Monthly Archives: March 2014

Beeing Fit: Managing Stress

As someone who lives a high-stress life, between the stresses I put on myself (grad school, part-time job), and the stresses that can’t really be avoided (stressful full-time job), coping with stress is a major issue that impacts your mental and physical well-being.  I’ve always lived a pretty busy life, and my jobs have pretty much all been stressful, so it’s something I have just grown accustomed to.  As you can imagine, though, adding wedding planning to the mix is a whooooole lotta crazy.  One way I’ve dealt with this, as you already know, is by having a long engagement to spread the stress out and make it more manageable.

And since I’m sure you’re wondering, “What’s the other major coping mechanism that you use for stress management, Miss P?”

Yoga.

It’s not always this serene / via yoga and fun

Now, before you start thinking I’m some hippie dippy, Lululemon wearing, yoga mat toting, vegan-preaching maniac, let me explain myself.  (and FWIW, I have nothing against any of those things, and I actually am a little bit of a hippie)

Free yoga? Sign me up! No, really. Yoga’s expensive. /via peaceloveandbeyond blog

A few months before I met Monsieur P, I was totally into a running regimen.  I lived in the city, I ran even though I hated it, because it’s the only thing that shrinks my thunder thighs, and I was pretty happy with my fitness.  And then, I developed asthma.  Even when my asthma is well-controlled with my medication, I’m still unable to run for any significant distance, and I was struggling to find a workout that wouldn’t be a trigger for my asthma.

I came across a community fitness program that offered a really reasonably-priced power yoga class, which was $60 for 12 weeks of classes.  I was pretty concerned that I was going to walk into something really weird, and there would be a lot of awkward humming and strange people, because that’s what I thought yoga was.  Before my first class, I tried out some yoga on my wii in the safety of my own home, just to get a basic idea of what I was looking at here.  Then I put on my big-girl pants and ventured to try my first yoga practice in front of other people.

Continue reading Beeing Fit: Managing Stress

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Pre-Proposal: Talking to Dad

I came across this article (thanks, bridal shows, for plastering Brides magazine everywhere), and it made me think back to the pre-proposal stage.  The article is fluff about Ashton Kutcher asking Mila’s dad for her hand before popping the question, blah blah blah.  But then I thought I’d share the funny (to me) story about Monsieur P talking to my parents before he proposed.

Probably years before we actually got engaged, Monsieur P and I talked about getting married and such.  I told him that my brother-in-law talked to my dad before he proposed to MOH Big Sis, and how I thought that was really sweet.  It was sort of an offhand comment, but he must have taken note, or maybe it was just one of those traditional things that Monsieur P would surprise me with.  Either way, fast forward to March 10, 2012, the day I was frolicking around Philly with MOH PT.  Monsieur P was browsing rings, and decided to make this thing official.

Apparently he decided to up the ante, because he actually called both of my parents (separately).  Now, something you should know about my dad… I get a lot of my personality from him.  That’s why I’m a bit of a tomboy (way less now that I’ve discovered my girly side), a loud-mouthed prankster, and all-around goofball.  Well, my mom’s a goofball too, so I get that from both sides, but I digress.

So, Monsieur P gathered up the courage to call my dad.  According to Monsieur P, the conversation went a little like this:

“Hi, Parisian dad.  You know I love Miss Parisian, and I wanted to get your permission to marry your daughter.”

To which my dad replied, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?  What the heck would you want to do something like that for?!?!” … and Monsieur P froze.  Because my dad is such a stinker that he didn’t let on that he was joking, and though Monsieur P assumed he was, the poor guy’s nerves were already fried, so he was freaking out!  Talk about an awkward convo.

Seems about right. via

 

Continue reading Pre-Proposal: Talking to Dad

Engage-iversary!

Sorry for being MIA for a bit there, hive.  I was busy gallivanting across Europe with some girlfriends, and though I intended to pre-schedule some posts for while I was gone, time has a way of eluding me.

But today is a special day.  You see, two years ago today, Monsieur P shocked me to high heaven by popping the question with a kitty collar and our 15-lb monster cat, Griffey.  You know what that means, don’t you?  It’s our engage-iversary!

Truth be told, last year I took the engage-iversary a bit more seriously.  This year, we won’t be celebrating in any special way or anything because it doesn’t really mean a whole lot.  After all, in less than 6 months now, we’ll be doing the most important thing of our lives and finally making it official in front of our family and friends (and you all)!  So what better way to celebrate in 2014 than that? Anything else pales by comparison.  So I’ll be working during the day, and working at night, and we’ll barely see each other, but who really cares.  This is finally the last anniversary, the last ANYTHING to celebrate (other than my birthday!) before the wedding.  That’s pretty exciting in and of itself!

But there was a time that we celebrated our engagement.  Because, you see, we went on an engageymoon!  Before we got engaged, Monsieur P bought me a trip to Jamaica for my Christmas present.  He worked with Mrs. Palm Tree to plan a trip for the Palm Trees and the Parisians to go to Jamaica!  I was all but convinced that he would propose in Jamaica, but in fact, he surprised me 2 months before the trip!  So then we celebrated our 2 month engage-iversary in Jamaica, while the Palm Trees celebrated their -1 year anniversary (getting confused yet?).

Tl;dr, we celebrated a lot of things in Jamaica with the Palm Trees 2 years ago.  And we poured one out for our homies.

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Monsieur P, yours truly, Mrs. Palm Tree, Mr. Palm Tree, exactly 1 year before their wedding!

Strangely enough, I’m feeling a little more relieved as time flies by and the wedding creeps up.  I’ve enjoyed a lot of aspects of our long engagement, and I’ve enjoyed having these random little “holidays” to say “heyyy, it’s our engage-iversary!” “2 years, 1 year, 6 months to the wedding!” or whatever.  But I’m relieved that these are the last times; we’re under 6 months now, and we’re finally in the home stretch.  The wedding will be here before we know it!

I’ll leave you with a little 80s love to get pumped up.  If this doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!

Did you celebrate your engage-aversary?  Were you relieved as time ticked down towards the wedding?  If you had a long engagement, did you feel more relief than stress?

6 months!

Sorry for being MIA for a bit there, hive.  I was busy gallivanting across Europe with some girlfriends, and though I intended to pre-schedule some posts for while I was gone, time has a way of eluding me.

All photos personal.

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Sorry for the darkness, I haven’t uploaded all of my pics yet. Out to dinner at a brewery in Germany. From left, friend C, Miss Parisian, friend R, and friend M.
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Miss Parisian, friend G, and friend M
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One of our stops, the breathtaking Dom in Koln.

I won’t bore you with more pics. 😉  So anyway, now I’m back.  And what better day to be back, right?  Because today marks the beginning of THE FINAL COUNTDOWN.

And if that doesn’t get you pumped up, I don’t know what will!  So let’s do a little recap/status report, shall we? Continue reading 6 months!

Sister Act: Keeping it all in the Family

Growing up with sisters had a lot of advantages, like sharing clothes, toys, and always having a playmate around.  It also had some rough times, but don’t all family structures see that?  Anyway, along with having built-in playmates, having sisters means you have a built-in bridal party.

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Personal photo, BM Lil Sis on the left, MOH Big Sis and my nephew in the middle, and yours truly on the right.

When I was 14, I was in MOH Big Sis’s wedding as a bridesmaid.  It was my first taste of wedding anything, and I really didn’t have to do much.  MOH Big Sis knew that BM Lil Sis (who was 12) and I didn’t know wedding stuff and didn’t have a lot of money, so the only things we had to do were buy our dresses and shoes for the wedding.  She gifted us our jewelry and accessories (we wore elbow-length gloves and carried mini purses), and I think we had our hair done, paid by mom.  Oh, the new millennium.  Anyway, our duties were very limited, and she relied on her MOH and other bridesmaid to do the real bridesmaid work.

So of course I always knew that my sisters would be a part of my bridal party!  Except this time, we’re all old enough to partake, so MOH Big Sis got the raw end of that bargain, having to have us along in her wedding but not help with planning, and now she’s stuck helping me as my Matron of Honor!  So, add in the fact that I’m gaining a new sister through Monsieur P, and I have 3 sisters in my bridal party.

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Apologies for the dark pic, but since my future sister-in-law lives across the country from us, we don’t get to see each other that often so pics are hard to come by!  That’s me on the left, and BM FSIL on the right.  Do you see the resemblance between her and Monsieur P?

Anyway, when Monsieur P and I first started dating, I didn’t know how I’d feel about his sister, and we didn’t meet for a long time, almost two years?!?!  because that means cross-country travel in order for us to meet.  So when we actually were going to meet for the first time, I was stressing out a little bit.  It was really important that we get along and I was so nervous that we wouldn’t.  And then as soon as we got together, I realized I shouldn’t have worried at all.  She’s definitely become my third sister, so there was no doubt in my mind that she should be a part of our wedding as well!

When I was younger, I thought I might have one of those big bridal parties, with all my sisters, plus a couple friends from high school, a couple college friends, a couple post-college friends… and then I realized that that kind of bridal party would be insane!  Even though I love the idea of having my closest friends surrounding me that day, I’m more of a small-group person, and I know it will help keep me sane to have some downtime with just a few people, and obviously my closest friends will still be there at the wedding!

So to round out my sister group, I asked Mrs. Palm Tree to be my Matron of Honor as well.  That’s right, I’m having two Matrons of Honor.  When we first got engaged, I was thinking “okay, I can have MOH Big Sis be my Matron of Honor and then Mrs. Palm Tree can be my Maid of Honor, and it’ll be perfect.”  and then I realized, DUH, the Palm Trees were getting married before us. D’oh!  But oh well, I want what I want, and I wanted to give them both the title.

MOH Big Sis and I grew up fighting.  I snuck into her room (when we didn’t share a room), stole borrowed her stuff, read her diary, creeped on her and her boyfriend watching movies when I was supposed to be in bed, and otherwise was just an annoying little sister.  She bossed me around and acted like she was my mom (which we still tease her about), and we fought A LOT.  When I went to college, I moved to Pittsburgh, which is where she lived with her husband, and she ended up getting me a job as a student in the office where she worked.  When I wasn’t an annoying little kid anymore, we didn’t fight nearly as much, and we related much better to each other’s lives.  We’ve gotten really close over the years, and now she’s one of my best friends and really has helped to make me the person I am.  It wouldn’t be my wedding if she wasn’t given the place of honor next to me.

All that said, MOH Big Sis has a life far removed from wedding planning.  My brother-in-law is awesome, but he doesn’t deserve to be stuck with the kids all the time while I pull my sister away for wedding stuff.  So I thought it worked out best if MOH PT, who obviously is still close to the wedding planning process, got to share the wedding stuff with me too!  And that’s how I ended up with two Matrons of Honor, and two bridesmaids/sisters.  I’d give them all an “honor” title if I could, but I think by just having four ladies there, everyone will already understand how important they are to me just to have been chosen.

Is your bridal party mostly family?  Are you having more than one MOH?  Will you be gaining a new sibling through the wedding?

Flowers Optional

Since I alluded to it in my previous post about traditions, I thought this might be a good time to share with you my plans for flowers.  Well, sort of.

I don’t plan on carrying a bouquet of cut flowers for numerous reasons, with the two major reasons being budget and the fact that we’re getting married in a garden.  Those two sort of go hand-in-hand, because if we were getting married in a drab space, I would be much more willing to spend money on flowers and decorations for the space.  However, since we’re getting married in such a beautiful space, any additional flowers and decorations would really just be unnecessary.

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Just a reminder of our ceremony space via LeeAnn Marie Photography

Though a little aisle decor may happen.  It all depends on if I have time.  I think something like this would do just fine.

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Again, our space via Phipps

And so, if a bride doesn’t want to carry cut flowers, what is she to do?  I explored some options:

  • Brooch bouquet
  • Dried flower bouquet, like Mrs. Palm Tree
  • Fan
  • Feathers
  • Candy
  • Pinwheel
  • Button, felt, paper, or other crafty bouquet

There are tons of options, but only one option for a bling-loving bride like me!  That’s right, hands-down, I was sold on the brooch bouquet as soon as I saw it.

I fell in love with images like these:

So gorgeous. via Weddingbells
Fabric flowers AND bling! via Emici Bridal
This one may be just a little too much bling; it looks like it would weigh 10 pounds! via Etsy
This one is a lot of bling but I love the fall colors! via Crazyforus
I love this vintage look, via Pocketful of Dreams

I love the idea of taking some heirloom pieces and weaving them into the bouquet, and I love the idea of being able to keep my bouquet and possibly pass it down to a future daughter if she’d want to use it.  Or maybe she’d  use it for a Halloween costume like how my mom’s dress got reused!

But as much as I love brooch bouquets, the kind I like run for hundreds of dollars.  So I thought, sure, I can DIY it!  I’ll be back later with more details and hopefully a success story with tutorials… but for now, I shall leave you with the beginning of my brooch collection for my bouquet!

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There’s the beginning!  Now we’ll all just have to wait to see how it ends up!

Are you vetoing flowers for budgetary or other reasons?  Did you DIY your bouquet?  Are you using something non-traditional or carrying nothing down the aisle?

Let’s Talk Traditions

Monsieur P and I are still fairly young, but we both feel a little older in a lot of ways.  Our parents were born in the 50s, and so maybe we inherited a little more of the older generations’ values, but we tend more towards the traditional side of things more often than not.  We have more traditional perspectives on education, employment, faith, and even parenting (even though we’re not parents yet).

That said, there are some things where we feel it makes sense for us to break tradition.  One of those ways is our cohabitation.  We’ve been living together for over 4 years, and we bought our house together a year and a half ago (I can’t believe it’s been that long already!).  When we feel we can justify breaking tradition because it makes sense for us, we have no problem doing so.  Which is why when we first discussed wedding scenarios, I thought a more modern cocktail reception would be perfect for us.  And it may have been perfect for Monsieur P and I, but what about for our guests?  After all, the wedding may be in celebration of us, but it’s not really FOR us.  We’re doing our best to marry (no pun intended) the things that we like to the things that we think our guests will like.

So, here are some fun origins of wedding traditions in an infographic from WeddingMix and Jam + Toast.  And let’s talk about what we’re doing, and what we’re skipping, shall we?

Tradition Origins via StoryMixMedia credit Jam + Toast

The Bridal Bouquet – Skipping.  I know, GASP, right?!  I love flowers, I do.  But we’re getting married at a conservatory and botanical garden.  Any bouquet I would carry in there would pale in comparison to what Phipps will have growing, and it would just feel wrong to carry cut flowers in.  Like Arya Stark standing at Baelor’s Sept, amirite?  No spoilers,  but you GOT nerds get me, right?  It just wouldn’t be nice to the other flowers to parade their cut friends past them.  Good thing I’ll probably pick out some lovely wedding perfume so the scent of flowers won’t be missed when I walk down the aisle!

The Tosses – Skipping.  Aside from the fact that I won’t be carrying cut flowers, I’ve never really liked the bouquet toss, so I’ve always said I wouldn’t do it at my wedding.  I’ve  been to plenty of weddings without the bouquet and garter tosses, and I don’t think anyone ever misses them.  I love hearing Beyonce’s Single Ladies, but I don’t need to put pressure on the few single ladies that will be at our wedding to act enthused and catch a bouquet.

The Veil – Skipping.  This goes along with my “I’ve never wanted to be a princess,” thing, maybe because I was such a tomboy for  most of my life.  But having a big poofy veil on my head and/or over my face, just doesn’t seem like me at all.  When I first found my dress, I knew I wouldn’t want to cover up the back of it, since it’s one of my favorite parts!  So I planned on wearing a flower in my hair, and not wearing a veil at all.

Bridesmaids – Doing.  I was a bridesmaid in MOH Big Sis’s wedding 12 years ago (albeit a young one!), and it’s always just been understood that my sisters would be a part of my wedding one day too.  Add in my new sister and best friend, somehow I’m ending up with all blonde bridesmaids (kind of, MOH PT switches it up).  So as long as they go by hair color and not the chick in the white dress, I guess the evil spirits won’t catch me, eh?

Honeymoon – Doing.  After 3 long years of grad school, and 2½ years of on-and-off wedding planning, I think I’ll have earned a nice vacation with my new husband!  I’d love to do 30 days hiding away drinking honey wine, but I don’t think that’s quite feasible!

Engagement Ring – Doing, obviously.  You all know my dos-and-don’ts list for rings already.  That 12th century pope sure would be pleased with our 2+ year engagement!

White Wedding Dress – Doing, obviously.  You also know all about my white wedding dress!  I understand that some other girls may opt for non-white dresses, but for me, I wouldn’t feel like a bride if I wasn’t wearing a white dress.  It’s probably the only time I ever will wear a fancy white dress, so I couldn’t pass up that opportunity!

Most importantly, our goal is to keep our wedding true to us and our tastes, while recognizing and honoring our families and our friends.  Our lives constantly blend traditional and contemporary aspects, so it only makes sense that our wedding would do the same.

Were you surprised by any of these wedding origins?  Do you consider your wedding to be more traditional or more modern?  Which traditions are you skipping?