Archive for August, 2008

Tips for engagement pics

Posted on August 29, 2008. Filed under: e-pics |

We received the CD of our engagement pictures a few weeks back, and I love them! Here are my favorites:

I love them all — I love that we look like ourselves but also really cool, I love that we look happy and honest, I love that the colors are so bright and beautiful around us.

So with that, I offer my suggestions for taking great engagement pictures….

On what to wear:

  • Consider your location. I initially wanted to wear something bright blue (I look good in bright blue), but I’m very happy that I chose something very neutral instead. The location colors come through better this way.
  • If you are busty, like me, I highly recommend a black wrap shirt. Unfortunately mine had these ruffly things all the way down the front so the profile pics look a little odd, but the general effect was exactly what I wanted: minimize the boobage, emphasize the waist.
  • I’m glad that while we both wore jeans, they didn’t match.
  • Be honest (and by that, I mean authentic). J’s a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, so he dressed up a bit with a button-down shirt… but still worn casually. I’m a heels and jeans kind of girl, so I went that route.
  • Be sentimental. His jeans are my favorite, and the ones he wore the night we met. I bought him that shirt, and it reminds me of one of my faves. He loves that pair of jeans on me.
  • Personal note for pet owners: dog/ cat hair does not show up in pictures, even on a black shirt, so don’t stress out over it like I did.

On locations:

  • Again, be sentimental and authentic. I love this city, and it’s the city where he grew up, so we wanted something quintessentially Knoxville, and nothing says Knoxville like World’s Fair Park. We also considered the property around our home, but decided that WFP would be cooler when our kids ask about the pics in 10 years (the kids we haven’t had yet).
  • Do some location scouting on your own… especially if working with a novice photog or new location. Walk around together and decide what feels right. We didn’t do this, and while our pics came out beautifully, I wish we’d gotten a few more of the Sunsphere and at least one near the ampitheatre.

On preparation:

  • Come up with a few poses, a few expressions, a few composition ideas… again, especially if your photographer is a bit inexperienced. Our photographer was lovely and produced beautiful pics, but she’s used to working with babies, and you don’t have to direct babies. When we got to WFP, she gave us carte blanche — so we had to figure out our own shots, poses, expressions. Very awkward at first, and the reason that so many e-pics are smoochy. You run out of things to do! Note: even if you’re hoping for mostly candid shots (like I was), you still have to be doing something (ya know, to catch candidly). Think of things to do!
  • Think about a few stories that embody how you feel about each other. That way, when you run out of things to do (call them poses, call them whatever), you can tell your story. Some of our most honest expressions came out of the telling of our “how we met” story.
  • At all times, even when playing around or not posing, look either at the camera or your partner. On close-up, a few of my favorite shots fell out of the running because you can tell we’re distracted or looking at something that just doesn’t “make” the picture.

I love, love, love these pics. I’d never wanted to take engagement pics but a serendipitous craigslist-surfing session combined with all the FIL’s clamoring for pics and my realization that I just didn’t like any of the snapshots we had led to this session, and we’re both so glad we did it.

Now we’re talking about scheduling another session in early spring on our property with the animals!

I have to say, one of the best things about being a repeat bride is that I’ve had a chance to think about what’s important. Things (like this) that I might have blown off the first time (had I known about them) — pictures commemorating a happy moment in our lives — are so important to me, and I’m thrilled that we took the time to do them.

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Engagement picture planning

Posted on August 11, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

We’re having an engagement shoot on Thursday, and I’m so excited!

Because (as usual) J has a lot on his mind, I went ahead shopped for him last weekend. He got a great light blue button down shirt with very faint orange pinstripes — on sale! He didn’t think that he’d like it, but when he put it on he loved it. Cha-ching! One point for the fiance-bargain-shopper. He’ll wear it untucked with rolled sleeves along with my favorite of his jeans – these beat-up ones that he was wearing when we met. He looks GREAT in them.

Now, on to the bigger decision: what will I wear? Initially, I’d planned to wear a black wrap shirt that has a very neat neckline. Then I did some ‘net research (love to you, Evidently, wearing colors is recommended, and most commenters noted that clothing color turned out to be more important than the style.

Before we move on to pictures (yay!), let’s talk a bit about my body. I’m 5’0″, weigh about 120, and am very curvy. Very. Curvy. In fact, I discovered when I was measured for my dress that I’m a perfect hourglass – which means that I’m, um, top-heavy with a small waist and round butt. If I’m not careful about my clothing, I look a) pudgy, b) frumpy, or c) pregnant!

I’m planning to wear dark blue jeans that I already own, much like these:

Banana Republic jeans

I definitely need new shoes (right, ladies?), and I found these at Marshall’s, of all places. The bargain-shopper in me is grinning like a fool, but now I’m not sure if I should be wearing a black shirt anymore.

Steve Madden Luvvy pump
Steve Madden Luvvy pump

So, I’m depending on you all to help me decide. Which do you like best?

A) I generally look good in wrap tops. This top is easily available and inexpensive (heart Target). I think it’ll elongate my neck, and I can wear any ol’ pair of interesting shoes (yay, shoes).

Target Isaac Mizrahi wrap shirt
Target Isaac Mizrahi wrap shirt

B) How cool is this look? I’m not sure I can pull it off, though my hair is short like the model. I think it’s very Hepburn-ish, and I love, love, love the idea.

from Banana Republic
from Banana Republic

c) Also from BR, with whom I have a love-disappointment relationship (love the clothes, always a bit disappointed in the fit), is this top. Simple, sweet, nice color. Too simple? It definitely won’t hang on my body like it does on the model, nor are my arms this thin.

from Banana Republic
from Banana Republic

What do you think? How did you decide what to wear for your engagement shoot? Did you do any research or make a list of specific pictures you wanted in advance?

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Revisiting a decision

Posted on August 10, 2008. Filed under: deciding, reality |

We have revisited (and re-decided) one of our first decisions. In fact, this decision is one of the first we made after deciding to get married. It went something like this:

Let’s get married!

Where? The Clearing behind our house!

When? October, since it’ll be too cold after that!

I’ve had a hard time coming to terms with this fact, but we have too much going on right now. We own two houses, one of which is undergoing major renovations. To compound the pressure, my family (and only my family) live far away, so we were feeling the need to get major work done on our new house before they can stay with us for the wedding. We just got a puppy, and neither of us has ever had a puppy before. J is majorly stressed by the pressure to finish up the work on the other house, and while I can do most of the puppy-raising on my own, I don’t want to plan a wedding on my own, and that’s how it was turning out.

I’d become one stressed out, grumpy, resentful woman at a time when we just don’t need any more stress. The reality is that we don’t have the time or the capacity to joyfully plan a wedding in two months. After much angst and soul-searching, we realized that what we want, more than anything, is to enjoy this whole thing, and imposing a short timeline upon ourselves puts that goal in serious jeopardy.

A great friend of mine advised me, back when I was going through some major drama, that some things can’t be expedited. “It’s a human process, not just a legal one, and those can’t be rushed.” As a project manager, I know that you can push through even the biggest task list or event by prioritizing and planning. However, as a bride, as a woman about to pledge her life to another, I need to take the time to let the process unfold. In addition to being a great party, a celebration of family, and an opportunity to profess your love and commitment to another person, getting married is also about the rite of passage from being single (I am responsible for myself, above all) to being a partner (I am responsible for us, and you, in addition to myself). Respecting the traditions, allowing them to guide you through the emotional aspects of being a bride – this is all important too.

And so, this weekend, my love and I decided to take more time in our engagement and get married next spring. We’re toying with the idea of getting married near our anniversary date (June 10), in fact. I am lucky enough to be loved by wonderful people, all of whom are supporting (and somewhat relieved by) this decision, even though they’re incurring some hefty airline fees.

I am now spending the weekend becoming accustomed to being engaged without the quickly-approaching wedding date looming. My fiance is mowing the grass at a leisurely pace. All is well in the world, again.

Did you have to revisit any of your major decisions? Like me, did you feel relieved once you did?

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The best day of my life?

Posted on August 3, 2008. Filed under: the goal |

I’ll admit, I have little patience for pretense or fuss, and I don’t think that my wedding day should be “the best day of my life.” What a sad thought to spend decades in marriage looking back at the day it all began.

On the other hand, I do want it to matter. I want to feel the awesomeness of the moment as I pledge my life, my future, my love to one single person until I die. In that moment, I want to feel the losses as well as the gains. I want to be aware that I am choosing to never have another first kiss, to sleep with only one man, to be loyal and faithful to one person. I want to knowingly and willingly give up everything I could have for everything I do have. And then, I want to feel the joy of gaining someone else’s loyalty until he dies. I want to want to laugh and run and skip with happiness (happiness I’ve only ever felt with this man). I want to giggle because life’s just so good. And I want to feel the beginning of a new family, of a new life together, of being acknowledged and accepted and ready to move forward as a couple. Not too young, not too fake. Honest.

I thought last night, in the flurry of panicked thoughts, that I want to pledge:

I will be honest, I will be loyal, I will be yours, I will be faithful, I will support you, I will lean on you, I will believe in you, I will believe in us, I will be your proud wife. I will share my people, my life, my love, my pain, my brain, and my heart. I will look forward with you — not back — and I will choose you every day of my life. Together with our god, I ask for help to do and be the best that I can, for you, for us, for our new family.

img from

I suppose that’s a very difficult simple idea. How much simpler can it get? But then, how do you turn that into a wedding?

Here’s how: it’s a party to celebrate all that you are and who you’ll become, together. You acknowledge your past, celebrate today, and rejoice that the future will bring even more. You ask that your friends and family offer wishes and prayers for the success and joy of your family, and you honor them for helping you get this far.  That’s it.  Everything else is a bonus.

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Hello, world

Posted on August 2, 2008. Filed under: general |

Hello, hello! Is there anybody out there? Anybody like me? Are there any brides out there getting ready to get married… (*gasp*) again? The Wedding Industry seems to gloss over the fact that many of us have been married before, and despite failing at it (too honest?… too bad!), we’re finding the hope and courage to try again.

While many of our challenges are no different than any other bride’s (see: family dramas, dress sagas, woe-is-me-I-can’t-decide struggles), we do have unique ones. How do I find peace with my past failings? Is another big wedding appropriate? What if he’s never been married, but I have? How do I deal gracefully with the memories of my first wedding? Can I, should I, must I wear a veil?

I don’t know. Do you? I will be figuring it out as I embark on this journey with my (new) beloved, eyes wide open (and heart racing), knowing well what personal emotional tragedies might befall us but forging ahead all the same.

Hi, my name is Marisa and I am a Repeat Bride.

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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