Groomswear: Check!

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

It was back in late August of last year that we sorta, kinda, half-way shopped for Mr. Road Trips suit of choice for the wedding. We looked, found out some info, thought we knew the direction we were going in and then promptly let it drop. By June of this year I was getting pretty antsy to get some decisions made so we set out with the goal of not coming back without a suit purchased. I was armed with all sorts of discount offers (it being two weeks ’til Father’s Day–perfect suit-buying time, by the way) and sale info, and we ended up needing not one bit of it.

Our first stop was back to Men’s Warehouse (which could have been called Men’s Mad-house, this day) and what to our wandering eyes should appear but pretty much the perfect suit for our mid-day nuptials.

Pronto Uomo Vintage Two-Button Notch Lapel Suit  | image via Men's Warehouse

Pronto Uomo Vintage Two-Button Notch Lapel Suit | image via Men’s Warehouse

Since they only had the one sample suit on display (and not in Mr. RT’s size) I wasn’t able to see it on him but we did remember to at least hold up the fabric to his skin to make sure it didn’t turn to some gawd-awful olive the way some of their taupe suits did on the last visit. We chose an ivory shirt instead of the white and the jury’s still out whether he’ll wear the vest or not (I like the idea of him wearing it, we’ll probably wait and see how it all looks in person the week of the wedding before making the final call).

While a suit rental usually comes with everything needed, they didn’t have anything other than the black or white shoes for rent, so we opted out of that, as well as the tie as we were finding nothing there that we liked with this suit option. Before we could scoot out of there, smugly satisfied that our errand had gone so smoothly, they had to do some measurements and such, and this time I did manage to get pictures!

Mr RT and our very dapper sales associate,

Mr RT and our very dapper sales associate, Joshua

After this is was all over but the tie, right? We went through so, so many men’s departments at the mall that afternoon looking for a tie. Purple was not a colorway easily found and when we did, it was frequently paired up with greys and blues–not what we were going for–and usually in the $60 range. T’s office is fairly casual, so spending $60 on a tie we weren’t all that crazy about wasn’t all that appealing.

Finally, on our way to the car, we stopped in one last, little shop, the kind of shop where all sales are final and you never know what you might find, what we found was pretty much the perfect tie and pocket-square combo for $20. Sold!

Accessories done!

Accessories done! (The background checks on the tie are brown, even though they look a little grey in this photo)

Add to that Mr. Road Trip’s recent acquisition of a new pair of brown dress shoes and he’s officially good to go.

While we had seriously considered purchasing a suit for him, he really wouldn’t have gotten much wear out of it, so renting made more sense at this stage of the game. I know there are some very dapper grooms among the hive, ones that are deeply invested into their celebratory threads, but I have to say I’m kind of glad Mr. Road Trip isn’t one of them.

Get an Eye on This: Firmoo Review

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

We signed our photography contract in October and I really, really wanted to set up our engagement shoot for the same weekend 2012 as our wedding would be 2013, kinda get an idea of just how everything would most likely be 1-year out. After all, one of the perks of signing with Honey Lake Plantation is that using the grounds for engagement pictures is included in the contract, might as well make the best use of it!

Unfortunately we’d left it until too late and not only was Kara (our photographer) unavailable but there were events on her available weekends for the rest of the month. It just wasn’t going to work out before the holidays, so we went for the next best thing: Saturday, January 12th.

Now, we’d scheduled this with plenty of time to spare, so what was I doing New Year’s Day?

Realizing that neither Todd nor I had done anything about our glasses situation, that’s what.

Here I was, 12 days out from our shoot and I still had major glare to deal with and some semi-distracting frames, and Todd still had those Transitions lenses. Todd was going to need a new prescription and while he tried to get an appointment in the coming week it just wasn’t going to happen fast enough. He had a plan B, though: stunt glasses! Sure, they were just reading glasses that he couldn’t actually see much through, but they’d do for the photos without darkening in the sun.

I, on the other hand, decided to take a chance with an online site I’d heard good things about from some other bloggers:

Like many online eye wear companies, Firmoo offers designer frames at low prices. And like some, they also have a deal for first-time customers (there were big banners while I shopped with the offer and code “firmoofree”; always verify for yourself, though, as that could change). In this case, it’s your first pair of frames free–you just pay for the lenses, any special requests, and shipping.

Knowing that one of my wish list items was some low-profile glasses–the kind that wouldn’t obscure my eyes or take attention from the rest of my face–I focused (hah!) on their wireless frame selection and went with the “Sarah Palin” style (0212P, can’t seem to link directly to it, so they might be out of stock) since it came in a width that I needed and an unobtrusive gunmetal color for the bridge and arms. Size selected (based on the arm length and frame width information on my current glasses), I entered the prescription information from my last check up (in April) and that was most of it. The only thing I had to figure out on my own was Pupil Distance–the actual width, in millimeters, between the center of your pupils. Usually the optometrist does this when they fit you for glasses and it’s something you can request to be on your prescription, but you can also do it yourself.

It just takes you, a mirror, and a ruler with millimeters on it, plus the ability to look straight ahead and down sort of at the same time. It doesn’t hurt to get a friend to help, but I was impatient so managed on my own.

I was a little worried about them getting to me on time, so I paid for the Express Courier Service ($12.95) figuring I might cut it close but it should still be okay. After the first-frames-free discount ($38–a steal even if I’d had to pay full price, considering my last frames I paid around $200 for) my total, with shipping, was only $42.85, a price worth the risk of ordering from an unknown entity.

The glasses arrived in their case, with a cleaning cloth and wrapped in bubble wrap inside and out.

The glasses arrived in their sturdy case, with a cleaning cloth and wrapped in bubble wrap inside and out.

My glasses arrived on January 9th after coming all the way from Japan–good thing I went with the express service! They also took some serious getting used to. I thought frameless glasses meant they’d just have the little fishing line-type of bands around the lenses–I never even thought about how the bridge attached. And how it attached is with two bolts into the corners of the lenses and, at first, those two center bolts were really distracting, especially when I was working in the computer.

But, just like anything else, you get used to your new normal pretty quick and I didn’t feel the need to make use of their 3-day return window.

Little bits and pieces to keep your glasses in proper working order.

Little bits and pieces to keep your glasses in proper working order.

Speaking of those bolts, apparently they can come loose easily (though I haven’t noticed it happening to me, yet) so Firmoo kindly includes a little key chain-addable all-in-one tool to tighten them up, along with some extra screws and nose pads. They were tucked inside a black drawstring pouch that also held my receipt and some wear and care instructions. I thought that was pretty thoughtful.

And how did they do for pictures?

Jenn & Todd at Secret Headquarters

Photo by Pink Shutterbug Photography

The last thing I’m noticing in this one is that I’m wearing glasses at all, so I call that a win!

Pretty Book and Flower Icon


Would you order glasses online without being able to try them on first?

+1 Sparkly Cardigan of Arm-Covering

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

Like a lot of plus-sized brides, I’m not a huge fan of my upper arms and wear half to full sleeves pretty much year-round. The thing is, it’s not so much the size of my arms that bugs me the most, it’s the pale-yet-blotchy skin tone that makes me feel more comfortable with them covered. That and my nervous habit of scratching at my arms if they’re not covered (which doesn’t help the blotchy skin tone).

All that to say, I knew from the beginning that I would be wearing a sweater, shrug, or bolero along with my wedding dress. And that I shopped for my dress with an eye towards compatible necklines.

Since I am most comfortable in knits, and I do knit from time to time, I figured I’d be happiest if I knit my own shrug, etc. and began looking for suitable patterns ages ago. Thanks to Duchess Katherine’s second wedding look (which included a cropped angora jacket over her evening dress), Vogue Knitting dreamed up a close-enough version and offered it as a free download. As usual, the sizing wasn’t quite right for me as written, so I decided to give the pattern a go in a larger, less fuzzy yarn and different needles and see how close that got me.

Color me shocked when my test-run turned out to be a pretty close match to the shade of dress I ended up choosing, and that the pattern adjustment was just right. Happy accident, that! All that was left was some sparkle to make it wedding-worthy.

Beaded trim, if you’ve never priced it yourself, is damned expensive. For good reason, mind you; it takes a lot of work, usually by hand, to achieve just the right look, but I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned that we’ve got more time than money to put towards this wedding, and I’m already pretty adept with several styles of beading.

a beaded portrait (personal photo)

a beaded portrait (personal photo)

Since we Road Trips have a standing date with our DVR on Friday nights, I’ve been working on the necessary length to edge my cardigan (a little over a yard) during those date nights–it’s nice to have something to do with my hands while we’re otherwise vegging out.

I’ll do a better how-to of it in another post, but this beading took somewhere between 15 and 20 hours to complete. I’d have to check my receipts to see how much it cost me, but I know I’ve only used half the beads I purchased (I want to do more trim for the dress, plus a belt) and I doubt I’ve spent more than $50 total, so maybe $25 in materials, but something like $300 in time (at a rate of $20 an hour–not that high for custom hand-work).

Look at it sparkle! (personal photo)

The finished trim–look at it sparkle! (personal photo)

Even though I pinned out the length of ribbon I’d need to bead to trim the sweater, after hanging for a little while the neckline had “grown” as can happen with knits. It took a couple of tries before I got the trim and knitting to match up correctly without the body of the cardigan puckering, but it worked out in the end.

You can see some of the puckers on the right that I hadn't quite fixed yet.

You can see some of the puckers on the right that I hadn’t quite fixed yet.

To make sure the beading held to the knitted edges, I placed another length of ribbon on the back side of the knitting so that the trim would have something sturdier to anchor to. This also had the effect of stabilizing the edge of the sweater–it was curling in before the trim was added.

This is what it looks like from the inside of the sweater's edge.

This is what it looks like from the inside of the sweater’s edge.

And here she is, all ready for wearing!

All done! and, see, no puckers!

All done! and, see, no puckers!

A close-up of the beading along the neckline.

A close-up of the beading along the neckline.

One of the major “rules” about bridal diy is that you don’t plan something that means acquiring additional skills or expensive equipment. Thankfully this project required neither, just a lot of time.

Have you undertaken any ambitious diy projects lately?

Dorothy Parker Lied

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning
digital collage by Miss Road Trip

digital collage by Miss Road Trip

You know the rhyme, right?

Men seldom make passes

at girls who wear glasses.

Passes were, thankfully, never really a problem (though I did have one male roommate do a bit of a double-take when I finally got contacts for a spell).
I wear glasses. Big deal. So does Mr. Road Trip for that matter, and aside from the occasional nose-smudge or necessity of a head-turn during a hug, it’s no problem on the day-to-day.

And, yet, they are bringing up a couple of thinking points when thinking about the wedding.

My first wedding my glasses weren’t quite the necessity that they are today: I just took them off and didn’t worry about it. The second wedding was an elopement and I may have been wearing contacts back then. I know the photos we went for after the quickie courthouse ceremony were spec-free, so I definitely didn’t wear them!

Why is this such a big deal? I love my eyes but they’re not huge, limpid pools and, being nearsighted, the lenses make them look even smaller. Eye make-up becomes practically non-existent behind them, lashes too.

This mucks about with my eye-deas of how bridal eyes should look. Not to mention the glare from the sun or lights that gets reflected in them. They also tend to get in the way of certain side-swept hairstyles.

I suppose I could go back to contacts for the ceremony and reception. Sure, it’s another thing to add to the list and another expense, but I’d get my pretty eyes out of the deal. Worth an extra $100 expenditure? Maybe. But then would I look like “me” since the real me is a glasses any time I’m awake sort of girl.

You know, guys have it so easy–

Except that Mr. Road Trip wears those transitions lenses that go dark in sunlight and unless something changes it’s going to look like he’s wearing smoked lenses for the pre-wedding and ceremony.

What’s a four-eyed-girl and groom to do?!

What I’ve settled on is, first, getting new lenses. I had my eyes checked last spring and my prescription hasn’t changed, but when I got these lenses I passed on the anti-glare coating. Back then it wasn’t such a big deal–I wasn’t exactly getting my photo taken a lot. But  with the anti-glare on the new lenses, the glasses will blend into my face much better, and you’ll actually be able to see my eyes and my carefully-considered eye make-up. And speaking of make-up, I’m probably going to forgo false lashes–I love the look but they’d likely brush against the lenses and that would drive me batty. Instead, I’ll concentrate of mascara that makes my lashes look fuller and just leave it at that.

T’s going to get new lenses, too, as we agree the transitions lenses are a bad idea for wedding photos. (And life in general–they darken quickly but take forever to clear up, and don’t darken in the car when he could actually use them!) He’s overdue for an eye exam, though, and fears bifocals may be in his near future. If so, it’s better than not seeing at all, right?

Did you have any non-traditional concerns when planning your own wedding?

It’s More Than Just the Dress

Third Time Wife, Wedding Planning

With the dress procured, what else to wear was still up for debate.

Let’s start from the bottom and head up.

When I tried on my dress I was wearing 3″ heels (pretty standard for me) and they were just about perfect for the existed hem. While they are not the shoes I will be wearing on the day of the wedding, they at least gave me an idea of what I needed to look for.

Have you ever wondered how much room your shoe collection spans?

Have you ever wondered how much room your shoe collection spans? (personal photo)

To say that I have a thing for shoes would be putting it mildly. I haven’t counted recently (there’s been no good reason to), but the last time I wondered enough to do so I counted 85 pairs, and I’ve bought several since then. I’m definitely in the triple digits by now.  And most of them are heels because I find it painful to wear flats for more than a day. (I have Achilles tendinitis in both heels that developed several years ago, amusingly enough while I was wearing flats a lot thanks the multiple dance practices a week–usually it’s caused by wearing heels too often, not the other way around.) I also just love the confidence boost a good pair of heels can offer, and definitely have my favorites for when there’s an important meeting at the office.

So when I considered what I wanted in a pair of wedding shoes, I knew it needed a decent heel, preferably a platform for stability, closed toe, and an ankle strap to keep me from accidentally walking out of them–security is key! It was a while before I found my ideal wedding shoes, and for a while something like these (found via Offbeat Bride) were definitely a contender.

Images via

I’m definitely on the colored-shoe train, but not because it’s trendy: I just can’t stand white shoes (fallout from surviving the ’80s) and don’t want to buy a pair of shoes that I’ll never wear again.

The thing is, I have plenty of shoes around our wine color, but none of them are comfortable for an hour plus of standing around OR they’re way too tall. So I think I’m leaning a bit more towards cream or brown. I think it’s just a case of I’ll know it when I see it. Which is exactly the case when I found these Madden Girl shoes via Zappos.

image via Zappos

image via Zappos

I took them for a test-run at a charity event in April and I almost counted them out. They’re the first shoes I’ve worn in ages that rubbed blisters on my little toes–definitely not something I’d count in the pro column. But then I tried them on with the dress (which, by the way, still fits perfectly a year later–no alteration fees in my future!) and they were the perfect height. Unless something else comes along that’s even better I think I might just add some moleskin or other friction barrier to the littlest piggies and go with it.

As to the rest of the ensemble, I’m not planning to don a veil, so there’s the choice of hair decor to decide (remember, the girls loved me in a tiara, so that’s certainly an option). I’ll wear the journey necklace Mr. Road Trip gifted me on our first Christmas together and maybe a dressier version of my usual hoop earrings, so jewelry is mostly sorted out.

There’s also the matter of the jacket or sweater to cover my shoulders. I spent part of last winter knitting a cropped cardigan as a test for my wedding-day ensemble (patterns seldom work for me as-written, I always have to use the knit-and-see approach), only to find it matched the shade of ivory of my dress pretty much spot on! It still needed a little bit of dressing up, though, which brings me to: the bling.

I love the trend of sparkly belts, so plan to make one for my dress in cream beads and tiny ivory pearls. I’m also considering some trim to peek out just under the folded cuff along the top of my dress, and then edging the sweater’s neckline with the same beading so everything looks like a set, not just disparate parts.


The beaded neckline of one of my favorite shirts | personal photo

This shirt I’ve had for ages, and it’s one of my favorite pieces to wear. It’s a Henly-style top, but instead of buttons, both plackets are covered with this piled-on beading and that’s what I’m thinking will look best for the accents on my outfit. It’s a fairly simple technique, it’s just a matter of assembling the supplies and getting it done (tutorial to come).

What pieces are you still hunting up for your bridal ensemble?