Monthly Archives: April 2014

Second Guessing the Guest List

One of the first things Monsieur P and I did after getting engaged was to start on a preliminary guest list.  We knew that in order to choose a venue, create a budget, and basically to do anything else, we would have to at least have a rough estimate of who we would be inviting to this shindig.  For a long time, we made very few revisions to our preliminary guest list.  We planned to only invite family and close friends to the wedding, so it was pretty easy to put down the list of people who were important to us.

After two years, though, things do change a little bit.  We’ve added some family members, between kids being born, friends and family getting married; we’ve lost some family members.  So by now, some changes had to be made.  Also, now that we are closer to the wedding, we’ve made a few decisions about who and what really matters to us.  In the beginning, we had a much more “why rock the boat?” mentality.  Now we feel more comfortable putting our collective foot down.

Handy dandy flow chart via visionsweddingboutique by Brides

For the past 5-10 years, I haven’t really seen much of Parisian Mom’s family.  We have an annual gathering with Parisian Dad’s family, but we haven’t had one with Mom’s family for a long time.  Because we don’t really see them, Monsieur P had never met most of them, and I had no desire to invite them to the wedding.  Since our parents aren’t contributing towards the wedding, we have no pressure to include obligatory parental invites for any reason.  Easy enough, we figured, we’d invite the family we were close to and then our closest friends.

This weekend, I happened to see many members of Parisian Mom’s family, including many cousins that I haven’t seen for 10 years.  Suddenly I was second-guessing our entire guest list.  I went back over the list and decided I could make some deletions, and talk with Parisian Mom about who should be added from her side of the family.  I think in the end, it will only end up being a handful of additional people, but I think we’ll be happy with the changes.  It was so nice to see everyone, and I think we will be happier having invited them, even if most of them still probably won’t want to venture into Pittsburgh for the wedding.

I never really thought we’d have much guest list creep, just maybe realizing that we missed a friend, or adding in a new friend closer to the wedding.  Since we didn’t have to worry about other people adding on guests, I didn’t think we’d have a problem.  I still don’t think we really have a problem of the guest list creep, but I’d rather have added a few more people than to feel guilty further down the line for not inviting someone that we probably should have invited.

The updated guest list, adding on some more family…

Did you have any last-minute guest list revisions?  Were you worried about guest list guilt or guest list creep?  Did you find yourself changing your mind closer to the wedding?


The Epic E-Pics: the Outtakes

Now that I’ve shown you the good photos, told you what we screwed up, and gave you my recommendations for a great session, I’ll show you the photos that we WON’T be using.

All photos by Tressa McCune Photography.

Alternately, why I’m thrilled that we found out what works and what doesn’t work.

What works:  looking at each other, laughing to relax each other, and listening to Tressa’s advice for places to shoot.

What doesn’t work:  serious poses (we look ridiculous), taking ourselves too seriously (we’re just not models!), and wanting specific poses or specific locations.


I really wanted this picture on the balcony over the Panther fountain.  Tressa told me it was too dark, but agreed to take it anyway.  It was a waste of time and I should’ve just gave it up when Tressa said it would be dark.


Continue reading The Epic E-Pics: the Outtakes

The Epic E-Pics: the Favorites

As our engagement photo shoot day approached, I received an invitation to attend a bridal shower… on the same day as our engagement photos.  It bummed me out a little to have to be rushing around beforehand, but in the end it wasn’t really a big deal.  I was attending the shower with MOH PT, so I wore the sweater dress that I was intending to wear for the “nicer” outfit for our photos, and then stopped at MOH PT’s house after the shower to do some hair and makeup touch-ups before going to meet Monsieur P and Tressa.  I took MOH PT’s advice to darken up my eye makeup a little more than usual to make sure it showed up in photos.  And now, for your viewing pleasure, I give to you, our favorites.

All photos by Tressa McCune Photography.

Outfit 1:  “Nice” Casual – on Miss Parisian, sweater dress (sorry I don’t remember where from), scarf, tights, Madden boots; on Monsieur P, Express sweater and button-down, jeans, casual shoes.  We’re not formal people, and wearing a cocktail dress for photos would have been overkill for us.

DSC_0036One of my favorites of all, in the black and white, also nice in color.

DSC_0039I doubt we’ll use one where you can barely see Monsieur P, but just so you know what the color version looks like… 😉

Continue reading The Epic E-Pics: the Favorites

The Epic E-Pics: the Debate

Sorry for the delay, and even though I gave you a sneak peek in our save the dates, I thought it was a good time to talk about our engagement pictures!  I’ve always loved looking at engagement pictures, and there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to take them once we got engaged.  Monsieur P, however, needed a little convincing.  He didn’t understand the point of having engagement pictures, because we’re not really big photo people.  On the flip side, that was exactly why we needed them!  You see, we aren’t very good at taking pictures together… we rarely remember to even take snapshots, and we had absolutely ZERO professional photos that we have taken together, unless you count our photographer’s second shooter taking a picture of us at friend V’s wedding… which I didn’t really count!  I thought after 3 years together, we really should have SOME nice photos of us, dressed up, by an actual photographer instead of a grainy cell phone picture.


One of very few “nice” pictures of us, from Monsieur P’s MBA graduation in 2011, with Parisian Mom.  Still just a snapshot; also does not exist on paper, oops.  We seriously suck at this stuff. (photo personal)

“But what the heck would we do with a bunch of pictures of us?” was Monsieur P’s second argument.


Continue reading The Epic E-Pics: the Debate

Bridal Shows: Brides on a Mission

Because we have had such a long engagement, I’m very happy to report that the year 2014 will NOT require attendance of any bridal shows!  Yay!  Of course, this is just because 2012 and 2013 were the years of bridal shows.  Before we were engaged, I attended a bridal show with MOH PT.  We were on a mission to book a few of her vendors, and I didn’t really pay attention to anything for myself.  What I took away from the experience was the following:

  • Bridal shows are amazing if you have a specific goal in mind
  • You can get great deals by booking at a bridal show
  • If you are going “just to look,” you will probably end up horribly overwhelmed

Once Monsieur P and I were engaged ourselves, MOH PT and I bought tickets to go to yet another bridal show at their venue, the Fez, and this time, we were both registered as brides!  Our main focus was still on MOH PT for her upcoming wedding, but I did a little browsing for myself as well.  I picked up some material from some travel groups for our honeymoon planning, but that was about it.  I don’t like the crowds, and I feel awkward when I’m overwhelmed by people trying to sell me stuff, so it’s a little anxiety-inducing.

Even though part of me never wanted to set foot in another bridal show, I was talking to Monsieur P about needing to book a few of our last vendors, and mentioned that I thought going to another bridal show might be a good way to do it.  I jokingly asked if he wanted to come along, because I was realizing that he wanted to be more involved with the wedding planning than I originally thought, and he shocked me when he said sure!  So I bought tickets for yet another bridal show, this time, the granddaddy of bridal shows in Pittsburgh.

THE Bride Show in Pittsburgh / via Cavanaugh’s

Continue reading Bridal Shows: Brides on a Mission

Fun with Our Guests: After the Ceremony

Because our guests having a good time is important to us, another thing that we’re doing is having guests tour Phipps Conservatory after the wedding ceremony.  While we take pictures in the Broderie Room, our guests can spend some time enjoying the other beautiful rooms in the conservatory.

Broderie Room wedding by Leeann Marie Photography.
The bottom of the palm forest with the fish! via Topbox design
The other angle of the palm forest / via Topbox design

Continue reading Fun with Our Guests: After the Ceremony

Fun with Our Guests: The Day After

I know I’m skipping waaaay ahead here, since I haven’t even told you about most of our wedding plans yet, but I’m just excited to share!  As you’ve probably guessed from our kitty’s name (Griffey), Monsieur P is a huge fan of baseball.  In fact, he spent this past Saturday with his Best Man (on the phone, since BM J is in California) drafting their fantasy baseball team, and the weekend before that, he was in Arizona for some spring training games with some friends.

I’ve never been a big fan of baseball.  I grew up near Pittsburgh, and it’s been a loooong time since baseball has really been relevant in this area.  We always went to a game or two, but it was mostly because PNC Park is the best baseball stadium. 😉

When Monsieur P and I started dating, there was a lot of groaning from my end when baseball season came around.  I loved football, and Monsieur P became a bigger football fan after we got together.  Over the years, I’ve grown to enjoy going to baseball games, and learned the strategy of using baseball to get Monsieur P to go on trips with me that wouldn’t otherwise happen.  For example, I convinced him to go with me to Baltimore, Maryland, for my friend’s baby shower, by promising that we could combine it with a trip to Camden Yards.  Then this past year, I convinced him to travel with me to Chicago (okay, actually, he loves Chicago, so this didn’t take any convincing), and we took a trip to Wrigley Field!

Friend C, Monsieur P and I at Wrigley!
Friend C, Monsieur P and I at Wrigley!  We melted that day, so hot, but so fun.

And as you can imagine, he’s now converted me to a baseball fan as well!  It took a long time… truth be told, even last year I was a little iffy about it, though I enjoy going to games, watching them on TV is Snoozeville.  As I’m learning more (I grew up playing softball, so I knew basic rules, but didn’t understand the strategy of baseball AT.ALL.), I’m starting to appreciate the game more, and this year I was SO EXCITED for the season to start.

I’m not the only one in Pittsburgh especially excited for this year, though, because last year something huge happened.  For the first time in 20+ years, the Buccos made the playoffs!  And we were there!

Monsieur P and I taking in the first postseason game in PNC Park history! The atmosphere was unreal.

Continue reading Fun with Our Guests: The Day After

Beeing Fit: Weight Loss

As I alluded to in my previous post, yoga has been helping me shed some extra grad-school pounds before the wedding.  I’ve been saying for awhile, a year maybe, that it was time to get into shape for the wedding.  I had a plan of starting early, being in great shape, and just staying in good shape for the wedding, rather than trying to drop a bunch of weight just before the wedding.  Of course, life got in the way, I started a new more-stressful job, and I had a brutal semester of school that caused me to pretty much live at school and work for the entire fall semester.

By the end of that semester, my stress-and-convenience eating was out of control, and to boot, I had been too busy to make my yoga classes more often than not.  I was a mess, and I felt awful.  I was at my heaviest point of life, which wouldn’t bother me if I wasn’t so out of shape, but I was unnecessarily heavy.

That was pretty much how I felt. Sorry for the awkward toe pic, I don’t like feet. via livescience

I’ve never been one to get caught up on the number on the scale.  I’ve always been muscular (thanks to soccer, softball, cross country, basketball, and cheerleading), so I’ve always judged myself based on how I feel and what that weight looks like in the mirror rather than what the scale tells me.  However, at this point, I was seeing a frightening number on the scale (we’ll just say 20 pounds heavier than where I’d like to be, and a solid 10-15 more than my usual), and an unpleasant picture in the mirror as well.  Monsieur P knows better than to comment on a gal’s weight, and he finds me attractive regardless, but my self-conscious self was pretty sure that he had noticed the extra layers and was hoping I’d get on addressing that as well. Continue reading Beeing Fit: Weight Loss