Monday, June 29, 2009

engagement party

Last night we had our engagement party and I must say that it was LOVELY. The day we announced our engagement David's family through us a lovely impromptu party, complete with champagne, and I loved it but that was just family and we hadn't had a chance to celebrate with our friends. I had put off the party until my brother's visit, and a few hours before everyone arrived David asked him to be one of his groomsmen and I thought it was a very touching guy moment, because they were both gruff and awkward. Melted my heart a little.

Anyway, the party was great--small and informal, just what I wanted, but I was extra touched that everyone dressed up in lovely party frocks (well, not the guys, but they all looked respectable). We'd spent the day cleaning and baking and I was pleased with how well our suite looked with all the spring cleaning done, and with how well all the desserts we made turned out (lemon squares, brownies, and Mennonite obtskuchen).

It was just sitting around and telling stories and eating food and being happy and laughing--exactly what I wanted. Kind of a miniature version of what I hope our wedding is! I was particularly touched that one of my friends proposed a toast to us when we opened a bottle of wine. I may have gotten a little teary eyed. Anyway, it was great. And Madeleine remembered to snap a few pics for me which is more than I remembered to do for myself. With everyone sitting in a circle and chatting there wasn't really anything that screamed PHOTO, but I'm very glad she snapped some because I'll want something for the scrapbook.

So that is that and I am so happy. It was exactly what I wanted and I just had this wonderful happy glow all night from having a good time with friends celebrating our engagement. My brother snapped some photos of us before everyone came:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Advice

This is a bit of advice I took from this morning. I think it's a very good reminder of what is actually going on:

My advice for other offbeat brides: Keep your cool baby! This is supposed to be ! Do not go over your budget, do not get too wrapped up in what's going to make your guests happy or unhappy, do not forget why you are doing this. The people you care about sharing this with are going to love sharing it with you no matter what you serve them or what you wear or where you have it. Love is the most amazing thing in the world, celebrate that and you'll have no regrets.--Rhiannon

I find it particularly relevant to myself. I like to make people happy, even if it means sacrifice for myself. I don't think this is necessarily bad--one should compromise and not be selfish--but it can go from beyond just trying to consider others to worrying about what they think. I don't want to get caught in that trap, and I know I'm quite susceptible to it. So I copied the above text and put it onto my wedding planning brainstorming sheet, right at the top, so I can see it as a reminder every time I open the file. Mum keeps telling me to not worry about my guests, and if the internet agrees I guess I have to listen!

Friday, June 12, 2009

engagement things

I’m finally getting around to doing the engagement things that one is supposed to do—namely photos and a party. So I wandered over to Sears and priced our engagement photos. As I think I’ve said before, I wanted to go the traditional, portrait style look for those photos. I’m excited to see what they do, and hopefully they come up with something beautiful. If not I just won’t order anything...but I do like a lot of the available backgrounds and hope we can get something elegant and timeless. I also want to get a cd of our photo prints, so I’m hoping they don’t charge too much for that.

I’m really excited about getting the pictures done. I’m going to wear one of my gowns, and the only one I have in Toronto—it’s a floor length black gown with an empire waist, and it falls in pleats from the waist to the ground. For Christmas I got a silver shawl, so I’m going to tie that into a bolero style covering, and wear the silver jewellery that I also got at Christmas. David’s going to wear his charcoal suit with the burgundy shirt and burgundy & silver tie, so we’ll match with black and silver. And to further pick up his shirt colours I’ll probably wear my red-gem hair clips. I’m just waiting for my GST cheque to come in so that I have the money to pay for our pics!

Also, now that school is out and things are somewhat settled I can finally get around to throwing our engagement party! It’ll be almost 7 months by the time we have it, although I always find the time from January-September moves incredibly fast for me. One reason that I’ve waited to have it is because I want my brother to be here when we do, so we’re going to throw it during his visit.

I’m just doing something simple. I’ve only been to one other engagement party before—it was a lot of fun, and it was at a pub so that people could just come and go and order food or drinks as they liked. We talked about doing that, but as our friends had already done that a little while ago and as we’d done something similar for my birthday we thought we’d hold it at home. So we’re just going to have a relaxed evening of friends, dessert, coffee & tea. I think I’ll probably make Mennonite plum cake (obtskuchen. So good!), lemon squares, and brownies. I’m not too worried about leftovers as between John & David they will probably go super quickly.

The downside to this plan is that now I have to really clean the house in two weeks. I would’ve needed to clean anyway because we’re having people over before then, and John is coming to visit, but it is one thing to let a few close friends/family see the cluttered disaster area that is your office space and another thing to have up to 13 people in your place... alas. On that note I should go sweep the floors. Damn.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

coupley afternoon

this afternoon David and I went way out to the edges of TTC territory to take in an art exhibit at Sherway Garden Mall. I love malls, and this one was airy and not crowded so we took our time window shopping as we walked around. I really love these little excursions of ours, because it's time when we sort of plan, or dream, the trappings of our future together.

The art exhibit we'd gone to see was alright, but I actually preferred a little art gallery we wandered into that was near the food court (it wouldn't be a mall date without mall Chinese food!). Unlike most mall galleries which boast prints, this was an actual art gallery with real paintings. There were some very lovely paintings, including a massive still life that on first glance appeared to be an ordinary fruit scene but on closer inspection was full of worm-eaten fruit, butterflies, and dragonflies. I loved it! It was a bit steep though, at $12,000... Anyway, we slowly wandered through the gallery, discussing the virtues of various pieces and discussing our own collection when we ran into a wall dedicated to Stuart Clifford Shaw.

The paintings were beautiful and we both fell in love. I think a little of this is due to his BC origin, because the scenes painted really did seem so familiar in a strange way. I particularly loved his Lake Jasper. Of course at $1200 it's beyond our means, but it is nice to plan!

We have a lovely little art collection in the works, some of it in prints and some of it in originals. Part of it is in Toronto, but the rest is split between Port & Victoria. I look forward to the day we [finally] have a place to settle and can start bringing it over!

One funny thing in the art gallery was the way the saleswoman we borrowed a pen from (to write down the artist's name) was being very friendly. David was wearing a nice shirt and tie, and I was wearing a usual "going out" outfit, and she clearly thought we had money to purchase. That said, we both wished we'd had money to purchase! One day...

Since we were in the mood to discuss our material future, we decided to head over to The Bay and get a sense of where we're going to take our gift registry. We also have a couple of friends/family members getting married this summer, and although we can't make the weddings we want to bring gifts back with us when we come home in September. So we had a good time strolling through the top floor of The Bay and discussing various items--glassware, linens, etc. It was fun to think about actually choosing a bed set for us (although that may cause a debate, as we both liked different ones) and other house related things. The biggest discussion ended up over cookware, of course.

It is no secret that David has been strongly won over by Chef Gordon Ramsey. And lo, we found his cookware set! So we had a serious discussion over whether or not it was a new level of decadence in cooking..and decided NO. We are super chefs! We deserve the best! So I think it is on our list of things to buy in the future... Were we wealthy, or were credit-card fraud not wrong, we could have easily spent $2000 today (or $14,000 if I really splurged and went for the giant still life...).

Money aside, it was really fun to think about our future in tangible material terms. We both have our ideas, of course, but we've moved so often and always "settle" knowing it's not permanent that it is nice to know that one day we will stop, and one day we will be settled enough to buy things for our home because they are beautiful and permanent, not because they are inexpensive and functional. It makes the whole thing seem more real, somehow.

Waiting for the subway. And dressed like a proper Cambridge Man.
Summery! And yes, my hat is very bright--it serves to bring cheer.