I'm back! Lots going on...residency interview process has been going well...five down, one tomorrow, and then five more in January...it has been very busy over here!
I think the hardest part of wedding planning has been the reception. Should it be a sitdown dinner or a buffet? Meat fest or vegetarian fare? How expensive are we willing to go? Restaurant or rent out a venue?
John and I are major fans of this small gem of a restaurant. It is quinessential Athens. You'll see townies (granted, it's pricey so you don't see too many townies), UGA professors, the people of Athens. It's run by a guy who does amazing seasonal cooking with a southern twist. We would like to work in Five and Ten somehow....John and I spent our first Valentines dinner there (I even remember what I wore: a white empire style linen dress with pink cascading ruffle heels), visits back from Augusta. There was a particularly cold, blue winter day I went alone to Five and Ten and a dish of white truffle and cauliflower risotto basically cured my seasonal depression :) We usually do the prix fixe, an amazing deal...3 course meal for $25...every time we go, we love the flavors and the coziness of the place...upside down umbrellas hanging from the ceiling anyone?
This is another great Athens restaurant. It's run on the premise that they own their own farm and this farm provides most of the materials they use for the menu. Beautiful flavors and a beautiful large venue with an outdoor wooden stage. The weird part was that the lady who runs events at Farm 255 wanted to meet us in physical person before getting into any details....so we made the drive from Augusta to Athens to....only tell her what we wanted for the reception....details that we could have told her over the phone. John thinks that she was just trying to size us up, see how much money we could afford to pay for the reception. Anyhow, her quote was ridiculous and was based on the Food and Drink Minimum manner of doing business. Food and Drink Minimum is based on how many people will be attending and then they tell you, for every 150 people, you HAVE to pay $11,000 (or X amount) and you spend it however you'd like to spend it. So you might end up with plenty of food under $9000 but you still have to fork over the rest of the money. I didn't really like this scheme and I didn't like that she wanted to see us first before getting any details. I like eating at their restaurant, but I don't think we're gonna have them do the reception.
3. Sonnys BBQ
We briefly considered Sonnys BBQ until my parents basically say no in the most diplomatic way possible. hehe
This is a weekday lunch stop famous for mint iced tea, sandwiches, and soups, but on weekends, the namesake and business owner does catering for weddings. I had not heard of her until a florist in Athens referred us to her...I never suspected a lunch time cafe would cater a wedding so thankfully we got the hookup! Marti is a no nonsense type of woman that I love...there were sweat stains at the armpits of her shirt and flour on the front of her shirt...for some reason, that really won me over :)
Sorry for the crickets in the background for a while...after taking Step 2, I didn't anticipate Pediatric ER being so busy. Currently at the peds ER now, working until midnight. It's raining, which means people don't usually bring their non-emergency cases of the common cold in.
So, my high school friend Emily was so kind to come with me to Santee, SC to visit the Making Memories Bridal Shop. This was an amazing experience!! I was thrilled beyond belief that a special time in my and John's life could extend something special to someone else.
Making Memories is a non-profit organization that accepts gowns from gone out of business bridal shops and bridal designers who have excess inventory and sells them at a huge discount. All profits go towards fulfilling final wishes of terminal breast cancer patients.
Tbey travel all around the US with approximately 800 of their gowns with veils, shoes, etc for brides to get a great deal and contribute to a wonderful cause. Luckily for me, Augusta is only 2 hours away from Santee and they have thousands of gowns, plus bridesmaids dresses and mother of bride dresses. I had a hilarious time with Emily. The A/C broke in the shop that day and it was SWELTERING. At first I was all modesty first, and then I gave up and started dressing outside instead of in the dressing room,which was tiny and hot. It was hilarious with Emily being a saint and helping me into the dresses, which really require two people to put on. Emily kept on accidently putting up on the wrong end so instead of putting the dress over my head and pulling it down, it was the top end that was waiting for me :)
I liked the flowy look of this dress, but I felt that it was making me look older than I actually was. I love the rocker bride in the picture in the background to the right.
This dress was terribly terribly sad and I think the heat was starting to get to my brain.
This dress was eh. It looks and felt rumpily. All in all, I tried on 12 dresses in about 2 hours, a feat only made possible by dressing out in the open and having Emily heroically throwing the dresses on me. There was a Vera Wang in the mix but I think I was so tired and forgot to photograph. It was okay...very slinky with flowers on the shoulder but even on me, it was too tight.
So I narrowed it down to 2 dresses. A beautiful ivory dress by Amsale and a beautiful champagne colored dress with rhinestones down the back by Melissa Sweet. Melissa Sweet was right on budget and I did like it. I didn't really care if I loved the dress...I was content to get something that looked pretty and I was determined to support this charity. However, I did secretly love the Amsale dress but felt it was too expensive (a few hundred more than the Melissa Sweet) and that I should just stick to the budget. The shop was going to close in 5 minutes and I didn't want to keep anyone from going home. So I bought the Melissa Sweet:
I was feeling good as I drove back to Augusta, but later on that night, I didn't feel very...excited. I reprimanded myself for getting too caught up about the dress, but I didn't even feel like flipping thru my beloved wedding magazines either. Hrm. Something was up. I sneaked a look at the pictures we took and realized that I actually liked the other dress better. This was not the grass is greener on the other side...I just needed more time to think about the two dresses.
Yes, the lovely chip bag clips is a piece of flair.
This was a beautiful dress but ultimately not for me. Cheers to the new dress! :)
Okay, I lied. A post cos I'm so tired of studying.
Wedding dress shopping was something that I both looked forward to and dreaded. I was looking forward to it because it is fun to try out something completely different from what I usually wear. It's fun whether it makes you look completely beautiful or makes you look completely insane. Fun stuff! I was dreading it because wedding dress shopping can be a claustrophobic experience with salespeople. It was a little hard because I usually went by myself; it's hard to get other friends (i.e. in medical school cos I don't know anyone not in medical school in Augusta) to come with me to help decide. I wanted my mom there but she was at Taiwan at the time. I had always envisioned my sisters there as well since we were present when my older sister picked out her dress. "Eh, I'm a big girl and I can fend for myself." Also, I usually like shopping with John. He understands what I like and what is helpful advice; I trust his opinion. But I figured, maybe I should observe the traditional wedding dress shrouded in mystery for now.
The first shop I went to was Elegant Bridals off Furys Ferry. I was lucky to have a really friendly salesgirl named Sarah. As you can tell, we had some fun :)
I think this was the first dress I tried on. This is when I started to feel kinda weird, as if I was going to get married one day. haha :) I really liked it!
Sarah was really wonderful, I was so surprised cos I imagined a bridal consultant to be snobby and dishonest. Sarah was the exact opposite...it was only a few months after this visit that I found out that she was only an intern there and had left for a job in DC. Oh well.
I think this was one of my favorite gowns. I really liked the sideswept part near my waist. It was waaay too expensive tho and not even silk material. Oh yea, notice that picture behind me? Apparently, the big thing to do is a bridal portrait. It's obviously your choice to do one if you want and not make any excuses to anyone, but I got a little weirded out with all the posing on golf courses.
I think this was my favorite. It's big on me, the wrong size, but I loved the idea. Rhinestone collar that continued to the back and light tulle coverage of the sternum area felt very pretty.
This felt more like your standard type of wedding dress. Looked pretty but didn't really strike me.
I felt like a flowy mother earth type. Eh, I felt that I looked pregnant in this dress.
This was my first visit to a dress shop period so I wasn't planning to get a dress. The first two dresses I really liked and kept in mind. What do you think??
Next post: my fun trip to Santee Bridal Warehouse with Emily!! :)
Even though I just STARTED, but I have to study for a test that I have to pass in order to graduate from medical school. So I have to consider my priorities....so WEDDING PLANNING IT IS! hehe j/k...I'll be back after August 27th! In the meanwhile, I leave you with a taste of last month's wedding dress hunt!
In regards to my tomato face...the A/C broke in the dress shop that day...and it was >100 degrees!! HOT BRIDE!