Friday, September 28, 2007

Modern Bride magazine article

It's slated for the February issue right now, and you can bet Paul and I will be reaching for the newsstands when we get word it's in. I'm talking about the Modern Bride article I was interviewed for the past few days. It started out as an email inquiry from a journalist named Brooke Showell, who was writing an article for Modern Bride about the issue of borrowing other brides' ideas. She wondered, since this blog is so detailed and transparent, if I was worried about other soon-to-be-marrieds seeing my ideas and copying me. I told her, basically, that that's kind of the point; that I'd be more than happy to help other brides or grooms copy my ideas (and if they don't want to make the items themselves, of course, I'm here to help on that front, too!). My email response to her query is as follows:

Hi, Brooke!

So glad you found our wedding blog! I hope it is good reading...

One of the reasons we did post such detail was so other people could borrow the ideas if they wanted to. I find that in the blogosphere, the more territorial you are about ideas or such, the less it works. The blogosphere is all about transparency and sharing and conversing with people. So if a bride finds something I did and wants to use it for her own, I'd be happy and kind of touched to hear she did. No permission
necessary. I think that's kind of an unwritten rule among bloggers.

The only things I didn't post pre-wedding were surprises for the guests. I didn't tell too many people what Paul's and my first dance was going to be (Disco Inferno faded into I've Got a Crush on You) or that we were going to be releasing monarch butterflies. I didn't post surprises on the blog (but am working on getting all that up on the blog now, after the honeymoon) because I knew that several attendees were reading the blog regularly and I wanted to maintain that certain small level of
secrecy until the Big Day to them.

That being said, I just posted the entire playlist for the whole reception with the idea that someone may not have to do the 7 months of work I did to find, gather, and put into order the music for their "iPod wedding." I was looking for something like that list of songs when I was working on the playlists, so I hope someone does copy it if they like some of our selections. That being said, just because of music rights
laws and such, I can't actually GIVE them the music; but it's a start.

Also, I have to say, some of it is kind of self-serving. I'm trying to build up my Frames By Dana business, and I've added quite a few products in working through the wedding details. If someone wants to copy my guest books, for instance, but doesn't want to go through the work of making them themselves, they can contract me to do it for them. This is an angle I haven't made exactly obvious yet on the blog (frankly, because I didn't have a lot of time for that business while I was planning the wedding and it takes some
development), but I will now that it's all done.

Please let me know if you need anything else! I'm happy to chat about this with you! And please also let me know when your article will be published.

I hope my point of view helped.

--Dana Gillin

She asked then if she could call me to talk further. So we set up a time for yesterday afternoon and she gave me a ring and asked me some more questions. I told her about the idea I "stole" from Brett and Sara's wedding 2 months before mine -- to make the program a fan, which comes in handy on a hot summer day. TG for my brother's earlier wedding! Brooke seems like a wicked nice person -- truly interested and realizes how lucky she is to be writing about such a fun subject! She said the article is currently slated for publication in February's issue of Modern Bride, but we'll see how that goes. I know, having worked in the mag biz, how you sometimes have to push out articles for the sake of space or breaking news or something, so I'll keep you blog readers posted on the progress.

Who knows if I'll actually get quoted, but even being found by a journalist in the space and asked a few questions about the blog was a huge hoot! Thanks for the thrill, Brooke!

Now Paul's calling me his new influencer... I think he's kinda proud of me. :-D

What I put in our out-of-town wedding guests' welcome bags

  • votive holders and votive candles (and matches) for the couples
  • a bag of snacks (TGI Friday's Potato Skins, or the like)
  • granola bars -- I think I tried for 2 for each person for each morning they were staying
  • bottles of water -- 1 per person
  • a bag of Pepperidge Farm cookies -- Nantucket and Sausalito, I believe
  • body lotion or shower gel or something "girly" along those lines
  • room/linen spray in some romantic flavor -- lavender or rose, I think I chose
  • a package of mints
  • a package of cocktail napkins

For the kids' bags, I tossed in anything I thought they'd like. Coloring books and crayons, activity books, glow-in-the-dark light sticks, rolls of paper to write on, stuffed animals, I can't remember the rest, but you get the idea.

Interesting Google results

If you Google "wedding kiss with tongue," one of our posts comes up as the 11th result.

If you Google "funny wedding blog," one of our posts comes up 3rd. But only on On, it's 14th.

If you Google "things to put in wedding guest welcome bags," one of our posts comes up 6th. Which reminds me, I haven't posted about what was in those bags... Next post!

How do I know these things? Because our tracking system shows where people have come from and what searches result in visitors to the blog. Pretty cool -- this age of technology!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Blueberries in champagne

One idea I had was to incorporate the blue theme into the champagne toasts with a few blueberries in each glass. It was a full two weeks after the wedding that I realized that we forgot to implement this particular detail.

Funny how the big picture just takes hold of you when you're in the middle of it and you forget all the things you had spent so much brain power on for so many months. What was I thinking when Bill and Maggie were giving the toasts? I was thinking about what good friends they are and how they both truly understand Paul and me and how fortunate we are to have them in our lives. I was not thinking about the missing blueberries.

Music we played for the wedding

One of the last tasks I did the last week before the wedding was to burn CDs for all of the guests at the rehearsal dinner and then bundle them in ribbon. There were 7 CDs in all and included every song on the playlists, except for 2. Here's what the cover of the first CD looked like:

And here are the songs we played (each playlist was cut short bc of time, but I needed each playlist too long rather than too short, should the schedule for the day not fit exactly to the plan):

Frank Sinatra -- Love and Marriage
Harry Connick, Jr. -- All These Things
Dean Martin -- Memories are Made of This
Jane Monheit -- Embraceable You
Louis Armstrong -- Fantastic, That's You
Michael Buble -- Money Can't Buy Me Love
Harry -- Just Kiss Me
Frank -- NY, NY
Ella Fitzgerald -- 'Deed I do
Dean -- You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You
Michael -- Feeling Good
Harry -- A Blessing and a Curse
Jane -- I Won't Dance (or Ella and Louis)
Frank -- I am Loved
Tony Bennett -- I Left My Heart in San Francisco
Louis -- Give Me Your Kisses
Michael --You and I
Ella -- Blue Skies
Frank -- My Kind of Town
Harry -- Something You Got (from Oh, My Nola)
Louis -- Sunshine of Love
Dean -- That's Amore
Ella -- I'm Getting Sentimental Over You
Michael -- The More I See You
Jane -- Taking a Chance on Love
Frank -- You Make Me Feel So Young
Louis -- What a Wonderful World
Jane -- In the Still of the Night
Harry -- Come By Me
Michael -- Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Louis -- Dream a Little Dream
Frank -- I've Got You Under my Skin
Michael -- Fever
Harry -- On the Street Where You Live
Ella -- I'm Just a Lucky So and So
Frank -- -- Night and Day
Jane – Honeysuckle Rose
Michael -- You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine
Harry -- Recipe for Making Love
Ella -- You're my Thrill
Tony -- Just in Time

Tavares -- Disco Inferno then
Frank -- I've Got a Crush on You

Celtic Folk – Blushing Bride

City of Angels Soundtrack -- City of Angels
Moonlight Sonata
Forrest Gump Suite
Beauty and the Beast Soundtrack -- Be our Guest
Mehndelssohn –- Midsummer Night's Dream
Mozart -- The Marriage of Figaro -- march
Fiddler on the Roof Soundtrack –- Wedding Dance
Glenn Miller -- String of Pearls
Pink Panther Soundtrack -- Theme
Vivaldi –- The Four Seasons
Harry Connick, Jr. -- Muskrat Rumble
Handel –- Music for Royal Fireworks
Mozart –- Eine Kleine Nachtmusik
Pink Panther Sndtrk -- It Had Better Be Tonight (instrumental)
My Fair Lady Soundtrack –- Embassy Waltz
Mozart -- The Marriage of Figaro -- Overture
South Pacific Soundtrack -– Symphonic Scenario for Concert Orchestra
Louie Armstrong -- Basin Street Blues
Harry -- Music, Maestro, Please

Corinne Bailey Rae –- Put Yr Records On
Abba -- Dancing Queen
Chicago -- Beginnings
Shania Twain –- From this Moment
Nat and Natalie King Cole -- Unforgettable
Glenn Miller -- In the Mood
B52s –- Love Shack
Earth Wind and Fire -- Got to Get You Into My Life
Chicago – Color My World
Billy Joel -- Just the Way You are
Iz – Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World
Stand By Me -- Great Balls of Fire
Huey Lewis and the News -- The Power of Love
Harry -- Only You
Frank -- The Best is Yet to Come

The Beatles -- Birthday
Frank –- What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?
Harry -- I Only Have Eyes For You
James Taylor –- How Sweet it is
Faith Hill –- This Kiss

Grease Soundtrack –- You're the One that I Want
Haiducii -- Numa Numa
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy -- You and me and the Bottle makes 3
Billy Joel -- She's Always a Woman
Edwin McCain –- I'll Be
The Clash -- Rock the Casbah
Bobby McFerrin –- Don’t Worry Be Happy
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack -- Stayin' Alive
Beatles –- Ob-La-Di
Augustana –- Boston
Neil Diamond –- Sweet Caroline
Fleetwood Mac -- You Make Loving Fun
Chicago –- You're my Inspiration
Frank -- The Way You Look Tonight
Steve Miller Band -- Dance, Dance, Dance
Swingers Soundtrack -- I'm Beginning to See the Light
Ready to Wear Soundtrack -- Here Comes the Hotstepper
Harry -- A Wink and a Smile
Howie Day -- Collide
Footloose Soundtrack -- Footloose
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy -- Go Daddy-O
Prince -- Little Red Corvette
Phenomenon Soundtrack -- Crazy Love
Billy Joel -- She's Got a Way
Abba -- Take a Chance on Me
Earth, Wind, and Fire -- Sing a Song
Forrest Gump Soundtrack – Sugar Pie Honey Bunch
Elton John – Blue Eyes
Harry – Jill
Swingers Soundtrack -- Knock Me a Kiss
Bodyguard Soundtrack -- Queen of the Night
Tower of Power -- (To Say The Least) You're The Most
Beatles -- Something
Billy Joel -- And So It Goes
David Bowie – Let's Dance
Cherry Poppin' Daddies -- Zoot Suit Riot
Devo –- Whip It
REO Speedwagon –- Can't Fight This Feeling
Jim Croce –- Time in a Bottle
Footloose -- Let's Hear It For The Boy
Steve Miller Band -- The Stake
Beatles -- I Want to Hold Your Hand
Stevie Wonder -- You Are the Sunshine of my Life
Harry -- She Belongs to Me
Bodyguard -- Lovely Day
Stevie Wonder -- Signed, Sealed, Delivered
Ready to Wear -- Natural Thing
Sound of Music – Something Good
Billy Joel -- To Make You Feel my Love
Steppenwolf -- Wild Thing
Paul Simon -- Father and Daughter
Chicago -- Color My World
Bryan Adams -- Everything I Do (I Do It For You)
Pajama Game Soundtrack -– There Once Was a Man
Beatles -- She Loves You
Earth, Wind, and Fire -– Reasons

Harry Connick, Jr. -- Save the Last Dance For Me
Michael Buble -- Fly With Me
Harry -- It Had To Be You
Celtic Folk -- Here's to Time
Frank Sinatra -- The Last Dance

All in all, what's listed there is 9 hours of music. Like I said, the hardest part of this task was not accumulating all the possible songs, it was narrowing the list down. There's about 18 more hours of music that I didn't include that we had listed.

Deciding on an "iPod wedding" definitely entailed MUCH more work than if we had hired a DJ or a band or even, as Sara and Brett did, get a jukebox. But for all the work of selecting and ordering the music, it was worth it.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Honeymoon in France: highlights

After spending many hours planning our honeymoon in France, it’s ironic that the highlight of the trip turned out to be a spur-of-the-moment choice. This was Perouges, a tiny walled town about 50 miles north of Lyon that is the best preserved medieval village I have ever seen. Perouges is so perfectly medieval, in fact, that I almost expected to peer behind the exposed beam walls of the tiny houses and find a Hollywood set crew.

We found Perouges quite by accident. We decided to cut short our stay in Lyon (see the upcoming post: France Lowlights) and selected Perouges out of our guidebook as a promising visit nearby. When we arrived, the town was swarming with tourists, but by 6 p.m., it was almost deserted. We elected to stay at the Ostellerie du Vieux Perouges, which is one of two small hotels in town, and we were glad we did. Our room was in a 14th century building. It was reached by climbing a long circular stone staircase. Venturing out into town at dusk, we were able to experience the delights of this historic town unfettered by tourists.

Perouges is so perfectly medieval that it has been used as the site for several films, including The Three Musketeers in 1973. What appears to be perfect preservation is actually the result of a century of restoration. The town had fallen into disrepair in the early 20th century when a local benefactor made a commitment to restore it. They’ve done a remarkable job. While a lot of the appearance of the town today is the work of 20th century craftsmen, many of the original buildings are still standing.

I took over 30 photographs, but no film can capture the charm of this remarkable village. If you are ever traveling through Burgundy, do make it a point to stop there. It is an experience you will never forget.

Other highlights of the trip:

Beaune is a bustling and beautiful old walled city that features many delightful winding streets and some striking architecture. The highlight was the Hotel Dieu, a 15th-century hospital built to treat the poor. Its brilliantly colored tiled roof is world-renowned and there is a very nice walking tour that takes you through many of the old facilities. In fact, part of the hotel is still in use today as a retirement home. We also encountered our best hotel value here: Hotel Le Home. We rented a very large and comfortable room for only €75, and the proprietor and his wife couldn't have been more hospitable.

Sens is a lovely old town about 40 miles south of Paris. We had intended to stay overnight there, but were disappointed to find that all the rooms in town were booked. We would've liked to have spent more time there enjoying its impressive town square and cathedral. Instead, we put in at Joigny, which is a pleasant little town with a beautiful cathedral perched high on a hill. We enjoyed walking around the windy streets, admiring the beautiful flowers and the river which flows through the center of town.

Two hotels were also highlights. The Chateau d’Ige came highly recommended from Internet reviews, and we could see why. The hotel dates from the 12th century, although the original building was destroyed and rebuilt some 300 years later. There are three magnificent round towers and stone construction that is very reminiscent of a medieval castle. Our room was huge, with stone walls covered in a beautiful fabric that reminded us of the apartments at Versailles.

Our last night was spent at Chateau de Vault de Lugny, a huge country manor with a 14th century wall and real working moat. This is the closest I've ever come to staying in a real castle. At €225, the Ch√Ęteau was the most expensive hotel on our trip, but some experiences are so memorable that they're worth the cost.

Speaking of expensive, our dinner the final night was at a restaurant that the guidebook described as the finest in Burgundy. We couldn’t validate that comparison, but there’s no doubt it was the best dinner we had in France. Of course, at €511, you’d hope it would be.

No, that’s not a typo. Dinner for two at l’Esperance in Vezellay cost over $700. That’s actually not uncommon for French haute cuisine and I have to say this experience was worth the cost. The nine-course meal was treat for the senses in every respect. A layered beef appetizer, for example, was topped by a thin disk of beef aspic and drizzled with a delicious sauce painted in a swoosh fashion. The soup was delivered in a tilted glass bowl and mixed at the table by the waiter. There were no less than nine desserts, all small and all delectable. Service was impeccable. A bonus was having the chance to meet the chef, Marc Meneau, who is a bit of a legend. He came out of the kitchen toward the end of the meal and visited with each of his patrons. Nice.

Some experiences are worth the price.