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

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?”


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

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


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.


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?