Sunday, February 19, 2006

Words of wisdom

This weekend an older couple dispensed some helpful wedding advice (they married a few years back). She said that it is important to delegate responsibilities b/c you have enough to worry about on the big day. My aim, as she did, is to not know about every little thing (hence, not worrying) but to just have it fixed. She also advised setting limits on the budget -- first decide how much you'd be willing to spend on each item, then do the research to see if that's possible. Obviously there will have to be adjustments, some lower and some higher than you expected but at least that's where you begin. Very interestingly, she said that there will be one BIG fight when there are about 2 months or so left. I had heard about the normalcy of fights during the planning (we've fulfilled that part already) but I hadn't heard about there being a big one. I guess it makes sense b/c you'd be increasingly stressed as the date approaches and as she said, by that time all the big stuff should already be planned. Of course there was talk of the guest list (they had 50 tables!) and dealing with family and the types of gifts you get (this is the second couple that said some ppl surprisingly give very little but in the end she thinks they broke even all around). It also made me feel a little better that we're not the only ones crazy enough to look for a place to buy while planning. In the end, they settled for the house that they're living in now b/c they really needed a place to live and at the time, the housing boom was just beginning and they were outbid on everything.
I'm getting concerned that we don't really have a theme (perhaps that's the cause of our disorganization?).

On a related note, we went to the Crate and Barrel Sunday Morning Engagement today. We showed up at the Madison Avenue store at the early hour of 9am. It was so cold and I saw some crazy ppl waiting outside before they opened their doors. When we went in, we were greeted by not very chipper ppl who checked off my name (I don't know why they keep it so exclusive -- if someone wants to start a registry there but didn't RSVP, what's the harm in signing up at that moment?), gave us a map of the store, a pencil, and a list of essential items to add to the registry. They said there was a coat check in the back, refreshments upstairs, and a place to pick up your scanner in the middle. They actually took my ID as a deposit for the scanner (is there a huge run on these things?) and they described how to use it. We definitely know that we need pots and pans but on our way there, we got distracted by the electrics (food processer, etc.). And the defining moment: our very first scan. We pushed and pushed the button on the side but it refused to scan!! So much for this being a 'much easier' to use scanner than other registries (as the woman described). We even tried sliding the paper out of the sleeve to no avail. Finally we just punched in the code. A woman nearby making juices out of this huge, powerful juicer explained that those codes didn't scan but needed to be manually entered (sheesh, why bother putting that tiny bar code below the letters and numbers then? Other stuff [those w/ SKUs] were eventually scanned in.). We tried some pear juice that this woman made (it was pretty good!) but later on fiance said she didn't remove the sticker from the pear before juicing it (yummy!, I write with much sarcasm). By the pots and pans, there was also a pancake station but I didn't try any of it. Upstairs, there were mimosas (not very much champagne, so it was tasty, yet it still made me flush though it finally circulated my blood so that my hands were no longer cold) and muffins (which I didn't try). After checking out furniture, which is hard to do without a place to furnish, we went back downstairs. A somewhat helpful woman saw us checking out their flatware and suggested we pick some china first, then we can bring it over and see whether it matches. So we did that. She walked us through bone china, porcelain and all that jazz. There was also a very sweet lady who stopped us around the ovenwares and told us about their completion program (10% off stuff that's still on the registry for 6 months after our wedding). After we were finally done, we went to the booth and created the registry. This involved typing in a whole bunch of info, inserting the scanner into a slot (which is kinda cool -- I guess the info is transferred [pretty quickly] over through infared), and then printing off our list. Then we returned the scanner, got our gift (still haven't opened it but it's supposed to be a pair of their heart-shaped champagne flutes), took a bunch of those papers that you can include in invites about registry info, and we were on our way.
Overall, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed. There is some cookware that we still need/want which they don't carry but I guess they aren't a mecca for serious cooks (like us, haha!) so their selection is limited. Their china is somewhat limited too, as expected.
Surprisingly, they had some cast iron stuff (I think that it is finally catching on and Mark Bittman's praise of it in a recent NY Times article could only have helped) but fiance already has a whole bunch of it thanks to Walmart. I also didn't think that the staff were that knowledgeable. More than one person hesitated when I asked them questions, giving a sort of runaround answer while they read the product description (I guess I should've read it myself before asking). I think they also pointed us towards 'popular' stuff, not necessarily stuff that would perform well. But it was cool that they closed the store to everyone else until noon (they turned quite a few ppl away who just wanted to shop). I expected the staff to also be very friendly but only a few were and I think that's b/c it was so early. And where was the advice? The ad said that there would be some (I imagined that they would sort of guide us along, have ppl talk to us about the essentials like the Target event) but I think there was just (limited) help with the products themselves. Anyway, quite a few couples showed up (it was pretty crowded in some areas towards the end) despite the cold. One of the guys mentioned that 17 couples showed up last week, even during that blizzard! I can't imagine setting up a registry as that important, but to each his own.

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