About my Wedding Ring!

by Melissa on May 1, 2012

**Disclosure: I started writing this post back in September 2011, right after my wedding ring arrived, but just never got around to finishing it and posting it!

I started looking at wedding rings in June 2011 (plenty of time for our November 2011 wedding), and it took me nearly three months to decide on what I wanted.  I knew that I didn’t want to spend more than $400, but beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I wanted.

I wasn’t entirely sure what I was looking for, but after trying a few on, I had identified my criteria more clearly:

1) I wanted a band that was as close to identical in height and width as the band part of my engagement ring.  For instance, I felt that wedding bands that were wider than the band part of my engagement ring looked really off balance and distracted attention away from my engagement ring.

2) I also didn’t like wedding bands that were significantly “shorter” than the band part of my engagement ring. Again, I can’t describe it, but it just looked very strange.

But, when I would find a wedding band that was as high as my existing ring, it wouldn’t fit flush up against my engagement ring.  Because the prongs stick out, it would be impossible to fit something of the same height directly next to it.

Hmmm, dilemma.

Also, although I really liked the look of diamond bands, they were (obviously) more expensive than just plain bands.

Well, one day on one of the wedding blogs, I can’t remember which, I found some beautiful rose gold bands! I was set.  I thought that a plain rose gold band would be a beautiful contrast to my existing engagement ring but not be too distracting. So, I set out to a custom jewelry place here in Northern Virginia that gets excellent reviews. They told me that they would be able to custom make me a band precisely to my specifications (identical height and width of my engagement ring) by “cheating” a bit and making the wedding band not precisely round. This way it would fit up against my engagement ring and not be affected by the engagement ring prongs.  It would range from $350-450 and I would have to leave my engagement ring with them for a few days so that they could make a mold.

Well, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that $350-$450 for just a plain band is a LOT of money, even if it is custom. So, I had a quick conversation with my fiancé. He suggested that I try Natural Sapphire Company, where he bought my engagement ring, to see if they could custom make something cheaper.  Well, they quoted me the same price as the local jeweler for a plain band.  For a diamond band that would match my engagement ring precisely, it would be $750.

Although I liked the look of diamond bands I had tried on, that was well over my budget.

I was really struggling with what to do.  I love love LOVE my engagement ring. So I suggested that my engagement ring double as my wedding band.  But my fiancé didn’t like that idea.  He wanted them to be two separate rings.  Then he said,  “You know, you rarely wear jewelry” (except for my engagement ring now of course). “$750 is not a lot of money for a piece of jewelry that you will wear every day for the rest of your life, especially if it’s exactly what you want. It will custom match your existing engagement ring”

Easy to say for a guy who paid $14.99 for his wedding band!

So, I took his advice and contacted his original salesperson at Natural Sapphire Company.  She was really helpful and sent me a wax model of the band. To be honest, it was kind of difficult to tell from the wax model how the ring would look and fit, but, trusting my gut, I decided to place the order for diamond band.  Seven Hundred and Fifty Dollars.  Le sigh.

But, zero regrets here! I love the way that it matches my sapphire engagement ring and doesn’t detract from it one bit. It’s gorgeous!


My wedding ring, the day it was delivered via FedEx!


What about you all? Did you spend more than you anticipated on your wedding rings?


How I finally got my wedding dresses!

by Melissa on April 21, 2012

Along with stories that I never told during the wedding planning process as they happened, like our wedding venue hunt, and the story of our engagement and my engagement ring, I never elaborated on how I finally found my wedding dresses.

I told you about the evolution of my wedding dress hunt, and then how my wedding dress got lost about seven weeks before the wedding. But how did I recover from the lost wedding dress?

Well, once I realized that Saja was being really elusive about where my wedding dress was and when I could expect it, I, rightly so, started to worry.

My second choice wedding dress all along had been the JCrew Cecilia, which I had tried on at the Georgetown boutique. So, I was ready to buy that dress as a backup. But first, I went on Ebay to see if anyone was selling any JCrew Cecilia’s. Lo and behold they were! A size 16, brand new with tags, and for $225 instead of JCrew’s price of $495!

I used one of Ebay’s tools called “Make an offer” (I had never seen this before … different than bidding), and offered the seller $175 for the dress, and assumed we would settle in the middle at $200. Well, they accepted the $175 offer! My JCrew wedding dress shipped the next day.

But, one of the things I really loved about my original Saja wedding dress was the short length and the chiffon flowy-ness of it. After a quick search, I found this dress on At $139.99, I was all like, well, what the hell … and ordered it.

Both dresses arrived four days later on the same day. I tried on both and loved them both! I would wear the JCrew one at the ceremony and the Macys one for the reception (although I ended up only changing into it right before the first dance). I walked downstairs while wearing the JCrew dress and showed Ken. He was impressed too. So I was sold!

I was officially over my lost Saja dress. Of course, they wouldn’t refund my deposit because “all sales are final,” but they couldn’t even tell me when my dress would be arriving. Since they were already nearly a month late on delivery at that point, I filed a dispute with my credit card company. It took a few months, but the credit card company ultimately sided with me and provided a full refund of my dress deposit. 

As I look at my wedding photos, I cannot possibly imagine having worn any other dress that day. They were both just so perfect. Simple and casual, but elegant for our fun campground wedding.

Sometimes accidents, like lost wedding dresses, are really blessings in disguise!


About my Engagement Ring

by Melissa on April 2, 2012

Two weeks ago, I shared with you our engagement story. I’ve gotten a few e-mails about my ring, including why I wanted a sapphire ring.


Well, it’s pretty simple. I wanted something DIFFERENT.

When Ken and I first started to discuss the idea of getting married (around August 2010), we, of course, discussed engagement ring ideas. I provided him some pictures of what I liked, price ranges, but told him that I didn’t want to pick out the exact ring myself. I wanted the end product to be a surprise.

My primary request was a single sapphire stone, with perhaps a diamond band. There were a few reasons I wanted a sapphire. I like the fact that sapphires are rarer and more valuable than diamonds (but less expensive because demand is lower for sapphires). Diamond prices are kept artificially high because supply is restricted by monopolies. Second, I just thought that diamonds were kind of boring. I wanted to have something that really popped! And now, 18 months since we got engaged, I still stare at my ring in admiration. I love everything about it. 

Shopping for a Sapphire Engagement Ring

We headed off to some jewelry stores so I could try on some options and narrow down my design preferences a bit more, like whether I liked round stones, princess cut, etc.

We were not met with open arms.

Jewelry stores make big bucks selling diamonds. Instead of sticking with selling us what we actually wanted, the stores insisted on trying to sell us what we didn’t want. 

The conversations went something like this:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings
Salesman: Well, if it’s price you’re concerned about, you’ll be able to purchase a very lovely diamond with your budget.
Melissa: No, it’s not the price we’re concerned about. I just don’t want a diamond engagement ring.  Just a sapphire stone.

Or along these lines:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings.
Salesman: Okay, but just to warn you, although sapphires are also very hard stones, diamonds are more than 100 times harder than a sapphire.
Melissa: Dude, I don’t need my engagement ring to cut glass.  I want something I think looks nice.

Or our personal favorite:

Us: We would like to look at sapphire engagement rings.
Salesman: Oh, well, we don’t have any sapphires to show you.
Saleslady who overheard salesman: Well, we could take some of our diamond stones and color them with a blue magic marker!
Us: *blank stare*
Saleslady: Oh, we’ve done it before!
The saleslady then proceeds to take a large, loose diamond out of the jewelry case, then takes a fat blue crayola marker, yes, just like what you used in elementary school, and coats the diamond in blue marker.  Then she carefully placed the now colored stone in a setting that I liked to see the combination together.  After she was done showing the stone, she simply dropped the diamond in a cup of rubbing alcohol and all the magic marker color was removed.

Although we appreciated the saleslady’s help with the magic marker, it was evident that traditional jewelry stores are not geared toward selling colored gemstones. 

Ken coined the joke, “HE WENT TO JARED! And then he left.”

Although I really wonder if their tune has changed now that sapphires might be more popular because of Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring.

Ken Buys the Ring

After Ken proposed to me in France, he proceeded to tell me how he finally managed to buy a sapphire ring for me!

Ken ventured onto the Natural Sapphire Company’s website.  Ken selected a few loose stones that he wanted to see, and the company shipped the loose stones to him for his review.  After deciding on the stone he wanted, he had to ship back the stones, according to the store’s strict shipping instructions (do not list the contents or value on the shipping slip!), and placed an order for the sapphire stone and setting.

Ken asked the Natural Sapphire Company to inform him when the item shipped, so that he would be sure to get home before me that day.

** Side story.  It’s related, I promise. **  We had discovered they had some sort of huge bugs in our attic during the summer of 2010.  Not just bugs, actually.  Cicada killer wasps.  Ken made a quick call to the exterminator, who said they would come the next day at some point between 8AM and 10AM.  So, I decided that I would go into work late that morning so I could be there for the exterminator.  **End side story.**

A few hours after making the appointment with the exterminator, Ken got an e-mail saying that the ring would be delivered the next day by 10:00AM.  Scheduled right at the time that I would be home waiting for the exterminator.  Any other time I’d be at work.  Not wanting to act suspicious and tell me not to stay home for the exterminator since they had just discussed it a few hours earlier, Ken just kept his fingers crossed.

The next morning, according to Ken, I was at home waiting for the exterminator.  As with any home service company, they called to say they were running late and probably wouldn’t get there until after 10AM.  Not wanting to wait at home any longer, I called Ken and said that I was going to leave for work since the exterminators said they could do all the work from outside. 

That same day, our home cleaning service was also scheduled to come.  We have security cameras in our house and we get e-mail alerts any time doors in our house are opened. Shortly after I left, Ken knew that the cleaning lady had arrived thanks to the e-mail alert, and also knew that FedEx should be coming by any minute to drop off the package. 

Ken was keeping a close eye on the security camera feeds.  Then finally, he saw the cleaning lady walk over to the front door, open the door, sign for a package from FedEx, and put the package on the bench in their foyer.  In fact, Ken and all his coworkers watched the events unfold on the security cameras.  Ken breathed a huge sign of relief and made sure he got home before me that afternoon, and hid the package!

Love my Ring!

When Ken proposed, I was BLOWN AWAY by how beautiful the ring was. And I still am! I still don’t know anybody else (personally) that has a non-diamond engagement ring, so I’m actually kind of happy that the Kate Middleton trend never caught on!

How about you all? Any funny stories about your fiancé buying your ring?



Saja: Beautiful Dresses, Ugly Service

by Melissa on September 20, 2011

For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you know that my Saja wedding dress is late. It was supposed to be in stock by “late August.” It has still not arrived. Although I loved the Saja dress that I ordered, which I first talked about all the way back in March, I knew that it was time to start exploring other options.

If I had not ordered the Saja dress, my second choice would have been the JCrew Cecilia, which I tried on at the JCrew store in Georgetown back in June. Knowing that that dress is regularly in stock, I decided to cancel my Saja order.

Well, long story, which is chronicled in the e-mails below, but Saja is refusing to refund my 50% deposit ($297.50), because they say that “All sales are final.”  Funny. I haven’t actually ben SOLD anything! I’ve filed a dispute with my credit card company for merchandise/services not rendered by agreed-upon date. I had to file a credit card dispute about two years ago after a house cleaning service overcharged us, and it was a very simple process. I’m hoping that this experience will be similar.

To summarize my experience:

  • I placed the order for my wedding dress on July 14, 2011, after e-mailing back and forth with the store manager, who said that the dress would be back in stock in my size by “late August.”
  • Late August comes and goes. I e-mail the store manager on September 6 asking about my dress. She said she’s expecting it “any day now.”
  • On September 15, nine days after being told my dress would be in “any day now,” I decide to cut my losses and cancel the dress
  • That evening, the store manager e-mails me, telling me “don’t panic,” and that I will definitely have the dress by the BEGINNING OF OCTOBER! She also tells me that my deposit is non-refundable since all sales are final.

We have several e-mail exchanges back and forth, including the fact that the contract I signed says that dresses may take up to 18 weeks to be delivered. Upon which I tell her that that therefore makes the contract unenforceable (you know, based on my vast legal knowledge from watching The People’s Court and Law and Order) since she knew that 18 weeks would be well past my wedding date. And anyway, I have so much conflicting correspondence from them, including the e-mail that says late August, my receipt that says the pickup date is September 10, another receipt that says delivery takes 8 weeks, and all the subsequent e-mail correspondence with them over the last few days (which the store manager has claimed would be Late august, then “any day now,” then “early October,” then “18 weeks,” and the most recent claim was “late September.”

They have no idea when that dress is coming in.

In the meantime, I’ve ordered the JCrew Cecilia from Ebay and another white dress from Macy’s. I’m just waiting to hear back from my credit card company about the dispute.

late august blurred

any day now blurred


early october blurred

18 weeks blurred

After posting to Saja’s facebook page and complaining about them on Twitter, the store manager tells me that my use of public forums is “ill-advised.”

ill advised blurred

And I should mention that the promptly deleted my complaint from their facebook page. I’m no social media expert, but something tells me that there are better ways to handle a dissatisfied customer who takes their complaints to social media.

facebook post blurred


So, there you have it. One thing that really aggravated me is how she told me “don’t panic” and that weddings are “stressful” and “emotional.” At no time was I panicked, stressed, or emotional. I decided that they were no longer worthy of my trust and that that I should explore other options.

The fact that wedding vendors treat all brides as like fragile, emotional basketcases drives me absolutely batshit crazy. More crazy than the actual planning of our wedding ever has.

Any other brides out there had to deal with a late and/or non-existent wedding dress?

Update November 20, 2011. My credit card company sided with me on the dispute! My deposit was refunded.

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Is Our Love only Worth $14.99?

by Melissa on September 6, 2011

About a month ago, my fiancé and I went shopping for his wedding band.  After a few visits to some jewelry stores, he had it narrowed down to a comfort-style Tungsten band.*

The rings ranged anywhere from $200-$350, which was well within our budget for his wedding band.  But, because we’re compulsive and not impulsive, we didn’t buy anything and we went home to research tungsten.

As it turns out, tungsten is one of the cheapest metals on earth.  In fact, when you pay for Tungsten jewelry, in essence all you’re paying for is the labor required to make the jewelry.  But, what’s really cool about it is that it is heavy.  So, it’s not cheap feeling at all.  There are a few downsides, like it can’t be resized.

With our new knowledge in hand, my fiancé did some comparison shopping.  What he found was a Tungsten ring that looked identical to one of the bands he had tried on at one of the jewelry stores.  The only difference?  It wasn’t $300.  It was $14.99.

So, my fiancé ordered two different sizes (Every jewelry store we went to sized him as something different).  We ordered it from Amazon, which has an excellent return policy, so that we could make sure it was good quality.  When the ring arrived, we were really wowed.


We decided to gather opinions about this ring.  So, my fiancé brought the ring with him to work.  He then proceeded to ask the very classy question, “How much do you think we paid for that?  No seriously, you won’t offend me, just guess!”  An woman he works with who is very into expensive jewelry guessed at least $400.

When we asked our wedding coordinator / neighbor, who describes herself as a “Tiffany Girl” said she thought it cost at least $800.

Revealing the price, it sets off a shitstorm of opinions.  These opinions range from “Wow, I would’ve never guessed!  That’s a great ring for that price!”  to “I just couldn’t buy a wedding band that is $14.99.  It feels like you don’t value your relationship.”

When I told my grandmother, I think she may have assumed that we were so poor that that’s all we could afford, and then proceeded to offer him my deceased grandfather’s wedding band.

Opinions have definitely leaned towards the “But it’s a wedding band.  You HAVE to pay more than $14.99 for a wedding ring!”

Well, we disagree.  In fact, my fiancé is keeping both the sizes he ordered, so that if he ever, ahem, outgrows the smaller one, he can just use the bigger one.

So, what do you think, lovely readers?  Do you think we don’t value our marriage because we’re only paying $14.99 for a wedding ring?  Should we pay $300 for the same ring just to demonstrate that it “means more” to us?


* By the way, if you have never tried a comfort band, they really are incredible.  It’s hard to describe it, but his ring really is incredibly comfortable.


Crazy Week Randomness

by Melissa on August 12, 2011

Wowza, this has been a crazy week.  Work has been stretching well into my evening hours, not leaving much time to schedule posts!  But alas, here’s some random wedding-related thoughts for ya.

  • We went shopping for wedding bands for my fiance two weeks ago.  He really likes the tungsten-style rings and he saw two (one at two different stores) that he really liked.  They were in the $250-$300 range, which seemed really reasonable, but  we wanted to do some price comparisons, so we didn’t buy any right away.  Well, he came home and did some research and found that tungsten is one of the cheapest metals around. There is no way that a tungsten ring should be that much money.  The metal is so cheap, all you’re really paying for is someone to make it. A few quick searches, and he found a nearly identical tungsten wedding band on for $14.99.  Seriously, $14.99.  So, he ordered one to try the size, and holy shit! It’s a phenomenal looking and expensive feeling ring! He took it to work to show it to his coworkers and pulled the ever-classy “how much do you think this was?”  People almost always said in the $300-$400 range.  And, a neighbor of ours, who describes herself as a “Tiffany Jewelry Girl” said she thought the ring was around $500.  They’re all floored when we tell them that it’s $14.99.  Now, one of Ken’s coworkers said that he wouldn’t feel comfortable buying something so cheap to symbolize a marriage.  But, that kind of reasoning reminds me of the early days of wedding planning when we decided to serve picnic-style food at our wedding, and some jerkface wrote in a wedding forum “I don’t think that hot dogs and hamburgers can communicate that you’re not taking your nuptials seriously.”  And what, foodie food does represent that?  And a $500 ring will represent it better than a $14.99 ring?

  • I have my hair and makeup trial scheduled for Sunday.  I’m excited, but I’m really at a loss for how to do my hair! I definitely want it down in some way, but I’m being very indecisive.

  • Speaking of hair and makeup, some places charge more for hair or makeup (alone!) than I paid for my wedding dress! Luckily I found a non-wedding wire makeup artist online.  I hope she works out.  Her prices are so much more reasonable.

  • I have determined that EBay sellers and Craigslist sellers dramatically inflate their prices for some things.  For instance, clear glass bud-vases range anywhere from $1.35-$4.00 each on Ebay (when buying in a lot of vases). The most I spent on a bud vase this weekend during some thrift store runs was 75 cents!

  • My family is having a shower for me at the end of August in Pittsburgh.  I’m not really the type of person that does well like having to be “on” for such a long period of time.  For instance, sitting in front of a big group of people while they all watch my reaction as I open gifts.  And my family is troubling themselves so much with details about this wedding.  Asking me how I want the cake decorated when we’re not even going to have a decorated wedding cake! Or asking me about what colored napkins I want when we’re just going to have plain white paper napkins at the wedding.  The simpler, the better!  Also, just out of curiosity, how many wedding showers have you been to that men have been invited?

  • I ordered 30 tablecloths for the tables at the wedding.  Much cheaper than renting them!  I got a shipping notification for them the other day.  51 pounds of tablecloths headed my way!  That is a lot of freakin tablecloths!

Whew.  Okay, I guess that’s about it for now.


Flower Girl and Ring Bearer Attire

by Melissa on July 11, 2011

A few months ago, I discussed the reasoning behind our decision not to have bridesmaids.  Months later, I still think that has been one of our best decisions.  But, we are having a ring bearer (my nephew) and a flower girl (my fiancé’s niece), and I’m not sure why, but I am completely baffled about what they should wear.

Here’s some background

1) We’re having a casual campground wedding.  My dress will be a fun, but shorter flowy chiffon dress, and we have told our guests that the wedding will be casual attire.  They will be sitting on picnic tables afterall.

2) My nephew will be 5 1/2 and my fiancé’s niece will be almost 3 at the time of the wedding.  I have no idea what my nephew should wear.  He’s beyond that phase where he would look so adorably cute in a little suit, and he’s also freakishly tall for his age, so I don’t want to make him wear something that will make him look like a toddler instead of a big boy.  And, since our wedding will be more on the casual, rustic side, I want him to be dressed in a more casual manner.

3) I want everyone to wear little pops of blue as they walk down the aisle.

So, after careful, and probably way too much, consideration, here’s what I’ve come up with.

Ring Bearer

  • Brown dress pants or Brown Corduroy Pants
  • White button down shirt
  • Blue Converse Shoes
  • A skinny tie, perhaps made out of one of the following types of fabric, checkered or polka dot


Flower Girl

  • A tutu.  I’m undecided on whether to do a multicolored one or a solid color one.  I like this solid color one, and multi-colored ones like this (but using a slightly different autumn-type color scheme)
  • A long sleeve cardigan sweater
  • Striped tights in blue (similar to these).  Or blue and white polka dot tights.  Or, if I’m not that brave, just plain blue tights.  The striped tights was inspired by this look.  So cute!
  • A cute headband
  • Undecided on shoes.  Maybe some cute saddle shoes or t-strap shoes

What about you?  How did you dress your ring bearer and flower girl, or how are you planning to dress them?


Saturday Randomness

by Melissa on May 14, 2011

A few thoughts, none of which warrant an entire blog post, but just feel like sharing:

  • Two weeks ago, I went to the Filene’s Basement Running of the Brides in Washington, DC.  I went at 6pm.  There were still a ton of wedding dresses left on the racks.  A TON.  Glad I didn’t wake up with the crazies and hoard dresses.  Only a few caught my eye.  I tried on five.  I can, without a doubt, say that I do not like any sort of bridal-looking wedding dress.

Filene's Basement Running of the Brides 1 in DC

Photo 1


  • On the upside, a week before the Running of the Brides, I tried on some dresses from a designer that had caught my eye on the internet.  Her designs are only carried by one shop in the DC area.  I tried on several from the same designer, Saja.  The one I thought I would love, I still liked a lot, but I definitely liked a different one better.  The issue?  The one I liked better is $400 more than the other one.  Not sure if it’s worth it.  Now I just need my parents and sister to come visit for a day so I can take them to see the dresses. Which one do you like better?  (Images from




  • I am working on the ultimate Wedding Playlist.  The most pressing problem is that it’s a bit heavy on fun, faster music, and a bit light on slower dance music.  I can’t help it!  I like fun, upbeat music!


  • I think we’re going to continue with our dance lessons.  We’re having a lot of fun, it gives us an excuse to get out of the house, since we always seem to be working on projects at home, and we’re both learning something together from scratch.  I am so proud of my fiance and how well he is learning how to foxtrot and waltz!  But neither of us like the Club Swing or Single Swing.  It’s just a very awkward feeling dance.


  • We still haven’t had our November 2011 wedding date confirmed yet by our venue.  The application period closed on May 1, so we should hear something any day now (it’s a National Park site, so the application process is kinda complicated).  If we don’t hear something by Monday, I’ll call.  I’m doing a good job of not obsessing about it, I’m just worried that the vendors we like will get booked before we hear back from the venue.


  • We had our engagement photos taken.  Well, they were actually taken in two parts.  We were supposed to meet our photographer at our picture location at 3pm last Friday.  The location closed at 5pm, so we would be able to get in our full two hours that the price included  (the photographer preferred to meet as late as possible to get the best light).  Well, the photographer was 30 minutes late.  Our session was rushed, she hadn’t scoped it out for the best picture locations (my fiance and I had been there before, but how are we supposed to know the best places for portraits?) and so we were running around like crazy.  So, I asked, and she agreed to do a second shoot at a different location just a few days later.  Even though she was only late by 30 minutes, the extra shoot went an hour.  I’m happy she was so accommodating, but, seriously, she was 30 minutes late!  We sat in the same traffic she did, and we were still there on time because we know how traffic is in this city and how long it takes to get places.  She assured us she wouldn’t be late for the wedding day.  She was super nice, but I just can’t seem to shrug the initial disappointment.  She’s a professional (read: expensive, and this is her full-time job, since photography is our top priority), so I’m hoping it was just a fluke.  I guess we’ll wait to see how the pictures turn out.


  • I’m a cheapskate, and hate how much it costs to get a haircut.  So, for years, I’ve been trimming my own hair and have never had a disaster.  Well, three days before our engagement photo session, I trimmed my bangs, just like I had done a hundred times before.  Well, I managed to cut off WAY too much. And rather than making it even, I decided to just leave it alone so that I wouldn’t end up with all short bangs (the shortest part was in the middle).  I have a fear of extremely short bangs after an unfortunate haircut in middle school that made me look like a little boy with a bowl cut.  So I figured, uneven was better than too short. For the next three days, I tugged on my bangs, massaged my scalp, and ingested many vitamins in an attempt to get my hair to grow back.  (not that I actually expected that to work).  Well, the day of the photos I think I managed to conceal it well and just kept rubbing down my bangs in between photos in an attempt to make them look longer.  This is an important lesson learned for my hair trim before the wedding!


  • We started our registry on  The Gear for Your Kitchen book has been invaluable.  So many useful tips and tools that I would have never thought of.  Now that I’ve cleared some of the usual registry items, I’m trying to think of other things to register for.


  • We bought 10 digital cameras to put on tables at the wedding.  Yes.  Ten.  They were refurbished Kodak point-and-shoots for $49 each from an Ebay seller.  We figure we can sell them after the wedding.  Now we just need some SD cards for them, and we’re all set!  I think this is actually a very reasonable price.  Disposable cameras used to be in the $10 each range, but then of course getting all those photos developed was very expensive.  I think this will come out to be about the same price.


Happy Saturday!


    The Evolution of my Wedding Dress Hunt

    by Melissa on March 14, 2011

    Although I’ve mentioned it in a few weekly roundups, I haven’t written a post yet about wedding dresses.  That’s because I have never been all that excited about wedding dresses, and my efforts to find pictures of dresses that I find at least somewhat appealing have failed me.

    Seriously.  I go through an entire issue of The Knot without folding down a single page.

    Wedding Dress Criteria

    So, let’s start with the basics.  My main priorities are:

    • Something that I can wear with as normal of a bra as possible(i.e, no strapless, no backless, no halter).
    • Something with movement.  I had searched for “grecian goddess” type dresses extensively.

    And an additional preference:

    • Something with sleeves, but does not look boring or conservative.  This preference could be negotiable.

    Let’s look at what I don’t want

    • Mermaid or Trumpet Style anything

    That’s about it.  I’m pretty open on the options of fabric.  I don’t know whether I’ll love or hate any of the usual suspects, like lace, tulle, satin, chiffon (wait, isn’t that a food?), etc.

    Boobs and Strapless Dresses.  Oh the Humanity

    So, here’s my main wedding dress dilemma.  I’m chesty.  And I can’t wear anything strapless because I have never, ever, found a strapless bra to be supportive enough (in my lifetime, I have probably tried on about 25 strapless bras).  I chuckle at those strapless dresses or shirts you can buy with “built in bras.”  When I try those on it’s like a joke.  The weight of The Girls just completely overwhelms any sort of built-in bra.

    And okay, so maybe wedding dresses are different.  Maybe they’ll build in some amazing miracle strapless bra that can hold up The Girls.  Two issues remain.  1) Spillover, and 2) Always feeling like I want to hike up my dress, even if it does fit me well and shouldn’t slide down.  You all know what I mean by spillover, right?  Not a look I really want to go for on my wedding day (see picture below).




    But, strapless dresses seem to have a monopoly on the bridal market these days.  People are quick to tell me that I can have cap sleeves put on a dress, or that I can wear a bolero, but really, I just want a dress with some damn sleeves.  My ninja googling and internet search skills have failed me.  I have found plenty of dresses with sleeves.   And in fact, I submitted a request to the awesome Broke-Ass-Bride to find some dresses with sleeves, and she answered my request!  While a lot of the dresses I’ve found are lovely, they’re just not “the one.”

    A Search for Wedding Dresses with Sleeves (or at least straps)

    Here are some of the dresses I have bookmarked over the last several months.  These are in no particular order of preference and do not take into account the minimal amount of money I’m willing to spend on a dress.  In fact, some of them are pricey designer dresses.  But these are just a smattering of dresses, from a design perspective, that have caught my eye over the last several months.

    Claire Pettibone V-Neck A-Line Wedding Dress with Empire Waist in Lace. Bridal Gown Style Number:31824675

    Source: Kleinfield

    Gown features pearl beading and embroidery.

    Source: The Knot

    Source: The Knot

    Jenny Packham Fall 2010 Bridal

    Source: InStyle

    Amsale Fall 2010 Bridal

    Source: InStyle

    Source: Aria Dress

    JS Boutique Beaded Lace & Chiffon Gown

    Source: Nordstrom


    Halston Heritage 

    Source: Net-A-Porter


    Redesigning an Heirloom Wedding Dress

    Then I started to consider having my grandmother’s impeccably-preserved wedding dress (pictured below) re-designed into something that I wanted.  That way I could get exactly what I want – sleeves, but not too conservative.

    Gram's Wedding Dress

    But, I had a few major concerns about this idea.

    1. What if I had it designed, and then hated it?  I would be devastated about “ruining” my grandmother’s dress, and;
    2. It sounds expensive to have a dress professionally designed and made!  (Although to be fair, I have not done much research on it)

    So, my search continued.

    White Party Dresses as Wedding Dresses

    More recently, I realized just how much I started to despise anything even remotely “bridal” looking.  I think I had come to the conclusion that all wedding dresses looked so much the same and it agitated me to no end. Strapless, shades-of-white, overpriced articles of clothing that I didn’t even like.  Gah!

    So, I started looking for just white party dresses.  To give you an idea of what I found, here are some things I bookmarked (some of them aren’t necessarily white, but I just like the style).

    Aidan Mattox 'Cold Shoulder' Sequin Dress

    Source: Nordstrom

    marc by marc jacobs

    Source: Matches



    Source: Ideeli (closed sale)

    And then, The Perfect Dress?

    Then, the other day, I’m not sure how I came across it.  I think I was looking for something, I think I may have been using the search term “bohemian wedding dress” and came across the designer Saja.  And holy crap, I fell in love with the following dress:

    Source: Saja 2011 Collection

    Okay, it doesn’t have sleeves, but at least it is not strapless, and the straps are thick so they balance out my top-heaviness.  I think it also fits well into our outdoor, woodsy, picnic-table autumn wedding that we’re having.  As an added bonus, it’s not overly bridal-looking.

    And then, a few days later, I came across a blog post about a photoshoot of a “Tangled” inspired wedding.  I think that the hairstyle pictured below would look lovely with that Saja dress!  (wooo for my long hair and bangs!).

    Source: Smetona Photo via Wedding Chicks


    And, these blue shoes?  Awesome!

    Source: Zappos

    For once, I finally feel like my wedding dress stuff may be coming together.  But, a few concerns remain.  Although it will not be a deciding factor, I worry about how my family would feel about a shorter wedding dress.  Another person, after showing them a picture of the dress, pointed out to me that I should want to “stand out” on my wedding day.  But, does “standing out” mean that I have to wear something that I don’t like?

    I plan on wedding dress shopping alone.  I do not shop well with others and find that people get offended if you do not agree with their opinions.  So, I’d rather just not deal with that.  Maybe once I narrow it down, I’ll invite some folks, including my mom.  But I think I’d rather just have it be a surprise!

    Now, I just have to see if the wedding dress looks as nice on me as it does in the photo.

    Did it take anyone else a really long time to find a wedding dress they liked?


    I had one first, Kate!

    by Melissa on November 17, 2010

    Okay, okay, I know Princess Diana actually had it first, but thank you Kate for letting everyone know that sapphire engagement rings are wicked cool!  I’m sure that most of you have heard that Prince William proposed to his girlfriend Kate Middleton with an 18 carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds.

    Related News Stories (both mention the online store where my fiancé bought my sapphire engagement ring, The Natural Sapphire Company!

    My ring (photo taken at the Leaning Tower of Pisa in early October, just two days after my fiancé proposed!

    Ring at Leaning Tower of Pisa

    and the upcoming Princess Kate’s Sapphire Engagement Ring:


    Kate Middleton's RingPhoto: Chris Jackson/Getty Images


    Okay, okay, so her ring is a bit bigger.  No jealousy here.  Just much love for colored gemstones as engagement rings!