Planning a Wedding is Like Reading a LOT of Blogs

Yay! Yay! YAY!

Did you SEE The Amazing Race on Sunday? Wasn’t it the greatest finale EVER? Didn’t it totally live up to its AMAZINGness promise? I can’t believe the good guys really won! More excitingly, all three of the top teams were good guys! There was no bad answer! Plus it was such an exciting leg: running! glacier climbing! fish gutting! and a fantastic logic puzzle that totally made me want to be on this show more than ever! And THEN my favorite team really did win — the ones I liked from the very beginning! That is CRAZINESS. That hasn’t happened on this show in AGES. Hooray for The Amazing Race!

And, in the world outside of TV…

Guess WHAT!

We got our professional wedding photos!


I know, you’re probably like OMG NOT MORE WEDDING STUFF SPARE US PLEASE.

But I hope you can bear with me for one more crazy photo-happy wedding post, because when I was working on wedding planning, the first thing I did whenever I had to make a decision was go online and look for advice (especially here). Specifically, I googled all my potential wedding vendors to see if anyone else had posted anything about them, but for the most part I didn’t find much. And I LOVED most of the people we worked with SO much that I’m hoping future brides will do the same thing, find my blog, and be reassured about their fabulousness and hire them instantly and experience a similarly perfect day. 🙂

(And in case, reading this, you think, well, clearly Tui just loves everything: I’m only giving my good reviews here, and keeping any bad ones to myself — I mean, you don’t want to hear about how the Ridgewood Corset Shop was horrible to us and how you should never ever shop there, right? I’m focusing on the positive -– there just happens to be LOTS of positive!)

First of all, our site, the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club, where we had our ceremony and reception:




It’s in the beautiful Berkshire Mountains, where Adam and I went to college, which is why we picked it, and also why we picked October, because we wanted the fall foliage in the background behind us. 

Plus, look! Pretty stairs for pretty photos!

The wedding coordinator at Cranwell, Samantha Talora, is the sweetest, nicest, calmest, smartest, loveliest, most perfect person, and just exactly who you’d want keeping track of all the crazy things that have to happen on your wedding day. Meeting with her was what convinced us to do the wedding there, because we knew we’d be in excellent hands, and all the way up to the wedding she answered my questions and helped me find people and was brilliant and patient with us.

Wheeeee! We’re just like Danny and Anya!

And on the day itself, everyone was SO NICE — all the serving staff introduced themselves and came looking for us with champagne and plates of appetizers and were so perfect and friendly.

Shrimp! California rolls! Teeny tomatoes stuffed with cheese! You are SO my new best friend!

Admittedly, it’s quite easy to make me like you if you follow me around with plates of food, but seriously…they were all wonderful.

And the food was great and the SUNDAE BAR was super-thrilling and it all went really smoothly and everything was beautiful -– we were lucky with the weather, so we could do the ceremony outside…


…and the reception in the ballroom.


So if you’re looking for a pretty place who will make the whole process fun and easy, check them out!

THEN, of course, there was the all-important matter of my dress! Most important decision of all! And one I made much faster than I expected to, because as I may have mentioned before, I am a drrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreadful shopper. Like, seriously awful. I have bought the same pair of black sneakers since high school and those are the only shoes I wear unless something tremendously dramatic happens, like, say, getting married. Registering was like torture for me and Adam, because he’s not exactly shopping’s biggest fan either. Stores! Going outside! PANTS! Yeesh, too much work. This is why we love Amazon. Everything comes to us: perfect.

But you can’t buy wedding dresses on Amazon (yet) (I think) and unlike most shopping, buying a wedding dress is super-fun because EVERYONE looks good in a wedding dress. So I wasn’t dreading the experience, but I did figure it would take forever, because ooorgh, decisions are hard, and surely I’d need to try on every dress in the tri-state area before choosing one, right?

Apparently not! After one brief shopping trip in NY, I went out to NJ and my mom said, “OK, we’re going to this one salon that comes highly recommended, and you’re going to find the perfect dress there, and you’re going to love it, and then we’ll be done.” And I was like, ha ha, sure, we’ll see, but IT HAPPENED!

My magical dress!


Corset back!

Note: This is VERY IMPORTANT! The lace-up back gives you a waist even before the crazy exercise regime! Requires little to no adjusting after the crazy exercise regime! Makes you kind of think hey, maybe corsets weren’t such a bad idea after all! Then, of course, you remember how much you like wearing pyjamas all day, and how pyjamas and corsets don’t so much go together.


And where did I find this magical dress?

Helen Bohn Bridal Salon

To add to the magicalness, everyone there was kind and lovely and remarkable and encouraging and said all the right things and they called me “sweetheart” and bought my books and I just wanted to stay there and hang out with them in my dress all day long. We worked with fabulous wonderful Eve and absolutely adored her. If you’re looking for a dress in New Jersey, start there!

The only downside to the magical dress is that it requires some help lacing it up, which means I can’t put it on while Adam is at work and swan around the house in it. Er, not that I would. 🙂 But hypothetically, it would be very difficult!

One of the easiest decisions we made was our cake. The hard part was deciding whether to have a cake or a sundae bar, but Cranwell wonderfully made it possible for us to do BOTH! so we were able to go to CAKE TASTINGS, which as far as I’m concerned is reason enough to get married.

Except that as soon as we tasted Michelle Bohigian’s cake, we knew we didn’t need to try anyone else’s!


Ridiculously gorgeous! Handmade sugar flowers! Eeeee!

We got one layer of white chocolate cake with a raspberry filling and one layer of coconut with a mango filling, and the smallest layer is for us to eat on our anniversary (extremely fabulous tradition). OMG, I can’t even tell you how much in love with this cake I was. Literally, about a week ago, I was lying in bed trying to think of another reason to order a cake from Something Sweet by Michelle. WANT MORE CAKE. Can we get married again? This cake would so make it worthwhile.

Note the beautiful shiny cake knife Adam’s aunt and uncle gave us!

On the flip side, one of the hardest decisions was our rings. (See aforementioned shopping phobia situation.) I wanted to try lots of them on to make sure I got absolutely the right one; Adam wanted to just pick something and order it online (which, admittedly, worked when he did it for my engagement ring, which is perfect). We compromised with me dragging him around a zillion stores, me not liking anything, me worrying and fretting a lot, and us finally ordering them online about a week before the wedding. Fun!


But eWeddingBands got them to us in no time, and they engraved them for us, too! And they have a huge selection. If you don’t mind ordering your rings online, I’d definitely recommend them, especially if you’re freaking out about a week before the wedding, not that that was us, or anything.

We also got our ketubah online:

Pretty! And spiritual!

at, and they were very careful about double-checking spelling with us and everything, and that also came very fast, so we were totally happy with that.

I had my hair and makeup done at the Cranwell salon, and oh boy, was I panicking about it. I mean, what could be more vital than how my hair looked on my wedding day? IT COULD BE MONSTROUS! A CATASTROPHE! I worried about this perhaps more than anything else, which sounds ridiculous, but as it was sort of out of my hands for so long, there was much to worry about!

Luckily, I thought they did a really splendiferous job, which was an enormous relief.



Sparklies from Helen Bohn; paua shell hair clip from Kari (something borrowed AND something blue!); georgette chiffon veil that matches my dress — from eBay! Amazing!

I’ve mentioned our first dance before (HUZZAH!); the person we learned it from was Michele at Dance in Boston. TOO FUN! She was great and it was SO worth it.

Who’s debonair? THIS guy!

We had a piano player for our ceremony music; he doesn’t have a website, but his name is John Sauer, and he was unbelievably wonderful — he knows everything, but he also learned new music for us because we decided to be picky about what we wanted, and he made time to rehearse with our singer beforehand.

Yes! We had my lovely and outrageously talented friend Dayna sing during the wedding, which is what started me crying and I DIDN’T STOP for the rest of the ceremony. I know, very glamorous. Thank goodness for the wonderful guest who gave me a handkerchief the night before and advised us to put it in Adam’s pocket during the ceremony, “just in case.” Seriously, is she not the smartest person who ever lived? This is a genius idea if you’re ever looking for a good present for a bride.

Our music:

Processional: Claire de Lune, by Debussy
Bride’s Processional (i.e. Tui Demands Something Random): Glasgow Love Theme by Craig Armstrong
Sung by Dayna during Ceremony: Sunshine of Love (I know! how clever are we! sneaking in a Sunshine reference! mwa ha ha! yeah, it’s possible that the lyric “Where there is sunshine, that’s where you are,” is what started the waterworks.)
Recessional: Arrival of the Queen of Sheba, by Handel

We also had my brilliant friend Rachel read a poem (which she did brilliantly, of course) during the ceremony, entitled Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog, by Taylor Mali. OH IT IS JUST AS AWESOME AS IT SOUNDS. Go ahead and read it online. This poet is clearly a genius and should be showered with prizes and fame.

But the most essential part of the ceremony — literally the one thing you can’t do without — is an officiant, and we were so hoping to find a rabbi who would do interfaith weddings and who would give us a warm, joyful ceremony that would reflect exactly how ridiculously happy we are about getting married. So when we found the joyful services of Melissa Wenig, we had a feeling we were on the right track.


And OH MY HEAVENS were we ever! She was phenomenal. Literally, if I tried to tell you how perfect she was, you’d think I was crazy or getting paid by the adjective or something. She met with us beforehand and got to know us and helped us work out every detail and listened to all our concerns and requests and gave the best advice.

(In this photo you can see the handkerchief I am glamorously clutching, because I have been glamorously sobbing all the way through the ceremony.)

Everyone who came up to us at the wedding told us how wonderful she was. She made our ceremony personal, sweet, heart-warming, and funny.

Me cracking up at the funny

If you are even a little bit thinking about using her for your ceremony, DO IT! Pick her! She is AMAZING. You will be THRILLED.

And finally! The gentleman who sparked this post and whose work is featured throughout! Our fabulous photographer, Scott Metzger! We were absolutely thrilled with all our photos and he was lovely to have around all day; he made us all really comfortable and he got all the shots we really wanted, plus a hundred more we never expected but are madly in love with.

Oh, AND! He VERY agreeably agreed to let us include this beloved family member in our formal photos!


Do you want to see the photo that makes me cry every time I look at it? Really? Even though you’ll definitely think I’m a nitwit afterwards?


Here Dad has just walked me down the aisle and is shaking hands with Adam. I love this one (and it makes me cry every time! seriously, I’m crying right now! I’m such a dweeb!) because I think you can tell from looking at it that this is pretty much the happiest moment of my life so far. Oh my GOODNESS.

So, yes, in conclusion, I recommend getting married. Especially because once you’re married, you don’t have to plan a wedding anymore, and that means there’s a lot more time for, say, agility training (she’s a STAR! a STAR, I tell you! she did everything right the first time! fame and fortune, here she comes!), or writing books, or (more likely) watching The Amazing Race and shiny new TV like the BBC’s Masterpiece Theatre Complete Works of Jane Austen, which is running for the next few weeks. Dude! Best idea ever! I’ve only watched the first one (Persuasion) so far but it was quite dreamy. And by “it” clearly I mean “Captain Wentworth,” although of course I don’t think he’s anywhere near as dreamy as this guy:


Oh, and by the way, I wish I could recommend my florist to you (how ridiculously beautiful are these flowers? I DEMANDED fall colors — burnt orange, bright yellow, and deep red — and was surprisingly picky about types — sunflowers yes, tulips no, calla lilies yes, peonies no, roses yes, begonias no — who knew I even had so many opinions about flowers?), but I’m afraid you can’t have her, because she’s my mom and this was a Very Special Favor to me. But I do think she did an amazing job! And was very patient with me! Yay Mom!


SO pretty!

OK, just one more… 🙂

And that’s my big wrap-up/recommendation-palooza. Didn’t you want to know all that?

All this wedding talk makes me think I should tell you about my new book that’s coming out this summer, which is wedding-tastic! So I’ll go unearth the cover and do that in my next post. Hooray!

Quote of the Day: “Only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way; the other, to let her have it.” — Lyndon B. Johnson clip_image001