Friday, March 28, 2008

A Butcher, a Baker . . .

Several important developments this week have driven us even farther down the artisanal-sustainable-local path than we expected to go with this wedding.

You already know that our invitations will be designed and printed by two of our most creative friends, Anders and David. My mom has volunteered to arrange the centerpieces, a task for which she has demonstrated her considerable talents--and we hope to strike a deal with an organic farm in Pittsboro to supply the flowers.

But here's the new news: homemade cupcakes and heirloom pork!

Our fabulous, beautiful friend Amy is not only distinguished by her generosity as a cat-sitter and her infectious Kiwi pride, but she is also a distinguished graduate of the pastry program of the French Culinary Institute.

Now, I can bake. Lord knows I can bake. But I cannot make it pretty until it gets in your mouth and you forget what it looked like in the first place. I had considered making the cupcakes despite the warnings from every side (I am foolhardy), but I wondered if I could live with them being less than beautifully finished.

Enter Amy, who has enthusiastically agreed to help with the baking and the decorating. Not only that, but has offered to practice her buttercream dahlias in the intervening months so that our dessert will not be the least bit amateur but quite extraordinary. Proof of her skill is in the photo:

Having Amy's advice and counsel throughout the planning and baking process will be undoubtedly invaluable. Thank you, Amy!

As for the meat, we have been buying delectable turkeys, chickens, and ducks from a tiny farm run by a lovely family in Orange County, and they recently announced that they have formed a cooperative venture with their (rather amazing) neighbors to produce pork as well.

Today we got a delivery of chicken from Fern Hill, and I casually mentioned that we would love to find a local pig to serve at our wedding reception, and Nancy was totally on board with the idea! In fact, she suggested they could raise a pig specifically for the occasion, and that there is enough advance notice to grow it to the ideal size for our dinner. Out of respect for the most urban among you, I'm not going to say what the Tamworth heritage pigs are fed, but it is a thousand times healthier than industrial feed and literally comes from the neighborhood.

Of course, this means that will be barbecuing it, not pan-searing rib chops with fancy French sauce, but it also means we will use virtually the whole pig with a minimum of waste and expense of energy for transportation (90 pork chops might require 12-15 pigs).

Nancy casually mentioned that we could even slaughter the pig as part of the wedding. I demurred, as you can imagine.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Food, Flowers, Farming, and Fabric

So, I undertook the spectacular waste of time known as "inspiration boarding." I think this activity was invented by bridal magazines as a way to be more internetty.

I'm not going to lie and say it wasn't pretty fun.

I think this activity is probably useful if you are hiring a coordinator, or even to share with your caterer. It's a snapshot of how you want the day to look and feel--except instead of you and your fiancé in the pictures there are catalog models. Maybe it can help you make consistent decisions if you are risk of veering off course into fluorescent colors or a "theme" (eek!)

I'm not sure the mosaic I made reveals anything about me or our wedding that you didn't already know. It's going to be rustic, and we're going to eat well. Have a look after the break and tell me if this silliness is a window into my psyche:

Click on the mosaic to see the pictures in big, lavish detail!



One obvious upside to having a two-dude wedding: no dresses. The dress shopping that I read about in the bridal blogs and magazines sounds like a nightmare, a tortuous ritual to make women feel fat and poor while chasing the opportunity--often fulfilled--to look more beautiful on one day than on any other day of her life. It's an emotional roller coaster that rattles enough to shake all the money out of your pockets.

For men, the pursuit of wedding-day attire has a different if equally unpleasant dimension. There are simply too few options. I happen to think tuxedoes look dashing on New Year's Eve or at a charity ball, but I find them to be somewhat strange at a wedding, especially during the day. Rented clothes? Weird.

Suits are troublesome because they suggest business rather than celebration. Off-the-rack suits are particularly conservative, generally made of dull, serious fabrics and cuts that don't so much dance across the floor as sit in a boardroom chair.

So what I think I want is a vintage suit. Something gorgeously Edwardian. Or a vintage-looking suit. Something like this:

Maybe what I really want is to look more like Daniel Craig!

The quest has not been easy, and it gives me great sympathy for brides. I have lost two auctions on eBay so far. I'm new to eBay, and I find it a bit intimidating. Nonetheless, it appeals to my competitive nature, so I'll probably warm up to it.

I'm also setting aside time on my two spring visits to New York to shop at the sorely missed Century 21 and Housing Works Thrift Shop. Any suggestions? Anyone have a beautiful old suit that I can take to Leung's (the best tailor I ever found) and make to fit me?


I Will Never Mock Vegans Again

Well, I probably will. Especially those holier-than-thou, beef-is-destroying-the-planet* pinko-commie hippy vegans with dreds and foofy skirts (I'm talking about you, Whole Foods guy; no matter what ethnic sounding Indian name you give it, it's still a skirt!). And who can blame me, really? They can be so condescendingly annoying, particularly when they try to stop me from eating fois gras. As the superior species, it is entirely appropriate to force feed fowl so their insides get all fatty and delicious.

But I digress. The reason that I have decided that vegans need a little more respect from me is that since Emerson and I gave up our stupid "cleanse" idea and substituted it with our "veganism 'til Easter" idea, I have inadvertently lost 15 pounds. Yes, you read that correctly. Fifteen pounds. In about a month. Take that South Beach!

It felt very good to put on my suit for the first time in several months and have it be too big. So we have now substituted our "veganism 'til Easter" idea with the "veganism 'til the Wedding" idea. After which, of course, we will gorge ourselves on pork and oysters and feel icky until Christmas. But dammit I will get my BMI down below my waist size if I have to take every locally grown organic vegetable in the Triangle with me!

*Actually, beef is destroying the planet. It takes 15,500 liters of water to make 1 kilogram of beef. But it's so tasty, I try not to think about that too much. I don't want to hurt my head.

Emerson adds: After three days of "Paschal Feasting" on every form of meat, starch, and booze I can lay my hands on, I feel like a piece of grade-B corn-fed beef dragged through a toxic slurry of hormones and antibiotics. I personally cannot wait to get back on the righteous path of vegan living!


Monday, March 24, 2008

Please Don't Stop the Music (If You're Just Gonna Start Talking)

We have decided--barring any wonderful surprises--that we won't have a band during the reception. Our fantasy of a jazz-influenced bluegrass ensemble that could deftly handle an Ira Gershwin number and a bit of indie pop . . . well, we let it go.

Settling on a DJ is starting to look like a difficult task, too. On the one hand, we'd be content to plug in an iPod. Our playlist is all but done already. We don't want a DJ who thinks that the Chicken Dance is not a horror. We don't want to be announced like boxers entering the ring. In fact we don't want the DJ to talk at all, or even to choose the music.

On the other hand, we surely need a DJ. Someone to set-up and operate the AV equipment. Someone to turn down the music, turn up the mic, and hand it to whomever is about to toast us. Someone to tweak the playlist just a little bit, should we need to get some bodies moving.

What we need is a DJ who has good taste and the good sense to blend in. A minimalist DJ. You can imagine that we'd have a friend who'd be perfect for the job, yet we don't. Something tells me this is going to cost a lot more than it should.

Oh, and if you happen to know the world's coolest, most flexible little bluegrass band, you can be sure we haven't relinquished that dream entirely.


Monday, March 17, 2008

Still a New Yorker in My Cold, Bitter Heart

Many of you have heard me complaining about the incompetence of salespeople here. We made five telephone calls to the Marriott that were never returned. It took a crazy long time for the caterer to follow-up with us. Even the farm gives us nerve-wracking long periods of radio silence, though they have the excuse of being busy delivering baby animals and hand-crafting delicious cheese.

Today my fury boiled over in the direction of Capital Limo. I found their contact info on a directory of "gay friendly" businesses, so I thought I'd reward them by proposing our transportation needs to them. I sent an electronic request for a quote on February 20. Three weeks later, having heard nothing, I asked again.

The reply I got said, "We got your request, and our reply must have landed in your spam box," which: No, it didn't. But, I was willing to let it go, because that's a white lie we all use sometimes.

The reply was also meant to have a PDF attached, which it did not. Again, I was willing to let that go, because I forget the attachment more often than I remember it.

So, setting aside the facts that 1. they should have replied to me right away and 2. this email should have included a quote and 3. they should be calling me on the phone anyway, I decided to call.

Emerson: "I'm calling for M***, please."
Fool: "M*** is not in the office today, is there something I can help you with?"
Emerson: "Yes, she tried to email me a quote, but the attachment was garbled."
Fool: "Oh, well, why don't you call another time when she's in the office?"

Or, why don't YOU look up the quote and fax it to me, and/or take a message for her to call me back first thing tomorrow?! Lazy!!

Anyhow, I'm rather pleased with my follow-up email, thus:

I'm going to have to go with another transportation company. You all should attend a sales workshop or something.

Best wishes,


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Keeping Track of You

Because the Marriott did not make a block of rooms for us, we won't know who's staying there, unless you tell us!

If and when you make a Marriott reservation, please send us an email or post a comment here. This will help us with transportation (and after-party?) planning.

P.S. #1: Please let us know if you wish for us to find you a roommate to share the cost of your room.

P.S. #2: Please let us know if you are interested in arranging shared childcare.


My First Bridezilla Dream

Am I seriously blogging about a dream I had last night? Who am I, lonelygirl15?

Well, you'd blog too if you'd just had the most topical dream ever.

I woke up early, early, early this morning in a panic. Just a moment before, I had been living through our wedding day, and it was 3:30 in the afternoon and only a few of our guests had trickled in. Where were they? We had forgotten to book the buses! We would have to send taxis to the hotel to pick them all up!

As the dream went on, it seemed that we had also forgotten to book the DJ! and plan the ceremony music! and order flowers! and iron our suits!

Anyhow, this dream lit a fire under my ass to get moving on our essential to-do list. Some tasks we have left are quite complicated, and time is slipping away.

I promise that by October 11, we will have buses booked and we will not leave you stranded at the hotel. Obviously, my conscience will not allow me to sleep until I am sure of it.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Sunrise/Sunset cont...

In an earlier post, I mentioned how perfect it was that sunset was going to be during the cocktail hour, right before dinner. We were very proud of ourselves for inadvertently planning around the rotation of the earth. However, we have recently made several observations, after discussions with photographers, that give us pause.

Our wedding is three weeks after the fall equinox. This weekend is three weeks before the spring equinox. Thus, physics and astronomy being what they are, this weekend should have been a very good indicator of what the sun will look like on our wedding day. And let me tell you, the lighting at 5pm is horrible! It gets dark a lot sooner than you might expect a day to get when sunset is officially at 6:45 pm.

We are therefore fairly certain that the ceremony will be at 4pm now, rather than at 5pm. Because as much as we reject many notions of traditional wedding photography, lighting remains one of the few things we cannot defy.