Sunday, October 6, 2013

Wedding details

Welcome to friends and family! Thank you for visiting Noah and Florence's wedding blog. Here are the details promised:

Date and time
Sunday, October 6, 2013

22508 Griffith Drive
Gaithersburg, Maryland 20882
See address in Google Maps

This is an outdoor ceremony and reception at the private residence of family friends of the Bastiens. They have graciously opened their home and backyard to us for the day. The average temperature in Gaithersburg on October 6 is a high of 68 degrees and a low of 51 degrees (Fahrenheit). The wedding is on rain or shine!

How to RSVP
For guests in the United States: fill out the included reply card and drop it in the nearest mailbox. The reverse is addressed and stamped as a postcard, so it will make its way back to us.

For guests outside the United States: fill out the included reply card and take it to your local post office to mail it back to us. I'm sorry that we weren't able to stamp these - international reply postage is difficult.

Not too formal. Suits or formal dresses are certainly not required - unless you really want to wear one. We won't stand in your way.

Travel and accommodations
The nearest airports are Baltimore-Washington International (about 45 minutes away by car), Reagan National (50 minutes), and Dulles International (50 minutes).

The nearest Amtrak stations are Union Station in Washington, DC (1 hour) and the BWI train station (50 minutes).

Gaithersburg is also served by the Washington Metro at Shady Grove station, although you will need a car to get from there to the wedding location (20 minutes).

These are some of the hotels and B&Bs in the Westminster area:
Best Western, Westminster
Yellow Turtle Inn, New Windsor
Atlee House, New Windsor
Hampton Inn, Owings Mills
Hyatt Place, Owings Mills

New Windsor is 10 minutes from our home in Westminster and 45 minutes from the wedding location. Owings Mills is 20 minutes from Westminster and 45 minutes from the wedding location. The Best Western is about 50 minutes from the wedding location.

If you would like instead to stay closer to the wedding site, there is a number of hotels in downtown Gaithersburg, which is 20-25 minutes from the wedding location and an hour from Westminster.

The registry is located here.

Please leave a comment with your question and name. We'll answer by phone or email as soon as we can!

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Noah and Florence's Wedding

Friday, September 13, 2013

Vendor Post: Jeannie Bird Baking Company

We're almost there, everybody! About three weeks until the big day. Sorry for the radio silence; we've obviously been doing a lot, but none of it seemed like it was blog-worthy ("Hey, we found some good sources for eco-friendly disposable flatware!" just didn't seem like a must-read...). There are, however, a few vendors we are working with that I haven't already profiled. In the next couple of weeks, you'll hear more about the food we're planning and I'll try to slip in some updates on wedding planning in general!

I should also mention that another of the reasons I haven't been writing in this blog as much is because I was accepted to write for a wedding website called Offbeat Bride, which has been taking up a little bit more of my time. Unfortunately, the platform on which I write for the site is members-only, and it's a site specifically for brides planning their weddings now, so the posts are not available for everyone to read. That's okay with me, though, because I prefer wedding guests to have more of an informative page to visit, and my blog at Offbeat Bride is more of a cross between a wedding tips blog and a personal journal. My posts have been quite popular there, and this morning my journal was one of the ones featured on the site! But it means I've been spreading myself a little thin, writing-wise.

Today, though, I know what you're all interested in: dessert!

Our desserts for the wedding are going to be provided by some friends of ours who have a stand at the Westminster Farmer's Market. Jeannie Bird Baking Company showed up at the market a couple of years ago, and I was immediately taken by their adorable stand and their irresistible-looking baked goods. They have sweet and savory foods including spinach phyllo wraps, english muffins, granola, peach cake, chocolate cherry muffins, and their (soon to be famous) butterhorns. Not only do they have fantastic food (their stand is almost always the busiest at the market), but the owners are fabulous people who have become friends over the years.

I will point out that I said "our desserts" for the wedding, not "our cake". Noah and I are not really cake lovers, so we are not having a cake at the wedding. We're excited about this because it means that we got to go to the stand at the market for almost a full year, sampling all kinds of delicious desserts, and then just ask Jeannie Bird to make all our favorites for the wedding. Amusingly enough, when we first asked the owner to bake for the wedding, she said no because she wasn't interested in being in the business of making wedding cakes. When we told her we didn't want a wedding cake, she jumped into action!

Without the cake, we have the freedom to have five (that's right, FIVE!) different desserts, which will doubtless have something for everyone. I think amazing food, plus working with our friends and neighbors, is what this wedding has been all about for us. We can't wait to share it with you!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

"Vendor" Post: Deposit a Gift

I put the word "vendor" in quotes there because, well, they're not really selling us anything. Except for a small service charge, using Deposit a Gift is free! But they are just one of the companies we're using for the wedding, so I'm including them in our vendor posts to explain what Deposit a Gift does and why we chose this type of registry for our wedding.

Deposit a Gift is a type of registry in which contributors give cash to the married couple, instead of specific gifts. The couple lists types of things they would use the cash for, and gift-givers can contribute any amount toward that goal. I particularly like this because it can be difficult to buy a wedding gift for someone if you're living on modest means, and this allows people freedom to contribute what they can toward what can be very expensive things--unlike regular wedding registries, where you have to choose whatever you can pay the full price for, and that may not be something you wanted to give.

While there are several online cash registries out there, we ultimately chose Deposit a Gift because it was extremely tough to find a bad review out there. No matter where we turned, we heard "easy to use" and "excellent customer service". In fact, many users referred to the owner by name, praising her for her personal assistance. How often can you say that about a big online business? They also had no hidden fees, no weird surcharges...pretty much no fees at all. Creating an account was super easy, and we are very happy with our registry.

We chose a cash registry because we've already been together for several years and have built a home together. We already have all the household things we need, most of which have been passed down through our families and are things I would never consider trading in for shiny new things. People have said to me, "your wedding registry is your chance to get that fantastic 8-in-1 hairdryer/martini shaker/blender!", but we are not really ones for fancy gadgets or anything like that. As I mention in my registry, I would honestly be the happiest if everyone donated to the two charitable causes we listed. I listed CHANGE, Inc., where I work, and the one thing I've been dreaming about for my wedding is being able to walk into my executive director's office and hand him a big check, because I personally know that we're worried about budget cuts and we're struggling. I literally daydream about this, which I don't do for anything else on the list. We wanted people to be able to choose from a variety of things, but the main takeaway was that we wanted them to give us things we could do, not things we could have. We want people to contribute to our future together and to help us support causes we care about. We hope people are just as excited to give us these kinds of gifts, instead of the custom monogrammed soap dish, or whatever people usually put on their registries. (Can you tell I don't really know much about weddings?)

If you'd like to see our example, you can view it here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wedding dress shopping!

When I mentioned that I had been wedding dress shopping, many of my friends seemed interested in the idea of having me post pictures of all the wedding dresses I decided not to choose. So here they are!

One note: these dresses were all dresses I either liked or loved; if I had known that I was going to write a blog post about them, I would have tried on some truly awful ones just for fun, but I didn't! Most of these dresses were finalists, but I ended up finding the perfect dress somewhere else and bought it on the spot. Also, you'll notice that I mention that Noah helped me pick out my wedding dress. It will soon become clear that not having the groom see your wedding dress (and, further, not having him see you before the wedding) is a tradition that does not have any significance for me--and not just because we're already married. I loved having Noah be part of this process, and even if we had chosen not to do the civil ceremony we would still have bought a dress together and taken our photos before the ceremony, just like we're planning to do in October!

Explanations of the dresses, in order:

1. This was the only dress that we discounted right away because it just didn't look right. I think it was something about the tiny sleeves that made me look a little out of proportion. I liked the general style of the dress, but it's one of those things where you like it on someone else.

2. I LOVED this dress--particularly all that intricate detailing. It was pretty much a work of art. It didn't end up being a finalist, and I can't remember why. I'm guessing that it was the price, since a dress that detailed and beautiful is equally expensive. Also, my dad hated it, but I didn't know that when I did the rankings because I sent my parents the pictures later.

3. This one had mixed reviews among my helpers in wedding dress shopping (Sarah came with me, fulfilling her maid of honor duties, and Noah gladly agreed to tag along for a second opinion). Noah loved it, and Sarah didn't like it (though she came around). After looking at it for awhile, though, it kind of seemed like it clashed a bit with my skin color. It made my finalist list, but if I hadn't already chosen a dress I would probably bump it off and replace it with the second dress.

4. and 5. I'm lumping these together because they were so similar. This was the kind of style I mostly was leaning toward--light, lacy, and simple. At least one of these was a finalist.

6. This dress was the only one that actually fit me without having to be pinned. I liked it when I tried it on, but now I don't like it anymore. This is why it pays to not throw down money for something right away! I'm not sure why I don't like it--maybe because they way it fits makes it seem a little less elegant and a little more "I'm sexy and I know it".

7. This was pretty much our #1 choice. It was the first dress we tried on, and we didn't take pictures of it at first because Sarah was held up getting here and we forgot to bring a camera. (Sarah, being a good maid of honor, remembered all the stuff I forgot.) So after we finished trying on all the dresses, we tried this one on again and loved it just as much. If I hadn't already bought a dress, I'd probably buy this one. My wedding dress muse was my friend Halley, who got married last year and wore the most beautiful dress I'd ever seen. This one reminded me the most of hers--so no wonder it was my top choice. ;-)

8. This dress was just an astoundingly gorgeous dress. It also weighed about 20 pounds and had a huge cathedral-length train. I fell in love with it, and if I were getting married at the National Cathedral it would be perfect. But for a casual outdoor wedding, it just didn't fit the occasion.

So, what is my real wedding dress like? I guess you'll have to wait until October to find out! :-)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Vendor Post: Sarah Culver Photography

I can only give preliminary details about our photographer since I haven't met her in person and we won't be taking any pictures with her until the wedding day, but we've already had such a good experience with Sarah Culver that I wanted to introduce you to her and her work!

Sarah Culver is based out of Annapolis, MD. She has a really cool photography style--more of a photojournalistic perspective, vs. the traditional posed photos and such. I really loved her style because the first thing I told her was that I primarily wanted pictures of my guests having fun. I didn't need a lot of photos of myself (although obviously we'll have some), and I certainly didn't need a bunch of photos of our place settings and decorations--the "stuff" of the wedding. We're not going to have a lot of fancy decorations, it's not going to be terribly stylish or trendy, but what really is going to make beautiful photos is that we have so many great people that we're hoping will be there, and since I can't possibly notice everyone at the party having a great time, that's what I want pictures of.

I found it funny, the way I found Sarah. I read a fantastic wedding blog called Ruffled, and I noticed a post on the blog in November, entitled Backyard Maryland Wedding. My first thought was, "could this be a local wedding photographer?". At this point in wedding planning, I hadn't the faintest idea how one goes about finding and hiring a wedding photographer, and we were having trouble finding someone local whose photos we really connected with. My past experience in looking at wedding photographers was that, if I was looking at a blog post, I was more likely to do more research into the photographer if I connected with the wedding being photographed. Which of course...I didn't, in this case. I didn't really love anything about the wedding I read about on Ruffled--it just wasn't my style at all. But I know excellent photography when I see it, so I researched Sarah anyway because her photography was clearly several steps above any other photographer's work I'd seen in my research. As luck would have it, I loved every wedding on her actual website, and got in touch with her right away. Several emails and one Skype conversation later, I was sold!

I'm very much looking forward to working with Sarah in October, and I have complete confidence that I'll be able to look back and see the most important part of my wedding--all my closest friends and family together with me. :-)

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Civil Ceremony Update, Plus: We're Winners!

What a busy month it's been! The civil ceremony has come and gone, and it was a beautiful weekend full of food and games and love with our families. I feel so happy that our loved ones were able to be there with us for the event, and that we were all able to spend that time together. The first month of married life has gone by extremely fast, as we work on plans for our party in October. Right now we're hard at work on our invitations! We bounced around a lot of ideas for invitations, but finally we decided that what felt most right to us was simply to buy some nice card stock, cut it out, and write each person a handwritten note personally inviting them to the wedding. It's certainly a time-consuming process, but we both cared little for fancy stationery, and we know that even our plain little invitations will mean something to us. So look for those in the mail soon--we're writing as fast as we can!

The other news that we have about our civil ceremony is that my sister's photographs won us recognition in a photography community we belong to online. The community is called Day in the Life,  and the idea is that every week people around the world will take photos of what they do in a day and post them on the community. Then everyone will vote for their favorite entry and choose a first, second, and third place winner. I've been a part of this community for years, but have never gotten higher than third place. That week I posted my wedding day in my life, and we won first place! It felt so good to have won, but it mostly felt good to share this day with my online community of friends, who have followed me and Noah through many "Days in the Life" over the past few years. For all the photos we took that day (including the ones I'd posted on Facebook earlier), you can view our winning entry here:

Up next: wedding dresses, a photographer vendor post, and registry details!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Vendor Post: Vagabond Jewelry

Well, here we are one week out from our civil ceremony! How exciting! Besides the holidays, I've been busy finishing grad school, getting a job, and recovering from a bad cold, but we have also been busy planning wedding stuff during that time, including:

-Hiring a photographer (look for a vendor post on her soon)
-Trying on wedding dresses for the October wedding
-Setting a date for the October wedding (October 6, 2013)
-Getting materials together for invitations and response cards
-Theorizing about important things like cake and food and tables
-Setting a location (a friend's house in Laytonsville, MD)
-Getting our wedding rings!

Speaking of getting our wedding rings, it's about time I did a post on the fantastically talented and creative designer/creator of our wedding rings, and told you a little bit about the backstory of our relationship with her.

I don't tend to like jewelry, which makes me a very difficult person to shop for traditionally romantic gifts for, and for years I've encouraged people in my life to not buy me jewelry because it always ends up being such a hassle and I never wear it. Enter Vagabond Jewelry. When Noah and I were at the beginning of our relationship, he presented me with a ribbon bracelet, on which was attached a copper plate with the words "Love, Dictionarydon" engraved on it. I don't think I've ever loved a piece of jewelry more. So when we went to choose our wedding rings, Vagabond was really the only vendor I considered.

Kest Schwartzman, the metalsmith behind Vagabond Jewelry, created her company with the purpose of making jewelry that was tough and strong and could keep up with an active lifestyle. She works mainly with copper, but also uses other metals in her creations. Her collections include all kinds of jewelry, as well as masks, neckpieces, and hairpieces. There is just so much to love. I even got the chance to meet her in person at her new workshop in Frederick, MD, and she is super cool and her workshop has lots of awesome things lying around. As someone who finds most regular jewelry too fragile (and who doesn't like cut gems because they're too put-together), her style is right up my alley. I mean, she made me a wedding ring out of titanium, so yeah. She's awesome.

Look for more posts in the next couple weeks, including a post on our photographer and a recap of the civil ceremony weekend once it's over (with pictures!). If you're interested in seeing the wedding rings we chose, I'll make sure we get some pictures of that as well.