Saturday, August 28, 2010

Things I Did This Weekend

Drove (or, to be more specific, rode shotgun) from Boston to my fabulous, beautiful hometown in fabulous, beautiful upstate NY.

Took a dip down to Pennsylvania to apply for our marriage license. Awesome Pennsylvania loophole: while some states require that you get your marriage license in the county that you'll be married in, PA does not. So, we took a little detour down to Tioga County and got a marriage license for $35. The very same marriage license would have cost us $75 in Allegheny County, where Pittsburgh (and the wedding) is located. SCORE!

Freaked out with glee at how great Mom Octopus looks in her MOB dress. For realz, she looks so great.

Made two members of our bridal party (Groomsman/Brother Adam and Bridesmaid Hannah) play dress up. I also fashioned a mock bouquet for Hannah using some flowers that were in generally the same color family (deep purple, dark raspberry pink, burgundy, and deep red) as their bridesmaid bouquets will be. Except the lavender flowers here will actually be a deep, rich purple in theirs. Anyway, I nearly peed my pants when I saw them in their bridal party outfits. Uhhhh, I think I love my wedding, y'all.

Had a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful bridal shower. This was my second shower, and it featured the king of meals: brunch. We had scones (and if you live anywhere near central NY and have not yet had a scone from Sophie's in Big Flats, NY, you need to get yourself over there now. Do you hear me, Locket?), four kinds of hash brown casserole, fruit salad, chicken salad, cake, and mimosas. Heavennnnnn.

Groomsman/Brother Adam is home from college for the summer and some of Mr. Octo's relatives came up from his hometown in northeastern PA for the shower, so they hung out for most of the shower. They skipped out to go swimming when it was time for presents, though.


These scones are the best I've ever had. I love you Sophie's.

Cakes, also from Sophie's: Niagara Falls cake (chocolate cake filled with Swiss buttercream & topped with ganache), carrot cake, & riesling cake (an almond cake flavored with wine).

Two enthusiastic thumbs up for his first bridal shower experience.

Grammy Octopus prepared this "identify the spice by scent" game. Groomsman/Brother Adam, who is in culinary school, won the game with 7 out of 8 correct.

I have a ribbon bouquet already from my first shower, so they prepared me a ribbon bonnet.

The lovely shower hostesses: Grammy Octopus, Aunt Octopus, Octopus Family Friend 1, and Octopus Family Friend 2. They are Bridesmaid Leigha's and Bridesmaid Hannah's moms, respectively. Our families spend so much time together it's almost a little gross.

Went to Sam's Club with Mom Octopus and began to plan the OOTHOOTBs (Octopi's Off-the-Hook Out-of-Town Bags).

Screwed around with Mr. O, Groomsman/Brother Adam, and Bridesmaid Hannah. And Daffodil.

Put on a giant pair of sweatpants and a giant sweatshirt and took my contacts out. Best way to end a busy day, am I right or am I right?

Said to Mom and Dad Octopus, "okay, well, the next time I see you guys, it will be two days before the wedding!" 26 days, folks. OOOMMMGGGGZZZZ.

What did you do this weekend?

Friday, August 27, 2010

What's Your Poison?

GOOD NEWS, everyone! (said in the voice of Professor Farnsworth from Futurama.) Our plan for providing our own alcohol at the reception has evolved quite a bit since way back when I first posted about it, and I'm excited to say that we're getting close to having our DIY booze options all figured out!


We're definitely going to serve Yuengling, Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Harpoon Brewery's hard apple cider. Harpoon is local to Boston, and Mr. Octo and I went on a tour last month. We both sampled the hard cider for the first time, and had a "HELLO LOVAH, where have you been all my life?!" moment. It's not really sugary and sweet like some hard ciders are--we both agreed it was almost like a dry champagne. Deeeelicious.

There is one sticking point on the beer selections. A certain maid of honor who shall not be named is giving me a great deal of heat for not having a "light, drinkable" (or, in my opinion, gross and watery) beer like Bud Light or Coors on the list. I mean, I guess it's just a beer-snob position on my part; I think those "light" beers are gross, I never drink them, and I don't really want to serve them. That certain maid of honor thinks my preference doesn't matter, people want that kind of beer, and I should have it anyway. I think that if we're going to serve a light beer, Corona would be a good compromise. Mr. Octo thinks Corona will be too expensive, and votes for PBR, because he's turned into a hipster, apparently. What do you all think?


We're keeping this one simple and not-too-specific. Whatever Finger Lakes white wine strikes our fancy, and whatever tasty merlot we can find for around $10 a bottle. Donezo.


So here's where things get interesting. While the Children's Museum does not provide our alcohol, it does charge us a $5 per person "bar fee." For that fee, we get ice, bar fruit (like cherries and lemon wedges), juices, and sodas. Our goal has been to come up with a few mixed drinks that can largely be created using the juices and sodas provided with the bar fee, eliminating the need to spend lots of money on extra mixers. Here's what the Children's Museum will be providing to us: Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Sierra Mist, ginger ale, orange juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice, tomato juice, tonic, and seltzer water.

From that, we've decided to serve gin & tonics, some variation on a cranberry & vodka, and my grandfather's whiskey sour recipe. The gin & tonic is easy peasy, but my grandfather's whiskey sours will not be--we'll have to stock all our own mixers for that one. I'm hoping to strike a happy medium on the cranberry & vodka drink. I mean, don't get me wrong, I love just a plain ol' cranberry & vodka any day, but I'm hoping to maybe......jazz it up a little? Something that says more "fancy and festive event" and less "my go-to choice on dollar well drinks night"? I would LOVE to hear recipes for cranberry-and-vodka-based cocktails. Or, alternately, orange-juice-and-vodka-based cocktails.
I'd love your feedback, hive, especially on the crapp--ahem, drinkable beers issue, and I'd quadruple-love vodka cocktail suggestions. What do you think? What are you serving as your alcohol options?

Monday, August 23, 2010

All the Nervous Sleepers*

*Post title intended to be sung to the tune of All the Single Ladies. I was going to come up with a song parody but it turns out that I'm terrible at song parodies. So just sing the title.

I never, ever, ever have insomnia problems. I fall asleep easily, stay sound asleep all night, and wake up feeling great in the morning.

See? Two sleepy peas in a pod!

There is just one exception to this pattern: I sleep terribly when I have a big (exciting OR nerve-wracking) event coming up the next day. Job interview? Vacation? First day of work? Christmas (Yes, I still get that excited about Christmas, WHAT ABOUT IT)? I have a terrible time falling asleep, have crazy dreams, wake up every hour or so feeling wide awake with my mind racing, and ultimately am up for the day with no hopes of falling back asleep by 6 AM. You can connect the obvious dots here. I'd like to avoid that exhausted-with-racing-adrenaline feeling at our wedding, if it's possible. Ideally, I hope I'll wake up the morning of feeling refreshed, well-rested, and calm, rather than tired-but-jittery and full of nervous, spazzy energy.

I'm concocting a game plan in hopes of sleeping well the night before the wedding, and here's what I've got so far:

No alcohol at the rehearsal dinner. Maybe one glass of wine early on, but that's it. Sadly, I've come to learn that at the ripe old age of twenty-five, I can't hang with the booze like I used to. Alcohol definitely does help me fall asleep, but it's terrible for staying asleep. Being tipsy before I go to bed will only contribute to the wide-awake-every-hour phenomenon. Also, I've discovered the hard way that at this point, I will feel aftereffects from even a minor buzz the next morning. Gross (and my college self would be so ashamed!).

White noise. When I'm anxious and anticipating a big day, I lay in bed and my mind just races non-stop. The most frustrating is when I can't seem to turn my brain off about the fact that I can't sleep, and I lay there thinking, "I'm not tired yet. Oh man, I need to get tired. I need to fall asleep. How long have I been laying here? Unless I fall asleep soon, I will get less than seven hours of sleep, and then I'll feel bad tomorrow. I need to fall asleep." ARGH!


Playing quiet music or sounds seems to help, since it gives my brain something to focus on other than my own crazy thoughts.

Hot herbal tea and a long, hot shower. This always helps me slow down, calm down, and relax.

Candlelight Yoga. I've pitched this DVD here before, but I just like it so much!


Doing the stretching and deep breathing, especially in dim lighting, always makes me sleepy. I'm usually yawning uncontrollably during the guided relaxation routine at the end. It's available on Netflix Instant, so I can easily do it in my hotel room at night using my trusty laptop.

Chemical aid/herbal supplements. This is the part where I don't really know what I'm doing. I'm not at all against the idea of using some kind of medicine to help me get some sleep, but I've also never done it before. I don't want the pendulum to swing too far in the wrong direction and feel groggy, sluggish, and out of it in the morning any more than I want to feel exhausted-hyper. If I'm going to take any kind of sleep aid, I definitely want to try it out beforehand, so I need to figure some options out soon. Mom Octopus told me that melatonin supplements are supposed to be helpful; does anyone else have an over-the-counter sleep aid to recommend?

Any other nervous sleepers out there? What are you going to do to make sure you get some rest the night before your wedding?

In An Ideal World....

There is one (ONLY one!) thing I don't love about Heinz Chapel, our ceremony site. Would you like a few gratuitous shots of how pretty it is to refresh your memory first?




Anyway, Heinz Chapel has super-strict music requirements for the ceremonies it hosts. As in, you have to use one of their organists to provide the music, and there is a list of six songs you can pick from for the processional, three for the bride's entrance, and six for the recessional. All of the choices are very formal, traditional, classical songs (Ode to Joy, Here Comes the Bride, Canon in D, etc). Those are your options, no ifs, ands, or buts.

I don't LOVE this, but I also don't care that much either. I'm not a huge music person to begin with, and I'm sure the organ music will not be something that sticks with me about our wedding. Also, because of the inflexible rules, figuring out ceremony music is one less thing that I have to worry about, so there's a bright side!

If those restrictions didn't exist, though, I know exactly what song would play for our processional up the aisle: "Bridal Veil Falls," by Chris Thile. It's an instrumental song that features an acoustic guitar and a mandolin, and it's sooooo beautiful. Not to get really schmoopy on you, but do you know how sometimes a song sounds the way something feels? This song sounds like what my relationship with Mr. O feels like. We both love it so, so, so much.

Sigh. In my dream world. (The same one with the Primanti Bros sandwiches and the satin kimono and the second French bulldog.)

Do you have any bummer restrictions at one of your venues, or with one of your vendors?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Ridiculous Things I Want

While there aren't any formal plans in place for it yet, I'm fairly sure that when our wedding reception ends at 11 PM, there will be an after-party at a nearby bar. My thinking is that Mr. O and I would definitely like to attend the after-party and keep the good times rolling with our friends and family (we have the rest of our lives to gaze dreamily into each other's eyes in private, right?).

My wedding dress is reasonably comfortable, by which I mean it probably won't have killed me by the end of the night. I plan to wear it throughout the reception, but for the after-party? Hells nah. I will want that sucker OFF by then. So, now I have become enamored of the idea of having an after-party dress. This after-party dress.


You guys. This dress is ivory. Being an ivory-colored person, I never wear ivory. It is also completely covered in sequins. I do not ever wear anything covered in sequins. It is a totally over-the-top, one-wear, fancy, ridiculous, not-really-me, 138-dollar dress. And I WANNTTTTT ITTTTT. Because, look, I'm going to be wearing fake eyelashes and a very large hair accessory made of feathers and crystals and netting, and it's my wedding day. WHEN ELSE in my entire life can I sport a crazy, sparkly, sequined white dress and feel good about it? It's my wedding day, and I will dress like a showgirl if I want to.

I will probably not buy this dress. Probably. It's silly to buy another dress for my wedding day that I will never wear again. I mean, right?.......oooooh, sequins. But probably not.

While we're playing the Veruca Salt "I want, I want, give it to me nowwwww" game, though, you know what else occurred to me would be fun to have?

A really silly and decadent bathrobe to wear while getting my hair and makeup done in the morning. If I could be more specific, a SATIN KIMONO! (Just typing the words "satin kimono" made me laugh out loud. It sounds so aging-diva.)


Or maybe a really plushy white bathrobe that says BRIDE on the back in RHINESTONES! This is a fun game. For the record, I also want a photo booth, chivari chairs, upgraded linens, a gigantic dessert table, ginormous floral centerpieces, and a late-night snack of Primanti Bros sandwiches brought into the reception. And that honeymoon to Japan and Thailand I originally envisioned. And a second honeymoon to France and Italy. Also, another French bulldog, although that's not wedding-related.

LOOK HOW CUTE SHE IS! Now imagine how cute it would be if I had TWO of these!

Your turn. What ridiculous, impractical, won't-happen-but-wouldn't-it-be-fun items do YOU have on your mind?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tributes to Elaine

I haven't said anything in a while about how things have been with regards to the loss of Mr. O's mom. The answer is: mostly okay. Sometimes not, but mostly okay. I guess the thing I didn't know about, and wasn't prepared for, was the new reality that you have to negotiate after the horrible first few days and weeks are over. The random stuff you remember, or realize she won't be around for, or when I look at a photo and think, "FMIL Octopus was still alive then," or the sticky and sometimes weird new family dynamics that spring up after someone's gone. And, more immediately (and relevantly to this blog), the question that weighed on our minds a few months ago: what will the wedding be like now?

At this point, we've mostly figured out how we're going to include the memory of Mr. Octo's mom in our wedding day, and how to work through the traditions in which she'd normally be a participant.

First, the unity candle. Typically, the mothers of the bride and groom light the small side candles at the beginning of the ceremony, which the bride and groom then use to light the center candle. We're now using this tradition as our most significant tribute to Mr. Octo's mom. Mr. O has two half-sisters from his father's first marriage, who each have two young daughters. FMIL Octopus was very close to the kids, and had very much wanted them to have a special role of some kind in our wedding. So, we've decided that when my mom goes to the altar to light her candle, Mr. Octo's nieces will all join her there, carrying silk daffodils (FMIL Octo's favorite flower). They will put the daffodils in a vase behind the groom-side candle, and my mom will help Oldest Niece Octo (who's 10) to light the groom's candle. I'm also going to write a note in the programs mentioning that this gesture is specifically meant to honor and represent Mr. O's mom.

Second, my dad's speech. My dad is a great and heartfelt public speaker, and I am already anticipating his toast at the beginning of our reception, knowing how emotional it's going to be. Mr. Octo and I were home visiting my parents last month, and we all discussed whether or not my dad should reference Mr. Octo's mom in his toast. We decided, ultimately, that yes, he should. One of the things Mr. Octo has struggled with is worrying that his mother's memory won't be kept vibrant and alive; that it will start to seem or feel like she never existed in the first place. I think my father mentioning Mr. O's mom helps in that regard; yes, when my dad says "Elaine is with us in spirit tonight," more than a few people, including my groom and I, will probably be stricken with a moment or two of ugly-cry. But we are both of the opinion that ugly-crying is better than politely ignoring the fact that she's not there.

Third, the mother-son dance is being re-worked as a brother-sister dance. Originally, Mr. O had hoped to dance with his mother's mother, who is his only surviving grandparent, at our reception. However, she's really elderly and pretty unwell, and it seems pretty definitive at this point that she won't be attending the wedding (a whole other sadness, but there's enough sad in this post already). So, Mr. O will be dancing with the older of his aforementioned sisters, who was very close to FMIL Octopus. Suggestions for songs that are neither romantic nor clearly parent-child oriented would be VERY welcome, by the way.

I think the ideas we've come up with are lovely, really. I hope they're tasteful, and give a strong impression that we want to remember and draw attention to Mr. O's mom's memory, without being morbid. But on the other hand, I just hate them. I hate that we have to do this. I hate that we have to think about this. It sounds simplistic almost to the point of being silly or childish, but I can't count how many times I've said to Mr. Octopus, "I just wish so badly that your mom didn't die. I just wish she were alive."

A final note: I don't plan to ever discuss this in depth on the blog, but to say it briefly and tactfully, my relationship dynamic with Mr. Octo's mother was a work in progress. The guilt and regret I have surrounding that fact is mine to deal with, but as it relates to you all.....I don't know. I don't exactly have a direction I'm going in with this. Just.....I know that delicate and tough mother-in-law dynamics are very, very, very common in wedding planning and in life. I was there, and I know how it feels. But now I'm here, and now I know how this feels. And I would take the other side over this a thousand, a million times over. I would do nearly anything to have it back, in fact. I just want to say that.

Are you remembering someone important at your wedding? How are you choosing to incorporate their memory into your day?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Octo-Maids: GIFTED!

Dear Bridesmaids,
I love that you are all such dedicated readers of my blog, but for this one, you have to scram. Unless you want to know what your thank-you gift is in advance, and that's no fun. So BYE!

Initially, I was thinking I'd like to give my bridesmaids a spa day once we all got together in Pittsburgh as their thank-you present for being in our wedding. That plan was a bust, though. The packages I could afford had pretty scanty offerings, or they couldn't accommodate us all at once, or they'd take six hours to complete, and overall, it just wasn't gonna work.

So, today, I headed down to the outlets in Wrentham, MA (about an hour south of Boston) to see if anything caught my eye as a nice gift for the girls. (And, yes, I know this weekend is a tax holiday in Massachusetts--but I conducted an informal cost-benefit analysis and determined that the 6% I would save wasn't worth the sanity I would give up by trying to do some leisurely shopping in an outlet mall during a tax holiday in back-to-school-shopping season on a Saturday).

I prowled around in the Michael Kors, Burberry, and Kate Spade outlets, and found lots of promising (if slightly pricier than I wanted) contenders. Michael Kors had some really beautiful sunglasses ($80) and leather wallets ($80), and Kate Spade had a whole bunch of adorable wristlets and wallets as well. Most of those were in the $75 range, though, so it was just a little spendier than I was hoping for.

Ultimately, I went with what I think is probably a bridesmaids-gift classic: Coach wristlets. Beautiful, soft, classy grayish-silver leather Coach wristlets. They were $50 apiece, and they are gorgeeooousss. And I kind of wish I had bought one for myself, but that's neither here nor there. Want to see them?

Once with the flash off.....

...and once with the flash on so you can see the pretty, slightly shimmery color.

In addition to these lovely wristlets, the Coach outlet had a great selection of wallets, makeup bags, small purses, and wristlets in other patterns. They had both leather and the classic Coach pattern in a variety of colors. I myself waffled on whether to choose the gray leather wristlets, or white cloth ones with the Coach pattern in silver (so pretty and fancy for a going-out outfit!) until it occurred to me how quickly the white ones would get dingy-looking. There were tons of options in the $40-$100 range, so if you're an Eastern Mass girl and your bridesmaids like classy accessories, I would totally recommend a trip to the Wrentham Outlets.

Do you like them? What did you choose for your bridesmaids?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Creating My Wedding Band, Stage 1

YAY! The rough draft sketches of my wedding band have arrived! If you recall, my parents gave me a gift certificate to a jeweler in my hometown as a graduation present when I got my master's degree in May, intending to offset the costs of a custom-designed wedding ring.

After seeing my inspiration photos, here are the mock-ups the jeweler provided:

After scrutinizing the drafts, I knew I loved the rings that were the more open, flowing style the best. With rings 2 and 4, the pattern is kind of contained within the ring, which I don't like as much. Rings 2 and 4: OUT!

I also know that I like the tulip-style flower that you see in rings 2 and 5 better than the daisy-style flower in rings 1, 3, and 4. So whichever style I choose, I'm going to ask that the tulip-style flower be included in the pattern.

After that, I'm torn between rings 1, 3, and 5. Every time I look at the pictures, my eyes are drawn to a different one. I also asked Mr. Octo which rings he preferred (without telling him what I liked), and he said he couldn't decide between 1 and 5. Sometimes I think I want the more delicate, intricate style of ring 1, and then sometimes I think I like the smoother, flowier styles of 3 and 5.

Here's another factor included in my decision: the little circles you see in the drawings represent diamonds. Ring 1 has the most diamonds, making it the most expensive. Ring 5 has the least. My gift certificate is a generous amount, but won't cover the whole cost of any of them, so budget is still a factor. I think I could request that ring 1 not include AS many diamonds, though (like, with some of the swirls plain, rather than the current design, where every swoop has diamonds set in it). I wouldn't exactly say no to a healthy dose of diamonds, but I do need to consider price.

Maybe I just need another day to stare at these a little more? I'm kind of surprised by my own indecisiveness--I'm not normally a waffler! What do you all think? Which ring do you like?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Items Relegated to the Eff-It List

I deleted a bunch of things off my Giant Wedding To-Do List, and it's not because I finished them. It's because I ditched them. DITCHED 'EM!

Months ago, I had big plans. Here are just a few of the projects I had dreamed that I'd take on for our wedding....

Votives wrapped in old book pages,


and a poster for the cocktail hour in which guests could pin a cute flagged tack to indicate what year they met us,


and fortune tellers whose purpose at a wedding I don't entirely understand, but look how cute,


and custom buttons with fun wedding-related slogans,


and Moo cards with trivia questions to scatter around the cocktail tables, and a hand-rigged photo line, and so on and so on and so on.

I do have the time to create all these little details. I could scrounge up the money from somewhere if I really wanted to. But the months were ticking by, and I kept moving "order personalized buttons" and "create photo line" farther and farther and farther down the to-do list. Every time I started to plan these projects, I'd think, ugh, and stop. The idea of creating, storing, shipping and/or packing, then organizing or presenting or displaying all these cute little details filled me with dread. Yet I persevered, and kept them on my list for a long, long time, despite how badly I didn't want to make/order/store/pack/display any of them. Why?

Well, two intertwined reasons, really. One, I am an Internet-savvy bride, and that dreaded phrase that often gets tossed around in the wilds of wedding media--cookie-cutter--was ringing in my ears. My wedding is already pretty darn traditional, save for perhaps the slightly off-beat reception venue. If I don't stuff my wedding to the gills with these little details, won't it be just another boring, typical, traditional, cookie-cutter wedding?!

Two, the fact is not lost on me that I am a Weddingbee blogger. If I could get a little meta on you for a second, um, have you seen the weddings of my fellow bees? They're spectacular. I love blogging here, and I feel like I've gotten so much from this community, and I really don't want to be the bee that makes everyone think, "ugh, BO-RING!" I could tell you that I don't care what the Internet thinks of my wedding, but that would be a lie. I like you, Internet! I don't want you to think my wedding and I are super-lame! So, to be honest, I was reluctant to give up a lot of the little stuff because I wanted to have something to show Weddingbee.

Finally, it was time for a reality check. I've reached the point where our wedding is weeks, not months, away. I so, so, so wanted to just scrap the buttons and the trivia cards and all the whatnot, but I kept thinking, "but if I get rid of that stuff, then my wedding won't have any personal details!" You guys, that is crazy talk. Everything about this wedding is personal. Mr. Octo and I chose everything about it, from the location to the food to the cake flavors to the colors of the napkins. Oh, and also? Our wedding will be personal because we are getting married at it. What could be more personal than that?

I've gotta be me, you guys. I am not, under any circumstances, a crafter--in fact, I didn't actually know that crafting, with the paper and the supplies and the glue and whatnot, was even a thing people did before I started reading wedding blogs. All those details would be adorable, but they wouldn't be me. I do still plan on spending time making things that I think will be functional and useful (ceremony programs, out-of-town bags, that kind of thing), but the fun-but-wholly-unnecessary stuff? Out. Scrapped it all.

So, I'm not going to be the blogger who shows you DIY posts, or who has a fleet of beautiful and cohesive handcrafted items, or who has a truly visually stunning wedding. But I can be the blogger who reminds you that, ultimately, your wedding is supposed to make you happy, and that ideally, the process of planning your wedding should be pretty fun, and that laying tons of unnecessary and avoidable stress on yourself for the sake of personal details or visual impact or whatever is silly. If you LIKE creating all that stuff, then do it! If, like me, the thought of it fills you with dread and anxiety, DON'T do it!

What's your stance on creating and crafting for your wedding? Do you, like me, sometimes feel intimidated by the world of wedding blogs?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Debauchery in Boston

It's been two days now since my bachelorette party, and I think I've recovered enough to recap it for all of you. Phew. Okay. Oh, also. This post contains photos of a few saucy images and some dirty words. You've been warned!

The events of the party were kept a giant secret from me, but I knew that there was lots of behind-the-scenes planning going on. I was instructed to arrive at a Marriott in a perfect, central downtown Boston location, and here's what I found:

Slices of cheese, my favorite orange cheese-flavored food, a pint of pub cheese, and French onion dip. Oh, bridesmaids. You know me too well.

The girls had worked so hard to secure an awesome room, decorate it, and prepare us some goody bags and slammin' t-shirts! YAY! Here's the contents of the bags:

And here are our t-shirts. The girls opted to decorate our bachelorette party gear with a selection of the rules listed in the movie "Wedding Crashers", and, for what it's worth, they earned us a LOT of attention later that night:

We hung out in the room for a while, popping bottles of champagne, playing a version of The Newlywed Game (I had to drink when I was told Mr. Octopus said his favorite food was spicy Thai kettle chips. LIES! It is totally hot dogs), and enjoying the views from our gorgeous room.

Views of the harbor and the North End! Be still my heart!

Eventually, we suited up in our shirts and headed out to our dinner, a five-course tasting menu at Tremont 647. Sadly, we were stricken with a slight tragedy at that point: my poor sister/MOH, who has been working her butt off for months planning this party, suddenly came down with a bout of food poisoning or stomach flu or something. Almost as soon as we were seated at the restaurant, she had to leave, and didn't make it to any of the events for the rest of the night. It breaks my heart that she worked so hard to put it all together and then didn't get to enjoy almost any of the party with us! You'll see in a minute how fabulously the night turned out, so be sure to let her know in the comments what a good job she did, even though she didn't get to be there!

(Also, side note? Mr. Octopus drove us all down to the hotel with our bags at the beginning of the party, turned right around as soon as he got home and came back to bring me the wallet (and ID) I had forgotten, drove to a different Boston locale a few hours later to pick my sister up at the restaurant and drop her off at the hotel, then drove back down to the hotel a few hours after that to pick her up and bring her to our apartment when she realized that she wasn't getting any better and didn't want to be sick in the hotel room when we got back. I am, for reals, marrying the kindest, most selfless man alive.)

Anyway, our tasting menu at Tremont 647 was awesome, and the service was really attentive and great. As an FYI to anyone who might be considering it, my sister informed me later that they were a nightmare to deal with in the weeks leading up to the party, but you wouldn't have known it from the dinner we had. Our meal was topped off by a gorgeous cake:

And then, after dinner, OHHHH MG. Here's something I am certain that I have not shared with the hive before, but something that my bridesmaids know well indeed: your friend Octopus mothereffing LOVES drag queens. LOOOOVVEEEEES. I love the dancing, the sparkly outfits, the raunchy jokes, and the strong emphasis on being the most confident, fabulous creature in the room. My bridesmaids (particularly Clara and Erica, with whom I have patronized a drag show or seven over the years) rose to the occasion, and we headed to Jacques' Cabaret!

Here's another tip if you, like me, love drag shows: we didn't know this beforehand, but Jacques' Cabaret is a major hot spot for bachelorette parties. I had to be one of fifteen brides-to-be celebrating there that night, easily. Reservations to get a table sell out months in advance, so unless your party is set in stone, like, six months beforehand, you probably will have a hard time landing a table. Your best bet is to arrive very early for the show and wait in line outside. We got in and got seats at the bar with no problems, but I'd say a good forty people got turned away.

Another tip: Jacques' bartenders mix a very strong drink. Don't think that just because your cranberry and vodka comes in a tiny cup and tastes good that it's harmless. I think you'll get the idea in a moment.

First event of the night: all the birthday celebrators and all the bachelorettes get invited on stage to be interrogated and teased by the hostess. She helpfully informed me that there are great sex clubs in my honeymoon destination, Montreal (thanks, but no thanks!).

Right before the show got started. Innocent enough, yes?

Well, here we are about four cocktails deep, feeling AWESOME:

Here I am tipping one of the performers. This is basically my favorite photo ever taken.

Towards the end of the show, it gravitated less towards staged numbers, and the performers mostly came out to interact with audience members, dance with them, and, of course, get some tips.

Please note the two blue-shirted members of my party having a GRAND old time. Atta girl!

That song that goes "shots! shots! shots!" came on, and performer Destiny took note of the fact that Bridesmaid Erica had nearly a full beer in hand, and dragged her up on stage to chug the entire thing in front of the crowd. She did it, of course, because she's a champ.

Here is Erica's best "I just guzzled a Corona because this gorgeous drag queen made me" face. I am so glad I caught this moment on film.

After the show ended, we (reluctantly) left Jacques' Cabaret and headed to a bar in downtown Boston close to our hotel, where we were absolutely pounced upon by a swarm of the backwards-hatted, polo-shirted bros that downtown Boston bars are a bit notorious for. They were nice enough, but were quite insistent on trying to buy us lots and lots of alcohol, which I was equally insistent that my poor beleaguered bloodstream could not handle any more of.

I'll just toast with this sensible glass of water, thanks!

Bridesmaid Erica and I are the old married (or, in my case, soon-to-be-married) ladies of the group and eventually got tired of the relentless invitations to do Jaeger bombs, so we rolled out a little early to head back to the hotel and eat Doritos in bed while watching TLC. The rest of the girls stayed out and mingled 'til last call. Champs!

The next day, we took full advantage of our late 2 PM checkout to lay in bed, eat bland foods, watch wedding shows on TLC, and moan. Ooof.

Thank you, Octo-Bridesmaids, for an absolutely amazing weekend that was more than I ever could have asked for! And we missed you all night, MOH/Sister Lauren! I had a truly glorious time!

What did you do for your bachelorette party? Also, do you love drag queens too? THEY'RE SO TALL AND SASSY!