Monday, August 31, 2009

At the two month mark

Yep, the Knot (thanks, Macy's) and Wedding Wire kindly informed me that it was time to start freaking out last week. The timing was perfect, since I was already freaking out about starting my new job. That means I can multi-task my freaking out, get it out of my system now, and by October I should be the picture of serene calm. (Anyone who knows me will be snorting with laughter by now... but what is life without goals?).

Fortunately, Mr. Barefoot, prescient planner that he is, had just the antidote for the impending freakout: a weekend away. Just the two of us. No weddings to attend (that we haven't had an absolute blast with all our wonderful friends who have gotten married this summer), no wedding planning to do, no work, no stress... and no computers! Just us in the mountains. Back to the climbing and hiking that first brought us together. Dreamy.

Now that I'm back, I could take a look at the Knot's list, and start freaking out about what I've left undone. (Securing the officiant is one important piece that is still... in process.) But I keeping with the mellow, outdoorsy vibe of the weekend, and the ostensible purpose of this blog - to chronicle planning a wedding that steps lightly on the earth - I'm going to take a look at a list of 101 Ways to Create an Eco-Chic Wedding, via San Francisco Style Unveiled, and see how we're doing according to their list.

Feel free to play along at home, and/or add your own tips! I'd love to hear some that they haven't thought of.


1.Have your ceremony and reception at the same location. check

2.Keep the wedding cake simple. fail - as you may recall, our baker, Edith Meyer, specializes in rather elaborate cakes. However, they are organic - the reason we chose her - so I think we get a pass on this one.

3.Use the linens that your reception site provides. check

4.Wear a dress made of raw silk. fail - Wish I could afford one! I checked the tag on my dress the other day at the fitting, and, sadly, it is pure petrochemicals: polyester. In penance, I wrote a lengthy post about the reasons for using organic flowers.

5.Use a reply postcard, rather than a note card that needs an envelope. check - We did one better - we requested online responses to cut down on paper use.

6.Purchase a simple wedding gown that you would wear again. HA!!! (that's a fail.) Broken*saucer will score this point, with her blue gown.

7.Create a wedding website, rather than using mailer inserts with your invitation. check

8.Use the beautiful Northwest moss as a centerpiece in a lovely, shallow bowl. hmmm... not available here. Seems very location specific.

9.Donate your wedding dress to a charity when the wedding is over. that's the plan... Brides Against Breast Cancer.

10. Choose bridesmaids dresses that your friends will wear again. working on it. My BFF didn't really go for the first dress I chose at J Crew, or it's $170 price tag. We're going to hit Nordstrom rack in a couple weeks to see if we can find something re-wearable and less expensive.

11. Have the groomsmen wear a suit they can use again for work. yep, they'll wear dark suits they already own.

12. Blow bubbles rather than tossing rice; rice kills birds when they eat it. check. Rice and birdseed are not allowed at our venue. I'm not really sure I want my friends pelting me with tiny objects, anyway!

13. Rent real glasses and dishes, as opposed to using disposable plates. check - from the caterer.

14. Use a florist who uses flowers from local or organic farms. check - planning to visit Local Flora this week.

15. Have your guests reply on the website, rather than send in paper reply cards. check - are these a little repetitive???

16. Register for your gifts at local shops, so as to save on shipping materials and gas. fail. This one is tricky - with so many guests from out of town, I think it's a lot easier for them to choose gifts from online shops. AND, do we really want ALL those people driving around to shop? It may actually be more efficient to have the UPS guy deliver the gifts.

17. Use recycled gold for your eco wedding rings. check - Went to Brilliant Earth, which uses recycled gold, last week to pick out our bands! Yipppeeeee!!

18. Select a wedding venue close to your home. check

19. Create your own bouquets from wildflowers. hmmm... a moment ago, I was supposed to hire an organic florist...

20. Ride a tandem bike home from the reception. that would require purchasing a tandem bicycle to replace the perfectly good used bikes we already have. Not gonna happen, though it's a cute idea.

21. Use potted plants as centerpieces for a more organic wedding. maybe? Mr. Barefoot is the green thumb... I'm trying to convince him to pot a bunch of succulents, but given our busy schedules, I'm not sure it's gonna happen.

22. Use biodegradable, compostable dishes and flatware made from cornstarch, sugar cane, or tropical leaves. this is confusing... I thought I was supposed to use re-usable dishes...

23. In lieu of a favor, give the money to a charity for a greener world. considering this... we also listed a couple of our favorite causes, including Equality California, on our registry page, in case our guests would like to make a donation to one of these organizations in lieu of a physical gift.

24. Use a green wedding registry. Does REI count??... maybe Gaiam or Earthsake?

25. Use cloth napkins, rather than paper. check, via the caterer.


phew... this is a lengthy list! Out of 25 suggestions, we're applying 14 of them to our wedding. Given that a couple were redundant or contradictory, that seems pretty good to me.

Check back soon to see how I fared with the next 25.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Scenes from a cowgirl wedding

The farm gate, with flowers and a bit of tulle to indicate the festivities to come...

Look at those dark, dark cloud obscuring the Grand Teton. Fortunately, they cleared in time for an outdoor ceremony. A snap decision was reached at 4:00, and chairs were set up, overlooking the river in front of Dr. Cowgirl's parent's house.

Dr. Cowgirl and her husband. Dontcha love a wedding with an Airstream, where even the groom wears boots?

The escort cards reflected the local flora, and the couple's love of native plants. (Bay Area friends were all seated at the California poppy table.)

Inspiration for the escort cards...

But it was the little nieces, four-wheeling in the pink Jeep, who stole the show!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

To the post office...

After months of work with the creative wizards at Printable Press and Mercurio Brothers, our invitations finally went in the mail on Tuesday -- just a day shy of two months prior to the wedding.

It turns out that, in addition to his many other talents, Mr. Barefoot is something of a calligraphy prodigy. That is, he picked up my calligraphy pen, screwed around for awhile, and ended up addressing all the envelopes in better style than I could ever muster! I had to address a few stragglers, for whom I was lacking addresses on Sunday, and was not able to match his artistic flair. I love uncovering these hidden talents! (He also makes a mean eggplant Parmesan - never my favorite dish, but much more inviting in his rendition.)

After visiting three different post offices to get enough King and Queen of Heart stamps for our invitations -- which coordinated nicely with the sage green envelopes from Paper Source (with 30% post-consumer waste, yay!) --
into the mailbox they went.

And our first RSVP was today! This thing is becoming real. People are going to show up ready to party!

I remember the invitations I got to weddings right after college: an outer envelope, an inner envelope, tissue, vellum, response cards, reception cards, map cards... paper everywhere. We wanted our invitation to be much simpler, while still beautiful and conveying the necessary information.

So, two pieces of paper: the invitation and the map card. That's it. The double-sided map and direction card (to help people find our obscure location), also directs guests to our wedding website, where they can indicate their response for all the wedding weekend activities. The web responses should also be easier to track.

I love the way Kimi, of Printable Press, coordinated both sides of the map card with our invitation, which was based on this.
And yet feels completely our own, in shades of brown and green. (Can you see those lovely deep imprints from the letterpress?)

Both Printable Press and Mercurio Brothers were great to work with. They were patient through several rounds of revisions, were responsive throughout the process and completed everything in a timely manner (or even earlier than promised.)

Letterpress at Mercurio Brothers is half or less the cost of other places - an added bonus was being able to easily drop by on my way to and from campus to check proofs in person. However, all ordering is done via the web, so even if you don't live down the street from Mercurio Brothers, it's worth checking out.

Friday, August 21, 2009

My first (and only?) dress fitting

More than two months ago, the bridal salon phoned to say that my dress had come in. They encouraged me to make an appointment for a fitting right away. I procrastinated for a while, and then admitted that the reason I didn't want to try on the dress was that I was worried it wouldn't fit!

Because I was between sizes, the bridal consultant had encouraged me to go with the smaller size, which would require fewer alterations, assuming that I lost "five to eight pounds." With long, looooong desk-bound workdays for my huge deadline, I was stressed out, snacking unhealthily, and getting no exercise.... not conducive to losing weight.

There's nothing like a deadline to bring priorities into focus, and while I postponed the fitting to finish the dissertation, I tried to get my eating habits and exercise routine back on track, with all the great comments from here.

The result: the dress fits as though it was made for me! Perfectly! And looks amazing with my Jimmy Choos! Woo-hoo!!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hug O'War

This is where we were in Idaho, on the west side of the Tetons, for Dr. Cowgirl's wedding, in front of her parents' house. After two days of violent thundershowers, the skies had magically cleared, just in time for the half-past five ceremony.

We sat admiring the view of the Snake River winding through the property, and the wildflowers, golden in the evening's glow.

Then, a little girl, Dr. Cowgirl's niece, dressed in white, read this poem, flowing like the river.

Tug O'War vs. Hug O'War

I will not play at tug o' war.

I'd rather play at hug o' war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs,

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses,

And everyone grins,

And everyone cuddles,

And everyone wins.

by Shel Silverstein
Where the Sidewalk Ends


And she danced the night away...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Doctor is In

After nine long years of grad school (five in my current program; three on the east coast; one doing fieldwork), I am Phinally Done, having the requirements for a doctorate in my field by submitting my dissertation (all 429 pages of it, chock full o' fifty-cent words like soteriological, neoliberal, and epistemology!) last Friday.

So, after years of work at this august institution, what do you get?
(Besides a diploma, I mean, which won't be available until next spring...)

Just like going to the dentist, you get a lollipop!

I was dancing on air when I left the graduate degrees office, clutching the most expensive and coveted lollipop in history last Friday!

Mr. Barefoot and I spent the rest of the day enjoying our sunny back deck with friends I hadn't seen in months, since I'd been buried up to my neck in books.

We had cake from the spectacular La Farine...

and bubbly,
and plenty of G&Ts...

and a surprise viewing of the ringbearer outfit
for a nephew in Doc Water and Doc Bee's wedding...
How cute is that???

But, wait, it gets better...
Yes, it definitely needed a chapeau!
I believe that adorable yumminess is from here.

And that, dear and patient readers (thanks to those of you who stuck around!), is why this blog has been short on wedding planning goodness in recent weeks.

But fear not!

With Doc Water and Doc Bee's wedding just around the corner, Dr. Cowgirl's wedding to recap, a post about handmade wedding rings, and news about the dress, the invites, the flowers, and the DJ conundrum, and more to share, I'll get back in touch with my Inner Bride, and have my Wed Head back in no time.

Plus, Shoegate continues... I didn't fall for the sexy Chie Miharas, but neither did I find that ideal hip, funky, professional shoe.

And tomorrow is New Faculty Orientation.

Will I be Barefoot?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When grad students go on vacation...

... it just means taking your laptop and (not) working somewhere else.

Turns out riding shotgun on an arrow-straight Western highway can be just as productive as sitting in a office.

Like this.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Shout out to Mrs. and Mr. Un-bride!

If I read the signs right, this is the Un-bride's wedding weekend, so I'm taking a moment to wish her and Mr. UB all the best for a glorious, joyful, perfectly-imperfect celebration at the Palace of Fine Arts! It's a gorgeously sunny, clear weekend in Berkeley, so I imagine they are enjoying spectacular weather across the Bay.

The Un-bride's wedding blog was one of the first ones I read, and I was delighted to find that I wasn't the only one who hadn't been dreaming of my wedding since I was eight, and didn't have a huge bankroll for a blowout party. I felt like I'd found a kindred spirit when I read that the Un-bride had "never cared about (or for) weddings" and was "also broke," and yet was still having fun planning her wedding. She's shared a ton of awesome DIY projects, beautiful boots, and the inevitable ups and downs of wedding planning, all with an impeccable sense of humor (see waiters dressed as octopi).

I wish you two many, many wondrous years ahead! Thanks for letting us share the journey!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

They said there would be obstacles...

Of course. Murphy's Law, and all that. My friend Dr. Cowgirl had to re-print her invitations, and almost - but didn't - canceled her outdoor ceremony. And her dress arrived late, and had to be re-altered. The band double-booked, but miraculously showed up at the wedding. Data Monkey's flower order got canceled. And nonetheless, their weddings were utterly perfect! So I should just start bracing myself for a few disappointments...

After our painstaking, interminable search for a DJ we liked, we have learned that he inadvertently double-booked! argh. How could this be?

We learn this the day before my dissertation is due. No time to think about Plan B right now, or even to be stressed, beyond venting a bit here.

On the upside, he is offering to set us up with another DJ for free (my favorite price, again!). Is the replacement as good??? Stay tuned...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Wedding trend: camping out

Is it just me and my low-impact, recycling-happy, granola-eating, mate-sipping friends, or is camping out for a wedding the new trend?

I've just returned from the third of five weddings this season (the final one being OURS!). We were encouraged to camp at two of the weddings, easily could've camped for the third and fourth, and are offering camping as an option for the fifth (ours).

I love getting outdoors, and camping and hiking have always been some of my preferred forms of recreation.... but I also think there's something slightly incongruous about camping out at a wedding.

On the plus side, camping is cheap and social and convenient. The most expensive campsite is a third or less the cost of a hotel room - an ever important consideration for a bunch of impoverished grad students. And this past weekend, the camping was free on Dr. Cowgirl's parents' land (no price is better than that!). With four weddings to travel to this summer, along with our own to plan, it would have been tough financially if we had not had low-cost accommodations options for some of them.

Camping is social: it's been great to hang out with the others in attendance without running from hotel to hotel. Sitting around late night campfires, drinking beer or roasting marshmallows, are some of my favorite memories ever. I think we're all trying to recreate those memories within our wedding weekends.

Camping on site is also safer and more convenient: since no driving is needed, everyone can party down without worrying about a designated driver. When the party's over - or when you've had enough - you just wander off to your tent and fall asleep. No need to wait until your partner or date is done partying, if they have more staying power than you do. This is a great option for parents: one parent can put the kid(s) to bed, while the other can easily drop in to check on them, or trade-off watching them.

This past weekend in the Tetons revealed one of the drawbacks of camping: you're at the mercy of the weather. Which was freezing! With torrential rain, wind, and pea-sized hail! While we knew it would be cold at night, no one expected the day time temperatures to get stuck in the mid-50s. We'd all brought cute little sundresses and pashminas, which sadly ended up buried under layers of fleece and down.

Which brings me to the other challenge of camping out at a wedding: getting ready. It's tricky to get dolled up in a tent. Mr. Barefoot wisely insisted on getting a hotel room for the night before the wedding, so that we could at least shower before the festivities. To escape the freezing, rainy weather, a couple of our friends ended up bunking with us, and we all elected to get a hotel room for the night of the wedding, rather than camp out in the cold. Had the weather been more cooperative, we would have been thrilled to wake up with the sun and a view of the river, but as it was, we were happy to have a roof over our heads.

The weddings I attended five or ten years ago were all about getting fancy in the city - elegant hotel rooms, cocktails at the bar, receptions in fancy ballrooms or country clubs. I like this new trend of more casual, rustic, low impact events -- and I definitely appreciate the inexpensive accommodations... all I need is the backcountry makeup mirror, and a battery-powered hairdryer.

Having you camped out at a wedding? What are your thoughts, pro or con?

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rockin' the Rockies

Remember Dr. Cowgirl?

In one of my very early posts, I asked for thoughts on her dress - she couldn't decide between a super simple one and a beaded one. (She got the beaded one and looks SMASHING! I wish I could show you... she modeled it at her bachelorette party, looking ridiculously gorgeous. I don't wanna blow her grand entrance.)

Here's another silly thing we made her do... she's kissing a banana slug. (More about banana slugs here - do you know what happens if you lick one?)

Now she's getting married, in just six days! She's been my wedding planning buddy all along -- we've been through decisions about invitations, table decor, dresses, vases, flowers, makeup, all of it. All while trying to keep social and environmental impacts in mind. It's been great to have a friend walking this path at the same time - I can't wait to hear what it's like on the other side!

Can't wait to party in the Rockies! My friend do pick the coolest wedding spots!