Posts from April, 2006

The quick brown fox jumped over the good, but lazy Parker family.

Wedding: Arbitrary Climatology Research

Sunday, 30 April 2006

It’s still pretty early in the game (T-minus 523 days) but we decided it was about time to pick a random date to pursue with the church, reception and rehearsal-dinner people.

So, we went to Weather Underground’s History page and did some research. Three minutes (and one excel spreadsheet later) we had something that looked like this:

22-Sep 29-Sep 6-Oct 13-Oct
Mean Temp. 65 °F 62 °F 59 °F 56 °F
Average High 77 °F 74 °F 71 °F 69 °F
Average Low 53 °F 50 °F 46 °F 43 °F
Record High 94 °F (1980) 85 °F (1986) 85 °F (1997) 84 °F (1998)
Record Low 38 °F (1997) 34 °F (1978) 28 °F (1968) 30 °F (1985)
Avg. Rainfall 0.13 in 0.12 in 0.11 in 0.11 in
Record Rainfall 1.57 in (1982) 2.23 in (1963) 0.68 in (1972) 0.85 in (1983)

After much deliberation (three, maybe four minutes) we decided to target October 6, 2007. Not too cold, not too hot … and it didn’t hijack one of our attendants (Melissa Merens) 30th birthday (missed it by a week). It’s a shame, she would have gotten one heck of a party …

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Wedding: Clifton, Virginia

Sunday, 30 April 2006


We spent the morning in Clifton, Virginia (map, two sites) looking at potential wedding and receptions sites. A friend of mine from work got married in the town, and absolutely loved it. It’s a tiny town (population: 185) about 25 miles west of Washington D.C. (about 15 miles south of Dulles Airport) with a very strong small-town America feel.

Originally uploaded by evancparker.

The only reception place we visited here was The Hermitage Inn, which seems to rule the town as far as weddings are concerned. Spent an hour talking to Serge, the French-speaking owner of the establishment, and was really impressed by the stunning decor and the strong brunch menu (still planning on a morning wedding so far).

The prices seemed affordable (for Washington D.C. at least, where everything is relative) and they were clear for the two months (September, October 2007) that we are leaning towards. It’s definitely at the top of (what is currently) a very short, short list.

Originally uploaded by evancparker.

Immediately behind the Hermitage is the Clifton Presbyterian Church… and by “immediately behind,” I mean “shares parking lot with.”

While neither of us are Presbyterian (Methodist and Episcopalian, respectively, but both seem to be AWOL in Clifton) it doesn’t really matter, because they are B.Y.O.P. (bring your own priest) to non-members.

The church is under-construction (well, renovation actually) and have told the lady sparkler that they aren’t accepting reservations until September of 2006. This makes us a little nervous, because it would sorta suck to pick a reception place in Clifton, and then get married at Foundry United Methodist in D.C. We weren’t able to get in (again, the construction) but will swing by later in the process, assuming we are as infatuated with Clifton as we currently are.

Originally uploaded by evancparker.

There is one other church option in Clifton, called Clifton Primitive Baptist Church. The church has a strong cultural history. Built in 1869, it was the first African American church in Fairfax County. The church hasn’t had regular services there since 1957, but was renovated in the last couple of years for use in weddings and special occasions.

It’s small (even by Clifton standards) with 1 aisle, 10 or 11 pews per side, seating 4 or 5 to a pew. By my math, that’s 80 to 110 rear ends, and not a whole lot of room for breathing and such. On the other hand, the lady sparkler and I are trying very hard to break the land-speed record of my best friend from W&M (Chrissy, with a svelte 22 minute wedding ceremony) so if we have to stack you all in like lumber, at least it will only be for a few minutes.

The good news is that the church is (primatively) gorgeous, available for the whole day, and we don’t have to compete with a congregation for attention.

One thing that is good the WHOLE way round is that all three locations are within an easy walking distance of each other. This means no limo (yay!) and no problems with parking. Not to mention, all three places are within 30 minutes of home and 15 minutes of a major (and cheap) airport. Finally, there are 25 hotels within 9 miles (Manassas, Centreville) of the town.

We’ll keep you posted, but T-minus 524 days and things are looking pretty okay.

wedding in:


Wedding: Required Reading

Sunday, 30 April 2006

We’ve been engaged one week and I have started to discover the vast quantities of wedding material that exists. First, thanks to Marja we have 435 pages of New and Improved Bridal Bargains — as seen on Oprah, of course! It’s filled with tons of obscure facts. For example you can look up the least popular months for weddings by state. Surprisingly, all of this information makes for some really good reading.

Then this weekend, a huge package arrived from m.o.h. Christy with the latest wedding magazines. I am now the proud owner of about 15 pounds of wedding advice that I can haul around on the metro this week. The selection includes In Style Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Modern Bride.

So that he isn’t left out, Evan and I picked up The Pocket Idiot’s Guide to Being a Groom. He’s dutifully read it cover to cover already. It’s the third edition of the book so the advice has to be pretty good — right?

Other friends have offered to give me their supply of wedding planning materials and books in the coming weeks. I think we will be the best-read couple in DC by the time we get married.

wedding in:


Wedding: One Ring to Rule Them All …

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

After much debate about the tact of posting pictures of hypothetical engagement rings, the Spindler-Parker family has hereby (and forthwith) decided to post the “money shot” of the ring as provided through the ring’s proprietor’s web site.

The Lady Sparkler would like (at my earliest convenience) to replace this picture with one of the ring on her actual hand. I, on the other hand, am advocating for this picture’s to remain indefinitely. Without a finger for perspective, the ring looks much bigger than its actual size (which is a little smaller than the head of a pin).

P.S. Two words: It’s heaven for geeks-in-love who want to avoid being hard-sold by gemologists/used-car salesmen. The “build your own engagement ring” has cool little sliders that makes the whole thing vaguely less terrifying than it otherwise would be…

wedding in:


Photos: New York

Monday, 17 April 2006

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See All the Photos on Flickr:
Engagement Day

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Sunday, 16 April 2006

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It happened some time around 3:30 on Saturday… I proposed to The Lady Sparkler while we were in New York City for a long weekend. The proposal itself took place in a part of Central Park overlooking the lake called the Ramble (see map).

For the record, she did say yes… and part of the following day was spent purchasing a bridal planning book from Barnes and Noble, which I took to be a good, reinforcing sign.

We are open to bets on when the wedding will be, and if the pool gets large enough, we promise to throw the pool and split the proceeds with the “winner.” Even money says that it won’t be in ANY spring (too miserably busy each and every year), so the smart gambler would be picking D.C. weekends in the autumn of 2007.

Pictures coming soon from the trip to NYC, and maybe even the ring if we can find a way of doing it without looking completely superficial / gauche.

wedding in:


Travel: Fenway Park, Boston

Wednesday, 12 April 2006

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IMG_0187.CR2, Originally uploaded by evancparker.

I was in Boston (well, Cambridge, actually) for a conference, and had an afternoon to kill. Being a good Red Sox fan, I walked over the Charles and down to the stadium. Even took the tour. Unfortunately, I found out that good Red Sox fan’s DON’T take the tour, because it is largely a waste of money. You spend $8 and get to sit in the bleachers, and hear someone talk about the Pesky pole for 45 minutes. Oh well.

Fenway Park, Boston…7113/

Hike: Roosevelt Island

Sunday, 2 April 2006


Roosevelt Island is certainly a nice hike, but not one of the most photogenic places in Washington. A dog was doing some dead-waterfowl retrieval drills, but not much exciting beyond that.

Roosevelt Island…0121/