This morning, as I filled Charlie and Cora's water bowl, it occurred to me that we could use more cat bowls. So, I initiated a running list of things we could ask for in a wedding registry and left the list for Steven to find on the kitchen counter.

Find it, he did.

What did you married folk register for, and MORE IMPORTANTLY, what did you find in the end was a worthless or really useful item to receive?
They are adorable in most ways, but our cats' fascination with (and destruction of) our Christmas tree had to end. Whether it was Charlie (below) or Cora (the prime suspect) is immaterial, really. Our broken bulbs were adding up.
I am happy to announce that it's been two days since The Husband-To-Be hung our orange ornaments, and said destruction appears to have ended. 

Cats: 1 (unless you're counting smashed ornaments). Humans: 1.

Now, these orange ornaments aren't just orange in color. They're actually oranges. Partially peeled, strung with a metal hook, oranges.
He hung the Clementines on the branches of our artificial tree, but as you can see, he hid them well.
Steven's colleague told him that cats don't like the smell of citrus, and I knew this to be true because we put lemon juice on our fingertips to teach my childhood cat, Tigger, not to bite our fingers. The Humane Society of the United States confirms cats usually avoid citrus and presents other training methods, too.

Thankfully, the ornaments that fell prey prior to the orange assault were not the two we purchased over the past couple years as we build our Christmas tradition: one new ornament, every year. Here's the newest (purchased from a mall kiosk):
And this one is last year's, engraved by Things Remembered. It simply features our names and the year.
'Tis the season to be jolly, but 'tis the season, too, for bridal shows. I'm attending the Today's Bride show at the I-X Center (huge event with a seemingly impossible number of vendors to meet and ideas to steal), and I'll be at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar as both a blushing bride and a vendor. Story of Your Life (the company I co-founded with my sister) will be exhibiting at the show, which is an atypical event for those couples seeking to avoid the crowds and to find vendors who do unique and stylish things. Come by and say hi! (Mention The Bartering Bride blog, and I'll give you a 25% off gift certificate for a Story of Your Life. Our certificates never expire.)

Here's my advice to you if you'll be attending one or both of these shows (or any of these):

*Bring labels printed with your name, your wedding date (if you have one), your phone number and email address. Vendors often offer giveaways, and it's a bear to have to write your information each and every time you want to enter one. Make labels, and it's as simple as peel, stick and enter the raffle. Other tips are here.
*Bring your Mom, friends, bridesmaids and your soon-to-be husband. I don't know; it seems to me that this experience of planning our wedding is flying by, and I want to share as much of it as I can with him. Whether Steven actually will brave the January shows is TBD.

Me (literally just now): Are you going to brave the bridal shows with me this January?
"If it's all day Sunday during the game before the Super Bowl, please no," replied the Supreme King of Fantasy Football (yes, he won his league and has been clucking nonstop about it). "That'd be torture."

He attended one show with me already, so I can't begrudge him too much. But maybe our satellite dish will go "defunct" on bridal show Sunday. ::evil cackles::

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone. Crazy to think it soon will be 2013, the year I get to wear that dress that hangs in my mom's closet and marry the man I adore. I hope it's a year of joy for all of you, too.
I mailed our contract to officially secure the venue today. But, before that could occur, there was the Message Decision.

Toward the end of the contract, the venue coordinators ask each bride and groom to provide a message they would like displayed on the outdoor sign on their big day. 

We didn't just want congratulations, but we weren't sure what we did want. So I set a piece of paper and a pen in front of both of us one night this week and initiated the brainstorm. Here's what my super-focused fiance wrote:
"You said whatever comes to mind, and I went with that," The HTB (husband-to-be) retorted when I called into question the relevance of his last two suggestions. And G.O.A.T.? Apparently, it's an acronym for Greatest Of All Time.

In other wedding developments, our tree trunks are here, and they are exactly what we wanted. Straight-out-of-the-forest authentic! In the coming weeks, Steven and I plan to have a thrift-store hunt for some super-cheap glass jars and other centerpiece items.
And now, I reveal to you the reason there will be glitter in our rug and on the hardwood floors for, probably, forever: My first crafty project in, oh, a decade. My very best friends (minus one who's out of town), my sister and my mom will be my peanut gallery this Sunday as I try on my very first wedding dresses. (This is actually a moment I would want a videographer to capture, if, well, THAT was in the budget.)

I think first impressions say a lot, so to lend some uniformity to the rounds of first impressions I'll bear witness to, I created scorecards for my five judges:
As with anything that involves paper on the floor, a certain Cora cat found it supremely torturous that I insisted she not fluff all over my sparkly creations.