Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Counting Down - Friday

I'm finally ready to get back to wedding recaps.  Though, after this post I'll probably take another break from recaps until I get my pro pictures back.  Recapping will be so much more fun with the professional shots from the day!

Friday morning, Addy woke us up and we grabbed some breakfast.  My parents generously offered to take Addy for a few hours while C & I took care of some wedding stuff.  Seriously, nicest thing ever.  It was so relaxing to do these things without chasing a 2-year-old around.  I love Addy but she can get into some stuff.

So we dropped her off with them and ran to Target for last minute supplies.  One cool thing we did at our reception was provide a Kids Table that was full of toys and coloring books and NO glass or china or silverware so all the kids at our reception could have somewhere to hang out.  Or have somewhere to steal toys from.  So we raided the dollar section at Target and picked up some other things for ourselves.

We then picked up my MOH and headed for the park.  We grabbed the park coordinator (who seriously seemed like she would have rather been anywhere else then with us) and made her do a walk through with us while I peppered her with questions.  The result was that I felt much better at the end and we got permission to put our signs in the ground!

We then had some lunch together and planned our lunch order for the next day and just hung out.  C dropped us back at the hotel where we visited for a bit and then said hi to some guests in the lobby.  After that it was nail time!

 It was nice to sit around for a bit and get nails done but it took far too long and we barely had time to get ready before the rehearsal started!  We ran back to the hotel and changed and headed off to the park to practice!

Here I am with our amazing DOC going over a few details.  I will say that at this point I was starting to get tired of all the questions but that's what happens when basically everything is in my head and not common knowledge.

We ran through everything once and made decisions on the spot and decided we were all smart enough to get it.  MISTAKE.  We should have gone through just a little more in detail, especially the part where our moms brought up our rings.  I mentioned that before.

After that, we picked up my dress from the cleaners and headed to our rehearsal dinner.  Dinner was chaotic to say the least.  Addy didn't want to sit at all, the servers needed to know what to bring out, everything was loud and I was stressed.  Plus, we forgot a diaper bag so we had no diapers for Addy and I *almost* left my own rehearsal dinner to find the nearest store to buy some diapers...  Thank goodness it didn't come to that and everything was fine.

I think I ate a bit of salad, a couple bites of appetizer and 1 piece of pizza for the night.  I just could not relax.

Here are C & I thanking everyone for coming and starting to hand out gifts.  I wish I'd taken some time to thank all my girls but emotions were running so high I just couldn't.  I tried to thank my parents and basically got out, "Thanks..." before having to cut myself off.

I did get to spend some QT with Addy though, here we are playing Peek-a-boo for a bit after everything was done.

Once dinner was done, back to the hotel to put Addy to bed, visit with the girls and get some rest.  For some reason, C & I decided to spend that night apart and he had a guys sleep over while MOH Kelly slept with me.  I can't say for sure if that was a good or bad idea, I think I would have slept poorly no matter what but poor Kelz had to put up with me since I was pretty restless.

I alternately felt really nervous and kind of nauseous for a lot of the night.  It didn't help that there was a party next door to us until 2am.

One last picture to show off my dad's gift to me.  My dad traveled to India for work and got back 1 week before the wedding.  While in India he picked up a necklace & earring set for me.  He tried really hard to make sure it was blue since he knew my wedding colors were shade of blue.  The stones of the necklace are coral and I think they're SO pretty!

Good job Dad!

Friday, May 27, 2011


This is a post I really debated about writing but I figure if I'm going to talk about the wedding, I should talk about ALL of the wedding.  And I'm stalling again because I keep forgetting pictures!

So today you get kind of a budget breakdown.  I should point out that going into this, C & I didn't sit down and say, "We can only spend X amount of dollars total" and then break it down even further.  We did talk about each and every purchase before we made it though and talked about if it was worth it.

Also, C's dad helped us out immensely with expenses.  Our budget probably would have been 1/4 of what it ended up being if it hadn't been for him...

All that said, going into our wedding we set a figure of $20K for the whole shebang.  We did not, however, talk about if that would include our rings, traveling expenses, etc.  Some things are kind of fringe expenses.  I didn't bother to worry about things like haircuts & facials (I had one) to prep or all the money I spent on acne meds or shoes or clothes I bought for showers, bach. parties, etc.

The biggie: The reception was $13,600.  This covered: dinner for 99 people, bar service for 80, late night snacks, all linens and china and any other service items, our cake (big one!), our honeymoon suite, 2 rooms for our parents for the night, an upgrade to chair covers, and setting up the cookie buffet.  Oh, and brunch tickets for our entire wedding party the next morning.

The ceremony ended up costing us approximately $1K.  Between the rental for the pavilion, the chair rental, the parking fees, the fees to clear out the tables and decorations this made up about $1K.

Side note: you may notice that I'm a wee bit fuzzy on some details.  I didn't keep track of every single thing so there will be estimates here and there (or all of them).

Paper goods were about $700.  Invitations, STDs, menus, programs, table numbers (vellum paper), our banner, bags for hotel guests, the seating chart are all included in that figure.

OOT Bags: $75 for all the goodies our guests received (water, aspirin, granola bars, chips, gum, etc.)

Other decorations probably cost us $300 for wooden signs, the guest book/photo book, beads & masks, and I'm including favors.

DJ: $1350 well spent.  Zero regrets.

Photographer: $1650 includes all rights to all photos, second shooter for the entire day, 9 hours of shooting, the backdrop for the photo booth and a good time.

Wedding coordinator: $675 that I would spend again in a heartbeat.  One of the single best expenses we had.  This included travel fees, rehearsal coordination, decorating the entire ceremony (chairs, banners, signs, etc.), making sure everything was in place for the reception, and packing up everything at the end of the night.  They stayed until 11:30pm to make sure everything was taken care of.

Florist(s): $760 between the florist for the bouquets & corsages ($530) and the centerpieces ($230).  Loved my bouquet.

Magician for cocktail hour: $250.  This is one expense we definitely didn't need and I feel like we may have paid a little much for that.  It was only one hour but everyone loved it as far as I can tell.  Meh.

Bridal attire: $1165 includes dress, alterations, undergarments, jewelry, and shoes.  Considering I originally tried to limit myself to $1000 for dress alone I feel pretty good about this one!  Dress was $700 used, $200 for alterations and $15 for the new sash.  I got SO MANY compliments on my dress and I absolutely loved it.  I wouldn't have changed a single thing about my bridal look.

Beauty: Hair & Make Up were $140 + tip.  Worth it to have someone come to me so I wasn't running around.  Plus, have you seen me?   Awesome!

Groom's attire: $0.  Tux rental was free w/ groomsmen including shoes and the tie tack (I'll get to that) was a gift.

Gifts: A fuzzy $600.  We tried to spend approx. $60/person.  Not sure how well we did with that.

Rehearsal Dinner: Um, $400-ish.  I honestly do not remember that total.

Rental cars for transportation: $200 for both of them.

Optional expenses: Rings were $1600, Hotels were $300, Gas & travel would probably be $150, Getting dress pressed was $77, etc.  I'm not including these OR any other wedding related trips we made (there were 3 before the actual wedding).

That seems like everything...

The Grand Total is...

I'm scared...

$24, 465 including rings.

Hm, $4,500 over our original guesstimate (is that a word?).  I'd say that's not too shabby considering we had no idea what things would cost when we first started planning.  I could definitely drive that number up if we added in more things but those are the biggies.  If you're using this for a guide, you wouldn't have things like trip expenses included anyway.

I feel our costs are reasonable for our time of year, day of week, region, and headcount.  I'm actually ok with that number up there because most things were necessities.  The only things I would consider trimming were the magician and some of our venue costs.  We ended up going over our minimum slightly and we could have kept better track of that.

According to surveys, the average wedding costs $22-27K.  I'd say we're pretty good then.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Friends, that right there is a sneak peek from our photographer and definitely NOT a regret!  She told me that's minimal editing but I'm loving what I'm seeing!  I wish C's body line was better but I still love it!

The last few days I've been thinking about the wedding and things that I missed.  I figured if I wrote a blog about it that I would feel better and realize that none of it is really a big deal.  Most of it is missed picture opportunities, nothing big.

  1. I wish I'd remembered to get a picture of the 2 of us and both sets of parents together.  We took shots of us and each set of parents but didn't put them together.
  2. We used sparklers but C & I didn't take them outside to do cool shots with them.
    1. I should be happy we even got to use the sparklers - that was a battle from the beginning!
  3. We never got any pictures of C & I being just lovey or lost in our own world (that I know of, we haven't seen all the pictures yet)
    1. I should point out that C is totally not that kind of guy though, to just take a walk and forget the photographer.  He doesn't care about pictures like I do.
  4. C is a high school teacher and I completely forgot to request "Don't Stand So Close To Me" which is a running joke cause he's pretty damn good looking!
    1. We did have tons of special songs though with choreographed dances and everything so I'm not too upset
  5. I wish that we'd gone through the ceremony notes better during the rehearsal.  At one point our moms brought up the ring dishes with our rings.  One dish was still in the tulle bag it came in.  Both moms kind of dumped them and ran.  I wish I'd taken the time to say, "OK, bring up the rings (all the way up, C's Mom barely climbed the stairs) and give each of us a hug before you sit back down."
    1. I also wish I'd told someone that the song was supposed to start DURING that ring debacle instead of after it so C & I stood there for the full song staring at each other - not a bad thing but the timing could have been better.
  6. I wish I hadn't felt ill for approximately half of our reception.  I literally wanted to throw up.  No idea what caused this and I never actually did but I contemplated it for a good 30 minutes.  I should have taken something for my stomach at the beginning of the day to avoid any stomach issues later on.  I barely ate any of my dinner at the reception and I was looking forward to it!
  7. And finally, I wish we'd dealt with the Addy situation long before our reception so I didn't have to stress out for about an hour wondering what we were going to do with her for the night.
    1. Side note: this is no one's fault (definitely not yours Sarah) that things didn't work out.  We should have planned better and not waited until the last minute to make the alternate arrangements.
    Most of all, I wish I remembered more of it.  The more I think about it, the more blurry it all gets!  It's like it never even happened and it was just one crazy dream.  I'm hoping seeing the pictures will help with that.  Ladies - is it the same way for you?

    I will get in to some of this in more detail as we go.  Hopefully tomorrow I'll remember some more pictures to post when talking about Friday & the rehearsal.

    One word: plan out your Must Haves before the big day because there is far too much going on for you to just remember.  Must have photos, Must have songs, Must Have actions from people.  Go over details even if you think you're being a wedding nazi.  It will help in the end!

    Wednesday, May 25, 2011


    Let's back up a few days and I'll take you through the days leading up to the Big Day.

    Wednesday I worked (well, "work" is questionable since I'm sure I was distracted all day) and we packed up the car and headed to St. Charles.  Addy was pretty good over the 7 hours (you stop more with a 2-year-old) and Thank God for portable DVD players.  She even slept for about 2 hours in the car before we got to the hotel.

    We rolled in around midnight, brought in only the necessities and called it a night.

    Addy woke us up around 7am and we had a leisurely start to our morning.  My parents had arrived on Wednesday as well so we saw them for breakfast and invited them to our venue that morning.

    We arrived at Pheasant Run at 10am for our meeting with our coordinator there.  We dropped off the following supplied:
    • OOT Bags (HUGE hit)
    • Cookies
    • Photo Booth Props
    • Random decorations (L-O-V-E letters I hand painted, beads & masks, guest book, etc.)
    • Cake topper & special forks 
    • Table Numbers & Menus
    It was so great to be rid of those things.  Mark took everything and told me not to worry one bit.  Then we sat down for "the talk".

    We went over our final numbers and our BEO (Banquet Event Order) which addresses every single thing we've ordered for our event.  What rooms we're using, how many tables we need, linens, set up, meals, etc.  We walked through everything and then wrote the biggest check I've ever seen.

    We talked about the weather and Mark revealed that he's got a couple buddies working the control tower of the local airport and he was keeping an eye on things for me.  He said he'd call them both Friday and Saturday and let me know how things looked.  He had reserved the room just in case but graciously said he wouldn't charge us if we didn't use it.  What a relief to know we had a back up plan and that money wouldn't go to waste just because the weather is unreliable.

    After that, we jumped in the car and ran to the florist.  I dropped off our Flower Girl Basket which they filled with blooms and my grandmother's rosary for my bouquet.  I didn't get to see any flowers so I still had no idea what I was getting at that point!

    We headed back to the hotel to figure out some lunch and then C left to pick up his parents at the airport while I convinced Addy to take a nap.  She didn't go down easy but she slept for 2 hours in the end which she needed.  I took a small nap myself and then worked on cards for my BMs and glued the seating chart down.

    When C got back, he grabbed my dad and his dad and headed to the tux shop to pick up their formal wear.  Addy & I walked around and visited my mom.  After tuxes, my dad & I ran to the cleaners to drop off my dress to be pressed and then met everyone for dinner.

    We had reserved a table for 8 at this tapas place which sounded fun.  My parents had met C's mom in the past but never his dad so we all had a Welcome Dinner together.  I think C was a little nervous but everything went really well and we had a great time.

    Back to the hotel to get some rest so we could do more running the following day!

    Note: we didn't have a working camera so I have no pictures leading up to the wedding.  I may find some on Facebook and steal them for this blog.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2011

    Come Rain or Come Shine

    I'm here!  I'm married!  It was WONDERFUL!

    I meant to come back and do a kind of "sign off" post but I ran out of time.  I'd started it but never finished it and so it never got published.

    The day was amazing.  We were so lucky to have the rain hold off for us, we even got the sun peeking out a few times!  That was a miracle considering that up until about an hour before the ceremony we weren't sure if we were going to move inside or not.  On Friday they were predicting 80% chance of thunderstorms the day of our wedding.  You can understand that I was a little stressed out.

    And so the ceremony went off without a hitch is our gorgeous pavilion and I was one happy bride.  I loved my dress, I loved the way everything looked together.  There's such a feeling of pride when you see all your details come together and you get comments from guests about your touches.  How grateful they are for the flip flops for when their shoes start to hurt or how perfect the robot cake toppers and seating chart are or how cute the favors are.  It's such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment and also validation that your hard work doesn't go unnoticed.

    I have a few pictures to share and I think tomorrow I can start walking through the days leading up to the event.  I can do a budget post at some point and also vendor reviews.  Just trying to kill time until my pro pictures arrive.  

    Until then, these will have to tide you over:

    Addy was so great, walked up with Kelly and held her basket.  She looked SO cute!
    My dad bought a new Stetson and polished up his boots for the big day.  Here's your first glance of my dress
    Our Kiss!
    Family shot!

    Here's a shot looking at the pavilion set up.  I love the architecture of the wooden beams!
    Here's a shot of the back of my dress and my handsome groom!

    Cake!  This was *almost* perfect but the ribbon was supposed to be navy blue instead of red.  Not a big deal at all, I took it in stride.

    Tuesday, May 17, 2011


    My awesome SIL has saved the day and rescued my vows from her blog feed!  Thank you Sarah!  So now I don't have to struggle with rewriting them, I can just tweak them!  Yay!

    Another Yay! my parents came over last night and we loaded up their truck with favors, OOT bags, and some other random stuff for the wedding!  It's such a relief to me to have that stuff with them because I was starting to get concerned about how much will fit in our car.  My SUV is big, but it's not as big as I though.  

    Fortunately, all that's left is our clothes and some odds & ends but nothing too large.  

    A lot of brides say it goes too fast and I'm starting to see that now.  I can't believe that next week it will all be over and then what will I do?  I've been working toward this and looking forward to it SO much that I am feeling incredibly melancholy about the whole thing.  I honestly wish we could have planned like a full week of wedding activities just because all our favorite people will be in one place and I want to stretch that out!

    We finally have the music settled and I looked at my list yesterday and everything is crossed off!  Amazing!  We did it!

    A few last things to do.  
    • Print & Mount the seating chart
    • Finish painting my letters
    • Put 2 songs on the iPod
    • Pack up the car! 
    This time tomorrow I will be itching to get the heck out of work and into the car!

    Monday, May 16, 2011

    I Vow

    To bad mouth blogger for losing one of the most important entries I've ever written!  Arrgh!

    The vows post is NOT coming back and I'm trying to rewrite them and it's not working because I'm caught in this place of knowing I did a great job the first time and trying to remember them and thinking I should start from scratch because I'll never get them back.

    If any of you have them in your feed somewhere, could you copy & paste them and email them to me?  I'm going crazy!

    Other topics.  Over the weekend I accomplished the following:
    • Haircut & color to "freshen up"
    • New tires on my vehicle
    • 8 DOZEN cookies
    • Purchased undergarments for my dress
    • Purchased cards for my 'maids
    • Packed up OOT Bags (Corey really did this...)
    • Finished the table numbers
    • and pawned off the Thank You sign to my SIL's mom
    I have just a few things left to do:
    • WRITE VOWS (Thanks again Blogger...)
    • Find the f-ing Flower Girl basket we were "gifted" by my Step-Gma
    • Paint the L-O-V-E letters I bought
    • PACK
    And I think I can consider that the end.  If it's not done by tomorrow night, it's not getting done.  That's it.

    My parents are coming over tonight to pick up things that we're sending down with them.  That will be nice to get some of that stuff out of our house.  It's so cluttered at the moment.  Then we'll work on packing up ourselves and hit the road on Wednesday!

    I can't believe it's Wedding Week!

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    We Are Not Original

    and I'm ok with that!

    See, every single wedding idea I've had comes from something I saw or read about or heard about.  I can't think of a single element of our wedding that is original.

    The cookie buffet
    The sparklers
    The robot cake toppers
    Photobooth & mustaches
    The test tube favors & Periodic Table of Seating

    But you know what?  It will be a first for many of my guests and it will definitely be the first time all these elements have been at one wedding!

    When you're planning a wedding, you get so immersed in wedding blogs and planning tips & sites that you forget everyone isn't also reading them.  That not everyone cares as much about weddings as you do.  And all the things you think are "So overdone" or "So Last Year", are probably either new, or not old school to your guests!

    I used to worry about what my guests would think about our photobooth.  Because Every. Single. Wedding these days seems to have one and I didn't want them to be all, "Jeez you guys, come up with something new already".

    BUT, none of the weddings I've been to have had props of any kind nor have the had a photobooth that's actually a backdrop studio set up.  I am actually very excited to see our guests using all the fake mustaches and hats and message boards (Note: buy dry erase board...) and I can't wait to see the results!

    And as for the cookie buffet, well, who could complain about cookies.

    * I had 2 posts yesterday and both of them were removed by the system for "safety".  I'm upset about it because one of them contained my vow and I can no longer see it!  If the vow post comes back, I would REALLY appreciate feedback on them!

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    It Happened to Us!

    You hear horror stories all the time about couples that over-estimate their wedding plans and end up below their minimum and pay $3K over their actual cost because that's what they committed to.  And I had heard these stories and thought, "Well, that's just dumb.  Why didn't they run the numbers and come up with a predicted acceptance rate and base it on that?"

    Karma's a B y'all.

    See, we invited roughly 185 people (give or take).  The average acceptance rate for an out of town wedding is about 60-65%.  Sooooo, with those numbers, our headcount should have been around 111 - 120.  So we spoke with the coordinator and they set our minimum at 117 people and I thought, "That's OK, people will come!"

    And during the whole planning process I actually figured on 130-150 people.  We made 155 favors, we ordered 150 tags for said favors, we reserved 120 chairs for the ceremony (bridal party will be standing).

    Our acceptance rate is a measly 44%.  More people said no than yes.  We didn't factor in the economy, the people with small children or health problems that wouldn't be able to travel.  We didn't think that people would just out and out say no because it was too inconvenient for them.

    And so, we are roughly $2700 from our minimum and scrambling to figure out a way to use it.  You wouldn't think it would be so hard to spend it but the venue has restrictions and we only need so much food for everyone.  Suffice it to say that no one will leave our reception hungry.  It's impossible.

    This does, however, put us in a great position for a rain plan.  If we've got the money that we HAVE to spend, why not reserve the room?  If we use it, great.  If not, well that money would have gone to waste anyway.  Believe me, PR is getting the same amount if we find ways to spend it or not.  They'll either get an amazing tip or we will waste food just to use the money.

    Things we've proposed to use the money:
    1) Ceremony set up
    2) Extend the bar hours
    3) Late night snacks
    4) Media equipment to project a slideshow
    5) Lunch for our bridal parties

    We'll see what works out.  The good news is that we planned to spend the same amount all along.  The bad news is that we may be spending it on nothing and that's a hard pill to swallow.

    My advice to brides?  Think small.  If the venue has a minimum, calculate your predicted acceptance rate and then subtract another 10%.  Trust me, it's better to underestimate and add guests than it is to pay for things you don't need.

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    It's Like Raaaaiiinn On Your Wedding Day

    One thing that C & I have neglected to do in regards to our wedding day is come up with a Rain Plan.

    I know, I know.  The girl who plans EVERYTHING did not plan for rain.  Unbelievable.

    Well, for a while I simply figured that it just couldn't rain.  That it wouldn't dare.  

    But... I've been stalking the weather forecast and this is what I'm seeing:
    Hopefully that's not itsy-bitsy for you.  Now, I'm not going crazy over here.  I know things will change.  Yesterday the forecasted temp was 78 but still raining.  Today it's down to 71 with rain.  They predict 4 hours of rain.  I only need a 2 hour window.  I need time for the chairs to be set up and dried off, time to get married and time to get the hell back inside.  That's all.

    But I think maybe it's time that I accept that it could rain.  Mother Nature is being a big ol B this year so it probably WILL rain.

    The thing is, our reception venue is OK but that's all.  It's only OK.  It's not amazing or magical or anything.  I didn't want to get married there because I wasn't impressed with anything they had to offer for our ceremony.  I don't really want to get married there but the way I see it we have 3 options.

    1) it doesn't rain or it rains for a small window in the morning and everything goes as planned with nary a problem.
    2) it rains and we cut the ceremony all together and start our dinner by exchanging vows in the reception hall before eating dinner.
          2a) So C & I just sit around until 6pm, waiting for the reception to start?
          2b) Do a First Look & all the wedding party pictures before hand since we'll have extra time
    3) Reserve a room at Pheasant Run as our back up, be married at 3pm as planned and go from there
          3a) The room costs $500 that will be wasted if it doesn't rain
          3b) The rooms at PR are BORING and we will have zero decorations to make them any better.  A boring conference room with chairs & nothing else.  And there's nothing I can do about it without spending more money on things that may or may not be used.

    I know that technically it shouldn't matter.  That the important thing is that we're getting married! but I've had all my dreams pinned on using this pavilion on the river and it being gorgeous and making up for the stupid ballroom our reception will be in.

    And also?  Something that just occurred to me is how to handle informing everyone of the change of plans.  How do we tell everyone?  And who's going to take my cell phone away so I don't throw it through a window?

    Monday, May 9, 2011

    I Need a Day

    This is my own fault, you know.  I did this to myself.  And I continue to do it.

    The thing about weddings is... there are a million endings to that.  My current on is, the thing about weddings is that you feel bad pawning off projects.  You think you should be able to do it all.  I mean, this is YOUR day, not any one else's so how can you ask them to do things?

    I am happy because over the weekend I got both menus and programs off my list.  Of course, I wasted about $20 on vellum paper before realizing that it wasn't going to work.  That sucks.  But the programs and menus both look really nice in my humble opinion.

    We also finished up Addy's outfit so that's also off the list.  I just need to figure out what to do with her hair and find that silly flower girl basket that we were gifted and have now lost in the mess that is "Wedding Crap".

    But really, I should have planned a day in here somewhere so that I could spend the whole thing finishing up these projects.  Like the table numbers, and the Thank You sign and the cookies that I still have to bake and the bags for the hotel rooms.  Because as of right now, we are working until Wednesday, then jumping in the car and heading to Chicago with no downtime planned.  And I want these things to be completed by Wednesday because I have other things to do when we get there.

    I can't be making table numbers at the hotel on Friday morning, though it's tempting as there will be more hands in one place to get them done...  It's not like they're hard, I just have to sit down and do them.  I definitely can't be baking cookies at the hotel so that HAS to get done.

    If I ever do this again, not for myself but for a friend or a relative, I'll definitely plan one day where I take off work and dedicate it to GSD.  Getting sh*t done.

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    The Fine Print

    One thing about weddings that does not come up often in other life situations is signing your name to multiple contracts all promising money in exchange for goods or services.  Your vendors will draw up all the contracts for you to sign but it's extremely important that you read them over to make sure you understand what is included and what is not.

    Hopefully you've chosen wonderful vendors and you have no issues asking them questions about what the contracts states and what that means.  For instance, we hired a Day of Coordinator (DOC) for our rehearsal and wedding day.  I read over the contract and signed away and sent over the deposit.  Then the e-mails began with me asking all kinds of questions.  At the end of every e-mail I always stated that if I was asking them to go above and beyond the duties we had hired them for to please let me know.  If it's not their job to e-mail the parks dept. to find out if we're allowed to have a wedding there, then I shouldn't ask them to do that.  But I didn't know so I always tried to be extremely up front about what they did and did not do.

    Today I got documents from our wedding venue with all our details in them.  When things will start, when we will have access to certain areas, what time things should end, our menu selections and prices of each, our agreed upon minimum, etc.

    It's a good thing that I have trained myself to read over the documents because their start time and my start time for the bridal suite were vastly different.  Like, 4 hours different.  Additionally, they got some pricing wrong which left uncaught would have cost us almost $1000!  I'm actually still waiting for an answer on the pricing issue but it's in my original contract that way so they have to honor it!

    I highly encourage that you read your contracts both when you receive them AND just before the wedding so you understand what you're supposed to get the day of.  I anticipate that it will save me multiple stress headaches if I get everyone on the same page ahead of time.

    Thursday, May 5, 2011

    2 Weeks Out

    Ok, technically it's 2 weeks from Saturday but I was at work the other day and realized that any of my projects, heck anything having to do with the wedding, needs to be done by the Tuesday before!  That is the last night we'll have to do anything at home because that Wednesday we'll load up the vehicle and ride on down to Chicago!

    So I might have had a mini panic attack and I might have spent $60 at Michael's yesterday to complete some projects like a Thank you sign for pictures and some guest book table decorations and some battery operated tea lights...

    I did a mock-up of a table number (they're supposed to look like this) and it was ok.  It will work.  My issue is that I wanted to avoid having to buy and use glass vases in the center and have the paper stand on it's own.  It seemed fine the only issue is that I get a seam where the paper overlaps on the back side.  I'm also having issues figuring out how to make them at home and transfer them without crushing them.  I'm thinking that perhaps I can get my hands on a wine case with the dividers in it.

    I created a program that I'm pretty proud of.  It's double-sided and crammed with info but I think it's nice.  C likes it too so we're set there.  I just need to print them and cut them all in half.

    I finally ordered our guest book!  And bought pens so people can actually write us messages!  I have to make sure all my bridesmaids know that we want people to sign them so we actually get some signatures.

    My to-do list is still long but I'm trying to just take deep breaths and knock things out where I can.  

    2 weeks!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011


    Corey & I with the judge at our small wedding last September.

    So when we left off, I was explaining that even though C & I are married, it shouldn't take away from our wedding in May.  We didn't set out to hurt anyone, we did what we thought was best at the time for our family.  We tried to spare everyone's feelings by leaving out everyone instead of picking & choosing who would be present.

    Unfortunately, that backfired and some people were extremely hurt that we would do this without telling/inviting them.

    Long story short, resolution has been reached but not without some damage to our relationship (mine & the person, not mine & Corey's).  We both have hurt feelings about how each person handled the situation.  This person will make every attempt to attend the wedding but at what cost?  And now instead of being happy that this person will attend, it's feelings of guilt that this episode had to take place to get them to attend.

    Bottom line:  Weddings suck.  Weddings are built up to be this joyous occasion where you're surrounded by family and friends who love you and support your relationship and sometimes that isn't always the case.  Sometimes your closest friends or family members can't or won't make it to your wedding.  That leaves you with 2 choices.

    1) you can mope and cry and feel sorry for yourself and wonder why people won't respect the fact that it's your special day dammit and get all cranky and threaten to just call the whole thing off and make your loving fiancee pull you back from the edge 

    or 2) you can accept that while your wedding is the most special event to happen to you (so far), other people's worlds do not revolve around you and your wedding.  You can accept that due to the economy (thanks a lot Middle East) and time and whatever else is going on, some people will not make it.  Some important people won't make it.

    The wedding industry has built up weddings to the point where they are the END ALL BE ALL of any event EVER.  We are all brainwashed with to think that our weddings mean nothing without tons of people witnessing our professions of love.  I'm not being cynical, I'm just explaining the way I see it.

    Once you get past all that, you become thankful for the people that do make the effort and you put on your big girls pants and forgive/understand that some people simply can't.  Most of the time it's not because they don't want to, they actually can't.

    I'm not saying I'm there yet, but I'm getting there.  I will probably still miss some people at the wedding but maybe, just maybe, I'll be even more grateful for the ones that are there.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    See You in September

    Back in September, C & I made the decision to get legally married in a very small, very private courthouse ceremony.

    (I'm sure I blogged about it at some point but I can't find it right now.)

    We planned the whole thing in about 4 weeks and told a handful of people.  We didn't tell our parents or grandparents or any of my brothers, save one, or anyone else.  We told a few friends, but in reality, about 6 people other than us knew anything about it.

    The only reason we told one brother & his wife is because we needed a witness for the ceremony.  They made the most sense because 1) we like them 2) C feels the closest to this brother out of the four 3) they didn't have any children at that point to worry about and 4) we did a photo shoot right after for our Save the Dates and she had the DSLR.

    We mainly did it for insurance purposes.  To get us all on the same plan, with the same deductible as a legal family.  I'd by lying if I said we weren't excited about it.  There was something so romantic about that day.  About our secret.

    We mad the decision to keep it small for a number of reasons.  We didn't want to have to deal with who got invited or what lunch we'd do after or how none of C's family would be present but somehow it was supposed to be ok to involve all of mine.  We decided it would be better to offend everyone because then we could say, "Yes, you weren't there but neither were our parents.  That's how small it was."

    The ceremony was literally 5 minutes long but the vows are binding forever.  We knew that.

    What we didn't know is that people would actually get upset about not being invited.  About choosing one brother over another.  About us keeping a secret.

    So upset, that they considered skipping the May wedding because if we didn't think they "were special enough to invite them in September, then why would May be any different?"

    This is exactly what I wanted to avoid.  I didn't want what happened in September to take away from May.  Yes, we are already legally married but my dad didn't walk me down the aisle, we didn't have a first dance or a cake or any of those things.  We said the bare minimum of vows to make it legal and that was that.  

    May is the celebration.  May is the culmination of 3 years together and almost a year of planning.  May is the big white dress and my father's arm and the profession of love in front of everyone near and dear to us.

    Or so I thought.

    To be continued...

    Monday, May 2, 2011

    Lessons Learned

    Back when I used to work at Ford, when we would finish a project we would document "Lessons Learned" as a way of hopefully saving ourselves from making the same mistakes in the future.  It was great in theory, but I never actually checked the recorded lessons and therefore never learned anything.  Oh well.

    My cousin's wedding was Saturday and it was a lovely event!  Even with the torrential rain that morning and some family drama, she kept a smile on her face and focused on the joy of the day and everything went perfectly as far as I can tell.

    Things I learned though...  

    I learned that I definitely want to make sure that our DJ is on the same page as us.  I want to make sure he knows what songs to play when (Entrance, First Dance, etc.) before the actual day because poor Cousin was answering those questions about 5 minutes before we actually made our entrance.

    Also, I didn't care for the music the DJ played.  Perhaps this is what my cousin & her man wanted but it was older 90s Top 40 Songs (This is How We Do It, etc.) and it felt like the dance floor was empty a lot.  Another thing that bothered me about him was that I specifically requested a song and he never played it while I was there!  If the dance floor is empty, but you have a song request, you should play it!  You're guaranteed at least one person dancing!

    I learned how important a timeline is.  After the ceremony the bridal party sat around for about 20 mins or more waiting for the string quartet to finish and it was BORING.  I stole a bottle of wine from the bar & some glasses so we could celebrate, but we were stuck in this tiny room together.  Plus, none of us knew why we were sitting there.

    I feel like I should note that I'm totally a Type-A, need to have a plan or I'll die, kind of person.  Some people (Cousin included) may be absolutely fine with the way things were handled. In fact, knowing her, she probably could have cared less.

    I learned that Addy (who is 2) is unreliable.  I knew this already but seeing her at this wedding only confirmed that I shouldn't count on her walking nicely down the aisle or sitting quietly while C & I exchange vows.  At least I can prepare myself now for her interruptions.

    I also learned that one brother in question will be attending my wedding after all!  I wish I were happier about it but they just kept using money as an excuse like they hadn't just spent a ton on their own celebration.  And my other brother is putting a damper on it as he's still a question mark.  

    One other thing I learned: many things will go wrong at the wedding.  Some I'll notice and some I won't.  But I'll be there, with the love of my life and our daughter and that's all that will matter.  I'll hear him say those wonderful words that join us forever (again) and I know that nothing can put a damper on that.