Sunday, December 9, 2007

"What a Man, What a Man, What a Man, What a Mighty Good Man"

Here's how I know Eric is the one - such an awesome display of manliness.

We had a few memos last week about annual exterminations in the building. A few days later a new, more troubling memo said something about mice and "the problem getting worse for about two weeks before it gets better."

So my droogies, this filled my head with horrible thoughts of mice-rats and roaches dramatically death-marching around my apartment but I tried not to think about it. Until...the smell.
Eric and I came home on Friday and promptly declared, "It smells wierd in here." We independently came to a really gross conclusion-slash-guess: dead mouse in the radiator.
Eric slipped a note in the landlord's office. We figured we could hold out until Monday. About an hour later, the smell got exponentially worse, and I wondered aloud if we could open the radiator ourselves.
Eric retrieved his screwdriver and a ziploc bag, and I was being very helpful by reminding him to be careful while perched atop a chair halfway across the room. He opened the radiator, he coughed.

E: Step outside, I'll take care of this.
H: Oh my God! It really is a mouse?
(H steps outside, a minute passes, E pokes his head out of the door and shows me some tongs).
E: You weren't especially attached to these tongs, were you?

I wasn't. Eric told me to look away when he passed me in the hall to take the tongs and the dead-mouse-in-a-ziploc to the dumpster.
Eric told me the thing was "brown and squishy" and was definitely decomposing in our radiator.
Isn't that the manliest thing ever? I don't think I could ever do that. My hero.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

99 Problems [Edited for Explicit Information]

We're back on track, sort of. I'll be going back to Arizona at Christmas, at which point I hope to meet with my Grandma Mary and Aunt BJ to alter my Nana's dress. I need to have my mom get it cleaned beforehand. Here are a few pictures from my Nana's wedding - 50 years ago!

I thought this would be especially interesting to my bridespeoples - hereafter referred to as "bridespeeps" - whom I have given no direction whatsoever as far as wardrobe. I figured they'd like it better that way, because there's no way I'm picking out ugly, expensive dresses for them to buy. I'll have Amanda look at the dress when I'm in Arizona at Christmas, and I'll let her direct Bode and Elizabeth since she has an eye for these things. Poor Amanda - she asked for some direction for their dresses or accessories and all I could come up with is "my favorite colors are blue and green."
Amanda is thankfully handling my hair and makeup, which she always does gorgeously. I told her I wish I had a clone of her to also take photos, because she makes everyone look so good on film. Alas, I'll have to hire one. She's given me some advice on that, and I need to get on the ball. I'm budgeting about $1,500 for that, including engagement photos. My biggest issue with a photographer is going to be posed shots, because I usually loathe them. Especially since my intended is a ham/cornball, we don't do well posing. Smile totally unnaturally, slouch...cheese!
I have indeed started budgeting, which is horrifying. I have more of an idea what food and catering will cost, thanks to Alli. We're planning on Alli directing the menu, and friends of hers doing the actual cooking, running food to the buffet and cleaning. I was surprised at how cheap foodpeeps are to hire - $12 an hour. I'll have to ask Alli how much they're generally tipped. I'm guessing 20 percent. It's good to have someone around with insight into that world, otherwise I wouldn't have ever considered hiring cooks. I thought they'd be way more expensive.
I've decided not to send save the date cards, because of expense and trees and time. So look for invitations around February. Now, if only I could finalize the list. I'm sure I'll be updating a lot more from here on out.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Reception in a trailer park?

That's right, party people. We have a reception site pinned down, the Cherry Hill Conference Center right down the street from the University of Maryland. Eric and I had met a pagan couple who recommended the place, since they are having their reception at Chery Hill in October. Being blue-eyed and naive as we were in the evil, expensive ways of weddings, we thought the rental fee was outrageous - especially given that the place is in the middle of a campground and across the street from Shoppers.
But we learned quickly how expensive everything is in warped wedding world, and having nothing to show from months of research, we revisited the idea of Cherry Hill when Eric's parents were in town last weekend. They visited the place and loved it, so we went to check it out for ourselves. Wandering around the building, it was just one of those moments when things fall into place. It was perfect. It wasn't some trashy trailer park as I had feared. It was a campground (replete with RVs, but a campground nonetheless) with a building perfect for the huge party after my wedding. The building has an oak-floor ballroom, a catering kitchen, a balcony and three separate rooms for our use. Having a kitchen on-site means that Alli can probably still cater, and having extra rooms will be wicked for karaoke or guitar hero or whatever else occurs to us!
You haven't heard the best part yet, my droogies! Because of Cherry Hill's prime location, I will realize my dream of biking from the ceremony to the reception! I invite the bridal party and whoever else is interested to decorate your bikes (I also know where we can rent them for you out-of-towners) and ride with us down the Paint Branch Trail from the university to Cherry Hill. It's an easy ride of about two miles.
I'm checking into discounted camping rates for my guests - if I can wrestle some sort of arrangement, I'll encourage people to camp.
Eric and I are so relieved to have this albatross off our necks. A reception site had alluded us for months, but now we feel like we can focus on the details since the big decisions are behind us.
Remember, a wedding reception is essentially a huge party. So meet me in College Park for a damn good time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Running on empty.

The most-asked question recently:

"So, how's the wedding planning going?"

Sigh. It's going nowhere, to be perfectly honest. I've made a half-hearted attempt at gathering addresses for save the date cards. I saw a dress in the Express (for those of you not in the DC area, the Express is a small newspaper published by The Washington Post designed to be readable on your metro ride to work) that was cute. I saved the clip - that counts for something, right? I searched craigslist a few times for vintage dresses.

Honestly, I don't think things will pick up at all planning-wise until I:
a) move into my new apartment, which will be later this week.
b) have a serious talk with my parents about what they're willing to do moneywise.
c) have the same such talk with Eric's parents.
d) figure out what's left.
e) stop having, "why didn't we just elope?" thoughts.

The next step has been the same for months: find a reception site. I'm no longer sure that Alli the Curious Cook can cater. Food licenses and whatnot. I'm thinking about advice my mom and a coworker gave, which is to think about having the reception at a restaurant. That might be a good option, since that skips most of a rental fee. I'm sure there's some fee involved, but I'd bet it's not in the thousands. Sheesh.

Ok, I need some goals for God's sake. How about this: secure a reception site by October. Start making save the date cards and invitations in November and finish by January. Inquire about family wedding dresses when I'm home in September.

I think that's a good start. Now keep me to it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

You can only "Save the Date" after you've set a date.

After months of procrastination, I finally took the plunge - I put money down and reserved the UMD Chapel for June 28, 2006 at 11:00 am.
After the DC Offbeat Brides meeting this winter, I started reading the book and had lots of ideas. Feathers in my bouquet, a string quartet playing Radiohead (Eric's brainchild), make my own dress, bubbles, ride fancy bikes from the chapel to the reception area et cetera. We had the date hand-picked, but my unemployment prevented me from putting money down for the date.
Here we are, months later and I've finally gotten around to it. Since then I've largely set aside any ideas or concerns about the whole thing. Now that the date is set in stone, it's flip-out time!
Eric has talked me down from frenzies about cost and time, and I'm trying to keep the anxiety at bay. At least until about this time next year.
Some good news - Eric is, as of this fall, also gainfully employed. Both sets of parents have offered to help us pay for a wedding which we hope to keep cheap, cheap, cheap with manual labor (this means you!) and creativity. We streamlined The Guest List to about 60 people, expecting it to bloat a little between now and then.
My parents are throwing us a reception in Arizona, which helps tremendously because it gives the option of involving a lot of people even though I have to be really picky with The List.
Eric and I are thinking about renting a hanger at the historical College Park airport for the reception. We haven't inquired yet, but it might be a cool option. The idea was inspired by Eric's high school graduation ceremony, which was at a Southbury, Conn. airport.
There is one aspect of the day which I'm glad to hand over to someone else - the food. Alli Sosna, Elizabeth's girlfriend and a real-life fancy chef, is doing the food (check out her blog on sustainable seafood and other food curiosities).That's all I know. I gave her the date today. I'll have a headcount later. She knows how I feel about potatoes. I'm confident that that's all I need to do about the food. What an incredible resource!
I feel strange about having the date set. It's not just something we're talking about doing anymore. The wheels are in motion.
Next step: Save the Date cards and find a reception location.

Friday, March 9, 2007

What we know so far.

Welcome to Hannah Belle and Eric's wedding blog! We are planning a June 2008 date at Memorial Chapel at the University of Maryland in College Park. If you are a Moulton, you can hardly be at a loss for why I prefer June (think Seven Brides for Seven Brothers).
Eric and I have been serious about each other since we first started dating, so we knew the location of a wedding would be problematic, given that he's a damn Yankee and I'm a desert rat. I tried to convince him to elope and then have a reception on each coast, but he is more romantic than me and insisted on the ceremony.
Once we decided on a full-fledged wedding, there wasn't really a question as to where it would take place. We often played frisbee or flew kites on the grassy malls of UMD, especially in front of the chapel. We want to get married in the part of the country where we met and first planned a future together.
We're not sure about places for a reception yet. Outside from the university, College Park is kind of sketchy. Ideally, we want to impress our out-of-towners with a reception somewhere on the Potomac, but we'll see.
The wedding party is predictable. Our parents will be involved somehow. Elizabeth will be maid of honor (duh) and Eric's best friend Juan will be the best man. I want my sisters Rachel and Callie to be bridespeeps along with my brother Andrew and my brother-in-law Mike, Katie Bode and Amanda. Eric's groomspeeps will probably include his sister Ramie and his friend Adam. We've been exploring what to do about bridesboys and groomsgirls instead of sequestering the sexes on either side of the altar. We'll have to talk more about what we want to do. Eric thinks it is a good gesture for the men in my family to stand with him and vice versa. But part of me thinks it's a strange declaration of sexes to have my brothers stand with Eric simply because I'm not a dude.
My brother-in-law Shade will preside over the ceremony. He is ordained in the Universal Life Church (like all four Beatles!) and is very dear to me. We never considered having anyone else oversee the ceremony.
Well that is about all we know so far. I hope to keep everyone in the loop with preparations and answer any questions along the way. I've found great comfort in the resources I've found online, especially anything associated with the Offbeat Bride web site.
There probably won't be any other news until I get a job and reserve the chapel. Then there's no turning, are you sure you don't want to elope?