Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Officially a Catholic Bride!

As most of ya'll know, I have been taking RCIA classes since last September. These are the classes you take before converting to Catholicism. On Easter Sunday, I was officially confirmed! It was a really great day, as my mom was in town and FI's family also joined us. In fact, FMIL was my sponsor (along with my FSIL, who couldn't be there)! We had dinner at the Chart House, and then went to Marsh Chapel (on BU's campus) for the evening Mass. Here are some of the pictures:

Me and FMIL:

Mom and FI:

FMIL and Gram:

Me and Brother Sam (my RCIA teacher):

Me and FI outside Marsh Chapel:

Doesn't my Lilly Pulitzer dress scream "spring"? It was a little cold to be wearing it, but it was the perfect Easter dress! Also, you can't really see it in the pictures, but FI gave me a fabulous Coach bag as a confirmation gift! It's the brown monogram slouch bag, with lavender scarf print and patent leather down the middle. Very cute, and he picked it out all by himself!

On the more religious side of confirmation gifts, I received a very nice set of pearl rosary beads with a brass confirmation case from my mom, who has been very supportive of my decision to convert. I was very glad to have her at my confirmation! Additionally, I received a sweet card and token from Gram. Finally, FMIL surprised me with her mother's ("Ma" to FI) set of lovingly worn and cherished rosary beads. I was very touched by this gesture, and I hope that I can one day be the kind of Catholic, mother, and grandmother that she was.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

HUGE news!

I BOUGHT MY DRESS TODAY!! It's absolutely fabulously perfect, and I love it! I initally tried it on yesterday on a trip to Priscilla's of Boston with my mom. Although I really loved it, I just couldn't commit to it that day (I'm indecisive like that). I did make an appointment for today at 2:30 to go back and try it on again before mom left, though.

Unfortunately, I woke up this morning disgustingly sick. My mom and FI wouldn't even let me go to class, not that I could have made it anyway. I slept all morning, and contemplated cancelling my appointment. Fortunately, I was feeling a little better that afternoon, and we decided to go. So glad that I did!

It didn't take long at all after I put it on with its custom veil to know it was THE ONE. It's definitely "me" but it wasn't anything like I thought I wanted. FMIL made a surprise stop at Priscilla's to see the dress on me, and she loved it too! Everyone agrees that it's the classic, Grace Kelly look I was going for. Hopefully, FI will love it too!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Weekend Festivities

We have a very busy weekend planned. My mother is flying in tomorrow morning, and then we're going to RI to meet with yet another florist (Flowers by Semia) and Ormonde Productions, a lighting company. We were also going to meet with a photographer, but I don't think we'll have time. FI is actually joining mom and me on this trip! I'm sure he's going to be very interested in what kinds of flowers we use.

On Sunday, I will officially be a Catholic! Yep, after months of RCIA classes, I am finally being confirmed on Easter Sunday. I'm very excited! FI's family, including his grandmother, and my mom will all be there to support me. Hopefully, I do anything too embarassing!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

With This Ring...

FI and I took advantage of Alpha Omega's Liquidation sale (60% off!) and bought him a wedding band! It's a very unique platinum band, with a subtle design. It's currently being sized, but I'll post a picture once we get it back. Unfortunately, I didn't find anything, but I have a year to keep looking!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our Church?!

Well, it seems we finally have a church! I am still a bit cautious, though, considering all the trouble we've had finding one. I don't want to jinx anything. It's not in Newport, but rather in Bristol, which is about 15 miles outside Newport. It's a pretty straight shot, though, so no complicated directions for guests.

It's St. Mary's Church (, and it is really beautiful! The stain glass windows were actually created by the same guy who in the early 1900's cared for the Vatican's windows. Additionally, it's mauve pink inside with spectacularly high ceilings and a gorgeous marble altar.

Here is the altar:

The back of the church and organ:

Some of the beautiful windows:

We haven't paid the deposit yet, but we're well on our way to booking St. Mary's. This is the first positive step we've had in our search for a church, so maybe this is it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Upcoming Schedule

FI has a meeting in NYC tomorrow, so I decided to join him. MOH Lauren will also be in the city for an interview, so hopefully we can meet up for lunch. While FI is in his meeting, I'll be at Kleinfelds for my 2nd visit. They're having a Kenneth Pool trunk show this weekend, so I had to take advantage of it!

Then, on Saturday, I'm going to Priscilla's of Boston for my 2nd visit. The Platinum collection designer will be there for his trunk show, so I'll have the opportunity to try on one of my favorite dresses (again) with the designer there!

Who knows? Maybe this will be the weekend that I find my dress!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cruise Control

Given the current church fiasco, I decided to take a break from ceremony preparations and focus on the rehearsal dinner. As previously mentioned, we have been looking at several different places, including a couple of vineyards and a modern lounge restaurant on the harbor. As it turns out, though, we won't be using any of these.

I loved the idea of a vineyard because it provided something unique -- it was an experience rather than just a dinner. I wanted something that would give visitors a "taste" of Newport, and I also wanted to do something different. Everyone has their rehearsal dinner at a restaurant, but a vineyard was a meshing of dinner and experience. However, there were a couple of problems with Newport Vineyards. First, the tent looked shabby. They hung Christmas lights inside, but it just felt a little .... cheap. I loved the tasting room and the vineyard itself, but the tent (where the dinner would be held) did not live up to the rest of the experience. Additionally, most of my family would not participate in the tasting since they don't drink. So, in the end, it'd just be a dinner at a vineyard.

At that point, I was leaning towards H2O. If I was going to do a restaurant, at least it'd be a cool restaurant that fit with our overall lounge-y theme. But, then I thought "what would be a quintessential Newport experience?" Of course, that'd be boating! Newport is home to the America's Cup yacht race and numerous marinas. Enter the Majestic:

( Yep, we're chartering a YACHT! It doesn't get much more "Newport" than this. After the rehearsal, everyone will board the Majestic at Bowen's Ferry, and then we're off on a 3 hour sunset cruise around the harbor. Dinner will be served inside the "cabin," and there'll be music and dancing on the upper deck.

I think it'll be a great way for our out-of-town guests to see Newport, and it'll be a great experience for everyone! It's definitely unique!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Bad News

As it turns out, I didn't have to wait long at all to get an answer from Salve Regina. It was a resounding "no." Even though there are NO commencement services at Ochre Court, and even though there aren't ANY commencement events AT ALL on Friday, I still can't have my wedding there on "commencement weekend." After a fit of hysterics and tears, I have finally calmed down enough to think about our (very few) options. Stay tuned.

Patience is a Virtue

My trip to Newport yesterday was very hectic, but productive. I met with two florists, Trisha at Laurel Lane and Kristen at Stoneblossom. Stoneblossom's office is very high-tech, with plasma screen TV's and computer presentations. Kristen was very competent, but the whole experience felt a little impersonal or "corporate." Conversely, Trisha at Laurel Lane was a cute British lady who still took notes by hand. She had mounds of weddings magazines and lone computer tucked into a corner. She had great ideas and guaranteed me that I would be her only wedding that day (as opposed to Stoneblossom that books 10-15 weddings a weekend). Both places are getting back to me this week with an actual proposal, but of the two, I'm definitely leaning towards Laurel Lane.

Next, my MIL and I went to St. Thomas More in Narragansett to register me and FI. Since my MIL and FIL are registered members there, we were also allowed to register. St. Thomas More is a parish within the Providence diocese, so our registration is the first step in securing Salve Regina as our ceremony site.

We then went to Salve Regina to check out Ochre Court. It was breathtaking! It's absolutely stunning, and the pictures don't do it justice. Although Johanna, the events coordinator, was on vacation yesterday, I met with her assistant Mariann, who was less than helpful. She refused to give us any information, but she did haughtily mention that they "don't do weddings on commencement weekend." Uh-oh. I believe our wedding is on commencement weekend, but since it's on a Friday, maybe they'll make an exception. I emailed Johanna last night, and now I just have to wait for her response. Waiting is not my strong suit. If I haven't heard from her by tomorrow, I'll give her a call.

Finally, we went to H2O, which is another possible rehearsal dinner site. It was right on the water, and it had wrap around windows that opened up to the marina. The decor was very modern, with blue tiled walls and lounge seating and lighting. It's definitely right up FI's alley! It opens to the public in April, so FI and I will make a trip for lunch then. It's on the short list, though.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Flower Power

Since I'm on spring break this week, I'm going to Newport tomorrow to meet with some vendors, venues and hopefully Ochre Court. Unfortunately, in order to do this, I need FI's car, which means taking him to work at 7am. It's not exactly how I envisioned spring break, but at least it'll be productive. I decided to just go straight to Newport after dropping him off, so my first appointment is at 9:30 at Stoneblossom. My first floral appointment! At 11, I'm meeting with Trisha (a very nice British woman) of Laurel Lane, another florist.

Although I don't anticipate having a lot of floral decorations, I do want to get an idea of how much they're going to cost. In addition to the normal bouquets and boutinneres, I need some sort of centerpiece for the tables. I do NOT want huge flower arrangements in tall, nondescript vases. In fact, I don't want to use many flowers at all. I envision using water, candles and a few orchids and irises. I like the idea of "sunken" flowers and floating candles, but I think I'd rather have shorter centerpieces rather than tall ones. Perhaps a mix of short and tall? What I would really like is some sort of short, glass rectangle filled with water and river rocks, with candles and orchids floating on top. The closest image I can find uses a wooden box and sand instead of a glass and water, but it gives you the idea.

Basically, I want something unique and beautiful, which is why I'm excited to meet with the floral designers tomorrow. I want to get a sense of their personalities and creativity through their portfolios. Hopefully, they'll be able to interpret my "visions" into a workable centerpiece.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Water Nymph

Water is playing a very important role in our wedding. Belle Mer is surrounded by water, as it's on Goat Island. Our (possible) ceremony site, Ochre Court, looks out over the Cliff Walk and Atlantic Ocean. And our colors are shades of blue. So, it's only natural that I'd want a water wall, right?

Not only does this incorporate water, but it also includes awesome lighting and goes with our "lounge" vibe. Unfortunately, there's no place on the east coast to rent one. Every single water wall rental company is out west, with the closest one being in Wisconsin. Now, who, I ask, needs a water wall in Wisconsin?? However, the company is willing to travel to Newport, set it up, and even program our monogram or picture to display "in" the water wall. The cost? $17,000! For that much, I could BUY a water wall. It's too bad, though, because I was really looking forward to having one. If anyone wants to start a water wall business, please let me know. I'll be your first customer!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Maybe, Possibly??

As I slave away at law school, my wonderful mother has been relentless in her search for a church. She actually just spoke with a lady at Salve Regina in Newport and was able to get some information for us. The lady said that as long as one of us is a member of a parish within the Providence diocese, we could have our ceremony there! Once we confirm FI's registration at his parents' parish, we're on our way! The last step, of course, is confirming that they have our date available and can accommodate 150 people. One step at a time though...

Here are some more pictures of Ochre Court at Salve Regina. The ceremony would be in the Great Hall, which looks out over the ocean and courtyard:
The Grand Hall is also 3 stories tall, with a handpainted mural on the ceiling:

Isn't it beautiful? I really hope everything falls into place, and we can hold our ceremony here. Keep those fingers (and toes!) crossed!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Saturday Recap

We had a very productive day in Newport on Saturday. Although we awoke to snow, we were determined to make all of our appointments. Our first, at 41 North, was at 11:30. We met with Leslie at a restaurant called "Christy's" which is apparently part of the "41 North family." Christy's is a cute, casual restaurant, but definitely not something we'd book for our rehearsal dinner. Leslie walked us upstairs, above the restaurant to the 2 rooms they had available for booking. It was sorely disappointing. The rooms were smallish, and the decor was very plain. Although it did have a wrap-around deck, it wasn't directly waterfront, so views were only partial. It seems as though the outdoor, waterfront marina area is undergoing construction and will not be open until June 2009. Bummer. The final nail in this coffin was the lack of an elevator or handicap accessible ramp.

At noon, we met with the lovely event planners at Belle Mer. We had a very interactive discussion about our "vision" for the reception. They had some tablecloths, china, etc for us to look at, and I began to (finally!) solidify my color choices. I think things are coming along swimmingly! After Belle Mer, we met up with the in-laws for lunch at Christy's. They ended up joining us for the rest of the day, as we visited Newport Vineyards and St. Anthony's.

Newport Vineyards was very quaint, as it's a small tasting room with outdoor tent for events. It directly overlooks the vineyards, though, which are lit up at night. Our guests could participate in the tastings, if they wanted, and we would have the entire place to ourselves. FI wasn't too keen on this place, though, because he felt it didn't jive with our overall modern, chic theme. I, and the in-laws, however, thought it would be a good constrast to the following evening's reception. So, basicaly, Newport Vineyards is still in the running.

Finally, we visited St. Anthony's. I was highly anticipating this since it seemed to be our final hope of finding a Catholic church in the Newport area that would marry us. We were very disappointed, though. Although beautiful on the outside, the inside is very dated and the altar is in the middle of the church (i.e. there are pews/people on 3 sides facing the altar). This would make it difficult to choose which aisle to walk down. Disheartened, we left.

On the way back to Newport, we saw a sign for Salve Regina University, which is a Catholic university in Newport. It reminded me about when I was researching Catholic churches in Newport -- Salve Regina has a chapel! We decided to take a last minute detour and see the facilities at Salve Regina. The chapel is located in Ochre Court, which is a Newport Mansion. Needless to say, it is GORGEOUS! Unfortunately, the building was locked, but the outside is fabulous. It's right on the Cliff Walk and overlooks the ocean. It's a beautiful setting. So, now it's just a question of if we can get married there. Lets keep our fingers crossed!! You can see an aerial view of it here:

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Proud as a Peacock

We met with Jennifer and Nicole (event planners) at Belle Mer on Saturday to discuss preliminary ideas (rentals, colors, etc). It was a very productive meeting! I told them my "vision" for the color scheme and showed them my inspiration picture:
I love the colors in this peacock feather -- deep blues, teals, aqua, and a hint of fuschia. Jennifer showed us several different tablecloths in the blue family, and I found one sheer that may be a possibility. We also looked at china and centerpiece ideas. Who knew there were so many details and options to consider? FI, of course, is solely concerned with the lighting. We want the event to have a NYC/Vegas nightclub/lounge feel, so lighting is crucial. We saw some lighted tables and even talked about a lighted dance floor. We'd love to have something similar to this:

or this:

Jennifer and Nicole are going to work on pulling our ideas together and creating a mock-up of table choices. We'll go back in about a month to view these and make adjustments, changes, etc. Who knows, by then my whole color scheme may be different. I do like the idea of incorporating peacock feathers into the decor, though. Very chic and modern!