Monday, October 23, 2006

Name Change - I

Social Security - check
Drivers License - check
Passport - almost there, just need new photos

Now it seems I can't do anything else until those arrive in the mail. So I'm in this weird limbo of being both my old self and my new self at the same time.

Why I Hate Michael C. Fina

The wedding feels like a million years ago already and I have this backlog of posts in my head covering two months of last-minute planning, as well as the aftermath of the wedding. So here begins the series of random posts, not necessarily in chronological order, as they come to me.

Why do I hate Michael C. Fina? They have a plethora of beautiful china, expensive watches, and, most importantly for this story, rings. Admittedly j. and I left the buying of our wedding bands somewhat until the last minute. It was exactly 4 weeks and 4 days before the wedding when we went to the Michael C. Fina store on 5th Avenue. It was raining. I was running late and stupidly decided to take a cab from the office. I had planned on walking, but it was raining too hard. So while j. was waiting, he very patiently carried on a conversation with Max the salesguy, who was every bit a salesguy. Overly friendly, a little bit overwhelming, and filled, just FILLED with wedding factoids. Poor j. But he was very very nice. So by the time I got there, he had found his ring, but wanted me to go first. So Max started out with the bands with the diamonds and being polite, we went along with it, even though we knew I wanted something simple and cheap and plain. Finally I cut him short because I actually had to be in Brooklyn for dinner with friends and didn't have all that much time to kill looking at ridiculously expensive rings I knew I didn't want. I didn't blame Max, though, I know that's how the salesguy thing works.

Finally we found this beautiful Vera Wang band, totally plain, totally perfect. j. showed me the titanium band he wanted and we were done.

Then I very clearly remember Max asking us when our wedding was. I said September 30. He said perfect. I said, when will the rings be ready? He said three to four weeks. I said great.

Visa was being a real b*tch that week and Max had to call them to verify my credit card, which I found really embarrassing, even though I knew I shouldn't have. But it's my complex of feeling like I don't belong in a store like that because I'm not at all rich and we were buying probably the cheapest rings they sold. But the same thing happened when I picked up my wedding dress a few days later and the very kind owner of the store told me it was happening to everyone using Visa that week.

So after three weeks and three days, I called the store to see if our rings were in. They told me j.'s would be in the next day and mine would be in on....wait for it...October 12.

They weren't kidding.

I very calmly explained when the wedding was and how Max had told me it wouldn't be a problem. Max was conveniently on vacation that week, could I please tell them what exactly Max told me? And then the salesperson, who sounded very confused and about twelve years old, told me he would call me back. I swear to God I remained calm. I told myself it was all a mistake and they would call me back very soon to sort it all out. But here's the thing, they didn't call back.

Their terrible customer service came to be the thing that bothered me more them f*cking up the ring order. I called Michael C. Fina four times that day before someone returned my call finally. I just needed to know that they were working on it, that there was a plan of attack here, just anything.

The next day they offered me a loner ring to use for the wedding and then I could replace it with the Vera Wang ring when it came in. The thing is, Vera Wang makes each ring to order, so my ring was still a mass of platinum in it's pre-ring state. I was picturing Lord of the Ring fire pits and Orks hammering away in the background as a posh Vera Wang customer service person told the people at Michael C. Fina they had nothing in the vault for me.

I told Michael C. Fina to f*ck off, though in not so many words. I was actually quite nice. I told them to cancel the order and that was it. Though Max called himself from wherever he was to offer the loner ring. He was about the last person I wanted to talk to. He made me so mad.

Then I ordered the exact same ring from Blue Nile for half the price and it arrived 24 hours later.

You thought the story ended there? Two weeks after the wedding, I checked my credit card account and discovered Michael C. Fina still hadn't credited my account. I had to call them AGAIN. They said there had been some sort of mix up and the accounting department hadn't processed it the way they should have. I couldn't believe it.

Blue Nile over Michael C. Fina any day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Best Bach Party Ever

The other day I referred to my bachelorette party as not really a bachelorette part and I think I broke my friend b.'s heart because she put so much into it. But what I really meant was there were no penises or evil games to be played. The only game being played was minor league baseball! On Coney Island!

Isn't it pretty? And afterwards we rode the Cyclone and woke up with stiff necks the next day. It was awesome.

We also went into Manhatten to go drinking:

Friday night there was Mexican food outside and Sunday morning there was brunch. Jam-packed weekend of fun and by far the best bachelorette part I'd ever been to. Did I mention no penises?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

But which fork do I use?

I haven't posted all summer and the wedding is only a month away, but since my cousin said he keeps checking back only to be disappointed every time, I guess it's about time.

Two cousins got married over the past two weekends, neither of them the one who reads this blog, and now that they're over, our wedding finally feels real. And imminent.

Of all the rituals that I've tried to avoid, feeling that they are unneccessary and just entered into out of some blind devotion to genericism and a general lack of questioning why we do these things, the ones I have been unable to avoid: the program and salad plates. The former I have actually come around to. How else is everyone going to know our readers' names and how else will we express our general gratitude to all in attendance. So, I'm fine with that, finally. Regarding the latter, I realize this is not simply a wedding tradition to have bread plates on the table. But the bread plates have turned out to be the one real sticking point with the woman who handles weddings at the inn.

I hate to give away too many secrets, but maybe I've already talked about this here. We're having a family style meal at our wedding. I know what you're thinking, why has no one done this before? It boggles my mind that this doesn't happen at every wedding. I mean, seriously, you don't have the issue of calling tables up individually to go through the buffet and it's not as formal as the seated dinner - nor do you have to ask people if they want beef or salmon when they send back their reply card. Plus, it's communal. It's fun. It's f-ing genius, in our opinion.

However, not in the opinion of the florist who has to figure out the centerpieces. The thing with the family style meal is that you need lots of room on the table and if you know tables at weddings at all, you know there's no room. The wine glasses, the water glasses, the butter, the salt and pepper, the favors (not for us, thanks) the bread basket - the bread plates! In our quest to make more space on the table, we had to question, why do we need those darn bread plates? The table will have a nice clean, white tablecloth on it, after all. And you always have a big regular plate in front of you. Are our guests so prissy that they really can't stick their roll either on the table itself or on the edge of their plate? I could certainly care less.

Not so the Newagen Inn. Bread plates are absolutely essential. What kind of person doesn't need a bread plate. Bohemians. Low, crass hooligans, that's who. It just can't be done.

So now we're hanging our centerpieces from the ceiling.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Tasting

Memorial Day weekend and we battled the traffic to spend the long weekend in Maine all so we could go to the tasting Sunday evening at the inn. j. was not pleased at having to go, but I insisted it would be fun and, you know, we only get married once. My mom and sister-in-law joined and we took a walk around Boothbay. The inn itself was even lovelier than we remembered and the weather was perfect.

The tasting itself lasted five hours - that's about an hour per course, and also included a wine tasting. First important thing we learned: we don't have to use their wines, as long as they can get the wine we want through their distributor. We've already started a list of wines for them to check on. Second important thing we learned: they're happy to accomodate family recipes. The family recipe for mac & cheese is on its way.

The chef at the inn has only been there for two weeks, so I'd like to cut him a little slack. It must be tough creating six courses for 50+ people. But maybe this chef was trying just a little too hard to impress us. Better to keep it simple - at least that's the theory we're using when we create the menu. While we won't be ordering much of anything we tasted on Sunday night for our wedding, I think it was a good learning experience. Now we know what we DON'T want.

And yes, it is awkward hanging out with a bunch of other people who are getting married at the same place in the coming weeks. At our table was the couple getting married hte week before us. They're actually already married, having already had one wedding in the fall with her family. Then there was also a bride getting married August 5th at the inn's sister hotel down the street. She came to the tasting by herself and all I could think was: brave, brave girl.

Last important thing we learned: family style can and will be done.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Interview

My friend K. came down from Boston last night to interview j. and I for a art piece she is working on. I can't say I truly understood what we were getting into before she arrived, but I had offered up our services simply because she's a good friend and I would do anything to help her, in her career or otherwise. Plus, I think she's an incredibly talented artist.

Turned out the interview - video-taped - was not so painful. The point of K.'s piece (I think) is to comment on modern-day weddings and how family dynamics are played out in the context of ceremony. How are tensions eased or magnified in certain situations, how do the organizers anticipate these, or not, etc. K. asked j. and I all about our wedding plans and engagement history. Turns out we're pretty boring. Our families get along, both with each other and within themselves. We like each other's friends. At the end of the interview we were searching for some tensions to make K.'s ultimate video more interesting. I think j. even tried to take a jab at my mother, but even he knew that was pointless. My mom has been amazing; I even sent her a thank you email the other day for being so calm and helpful and indulgent.

So we turned the camera off and got ready to go to dinner and then j. remembered that I had had a meltdown, my only one so far. So we turned the camera back on and I explained my meltdown, which mostly had to do with my having been sort of drunk and uninformed. Again, not that interesting.

So while K. didn't get much out of the whole thing, j. and I realized (once again) how good we have it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Up to Speed

My mother sent me a hilarious document via the inn at which we're having our wedding. They called it "Getting Up to Speed" and asked such questions, as "Will you be tossing your garter?"

To which I said, "Absolutely not."

Nor will I be tossing the bouquet or cutting the cake. We will not be "announced," though the inn didn't actually ask us this.

I did give them our "DJ's" phone number. I hope they don't actually call him. He's not really a DJ. He's my brother's friend who's into music and has a pretty stacked iPod.

I can't wait for the final response to the request for a family-style meal. They might think it's not happening, but it's happening.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


Whenever I get stressed out with work or school or wedding stuff, I start researching our honeymoon. So far it's been the best part of the planning. I found a great web site yesterday: Mexico Boutique Hotels. j. and I kept passing the computer back and forth trying to figure out which one we liked best.

We decided on Mexico because it's close and easy. Is that lazy of us? At first I thought we'd go to someplace like Oman or, j.'s favorite, the Maldives. When are we going to be able to take a 2 week vacation again? But money and time suddenly feel like they are of the essence. We just want to get someplace and start the relaxing. We'll save the Maldives for when we're rich and retired.

This is not to say that Francis Ford Coppola's places in Belize are out of the question.

Surprisingly, out of all my many searches so far, Conde Nast's Concierge has been the most helpful.

So basically: Mexico (or Costa Rica or Belize), secluded, beach, quiet, a waitstaff who will bring us drinks, hammocks, a pool, good food, and I could really go for a massage when we get there. Oh, and sorta cheap. Is that too much to ask?

Suggestions welcome.