Monday, April 16, 2007

I hate my profile

So, I had a hair trial on Friday. Yes, it's ten months out, I know. I initally called the hairstylist because I had read about her on the knot, and I knew she was very affordable, so I wanted to make sure she didn't get booked. When she emailed me back, she said we could wait to do a trial because it was still early and she didn't expect to have any other requests for the date any time soon. My sweetie said, "That's so nice, how she called you totally crazy without calling you totally crazy."

Three days later, she emailed me to say someone else had asked for my date. HAH! Plan early, I always say!

So, I went in for my trial, with my trusty bridesmaids for consultation. Here are pictures.

Style 1, a low chignon:

Style 2, a high style I refer to as the Conehead:

My main conclusion from these pictures is, yes, I still hate my profile. Hate, hate, HATE it. I will have to make sure the photographer I choose knows to never, ever shoot me in profile. That's what the 3/4 view was invented for!

The second conclusion is that I like Style #2 better. I love the look of the chignon from the back, but from the front and side I think the Conehead looks better. Which is funny because I went in determined to have the low chignon, and then at the last minute I saw a picture of Marcia Cross in a high sleek updo and thought, "Hey, why not?"

Boy, was my hair shiny after all the product she put in it. And my sweetie said I looked beautiful! Of course, I must be careful never again to let him see me from the side....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Let them (not) eat cake

My sweetie and I have agreed that we don't want a cake at the wedding. Neither of us especially likes cake; I especially don't like wedding cake, because fondant is gross and in my experience, the prettier a cake is, the drier and nastier it tastes.

Instead, I want to have Beard Papa cream puffs. Beard Papa is a Japanese chain that sells gigantic delicious cream puffs; they opened several store in NYC in the last few years, and I think now have stores in California, as well. Here I am in front of a mother ship store in Shinjuku, Tokyo:

See the line? They're good cream puffs!

My sweetie wants cannolis from Ferrara. I'm fine with that. Cream puffs and cannolis, and you chocolate lovers can go elsewhere!

Still, a part of me does feel the pull of the traditional cake. This month's Martha Stewart Weddings features several plastic-looking cakes which leave me cold, and this one:

It's hardly iced at all--just a thin layer of fondant on the top of each tier, covered by a layer of passionfruit curd. The layers are also separated by curd. Each layer is tinted with some food coloring, and the edges are cut and exposed; my mouth is watering just looking at it. I still think we will not be having cake at our wedding (for one thing, delicious though it looks, it strikes me as impractical: I'd think the edges would dry out, even if one didn't cut and expose the edges until right before the wedding began), but I might try my hand at making this cake one day. It looks too fun and delicious to pass up!

(Yes: I read Martha Stewart Weddings: getting married is the perfect excuse to buy into Martha's perfect world. I can unequivocally state it's the loveliest wedding mag out there, and the only one where I've bought more than one issue. The ideas are interesting, the pictures are gorgeous, and while I could never maintain the level of perfection found in the pages of Living in real life, it's nice to dream that I could do it for one day :-)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nothing in common

I've been feeling a little down about the wedding planning lately.

Don't get me wrong: I'm excited about it. I love our venue, and I am nowhere near as stressed out as I was at the beginning.

What's getting me down, though, is that the planning is bringing home to me the fact that my fiance and I have nothing in common.

OK, this is not strictly true: we have similar values; we agree (mostly) on politics; we are both fairly easy-going. We both love food of all kinds (very important to me, if not to him :-). We agree that together we are stronger and better than we are separate. I am so looking forward to spending the rest of my life with him. I even recently commented to a friend that it had occurred to me that, since we are getting started at such an advanced age :-), we will have forty years together only if we are very lucky, and it doesn't seem like enough.

However, we share almost no aesthestic opinions. We don't like the same music. We don't like the same art. We don't like the same tv shows, movie genres, vacation styles, hobbies. Just about the only time we agreed on something was when we went shopping for my engagement ring: we were pleasantly surprised (astonished, really) that we liked the same style.

This is a problem when it comes to wedding planning. So far we have disagreed on: the venue, the style of the reception, the flowers, the photographer, the music. If you've been following this blog, that means we've disagreed on everything so far, except the dress, and I'm sure that's only because he hasn't seen the dress.

On the venue: I won.
On the style of the reception, formal or buffet: he will win, barring something unforeseen, like the venue telling us that a buffet dinner will reduce the quality of the food.
On the flowers: I will win.
On the music: I won in the sense that I refused to entertain the suggestion of an iPod. On the other hand, which DJ we hire and what music gets played is still a forthcoming argument which I hope we can reach a happy compromise on.
On the photographer: An ongoing argument, which he has basically conceded, which makes me feel very bad.

I realize brides complain all the time about how their fiances are not involved in the planning, and how they have to do all the work. Sometimes I wish my fiance didn't care, because then I could just do it the way I want and not feel like I'm railroading him. Usually when we disagree on something, we either arrive at a compromise (such as with a vacation) or else the one of us who cares less concedes. In our "real life," concessions are split pretty evenly. Unfortunately, when it comes to the wedding, my sweetie is usually the one who cares less, making both of us feel that I'm always winning. It doesn't make me feel triumphant; it makes me depressed.

I don't want this to be a wedding he hates, or that he feels he had no part in. I don't want him to just show up on the day and wonder, what the heck is going on here? I don't want him to be resentful or bored or confused or detatched.

I enjoy weddings, even boring ones. There's something about the ritual, not just the ceremony, but the first dance, the toasts, everyone getting on the floor and dancing without caring what anyone thinks because everyone is family. Everyone is happy at a wedding (or at least they pretend to be). It's so hard to let go of the vision in my head of the ideal wedding. I'm finding this to be the hardest thing, even though I wouldn't have said that I had rigid ideas of what a wedding should be until I discovered that my sweetie has hated every wedding he's ever attended. He hates the formal sit-down dinner. He hates the stupid dance music. He's bored by speeches and toasts. And he's just as nervous as I am that he won't enjoy his own wedding.

I'm scared if I give in on things like the photographer and the music I'll regret it. I really can't agree to an iPod: I am absolutely convinced it will lead to a lousy party, and if there's one thing we agree on, it's that we want our wedding to be a damn good party. But does the photography really matter? The guy he likes is great, a nice guy, and his photos are pretty. He'd be fun to have at the wedding. The guy I like is more serious, and his photos are more technically interesting. As art, I like them better. But do I really need my wedding captured as art? Maybe it's worth the karma of my sweetie getting the guy he's most comfortable with.

Do you look at your wedding pictures and wish they were more artful? Or that you'd had a photographer you really connected with on a personal level?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lace...and not bridal lace

Lest you think I haven't been knitting during all this wedding madness, I offer the following:

This is the front of the lace hoodie from the Vogue Spring/Summer 2005. I am knitting it with Berocco Pleasure, a lovely soft cashmere-blend yarn, in color "emotion" (a purply-grey). I'm wet-blocking it on my brand-new blocking board, which I bought at the beginning of the year, as a splurge. I love it. I love the squares which help you block the piece to the exact dimensions you need.

Here is a close-up of the lace. I really like it. For my first significant lace project, it turned out pretty nicely.

Now, I just have the back and sleeves....which are simply rectangles of stockinette. I think it's going to be wildly boring, but it will be difficult to make a mistake.

The sweater will be awfully warm when it's done...just in time for summer!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Life of the party

My sweetie and I met with some photographers yesterday.

There are a heck of a lot of photographers out there, especially in and around NYC. I've asked my married friends for recommendations, but all of their photographers, who were affordable when my friends got married, are now too expensive. This seems to be the way of wedding photographers: they are affordable when they first start out, but as they build a portfolio of weddings and a record of happy couples, their prices creep up.

So, I've gone with recommendations from the Knot, and also from the Wedding Photojournalist Association, which helpfully lists members by location and price.

Photojournalism seems to be the current trend in wedding photography, and it's one I really like: basically, the photographer does little to no directing of action, s/he simply records events as they happen. A good photojournalist will capture a real you-are-there feeling that's something I would like to have.

My sweetie and I met with three photographers, who could not have been more different, personality-wise, even though their stated photojournalistic approach is the same. The contrasts were striking: one guy met us in a Starbucks, and had a very friendly, businesslike, outgoing personality. The second one met us in a small independent cafe downtown, and had a more intense, serious, somewhat arty presence. The third met us in the lobby of an ultra-modern hotel in Chelsea and was young, hip, and trendy. It was several slices of NYC life :-).

Each photographer showed us a complete wedding he had shot--that is, all 300-400 proofs from a wedding, not merely the albums of 50 or so of the best pictures. The idea behind seeing a complete wedding is that you get a better sense of the flow of the day, and how the photographer tells the story. I must say, I enjoy looking at wedding pictures. I'm a total sap at heart.

As I looked at hundreds of pictures yesterday (and even more online), I realized that one thing that really matters to me is good shots of the party. I could be wrong, but I feel that most reasonably competent photographers can get lovely and moving shots of the ceremony, or portraits of the couple, or magazine-beautiful pictures of the flowers and the cake. The real challenge seems to be the party: do they get pictures of people dancing, talking, laughing? Are these pictures interesting to me, who has no idea who any of these people are? Do we only have long shots of a group of faceless people on the dance floor, with a lot of backs? Or do we get great close-up action shots of Aunt Mildred breakdancing? Do we have endless pictures of couples trapped at tables, smiling stiffly at the camera, or do we see people laughing or flirting with each other, oblivious to the camera? Photojournalism is great for this kind of photo, but only if you're really good, because if your goal is to be unobtrusive and let the action happen, the risk is that you back off too much.

Photography is really important to me; it always has been. When I go on vacation I take a ridiculous number of photos, and if they turn out poorly I'm crushed (the last time I went on vacation, my pictures were ruined by the x-ray machine, and it almost ruined the vacation for me). I'm really, really anxious to find the right photographer. From all reports, your wedding goes by so fast, you miss half of what's going on. I don't want to miss a minute. We are doing our best to put together a relaxed, fun wedding, and I want the photographer to capture it. I don't want it reduced to stiff posed pictures or crowd pictures that show nothing.

I want to see the party.

Check this out

Red rhinestone trim, $19.98 per yard at M&J Trimming. I'm thinking I could have some fun with this....