Have I Told You Lately That I Love…My Florist?

Just wanted to share with you a cute little video that my florist now has on her web site. As I’ve mentioned before, Necoh, the owner of Royal Design Flowers and Events is so easy to work with and I’m super excited to see the flowers she’ll create for me next May. If you can throw some business to this wonderful local establishment, please do!

Thanks for reading! – A

June 23, 2011. Tags: , . 2011. Leave a comment.

What to Do When You’re Not Daddy’s Little Girl

I know this is a little late, but I have been thinking about this topic for a while, especially now since Father’s Day just passed. My story is long and sorted, so I’ll just say that I was estranged from my father for the majority of my life. Only in recent years have we reconnected, and the bulk of my reconnection is really with his sister who is only a few months older than I and his mother. There’s actually a cousin who I’m also friendly with on facebook who is an amazing photographer. Anyway, suffice it to say that he, my birth father, will not be walking me down the aisle.

So who should? My grandfather who, for all intents and purposes, served as my dad passed away in 2008. He was a character, and he gave me a great sense of direction and the ability to joke with anyone, but he was definitely a grandfather and not my daddy. My great-uncle was more like my dad than anything. As a child, he’d take me to breakfast at the diner with his business associates and to the Shriner circus, since he himself was a fez-wearing member. We went camping at the local country club campgrounds and he’d spoil me with little treats when he came home from his business trips. He often told my mother “not to come over without that baby!” and told me things that I didn’t like to eat, like cottage cheese, were foods that I should try because they were good for my “globicles”. He is a father. Sadly, he is also a very sick man who will not be able to make the trip to my wedding. Frankly, even if it were in his very backyard I’m not sure he’d be well enough to attend.

Though there is a part of me that is really sad that my pseudo-dad can’t be the one giving me away, there is an amazing silver lining. Nobody ever said it has to be your father who gives you away. And what is being given anyway? I’m almost 30, the jig is up – I don’t belong to anyone other than myself. But I do like tradition. Some traditions, like those of a Jewish wedding, have the bride escorted by both her parents because it is they who shaped her and made her the person she is. Because of this, I’ve decided to have those who have shaped me walk me to my man: both my mother and grandmother will escort me down the aisle.

My mother is important to me, though I can admit that our bond is not as strong as I would hope. I think now that I’m an adult I’m able to see her for who she is and love her for her qualities instead of having ill feelings because of her faults – and that gives us the room that we need to grow closer. Regardless of what we’ve gone through, she is a big part of me and I see that more and more each day. She is my ability to whip up a meal out of nothing more than leftovers and a spice rack. She is my steady hand that allows me to decorate cupcakes in cute and intricate ways. She is my creative eye that affords me the ability to contribute tons of cute crafty ideas to my big day. And I love her for all of that.

But she didn’t raise me, not completely anyway. She had a hand in it, but my grandmother was there at dance recitals and band concerts. Grama, as I call her, is kind-hearted and gentle in her soul. She has suffered more pain than most should ever have, but I am her joy, her greatest accomplishment as she’ll tell anyone who asks. Her unofficial 6th child, I had every opportunity she worked for me to have and I barely appreciated them at the time. Looking back, I can see how her sacrifices afforded me the ability to make something of myself. Not having her by my side would feel incomplete. I am so grateful for the love that she has always shown me, and knowing that I’m “the love of her life” has always pushed me to reach for the brass ring to do her proud.

I may not be a daddy’s girl, but I have been so lucky to have wonderful people, be them birth parents, surrogate fathers or ancillary mothers, who have raised me to be a proud and self-sufficient woman. When I walk with them on my arm, or present in my heart, on my wedding day, I’ll know that everything I am and everything that I’m offering to my husband came about because of them.

Thanks for reading. – A

June 21, 2011. Tags: , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

Millions for Marriage Equality

I know you aren’t reading this blog for political insight, but I wanted to share this because it involves the topic of marriage. Though many take marriage for granted, or share jokes like, “Everyone should be able to suffer in marriage: gay, straight, whatever!”, the truth is that many people in our country are treated like second-class citizens because they are unable to legally marry the person they love. I find it ironic because I think that one of the places where you can still find real, pure true love is in the gay community – they stay with their partners for a lifetime even though they are not legally bound to each other unlike many straight partnerships where one or both of the parties suffer in an uncomfortable marriage.

People need to understand this simple point – gay is not a choice. So why deny millions of tax-paying, law-abiding people the right to live a life with the same freedoms as everyone else based on something that they never had a choice in? I believe in general human rights. And celebrating love, something I think the world often has a short supply of, should not be an exception. Should you feel the same way, feel free to sign this petition set up by the Human Rights Campaign. You can also “like” a status on the HRC Facebook page about Millions for Marriage Equality. I know many of great people in the LBGT community that would be happy to have your support.

Thanks for reading! – A

May 31, 2011. Tags: , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

525,600 Minutes

The clock started ticking at midnight: I am officially getting married in one year. Ok, we’ll call it a year and a day, since next year has a little leap in it. I’m starting to feel the pressure, even as I type this, because I feel that now the heat is on. Yes, it can be done in much less time. But I have a full-time job, a few side jobs, and way too many cute DIY ideas to pass up.

Here’s what I’m asking of you: every now and then, just put some good thoughts out into the universe so that I don’t snap. 🙂

Thanks for reading! – A

May 6, 2011. Tags: , , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

Lesson Learned: Flowers

When I first started planning the wedding, I immediately resigned myself to the fact that though I love flowers, they just weren’t in the cards. Keep in mind, those were the days when I also thought I could get out of this spending under $10,000 – and I was taking it as a personal challenge to do so! Clearly, I have since been set straight and have revised my budget, thus my search for a second job. But oh, those simple days!

Flowerless Centerpiece (Not ours, but still cute!)

I knew I wasn’t going to NOT have flowers, but I’ve opted for centerpieces without them so that really cut out a huge expense. I’ve also decided on some simple options for décor at the church, so there isn’t going to be a big flowery show there either. And I plan on doing my own flowers. Ok, that’s a lie. I planned on doing my own flowers, until my future mother in law found out about it.

She told me that it would be too much, that I’d be so busy, that there’d be no way! Ah, but did she give us money for flowers? Not exactly. Her contributions (which are many, AND very appreciated!!) are going toward a few other things like photography and even a bit toward my gown. Thanks, Momma M! But she did convince me to meet a family friend who has been a premier Philadelphia florist for 30 years. I knew his work, and I knew it was expensive. But we were told we’d get an old friend discount. His band played at M’s bar mitzvah, so I did have a little hope that the price tag wouldn’t be crazy.

When we arrived for the appointment, there were flowers everywhere – and too many. They’d asked me to send inspiration photos and so I sent a pdf of flowers I liked, explaining why I liked each photo, and what I wanted for my wedding. Instead of having mock-ups based on the inspiration I provided, they had flowers just waiting, and I was to put my bouquet together with them.

Now let me interject a sidebar. It seems that florists handle this in 3 possible ways:

  1. They show you bouquets or sketches of what they have in mind and you tweak it with them.
  2. They show you FTD books and say they’ll add stuff, but really you’re lucky if you get the picture as is. 
  3. They have the flowers and you put it together with them.

For a multitude of reasons, I prefer option #1 and I’ll tell you why. At the family friend’s place, there were SO many options. We took forever to build up my bouquet. They told me peonies were too expensive, so we did something else. Then I added some purple stock, but that was later replaced with orchids. And then roses were added. And then some of this, and some of that, and more of those, and a ton of these!!! Before you know it, I had a giant monstrosity that looked NOTHING like my photos, had flowers that I didn’t want like roses and orchids, and weighed a ton! They were trying to convince me that it was pretty. It could have been, but it wasn’t and I was so overwhelmed by the experience and WAY too many choices that I couldn’t tell the difference. And then came the quote. It seemed quite high, but it was the preliminary. The real quote was coming via email on Monday. We told ourselves that the real quote would have that good old discount. When it arrived, it did not.

Heartbroken, I started searching again. I hadn’t wanted all this stuff to begin with, but once I opened the door to let myself dream just a little I couldn’t go back to my sweet idea of roses with hypericum berries. The damage was done and we needed someone who was affordable and beautiful. After googling, I came across this blog for Royal Design Flowers, a small flower studio in Philadelphia. The blog is what sold me, because the owner Necoh just seemed so sweet and would go above and beyond if needed.

When M and I met with her later that week, we went to her small studio in a collective of studios situated in an old Mill – it was super cute. She showed me what she saw based on my visions. We talked, we had some tweaks, I got ALL the flowers that I wanted, and even at the absolute biggest and best options for what we could have chosen, Necoh came in WELL under the family guy’s quote – including a huppah rental! Not only that, her quote came with break downs so we could see what the cost would be if we chose to get the bouquets in different sizes AND she included photos so that we could see how large a small bouquet would look against a person holding it versus a medium or large. In the end, she won our business because she was flexible, honest, and her work looked beautiful.

I’m so happy this is all over, but I’ve learned a few tips that I’ll pass along to you:

  • It’s great to listen to your friends and family, but always go with your gut.
  • Try not to let high pressure or fast-paced situations with vendors get to you. YOU are paying them, so they can slow down a little if you need it.
  • The first impression is usually the correct one. If you feel “some type of way” about a vendor, trust your intuition!

I’m so super psyched to see these flowers next year, and I can’t wait to show you. I know you’re going to love them as much as I do!

Thanks for reading! – A

May 4, 2011. Tags: , , , . 2011. Leave a comment.

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