Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Family Affair (Crossover Post)

It's crossed my mind more than a few times how grateful I am that my kids will be at the wedding. I fell into motherhood mid-stream with Isaac and it's a lovely idea to choose each other again. When we started planning the wedding he was ring bearer age and now he's a groomsman. He's growing up so fast! In typical boy fashion his mind is in his stomach, it's all about the food. He's most excited for the "biggest cake" he's "ever seen!". Also, to show off his dance moves, I'm sure.

Riley is such a girlie girl the whole idea of a wedding is magical to her. That's my wedding dress she peaking out from. Her face lights up when she talks about her pretty dress and her flower crown. She loved seeing me in my dress after the hair trial. She said I had "princess hair". It's absolutely adorable how excited she is.

I think it makes every already intimate, meaningful, memorable thing that much more so. I am vowing to love Mike forever in front of the most important people in my life, my kids. It's a big deal. I used to be sad that we had done it all out of order, but now I feel blessed. It was the timing that was right for us. It's such a gift to have pregnancy and infancy behind me. It's an amazing thing to have my two big kids with me on such a special day.

I don't envy the young newly weds who have no idea what lays ahead. I love that we are a functional family unit and we're promising to keep on, keeping on. It's such a nice feeling.

Also Posted on: The Hedghog Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We're Having A Honeymoon!!!

One early reference to a honeymoon is in Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man is newly wed, he need not go out on a military expedition, nor shall any public duty be imposed on him. He shall be exempt for one year for the sake of his family, to bring joy to the wife he has married.” Wikipedia. It's an ancient tradition and not without merit in modern times. Typically it was simply the first month of marriage when things are the sweetest. It became a vacation after marriage in the late 19th century.

That's honeymoon history, now for a brief Katie and Mike history. Right before I moved in we drove from California to Florida with a 5yr old Isaac. A few years later we took a cruise to Mexico as a family (the kids were 1yr and turning 8yrs). That's it as far as vacations go. We have never been without the kids longer than overnight a few times. So, the prospect of a vacation just the two of us is amazing.

We originally, waaaay back in 2008, discussed a honeymoon in a cabin in the mountains. When we got started planning again I was concerned about my physical limitations bumming me out. I really wanted to go white water rafting when that trip came up and I'm fairly certain my recently fused spine makes that impossible. Mike's not good with crowds so things like a Disney World which I'm always up for would be stressful.

I didn't want either us to be stressed on this trip because who knows how many years it'll be before we travel alone together again. We decided tropical was the way to go. Either an all inclusive resort or a cruise was the way to go budget-wise. We knew we wanted some privacy, meals provided, and activities for each of us. I had seen a special on the travel channel about Disney Cruises. I thought "someday...".

Well, it turns out cruising on a Thursday is cheaper than a Saturday and they had a boat, the Disney Dream, leaving the day after our wedding. The stars aligned and my someday came. Mike gets his amazing water slide, I get the Disney experience (& and some honeymoon fuss) and we both get a nice room with a balcony. We're both thrilled for lots of yummy food and two days on their private island. I can not wait. I'm so excited for this trip.

Some of my friends and family have been confused about why I would choose a Disney cruise without the kids. First of all most of my Disney trips were as a single girl in my 20's and second Disney has a quality level you don't get elsewhere. It's going to be fabulous.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Update Monday!

  • Booked Our Honeymoon Disney Cruise. I wasn't sure we'd have one so I'm SUPER EXCITED.
  • Got all my RSVPs
  • Had my make-up trial
  • Made signs for our chairs.
  • Finished the seating chart
  • Cut Favor Tags (need to borrow a printer to finish them)
  • Sent some Thank You cards.
  • Met with the venue for the last time before the rehearsal
  • Scheduled a time to pick up the rest of the centerpiece supplies from the florist.
  • Started the slide show.
  • I'm currently wading through our collective MP3s trying to get a play list together.
  • Mike's bachelor party camping trip is scheduled!
Still Looking Forward To
  • Phone meeting with photographer.
  • Finishing the slide show and play list.
  • Shoe shopping.
  • Finding the boys their tie.
  • Decorating the flower baskets (it's been stumping me)
  • Making reserved signs for the ceremony
  • Mike's Bachelor Party
  • My bachelorette/bridal shower weekend
  • Packing for the honeymoon!!
  • The wedding!!

I intend to do an entire post about it, but WOO HOO Honeymoon!! Mike and I have not been by ourselves (without kids) more than overnight in our whole relationship. I'm talking two or three nights off in the last five years and none of them since Riley was born. Phew, vacation! It definitely makes the final wedding preparations a little less stressful. Every time it gets to be too much I just close my eyes and imagine reading pool side.

Now don't get me wrong the stressful moments happen, but they seem to be fewer now. I keep reading on the wedding boards how panicked these girls feel and thinking, "huh. Not me." I still have 23 days and my last two big projects are underway. I'm in good shape. I'm also beyond excited. People have plane tickets, hotel rooms, hair's real. Next week the bulk of our expenses will be paid off and we didn't use a single credit card, go team. We're going to do this and it will be on our terms. I feel the glow I had during the happy moments of pregnancy surrounding me.

I love parties. I'm thinking I'm going to have my own event planning business so I can do what I love, for other people, soon. I'm detail oriented and organized. I micromanage myself. In the last couple days of planning my wedding I'm still overseeing details, but now it's all (cue the cheesy music) about love. All the love and support from friends and family is overwhelming and beautiful. They care as much about my day as I do and I love them for it. Not one person has objected (so far). We've got a lot of people in our corner.

It's not just overwhelming love from family and friends either. Mike and I are a well oiled party machine in general. I plan, organize and communicate with guests. He designs and runs errands. Then we both create! These are the fun days because he no longer looks at me like I have two heads when I ask wedding questions. There's only weeks to go and we're on the same page productivity-wise. We appreciate each other and we get excited together now. I love him and our teamwork so much. It's going to be one hell of a day.

23 days!!!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slideshow Toil

I did a little research and I might as well give up now because this guy (unlike all the other posers claiming it) has created the best wedding slideshow ever!

Two minutes of awesomely funny. Well. Done. Aside from this gem the slideshows on youtube for the most part were too long, had horrible music and cheesy captions. I strive for something entertaining and memorable. Which is no easy feat. I have now unearthed hundreds of adorable photos from our childhoods on top of the great pictures I already have of us as a couple. I'd like to avoid Boy, Girl, Boy Meets Girl, Love! It's been done. I just don't have a solid concept, especially now that photoshopping the president into every shot is off the table.

Here's a little taste of ours:

Baby Katie

Baby Mike

Nerdy Kid Katie

Nerdy Kid Mike

Now, back to my Windows Mover Maker tutorials and millions of photos...

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Musical Chairs

With the final tally of butts to seats in it was time to finish up some loose ends. I started with the easy one. I wrote all the names on the place cards. It was actually during this process that I made my final call to my last unresponded family. I was amazed, he called right back. They couldn't make it, which I had guessed at this point. He was sweet though. He said, "But I love you and I'm happy for you! I hope you guys stay married forever!" It made me feel a lot better. They didn't hate me and they weren't repulsed by the idea of someone marrying me. Honestly, between you and me, I really started to take things personally by the end of the RSVP process. I don't know about bridezilla-ness, but there's certainly an extreme girlly-ness that starts to emerge. It never bothered me too much when we got a "No" because traveling during the week is tricky. What started to make me a little nuts was the unresponded people. I started to imagine all sorts of insults they'd suffered at my hands and how much they hated me.

It sounds silly, but it's no surprise because the guest list from start to finish was emotional for me. Once that was settled and my "yet to responds" were a more than acceptable zero I finished up place cards. I love those kinds of tasks. You should see our Christmas card envelopes by the time we mail them out (pictures, glitter, swoopy letters, etc). I kept it simple with the place cards. Just my best swoopy letters.

Next was the dreaded seating chart. Actually, I had a head start because we did a "rough seating chart" right after invitations went out to see what it would look like if everyone came. It was through where I have my guest list so as people RSVPed no they were automatically un-seated. We got rid of 3 whole tables off the bat. We have two kids tables by age so those were super easy.

The wedding party and their significant others are all sitting with us at a feasting style table. King and Queen (aka Bride and Groom) at the head. So, that one was fairly simple it just took some seat shuffling. The rest of the adult guests were a true puzzle. 10ft round tables seat 8people. While everyone knows Mike and I not everyone knows each other. It took about 10 tries to make it make sense. I needed parents near the kids tables, divorced parents at different ends of the room, out of town friends with other people they could talk to and so on.

At this point every guest has a seat and every table has a name. Mike took the chalkboard easel to his mom with a list of who's sitting where so she can make our seating chart. Yay! Check.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Make-Up Misgivings

Before my make-up trial on Wednesday I had a nightmare. I dreamt they made me wear my wedding dress. I was all crammed into the salon chair and kind of upset to be out in it. Then she made me walk around the salon to test out each look, but I really wanted to sit and look in the mirror. After that she took me to a bathroom and told me to get in the shower, in my wedding dress! That was how we'd wash the make-up off to start again.

I was a nervous wreck that morning. I showed her head shots where I'd had my make-up professionally done, a picture of me after the hair trial with my wedding dress on and the two things I'd pinned on Pinterest. I told her light, natural, ethereal with drama around the eye. I wanted sparkle, but she said glitter doesn't read well in pictures. Shimmer was the next choice, but apparently Aveda doesn't make a shimmery shadow.

The first look involved black liner and purple shadow and was a No. Next, she did brown liner and shadow which was much better. Somewhere in all the tweaking my mom says she added purple back into the final look. The pictures look so much different than I remember looking in person.

At first no one said anything. Not a peep. I got really self conscious. Mike had already said it was too much/too dark blush and my eyes were too dark. I thought it was just a side effect of two hours of trying, changing, removing and adding make up. Once I admitted I wasn't 100% on the final look everyone is agreed that my eyes were too dark. It was like the post break-up silence and admissions that no one really liked him.

Bridesmaids have offered to show me what they have in mind for me so I have a reference. My sister insisted I NEVER go back to that make-up artist. I'm glad I'm getting feedback now when I have 25ish days to fix it. I just wish people had showed me their ideas before the trial. I don't want to pay for anymore trials. I thought this would be fun, but it's stressful.

I have no idea if I'll keep my appointment with the girl I had my trial with (who happens to be marrying a man named Mike next month). I'd just give her very specific instructions for changes or I could just go somewhere else. I have no idea where I would go. I wanted this to be settled, but it may have to wait until the week before the wedding when my sister's here. Who knows.....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Signs For The Backs Of Our Chairs

Screw Etsy (I know that's not my typical attitude but in this case I mean it)! $60 for "Mrs." & "Mr." signs. $30 for a wooden ampersand? Pass. I decided once the sign was painted and dolled up no one could tell the difference between wood and cardboard anyway. Plus, it wouldn't be worth the investment since I have no idea what I'd do with them after the wedding anyway.

  • Cardboard (recycled Amazon box)
  • Paint & Brush
  • Card Stock/Construction Paper
  • Silhouette (or exact-o knife)
  • Glue stick
  • Decoupage
  • Crop-a-dile
  • Copper Colored Grommets
  • Ribbon

That's right mine says "Something Clever" and his says "Yet to be Determined". We think it's funny on a few levels. First, I picked out a small card board box. I cut the top and lid off so I'd have two pieces roughly the same size. I painted them dark green with acryllic paint and a foam brush. I'm sure any dark colored paint works for cardboard though. I let them dry overnight (or for over a week while I considered my next step).

Next I used my Silhouette cutter and a free font I downloaded called ales and wenches to write out the words we agreed on. I used plain old brown construction paper. I glued them down with a glue stick (to allow for scooting). Then when they were dry I painted a layer of decoupage over top.

I used my crop-a-dile to punch two holes in the top of each and put in copper colored grommets. Then I carefully touched up the green paint around the edges. Once they were dry I fed some sheer green ribbon through the holes.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Make-Up Trial

Before Picture, That's the Make-up Artist Behind Me

Planning Huddle


Checking it out. The black liner was too dark for me.

Another try in the sunlight. The liner and shadow were too dark.

The final look. It'll be less dark looking because there won't be 2hrs worth of starting over on my face. Also, there will be water proof mascara. Apparently, Aveda doesn't make waterproof. Why is any mascara NOT waterproof? We went with a softer brown liner rather than the black. She ditched the darker purple shadow for brown. She's also gonna do the liner thinner (she needed a different brush) and a little shimmer on the eye shadow.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Happy Final Headcount Day!!

This my lovely venue where I went today to drop off my lovely final headcount. It was a bit like studyong for weeks and the exam finally being over. For all my grumbling we are in our ideal range after all, even considering the few people who haven't responded yet. It is just such a relief to move on from stupid RSVPs. I ran over right after physical therapy today.

They have a team of three event staff and as of this morning I had solely dealt with one of them. Today I met her boss and had a little chat. She was very nice. Turns out we don't need a valet for parking, phew! We discussed arrival times of vendors and how many chairs I'd want in a row for the ceremony (the boring stuff) first. Then we moved on to the mapping things out. As you can see, it's a big place.

We talked about where we could enter from and not be seen before hand, dramatic grand entrance! We discussed the best spots for our first look photos. So, romantic. I asked her to show me were all the photo spots I'd admired in other people's pictures were. She showed me the waterfall, the stage, the old gate, the stone wall and the meditation garden. Squeal. My idea is that we have the reveal shot and then Mike and I talk a little stroll in a certain corner of the garden while he snaps pictures. Yay!

We also compared ceremony spaces. I picked the Wedding Lawn (in the center) originally because I liked the openness of it, but the North Lawn could easily accommodate us and has a more intimate feel. Mike and I are considering switching. What's nice is the whole place is ours starting at 5pm so we can go/do whatever we want.

It seemed my enthusiasm and "interesting ideas" delighted her. I guess it would be boring to set up and break down the same old wedding over and over. What a nice wedding errand. I can't believe how much I worried about getting that paperwork done, it was really silly.

I even goofed on the floor plan a little. I forgot to draw a cake table. Maybe we'll cut it on the floor. My life has been all about guests and I forgot the cake. Check the venue errand off the to do list. See you at the rehearsal, Sunken Gardens!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Update Monday!!

  • Booked my make-up trial.
  • Got un-responded RSVPs down to single digits. Tomorrow's the RSVP deadline.
  • Final draft of ceremony intro
  • Got some gifts (:
  • Finished photographers paperwork.
  • Ordered more stamps. We should have started with a roll of them (save the dates, invites, paperwork and thank yous).
Still Looking Forward To
  • My make-up trial
  • The end of the RSVPs
  • Phone meeting with photographer.
  • Finding the boys their tie.
  • Nailing down kid logistics for pre-wedding events and our post wedding kid break.
  • Mike's Bachelor Party
  • The wedding!!

First, I will clear up why I am looking forward to Mike's bachelor party. He's not doing a night of bar hopping. Not because of any limits I imposed. He really wanted a camping weekend. Awesome. I love him and I want to promise the rest of my life to him, but get out! Give me some time when I don't have to clean up after you or try to sleep while you work with bedroom light on. Don't worry we registered for a desk lamp. Just a quiet night with me and the kids while he and his friends drink beers by the fire and talk all their boy BS. Yes, I'm excited.

I think we've got two families yet to respond. The invitation process is soooo long I clicked the “invitation” tag on a blog post yesterday and I had written 14 posts about it. Phew. I really enjoyed designing them once we chose them and the initial influx of RSVPs, but the end of the process sucks. I started drawing the floor plan the venue asked for, but my stragglers make up an entire table. I have to wait until the deadline tomorrow and then call them. One way or another we'll have a final headcount this week, so exciting.

Next Monday the wedding will be less than a month away. Now I understand why so many girls call in a wedding planner last minute on those TV shows. I am so over my to do list. I thought by now it would be done. It's like a mythological monster every time I strike down a task three more sprout up in it's place.

30 days!!!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Bridal Beauty

So, I finally booked a make-up trial. Unlike my hair I have no confidence in my ability to make make-up decisions. I've had my makeup done professionally for photo shoots, films and stage productions, but never for a personal event of this magnitude. I have no idea what I want.

I know that I need it to last through the whole day. I know that I want to still look like me. I know that I do not want it to look heavy and caked on. I do not want a indoor, formal, red carpet kind of look. As far as what I do what...advice I guess.

I uploaded a cropped image of me after my hair trial with no make up and played with the ivillage make over tool.


Look One:

I like this, but the eyes aren't right. I tried some dark greens and grays, but it looked too bruise-y. I like the mascara, foundation and blush though. I want some drama and maybe shimmer for my eyes.

Slight variation...I just don't know. My comfort zone is pretty small. I played with green shadow, gray, lavender and no shadow with liner variations. I think drama and sparkle sound easier to achieve than they are...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Where Are You Registered?

It is a strange invention of modern times, the registry. It's also been a point of contention between my groom and I. Originally, we both baulked at the idea entirely. We've been together for so long and we've been in our new house for a year surely we have everything we need. We aren't exactly your typical kids armed with scanner guns, itchy fingers and empty rooms to fill. It just seems rude to ask for more stuff. So, the idea was foreign and didn't immediately appeal to us.

We tried to "make it our own". We batted around non-traditional registry ideas. One idea was to post a list of home improvement/landscaping projects we needed help on the wedding site and let people pledge time. The biggest problem is that committing to a project, coordinating schedules for volunteers and contingency plans for bad weather, etc is too complicated. Also, an out of town loved one wanting to wish us well wouldn't be able to participate. It was after we gave up on the idea entirely and posted as much in the FAQ's of our site, that I started to hear feedback.

My bridesmaids were taken a back by my attitude and convinced me to do a "small registry" for the sake of the bridal shower. That's when it occurred to me that the front window doesn't have a window treatment, we never got a bedroom rug, our welcome mat has holes and so on. So I told Mike I was making one and I did. Then months went by...

I made an Amazon registry because they have everything and you can add from anywhere. Keeps everything in one places and allows you to scout out the best deals. Except, just like I was talking about in my last post, I have no idea why all the wedding sites tell you to register 8months before the wedding. By the time people start buying from it you've had birthdays, Christmas, family trips to Target and acquired things. Beyond that things have gone out of stock or disappeared from store websites. What a mess.

Mike and I had to take it down and start over. It was a series of discussions and trying to out Google each other before we were both happy with what we had. Although, after the experience of starting from scratch with Mike on board I'm ready to mediate for the U.N. Seriously, I have a bit of envy for the brides who's groom make two requests and sets her free in a store. I'm very grateful to have had his feedback and to have compromised our way through our minefield of wishes and opinions.

I'm probably more excited to send out my new thank you cards I got for wedding gifts than I am about gifts themselves at this point. I have to say though, it's Christmas times ten to get a gift from the registry because not only is your wish granted, but every time the UPS guy leaves the house looks a little nicer!

Friday, February 17, 2012

And Time Can Do So Much

I started this blog nine months ago and I got engaged in 2009. There's been some substantial time since I started planning until now. Now that I've done it, it seems so silly to decide what you're going to wear eight months before you know what the rest of the event will look like. Even when you have a cohesive theme, good taste and creative ability the time between decisions is tricky. I think this is why David Tutera has a show.

I got it wrong the first time. I pictured a heavy, traditional ball gown. Groomsman in black tuxes and bridesmaids in black strapless dress. I pictured all this formality and traditionalism. Then I considered the venue, my physical capabilities, the flowers, etc. Now I have a flowy ethereal dress. Groomsman in dress shirts and ties and bridesmaids in emerald dupioni silk tea length dresses straight out of the 50's.

I have regrets now that we're a day or two shy of a month. I wish I'd seen the whole big picture concept a little more clearly. I wish I'd purchased bridesmaids dresses off the sale racks at Kohl's after Christmas rather than at a boutique. I wish I'd been thinking more practically about my shoes from the beginning. I wish I'd known what everyone was wearing before I chose all the flowers. I kindda wish we had hired a DJ. Well, no neither us wants to give up control of the play list, but I wish I'd hired a friend to be in charge of compiling, organizing and running the play list (maybe because that's one of my last to-do's). I also would have started saving earlier so we could have a honeymoon trip. I might have structured my timeline differently, maybe. I don't know...

I'm worried that everything won't look like it goes together since I choose everything separately at different times. Really, maybe the bridesmaids dresses would have been more cohesive if they had been a more flowy fabric. Maybe Mike's right about all the many shades of green not "going together". I should have done a tiered stand with donuts instead of a cake...grumble.

Hindsight is 20-20? Or expectations are premeditated resentments? Or don't count your chickens before they hatch? No, it's more of a build up to a climax thing. You spend a year of your life focusing on a decision at a time, but then you are confronted with the big picture when you get this close and doubt sets in. You start to worry about whether you invited everyone you should have, picked the right food, asked the right questions and paid the right amounts?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Expectations and Disappointment

Today was an exciting day for mail. We got some gifts from the registry! Also, I had been waiting on pins and needles for a response from Mickey Mouse and Cinderella. Here's what I was expecting (because other brides posted pictures)

Vintage autographed poster from Mickey & Minnie

A "Just Married" button from Cinderlla

Here's what I got.

I got two idential postcads. I assume one's from Mickey and the other's supposed to be from Cinderella. What a let down. Budget cuts at the Disney corporation? I think the address and results went viral and they got overwhelmed. As of 2yrs ago at most people were still getting posters and buttons. Oh, well...Thanks for your well wishes Mickey & Minnie.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Don't Assume Anything...

The venue emailed me yesterday and said if you're over X many guests we need to arrange a parking valet. It's required and part of our package, but only if we're over a certain number. I felt like I'd been handed a final exam I hadn't study for. Um...uh...well...hmmm...I had something like 60 guests yet to respond last week and the deadline was approaching so I sent out a simple email reminder to those folks with RSVP instructions and got it down to 30 guests.

Now they want me to read 30 minds the week before my RSVP deadline?!? Stress. I counted all of the outstanding folks as yes and got a maximum and then I made my best guesses on who would come and who wouldn't and got another one. I wanted to cry. I was unprepared, which isn't something I'm comfortable being. On top of which I hate numbers. I don't know what percentage has declined so far...AAAAAHHHHH!!!

I asked Mike to make a guess and sent her that, praying it was in the neighborhood since we're on the cusp of not needing a parking valet. Ugh. After the instant migraine from being put on the spot had calmed I started sending out very personal emails, messages and texts just asking for people to let me know. I even made some phone calls. At the end of the day I'd gone from 30 no responses to 18 so not bad.

Still, the deadline I gave is after the venue needs to know and my deadline for RSVPs is 7 days from now. My original theory that people who couldn't come were dragging their feet to avoid hurting our feelings is less creditable considering all of the people who have declined. I'm starting to wonder if people just don't want to talk to me at all. It's making me very sad and I refuse to write off the final 18 as I know some of them were planning on making it. I can't assume and RSVP for them that seems rude. Way ruder than having to point blank ask someone if they're coming.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines!

Here's a Valtines Day worthy proposal. What's wrong with rest of you slackers?!? Geez.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Update Monday!

  • I did my hair trial (and turned 30).
  • Mike and I got our regisrty up and running.
  • I sent out an RSVP reminder
  • and scared up a few more.
  • Watched Father of the Bride Thanks Dad!
  • Contacted all vendors for arrival times on the day of.
  • Started final day of timeline and picture list.
  • Had a Bridal photo session with the lovely Lara.
  • Found a chalkboard for our seating chart.
  • Made some Valentines!
Still Looking Forward To
  • A make-up plan
  • The rest of the RSVPs
  • Phone meeting with photographer.
  • Finding the boys their tie.
  • Deciding on shoes
  • Decorating the flower girl baskets
  • My shower and bachelorette party
  • Making table names
  • Making our thank you banner
  • The wedding!!

I have been overwhelmed with flattering compliments about our execution of our theme. Yippe! Watch out David Tutera. Everyone really enjoyed our invitations. Those who have seen our centerpieces have been stunned (me among them). Recently, I showed some online bride friends a picture of me in the dress with my wedding hair and they had wonderful things to say. I think at this point it's just little odds and ends and paperwork left for me. Mike has centerpieces to finish, a ring to make, lighting to design, ties to pick out, vows to write and a bacholer party to attend. Procrastinator.

I must say there have been quite a few surprises in our RSVPs. I was sure of a few people making it out who won't and very plesantly surprised by a few I was pretty sure wouldn't who can. We went from 60 guests who hadn't responded to 28 after my emails went out. Yay, me! Now I'm dying to hear from the last few groups. It sounds like a super fun crowd so far.

37 days

Sunday, February 12, 2012

If Rain is Lucky Then an Explosition Must Be...

Here's the article that describes how the bride was evacuated shortly after donning her wedding dress. I like these guys they're troopers. They just carried on with the wedding while their venue that had stood for 80yrs burned to the ground (directly behind them). Those must have been incredible wedding pictures.

On a lighter note, I found this fun wedding facts quiz on Huffington Post. I failed miserably by the way. I got one right out of 10, that's an F for sure.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Crossing the T's and Crossing the I's

Today we got home from my birthday lunch with Mike's dad to discover mail from our venue. We're already paid in full with them and I sent them my list of vendors information early too. I assumed it was some kind of confirmation letter. Maybe an award for being organized and on top of things? It was a letter asking me to get more organized. They were asking for our final floor plan for the reception, our final head count and arrival time for all the vendors.

Now I'm sure a lot of brides would go pale (or simply pass on) such an unappealing request, but I was prepared. Well, I was willing to prepare I guess it more like it. We have a rough floor plan, but it's rough because we don't have a final headcount. You can't arrange the tables until you know how many you need and that requires an accurate rear end count. So, I checked our RSVP stats and a stunning 60 guests responses were still outstanding. That's over half of them.

First (because it was the simplest step) I emailed all the vendors to ask their arrival times. It was a bit awkward like writing to a friend from summer camp long after camp's ended.

Remeber me? We met over the summer. You're doing my wedding (gulp) next month. What time will you be arriving to set up?
The Bride

The next task was another surprisingly less awkward email to scare up some of those missing RSVPs.

Please swing by the (wedding)site: (url)
And click RSVP in the links to your left
Type in your name
Select accept or decline for each member of your party for ceremony and reception
You'll get an email confirming your RSVP
You can request songs and read all the useful information on the site while you're there!
The Bride

That I hope will at least cut down on the one's who haven't responded because of inability to figure out a shortened link, misplaced invitations or general distractedness. They can just click the link and off they go. I've gotten a couple verbal and written RSVPs, but I can't assume anything. If I haven't been given express permission to mark someone one way or another they sit waiting... I'm not the most patient person for sure, but the real problem is my venues deadline for headcount is slightly earlier that the deadline I gave. I'm hopeful my emails will help though.

Now, if I could just force myself to get the photographer's paperwork finished and returned we'd be all set...At least final paperwork-wise. Unless you count the license.

Friday, February 10, 2012

The Readings

I realized I causally mentioned our readings in my last post and I never did do a post about what we chose. So, the first reading delivered by my dad will be an Irish Wedding Blessing. I love my Irish heritage, thoroughly enjoyed my time on the emerald isle and always dreamt of a St. Patrick's Day wedding. I'd heard the beginning many times, but never the complete prayer. Warning: you may cry (I do every time I read it).

May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rains fall soft upon the fields.
May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
May the laughter of children grace the halls of your home.
May the joy of living for one another trip a smile from your lips,
A twinkle from your eye.
And when eternity beckons, at the end of a life heaped high with love,
May the good Lord embrace you with the arms that have nurtured you the whole length of your joy-filled days.
May the gracious God hold you both in the palm of His hands.
And, today, may the Spirit of Love find a dwelling place in your hearts.

Our second reading is from The Prophet by: Kahlil Gibran. This are his beautiful words on love abridged by Mike and I.

When love beckons to you, follow him,
Though his ways are hard and steep.
And when his wings enfold you yield to him,
Though the sword hidden among his pinions may wound you.
And when he speaks to you believe in him,
Though his voice may shatter your dreams
as the north wind lays waste the garden.

For even as love crowns you so shall he crucify you. Even as he is for your growth so is he for your pruning.
Even as he ascends to your height and caresses your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,
So shall he descend to your roots and shake them in their clinging to the earth.

All these things shall love do unto you that you may know the secrets of your heart, and in that knowledge become a fragment of Life's heart.

But if in your fear you would seek only love's peace and love's pleasure,
You shall laugh, but not all of your laughter, and weep, but not all of your tears.
Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed;
For love is sufficient unto love.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself.
But if you love and must needs have desires, let these be your desires:
To melt and be like a running brook that sings its melody to the night.
To know the pain of too much tenderness.
To be wounded by your own understanding of love;
And to bleed willingly and joyfully.
To wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving;
To rest at the noon hour and meditate love's ecstasy;
To return home at eventide with gratitude;
And then to sleep with a prayer for the beloved in your heart and a song of praise upon your lips.

Don't think we're all about making the guests cry I also enlisted my entire wedding party to each read a bit of an abridged version of Oh, The Places You'll Go at the reception to lead into toasts. I know everyone knows that one so I won't post it here. Oh, Dr. Seuss such wisdom.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ceremony Structure

We had a meeting over the weekend with our officiant and decided on the details. I submitted a very basic outline of:

Ceremony Welcome
Irish Blessing-Read by my dad.
A word about the unity ceremony's significance.
Unity ceremony while Mike's dad reads Love passage.
Vows and Rings
Pronounce us Married.

There are so many moving parts within that simple structure so many words and details. I can see why most people go with the old standard. That being said she found some lovely wording and symbolic gestures in her research. Weddings are a very old concept and people have been writing lovely things about them for ages. So many options.

We chose not to do a hand fasting in our ceremony. It's a Celtic wedding tradition where the bride and groom's clasped hands are bound together and a prayer is said. It's thought to be the basis for "tying the knot". It's kind of a nice idea (and growing in popularity), but way too literal for Mike and I. I loved hearing all the options for those kind of symbolic moments though. We also opted out of breaking a glass, jumping a broom, sipping wine together and few others.

I think we're keeping it simple and deeply personal. We will invite God to bless our union (and family), our family and friends to show their support and hear the vows we wrote each other. Remember, it doesn't take much to be married. If you don't have the final word over any other part of your wedding day I think it's important to consider that your ceremony is the foundation on which you make promises to each other that should guide you through your lives together. Make it really count for you (the bride and groom).

I would also add if your religious beliefs allow don't make people wait too long to eat. Seriously, I think you can have an incredibly meaningful day and still be considerate of guests without going to far out of your way. That is hopefully what we have done.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hair Trial (& Happy Birthday!!)

The Inspiration

I wanted flowy, curly princess hair with my headpiece woven into it. Something like this:

The Practical Bit

If you're anything like me by the time you're preparing for your wedding it's been years since you had an up-do professionally (like senior prom). I couldn't remember whether to wash my hair right before or not. Here's the article I read. To sum up, wash your hair the day before and let it air dry if you want it to hold a curl. If you can stand it they even recommend sleeping with gel in your hair so it'll sculpt well. I opted not to do the last part.

Ask a lot questions before you go in. Not everyone does up-dos anymore. I tried to book someone to come to me, but I couldn't swing the cost of hair, make-up, travel and tip especially since it had to be paid half upfront and half two weeks before the wedding. Too much money and hassle. I have an evening wedding and no other errands to run so I asked around at salons. My normal lady doesn't do up-dos, my second choice didn't either, but she recommend Laurie. Her exact words were "She's the up-do expert".

Before I booked the trial I got the price range for up-dos starting to maximum. I rightly assumed with Rapunzel length hair I'd be at the high end (which was still $20 less than the base price of having someone come to me). I decided I'd wait to book my wedding appointment until I'd had my trial. I also booked my trial on the same day of the week as the wedding. The last brilliant move on my part was printing my hair pictures the minute I hung up the phone and putting them in my purse so I couldn't forget them.

The Result

I told her woodsy princess, not castle princess. Ta-da!

The Front

One Side

The Other Side

The Back

Just for fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Another Disabled Bride Blog?!?!

A while back I got a comment from a disabled bride, which isn't super common, but has happened in the past. Generally, they find my blog somehow and send me an email or some wedding pictures. It's lovely. This time it was a disabled bride who blogged through the planning process! What do you know, small world.

I bookmarked the link and didn't touch it for a while. I was afraid to be let down. There are so many poorly written blogs out there. No, I'm not referring to my creative use of grammar or love of run on sentences. I really needed this blog not to suck. I feel awful for ever thinking that now because well...Wow. We're kindred spirits for sure. I found lots of lovely things like this:

Look at that beautiful draped fabric! I've seen a lot of decorated wheelchairs at this point and mostly thought "it's pretty for a wheelchair." This on the other hand, is just pretty. It looks like an elegant chair cover. I don't even mind the big bouquet which I'm generally not a fan of. Maybe, ignoring my chair altogether and hoping I don't need it isn't the best plan. I know if it was all ready to go looking this nice the need would never arise.

One of her most popular posts Should You Hide Your Scars On Your Wedding Day didn't immediately call to me. Lesson learned: don't judge a post by its title. She, like me believes that scars are badges of honor, proof of survival and nothing to be ashamed of.

As a person with a disability I have lots of scars, and I think they are a very big deal, to other people. For me, they are just another part of my body, like my freckles, I don't even notice them, even when they are clearly visible, unless someone is kind enough to point them out. One day at work, I had this crazy idea to wear a skirt and co-worker stopped me in the hall and said in a very loud voice: “You have big scars on your legs, doesn’t that bother you?”
No, they don’t. Scars mean that I survived, why should that bother me? But on the day I choose my dress, I found my self asking my mother how much of the large scar on my back showed? It’s a scar I have had nearly all my life, the result of a heart surgery that saved my life when I was just days old. Mom said that much of it was showing and for a moment I remember the voice of my co-worker in the hallway.

She goes on to point out that on her wedding day she will not be surrounded by shallow, insensitive strangers, but by friends and family. It brought me to tears. I think all brides have a moment where they wish they were something different or "more", but he proposed to the woman you are. Beyond that I had a hugely traumatic back surgery not quite two years ago and the scar it left behind is substantial.

I think my distaste for the "zipper" is largely to do with the emotions it brings up. Recovering from that surgery was one of the darkest times in my life. I hurt when I remember it in a way none of my other scars hurt me. I'm proud I came out the other side. It was the "for worse" in our relationship for sure. In the end I made dress and hair choices without consideration of the "zipper", but there was some turmoil over seeing in pictures of my dress fitting.

Well done, Melissa. Thank you for paving for the way for uncompromising disabled brides. Thank you for for sense of humor, wisdom and willingness to share. I only hope my blog touches one person the way yours touched me.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Update Monday!

  • RSVPs have started coming in. We're still waiting on 55 responses.
  • My vows are written. Mike's promises to have his by the weekend prior to the wedding so I can get the officiant a copy.
  • I sent my first thank you cards for wedding gifts!
  • I made our place cards.
  • Met with the officiant and went over the ceremony and her attire.
  • Finalized our order with the florist.
  • All groomsmen have been contacted about the bachelor party and attire.
  • Finished bridesmaids shirts
Still Looking Forward To
  • My 30th Birthday on Wednesday.
  • My hair trial on Wednesday.
  • Phone meeting with photographer.
  • Finding the boys their tie.
  • Assigning the final reading.
  • Decorating the flower girl baskets
  • My shower and bachelorette party
  • Making table names
  • Making our thank you banner
  • The wedding!!

I have become obsessed with checking my wedding website hits and RSVPs. I think the instant gratification of the internet made me worse than I would been waiting for the mailman. On the third or fourth day after the invitations went out every time I hit refresh there were new ones. After a day or two of hourly responses, they stopped coming in at all. I know I gave people until the 21st of February, but I thought there would be a steadier stream of replies. I wonder if most people who haven't replied aren't coming and feel bad telling us. I hope not. We understand having jobs, kids, and medical issues that make travel/a Wednesday night wedding tricky. I never expected 100% attendance. It's ok, to reply no, I won't take it personally. In the meantime, I need a twelve step program to help me get my obsessive RSVP checking.

I've been saying 6weeks. The wedding is in 6weeks. Someone said "You guys ready? Next month, right?" Oh, my. We're crafting our brains out. Centerpieces, shirts, place cards, signs, etc...It's fun. I can't believe how soon it is. Mike even got on the phone with his boys. They have a bachelor party camping trip in the works and they all know what to wear.

It's been finishing touches and meetings with vendors again. It's so strange how long since I've seen them. I'm also having a little bit of the whole "hind sight is 20/20" experience. Now that I know what the whole day will look like there are things I would have done differently. It's so silly to pick out your clothes for a party a year ahead of time for example. Sigh. It'll be fabulous. What ever else the choices I've made are they're very us. We're 2weeks from being able to say one month until the wedding.

44 days

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Finishing Touches: Bridesmaids Shirts

I knew I wanted to add names to the backs of the girls shirts. I considered rhinestones, puffy paint and the like, but than I saw these. This bride used Sharpie and acrylic paint. Here's what my attempt looked like.

  • Shirts (With cool graphic on the front)
  • Small foam brush
  • Acrylic paint
  • Sharpies
  • Cardboard

Here's what the front looks like:


Insert cardboard in your shirt before you start. Work on a hard surface with good lighting. I started by writing the letters with a white paint marker, but it was really hard to see on the white shirt. I went over the white outline with a fine tipped green Sharpie. Although the white paint paint came in handy covering up the little oopsies. Then I used the corner of a foam tipped brush to fill in the letters. If you're handwriting is bad you may want to print out your text, cut it out and stencil it on.

I recommend starting from the end of the word when painting if you're a fellow leftie. I dragged my hand through the paint on my first attempt. Depending on the style your going for you may want a smaller brush. I went outside the lines here and there because I knew I was going to outline the letters. It drys pretty quickly. By the time I had written the next name the first one would be dry.

I outlined the letters with black Sharpie to match the text on the front. Then I let it sit a few more minutes and removed the cardboard. I folded and rolled the shirt and tied it with adorable mushroom ribbon. Here it is all ready to go in her tote bag.

I also made shirts for Mike and I with two mess-ups from the bridesmaids printing. His say Mr. “My Last Name” and mine says Mrs. “His Last Name”. They came out cute. I just pianted over the blurry word with dark green and wrote on it with white paint pen once it was dry. It'll make people giggle since even though we're not changing our names people will call us by each other's name the rest of our marriage.