It’s been a while since the last post in this series! Over the past few years, the bees have shared their favorite sights, sounds, and eats in the places they call home. If you’re looking to honeymoon in the States, check out all our past posts in our “Honeymoon in my Hometown” series!
New York City is an amazing city and I think it’s a great place for honeymooning, even for a quick pit-stop on your way to another destination! (That’s what we did!) Here are my personal tips and recommendations that I think have worked well for all the dozens of visitors I get every year.
I got a chance to stop by at the second annual Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Sale. I had the best of times last year collecting unique holiday gifts, so I made sure to block it out on my calendar again this year!
The sale takes place at Martha Stewart headquarters in Chelsea, New York. Many of the editors from the staff get to be vendors selling items they make in their spare time. It’s a great way to catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse and also purchase some of these beautiful items for your very own. If you’re not in the market for holiday gifts, it’s a great way to collect items for a wedding (accessories, bridesmaids gifts, stationery). It’s also an excellent way to source unique vendors or see one of your favorite blogger-vendor’s work in person.
Upon entering, you can stock up on some much-needed Martha Stewart craft goodies for the holidays.
Step 1: Add in a healthy heaping (138, to be exact) of Trail Mix’s lovely, hand-cut, far-too-time-consuming directions insert for the invitation suite.
Step 2: Insert direction slip into invitation envelope, only to find that said slip is too long.
On Friday, a bunch of eager bees and readers met up at Local West in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan for drinks and wedding talk!
Although it was packed when we first arrived, a few of us still managed to get a table. Luckily, MissAsscher brought name tags and Sharpies, making it much easier to find the meet up for those arriving later on in the evening. The crowd cleared out as the start of the Knicks game approached (the bar was directly across the street from Madison Square Garden) and we were able to take over an entire corner of the bar after some time.
I seriously had such a blast getting a chance to put faces to names that I know well online but have never met in real life. You girls all rock!
A few pictorial recaps from the night…
Yes, the holidays are approaching quickly, but what’s a holiday season without a few parties to attend? The wonderful Mr and Mrs Dahlia invited all the New York City bees (and other bees who happened to be in the area that day) to their beautiful home for some eats and treats, along with mulled wine, eggnog and specialty beers. It was quite the food feast (bacon-wrapped dates=best thing EVER!) and so much fun to get to know some of the bees in real-life.
Although the weather outside was frightful, the atmosphere inside was delightful. Mr and Mrs Dahlia were incredibly gracious hosts and served up a smorgasbord of appetizers, including pizza rolls, stuffed mushrooms, spinach croquettes, various cheeses and other goodies that we made short work of.
A few highlight pics (all by the beautiful Mrs Caramel!)…
Mr and Mrs Dahlia (Mr Dahlia rocked that apron, let me tell ya!)
I was watching Neil Patrick Harris on Conan O’Brien recently, and he mentioned a scavenger hunt/mystery tour that he did called Accomplice New York. He loved it so much that he helped the founders open a Los Angeles chapter called Accomplice Hollywood. If Barney thought this tour was legendary enough to invest in it himself, I knew it would be awesome and I had to check it out.
This past Sunday, my friends and I took Mrs. Butterfly on the downtown tour (there is also one in the Village) for her 30th birthday. The day before the tour, you get a cryptic call telling you a place to meet. Twists and unexpected turns ensue over the next three hours. The New York Times says that Accomplice New York is like being in the movie ‘The Game’” — I couldn’t have said it better myself! I wish I could share pictures and tell you more about it, but trust me — the less you know the better.
All of us had the most amazing time, and I can’t recommend Accomplice highly enough as an alternative to the traditional bridal shower or bachelorette party, because it’s being in a group that makes this so much more fun. I hear that they’re opening a chapter in San Francisco on August 1st, and perhaps one in Austin as well! Whenever I discover something I love, I try to spread the word as far and wide as I can, and this is something that I know you will love.
Wear comfortable shoes, be prepared to walk a lot, and get ready for the time of your life.
The venue decision has been one of the most difficult tasks I’ve encountered in wedding planning, by far. Our problem was that there were too many options in New York City and too many places we loved that were so far out of our budget that I got a little sick to my stomach when I got the quotes.
So what’s a 2009 bride who needs help finding something affordable and perfect to do but put out an ad on Craigslist? I know, I know, it sounds SO tacky, but I’ve had great luck posting requests for wedding stuff in the events section.
We started out with The Soho Loft in the heart of Soho as our beautiful reception venue. It was a little small and I was slightly worried about that, but it was really nice and very affordable. I scoured the internet to find a ceremony site that was within walking distance of the loft and FINALLY found one that we loved. We booked it immediately and paid the small fee in full, just days before we were to sign a contract with the loft, only to have the Soho Loft manager mysteriously stop returning my phone calls or emails for almost a month, at which point we decided that for some reason, they no longer wanted our business. I’m still not sure what changed.
Then, we went to the backup option from my Craigslist search, the Howard Baden Loft, which was also in Soho:
While doing a bit of cleaning this past week, I stumbled on my old wedding planning folder. I found some of our vendor contracts, so I thought I’d share them with you! Keep in mind that these are prices from March 2005, but I think showing what was included in our contracts may be helpful.
Mr. Bee and I got married at the Westside Loft, a beautiful 210 person capacity, 9500 square foot loft in midtown Manhattan. It had 4 distinct areas — the room with the fireplace where we held our ceremony, the reception area (a quintessential New York loft space), a cozy lounge area with sofas, and a lovely garden room.
I actually found a picture of our wedding on their website! They must have taken this picture at some point during set-up because that big tree on the right was definitely moved before our wedding started.
Bridal shows can really be hit or miss, and if one was good a particular year, it isn’t necessarily indicative of whether it will be good the following year. I typically don’t attend bridal shows, but I ended up going to three in the past month, and luckily… they were all great!
First up was BFF Bridal. Unfortunately I accidentally deleted the images on my camera from that event, but the venue was great, the food was superb, there was a great selection of high end vendors, and the gift bag was tres awesome. I think it’s a mistake when bridal shows don’t give press attendees gift bags, because how else will we write about them? I always give mine away anyway, but who doesn’t like receiving a little gift?
Next up: The Wedding Salon. This event was packed! A little too packed for my claustrophobic self, but there were some big names in the house!
Two months and three states. That is what it took to finally find the barn for our reception. Because Mr. Cowboy Boot and I come from opposite sides of the country, we had to come up with a solution for who would travel. Would my family go from Los Angeles to New York? Would his go from New York to California? Would they meet somewhere in the middle? Neither of us has a family that is particularly larger than the other’s. For monetary reasons, it would be easier for my family to travel from California to the East Coast. Thus, my Google search from New Mexico was kicked off to find the perfect barn on the East Coast.
I can honestly say it’s funny now, but at the time I was on the verge of tears. I just hate being late to anything, and we were already tight with time. It was also the first time I met our photographers, and because I’ve had no prior experience with something like this, I had no idea what would happen when our two hours were up and our pictures were nowhere near completed. The last thing I wanted was two annoyed, freezing photographers, hating me for wasting their time.
When I did finally get there, our photographers had smiles on their faces, and they didn’t seem mad at all! After I apologized profusely, we chatted for a couple of minutes to get to know each other as we headed to our first location, the Gapstow Bridge. Matthew and Chung are both so easygoing and chatty. I was really nervous, but they made me feel so comfortable. By the time we got to the Bridge, all the stress I was feeling just a few minutes before was starting to dissipate. That was right about the time I pulled my boots out of my bag and realized I forgot my socks, but I was feeling so good that I didn’t even mind all that much. That is, until I stuck my feet into them. Don’t you just hate that feeling, when your bare foot is squeezed into an old and smelly boot? We cracked a few jokes about asking them to take pictures of us waist up only to leave out my ratty boots, and finally began our session, 45 minutes late.
As soon as Matthew and Chung started snapping away, I looked into Mr. Martini’s eyes and my own eyes started to water. He kept saying, “Nooo! You can’t cry! Your nose is going to turn red!” It was so emotional for me because after everything that had been happening with wedding planning and being so constantly busy with the wedding, there was finally a moment when it was just all about Mr. Martini and me. Those first 10 seconds of our session really meant a lot to me. After that, I came to my senses and realized I really didn’t want a red nose in all of our pictures, so I fought to control myself.
I thought I’d share my find with the hive for anyone obsessed with finding the perfect hair accessory for bridesmaids or for yourself. Lisa expertly layers vintage finds like lace, beads, and other fabric remnants to make most of her pieces. I tried on my headband last night and it is just too cute!
Being in a long-distance relationship is hard stuff. Besides the obvious things like the physical distance, relying on the phone for communication, and (for us) the time difference, wedding planning brings on a whole new set of challenges. Our short visits are now packed with appointments, our phone conversations are often wedding related, and the time difference makes it hard for Mr. Latte to contact East Coast vendors, adding more items to my never-ending “To Do” list.
The distance has forced us to think of creative solutions to some of the inevitable wedding related problems that arise. Do the pink socks Mr. Latte bought perfectly match my pink shoes? Let’s Skype and find out! We both need access to our budget document? Let’s share it on Google Docs! The wedding party is scattered across the country and will need to meet each other before the wedding? Let’s make a wedding party newsletter!
We all know that a fun wedding party = a fun partay. And parties are always more fun when you’re with friends. Since most of the guys are on the West Coast, and all the ladies are on the East Coast, having them become the best of friends just wasn’t going to happen. (Yes, I realize that doesn’t happen in real life either.) But even having them meet face-to-face before the wedding was next to impossible. We needed a creative way to have them “meet” each other. Cue newsletter.
Following the lead (and borrowing the ideas) of Miss Piglet and many of the other Bees before me (thanks ladies!), the Latte newsletter was born. I call it… SCOTHEOOP. “The Inside Scoop”. Get it? Yeah? I know, cheesy… don’t judge.
Here’s the cover:
They’re allergy friendly, organic, free from dyes, kosher… what more can you ask for!
In the interest of this being a tourist-friendly post, I’m compiling the last couple days of our trip in one post, since technically you can do almost all of this in one day. Since the Bee Extravaganza was on Saturday, it took up a major portion of our Saturday afternoon/night, while my hangover took over a major portion of our Sunday morning. So, you can see how if you eliminated the Bee party factor, how our Saturday and Sunday could actually be one normal day for a tourist!
On Saturday, Mr. Penguin and I got up early and headed Downtown. We saw the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge, Wall Street, Ground Zero, and explored the area. It was very very cold and windy that morning so we opted out of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, but we hear that it is a great experience and we are sad to have missed it. I enjoyed seeing the Financial District far more than I expected. It’s set up nicely for tourists, with historical plaques and signs everywhere, so it’s an easy place to navigate. It was great to do this on a Saturday, a day when no one was working. I don’t really love it when tourists ask me for directions when I’m focused on my work day, so I didn’t want to be in the way of the New Yorkers downtown on a weekday. Going on the weekend gave us an opportunity to linger, take pictures, and stroll at a leisurely pace.