  • Decided on a photo booth backdrop and obtained supplies to make it
  • Finished 200 napkin-flatware bundles (you are awesome Grammy and MaryAnn!)
  • Finished dresses and shorts for our 2 nieces and 2 nephews (AMAZING, Drew!)
  • Made a tasseled rope for the handfasting part of the ceremony
  • Finished hemming the buffet tablecloths and banners made from the scraps (5 @ 9′ each in heavy canvas)
  • Finished hemming the sails we made for our ceremony backdrop (2@ 15′ each in heavy canvas)
  • Purchased all sorts of goodies for the kids’ activity bags
  • Laminated old dictionary pages for the indoor flag bunting (all we have to do now is string it!)
  • Received the outdoor bunting flags we’d ordered
  • Purchased lanterns and risers for the buffet centerpieces
  • Purchased a “pond” to float the sailboat favors on
  • Made salt and pepper shakers from mini Bonne Maman jars
  • Plus some more I’m sure that I can’t remember….

Phew!  That’s even more than I’d realized when I started writing this! Thanks to Katie, Audrey, Ingrid, and Shelley for all your help this weekend!  Thanks again to Drew, MaryAnn, Bob, Leona, Hal, and Debra, too!

Sail and Anchor

This weekend will be packed with projects again, I’m sure.  My goals are to:

  1. Get the escort card display done
  2. Start the photo booth backdrop
  3. Finish the centerpiece books
  4. Paint our emblem on the sails for the ceremony background
  5. Finish painting and sealing the cornhole boards and add handles
  6. String the flag bunting

If we manage to do more than that, I’ll be floored.  I’m really hoping that we have all of the decor completely done by my bachelorette party, which is July 29.  We’ll be working on what food prep we can during the rest of the month as well, so it’s sure to be a busy last 5 weeks.  The end is in sight, though, and both Matt and I are getting excited!


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Bowties = done!

Yesterday, all I wanted to do was cross a big item off the ever shrinking to do list.  It took about 8 hours, but I have finished all 5 bowties for Matt and his groomsmen.  I’ll be making a bow tie belt for his groomswoman, but it’ll be a fake bow tie, not like the real-tying versions I made for the boys.

I made adjustable ties, mostly relying on this tutorial from the blog Eighteenth Century Agrarian Business.  The pattern to start with is from Martha Stewart, where there is a tutorial for a non-adjustable version.  ECAB suggests adding one inch to the short side of the pattern and 5 inches to the long side, but when I compared that to one of Matt’s adjustable bowties that I picked up at Century 21 in NYC (the one across from Ground Zero), it was way too short.  So I suggest adding another 2-3 inches to the short side, just so you can be sure it’ll fit most necks.

Hooray for seersucker!  Matt’s tie is the one in the middle – he picked out the fabric himself.  It incorporates all of our wedding colors, but with slightly shifted hues.

Matt also finished the belts for the groomsmen (cotton webbing with pewter slide buckles) and is nearly finished with the medals that all the men in the wedding party will wear.  Progress!  I think we ended up crossing off about 5 line items yesterday!

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Progress, procrastination, painted nails

Our wedding is in two months.  Two months to the day.  We’re getting so close, but we still have so much to do!

My modified goal for having all of our artsy projects done (essentially everything but the food and my dress) is July 1.  2 weeks from now.  I think there’s going to be a little overlap into July, but with things like signage, not important things like photo booth backdrops or bridesmaid accessories.  I’m also starting to work on food stuff now (the menu has been set and I’m meeting with a vegan baker tomorrow to go over our bread needs).

So….what have we been doing since our last post, two weeks ago?

  • I printed, punched, and assembled 200 pinback buttons to give away as favors for our guests to wear.  They feature our wedding logo (the anchor with sail + heart and spyglass) and were printed on leftover papers from our Save-the-Dates and invitations.
  • Ordering last minute supplies for our final projects; bleached ostrich feathers, groomsmen’s socks, etc.
  • Figuring out exactly how much ice tea to make and then ordering twice as many teabags as necessary (we’ll be serving Moroccan Mint Iced Green Tea!)
  • Picking out less important things, like nail polish color for the day.  I think I’ll be going with Prabal Gurung for Sally Hansen in Paparazzi.  It’s a goldish-silverish metallic with an ivory undertone that looks fun and glamorous while also natural.

  • Going to Canada to get dimes for bridesmaid earrings (I’ll be finishing them tonight!)
  • Cutting canvas for the sails that will flank the “altar.”
  • Ordered outside bunting flags!
  • Lots more….unfortunately I can’t access my spreadsheets on Google Docs at the moment.
So…..with only two months left until the big day, we’re going to need some help finishing up these crafts.  If you are so inclined to come by this weekend, we’ll be making bunting flags, decorating corn-hole boards, laminating old dictionary pages, and lots more!  Please help!  Thanks so much!
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Broken record

Yep, things are still chugging along (how many posts have I opened with that exact line?)….we have 2 months, 1 week and 5 days until the wedding.  So, effectively 10 weeks. Meaning 10 weekends left to work on all of our projects.  Wow.  That puts it into perspective! We are, of course, working on things during the work week as well, but the weekends allow us to finish more all at once.

Last week I made a final spread sheet of all of the things we have left to do.  It’s pretty long, but I think it’s doable.  I’ve color coded it by the ability to delegate tasks.

It goes down to line 89.  Only 20 items are totally done and crossed off, but 90% of the rest are VERY close to being done.  Like, making sure we have pens and paper for the “message in a bottle” guest book.  Easy as pie. Which reminds me, none of the items on this list are related to the food.  That’s a whole other spreadsheet.

One notable thing that got done over the holiday weekend was shopping for my wedding day makeup!  My friend, Brigette Heckard, is a makeup maven and aesthetician who works for Chanel at the downtown Seattle Nordstrom.  I met up with her yesterday at Nordstrom to find the makeup that would make me picture perfect.  My inspiration for my look comes from the cover of a magazine:

The lovely miss Adele Adkins and I have similar fair coloring with a peachy undertone.  I love how natural and pretty her makeup looks, while also bringing the drama with some incredible false eyelashes.

I was pretty overwhelmed by all of the options and how expensive much of it all was.  I’m typically a wash n’ wear kind of girl, and I own just the minimal amount of makeup that I’ve picked up at Target or Fred Meyer, though I’m currently on a nail polish kick and have bought about 10 new colors this year.  Needing an expert on real makeup, I turned to Brigette to find the best stuff for my coloring and skin. She’ll be applying my makeup on the big day, so I wanted to be sure I had good stuff to work with.

I ended up mostly shopping at the M.A.C. counter, where I bought lashes, lash glue, two shades of eyeshadow, blush, lip stain (which I’ve been wearing for two days and am obsessed with), eyeliner, and mascara.  I found powder and concealer at Smashbox, which was recommended by Brigette because the powder does not contain talc (which can cause major irritation), and the concealer blends VERY well while giving good coverage without dulling my freckles too much.

I hadn’t really given much thought to department store makeup before.  I used to go to the Clinique counter in high school for face wash, and bought a Lancôme lip gloss once (and promptly lost it on the soccer bus a few weeks later).  I wondered if there really was much of a difference between the drug store makeup and the stuff at Nordstrom.  Well, there is.  I am now a convert.  I wore just a tiny bit of the makeup I bought to work today and I’ve had compliments from everyone.


And finally, I have an update on our wedding party.  One of the bridesmaids, Danya, is embarking for Los Angeles in a couple of weeks to train for Teach For America.  This is an exciting and incredible opportunity, but it’s one that doesn’t guarantee her ability to participate in the wedding.  Together, we decided that it would be for the best if she step down from bouquet duty and let another girl stand up with me.  She’ll hopefully be able to attend the wedding as a guest, school placement permitting, but it has removed a lot of stress and uncertainty for both of us.

My friend Nora Atkinson, who I met in grad school at UW, will be stepping up and acting as my 5th bridesmaid.  Matt and I have decided to have our wedding party line up in the order in which we met them, since we have decided not to have a best man or maid of honor.  Everyone up there has a place of honor in our hearts, so this is the fairest way we could think to arrange it.

Last but not least, we’ll be having an open craft day this Sunday starting at noon if anyone wants to help us cross more off our list!  You’ll be fed, and will receive our undying gratitude!





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