Sunday, January 31, 2010

What is the BEST day of your life?

Check out Perpetual Party Planner's blog this week about her dislike of vendors and people who claim that your wedding will be the *BEST* day of your life or your most special day.  It's a pretty good explanation of how us brides get sucked into believing that our entire being is wrapped up in our identity as a bride.  So does that mean that life as we know it ends after our wedding day?  Of course not!

The day my daughter was born was definitely not the best day of my was probably the most scariest.  You see, after 12 hours of labor, I had to have an emergency c-section because my daughter suddenly had a prolapsed cord.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it means that she somehow moved inside of me and landed on the umbilical cord thus cutting off her blood flow and oxygen supply.

Without being too gruesome, I will tell you that she was saved by the nurses who noted the situation immediately and rushed me to emergency while calling my doctor (who was at home since I wasn't ready to deliver for a few more hours and he'd been there all night with me).  The nurses quickly prepped me for surgery and took turns trying to 'push' my daughter back up the birth canal to keep her off the cord.

My doctor walked in less than 15 minutes later and immediately picked up a scalpel and cut her out.  At which point, she was given a 0 Apgar score...that means she was lifeless, no color, no breathing, no crying, no movement...nothing.  She had to be fully resucitated and placed on a respirator and taken up to the NICU where she stayed for the next 5 days. 

Even sharing all this brings tears back to my eyes (I haven't thought about it in so long).  My entire family was there at the hospital as were her father and his family and they were all in tears and worried about me and the baby.  Thankfully, my daughter is totally fine and we both made a speedy recovery...well, with a little pain on my part for several weeks.

The day you give birth is supposed to be one of the best days of your life.  For me, it was almost the worst as I almost lost my daughter.  But the anticipation and excitement leading up to that moment had me and our family giddy with anxiety and joy...and then that all changed unexpectedly.

My point is that no one day will (or should) ever be the absolute best day of your life...for life does not end once you reach an accomplishment nor does it end after the immediate loss of a loved one or severe tragedy.  Life is made of and built upon many different stories, memories, accomplishments, tears of joy and sadness...good and bad. 

As an anal and obsessive bride-to-be, I totally get how the past year has been wrapped up in my planning the wedding...but if all of these wonderful little plans I am preparing all fall apart and don't work out the way I hope they do on wedding day, what then?  Will I die?  Will I roll up in a bawl and tell Mr Fix It that I can't go through with it?  Of course not.

It's so great to be excited about things and get crazy silly obsessive about them and let the anticipation build up.  Just remember that these things...these momentous joyful circumstances and experiences of your life...are merely stepping blocks to get you to the next big event.  They're something to look back on with massive emotion and be thankful that you experienced them, that you made it through them, that you got to share them with other people (persons) you love who love you back and were there to support and encourage you. 

I will never say that my wedding was the best day of my life* just as the day my daughter was born was not the best day of my life...but you know what was amazing?  The day I saw my daughter cry and follow me for the first time and I recognized that she knew who I was and needed *me*...the day I left my daughter at school for the first time and all the days I went back to those schools to watch her receive awards and participate in plays.  I was in tears the day I watched her all-star softball team make it all the way to the California Junior Olympic State Championships when she was 10 years old.

Please remember:  Your wedding *should* be one of the most amazing, celebrated and hopefully special and memorable days of your life, but life doesn't end the day after it's over...remember that your wedding is only the beginning.

*  I should state that I do absolutely hope that my wedding will be a freaking ridiculously awesome amazing and ONE of the best days of my life - it should be considering all the money, planning and people that are going into the process and will be joining us that day!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

There's no backing out now...

Well, it's official...our invitations were dropped in the mail today.  So I guess there's no way that Mr Fix It and I can back out now ;)

Here's a few final photos of the finished product.  I showed the original invites when I received the mockup back here.   However, after showing them to Mr Fix It, he had one main request - change the font on the invites to something a little bit more 'formal' and not so simple and plain.  Whatever...I accommodated his request and here is the final invite as we sent it out:

* As always, note the colors are not represented well at all...they look green in this pic instead of the aqua color.   :(

Did you see that I added some little crystal rhinestones to the invites to bling them up a it! 

And here are the envelope wraps my sister and I created as well as the fun little personalized photo stamp I bought from  Yeah, they're heavy invites and so we had to pay $0.61 per envelope.  BE SURE TO TAKE A SAMPLE OF YOUR INVITE INTO THE POST OFFICE TO HAVE THEM WEIGH AND CONFIRM POSTAGE NEEDED BEFORE YOU MAIL YOUR INVITES!!!

I didn't take a pic of the back side of the envelope but it wraps all the way around to the back where our return address is on the back side.  The graphic also wraps around to the back as well.

Sorry the stamp pic is blurry...I really need a new camera.

All boxed up just before I left for the post office:

Well, that's it...98 invitations from our 'A list' have been dropped in the mail today.  This is 11 weeks before our wedding...about 3 weeks earlier than when they typically suggest you mail them out (6-8 weeks).  But we are giving them 5 weeks to respond.  I know that's early to respond to a wedding that's still 6 weeks away, but we won't be sticklers about people absolutely returning their response by that date.  We just needed to do this to assist with confirming those that absolutely will not be coming (most likely because they're out of state).  This way, it allows us to confirm those that cannot attend so that we can still mail out a few 'B list' invites to local friends we had to cut :(  At the same time, it gives us plenty of time to call people who are lazy about returning their RSVP card.  Especially since our caterer needs the final head count 3 weeks before the big day.

As the no's roll in, we'll mail out a few additional invites to our B listers (hopefully) and then give them an extra 4 weeks to respond (since they didn't get their invite as early).  Either way, the guest list is stressing me out big time...but that's a post for another day.  All I will say for now is let's just pray that at least 23 people out of 221 will respond that they cannot come.  Fingers crossed!

What do you think of the finished invite?  Are/Did you go the envelope wrap route or did you use calligraphy, handwriting or computer printed envelopes?

Friday, January 29, 2010

How our wedding is taking over my house!

I have boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff I've been purchasing for the last 9 months for our big day this April.  I started making my first purchases probably back a year before the wedding...guest book, photobooth props, pen holders, votive candles, picture frames, favors, favor boxes, ribbons, stationery items, favor tags, labels, toasting flutes, vases, flip flops, bridesmaid gifts, children's favors, kleenex packs, and on and on and on. 

Needless to say, that's a lot of stuff to store in my little 1100 square foot two bedroom condo.  I mean, my house (it's actually my mom's condo that I rent from her) is totally the perfect 'big' size for me and my teenage daughter...I'm gonna miss it when we move in with Mr Fix It.  And me being me, I have storage places all over for sure. 

But what was I supposed to do with these:

And these:

And these:

And then there's these:

Well, the boxes (votive candles & holders & picture frames) in the pic above are consuming space on my garage floor.  And then there's the few boxes in the very first picture that are sitting on the stairs leading up to the third floor (my daughter's room) out of guest's sight.  But the rest of those beauties?  The ones stacked pretty high?  Well, thankfully, we have a special little hidden storage space in the back of my daughter's closet.  Check it:

It's where the water heater sits, but they left a ton of extra space in it that I have been blessed to be able to use to store all things wedding for almost a year now!  And that pretty little flip flop basket I blogged about yesterday?  It now sits on the empty floor space you see in the front right of this picture!

But seriously...if I didn't have this space, where the heck would I be keeping all this stuff?  UGH!  I truly feel like our wedding has not only invaded my thoughts and time, but even my living space!  Good thing I can tuck 'most' of it away and out of sight for now.

What about all of you?  Have you made a bunch of early purchases that are consuming space in your life?  What are you doing to cope with it?

**  And P.S.  Did you see my little sneak peek at the surprise for our guests earlier this week?  check it out here

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Flip Flop Favors! - My latest DIY (sort of)

So I posted a few months back about how I wanted to incorporate an idea I had learned about from my amazing wedding coordinator, Amanda of In the Now Weddings at our reception.  Check it out here...flip flops for your guests (probably the girls) to kick off their heels while dancing the night away!  Well, I bought the flip flops back at the end of the summer when they were obviously going on sale.  And I found a wholesale site called Dollar Days where I was able to purchase 72 pairs of flip flops for about $1.25 each.  I didn't get to pick specific colors going this route but  I opted for simplicity and variety so that if the ladies used them and then took them home, they may actually be in colors they would like.   Also got a variety of sizes, too obviously.

Well, here's the photos from my sis, mom and I putting them all together last weekend (please remember as I've said many times before, my sucky camera is not true to actual color all the time):

Flip flops in their packaging:

Wicker laundry basket I found for 40% off at Michael's that we covered in some satin red fabric:

Mom & Sis helping unpackage and retie flip flops with the aqua colored ribbon I bought at the LA Flower Market, 100 yds for $8!  It was cheap but it worked for this simple inexpensive project/favor:

Some of the finished flip flops all tied together:

The flip flops in the basket:

My scrapbooking sister is already working on a cute pair of cut out flip flops as the sign for the front of this basket.  I'll show that to you once we get it finalized.  :)  Thanks to my mom who sewed the fabric onto the basket! 

So, what do you think?  Are you doing any unexpected favors or gifts that are more for your guest's convenience than for a theme or style of your big day?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A sneak peek at my BIG surprise!!!

Ok, so I have eluded to the fact a few times that I have a special surprise for all of our guests that is my absolute most favorite thing about the entire wedding!  And it is also the biggest DIY task that I have taken on.  I have been working on it since July and have spent countless months (off and on) and hours trying to piece it together.  But alas, with only 79 days to go until the big day, I am just getting super antsy about wanting to share at least a little bit of a teaser with all of you fellow blogger brides about what I am hoping to finalize within the next month.

Of course, none of my family and friends read this blog, but just to be safe, if you are a family or friend and you want to still be invited to my wedding, then you will absolutely jump ship right now and get the hell off of my blog site!  Love you ;P

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You may now claim your bride with a kiss!

Disclaimer:  This post is long but is mostly just the script from our ceremony and vows.  You can use it as a resource for ideas or inspiration of what you may like (or may not want to do).  But to make it a quicker read for those of you who are not interested, I highlighted words in red that are the parts that are my favorite and my reason for sharing this with everyone.  It's of course also a way for me to journal our ceremony script for my own memories. 

I was never a big fan of the simplicity of 'You may now kiss your bride.'  It had to mean something that you get to kiss at this very moment, right?  And so when I was browsing videographer's blogs for ideas for our ceremony, and heard a pastor speak those words - "You may now claim your bride with a kiss," I immedidately added that into our ceremony script!  Yes, I have the entire thing already written out and have handed it off to our officiant (my junior high school pastor) for his review and thoughts.  :) 

Side note:  I asked my pastor if he minded me basically giving him a pre-written 'script' for our wedding ceremony and he said he actually likes it when brides do this because it ensures that they will get what they want and makes less work for him other than throwing in a brief message and some personal touches about the couple.  This is why I love him!  You should not think twice about asking your vendors, even your officiant, for what you want at your wedding!

Ok, so I wanted to keep a lot of the traditional touches of the wedding ceremony but also make it personal to us, unique and different from your uber-traditional vows, and not super duper long.  I am hoping the entire verbal part of the ceremony only lasts about 20-30 minutes max!

Here's my ceremony script that I pieced together with personal thoughts, internet research and some other traditional inclusions.  Please note that I am including both personal promises (letters me and Mr Fix It will write to each other) and both traditional (sort of) vows, so you will see the promises I have written for Mr Fix It, but obviously he has not written anything yet :)  Also, of course all of this is subject to change:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Getting to see more of the 'vision' - The centerpiece mockup

So Friday my daughter and I headed over to Flower Allie in Fullerton to meet with my amazing florist, Allison and my wedding coordinator, Amanda.  You should really check out Allison's blog here...she is the coolest florist in Orange County.  Not only does she totally work with your budget, but she provides the same quality and glamour, if not more, than the 'high end' florists who quote you like $4,000 to $10,000!  And on top of all of that, she gets excited about your big day!  Since booking her she has said the following to me:

"Your wedding is going to be beautiful and the flowers will look gorgeous.  You'll love it!"
"You have so many great ideas, I hope you blog about all of this.  Will your photographer provide us with photos after?"
"Your event is going to look so great and it's going to look like you spent a ton more money than you actually are!"

Oh, how I love her.  And I found out that Amy Jean over at the Relentless Bride blog is also using Allison for her upcoming March wedding. 

So we were going there to see a mockup of what our tables and centerpieces are going to look like.  I have lots of pictures to show you!  But first, I just have to list a couple disclaimers:

1)  The lighting in the florist's shops is obviously not good.   We were set up in a corner that didn't get great light. 
2)  My camera, as I have mentioned, is not good at all for shooting true to color.  Therefore, with the not so great lighting and the bad camera images, please grant me a little give in how the final product will look.  This is why I think it's *SO* important to hire professional photographers to shoot your wedding day...they know how to work the lighting!
3)  In our actual reception room, you have to remember that we will have all the candles lit on the table with the mood lighting of the room and some perimeter uplighting in red as well.  So obviously that is going to affect how the linen colors and tabletops look in person or pro pics.
4)  We did tweak just a few things after seeing the mockups so what you see here will not be exact on wedding day.  The flower colors will probably be just a little bit different too for the little vases.

Personal opinion:  If your florist is not willing to show you a mockup of your centerpiece idea at *NO* extra charge, hire a new florist!  How can you possibly be sure your vision is being communicated well, you understand what they are planning, you know what the flower colors will look like with your linens, etc if you do not get to see a full mockup?  It was an absolute must for me and something I asked about when interviewing florists and made sure was in our contract!

Here was our inspiration for our centerpiece:

And here is the first mockup...Oh, I forgot to mention trying not to focus on the background shelvings and that wire stand in the back left corner :)

The 'tall' centerpiece

Yes, those are my actual linens I asked the caterer to loan me.  So now you can see the colors a little more realistically...turquoise tablecloths with cranberry napkins - both in satin. 

Here's a close up of the inside of the tall tapered vase...there is a Floralyte that is attached to the bottom of the top piece that will light up the vase (hard to see with the lights on in this pic)

Here's a close up of the little votive candles I got over at Super cheap!  144 red votive glass holders with 144 candles for about $90 total.

Oh, see that little silver bell in the front of the picture?  That will also be on each table with a little card in it...more to come on what that's for in a future post :)

Here's another shot of it showing my luminary table numbers in the frames along with the little takeout favor boxes that will be placed at the top of each guest's napkins.  The napkins will all have a card tucked into it with each guest's name sticking out at the top so they know which seat is theirs. 

We didn't like that when you are sitting down at the table you can see the little floralyte at the top of the vase, so we collectively came up with the idea to wrap a thick turquoise ribbon at the top of the vase to hide it.  Allison found one in her shop that matches my linen color well and offered to do this for me.  We actually all loved it and thought it made the centerpiece even more unique.

So what are we changing about this piece?  I didn't like how there was a large amount of 'green leaves' in the center of all the tulips.  It just didn't look quite right to me.  So we decided that we will trim down the tulips just a bit.  We don't want it to look too bare, but we also want the focus to be on the tulips.  We are also going to have them hang over and drop down just a little bit more rather than standing so tall at the very top.

In the middle of our meeting, it started to hail!  So I just had to run outside and snap a quick shot of the ground as this rarely ever happens in So Cal:

Next up, our alternating centerpiece.  This is technically the 'low' centerpiece that will go on 10 of the 20 tables, but I don't like calling it the low centerpiece because it's really not that low at all:

I absolutely love this one!  The simple tulips submerged in a tall vase...gorgeous!  There are red gems at the bottom of the vase...did I mention my florist is letting us use all of these vases, gems, floralytes, etc at *NO* rental charge or delivery fee to us?  My coordinator offered to deliver them all back to her shop for us the day after the wedding (they work together often) and so it saved us the delivery charge.

See that little 'orange' colored dahlia in front of the vase?  It's called a satellite means you have one little flower scattered around the table surrounding the large focal point.  We are going to actually change it to a burgundy colored dahlia like this:

She originally had a red gerber daisy in there but I wasn't loving the look of the daisy or the color red.  So I asked her about a dahlia and we all loved it better.  We are also adding two more so there will be three of them scattered around the large vase.

What else are we changing about this centerpiece?  She is going to use a vase that is just a little bit wider and put 5 or 6 tulips in them instead of just the 4 shown here.

Above is a little close up of our table numbers on the linen...I used the same graphic from our wedding invites and the same turquoise and cranberry colors in them.  The only thing I can't seem to figure out is how to get rid of that little 'shadow' of the rim of the votive candle inside it that is showing???

Above is a close up of the napkin with the favor box.  Again, the colors are horrid!  Too orangey in the pic.  I am going to find a better satin ribbon to match the linens for the takeout box as the one I have is an aqua ribbon that doesn't match well.  But I love the tag we made and the pretty colors!

Above is one of the children's favor is a circus shaped box from Bailey's Boxes.  Inside are all the little goodies I posted about here that we are gifting the little ones at the wedding.

And finally, for our cocktail area centerpieces, we are thinking of using some small vases with some daisies, tulips or little orchids submerged as well similar to these images below:

So there you have it.  With a few tweaks, come wedding day I think they'll look great.  But would love some feedback and opinions as well.  Is there something I am missing?  Do you have photos to share about your inspiration for your florals or centerpieces?  Is your florist providing you a mockup before the wedding to see what it will look like come wedding day?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Am I expecting too much of my bridesmaids?

I asked 5 girls to be my bridesmaids and my sister to be my Matron of Honor.  (I was the maid of honor for my sister and my best friend who is also one of my bridesmaids.)   I surprised each girl by providing them a gift that included a puzzle of a photo of both of us with the phrase 'Be my Bridesmaid?' across it, along with a little silk bouquet of flowers in my color scheme so they'd know what color dress they'd be wearing and a handmade card with a poem in it telling them why I am asking them to stand with me at the altar. 

I loved it, they loved it, two of them was personal and different.  I blogged about it here.

Since I asked them, I have had all 6 of them come with me one day back in March to go dress shopping for both me and them.  We did it on a day that my best friend would be in town so she could participate - she lives in Idaho, I'm in So Cal.  We went to dinner was fun.

I eventually picked dresses out for them to wear with their input and allowed them to select red dresses even though I desparately wanted them in turquoise/blue and I let them know that was my wish but I wanted them to be comfortable.  They opted for red.

I let 2 of them pick different dresses than the one the other 4 will be cousin who is a very large chested woman and my daughter who wanted a different color and needed a different style since she doesn't fully have a woman's body yet.  I had no problem with letting them pick different dresses...they're by the same designer, color and fabric.

I tried to keep the dress and shoe cost to a minimum...The dresses were $152 including tax and the shoes were another $15 total.  So far, they all will only need to have the straps adjusted on their dress.  Two of them may need their dresses let out a little bit and one will need her dress hemmed a bit.  So alterations will not be super expensive at all...for my sister, it's only $15 to have her straps adjusted.

I booked a stylist to do my hair and makeup and negotiated a great price for her to do the Bridesmaid's hair and makeup for only $70 each total.  I let them know that it was their decision as to whether or not they wanted to use my stylist and pay or do their own hair and makeup.  Two of them opted to do their own, four opted for using my stylist. 

One bridesmaid offered to let us use her house for both my bridal shower and bachelorette party since she lives around the corner from me and has the biggest house.  My sister is throwing the shower and has asked for the other girls' input but has done most stuff on her own.  My mother and her are paying for the bulk of my shower I believe and trying to keep it pretty inexpensive.

Other than that, there's not much more they have to do for me other than show up to my shower, bachelorette party and the rehearsal and wedding.  My one friend from Idaho obviously has to pay for airfare out here but she was more than willing to do so to be in my wedding and is coming alone without her husband or three kids to save money.  It's not that expensive to fly here.

So do you think I'm asking too much of them?  I hear horror stories of brides who want to 'fire' their friends or family for not helping out with much or for causing problems with their wedding plans and adding extra stress.  I am so lucky to not have that problem.  I LOVE my girls and though I don't get to see them much, they're excited about the big day and I know they'll make me feel special and loved and keep me laughing and try to ease my stress or anxiety.

Though due to my Type-A perfectionist personality, I am not asking them to help assemble invitations or anything like that.  But closer to wedding day I will ask them if any can come over to help me stuff favor boxes and tie ribbons on them and such. 

Even the guys (groomsmen) and our immediate family were in my initial wedding related thoughts as I had visions of them having to carry votive candles, wedding gifts, dresses, etc all over our venue and loading up cars and such.  I imagined them trying to run around during the reception telling the Photographer that the DJ was about to announce the cake cutting and I instantly knew it was time to hire a Day of Wedding Coordinator!  There is no way I wanted any family or friends doing errands or running tasks during the wedding. 

So I think my girls have it pretty easy.  But I know some brides can be demanding.  I found it funny, however, when Rachel (Pink Love Bird) over at Get Married's Blogger Brides site posted about how she asked her girls to be her bridesmaids.  She made them all binders and included a contract inside for them to read and sign.  I wish she had gotten engaged before me because I totally would have included this in my little gift package for my girls had I seen it.

I, ____(Bridesmaid)_____, do solemnly swear:

______ My hair will remain at whatever length I want, but if it’s past my shoulders, it will be put in a beautiful up-do.
______ If I change my hair color, I will consider consulting Bride because she loves sassy hair.
______ My nails will be painted a delicate, light color of my choosing and will be at my preferred length (…with the exception of them being so long they curl over at the tips).
______ Bride will love me and appreciate me being in her bridal party regardless of my weight, but I will do my best to be in great shape and health. I want to look my best!
______ Assuming there is a shower or a bachelorette party, I will be as involved as I can be and party it up with Bride for as long as I can stand.
______ I will hold Bride to her promise that the bridesmaid dresses will be fabulous and won’t cost an arm and a leg. I will provide opinions on the style because I know Bride likes input and gets overwhelmed by options.
______ If I get pregnant, YAY! Bride loves babies and pregnant people. If I am not pregnant, the reception will provide a fully stocked bar in which to imbibe in front of said pregnant people.
______I will dance the night away at the reception and all other spontaneous dance parties. If Bride is not around for the sporadic dance parties, I will take a picture or a video to show her.
______ I will tell Bride when she is being crazy/unrealistic and why, specifically. I will not let Bride go off the deep-end.
______ I will freely give hugs and lend my support to Bride to help relieve stress since she is such a perfectionist. Bride loves friends’ hugs.
I do hereby swear that I will adhere to the entire above & other stated bridesmaid “duties” for the wedding on (date).
X________________________________ ___________________ (Signature) (Date)

What do you think ladies?   Are you asking too much of your Bridesmaids or wedding party?  Have you had some unfortunate issues or fights or frustrations with anyone regarding your wedding?  Do share!  Let it all out...

Friday, January 22, 2010

Being the 3rd wife...

Yes, I am the third wife.  Or at least I will be come April 16th.  Bet you didn't know that?  Though I have a 15 year old daughter (well, turning 15 in February), and am a single mom, I've never been a wife.  My daughter's father and I lived together but never married.  And at 26, I was engaged, planned most of the wedding, and then broke off the relationship right before I dropped the invitations in the mail.  So I've been close...had the 'family,' but never a marriage.

Though wedded bliss will be totally new to me, it is not so new to Mr Fix It.  He has been married before...twice.  The first time he was married I refer to as the 'shotgun marriage' that didn't count.  Mr Fix It moved to Australia in his late 20's and met a woman there.  I think he only lived there for like 3 months before moving back to the states.  But for whatever reason, he married that girl.  I can't even remember what type of wedding they had...I think he said they did a civil type ceremony and then had a 'reception' for the family back home.  Anyway, for whatever reason, she ended up moving back to Australia and they had a long distance marriage for over a year I think.  Mostly phone calls.  Then he met his second wife and eventually got divorced from the Australian.

With his second wife, they dated for three years and then were married for six.  She ended up having an affair - Mr Fix It never confirmed it but there were comments from her co-workers about her spending a lot of time with a man at work.  Mr Fix It asked her to stop spending so much time with him and then while he was away once she told him she was hanging out with friends at his house, got drunk and slept on his couch.  That didn't go over well.  They had a lot of problems regarding communication - she was physically distant which led to him being emotionally distant and the relationship just crumbled.  One day when Mr Fix It was out of the country, he returned to find that she had moved out.  Later, he found out that she ended up marrying the man he assumed she was sleeping with.

As a Christian, Mr Fix It was devastated by the divorce.  He went into a very deep depression for many, many months.  I met him about a year after their separation when a friend encouraged him to start dating again and he signed up on  They were just signing the divorce papers when he and I started dating. 

Needless to say, it's strange to think of myself as a 'third wife.'  It doesn't really mean much to me since I've never been married, but I know that Mr Fix It will probably bring in a lot of doubts and fears from his past experiences.  Though he knows I am a completely different person than his ex-wife, he also struggled to decide whether or not to marry again.  This is why I *never* brought up the subject of marriage during our dating relationship.  He would talk to me about it and say that if we ever got married and something happened to where we divorced, that would be it for him...he'd never marry again.  I would lovingly tell him that I never plan to divorce so he would be stuck with me forever.  :)

He used to tell me that he was secretly 'testing' me to see whether or not I was marriage material.  Though I sometimes felt like I should be offended by that kind of comment, I also knew that this was part of his emotional baggage from two failed marriages.  But finally, when we had been together for almost 5 years, he decided to pop the question.  It was so special to meant he knew that this was it for good.  And I knew it, too. 

On our wedding day, we'll have been together for six years.  I'll be 37 years old and Mr Fix It will be 47.  We have been through a ton of relationship issues, dysfunction and mistakes on both of our parts in our past.  And I think that if we had met 10 years ago, we never would be getting married...for it's the path we've walked and the lessons we've learned that have grown and matured us to become the people we are today.  The people who truly recognize and appreciate the good in each other and also have compassion and grace towards the faults in each other. 

I have no doubt that we will be together forever...we share a lot of the same values, politics, beliefs, faith and we have learned to work at communicating with honesty, respect and love.  We are not perfect, we have our moments of failure and fights.  But we also are humble enough to be willing to change and apologize and to sacrifice and compromise for one another.  I have never known a love like this and though Mr Fix It is nothing like the man I would have expected to end up with, thanks to God, he is everything I never knew I needed in a husband. 

I am so excited to be his third (and final) wife.  I can't wait to have him as my first and only husband.

What about all of you?  Any of you dealing with past marriage or relationship issues or fears that you've had to work through on your way to the altar?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Here comes the 'unexpected' bride...

As I have said before, I am really hoping to surprise my guests with lots of things they have never seen/experienced or never would expect at a wedding.  I love the 'formality' of a wedding, but I don't love the stuffiness of weddings...does that make sense?  Like, I don't want to be massively against all things traditional, but there will hopefully be traditional elements with modern or fun twists to them.  So let me walk you through a little bit of what our guests will go through as they arrive for the wedding day...

Guests arrive:  gather in 'cocktail' area, bar is open.  No appetizers yet.  Sample of our cocktail area from another person's wedding:

And here it is with no setup...

Invitations say 5:00 pm wedding start time, guests are encouraged to arrive early and stroll the zoo:

Once all guests arrive, they're escorted down toceremony area where junior groomsmen and a second cousin hand out programs and little kleenex packs.  (I got the idea for this little wonderful guest convenience from Bee over at her and Patrick's blog.  While mine are not nearly as beautiful as hers (I didn't have the extra funds for more ribbon or perfect labels - nor the patience to cut and assemble), I love the simple idea behind the thought and threw these together in like 5 minutes.  They incorporate our wedding colors and our graphic and I had extra sheets of labels laying around so I just had my sister design them real fast and then bought the travel kleenex packs and glassine envelopes for like $25 total...we made about 125 of them.)

To assist ushers (groomsmen) with seating guests, we'll have chair seating cards reserving front rows for specific family members.  Something like these (but we will have them for our parents as well as have whole rows marked off for the 'Campbells,' 'Beevers,' etc.):

Courtesy of Serendipity Designs

After guests are seated, DJ plays music until processional begins.  The last song before the processional will be "I Gotta Feeling" by the Black Eyed Peas.  I love that song (even though it is on massive overkill) and think it's the perfect way to let guests know, the fun is about to begin!

Side note:  If you have not seen this yet, seriously you need to watch this video of them performing this song on the Oprah show - AH-MAZING!  There is also a higher quality version right below it if you prefer, but the first video shows the best view :)

So anyway, back to my plans...right after Black Eyed Peas song plays (and no, the video will not be shown), processional begins.  DJ plays instrumental / orchestral version of Phil Collins' "Groovy Kind of Love" performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.  (I have always loved this song but got the idea to use the instrumental version when Monica and Chandler had a violinst perform the song for the processional during their wedding on "Friends."  :)  You can hear a portion of it by clicking here.)

Officiant (our pastor) leads groom and groomsmen out to altar.  (There is a special little room for the guys to change in just behind the altar and it also lends itself to a perfect entrance for the guys where they are out of sight and then suddenly appear.)

Moms are seated.  Bridesmaids, ring bearers, flower girl and finally bride (ME) make our entrance from a patio outside of the bridal cottage / preparation area.  We walk across this pretty bridge:

Something like this:

And then through the 'aisle' created by the chairs set up in the outdoor teatro area:

Once my 6 girls walk down the aisle, the four, yes *FOUR* ring bearers will make their way down the aisle.  We are sending them down two by two.  Now here is where things start to go the 'unexpected' way.  What were we going to do with four ring bearers?  I wanted to give each of them a task and since we aren't sending the 'real' rings down the aisle with them, I only wanted one of them holding a ring pillow.  So I searched the net and found some great ideas.

The oldest of our four nephews (5 years old) will be paired up with his youngest cousin (22 months old).  I will have him hold his hand so there is no problem getting the young one down the aisle.  The older one will carry the ring pillow and then the younger one will be given a bell and will be the 'bell boy.'  He'll ring the bell signaling the bride's entrance and the ceremony is about to begin.  Our ring pillow is actually not a real pillow but rather a pillow that will be made out of kermit mums - a flower I love that we are incorporating throughout the bouquets and will use for the ring bearer's boutonnieres.  It will be like this but with a ribbon in turquoise probably to match our colors.

The next two nephews (3 years old and 2 1/2 years old) will walk together carrying a small banner.  This is a big surprise for Mr Fix It as he is not aware that I have planned this for the boys.  The banner looks like this:

The little gray border you see inside the banner is not really on the real thing.  This is the proof I received from VistaPrint.  Seriously, this is a fun little thing you can do for super cheap!  I got this banner for about $13 total including tax and S&H.  They had a template in my colors which I was so excited about so I just picked their pre-designed template and added the words.  I showed it to 2 of the ring bearer's dad, Mr Fix It's brother, and he totally laughed and said John will love it!

So the ring bearers make their way down, and then comes my cute little flower girl.  I opted for her not tossing petals down the aisle since we are going to have the guests toss petals at us as we make our way back down together during the recessional.  So instead, she'll carry a little FG wand, something like this:

Only hers will be a little more done up hopefully and more like a round ball of flowers at the top.

So that's the processional...sort of.  Of course, the bride (me) is supposed to follow the FG down the aisle with her father.  But I won't be making my entrance just yet.  After the entire wedding party is at the altar, all except for me, I have one last 'unexpected' surprise for my guests!  It is my favorite thing about the entire wedding.  I am still trying to finalize this project and cannot wait to share it with all of you.  So stay tuned, I am hoping to share the bride's walk down the aisle and my grand entrance soon...but this is a massive DIY project that is taking much more time than I expected.

So what about you, ladies.  Have you given any thought to your processional or how your wedding party will make it's way down the aisle?  Are you doing anything out of the ordinary, silly, fun or unexpected? 

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The DRESS(es)!!! Part Deux - The Reception Dress

So in yesterday's post, I showed you my wedding gown.  I also talked about how I had fallen out of love with her a bit....until, I put her on at my first fitting and told Janet (my seamstress) about how unhappy I was with her for some reason.  I shared some pictures of Miss SaBelle with Janet and told her that something wasn't laying right throughout the gown and I didn't like it. 

I also told her that I wanted the detail of the beading and the lace to show well through the front of the dress but I didn't want to have to wear a skirt (crinoline) underneath the gown in order to 'push' everything out and make it fuller and more visible.  The dress already weighs a ton so added fabric is not an option!

Thankfully, Janet got down there on the ground and started messing with my gown and was pleasantly surprised to see that with the gathers, pickups and the way the gown was stitched together, she could easily make some alterations to please me.

We first snipped a few threads from the very front of the dress...and suddenly, she laid perfectly!  The front flowed down across and didn't look like steps up my legs!  We then cut off two of the little rosettes that were on the front of the gown - it was too busy with all those flowers.  While they looked pretty up near the gathers, they looked lame just sitting on the front of the fabric.  Anyway, with a few snips and readjusting the fabric, my dream dress came back into view.  Janet saved the day!

So once that was out of the way, I slipped into what I like to call the Greek Goddess gown!  We didn't take any photos of it in Janet's home, but I do have some images from when I first bought her in my own home:

This will be the dress I perform our first dance in as well as keep on throughout the dancing portion of the reception:

She's a light ivory with a pretty chiffon flowy part and a very high sexy slit!  She has some gold throughout the applique and so I opted for some fun little gold heels to wear with her - sorry no pics yet, but I have them!  They are super comfy and will be great to dance in and have just a little bit of bling on them.  :)

So, there you have it...she needs to be steamed obviously and I need to find a super slim body hugging type garment to wear under her since she hugs my bod along my panty line :(  But other than that, seamstress Janet said it was a super cute dress and baby sis said it was pretty. 

I had originally thought I would do a short dress number for the reception change and was looking at these two dresses:

Source:  Windsor dress shop

But I'm glad I opted for the longer I think it is still sort of bridal but fun and different.  Are any of you ladies opting for a second dress to change into?

wedding tickers