Wedding News

Our Proofs are Here

Proofs from our wedding have finally arrived!  After two months of waiting with anticipation, our pictures are in.  I picked them up late afternoon yesterday and immediately I started flipping through the 1400+ pictures we had of the day.  We used Telmo at JovonPhotography and judging by the proofs they did an amazing job of capturing our special day.  We have a combination of color and black/white photos that bring to life all the joy and happiness of our celebration.  Now comes the joy of narrowing down the 1400+ pictures into the ones that will go into our album…..yikes!

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TurboBride turns Matron of Honor

This coming February my best friend Shari is getting married.  Now behind us are our single days together out on the town and our jaunts around the world as two single women.  Happy and excited that we are both entering the same phase of our life at the same time it has been really fun helping her with wedding plans and sharing my ‘words of wisdom’ from my own wedding as she prepares for her big day.  I thought that planning our wedding was so exciting that I feel like I am reliving the moments through her again. 

Being part of the wedding party, Jill and I went to David’s Bridal to try on the dress that Shari selected for us.  I had never been to David’s Bridal shop before and really hadn’t seen their collection until recently.  Much to my surprise there are definitely some quality dresses there and a variety of styles to fit all budgets and taste.  I’ve been to many other stores – RK Bridal, Kleinfeld BridalFontana’s (where I bought my wedding dress) and Priscilla of Boston (where my bridesmaid’s dresses were from) and they usually only have one size per dress and its always way too big for most people.  At David’s Bridal they have many sizes of the same dress so it is easy to figure out what fits and since many of the colors were on display too, there was no guessing as to what the fabric would like beyond just the swatch.  This definitely made things easy.   We were in and out of the store in under 30 minutes and not even three weeks later we received a call that our dresses were in.  That was much faster than any other dress I’ve ever ordered.  If you are really lucky you could walk out of the store with the dress you need that day if they have the size and color you need.  So, if you are in the market dresses for your wedding party, it might be worth taking a look, especially if you are working on a budget as they carry very moderate prices. 

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Wedding Flashback

Since tying the knot almost two months ago, Darren and I have been to two weddings, one for friends Brian & Melissa and last night for my colleague Gwenn and her fiance, Scott.  Being at both of these weddings made us relive our own wedding all over again.  From the first moments of walking in and hearing the music, to watching everyone come down the aisle and the exchanging of vows all I kept thinking about was our wedding and reliving the magic of our special night.

Gwenn’s wedding was at the Brooklake Country Club in Florham Park, NJ.  Set amongst several sprawling golf courses, this private club is a beautiful setting for a wedding.  I only wish we could have seen the grounds in daylight because they looked beautiful.  The main house had a romantic feel with beautiful chandeliers, fireplaces and staircases.  The ballroom overlooked the golf course, an outdoor patio and fountains.  Perfect for picture taking, I’m sure.  Like our wedding, Gwenn’s ceremony was a jewish wedding and she had a beautiful chuppah that incorporated tree branches and candles giving the ceremony a romantic feel.  The cocktail hour had all the typical fare you would expect: pasta stations, cheese platters, carving stations, a caviar bar, etc.  The ballroom was beautifully decorated and we danced the night away to many great songs.  We had a terrific time and enjoyed reliving our own wedding every step of the way.  Mazel tov Gwenn and Scott!

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Long awaited pictures…

Finally, some long awaited pictures from Part II of our honeymoon and from Brian & Melissa’s wedding in San Francisco are posted on HermanWeb.  Click here and enjoy!

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TripAdvisor & Frommer’s: Essential Travel Guides

I’ve just been posting reviews on TripAdvisor for all the resorts/hotels we stayed at during our honeymoon.  Tripadvisor is a fabulous, free website that allows visitors to rate hotels and restaurants as well as post a review about their experience.  This site was an invaluable resource for me while I planned our trip.  Most hotel websites make everything look beautiful and sound amazing but TripAdvisor reviews tells it like it is – the good, the bad, the ugly and the smelly.  The reviews are by real people with real experiences.  Anyone planning a trip should definitely check out TripAdvisor.

I’d also recommend Frommer’s travel books.  These small pocketbooks are chock full of great travel tips from things to do, places to stay, places to eat and great suggestions for getting the most out of your trip.  I ordered a bunch of different ones for the various destinations we were headed to and they were fantastic!  We thought the reviews on the accommodations were very truthful and the suggestions for places to eat were spot on.  They have a rating system that lets you know pricing, if a place is good for kids, a good value or a real find.  Trust us, if we strayed from what the book recommended we found out why a place wasnt’ mentioned! No matter what your destination is, if there is a book by Frommer’s on it, I’d highly recommend picking up a copy.  We followed their suggestions as well as Tripadvisor’s and we had the best trip ever.  I can’t say enough good things about both and will definitely consult with them again when planning our next trip in 2008.   Until then…Happy travels!

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From Miss to Mrs….

Having just returned from an amazing honeymoon, it was back to life and back to reality after 3 weeks off from work for our wedding and honeymoon.   Walking in the office, I realized I was no longer a “Kepner” but now a “Herman” and with that, the paperwork started. 

After you get married, if you change your name like I did, there are so many things that need to be updated:  driver’s license, social security card, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, insurance cards etc.   I spent the better part of the last 48 hours going to each of the websites, printing out forms that I needed, figuring out who I could just call to make the change and who I needed to go the office in person to make my changes.   Unfortuantely for me, the only changes I could make over the phone were my credit cards.  Everywhere else you have to go in person, present your marriage certificate as proof of your new last name before they can issue you new documents.  The banks are a breeze, you can be in an out in 5 minutes but its the painful government offices for Social Security and Department of Motor Vehicles that can be an all day affair.  Fortunate for me, the Social Security office was just under an hour – however, sitting there Darren and I wanted to pull out our hair as the place has two speeds – slow and stop.  There was only one person behind the counter most of the time and they move at a snails pace.  Be prepared to wait!   The DMV however, was surprisingly quick for me.  I was shocked!  I went to the office on Greenwich Street (downtown Manhattan) prepared to wait the usual 1-2 hours but turns out the whole experience took a total of 30 minutes, most of which was the walk to/from my office.  There was one person ahead of me for a new picture and then literally by the time I sat down and took out my blackberry, my number was called for processing and in less than 5 minutes I had my interim license.  A true miracle! 

During this whole experience I kept thinking it would be great if there was one central site you could go to from the state that had all the right paperwork.  I did some reasearch after the fact of course, and found  www.kitbiz.com - they have all sorts of kits for going from a ‘miss to a mrs.’ but along with the effciency there is a price tag -$28.95 fee + $4 shipping.  There are several other sites too but all had similiar pricing.  While it was kind of annoying to each government/service website, I still think it was worth my time rather than spending money and still needing to go in person to most of these offices anyway.  Maybe you’ll think differently….

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We’re Back! Honeymoon Reflections…

WE ARE BACK! After 14 days of fun and adventure, Darren and I are back home in New York. On our two week adventure we drove a total of 28 hours, covering over 1,500 miles throughout the desert southwest and northern California. We had an amazing time and are sad that our trip over. As we sat on the plane we talked about the highlights of our journey, the best/worst of things and thought we’d put together this list of what he thought and what I thought. Enjoy!

Best meal:
Sherri – Cochina Michoachana in Groveland, CA. The tacos, enchiladas and fajitas were the best I’ve ever eaten.
Darren – Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, AZ. Pie – no other explanation needed!

Worst Meal:
Sherri – 49er Restaurant, Buck Meadows, CA. A frozen TV dinner was better than the lasagna I ordered.
Darren – N9NE Steakhouse or Latilla (tie) – Salty lamb chops ruined a good rating of N9NE. Latilla was just ‘eh’/average and overpriced.

Best Hotel Room:
Sherri – THEhotel or Yosemite Rose (tie) – comfort, luxury and they both had internet connectivity!
Darren – THEhotel

Worst Hotel Room:
Sherri & Darren – Zion Lodge. The room was musty, small and dark. It stunk – literally and figuratively!

Most Comfortable Bed:
Sherri – Yosemite Rose / Tickle Pink Inn (tie) – fluffy pillows, plush mattress and luxurious sheets.
Darren – TicklePink Inn

Worst Bed:
Sherri & Darren – Bryce Canyon Lodge – the springs from the mattress were digging into us all night.

Park Rankings:
Sherri: Zion, Bryce, Yosemite, Grand Canyon
Darren: Bryce, Zion, Yosemite, Grand Canyon

Favorite Hike:
Sherri & Darren – Emerald Pools (Zion). The views and the terrain gave this hike the edge for me. For Darren it was the challenge of figuring out the trail.

Favorite Outdoor Activity of the Honeymoon:
Sherri – River raft trip through Glen Canyon
Darren – Seeing how adventurous Sherri got on the Zion hike

Best Scenic Drive:
Sherri – From Scottsdale to Grand Canyon (thru Sedona)
Darren – From Bryce Canyon to Zion National Park

Most Underrated Part of the Trip:
Sherri – strolling the streets of Carmel
Darren – rafting

Funniest Moment in the Car:
Sherri & Darren – Sherri calling out ‘skunk, skunk, skunk’ as we passed one on a dimly lit road in rural Groveland, CA causing Darren swerve out of the way thinking it was in the middle of the road. Reality was a paw hadn’t even touched the pavement! I had just never seen a skunk that close.

Most Memorable Part of the Honeymoon:
Sherri – our drives between each city and the game room at Yosemite Rose
Darren – our time spent at the Yosemite Rose

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Carmel & San Francisco – our final stops on the Honeymoon…..

Thursday morning we were back in the car again for the journey back to civilization. We left the serenity of the national parks behind us as we departed Yosemite enroute to the California coast where we were spending the rest of the honeymoon. A stressful 4 hour drive from Yosemite to Carmel due to the steep winding hills and some less than stellar directions (what a disappointment since mapquest.com was so good up until that point) but by afternoon we arrived at The TicklePink Inn.

The TicklePink Inn is nestled in the highlands of Carmel overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Our room faced the cove and had a beautiful balcony overlooking the hills and the water. The room was beautiful and luxurious, the bed was heavenly and the bottle of champagne that welcomed us was a terrific touch. We spent a day and half in Carmel walking the streets, browsing in the stores and the many art galleries that are in the heart of Carmel.

We had two dinners in Carmel – the first at the Flying Fish Grill. This restaurant is Asian Fusion and the fish was fresh and delicious. We started off with a California roll as an appetizer and then we each had the Ahi Tuna. The tuna was lightly seared and served over steamed rice with a mustard miso glaze. It was outstanding. The reviews of the restaurant called it romantic so Darren and I were expecting white table cloths, candles and an intimate setting. We were surprised however to find the decoration to be heavy wood, lots of booths and a louder atmosphere than what we expected. It was still terrific but not quite the little nook or hideaway we read about.

The second dinner was at Flaherty’s. Flaherty’s is a fish and seafood restaurant in the heart of Carmel as well. We read several good reviews and were in the mood for a healthier dinner so we thought we’d try it. Darren started with a jumbo shrimp cocktail and I had the Manhattan Clam Chowder. The shrimp were large and tasty and the clam chowder was flavorful and not skimpy at all on the clams. We thought we were in for a delicious entree. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Darren order the Cioppino and I had Little Neck Clams with tomatoes, spinach and herbs in a olive oil and garlic sauce over angel hair pasta. While the portions were generous in size, both dishes lacked taste. They were both so bland and blah that we were disappointed. I guess every meal can’t be a winner. Oh well.

Saturday morning we ascended upon San Francisco for our final night of the honeymoon and to celebrate Brian & Melissa’s wedding. We arrived early so we could check out a few art galleries and grab lunch with Darren’s friends down at Pier 23 before heading to the church. A bunch of Darren’s work colleagues came into town for the celebration so it was one big party. The reception was at the Fairmont and was beautiful. The band was amazing – not your traditional wedding band – but a true 80s band – The Poprocks. They had all the guests out on the dance floor, singing and dancing along with them. The night was a ton of fun and the perfect last night for our honeymoon! Congrats Brian & Melissa!!!!

We are now sitting at the airport in San Francisco awaiting our return to NY. It will be really hard to return to ‘everyday living’ after the amazing few weeks but we are excited to come home and see everyone and relive the magic of the last few weeks.

Pictures will be posted….as soon as Darren can find the camera cord!!!!

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The Art of Winning Gracefully

Yesterday Darren and I had more of a relaxing day despite being in Yosemite. After another delicious breakfast of pancakes and eggs by innkeeper Katherine at the Yosemite Rose B&B, we ventured on to the park for what will probably be our last official hike of the honeymoon. We decided to spend the morning hiking the Merced Grove which is 5 miles passed the west entrance to the park (Big Oak Flat). It is a serene grove, little explored but very peaceful and beautiful. For 3 miles we hiked through the forest before coming upon the large sequoias about 1.5 miles into the grove. All of the trees along the hike are huge, many of them probably 100 years old or older. The sequoias however are unlike any other kind of tree – their height and red bark make them very unique and a marvel to look at. The hike took about 2 hours in total – the first leg is basically all down hill and the walk back is a challenging 1+ miles up hill but a good workout for the legs – and for walking off our morning breakfast!

For the afternoon, we planned to have a late lunch and then an early evening/twilight horseback ride but unfortunately late in the day our instructor became ill and had to cancel. Since our plans went array, we decided to unwind in the game room of the inn and challenged each other to several games of chess and billiards. We spent hours literally playing several games of chess. Darren won most of them. I think I won 2 games in the end but we both said that every couple should play games – probably before they get married because the way a person wins or loses says a lot about the kind of person they are.

Darren and I first started playing games back in St. Maarten last year on our first official vacation. We played boggle and trivia games. I ruled Boggle from the first shake of the letters and Darren wiped the floor with me on trivia (especially since music was a main category and he’s a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the music industry). Both of us took our wins and loses with grace and dignity. Neither of us taunting the other with victory nor being a sore loser when things didn’t go our way. Now that we are married, playing games tested whether or not we showed our true colors last September or were we just on our best behavior because we were only dating a few months? Truth is, we showed our true colors back then and with the same graciousness and respect we showed as winners/losers last September, held true one year later.

The old saying goes….”Its not whether you win or lose but its how you play the game” is very true. Play a game and test your relationship to see the true colors of the person you are friends with, dating or married to. Games are very telling! Happily, we both are very good at winning and losing :)

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Exploring Yosemite Valley

After enjoying a delicious full breakfast at our b&b (Yosemite Rose), we put on our hiking gear again and headed back to Yosemite for a day of exploration. Yosemite is an enormous national park, and you certainly can’t see it in one or two days. We were fortunate enough to drive across the park on Tioga Road on our way in on Monday so we were able to enjoy the array of spruce, pine, oak, maple and fir trees that cover the vast majority of the park. Yosemite is the main part of the Sierra Nevada mountain range so the peeks and valleys are incredible.

We started our day by stopping at Bridalveil Falls just on the outskirts of Yosemite Village. The waterfall was just a trickle though. The snow and rain this past winter were not what the region normally receives so the vast majority of the waterfalls (and some of the most awe-inspiring sites of the park) have dried up six to seven weeks earlier than they normally do. Our next stop was Little Falls which is part of Yosemite Falls. Yosemite Falls is one of the major attractions in the park and is one of the reasons people stay at The Ahwahnee Lodge – to appreciate the view. Unfortunately, the Falls were all dried up so there was no reason to venture on from the lower falls to the upper falls.

For the afternoon, we decided to take a 4 hour tour to Glacier Point – the highest viewing point in the park. The ride up was beautiful. We drove up winding cliffs, through the trees, passing wildlife and eventually soaring to the top where we spent an hour looking around. The views capture the entire valley floor, a full view of Half Dome, Sentinel Dome, distant views of Vernal Falls (one of two running waterfalls right now) and gives the best overall view of the entire park. There is a four mile hike back to the lodges from Glacier Point but we opted to remain with the group and ride back down to the bottom. We stopped at Tunnel View for pictures before heading back.

All our outdoor exploration, left us ravenous for dinner. All day long we were talking about trying the authentic mexican restaurant in Groveland. We heard rave reviews from our B&B hostess so we decided to try it. Cocina Michoacana, in the heart of Groveland, lives up to its billing. The authentic mexican cuisine is fresh, tasty and delectable. The restaurant wasn’t much from the outside and I’m sure if there is a Zagat’s review of it, it would have a low rating on decor but the food and service were spectacular. We started off with chips/salsa/guacamole and we inhaled the basket before moving on to tacos and enchiladas for appetizers and fajitas for dinner. Darren and I shared the chicken/beef fajita dinner for two and it was incredible. This restaurant rivaled the place we ate it in Scottsdale and I think it was actually a notch better. Darren was undecided – he said it was too close to call. We highly recommend this place not only for the food but for the value. We ate a ton of food – more than we probably should have, and still the bill was under $40 in total. Can’t beat that!

Today, we are heading back to Yosemite but for a more leisurely day. We will probably check out the groves and have a nice, relaxing picnic lunch. There is a 3-mile hike through the grove that we will explore. The Merced Grove is said to be the least explored yet the most beautiful grove filled with sequoia trees and many others. We’ll let you know what we think…..

Pictures of Vegas and Yosemite will be posted later tonight.

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