DEFINE ("_BBCLONE_DIR", "/bbclonedir/");
DEFINE ("_NEW_COUNTER", _BBCLONE_DIR . "mark_page.php");
Melissa and Mark's News
(Last update: June 29th, 2003)(Click here to jump to the latest update)
October 26th, 2001
Mark proposes to Melissa at Melissa's apartment. He knew he wouldn't be able to hide the fact that he had the ring for very long. Because of that he knew he wouldn't have been able to wait to plan something slightly more romantic. It consisted of a rose, a bottle of sparkling cider and a ring. (Melissa's first question when Mark came over was "Why is your heart beating so fast??")
After much disbelief on both sides, we called Melissa's family. (And there is much rejoicing) We didn't tell Mark's parents until later (See November 9th)...
The decision is made to not start planning the wedding until after the New Year- specifically January 5th.
November 9th, 2001
Melissa and Mark head to Connecticut for Mark's grandfather's 80th Birthday Celebration. Unbeknownst to Melissa and Mark his grandparents were warned not to say anything about getting engaged (So as not to add any pressure). Mark's Grandmother spotted the ring and was quickly hushed by the rest of the family (While Mark, who had promised not to leave Melissa's side until it came out, was not at Melissa's side but in the kitchen). Mark's Grandmother didn't give up though and soon it came out that yes, there is an engagement ring! (And there is much rejoicing)
January 5th, 2002
Melissa already has most of the wedding planned. Ok, not really, but more than you would expect for someone who JUST started planning that day. We quickly started looking for reception sites after stopping at the Hawthorne Inn in Salem MA while visiting a friend for brunch (actually this was the next weekend). The reason? They claimed that by the end of February they would be booked through the summer of 2003. Yikes!
January and February, 2002
We decide to look primarily at Unitarian Churches for the wedding. The one exception is the Martha-Mary Chapel in Sudburry MA. As it turns out Unitarian churches are generally very New Englandy from the outside. They vary widely on the inside but tend to be simply stated. Early front runners are one in Menden (Where Mark's friends Jen and Jeremy were married) and one in Waltham (The "pink" church).
Around this time we were also looking at reception places. We decided we didn't want something like a typical hotel reception hall however we did want one large room. It turns out that's almost impossible to find. The first place we went (apart from the Hawthorn Inn) was the Lyman Estate in Waltham. Both of us really liked it but since it wasn't one large room we kept looking.
Mid February, 2002
By now Melissa is going a bit crazy not having a date set. Melissa's a planner, Mark is not... In any case, we went full circle and came back to the Lyman Estate. After visiting it a second time we decided that was the place. You can get more information about it by following the "Reception" button to the left. (That page will have more information eventually) This decision settled the wedding date as well, and it is now set for Saturday June 28, 2003.
Soon after sending in the deposit for the Lyman Estate we also decided on the front runner for a Church. It is the First Parish Unitarian Church in Framingham MA. It is a really beautiful church. You can get more information on it through the "Church" button to the left. (This page too will have more information eventually)
Currently we're working on the band. We have one in mind but have not committed yet. We saw them play a few weeks ago and they were the best of the seven bands we saw that day and the best of all those we've seen demos or heard CDs of.
February 28th, 2002
We signed the lease on an apartment tonight. The apartment is amazing (As far as we're concerned!). It has seven rooms altogether: 2 bedrooms, living room, dining room, kitchen, office and sun room. It's on the second floor of a two family house in Watertown MA in a quiet neighborhood. It was completely redone inside including the hardwood floors as well as most of the wood trim and down to the brass and glass door handles. We're planning on moving in on the last weekend in March (The lease officially starts April 1). We'd rather not publish the address here on the web site, but feel free to email us to get the new info. (although we'll be trying to let everyone know too!)
March 5th, 2002
Melissa: I found my dress tonight! Everyone I talked to kept telling me that I would know the dress when I had it on. I had a hard time believing I would feel that way about a dress. They were right; I did not want to take it off. I tried on 14 dresses tonight and knew this was the one. My friend Sarah was with me and we both started to cry. Melanie (my consultant) was very efficient with the tissues. After a call to my mom I bought the dress. The one thing that was missing was the smile on my mom's face seeing me so excited. I am looking forward to taking her and Mark's mother back to Yolanda's to see it. It is so amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I can't wait to wear it)
March 10th, 2002
Mark: I updated the "Church" page. There is now a little information about the church and how we chose it. Also, the pictures have been organized a bit and a small description was added to each one. Hopefully sometime soon I can do the same thing for the "Reception" page which really needs some description!
March 24th, 2002
Mark: Nothing too exciting going on as far as wedding planning goes. We've been to see a caterer and photographer since the last update. The caterer is a possibility, the photographer not so much. We suddenly like the first photographer we saw very much. In other news, Melissa and I are moving next weekend to our new apartment; we're both really excited about it (except for the actual move itself!). We both spent a good part of today packing up our things. There's a lot more to do... Click here for pictures of the new apartment.
May 27th, 2002
Mark: Sorry for the lack of updates! A few things have happened since the last one. Most importantly we moved to our new apartment on April 1st (Actually March 30th). Since my access to my old roommate's computer is not as good as it was, it is not as easy to update this page (This page is being served from his computer). Hopefully sometime soon I'll have my own web server up and running here.
So, as I was saying... We moved in together in April and we're still speaking. In fact, we even still like each other. Imagine that! We were settled in within a couple of weeks which we both thought was pretty good. We had a lot of help on Moving In Day from our friend Susan (who most importantly brought Starbucks with her when she came!). As it stands we still have some boxes in the office (We've got three computers and a bunch of other stuff that doesn't quite fit on the one computer desk) and our back porch (which is enclosed) has the rest of everything we didn't know what to do with. As it turns out it wasn't as "enclosed" as we thought. A few of our things were found with droppings on them. Hopefully that's all solved now.
Apart from moving in, we did choose the photographer for the wedding. It's Jim Canole of, you guessed it, Jim Canole Photography. Just like with the reception place we ended up going with what we saw first, it just took us a while to get through all of the other options that we didn't find quite as good.
We're also in the process of picking a caterer. This has not been as easy as we expected, and considering that it will be almost half of the cost of the wedding, I think we're both a little more concerned about getting this part perfect. We'll keep you posted on that...
We're also working on a honeymoon location. We're thinking about Disney for a few days then an island in the Caribbean. St. Lucia, in particular, looks good to us but we're still researching.
July 24th, 2002
Mark: Ok, finally, another update! Sorry for the lack of news over the last couple of months. It is partially due to not a whole lot happening on the wedding planning front and partially because I'd been meaning to set up a web server in our new apartment to host this web page. Turns out we had more news before I had the web server done. Hopefully you won't notice a difference but you are now reading this directly from the office in our apartment (as opposed to Paul's bedroom in my old apartment). Let me know if you have any troubles.
On to the news... First, we've picked a caterer. We're going to be using Different Tastes. They seem to be one of the higher profile caterers around Boston; in particular, they do the food for the Wang Center. The main reason we picked them is Jack, the owner. We got along with him very well and he appears to be very creative.
Second, after much thought and discussion we have pretty much decided to have the ceremony at the Lyman Estate as well. (I say "pretty much" because apart from the wedding itself, I have commitment issues!) On the plus side, everyone will gain back an hour and a half of their day (45 minutes travelling each way to/from the church), Melissa and company will have a much nicer place to get ready, we can easily switch between an outdoor or indoor ceremony and there can be someone standing at the end of the isle with a gin and tonic when we're done. It's that last one that is winning me over!
That's all the concrete news for now. We've moved on to start thinking about flowers, hotels and the honeymoon. If anyone has any thoughts or comments on St. Lucia, please let us know! We're getting mixed reviews...
October 14th, 2002
Mark: Yup, it's hard to believe but we're coming up on our one year engagement anniversary. Not everyone gets to celebrate that!
As usual, sorry for the lack of news. Not much changed for quite some time. It's not just that I'm lazy. A few things have progressed, so here we go.
We had people from both sides of the family up this weekend so that Melissa and the bride's maids (and the Mom's) could go Bride's Maids Dress shopping. Apparently it was a successul outting, but I'll let Melissa talk some about that. All I know is Amethyst.
We've also been working on blocking rooms for hotels. This is more work than you would expect. Making sure the places aren't pits and that you get a decent rate takes a lot of visiting and talking. Fortunately, Waltham has about 8 hotels in one square mile.
We're continuing to look into flowers. We're trying to find one better than your average corner flower store, but not so expensive that the flowers cost as much as the rest of the wedding combined. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
The honeymoon is booked except for one piece. Maybe I'll put up a seperate page here for the honeymoon. I'm not sure how many details I really want to give out so we don't run into any of you people! (That's a joke; Melissa doesn't think it's funny) The plan is most of the week following the wedding at Disney World staying at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. This hotel is built on the safari of the Animal Kingdom. We've got a room that overlooks the safari so at least in theory we'll be seeing animals roaming around outside the room. Then, the following weekend we're flying on to St. Lucia for what will hopefully be a relaxing week to recuperate from Disney and spend some time basking in the sun. We, um, don't know where we're staying there yet. We're waiting for a timeshare to open up. Keep your fingers crossed!
We're also working on the rehearsal dinner. I didn't realize how hard it would be to think of a good place in Boston to have a private dinner in a nice location that doesn't cost millions of dollars. Suggestions are welcome... We're currently thinking of Lock-Ober, the Oak Room and Grill 23.
Oh and on the commitment issue. No, not THAT one - the one about where to have the wedding, we're firmly decided on having the wedding at the Lyman Estate.
On a geeky note, I moved the Web server again. If you're reading this then there is obviously no problem. But on the off chance you have one, just let me know.
Now here's Melissa...
Melissa: One part Mark did not mention was that we also started to look into invitations. It was an amazingly productive weekend. My Mom came up on Thursday afternoon and the fun began. Here is the run down. We started the wedding weekend by visiting the Crane store in the Prudential Center. Mom use to work in a store that sold Crane so we figured we start there.
We figured out the style we liked and some fonts. The prices were a little steep so from there we went to Papyrus. They had the same invite from a different vendor for a much better price. Now Mark and I need to go back and figure that all out.
Friday morning Mom and I made our way to a vail shop in Saugus where we were successful in getting my vail, headpiece, and jewelry. From there we went and looked at wedding rings and had our diamonds cleaned at Barmakian's. My mother was amazed at what a wonderful job they did cleaning the rings. Even if you did not buy your diamonds there ladies you should make a trip in to have them clean it.
After lunch we went to Yolanda's to have my hair and make-up done. It was a lot of fun; it's always nice to be pampered (Editorial note from Mark: Isn't that every day??). Mom chased me around the apartment with hairspray until Mark got home to make sure it did not fall out until he saw it. He liked it but later refered to it as a basket on the back of my head. (Can you feel the love?) (Another editorial comment from Mark: I don't remember the exact situation but the comment was in retaliation for something!) You will all be able to check it out on the wedding day and provide your judgement on the basket.
Saturday morning Susan, Jen, Peggy, The Mom's and I went to Christina's to check out the bridesmaid's dresses. Sarah the fourth bridesmaid was not able to make the trip due to a buisness trip. We hope you like the dress Sarah. Thank goodness Peggy and I went a couple of weeks earlier to narrow down the field. It took us about an hour of trying to pick one that Peggy and I had actually elimiated. I thought it might be too hot since it was satin but the general consenses was that it would not be any worse then chifon. After some discussion with my mother on the color, as Mark mentioned we picked Amethyst. The girls all looked great in the dresses. I can't wait to see them together for the wedding.
I want to thank Jen for making the trip after having had minor surgury. Your input was great and I appreciate you being there.
We hope you like the REALLY REALLY long update. It might have to hold you over for a couple of months if history tells!
November 16th, 2002
Mark: It's a little late to mention it, but for those that have been keeping up with our News, you'll notice that it's been over a year since the first entry! Yes, Melissa and I celebrated our one year engagement anniversary. We went out for a night on the town. Ok, not really, but we went out for dinner at the Oak Room in Boston. It is located in the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel. It's a beautiful hotel but the attitude of many of the people in the lounge and the restaurant left something to be desired. The food was excellent though, and the management also treated us very well. We were considering it for the rehearsal dinner, but it's a little too stiff. The important thing is that Melissa and I got to spend a nice time out in Boston which we both really enjoyed.
Just a quick update to say I'm working on the web page a bit. I've updated the Reception page to give some more information on the Lyman Estate and I've organized the pictures some. There are no descriptions on the individual pictures yet so don't get your hopes up! I'm hoping to do some more updating this weekend. I'll comment here when I do it, but don't get worried if you can't get to the page or something isn't quite right. After tomorrow if you find anything wrong, please let me know!
November 17th, 2002
Mark: Wow, two updates in two days! Ok, this one's cheating a little. I just wanted to mention some of the changes I've made to the site since yesterday. You probably noticed there are some new buttons in the left hand side. You'll probably also notice that most of them don't contain anything. Believe it or not that was an afternoon's worth of work. For the web geeks out there I turned the navigation bar into a seperate file which is now included by all the other pages. Unfortunately to do that I had to rename all of the html pages to shtml. For those who may have come here with a bookmark and saw the message about the fact that things have changed, that's why. Hopefully all previous bookmarks will still work in that they'll give that message then redirect you automatically. If anyone finds any broken buttons, bookmarks or other links, please let me know!
Possibly tonight I'll start working on some other things, but for now I think I'm going to relax!
January 27th, 2003
Mark: You people are taskmasters! Everyone we talk to says "You guys haven't updated your site in a while." Sheesh! So here's an update, although most of this happened a while ago. The dates below were all added today.
As for recent news, we've been trying to find a rehearsal dinner place (still!). We had high hopes for Abe and Louie's in Boston as it's run by the same folks that run the Coach Grill in Wayland (Or is it Weston?) which is a favorite of ours (possibly just a favorite of mine, but Melissa's good that way!). Turns out that it has the same snobbish attitude of many Boston restaurants where when you're not part of the "in crowd", however it's defined, it's not a pleasant experience. Our waiter spent most of the night at another table talking it up with friends. The peak of the evening came when a guy at the next table over (which was about a foot and a half away) lost his lunch (dinner) in his napkin and on the floor. By some miracle of cluelessness, I missed the whole thing. Melissa had a direct view though, and dessert just wasn't what it should have been... Anyway, we've pretty much scratched it off the list. We're on the verge of giving up on that "level" of restaurant and looking into some places just down the scale like Skipjacks or Atlantic Fish Company and some others.
While I've got the microphone I'd like to announce to those that know him, Mike McNamara got engaged recently. If I could spell his fiance's name, I would... Congrats to Mike! By the way, Mike was able to hold onto the ring for more than 4 hours before having to propose. He did admit that he felt my pain though. That's good to know.
Now for the "past" updates:
November 6th, 2002
Mark: We picked the musicians for the ceremony. No, it won't be the band that we've got for the reception. Unfortunately I don't remember the name but we're having a harpist and violinist for the ceremony and the cocktail hour.
November 23rd, 2002
Mark: We met with the caterer gain. We've been having troubles trying to fit everything in. We only get 8 (or is it 7 1/2?) hours at the Lyman Estate and 2 1/2 of those are for the caterer/vendors to set up and tear down. That leaves us with not much time considering that the clock starts ticking just before the ceremony and we've got pictures to take afterwards. Anyway, Jack (The caterer) helped us work some of that out and we also finalized the menu. Mostly I think he met with us just to help us feel better!
December 3rd, 2002
Mark: We ordered the cake. Ok, Melissa ordered the cake. I think the cake is one thing that not everyone has seen or heard about. We might try to keep some surprises for the wedding... Those of you who are keeping up with this page won't even need to go to the wedding, you'll already know everything that's going to happen, how and when!
December 7th, 2002
Mark: Melissa and I went to pick out the tuxedoes. Without knowing the prices in advance, it turned out that I picked out the most expensive one they had. It figures. Seems like there's been a lot of that going around in our wedding planning! Anyway, we'll leave the tuxes a secret too. They're not powder blue or anything, so how bad could it be?
January 7th, 2003
Mark: Obviously I'm getting this information through Melissa, but the bride's maids dresses came in. There's not much I can say here except that maybe I'll have Melissa add something about that...
Also, somewhere around this date our honeymoon plans came together. We had previously been homeless in St. Lucia. Not that that's particularly bad, but we really wanted a room somewhere... Anyway, we're now scheduled to stay at the Windjammer Resort. Having that settled felt really good!
January 24th, 2003
Mark: The invitations came in. This would be uneventful except that it seemed to be a lot more work than we expected. The biggest issue was a map that we wanted to include on the address card. I spent a bunch of hours drawing one up to find out that it wasn't in the right format (it was bitmap when they wanted vector) to be thermal printed. We went back and forth a few times and eventually we found out that they could "flat" print it and it would be ok. So they did, and it was. Why there's a difference between the two methods, I have no idea. But they're done, that's what matters!
That's all for now....
April 17th, 2003
Mark: As usual, it's been a long time since the last update! I need to go to bed soon, so this will be short and sweet. We've now got an email link in the "Contact" page for any comments or questions people may have. We also put a bunch of information on the "Logistics" page which, actually, is not related to the logistics of the wedding very much. There will be that sort of thing later, but for now, we've listed some hotels, places to eat and places to visit. We hope people will find it useful when coming to town for the wedding.
In other news, we've renewed our lease for another year. This is particularly good news since we printed the invitations before we made that decision.
Also, Melissa had her shower recently, thank you to everyone that came! A special thanks to the bridal party for making it a wonderful event (I was only there briefly but I heard great things!). I'll let Melissa write more later...
You may have also noticed the "Us" button on the left. I'm beginning a new page for us that's not wedding related. "What?" you say? "You have non-wedding related things going on?" Well, not so much, really, but we will!
June 5th, 2003
Mark: Hello again! Has it really been almost two months?? Well, to be honest, most of the interesting news is already over. We've still been working hard on the wedding, but now it's just ironing out the details. Some of the more interesting bits are:
- The Sunday of Memorial Day weekend, Melissa and I met up with our photographer (Jim) in Boston to take some "engagement" shots. We had already taken our own pictures (and distrubuted them) by the time we picked him as the photographer. However, he prefers to get together with the couples before the wedding to get to know them better. It was mostly a washout weekend, but the weather held off that day; we ended up having great weather for the pictures - namely overcast. It allows for a much larger variety of pictures since you don't have to worry about harsh shadows or squinting. All in all, we had a good time. We're anxiously awaiting the proofs.
- Melissa and I both took the Friday of the week of Memorial Day off. We didn't realize which week that was but it was great timing. We both worked 3 day weeks. We took that day to do some wedding things like apply for the marriage license, as well as do a walkthrough at the Lyman Estate with Jack our caterer and our florist Mary-Beth Stocking. Everything is falling into place nicely there!
- We actually got the marriage license. It innocently costs only $15 in Watertown to get a license. People keep telling me I'll be paying the rest of my life. I'll let you know how it goes!
- We're getting wedding presents already. Is that cool or what?? I won't thank anyone here since you'll be getting real thank yous in the mail. It's like a little bit of Christmas every few days!
- Melissa did her last fitting. From what I can tell, she managed it in two sittings instead of the traditional three. Apparently that's good. I'm the wrong one to ask... She seemed very excited though!
Now for the big story. If you remember, I spent a fair amount of time talking about rehearsal dinner locations earlier in this whole process. Originally Melissa and I wanted to use the Coach Grill (In Wayland - great restaurant, by the way) but they told us repeatedly that they could not do that kind of function on a Friday night. The "repeatedly" comes into play because we asked multiple times to see if we could convince them. On the night of the Friday Melissa and I took off for wedding stuff we went there for dinner (Melissa gets the credit for thinking to make the reservations there) and on the way out I asked again just for the heck of it. Low and behold, "Yes, we can do that." they tell us. Say WHAT!? This is after we had already booked Skipjacks for it. So we debated for a few days and ended up sticking with Skipjacks. We're a little frustrated with the Coach Grill over that one. We spent a lot of effort on finding a place, and we would have used them if they'd agreed on it to begin with. To be honest, part of why we're sticking with Skipjacks is out of spite. However, to be fair to Skipjacks, the other reasons we're sticking with them are that they have been amazingly flexible and helpful (great customer service!) and the room will work out much better. It'll be a much more upbeat affair than it would be at the Coach Grill, and we're both looking forward to it.
That's all the news for now. Hopefully we'll get another update or two in before the wedding.
June 19th, 2003
Mark: We're getting so close (9 days!) that I'm feeling the pressure to get this web site completed! A little late; I know... I've updated the Vendor's page to include information on all of our vendors. As I say there, we highly recommend all of them. Well, at least so far! Since the day hasn't happened, I suppose we can't say for sure (But we have complete confidence!).
Other than that, Melissa and I (mostly Melissa) have been taking care of the small details. The devil is in the details as they say. I think the stress is too. When you think of wedding planning you think "reception hall", "photographer" etc. Not "placecards" and "programs." Anyway, it's all coming together, no worries.
In other news (which I don't think has been reported yet) Melissa and I both had our Bachelor(ette) parties. Mine was a golf outting in Connecticut (planned and executed by my Dad and brother). Other than losing more golf balls than at any other time in my life, I had a great time. Thanks again to everyone for coming (and many came from very far away)! Melissa's "party" was a dinner and dancing event in Boston. The details are a little sketchy, so I can't say much about that although I have seen some pictures, and as far as I can tell, I'm glad the details are sketchy! Ok, ok, I'm just kidding here. However, from what I heard, everyone had a great time (especially Melissa who couldn't wait to wake me up the next morning to tell me about it). Some of the pictures really are scary though...
We also did work on a wedding program. This was another one of those things that should have been easier. We spent a fair amount of time getting it just the way we wanted it. We went to Kinko's to get it printed, and after fighting with a bad floppy and then the web based submission, we got a proof back. And "what the heck is that?!" was the first response. The fonts were wrong. Apparently their PC doesn't have the fonts we used. So there was round two, and we got a decent proof but the quality didn't seem as good as we expected. The answer was that it comes out of a copy machine. Upon questioning this I was told "We are a copy shop, not a print shop." I shut my mouth and went along with it. At some point, things just are not so imporant any more! (They're still going to look good, I'm just a perfectionist) We should be getting these any day now. Hopefully the fonts are right.
Other than that, we're just cruisin' on in to the wedding. We kind of see it as a gate to a two week vacation at this point. We can't wait for that!
June 27th, 2003
Mark: Well, it doesn't get much closer than this! It's only 7 minutes before midnight, and only 15:35 from the start of the ceremony. As for news (That's what we're here for, right??) the rehearsal went well (except for the heat!) and the rehearsal dinner went well (except for the lack of power at the restaurant, forcing us to drive to the Natick Skipjacks), what more can you ask for? We hope everyone had a good time, we certainly did. We're both very excited, but very tired at the moment (I'm sure Melissa is asleep already at the hotel, while I'm holding the fort at the apartment). Good night to all!
June 29th, 2003
Mark: It's all over! Believe it or not, one year and eight months has already gone by since we starting logging all of this news! (give or take since I didn't set the page up for a while after we got engaged) Everything went superbly yesterday, even the weather, which no one would have guessed! We hope everyone that attended had as great a time as we did. I finally went to a wedding reception that I *really* enjoyed! No offense meant to those whose receptions I've been to, but there's only so much fast-dance stress a guy can take!
Thanks to all who have supported us along the way, you guys helped a lot! I would write more, but I have to be up in 5 hours, and those that know me know that that's not good. This will be the last update until after the honeymoon. Thanks to you all for experiencing this process along with us (all three of you!).
I'd particularly like to thank Melissa for taking this ride with me, and for still wanting to marry me in the end! I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to spend the rest of my life with her.
I'm off to bed, we'll write more soon...