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Not double sumo sized

Jason will be disappointed, but we did not get double sumo sized cards to send out. But our Save the Date cards arrived! And even at 6″x8.5″ we think they are pretty cool.

We did the basic design a few months back before we had even found a location. The front is an image of two flowers that Tiffany took back in 2008 shortly after we started dating. I wonder if she could have imagined what it would be used for later? We built the cards using InDesign and then sent them off to Modern Postcard for printing.

The hope is to get them sent out in the next few weeks. We still need to finish setting up the information online about suggested hotels and travel methods. Our plan is to give people all the information they need right away if they want to start making plans early. Since many of the people coming will be related to us, we figure we must have gotten that psychosis from somewhere.

We really like how they came out.

(An aside to any other married couples to be; printing at Modern Postcard is quite reasonable.)

A picture is worth…

People keep telling us that we are getting so much done early.  Maybe this is true, but we can’t really help ourselves.  Beyond the location, food, and wine, Tiffany and I both felt that our choice of photographer was going to be key.  I think we also secretly were scared that we would so overwhelm a photographer given that we are ourselves photographers that they would run away.  Thankfully that was not the case.  We found the perfect person!

We’d like to welcome Sarah Der to the geek wedding extravaganza!  (Hopefully she doesn’t mind we stole her picture over there.)

She was recommended to us by photographer friends of Tiffany’s.  Through our email conversations with her (where we bombarded her with questions and links to weddings we had shot), she was excited and thrilled that we were interested in her work.  She has pictures on her website, but also has a great blog which showcases much more of her work.  We really love her fun, quirky style.  She does a great job of capturing the moments in weddings and showing the emotions of the people.

We met with Sarah in Richmond last weekend at Secco and had a great lunch (with tasty wines). Sarah in person is exactly like Sarah in email.  Fun, quirky, and very very excited.  She shares our passions for great food and wine, and of course good photography.  She just celebrated her first year in business and we love that we are able to help her expand her business.

I think she will do a great job of helping two people who hate having their pictures taken actually muddle through it.

A year from today…

…we will be getting married! Yes, it’s true, we have set a date and a location.

After narrowing down our choices earlier this month, Jeremy and I have had the arduous task of visiting wineries throughout Virginia, tasting all of their wines, and taking in the views and facilities at each winery. Two weeks ago we visited six wineries, narrowed the list down to a top two, and this past weekend my parents came with us to visit the finalists. Both made a good showing, each with their own strengths, but in the end Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in North Garden, Virginia (about 15 minutes southwest of Charlottesville) was selected for it’s gorgeous location, (nearly) all-inclusive wedding package, excellent regional and seasonal food, nicely done website (mostly kidding ;) ), and beautiful venue options for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception.

And the date? 366 days from today (as 2012 is a leap year) September 28, 2012. Apparently this is also the birthday of at least three friends so it has to be a good day right? I also realized that 28 is the sum of Jeremy’s and my birthday days (August 11 and 17), so that date was meant to be right?

We’re really excited to have this one big step completed in the wedding journey, now we have to figure out everything else! (Who wants to come wedding dress shopping with me? :) )

A few words of advice…part 1

So as many of you have probably seen here on the blog, we have had a wedding survey up that we’ve asked folks to fill out just to get a centralized spot for all of the advice we know people have to share. We’ve had 20 responses so far which is awesome (and apparently brides like talking more about weddings than the grooms, only had 2 grooms fill out the survey), so thanks to everyone who filled it out! The stats we got on number of wedding guests, venue location, and reception were helpful but the absolute best part are the free-form answers. Here are a few of my favorite responses to

“If there was one lesson you learned that you wish you had known before you started, what was it?”

When working with vendors:

Pay attention to the recommendations from other vendors (i.e. so and so’s flowers look great and hold up well, so and so’s cakes look great and everybody raves about them, etc)


Use pictures as examples when selecting anything visual with any vendor (for example … don’t describe the flowers you want, confirm with picture examples).


Bridal “stuff” is negotiable in price. Barter barter barter! If you find a dress/shoes/hat/hairstyle you like, shop around. Tell people what you would pay at “that other shop.” Deals can be made, bridal markup is like 300%.

I think it will definitely be a challenge negotiating and planning with all the vendors but I will be keeping all this in mind, not sure how good I will be at bartering though, I always feel silly trying to do it as I don’t think I’m very convincing ;)

For invitations:

Make your own wedding invitations or get really inexpensive ones. No one really cares what they look like, only that they got invited. Plus you can start making those as soon as you book your vendors so you can do them way ahead of time.

We’ve got the wedding invitations (and the save the date cards) covered, Jeremy and I are too much of design and typography geeks to have someone else do our invitations…the invitations will most likely be letterpress though ;)

There were quite a few folks who emphasized actually making sure to eat and enjoy the food/drink provided at your reception, but the quote below was by far the most entertaining.

EAT. Recognize that on this day, all the forces in the universe have aligned to prevent you from eating a single bite of a meal you spent thousands of dollars on.

In the name of all that is holy to you, no matter how many great-aunts you must offend or kneecaps of friends’ too-drunk dates you must break, EAT THE FOOD AT YOUR OWN WEDDING.

Thus endeth the lecture.

In terms of planning (and interacting with family members):

Realize that you can’t please everyone and don’t worry about it because it is YOUR wedding and you have to do what makes YOU happy – especially if you are the one paying for it! Also (and more importantly), this advice applies to the marriage itself.

and similarly…

Your family will inevitably drive you crazy with well-meant ‘suggestions’ – don’t forget that it’s their big day too but stand your ground on stuff that really matters to you.

This was a pretty prevalent theme, “it’s your wedding, don’t stress to much, do what you want but listen to other’s thoughts/opinions.” I think I can get behind that idea!

I think this is a great summarizing bit of advice:

Best advice my mother gave me throughout the planning and ramp up to the day: “no matter what happens, you’ll still be married.”

More crowd-sourced advice coming soon…

XKCD: Empirical

XKCD is one of those cartoons which is very much geared towards geeks, thankfully Tiffany and I qualify.  This popped up this morning and gave me quite a chuckle.  Seems a very risky proposal (ha!) given the planning and costs needed for a wedding, but I appreciate the scientific rigor.

What’s the date?


Those two phrases seem to flow so smoothly together whenever we tell people we have gotten engaged, I somehow thought they would look better on the page.  Not so much.  Marriage is about love, friendship, caring, hardship, celebration, and happiness, but it is becoming increasingly clear to me that getting married is about planning and lots of it.

So many of the decisions Tiffany and I need to make start with choosing that date.  As we begin this planning process and knowing that there are probably a few other couples who want to get married next fall, finding a venue will be the item which will solidify the dates we have available to us.

We have moved past the concept stage at this point, having settled that we would absolutely like to do the reception at a Virginia winery, and possibly have the ceremony at the same location.  We both love the mountains, so we are focusing in the areas around Charlottesville and northeast up towards northern Virginia.

Two weekends ago, we took a trip up the Regional Library in Toano to get away from our houses and concentrate on planning.  Tiffany did the heroic task of using the Virginia Wines website to find all of the wineries in the region that say they are able to host weddings and look to see what information is available online.  The list started out over a hundred locations long.  Over the course of a few hours, we were able to get the list down to about 25 which have facilities large enough for our intended size and look attractive (or at least not unattractive). (Note to wineries in Virginia: if you can host weddings, please say so on your website, and list how many people you can accommodate; prices would be even better!)

Our next step is to look at that list and get it down to maybe 5 or 6 and then take a weekend and go visit them.  At a minimum, we need to like the location and like the wines. Locations which have onsite restaurants which can cater get extra points.  Then we can choose a location and if we are lucky, they will still have weekends next fall open.

Wish us luck!

Share your wisdom (online)

One of the first things we learned after getting engaged is that almost everyone has something to tell you.  While occasionally oversharing, there is clearly a lot of useful information out there from people who have been through the wedding planning process before.  We intend to make use of your wisdom!

If you would be so kind to help us out by answering the questions in the survey linked below, we would appreciate it.  All answers are anonymous, so please be honest.

Thanks and we will share the data once we have it!

JEB & TLB Wedding Survey (will open in a new window)

Our Geek Wedding

We really couldn’t help ourselves, I hope you won’t blame us.  After I proposed and Tiffany said yes (yay!) we went out and found a place to get some champagne and celebrate and start letting the reality of what we had done settle in.

We had received advice from our friends Terry and Ashleigh, who had recently gotten engaged, that we should not plan anything for the wedding for a month.  While this seemed like a great idea in principle, it really wasn’t going to happen.  As obsessive planners, we just couldn’t help ourselves.  So, we changed the goal a little and made it such that no decisions would be made in the first month.  We found that we both had many ideas that we had gathered over the years and we would be best served by writing them all down and getting them out of our heads and in front of each other.

This is where our other common personality came out: geek.  Paper and notebooks are just not our thing.  We use, live, and breath technology, so it seems appropriate that technology will play a great role in the planning.  Below is a quick list of what we are using so far.

  • Evernote – Contains brainstorming ideas, lists, and lots of screengrabs of websites. (I upgraded to the Pro version so we could have shared, editable notebooks)
  • Pinterest – Scrapbook of pictures and pretty things
  • Google Docs – Oh boy.  Guest list, questionnaire, budget, etc.
  • And of course, this website. (WordPress)
P.S. I must give inspiration credit for the title to the great and funny Harto of My Drunk Kitchen.

Proof we get out from behind the camera, often in foreign countries

Every once in a while we will decide to get some photographic proof that we were actually where we said we were, oftentimes with the good ol’ hold-the-camera-in-one-hand option (always done by Jeremy, he has much longer arms).

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Chicago in the Fall

Sometimes I try to surprise Tiffany, but I am not very good at it.  This trip however, I was doing great; until United messed things up by sending her an email letting her know to prepare for her upcoming flight. Damn.

All I had told Tiffany was that we had a long weekend planned and that it would be a bit cooler than Williamsburg.  I had tried to play it up so that it sounded like we were heading up to the mountains around Charlottesville, one of our favorite destinations.  But that was just a trick.  We had mentioned many times that we both wanted to spend some time in Chicago.  I had flown through the city so many times but never stopped to visit.

We didn’t have a huge amount of time in the Second City, but we got to visit the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry.  As expected we had a heavy food themed trip with the key event being dinner at L2O, an amazing gourmet seafood restaurant. The most exquisitely executed service I had ever experienced.

Want to know more? Tiffany does a great job documenting our trips in her blog entries below and we both took pictures.