The Heart of the Matter

I suppose we are not really following what "most" people consider tradition.  You see originally we had an idea of renting a house in Spain and inviting about 20 people and getting married there.  However that idea was quickly dismissed and we are now onto an entirely different adventure.  Not better, not worse, just different.  That being said, we are doing our best to incorporate as many elements as we can from our original idea.  We still have a small concept.  Yes, the guest list has grown from 20 to about 120, and the location is national versus international.  But we hope to still capture the intimacy of the original intent.

All of this aside, I find it fascinating that as intimate as a wedding is, everyone has an opinion about how and what should occur in June (and I mean everyone!).  

I was recently asked by an almost stranger about my wedding plans.  When she found out that I was not going to be married in a church, a slight gasp escaped from her lips.  When she heard that there was no wedding party, she seemed utterly confused.  And at the mention of no sit down dinner or wedding favors she simply said, "Well...that is unique."  Yes, thank you, it is unique and rather fabulous.

Everyone has an opinion, and while some are really better left unsaid (although they make for great stories) there are some that I have taken to heart.  These are the opinions from my dearest friends.  Many of them have told me time and again how important it is to do what we want to do.  To not have the wedding that other people want us to have but to have the wedding that we want to have.  I do not want to look around on that day or think about that day in the weeks, months, or years to come with any regrets, and at the rate that we are going I do not think that will be the case.  At the end of the day it is about celebration, love, and our friends and family. (Oh, and it is kind of about the cake too...)  But most importantly, whether the guest list is 2, 20, or 120, it is about the two of us.

Dancing, Celebrating, and the Big Day

OK - so it really is not a secret that I am getting married.  And to my closest friends and family it is not a secret that I love to plan.  I have in fact always loved to plan and never been afraid of events or parties.  In fact, when I was quite young, I planned a surprise 20th Wedding Anniversary for my parents.  They, of course, had to pay for the event, but I managed to find the caterer, pick out the perfect guest list and people actually came to the house, my parents where indeed surprised (in a good way) and it worked!

So now I am planning one of the most important events ever, and it is less than 6 months away.  Last fall, when I bought my first 2 Bridal Magazines, I did so with trepidation.  You see, I am rather superstitious.  I have never purchased a bridal magazine before last fall.  I chalked it up to bad luck.  When I placed the magazines down in front of the cashier it was almost as if I was buying pornography or the like.  Don't get me wrong - I have danced my fingers over the pages of such magazines thousands of times before, but never, ever had I actually laid down cold hard cash for the stuff!

So with the magazines - and yes, I only bought 2 because I quickly realized that once you buy 1, there is very little content that differs from one to the next - I started off of my planning adventures.  There is the layout of the event, the colors, and the atmosphere...


(image from

A decision to find a color that will coordinate with the theme, the room and the invitations that will pull the whole event together...

(Design by Katharine MacIntyre Navins, Tallow Studio)

The flowers, the music, and the cake... and then there is the decision of the first dance, if dancing is something that you choose to do...

(image from

However, it is all too easy to become caught up in the planning and loose track of how and why you started on this journey in the first place.  In the end, the flowers will not last, the rentals are returned to their rightful owner, and the crumbs of the cake are swept up from the ballroom floor.  These items are all secondary to the celebration.  The celebration of being with the most amazing man in the world, the man who came into my life and quite literally saved it.  The man with whom I will spend the rest of my life dancing and celebrating.


Let them eat cake

It is all about the cake, really it is.  I do not care whether the flowers match the table clothes, and I am relatively indifferent to spring rolls versus coconut shrimp. What really matters to me is the cake.  I can honestly say that I remember just about every cake from every wedding that I have been to.  I know what I like and I know what I don't like... I do not like whipped cream frosting, I do not like fruit fillings, fondant can make or break a cake, and as for buttercreams, well there are so many different kinds out there that you really have to taste them, to let them melt in your mouth and slip down your throat to know if they are the right kind for you.

Boston has no shortage of cake stores, and everyone and anyone is more than willing to offer up their opinion on what you should get and where you should get it.  Whether it is Italian buttercream, Swiss buttercream, or a meringue frosting, people like to tell you what to do.  I quickly learned to give a gentle nod and small smile and say "OK", and then carry on.  People love to give opinions.  Whether they want you to work with Party Favors, The Icing on the Cake, Jenny's Cakes, Montillios, or  Cakes to Remember, you should be able to find something that you like. However, if you are anything like I am, finding the perfect cake is not that easy.  I have become so good at knowing exactly what kind of frosting that I like, that upon seeing the frosting I can tell whether or not it is worth the extra calories, or minutes on the stair master.

Sweet, I like the slightly sweet sugary frosting that does not remind me too much of butter.  It has a simple, uncomplicated flavor, and your fork keeps going back for more, even if you try to resist.  You are unable.  The cake can come in different shapes and sizes.









(all images are from The Knot

But in the end it really comes down to taste.  I need the wedding cake to stand out and have that WOW factor for me.  I have had people tell me what I should do for the wedding and people have told me what my guests would probably like regarding the wedding cake flavors.  But this is my cake, not theirs, and in fact, I plan on giving the caterers STRICT orders to wrap up every single last slice, tier, and crumb so that I can carry them all home with me.  I want the flavor of that night and all of its sweetness to last forever.  After all, this is coming from the Queen of Tarts.



Invitations… who knew that there were so many different kinds.  I mean I know about fonts.  I like to play with fonts at work, and one important person where I work even decided that we all had to switch to “hoefler” text as soon as she started her in her position (I now use this font all the time...).  I suppose it was her way of putting her mark on the place.  But as we sat there browsing through one invite after the next my eyes started to glaze over.  I clearly knew what I did not want, but how could I even begin to decide what I wanted?  I started thinking that there was no way in hell that I was going to spend money when it came to invitations.  I could just draw something up, maybe use a little photoshop, throw it in “iPhoto” and be done with the whole thing.  And then I spoke to Christi, and she said that was not going to happen.  She started to talk about the different kinds of paper and embossing and the tissue paper that overlays the invites and the reception cards and the lining of the envelope, etc. etc…  I started to feel a bit ill.  I saw the dollar signs increasing monumentally in my head as she spoke, and as far as tissue went, the only tissue that would be involved in my wedding would be there for people to wipe their eyes – I mean it does look nice on the invites, but I am just not that formal, and Hector is not either.  It was then, at that exact moment that I started to freak out, just a little bit.  I am a planner, I love to plan, but planning an event like this, the ultimate party for myself could be nothing less than extraordinary and I had to be mindful of everyone and everything.

Is it time for the honeymoon yet?


An Early Halloween

Halloween comes and goes, and even while the excitement over this macabre but wonderful day occurs, decorations for that other holiday in late December start to abound.  But I like Halloween.  As a kid I loved to watch the scary movies and get dressed up to go trick-or treating.  So it was not surprise to me that I delighted in attending a pumpkin carving contest held last Friday where I work (well, in one of the labs where I work). 

Since the contest was full of kids, the appropriate carving encouragement was set out in advance:


There were pumpkins meant to scare...
and others meant to delight:
and other were there to light up the night:DSC_0682
It was the first glimpse into Halloween.  I am already looking forward to the 31st!