Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wedding Dress Wednesday - Simplicity

Although I can't find the original source of this picture, I first saw it here. It's listed as a Jim Hjelm bridesmaid dress. While I think I'd tend towards a more "wedding-y" wedding dress, there's something incredibly appealing about how simple this is in all respects. It's a simple color, simple fabric, simple design, simple silhouette, etc. Wedding planning, and weddings themselves, are, I'm learning, anything but simple. So anything simple seems, well, nice. I like simple these days.

(PS. Expect big things in the comings days/weeks. I have pictures from our NY engagement party and news about receptions venues!)

Thursday, May 20, 2010


This adorable story has everything I like. Museums, romance . . . and really, what more is there? From the National Museum of American History blog, a description of museum work:

I’ll admit it. Working at the National Museum of American History has some pretty great benefits. I get to meet famous Civil Rights leaders, organize lectures with prominent historians and interact with visitors from all over the world. But until Saturday, I had never helped plot an engagement.

And then the very sweet story of a creative proposal at NMAH!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wedding Dress Wednesday - Philosophical Musings

No fancy pictures today. But I've been thinking about where wedding dresses fit into our wedding plans. I got some flack for suggesting that $1700 was too much to spend on a wedding dress. Let me try to explain why that is.

There are a lot of ways in which I conceive of our wedding day:

The beginning of an indissoluble union that will fundamentally and forever bind us together.

A solemn declaration of our love for each other.

The first day of the rest of our life.

The creation of a new family.

A giant party celebrating Life and Love.

The bringing together of our family and friends as part of our new family, part of the rest of our life.

Notice what's missing from that list? "Fashion show." Of course I want to look nice. But I've never been a fashionista, and so beyond that, I'm not sure how much time or effort should go into picking out what I'm going to wear on my wedding day. Wedding websites and books recommend allocating 10% of your wedding budget to your dress. That seems nuts. My clothes are not 10% of the experience of my wedding. Going to David's Bridal and spending $300-$500 on a dress seems much more in line with the proper place that a dress should hold in the grander scheme of the wedding. 1-2% of the budget, 1-2% of my time and effort, 1-2% of the wedding experience.

(Note: There is every possibility that I will be eating my words when I find a gorgeous, expensive wedding dress that I just fall in love with. Don't judge.)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Follow up to the Name Change Post

Ben and I had previously discussed my feelings on changing my name, but we talked about it again, on Gchat, after I posted about it earlier this week. When it came down to it, there were some serious factors to be considered:

me: well, like I said, it would be a little sad for me either way
  both changing my name and not taking your name would be a little sad
 but I look forward to being "The Naylors"
 me: and we've already got those coasters with the Ns on them
 Ben: so, there's no going back now!

Thanks to Jamie and Pat for the coasters with the Ns on them! (and for making major life decisions a little easier!)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wedding Dress Wednesday - My Grandmother's Wedding Dress

When I was at home last weekend, I tried on my very first wedding dress, the dress my grandmother wore when she married my grandfather in the 1950s. It's satin with lace, and it was worn by both Grandma and, in the 1980s, my aunt Linda. (The lace isn't original, but was replaced when Linda wore it, and is so yellowed that it would have to be replaced again if I were to wear it.)

I'm going to keep shopping around, doing some of my shopping in relatives' closets and some of it in bridal boutiques. But here's dress #1.

Ben, the rest of this post is not for your eyes.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"Do you mean to tell me, Katie Scarlett O'Hara . . ."

I don't make too much of a habit of reading wedding blogs, but every so often, I'll browse them and find that something catches my eye. So it was last week when I noticed this discussion On Name Changing and Weddings at A Practical Wedding. It came at an appropriate time.

After we set the date, on our -1 year anniversary, I wrote Ben a card and signed it "the future Mrs. Ben Naylor." (Note: I was quite amused by how strongly all the posters over at A Practical Wedding objected to being called, as they put it, "Mrs. Hisfirst Hislast." Apparently that was a highly un-feminist way for me to sign a card.) I've never seriously considered doing anything but taking my husband's name, and for as long as I've known that Ben would be my husband, I've wanted to be Mrs. Naylor. (I may or may not have practiced signing my future name in the margins of my Museum Studies notebooks long before we were ever engaged.)

And yet, I always knew that giving up my name would be kind of sad. I have a rockin' name, after all. It's potentially the most interesting thing about me. I've always referred to it as my conversation piece. The most common reaction it gets is "Is that your real name?" and the second most common reaction it gets is "I have to tell my wife your name!" Men are forever telling their wives my name. It's been commented on by almost every professor I've ever had, not to mention everyone from waitresses to sales clerks. For a while, before I met Ben, I had every intention of finding and marrying a man by the name of Butler, so I could keep the theme going - Katie Scarlett O'Hara Butler. If his name were Rhett, so much the better, but I expected Rhetts to be hard to come by. I didn't expect Butlers to be so hard to come by! Of course, it's a good thing they are, as I'm very happy with my Naylor.

When I walked out of work Friday afternoon, April 30, I hadn't yet bought the -1 year anniversary card, but I had already planned exactly what I was going to write in it. And it hit me, there at the corner of 7th and Pennsylvania. 365 more days until I was Mrs. Ben Naylor meant I only had 365 more days of being Katie Scarlett O'Hara. And that made me want to cry. And it still does. (But then, I've been a little emotional all day. You should have seen how hard I cried this afternoon when the women of Walnut Grove banded together to rescue the ruined wheat harvest while their husbands were away.) I have no intention of dropping any of my names; I've figured I'll take O'Hara as a second middle name, though I hear that doing so can mean extra paperwork. But the really remarkable thing about my name was always how much interest it generated, how many people liked it, how men I'd never spoken to before would come up to me and tell me their wives loved my name ("I've never spoken to you, much less your wife! How does she know my name?!"*), how it leads to 15-minute conversations with the girl behind the counter at Bed Bath & Beyond.

That's over, isn't it? No one will know both of my middle names unless I tell them. The fun was never knowing when one of these random, pleasant conversations would happen. Now I'll know that they'll likely never happen. As much as I very much look forward to being Kathleen Naylor (which really is a wonderful name, isn't it?), this is going to take some getting used to.

*He was the guy who processed the paperwork for our office, so he'd seen my name, and told his wife about it, before he'd actually met me.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

It's About the Marriage, Not the Wedding

From the very beginning of our engagement, Ben and I talked about wanting the phrase "It's about the marriage, not the wedding" to guide our wedding planning efforts and give us perspective. We don't really need infusions of perspectives yet; we're incredibly excited both to get married and to be married. From what I hear, though, it's easy to lose perspective and get bogged down in the wedding-planning details.

Maybe because it's so relevant to my life right now, this struck me as one of the most touching PostSecrets I've ever read.

This is the front and back of a postcard that was posted on PostSecret this past weekend. The front reads "I work at a bridal salon. I pray for strangers' marriages while I steam their gowns." The reverse reads "I wish people would spend as much time on their marriages as they spend on their weddings."

I'd love to have the writer praying for our marriage while she steamed my dress.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Engagement Party, DC Edition

Because we have parents, family, and friends in both DC and NY, Ben and I are honored to be the very lucky recipients of two separate engagement parties. Ben's parents threw us a lovely party over the weekend. All of our local friends were there, and I got to meet Ben's coworkers, as well as some of his relatives I hadn't met before. It also may have been the first time we merged friend groups en masse, though, as we'd all attended Georgetown together, our disparate friend groups aren't exactly perfect strangers.

The party was really nice. Ben's mom had gotten a lot of good food. And then there was a cake. An enormous cake. A delicious, enormous cake.

It was chocolate with, I believe, a buttercream icing, and little silver balls called dragees (according to the ever-knowledgable Lauren!) Ben's dad gave a very sweet toast in which he said nice things about me that I certainly don't deserve, and then we blew out the candles. I've gotta admit, I wasn't expecting candles on an engagement cake! (Ben wished for a championship for the Hoyas; don't worry, I'm going into this with my eyes wide open to the fact that they're his first love!)

We had a wonderful time and want to thank all the friends and family who made it so wonderful!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Wedding Dress Wednesday - Another Look at Color

Some of you may be aware that I've always been partial to the color green. And by "partial to," I mean "addicted to." Sometimes I have to force myself not to buy things that are green, because so many of the things I already have are green. So, as I spent Tuesday home from work with a stiff neck, I enjoyed experimenting with the dresses on the David's Bridal website that have accents in any of a couple dozen different colors.

This dress is pretty, although I'm not sure I love the "pick-ups" on the skirt, which can better be seen if you visit the website here: Satin Pick-Up Gown. Once you get there, play around with the different colors that the sash can come in; I'm fond of both Kelly and Clover, which are the two (almost indistinguishable, at least online) shades of green that show up in the top row of the color choices.

Which one is your favorite color?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Negative One-Year Anniversary

Kathleen and I have been discussing when to get married for a while. I felt pretty strongly about having the wedding when it is at least semi-warm. Kathleen felt pretty strongly about not having it around our birthdays (mine is May 22, hers is May 31). But we also don't want to get into June-July-August when it's wedding season and it gets difficult and expensive to book decent reception venues. So, we decided that April would be a good month.

Kathleen called the Catholic Church in Suffern, where we are going to get married and they had two available dates in April, 2011- the 2nd and the 30th. We ended up deciding on the later date and I called and left a message for the monsignor.

I got a call back from him about 2 minutes before we were set to publish at the Cook Political Report (it's pretty hectic at this time) and I believe what came out of my mouth when I answered the phone was "oh damn, can I call you right back, we're about to publish." A) Probably not a good idea to curse during a conversation with a priest. B) He didn't know what I did for a living and probably didn't know what I meant by "we're about to publish." But, I called him back a few minutes later, and we settled on the date.

So friends, Kathleen and I will be married at Sacred Heart Church in Suffern, NY on April 30, 2011 at 3pm. Kathleen came over after work as we had the John Carroll block party a few blocks down the road that night. She gave me a -1 year anniversary card and a bag of chocolates. She can be hard on herself for not being romantic enough, but I teared up at what she wrote to me in the card (which will stay between us). In return, I got her...nothing. I didn't even think to do something even though Kathleen apparently said that we should celebrate the -1 year anniversary. Guess I'll have to make that one up to her ;-).