Married to your Maiden name

Since I am just days away from becoming a “Mrs.” I’ve had to answer two questions like a broken record:

  1. Are you ready?
  2. Will you change your name?

In my mind, the first question is worthy of a quick and cheerful “yes!” I’ve been engaged for over a year. As much as I adore wedding planning, and documenting each decision, I’m completely ready to walk down the aisle. I’m even more excited and ready to reverse the runway as a married woman. The walk back with my groom means our marriage is official!

The second question, however, has required more thought and reflection. I’ve always loved being a “Drew.” I am forever proud of my grandparents who arrived at Ellis Island from Poland and courageously accepted a revised surname with the hope for a bright future. Diereczinski was far too long and complicated. From 1946 forward, my family embraced Drew as a way of life, rather than just a new name.

On June 20th, the Peterman’s will be smiling from the other side of the chuppah. Not long after I met the parents of my prince, John Benner Peterman II let me in on a little family memo. The Peterman’s are perfect and perfection is intimidating!

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Pretty soon I will be sharing everything with my groom.

But, will I choose to share his last name?

So what to do?

  1. Remain married to my maiden name…I do love Drew.
  2. Hyphenate?…Sarah Helen Drew-Peterman (a long, yet wholesome choice).
  3. Drop Drew?…The most common, conservative option, I suppose.

With nine days left and three options calling my name, I have realized that this question is worth careful consideration. Since writing is my passion, line of work and pride, I have considered the possibility of keeping Sarah Drew as my pen name. I know several women who maintain their maiden title for professional reasons, personal preferences, or a little bit of both. A last name does not define a strong, fruitful marriage.

Here’s my final thought: Don’t feel pressured to make a quick decision. Names can change, but hopefully the husband sticks.

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Married in a Month!

When reading my monthly bridal magazines, I immediately flip to the timelines. It is on these particular pages where editors advise brides based on the number of months and weeks before the wedding arrives. Six weeks before the big day, Brides Magazine suggests:

  • Confirming delivery of bridesmaids’ dresses
  • Applying for a marriage license
  • Printing the programs, menus, et cetera.

June/July 2015 issue

Instead of discussing outstanding tasks on my one-month countdown, I have decided to take a different approach. Hopefully my advice will help future brides as they inch closer to the daunting four-week mark.

Here are some thoughts that I have gathered along the way. I discussed these with my mom, a few days ago, after leaving my very last dress fitting. Although I’m not one to dwell on the past, it was interesting to note what we would have done differently had we only known.

If I could start all over (please, no) I would…

Tell a tiny bridal lie about my wedding date.

(A white lie seems most fitting for the bride.)

An extra month can go a very long way. For example, if you’re wedding is set for June 20th, tell vendors it is sometime in May. When alterations are involved, it’s better to have too much time than just enough to sew the very last seam. Some brides are golden with just two fittings, while others require four. In certain cases, like mine, veils need to be special ordered.

Ultimately, the potential for multiple alterations is too great to risk the rush. If a bride happens to finish her fittings one month early, she has an extra four weeks to admire her dress. Lucky me!

Proofread everything one too many times. 

As I writer, I never imagined that I would catch multiple errors on our simple wedding program. For example, since my groom’s name is John, I had not considered the alternate spelling of the very same name, for a very different Jon, both in personality and punctuation. Also, since our program represents an interfaith marriage, many traditions are written phonetically. I recommend that two sets of eyes aside from those of the bride and groom proofread all wedding materials such as programs, welcome notes and names of guests.

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Catching last minute errors with excitement- perfection is possible!

Send Save the Dates.

Way back when, as a naïve newly engaged gal, I decided to skip save the dates all together. I figured filling in close family and friends on the exact date would suffice. Unfortunately, even the most important people don’t always remember things one year in advance. People appreciate the comforts of a tangible date. I recommend sending guests a playful magnetic reminder to decorate their fridge. I would choose something simple that sticks!

Last but not least, always listen to your wedding planner!

Whether you have the fabulous Posh Petal and Pearls team planning your wedding, or possibly your very own mother, listen up! Although the bride and groom are the stars of the show, the wedding planner sits on the highest pedestal. They provide the brains behind the wedding, while the bride provides her very best smile.

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My personal, beautiful wedding planner.

Whether brides have ten months or one month left, wedding planners get the job done!

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Honeymoon Registry

Since our wedding is just forty days away, I haven’t had the time to daydream about our honeymoon. However, just one day after the chaos comes to a bittersweet close, our first adventure as newlyweds will begin. This seven-day affair requires little makeup and far less people. I will leave my ball gown at home.

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Adios!

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/177610779024518818/ 

We will be honeymooning in the Bahamas. Good news: At our resort, with the luxury of a quick shuttle, we can access the waterslides at the Atlantis without any babysitting commitments.

When we revealed our sunny location, a few family members and friends mentioned two honeymoon sites that provide guests with an alternative option for wedding gifts. Both websites titled Wanderable and Honeyfund allow the bride and groom to customize a list of desired activities such as spa treatments, scuba diving, dinner with an ocean view and even a night at a preferred hotel.

At first, I was very hesitant to create a website that essentially asks for vacation perks. With that said, it’s nice to provide guests with another option aside from the traditional wedding registries. I’ve received so many wonderful cooking supplies that I am beginning to feel guilty for completely avoiding the kitchen. Aside from my cookbook titled I Don’t Know How to Cook, I am finally motivated to learn the dials on our oven. Luckily, JB enjoys playing with many of our new gadgets such as the food processor and high tech mixer, while I keep busy arranging our incoming collection of frames.

I suppose, in some ways, I am already prepared for our honeymoon. At my bridal shower, just a few weeks ago, I unwrapped a collection of beachwear from my fashion forward cousins. I received an adorable crop top, fringe shorts and a beach hat. Packing will be easy.

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honeymoon shopping from Topshop.

While I don’t believe creating a honeyfund of sorts is a necessity, I do like the concept.

Below are two sites for honeymooning with a little help:

https://www.wanderable.com

http://www.honeyfund.com

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Table Etiquette

In the world of weddings, seating arrangements are taken seriously. At this point, most if not all RSVP’s are in, and it’s time to seat parents, cousins, friends, friends of friends and everyone in between. For the upcoming Drew/Peterman wedding, we have over two hundred and fifty guests to successfully seat.

Thankfully mom, my wedding planner, is extremely organized and has a thoughtful process for accomplishing every task. The clever MOTB used paper plates and an enlarged version of our wedding list to help place guests. After all names were cut, the slips of paper were clipped to each plate based on tables of ten. Apparently, there are methods to certain aspects of wedding madness.

I’m a bride from the generation of Mean Girls. Don’t misunderstand me- I’ve never been and will never become a mean girl; it’s far from a coveted title. It is, however, a famous movie. If brides-to-be haven’t seen this film by now, don’t bother. However, there’s one line that remains popular and is consistently modified to fit just about every trend.

“You can’t sit with us.”

For example, at Pure Barre some say, “You can’t tuck with us.”

I must admit, although terrible, this phrase applies to weddings. Table etiquette is today’s discussion.

Some seating thoughts for consideration…

Can the bride and groom mix friends with family?

Absolutely. It’s challenging to make separate tables of ten for every category of loved ones attending. We have friends from different walks of life such as high school, college, work and Savannah! Some have met my cousins throughout the years, while others wouldn’t know Betty from Barbara if they guessed.

Just remember: weddings are happy occasions where mingling is encouraged. Making new friends by the end of the evening is a plus.

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my feelings exactly.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/562457440932881258/

How strict are seating cards anyway? Is it acceptable for guests to switch tables?

Aside from the ceremony, weddings are loud, wild and unpredictable! Table cards simply help the rush from cocktail hour to the ballroom appear organized. Seating assignments should not be enforced. I encourage our friends and family members to table-hop. Guests who spend too much time sitting, miss the life of the party on the dance floor.

At our wedding, guests can and will sit with us. In fact, I will be

seated with my groom at a big table of friends instead of waving from a far off sweetheart table.

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Embrace the Mistakes?

…maybe.

On my most recent flight home I spent much of the ride confiding in Leslie, a fellow bride who tied the knot a few months ago. She entertained my to-do list for the takeoff, before providing a piece of advice that no bride ever wants to hear. Apparently, the best thing a bride can do on the big day is maintain a smile, look pretty and “embrace the mistakes.” As my facial expressions suddenly shifted from happiness to horrified, Leslie chuckled and said, “You will thank me come June.”

Hold on posh brides-to-be. I’m the exception, right? I have spent countless hours carefully planning with the mother of the bride to ensure that every plan has a thoughtful back up. The stylists will be on call in case my hair wilts and my eye makeup runs. Even waterproof mascara has its flaws. Also, if the clouds do not cooperate, the ceremony will be moved into the ballroom. I’ve heard that exchanging “I do’s” on a rainy day is lucky. I’d prefer a charm bracelet or something.

Here’s what really happened to my plane buddy. On the day of Leslie’s wedding, one of her bubbly bridesmaids commented on the interesting choice of flower arrangements. A clash was evident. Unfortunately another wedding on the same day, which was already in progress, had swapped flowers. Leslie’s bridesmaids wore  red dresses while carrying bright yellow roses down the aisle. On the upside, the mishap was a conversation starter for guests during the reception!

Flash-forward about one hour: after the big reveal, as the groom approached the bride for intimate pictures, he caught his finger on the corner of a rustic, antique chair. A speck of red landed on the train of Leslie’s dress. Luckily the groom had nine other fingers. The bride made a semi-valid point: there’s just one dress.

As the flight attendants prepared the cabin for landing, I gazed across the aisle with envy. A part of me wished I had been seated one row up, next to an adorable elderly lady. I bet she would have loved the video of my proposal and the pictures from my most recent dress fitting. (I find myself sharing photos of gown with complete strangers. Do other brides-to-be do the same?) #bridalproblems

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Since I can’t show readers my dress (yet), here’s a picture from the shopping excursion.

Although Leslie had no filter, it was slightly refreshing to hear a dose of bridal reality. Here’s the moral: before, during and after the wedding there will be curveballs thrown at the bride. Imperfections are inevitable. Hopefully my florist will take note of multiple weddings on the same day. Since I am marrying my love on the longest the year, hopefully the sun will shine at its brightest and longest. However, if certain things do not go as planned, I will take Leslie’s advice and embrace the “mistakes.” Despite the trivial flower mishap and barely stained dress, Leslie is happily married and still feels as if she is on her honeymoon.

As I walked off the plane, my new acquaintance bid me farewell with the following thought, “Don’t worry, Sarah. Things could always be worse. Remember when Big left Carrie at the altar?”

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I’ll take yellow flowers over this disaster.

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To Splurge or not to Splurge?

…that is the question.

As the wedding date grows closer, I am continuously asked how planning is coming along. As a blissful bride, I tend to answer that question by commenting on the larger tasks, most of which are near completion. These include saying “yes” to the dress, picking a venue, designing invitations, selecting bridesmaid dresses and securing a memorable band.

With that said, there is always another detail on the wedding checklist. For instance, even though the invitations have been selected, we are still in the process of debating a hand calligrapher verses machine calligraphy. Will we order custom stamps or opt for a more traditional style? Even though my dress is currently being made, I have yet to find a flattering veil and attend the first of three fittings. Additionally, although my hair stylist and makeup artist have been confirmed, the upcoming mock trials will determine whether they share my vision. Despite my love of sparkles and bright lips, I tend to apply my own makeup in a similar manner to wedding planning; I proceed with caution, since less is often much more.

In the wedding spirit of “something old” I have turned to Shakespeare for this blog post’s inspiration. The renowned expression, “To be or not to be,” from the play Hamlet will be used in a completely different context as brides-to-be must ask themselves, “to splurge or not to splurge?”

Here’s my guide for brides-to-be who wish to splurge within reason…

Wedding gown: Shakespeare might say, “to splurge!”

I will always remember the day I found the dress of my dreams with my incredible mom. After closing the door on seven boutiques, I found one dress that exceeded all expectations. Saying “yes” to the dress was the second task to be completed on my wedding list after securing the venue. I recommend that brides-to-be spend a considerable amount of time in search of their dream dresses. I have learned that there are plenty of wedding details worth settling for the second best option. A bride’s wedding gown, in my opinion, is well worth the splurge. In the world of fashion I tend to favor the classic pieces in my wardrobe which never seem to go out of style. In the world of weddings, however, wearing a gown on a single occasion leaves everlasting impressions.

Flowers: Shakespeare might say, “not to splurge!”

Although I could spend hours in a beautiful garden, I have come to realize the extensive prices of one too many posh petals. We are currently in conversation with my hometown florist to discuss the best options for creating a romantic ambience of a rose garden, without overwhelming the venue and favoring one area. For example, although I have my heart set on a rose covered aisle, I plan on limiting the number of petals and placing graceful greenery around the wedding party and marriage officiant. I would prefer splurging on flowers in the ballroom, rather than overwhelming the decor for the ceremony. After all, the most important part of walking down the aisle is saying “I Do.”

I am still in the process of selecting the ideal bouquet. Most importantly, I want to avoid anything over the top that could compete or clash with my dress. With that said, a splash of color against a white dress could be quite pretty. My next appointment with the florist is coming up in February- I’ll keep Posh Petal and Pearl readers posted on my final decisions.

The Band: Shakespeare might say, “to splurge!” 

When I think of the big day (everyday), there are two vivid moments that I constantly replay. The first, which I have mentioned countless times, is the heartfelt and incredibly emotional moment when my father escorts me down the aisle. The second occurs when I waltz into the ballroom with my groom as Mr. and Mrs. Peterman. I can already envision my friends and family surrounding the dance floor smiling, dancing and waving their arms in celebration. The band will be instrumental in creating and maintaining an exciting energy throughout the evening.

We want our wedding to be a constant celebration with uplifting voices and instruments that have the power to draw any and every guest to the dance floor. For those who may be attending the Drew-Peterman affair, don’t forget to wear comfortable shoes. Ladies- I am currently searching for the perfect, sparkly, two-inch heels. When the bride chooses to splurge on the band, rather than high heels, it is clear that dancing and singing with the guests of honor is most important.

To be honest, my English professors at Barnard would most likely cringe at my transformation of Shakespeare’s words for use in this weeks post. Considering Shakespeare chose men to play the role of women on stage, I doubt he could relate to the modern day challenges of wedding planning from the perspective of a bride. Regardless of his potential opinions, it’s necessary to think about each task while being mindful of the other expenses on the list. Brides-to-be should ask themselves and consult with their grooms as to whether certain details are worth the splurge. For some women, extensive flower arrangements might trump the dress. Perhaps when I visit the florist in February, my outlook on trimming down the petals will change. However brides and grooms-to-be decide to splurge, it’s imperative to move through the motions of wedding planning with caution.

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Dedicated to an incredible poet, playwright and actor with enchanting prose.

Photo credit: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/163537030191462306/

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Sealing the Envelopes on the Invites

Finding the perfect invitation at first glance was easier than expected. Unlike my dress search, when I entered the invitation shop I had very few ideas and points of inspiration. I knew something classic would work best. After browsing through endless sample books, I found the invitation that seemed to match every detail of our wedding from the color of the bridesmaid dresses to the style of our venue. Unfortunately, nothing in the wedding planning process is a simple as saying “I Do.” After all, when you finally say, “yes” to the dress, you must find the appropriate shoes, jewelry and schedule multiple fittings. Brides-to-be should be forewarned that the invitation process, although exciting, requires great attention to detail.

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The gorgeous MOTB helped me sort through stacks of sample books!

Here are a few things to consider before sealing the envelopes…

Wordiness is never Wonderful

After selecting the invitations, I learned that there are several ways to include all necessary information. For example, there are certain words or phrases that are most appropriate to introduce the parents of the bride and/or groom. But at what point does your invitation become too crowded and wrongfully wordy? When your groom’s name is Doctor John Benner Peterman III, you must keep the rest of the invitation in context.

How many inserts is too many?

After selecting the ideal invitation, I failed to realize the potential for multiple mini inserts. Of course, the guests will need to RSVP with pre-stamped envelopes. Additionally, we are including an information/direction card for guests who are out of state and unfamiliar with the area and venue. And what about close friends and family who will be invited to brunch the following morning? You guessed it; they also need a brunch invitation. I also recommend that the bride and groom include their personal wedding website for further information such as booking hotel rooms. The list goes on, and before we knew it, there seemed to be more inserts than we could count on one hand.

Provide a Personal touch

My favorite part of selecting invitations was designing a personal touch. Although I will not give away the additional gem to our invites (stay tuned for your copy in the mail), I do recommend adding an ounce of sparkle to your choice. Also, while you are working with your preferred stationary company, be sure to inquire about additional elements they may supply. These may include place cards, cocktail napkins, table numbers and matching thank you notes.

If Southern bridal belles are ever traveling to the New Jersey/New York metropolitan area, I highly recommend working with Denise Abramson at Paper Parfait. When you walk into Denise’s office you feel as if you are in a paper palace. Our invitations are scheduled to be mailed in late April and I am incredibly jazzed for the big reveal. Although sealing the envelopes on the invitations is most certainly a process, each visit has been happy, efficient and perfectly bridal.

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Wedding Etiquette- Tone down the Toasts

Every wedding I have attended has been sweet, loving and full of heartfelt expressions from enthusiastic guests. Of course, sometimes there are trivial comments from certain attendees, and the only one I’ve ever made was to shorten the toasts!

Although I enjoy tearing up from the emotional parents of the bride and groom and perhaps one or two from the wedding party, when everyone and anyone makes a toast there’s less time to enjoy the reception and hit the dance floor. Sometimes it becomes harder to participate in the wedding when you don’t have hold of the microphone. And most times, it’s better if you think twice before taking the microphone.

Here are some tips from a bride-to-be who has listened to one too many painful wedding speeches that have unintentionally bored the crowd. For our wedding, which is quickly approaching (less than 200 days away), I am suggesting that our friends and family tone down the toasts.

Speak from the heart…with a notecard

Although I happen to love impromptu thoughts and good wishes, sometimes having a few key words or perhaps a phrase written on a notecard can save the speech from taking an embarrassing turn. With that said, notecards are lightweight, expected and understood as a helpful resource when the spotlight is suddenly shining on a timid bridesmaid in front of three-hundred guests.

Here’s a big one: keep your iPad out of sight. I once went to a wedding where the best man actually read his toast from his tablet. Although I’m not one to criticize technology, considering I take my phone just about everywhere, I do believe that paper is always more proper than staring at a screen.

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If I had to do it over again, I would use a smaller notecard (big paper fail)!

Save the inside jokes for another occasion:

If the majority of the wedding party cannot relate to your speech some level, save the story for a personal card. While writing this post I thought back to one of my favorite films, Bridesmaids, where Annie and Helen engaged in a comedic duel over who knew the bride the best.

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It’s not hard to genuinely regret your wedding toast.

Photo credit: http://www.vh1.com/celebrity/2011-05-18/we-all-liked-bridesmaids-right/

Here’s my suggestion: pop into a library or bookstore to explore old love sonnets and wedding poetry in preparation for your speech. Begin or conclude your toast with wisdom from famous poets and authors whose graceful words will capture what you truly intended to say. Even if you despised Shakespeare in college, he just might rescue you in front of an intimidating audience.

I have seen brides who restrict certain people from speaking. That’s not my style. If I chose someone to be a member of my wedding party, they share a piece of my heart and their words are truly appreciated and welcomed. However, in an effort to avoid lengthy toasts and draining the excitement out of other wedding guests, I am suggesting splitting up the speeches between the rehearsal dinner and reception.

Are brides-to-be in agreement with my plan?

I believe that toasts are essential to weddings, if and only if they can be toned down!

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NAVIGATION