Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Homemade with love

Awwww, what a sweet sweet title!

Well, it's true, I love my parents, and because I love the idea that DIY-ing makes the whole affair seem more intimate and special, I thought asking my parents to do a few small DIY projects would feel even more special!

Here is what I mean, the first time I was in a bridal salon, I was struck by the generic, frilly, lacy garters lining the walls in the accessory section. It was disappointing and puke-inducing!

Yuck. Just not for me, it's generic, it's lacy... Eww.

So I said, I'm going to have to find one that fits my criteria, that I sort of designed. Then a genius thought strikes me: Mama!! Will you make my garter belt?!

She said "Hey yeah!!" I was pleasantly surprised because she seemed to think it was a good idea and I think she was probably thinking like me; the more homemade touches, the more intimate and special the day will feel for all of us. And I know she wants to be a part of the preparations, and I want her to be a part! So I then had to think, hmmm, what kind of garter do I want?

I like the Victorian ideal:

In theory! It's still too lacy and frilly, but I like the rustic, old feel of it. I think more and more, I'm moving farther and farther away from white, because it feels so generic too me.

Also, there's nothing wrong with white in certain places and situations, but I'm doing this whole rustic woodsy thing, and so then I stumbled across this:

Minus the pinwheel looking thing in the middle, I thought 'Yes!! feathers instantly translate something pristine and shiny and girly into something a little more country-fied!'

I found a few more that are sweet, rustic, or otherwise favorites:

Also, I like these because they look homemade, and therefore humble and sweet. I really like that. If I wanted my mom to create something that looked just like one of those garters I can get at Claire's, I would just do to a crappy statement jewelry shop and buy one!

Lastly, I found a very different one; I had never seen garters like these, and I think I like it, but I'm on the fence still:
 I think I would miss the bunched elastic that's kind of a hallmark, but it's still really cool!

So here's what I was thinking. Something along the lines of the one with the roses, or the one with the hand-stitched initials and date. Instead of roses or maybe with much smaller roses, I'd like it to have some feathers and then maybe a 'bow' or some other type of small accent in brown suede or twine. I'm looking really hard for a comparable one online, but it's really really hard to find just what you want, which is precisely why I asked my mom! I was thinking ahead and saving myself the trouble of looking right off the bat!

Now, that's not all, I love my Daddy too!! And I found this great idea on one of my blogs (Weddingbee to be exact) instead of a guestbook!

A guestBENCH!!! It would be so much more meaningful and will actually be used!! Every time I sit on it to take off my shoes at the end of the day, I'll think about all the people who were able to make it to our big day!

Also check these out:

I love the green one for it's weathered driftwood look, and I love the one with the shelf because we ALWAYS need more shoes space. My baby has a shoe problem. Who'd have thunk it would be the man who has more shoes than the woman???

Well, I haven't asked my dad to do any of this yet, but he's pretty handy. That being said, if he doesn't want to, Kyle is pretty handy as well. But I'd love it if these two things that mean a lot to me could have my mom and dad's touch on them. Soooo... it's time for everyone to get to work!!!

What does everyone think??

Give me strength!

We did it!!! I'm about to e-mail Ben and ask him to be my photographer!

We feel like he is  more invested in us personally and is really excited about US!!

BUT, this means I have to write to Shea too... :(

And we really liked him too, but Ben really impressed us, and his editorial work is really nice, and we are really looking forward to it...

I'll write again if he accepts!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I apologize for this ahead of time...

I just counted my calendar and found I I'm getting my monthly visitor ON MY WEDDING DAY!!!

Who planned this?!?!?! Who's idea was this anyway?!

I'm going to go sulk now...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

You're Invited!!!

That's right! This is my first invitation post!! I'm excited about invitations and I'll tell you why!

I had no idea what we were going to do with invitations but I knew they could not look like this:


As you could probably imagine by now, I'm into 'rustic.' If I could pick a theme, that would be it. Big shocker! I know it's not particularly unique, but who cares, not many can come up with all their own ideas that no one else has ever had EVER.

Anyway, white would never do, I don't want anything at the wedding to be white white. So I looked for anything rustic. I went on weddingpaperdivas and this was pretty much the first thing I saw:

(fake info)

I like the color of the paper and the way the edges of the invite look like they've got grass stains on them. You've got to understand, I still roll around in the mud and get grass stains on all my jeans, these things speak to me!

I ALSO found some great inspiration on various blogs and random google image searches:
Don't you love?! I love the minimalist effects (ha! at least on the one on the left, the one on the right is a bit much maybe), the worn-looking corners. Just love it! I also love the details on the sides, not big showy roses or something, but small, unassuming, non-showy flowers and leaves. So very quaint!

I got the brilliant idea that I needn't spend as much money as I hear people spend on invites, I can make them! Now, everyone thinks I'm crazy but hear me out:

You can buy that old, crackly "parchment paper"cardstock online. I've got stamps and ink pads (thanks Mia!). I'm a decent sketcher/painter/calligrapher, and a good printer (like the one Kyle has at work ;)) will take care of the text. Soooo, where's the issue?? I've got blending pencils and water color pencils and all sorts of things to try to achieve the grass stain look, and the stamps I happen to have have some really nice flowers, flower buds, and leaves, and I've got calligraphy markers for vines or grass or whatever!!

I'm still trying to hunt down the right weight parchment paper, but when I find it, I cannot wait to do a mock-up and I cannot WAIT to show everyone!!

So, naysayers, sit back and watch, I'll show you. It'll be awesome!!

The closest we've come yet!! part II

In which we discuss what I love about Vera Wang and what my mother doesn't.

Everyone else can be privy to this argument except for Kyle!!

You'll just be bored anyway, Baby!!


Here's our starting point, the one I saw that started the whole fantasy:

Helloooooo Diana!

The argument here is that this dress is not going to be the least bit figure flattering, and even though I am not vain, I do want to show the curves off a little! make the groom sweat just a little!! What I love about it is it's ethereal, forgive my blasphemy, but this is what God would dress his angels in! Ha! Maybe not, but I love how the fabric looks like it was just thrown onto a dress form and allowed to behave the way it wanted to. I believe it's referred to as the ladder technique or something like that?? Vera?? a little help please!

Well, there are a few more that still have the elements I love on the bottom but are a little less... shapeless:

Meet Ethel, Fern, and Fairy Dust, three dresses that may be completely unflattering once they're on me, fine! But you can just see by looking at them that they're going to move beautifully when you walk. They're ethereal, free-spirited, woodsy, carefree, these are all the things I want to be on my wedding day, and in a way, I hope to be able to draw strength from the character of my wedding dress on that day if I start feeling overwhelmed on the inside.

We're not quite done, these last two are my all time favorite Vera dresses!!

Farrah and Erica!! I don't have any words to describe how perfectly these two fit the ideals I've sort of set myself up to. They're not too big, they're not too busy, they hug the figure nicely (which may be more apparent on me, a normal everyday woman as opposed to those stick models), they flow, they've got the wood nymph thing down! I don't think any other words are necessary...

My mom thinks they may be a little costume-y, and I can see her point because they do go a little overboard with the haphazard organza party, but I still don't think these two are so bad in that department. The way the organza lays on the hips is much less "poofy" than in the Diana. I also think that they might look a little more like that in pictures after the styling team is finished with them. You know how a dress never EVER looks the same in pictures as it does on you? And how usually it's a bad thing?? Well, in this case, I think a little less drama is probably what you're going to see in the store compared to in the picture, and that's fine by me!

I guess I can't stress enough that I'm going to go try them on regardless, so let's wait and see! If I can sneak some pictures, I will, which is doubtful, because I'm going by myself :( but we'll have another head to head on dresses once the appointment is over!!

...Didn't I recently post that I was done posting about dresses?? I must just be imagining things. Carry on!!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The closest we've come yet!!

The thesis committee meeting is OVER!!! It went really well and I am on track to graduate with a freakin PhD in about 9 to 10 months. Now, back to work!!
But also importantly, I can now devote a little of my thoughts each day to WEDDING PLANNING!!!

I want to note right off the bat that I've been still agonizing over this wedding dress dilemma...

Not sure if this is necessary anymore... but

You guessed it, this is not a post for you Baby cakes!

I still love you though!

I did some more wedding dress shopping this past weekend with my mom, my two grandmothers, my sister, and Mia, my kind-of MOH. Mia, very sneakily, managed to secure some pictures of wedding dresses but I'm scared to post them, not because of Kyle, but just because it feels weird to post pictures of me in a dress. But I feel the need to show that something is happening!! And I'm thrilled at the fact that Mia was sneaky enough to get pictures.

We had the most successful dress shopping trip yet! Elena of Bridals by Elena in Severna Park, MD was a master! She pinned me up so well in those dresses that I even looked great in the ones five sizes too big for me! Just with a bunch of pins, instead of those crappy jumper cable things they use. Well, we found two facvorites, bear in mind, one of these may be the one:

BAM, there she is, the second favorite dress. It encompasses everything I originally thought I wanted in a wedding gown: asymmetrical waist, exposed tulle, NO beading! It needs straps and I'd like it ivory or champagne as opposed to white, but it was really flattering. Lastly, it was a little bit too big...

And WHAM: an unlikely favorite in this Martina Liana. It also has an asymmetrical waistline, it's really flattering, the fabric feels great and looks great: it's Dupioni silk which is not too shiny. It's a great color, a champagne, I loved the way the fabric was bunched, even the flowers on the skirt(!) and most importantly, that it wasn't too big and poufy.

Lastly, for the first time, I felt like I could see this dress in my venue. For the first time, I felt like I could start to see myself walking down the aisle. The back was spectacular; the train wasn't too long, and the fabric swirled around a couple more roses in such an interesting way...

I can't help but feel a little nag in the back of my mind (and right now, my mom's rolling her eyes) because I'm so in love with the Vera Wang dresses.

It's not just because I'm stubborn, I already scheduled an appointment to try on some Vera Wang dresses, so I didn't want to make the final decision yet anyway, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. I believe I will regret not at least trying them on. I can also show you exactly why I still want to try on something that's a little more whimsical and flowing:

Loooookkk hoooow preeeeeetttyyyyy!!!

This free-spirited little bit of inspiration feels so uplifting! That's how I feel about the Vera Wang dresses.

The issue now becomes that my mom is no longer on board with the Vera Wang dresses, she thinks I'm not going to like them once I try them on. In her defense, she may be completely correct, but now that I have the appointment, I just HAVE to go and play dress-up once more!

So keep this image in mind, because it embodies why I wanted a flowing dress in the first place. I'll post Vera dresses (more!!) tomorrow.

For now, MUST get to bed!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Random Thoughts

I'm sorry to say we're no closer to picking a dress and to a certain extent, a photographer. We are closer, but I have to actually have talks with the two photographers, because I feel (and maybe this is just how they charm people into throwing thousands of dollars at them) as if we formed mini relationships with the two of them. No matter who we pick, we're going to talk to both of them and explain to the photog we do not pick why we are not picking him. I will let you in on a little secret, we're leaning more and more towards Ben. We feel he fits our style better, he's more low-key like we are, and he's also more humble-- HOLD ON, this does not mean we think Shea is cocky, I mean that to say I think we would be pretending we're a little more high class than we are by going with Shea. This DOES NOT mean we think Ben is low class, but he's more country, Shea's a little more big city guy.

Enough about that, back to dresses I guess, it becomes more and more apparent that I am not going to be satisfied with anything less than Vera. I did find out something interesting though: Ms. Wang is going a line for David's Bridal. Who knew?! I don't care about labels, but I didn't think I would ever contemplate being a David's Bridal bride. I was happy beyond belief when I found out how inexpensive the Pronovias dresses are, I'm no snob when it comes to saving money, but have you ever tried on a David's Bridal dress and then a Pronovias? It's like night and day, and I have to say it, I'm sorry, but I feel most David's Bridal dresses just aren't made as high quality. Now, the gamble is that the Vera Wang dresses by David's Bridal will also feel a little more cheaply made. BUT in the meantime, I found a shop, much closer to home, that actually carries Vera Wang, and Kyle actually offered to take me there... because it's in Princeton, but he promised he would then go find something else to do.

While I'm on that subject, it seems a good time to talk about something we're both very passionate about. We don't want a first look. I remember telling my mom, and she waited until I answered her to make any comments (because she has been so quick not to pass any, and I mean ANY judgements unless mine agree with hers), and she was so pleased that we were waiting. She won't tell me when she doesn't like anything, I guess cause she doesn't want to hurt my feelings, but when she does like something, she's quick to tell me... It's funny though, because now I know when she doesn't like something... she just doesn't say anything! Ha! Got you Mama! Well, back to the point, it's been really fun being sneaky about it, because I'm really excited about surprising him with the dress. HOWEVER, he's really my best friend, I really talk to him about anything, and so it's been really tough when I need someone to talk to and I know he's going to understand me best and I can't talk to him... I gave him a very generic breakdown of my dilemma about dresses and that's when he said he'd drive me to Princeton, which I thought was sweet mostly because I can drive myself to Princeton, he was offering extra support that I need but didn't ask for. And oddly, I feel like it might be just what I need (plus my mom) but as long as he stays in the car or something :)

I mentioned a few posts ago that I have a thesis committee meeting coming up, and it's really important that it be perfect, so I'm a little swamped right now. Also, I always feel kind of bad when I do completely text posts, ESPECIALLY because I tend to go on and on and on and on... I'm sure you've noticed! But the point is, as soon as things slow down a little at work, I've got a lot in store for everyone! They're be pictures and inspiration boards and all sorts of cool stuff. We have LOTS to talk about!! Theme and color and flowers and cake and invitations and... ahhhh, I'm so excited, but more on that later, because I have to get back to work now, but I promise!! Soon!!!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dresses... for a change

M'kay, I think about dresses pretty much all the freakin' time. I don't get dressed up often, so for me, from the start, I was most excited about dresses because I was going to go all out, get the best dress (in my own opinion) that I could find!

Oh, by the way...

Kyle, Baby, GO AWAY!!

So, if he's gone, we can continue... funny story real quick, he told me the other day that he wasn't reading my blog at all because he thought he wasn't allowed to. Now I would never force it on him, but I laughed at him and told him oh, sweetie, you'll know which posts you're not allowed to read.

Anywho, I thought I had this whole dress thing figured out, I already touched on it before and had decided that since it was going to be here and not in Hawaii, I wanted a rustic, flowing, running-through-the-woods dress that looked a little haphazard, asymmetrical and accidental. Well, I've only ever been able to get across the asymmetrical part, so I've ended up with this:

As the only dress that comes anywhere close to what I think I want. But there was still a major nagging in the back of my head that this wasn't it. I did some more digging on the Pronovias website thinking that if this was the designer of the dress I liked most so far, maybe they would be on the right track to really have the dress I was looking for. I did find a few more that I would really like to try on:

This one is covered in organza and so looks a little more organic, not so shiny and put-together.

And these two are both covered in organza and also have a little more of a haphazard look to them. I like that the eye doesn't know where to go, there's stuff going on everywhere! It's exciting and different! BUT, in the back of my mind, although I am going to try these on still, I was still convinced I was moving away from what I had originally wanted because I assumed it didn't exist. Well, thank God for all the blogs I read! Take a gander:

Say hello to Pallas Couture! Specifically, the Pallas dress on the left. It's organic, it's carefree, it's gorgeous, and it has that just got out of the woods look I really really want. Problem? Yeah, Pallas Couture is based in Australia... only in Australia. I could look at these dresses all day. I love the skirt on the left dress with the top on the right dress.

I was determined, however, to not give up now that I had found that what I wanted actually did exist, it can't just exist in Australia! Where do all good little girls go to get their fashion prayers answered? Why to Ms. Wang of course!

I am in love with this style of haphazard organza. I thought I was before, but now I really am, and it makes me feel better about myself because I thought I was being indecisive! I kept saying to myself "C'mon now, really? What's wrong with all the dresses you tried on? Why can't you pick one?!" I'm not going crazy, I'm not being indecisive, I wanted one of these dresses from the start, I just hadn't found them yet!

Now, here's the only problem, I can't afford Vera Wang! Also, I'll have to run all over the place trying to find Vera because not many places carry her designs... but even if I could find them, let's not forget, I CAN'T AFFORD THEM.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed though, it took me this long to really put my finger on what I want, so maybe now that I know what it is, it's just a matter of saying something to one of my bridal consultants and maybe they'll have something similar by someone else that'll be less expensive, not to mention easier to find. If not, it looks like I might have to trek to New York to somehow find a decently priced Vera at one of the many places there that claim to carry her designs. How about you just wish me luck and I won't have to go through that! I won't be posting about dresses anymore until I find it! I'm determined! I know this is what I want now, so there's nothing more to say...

The birds and the bees

Sorry it's been so long, but I've got a thesis committee meeting coming up and we were camping this weekend and I'm getting over a cold and I'm not closer to picking a photographer, so I've been totally blaaaaaahhhh lately. Not in a horribly bad way, just busy and frazzled.

I do have news to report though!! Sorry, it's not about photographers. I'll give required background first:

Ever since I was born, my mom's parents have been a huge factor in my life. They've always been the most kind, awesome grandparents a kid could ever ask for. They helped me learn to ride a bike, jump in leaves, read, eat pancakes, know my 10 Commandments, etc... My grandparents have always been deeply involved in the church as my grandfather is a minister, so I grew up there and was loved and spoiled by them and every sweet old lady in my grandfather's church. I went to church camp every summer as soon as I was old enough to, and was baptized at 13. The point of all this is that while I do consider myself to be a spiritual person I don't go to church right now. Thankfully, last time I talked to my grandfather he conceded that he feels sorry for anyone looking for a church nowadays because of all the "junk" that's out there, church-wise. Oh and he's not a zealot by any stretch of the imagination, he has a refreshingly practical take on religion in that he's with the times, he always seems to be able to put anything in terms that I can appreciate and understand, without a hint of scolding in his tone about my and the whole world's sinful ways.

Well, the issue I struggle with is that Kyle and I live together and have lived together since I came to grad school about 4 and a half years ago. No one was thrilled about it per se, but they understood that if we were both going to be in Philly, rent is too ridiculous to have two apartments. To be completely honest with you, I also really needed to start being an adult and live a normal sharing-the-bills life and I wasn't going to get that in a studio apartment run by the campus. I also really wanted to my make my relationship with Kyle work and really determine whether or not we were as compatible as we both felt we were. I was amazed at how easily we fell into a daily routine and quickly delegated tasks like laundry and dishes (me, him, respectively), and we were getting along fantastically. Did I mention we'd only been dating a few months before we decided to move in together... let me just put it this way, I was pretty scared! What if it didn't work out? Where was I going to live? Would my family be angry with me for making such a bad judgement? Anyway, my grandparents both only mentioned anything to me once, got it off their chests and moved on without treating me any differently. It made me feel uncomfortable that they worried about my immortal soul, but at the same time, I wouldn't want them to lie to me. Everyone loved and loves Kyle, but you know, some people stick to their beliefs... which again, I wouldn't want to be any other way, be kinda' hypocritical wouldn't it?

To the point! This all actually made me a bit nervous when contemplating officiants. We obviously don't have anyone in mind here in Philly, there are no churches we wanted to go to... anywhere... in this entire city, so we've had no chance to develop a relationship with any ministers. Furthermore, I have a huge problem with just hiring someone from the phonebook. I completely understand that some people have to do that and I have nothing against anyone else doing it, but I have a perfectly good minister sitting at the head of my mom's family who, of course, was always going to marry me! BUT... knowing how he felt about me and Kyle living together, I was honestly nervous to ask him, because I was worried he would have an ideological problem with it: So much of the marriage ceremony is dedicated to celebrating a man and a woman coming together and being joined for the first time... I'm not going to go any further, my mother reads this :) But does that make sense? I was worried he would think none of that was real because we had gone against God's laws by living together. Sounds awfully Holier than thou I know, but it's the way my head works sometimes... As if my own grandfather would ever treat me like that. Well, I did him a disservice by thinking these things. I finally got up the courage to ask AND HE SAID HE WOULD BE HONORED!

I was beyond excited. I felt like that little girl again who jumped in his leaf piles and sat across from him in the booth at IHOP. And you know what he said when I admitted to him that I had been trepidatious? He said "I would have no problem helping you do the thing I would have preferred you do in the first place!" Well, I was relieved, excited, warm and fuzzy. And that's that! We have an officiant! And not just any officiant, the man I always hoped would marry us!!!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Great Debate

OK, let me first start off, before going any further, by saying that originally, I had convinced myself that I needed several options for photographers and that I couldn't just meet two and choose between them. HOWEVER, this was before I met two photographers, one more expensive than the other, and found them almost equal in many ways, if there's anymore choices, my head will explode.

OK, stepping back, a little background: Kyle and I have met Shea Roggio and Ben Weldon and we are officially stumped! I thought it would be an easier choice because Shea has more experience than Ben and a more photography-based background, education-wise. But it totally wasn't! Before I get carried away, I'm going to go ahead and do this in true scientist fashion!



The Basic Package:
8 Hours of photography with Ben Weldon                              9 Hours of Photography with Shea Roggio
An assistant to help with equipment and maybe act as a second photog
Formal portraits and candids
Images color and density corrected to be print-ready
A private website showing all images online for 3 months, for ordering and sharing
A DVD with all high-res images, and license to reproduce
One 16x20" custom fine art print ($100 value)                                                   $200 print credit
$1900                                                                                                         $3500

The Upgraded Package:
An engagement session
An entire day of photography
A second photographer
An assistant to help with equipment and maybe act as a third photog
Additional lighting as necessary
Formal portraits and candids
Images color and density corrected to be print-ready
A private website showing all images online for 3 months, for ordering and sharing
A DVD with all high-res images, and license to reproduce
Two 16x20" custom fine are prints ($200 value)                                                $400 print credit
$3400                                                                                                       $5500

Degree in music                                                                                                       Degree in photography
1 year experience photographing weddings                           3 years experience photographing weddings
Musician before being a full time photographer                                 Photographer for the NY Times first

Gritty, odd angles, emphasis on rusticity                                Sharp, crisp, straight on, emphasis on colors
Both like to play with focal points (bride in the front in focus, groom in the background out of focus)


The quality is there but you can see how he's made it extra gritty and by playing with the light processing, he's made it seem dreary. I also love how the branches are hanging just in the frame

Next, he's playing with the sunlight coming through the clouds but he's emphasized the darkness on the left side and the field looks spectacular

He's also not afraid to play with angles, which I really like, see my post from yesterday! It's unique and confusing in a nice abstract way.

I posted Ben's wedding photography a few posts ago, so I won't post them again, but my opinions on his wedding photography is this: it's good... You're not going to be disappointed at the very least. If I can communicate to him that I want the images to look rustic and gritty like his rural shots, I think I'll be happier with him!


I know I already posted this, but I can't get over how great I think it is. It's specifically color corrected so the blue pops and the gray looks extra dingy by comparison.
This one is my favorite in terms of the sky and the color correction to make this look like a dreary day. However, I'd like there to be a graininess about this photo that's not there. For the message that this picture is trying to portray, it's too crisp... if there is such a thing
This is what I was talking about when I mentioned color, I mean look at it! Everything is so clear and the colors just pop. I can tell you one thing though, as much as I love him and his quality, I think that the mood I want to capture for our wedding is more muted...

So, from a business perspective, Shea does seem the smarter choice, but what about from a personal perspective?

E-mails between Shea and me:

Hello Shea,
Thanks so much for getting back to me! I am going to talk to my fiance and figure out when we can meet. We are unfortunately not available the next two weekends because of some international travel... I am very glad to hear you'll be available. I'll cross my fingers that it stays that way long enough... stupid vacation :)
Thanks again!
Hi Ashley,

Thursday, October 28th works great for me.  Can we shoot for 6pm?
Very much looking forward to seeing you shortly...


OH, and just out of curiosity where are you and your fiance traveling too?  I international travel :)
Hey Shea,

We're meeting up in Rome, spending the week there with the exception of one day when we will travel to Naples and Pompeii. You wanna come? I can squeeze you in my luggage!
YES, please do squeeze me in your luggage!!! :)
OK, *conspiratorial whisper* meet me at the airport at 4 PM tomorrow...
*i'll be there...*

How can you say no to that??? Well, When we met him he couldn't have been nicer, ESPECIALLY because our flight home that day was delayed and we got there a half hour late. I apologized profusely but all he cared about was whether or not Kyle and I were worried about the time! We met for about an hour and a half, looked at every album he had, talked about style, inclusions, prices, his previous work, his travels, image processing. He was wonderful! You could tell he was passionate about his work, but (in hindsight) he didn't ask us anything about us. We did talk about the venue a little and the time of year though, but from a photographer's perspective, you have to talk about those things. That being said, I feel ungrateful just writing that out, he really was amazing, I don't want to take anything away from him, but you got just the tiniest of impressions that if we didn't choose him, it wouldn't bother him... Now I know that modesty might make good people give that impression anyway, but it was a tad more than just modesty.

When we got in the elevator, Kyle said "I'm sold" as soon as the elevator doors closed. I reminded him that while I shared his enthusiasm, we needed to keep an open mind. So, a few days later, we went to meet Ben. Our e-mails were normal people e-mails, not like two 12-year-old girls text messaging each other :) so I don't need to post them. We met for about an hour and a half, and he was also, just really really passionate about photography.

When we got there, I was immediately struck by the fact that he couldn't be much older than the two of us, but I was struck second by how he seemed adorably flustered that he didn't have his paperwork all in order (we were early, amazingly). We were more than happy to let him get his things in order, and he took us into a conference room where he had a slide show of his work going, which I appreciated, a lot. He surprised me immensely by telling us that he had gone on Riverdale's website and looked at the grounds and reception hall... Is it just me?? Please someone else tell me that this would mean a lot to you... Well, moving on, he surprised me again by commenting on and complimenting my ring and Kyle's taste. He was more modest and humble, BUT he stuck in a lot more stories about himself, his experience, his background, his recent marriage, his proposal, etc... He's also in a band, which Kyle didn't mention on the way home but I think that resonates more with him because Kyle plays guitar and drums and used to be in bands. Ben also spent more time talking with us about lighting and timing for the best picture taking. He also obliged me when I asked to see some of his editorial stuff, which, as I just posted about, is some of my favorite stuff, and he explained the image processing. When I said the processing was what I really liked most about it, his face lit up, as if he'd been waiting for someone to tell him he could shoot an entire wedding just like that. He asked us more questions about our style and proposal and likes and dislikes. Lastly, again, maybe it's the scientist in me, but he took notes, which didn't resonate with me until we left, and I realized Shea didn't take notes... Now, I can understand a busy photographer like Shea may already know, in his head, what he's going to do with a couple without needing to take notes, so that's nothing against him if note-taking is not his style. However, Ben gave the impression that this was all about us and that he was going to give us his enthusiastic, undivided attention, and that made both of us feel really special.

Kyle remarked that Ben is fresher and greener and may be more enthusiastic just because he needs the work more, and that you can't knock Shea just because he's more comfortable and less 'needy' (just for lack of a better word). He also remarked that as much as I may be a girl, I cannot make this a decision about who I like most. This is a business deal. (can you picture Kyle standing over me looking cross pointing a finger?) I couldn't agree more, of course these are valid points, but I do feel that the enthusiasm counts for a lot when I want someone to be at least almost as excited as I am.

Oh speaking of, I forgot one really funny moment with Ben. He says, to me:
"Do you want getting ready shots?"
"Absolutely, it's one of the things I'm most looking forward to." I say. He says, to Kyle:
"Do you want getting ready shots? I mean," he turns to me, "Do you want getting ready shots of him?"
The man gets me.

So I'm supposed to make this decision, like, very soon, before either of them gets booked, and I need some objective help. Let me pinpoint what I want:
  • Rustic, muted, kind of grainy images
  • Abstract, candid, dreamy images
  • Spectacular quality images... should go without saying
  • To not go broke
Is that too much to ask?? Ideally, I would book Shea and ask Ben to be the second photographer (I don't think I could do it the other way around because I'm pretty sure the lesser experienced photographer does not get to ask the more experienced photographer to be his second), but that would cost me over $5000 which is half of my whole wedding budget!! Alternately, if we went with Shea, I would constantly be trying to cut corners to get the cheapest package from him, and I feel dirty doing that. I actually found myself thinking the other day "Do we really need that online gallery?? You probably have to rent that 3 month space, I bet that's good for a few hundred bucks off the package!" Really?!

Ultimately, what I want is to make this decision, have no regrets, and no spender's guilt. I want to know we're getting what we want and that we didn't spend money we really don't have to get it. BUT, we will spend whatever is necessary to get this one very pivotal piece of our wedding puzzle just right.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

ROMA!!!!!! finale!!

Sorry it took so long, but finally, here are the rest of the Rome pictures:
On Wednesday, we went to the Colosseum and the Ancient Roman Forum. This is the Arc di Constantin outside of the Colosseum. Obviously, you can see the Colosseum in the background.
We took lots and lots of pictures in the Colosseum, but I'm only posting our favorites! It was just as breathtaking as it should be! I just love how it's been preserved but you can still see the age and the marks of time.
Here's a great shot of the underground passageways and a little bit of a reconstruction of the stage the way it would be in ancient Rome! The underground passageways is where the gladiators would have waited to fight as well as the wild animals and prisoners.

A better shot of the underground passageways
Another great shot of the Colosseum
And another!
From the top level, one of my favorite pictures of the whole trip!
Or maybe it's this one! A great panorama shot of the Colosseum
And of course, here we are at the Colosseum. It was very sunny, so Kyle's hat gave me a funny shadow, but still... WE'RE AT THE COLOSSEUM!!!!

By this point, you might be thinking that that sweater I'm wearing is awfully familiar, well, I forgot a jacket, so I had to wear that sweater over my shirts all week... weather.com said it would be low 70s all week, but it was quite windy.
After some lunch right outside of the Colosseum, we wandered over to the Palatino or Palace inside the Ancient Roman Forum
Again, the Palace in the Ancient Roman Forum
This was where the gardens would have been outside the Palace
I have no idea what this is, but I love the symmetry and that design. We've now moved out of the palace area to the regular Forum.
I love this one for the preserved original roof tiles!
The outside wall of the Forum with the Circus Maximus in the distance. Ever seen Ben Hur? The race scene was shot in the Circus Maximus. It was thee place for games before Colosseum was built.
Emporer Augustus' house in the Forum. I believe it's been partially restored, seeing as how it's more constructed than anything else in the Forum.
A view of the Forum through the trees
Minus the shadows, a great sweeping view of the Forum from a nice high vantage point
Another spectacular overview. See the Colosseum way in the background??
Whoo hoo, without the shadow, this is another one of my favorite shots of the trip!
Here's another spectacularly preserved church inside the Forum.
Another of our secret finds. This mound of rocks is actually where Julius Caesar is buried!
I absolutely love the angle on this photo. This is the Temple of Saturn. I just love this photo, so I made it super big!
Another great shot of the Forum. And to think, Kyle was feeling like crap this day, his cold was just gaining ground.
One last shot of the Forum... one of our last views of the eternal city!
One more memory to leave you with: this is the national monument. The Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II. It also has one of those eternal flames that's guarded and is never supposed to go out. At this point though, we were tired, not feeling well in his case, and hungry, so we called an end to the siteseeing after this. I mean, I've only posted about 10% of the total pictures, so if it feels like you're left hanging, gimme a few days and I'll have all 500 pictures up on photobucket! We literally went everywhere and saw just about everything!

Now... Back to wedding stuff!!!