Thursday, December 31, 2009

Practice Makes Perfect...

Where were we? Oh yeah, the hall was decorated as much as we could get it done, my mom and step-dad had gone to pick up plates and little J, B had left to get ready and then meet his brother to pick up the rental chairs that I had to have, and I was off to the hotel to get cleaned up and try to relax for a few minutes before the rehearsal started.

The girls and I were good about staying on time and got back to the venue about 5-10 minutes before rehearsal was set to start. Already there were people there waiting on us, and B and his brother were hard at work putting the chairs into rows and sections like I wanted. I tried to get people to help them out, but they had a good system going, so I let them work their magic. In the end, this is what I saw...
Once the chair rows were established, we went ahead and put up the shepherd’s hooks (minus the flower balls) so that all we had to do to the ceremony site the next day was to hang the small pomanders on the hooks, line the aisle with rose petals and hang the large pomanders under the pavilion. It was beautiful, and exactly what I had pictured in my head! I was SO excited.

We had some introductions to make as neither set of parents had met the other one and introductions went all around. Our minister and good friend was already there and he and I spoke for a few minutes before getting the show on the road. Rehearsal was short and sweet. We placed everyone up under the pavilion and then we worked out the logistics of who would walk in and from where and when. D (our minister) didn’t read through the whole thing since he wanted to keep some surprises for the big day, but he skimmed through it to get to the end so that we could practice our exits. He didn’t let us practice kissing. Boo...

After going through it the first time, everyone said that they would like to run through it again real quick, so we did. After the second time, everyone felt comfortable and was ready to go eat. We stayed behind for a few minutes with our minister and our best man to practice the handfasting...since there were cords and wrapping and all, BM really wanted to practice that part in more detail, but B and I didn’t want everyone seeing it all ahead of time. In order to do this in semi-privacy, I “released” everyone from the rehearsal and told them to make their way down to Johnny Carino’s. I made sure and passed out the new maps since I had this snafu with the Rehearsal Dinner venue changing places on me at the last minute, and we practiced in quiet for a minute.

When we left the venue, there were still people milling about, so we herded everyone into their cars and go on the road. I was starving by this time since I really hadn’t eaten much of a lunch since I was running around like crazy trying to decorate and I couldn’t wait for some good food! I hopped into B's truck and away we went...

I think that the rehearsal was a success. I've tried to think of tips to give other brides out there, but I don't know that I have any. I didn't have it all mapped out on paper with a clipboard to keep everyone in line and moving along...I didn't have to continue to gather people up so that I knew that they would know what to do the next day...I don't have any horror stories that you sometimes hear about rehearsals. Sorry.

I guess that the best advice that I can give you would be to have great friends like we did! Our friends and family were there for US...doing whatever needed to be done to make sure that our special day was perfect, making suggestions to improve the process along the way. I can't be more appreciative of them if I tried. They all worked so hard on our wedding...and they were perfect angels during the rehearsal. They went where we said, made adjustments when needed, and probably because they could tell that I wanted them to do it again, they ran through it all a second time for me (without complaints) when they probably didn't need to do it again at all! So that's my adivce: pick great friends to be in your wedding party!

Need to catch up? See how I got here...

Girls’ Spa Day
Bachelorette/Bachelor Party
Setting up the Venue

Monday, December 28, 2009

Setting up the Venue...

I woke up a little earlier than I had intended to on Friday morning. I was anxious to make sure that everything would get done in the four hour window that we had to work with at the venue and I was kinda hungry. Not wanting to wake up and rush MOH or Maid Britney, I tried to sneak off to the breakfast room at our hotel quietly. I didn’t manage to do it, but it’s the thought that counts, right? I left them to get ready and I headed off for the lobby, following my nose...

I found not only a waffle machine with make-your-own waffle batter, but I found my Mom and our BM all enjoying breakfast, coffee or a newspaper – take your pick. We all fixed our plates, started chattering away and settled down to eat. I was kind of worried about eating, not really sure why, but I was. Turns out that I didn’t have a thing to worry about, I polished off my plate with ease...

Once we were done eating, my Mom and I headed to the room to find the other girls and get to work. We had scheduled to be at the venue at noon for set-up and we needed to make sure that the flowers got arranged, the rose petals got packed into their packets and lots of other little tasks needed to be done before noon rolled around.

For all the madness that I thought that it might be, things really went smoothly. Maid Britney and my Mom got down to business mixing the rose petals and stuffing the petal bags...they set up an assembly line and got the process done really fast. While they did that, MOH and I started working on the artificial flowers and Mason jar arrangements. I had some fresh flowers to mix in with the artificial ones, and each table needed three Mason jars of various sizes put all together. Luckily, I had worked ahead of time and prepped the Mason jars by putting floral foam and moss all in there ahead of time.

At least I thought I was being smart. It turned out that we had to take some of my prep work apart and start over, but I couldn’t have known that before we got down to business anyway, right? So I didn’t let it bother me. We worked and worked, snipping off buds and leaves and stems...placing the flowers in the jars and working up combinations so that each one was kind of unique all on it’s own. At some point, my stepdad came in to be the muscles of this operation and we put him to work cutting the long stems off of the artificial stems. He thought he was getting an easy job, but truthfully some of those were pretty hard to snip! We were happy to have the helping hand, and it made our work get done that much faster.

Before I knew it, the petal bags were all done, and Mom and Maid Britney started helping us with the remaining flowers. Then, almost as soon as we started, we were done. I looked up in a panic at the clock to see how late we were running...imagine my surprise when the clock showed only 10 o’clock! Yes! We were AHEAD of schedule...and ready to go. We loaded up the boxes and supplies that we would need to take with us from the hotel to the venue and started getting ready to go. Before we left, Maid Britney gave me her lingerie shower gift (which had gotten packed in her suitcase since when she packed the girls hadn’t decided on the final schedule for the day yet) and we had a few minutes for me to “model” my new wares...
Once the cheese-fest was over, we loaded up the cars and caravanned over to my house. Once there, we made short work of the remaining items that needed to be loaded and taken to the venue and got the boys up and about and moving along with their list of things to do as well.

When we got to the venue, MOH, Maid Britney and I all grabbed some boxes and walked into the hall. It was as I remembered it - totally rustic and gorgeous! I got a little shiver of excitement going down my spine in anticipation of the upcoming days ahead. The girls were a little dismayed to find that we had to set up all tables and chairs...the venue was literally a blank slate...but once we got the truck and car unloaded and got down to work, we had all the tables pulled out, set up and started to place in their right positions by the time that the first of the guys showed up. B’s dad came to bring me some smaller folding tables that they had for the cake table, gift table, etc. and my Mom and stepdad arrived with their carload as well.

Before I knew it, we were spreading tablecloths, placing chairs, setting up centerpieces...and really decorating. It was all coming together and it looked so good. We had LOTS of helping hands, for which I am grateful, and when the guys got there with their crew about an hour and a half later, we had even more hands. I was really kind of worried about handling all of this on our own (no DOC or wedding coordinator fit into our budget) but it really went smoothly. It just goes to show what having a great group of friends and family wanting to help make your special day go smoothly can do for you.

Now, I won’t lie. It was VERY difficult for me to be the only person that really knew what was going on. Bless his heart, B tried to help direct people, but he really didn’t know exactly how I pictured things in my head and was pretty much just tackling the tasks that had been “assigned” to him. So every single person that was there to help us set up needed direction on what to do, where to put things, how things were supposed to look...and they all needed it from me. At times it was overwhelming. I got a bit frazzled the closer to 4 o’clock we got as I was trying to finish up everything, with someone calling out my name, needing my attention every two minutes. I really, really, really wanted it all done that day so that no one had much to do the next morning. Especially since I would be tied up and not available to direct!

I also didn’t feel good. Like I mentioned before, Aunt Flo was there with me in full force and I was popping Midol left and right. I don’t always have bad cramps, but don’t you know, this month was one of the months that I was going to be in pain...and I was. Which probably didn’t help my short fuse. I tried REALLY hard not to be all Bridezilla and not to bite anyone’s head off, but I’m sure that I was still short a time or two. Or forty. J I meant to do better, that’s what counts, right?

All in all, I had several creative people there with me helping that could take a little bit of direction and run with it. When they were done, I was consulted, made my suggestions for improvement, and they went back to the end, having those hard workers there by my side putting it all together along with me made it all happen. When we left, the hall looked SO nice...and the ceremony site was almost done too...and all the extra stuff had been stored away out of sight...and all the trash and mess that we made had been picked up. It was truly amazing to see.

Oh you want to see what we saw? Allright, twist my arm...
An overall view...the guest tables
Our head tables...
Some close ups of our centerpieces...
The Cake Table
The Bar Area
The Sign In Table...Along with Kid's Activity Books
The Seating Chart Area
Not to mention that we did it all and only stayed over our limit by about twenty minutes. Not bad, if you ask me! Once we left the venue, we all went in twenty different Mom and stepdad went to pick up J from school and then to get the plates that we rented. B’s parents went to pick up T from his school. They were each responsible for getting the child that they were in charge of cleaned up and ready for rehearsal on time. The girls and I left to go back to the hotel to get ready and the boys had left to do the same at our house a little earlier. And B left to meet his brother at the other rental place where we rented the ceremony chairs to pick them up and get them back to the venue.

We had rehearsal scheduled to start at 6pm...and about an hour and a half to get cleaned up and ready before it started.

Need to catch up? See how I got here...

Girls’ Spa Day
Bachelorette/Bachelor Party

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bachelorette/Bachelor Party

Oh goodness, has it been a week already? Is Christmas REALLY on Friday? Not only have I not finished my shopping, there are no ornaments on my tree and no presents underneath...I need to kick it into high gear, huh? J

Let’s see...where did we leave off? Oh yeah, the girls had spent the most fabulous day at the spa getting slightly buzzed and relaxed before the big day. Now it was time to meet up with the guys and rest of the bridal party (and their spouses) and get the party started! Not really, it was really a low-key event. Neither one of us wanted to go out without the other one, and having a combined event really tamed the whole thing down quite a bit! We knew that we wanted to end up at this little jazz bar on 6th street in downtown Austin, but other than that, we had made no specific plans.

After the girls were done at the spa, I called B to see what the plan was. Like the good planner that he is, he had made an “executive decision” to eat dinner before going out at Mamacita’s in San Marcos, since that’s where the gals were located for the spa. Since we had about half an hour before we were supposed to be there, do you think we went there right away and waited? NO! Of course not! We did what any normal, gal would do the day before her wedding – we hit the Outlet Mall! LOL. I needed to pick up some make-up for the next day, and MOH’s sister had highly recommended going to the Bare Minerals outlet store and letting them “do” my face for a trial. And what better night for a trial than my bachelorette party night? None that I can think of!

Unfortunately, the girls at the store were a little slow and instead of being early or just on time for dinner that night we were about 30 minutes late. But our guys love us lots and forgave us quickly. We met up with the guys, their wives and the husbands of the girls that we’d been with all day long and settled in for some drinks and laughs. With such a big party, it’s hard to talk with everyone, but we managed just fine! And the food was YUMMY!

After finishing dinner, we headed off to the hotel to change/shower and get ready really quick before our limo got there. Oh! Did I forget to mention that our BM insisted on taking us downtown in style? Yep, he was great! I hurried through a quick shower and freshening of my make-up…trying to practice as much as I could before doing it for real the next day...and hurried out to the lobby of the hotel to wait for everyone else. The limo was going by B’s house first to pick up those that had stayed there, and then came to the hotel to grab the rest of us.

Imagine my surprise when while waiting in the lobby in stroll my Mom and Step-Dad! I was SO excited to see them and talk to them for a few minutes...and it turned out to be really lucky that I did, because my Mom was the one that had to remind me that the flower petals were supposed to have been delivered that afternoon. Yeah, I needed to know that because they needed to be refrigerated! Silly me. Luckily they were right there behind the desk and we were able to get them all stuffed into the small fridges between my Mom’s room and the room that MOH, Maid Britney and I were sharing. It was a tight fit, and I’m not doing to deny that I might have picked up an open package and thrown rose petals all over my Mom’s room in my rush...but in the end, they got stowed away and we got on our way.

Now, I’ll be totally honest here and admit that this was my VERY first limo ride. Ever. I never rode in one my previous wedding, or for any prom or social event that I had been to in high school or college. Amazing, I know. So needless to say, I was really excited and pushed all the buttons and controls that I could, and even talked to the driver on the phone (he was a friend of ours!). Here’s some pictures of B and I hamming it up for the camera... We got to 6th street safe and sound, and found our way to B.D. Riley’s fairly easily. We snagged a larger table towards the front and settled in for the live music. I have to admit that I have heard better bands there. The group singing that night was not the best. Really, they weren’t all that good at all, but that didn’t stop us from having a great time. Not that you want to see a picture of my butt, but you can see how cool the bar is in the background...We had agreed earlier on that MOH would follow the limo in her truck so that the girls (MOH, Maid Britney and I) could leave when we were ready since we needed to be sure and get an early start the next morning. I really hadn’t thought that we would stay out past eleven or so since we’d had such a busy day, so imagine my surprise when I looked up and it was 12:30 already! We quickly decided to leave and headed towards the hotel. We settled to sleep fairly quickly...or at least the other girls did. I wasn’t really feeling well, and got up to go to the bathroom.

And wouldn’t you know what I found? I hope that I’m not sharing too much here, but I said that I would recount the events from my perspective so here you go...Aunt Flo finally decided to make her appearance. Two. Nights. Before. My. Wedding. I was NOT a happy camper, but in hindsight, I couldn’t have picked a better time to start and be able to remember the exact date...which I would need a short month later for my pregnancy test! Too funny.

Trust me, I wasn’t laughing at the time...but now looking back, I can laugh it off. It happens. It’s not what I had envisioned, or planned on, but it’s life. Oh well. I took care of things, popped a Tylenol PM for the cramps that were starting and feel into an exhausted stupor onto my bed. I mean, I did need to get an early start the next day...

Need to catch up? See how I got here...

Girls’ Spa Day

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What To Do with Wedding "Junk"?

What do you do with all of your wedding junk? I kind of cringe when I typed junk, because I worked SO hard on it all to label it junk...but when it's been sitting in your living room for several months just gathering dust, right?

But I found myself coming up with a new use for my tissue paper pomanders. I won't take credit for it, actually...this was B's least I'm honest. I had originally thought that I would find a local buyer for my tissue paper pomanders since it's not as if they can be easily shipped. But after sitting so long in our living room, they were looking a little worse for the wear down on the bottom. A little squished, you could say.

So I decided to toss them out. B was appalled that I was so willing to let something that I had spent countless hours (he says that he counted the hours I spent making them and came up with 800) working on for our wedding. But really, what am I going to do with them?

As we removed the inner support wire brackets and compressed them down a little to put into the outside trash...a miracle happened. B came up with a brilliant idea to get one last use of out of these bad boys before throwing them away.

Do you want to see?

Ok, twist my's our newest Christmas outdoor decorations:

And here's a close-up...

Yep, we turned out tissue paper pomanders into hanging snowmen on our front porch! They're cute...even if we can only use them this one year! Just goes to show how creative some grooms can be!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Girls’ Spa Day!

Goodness! It’s been a while, huh? Yeah, sorry about that. I read about other brides who go through the same hopefully you all don’t hate me too much! I thought that the best way to start off the recaps is to begin with the party! No, not the reception, but our bachelor and bachelorette parties...

We knew all along that we didn’t want bridal showers and couple showers and things (since this wasn’t our first!) but what we did want was our respective “bachelor” parties. And we had in mind the perfect thing – a day spent separately with our girls and guys and then coming together for dinner and drinks. Our thinking behind this was two-fold. For one thing, ALL of our bridal party lived out of town from where we lived, so that meant that we would need to do the festivities right before the wedding or they would have to make two trips. And since two of the Boys were from out of state, it was quickly decided upon that it would be held the Thursday before the wedding.

The second thing that we liked was that this plan gave each of us time alone with our peeps, and then coming together at the end of the evening. Every single person (with the exception of one) in our bridal party was already married, so we definitely didn’t want to exclude spouses from this day/night. It was important to us that everyone was made welcome and invited in on the celebration and doing things this way was a lot of fun! I would highly recommend it!

While the boys were off playing golf (B’s choice in activities during the day) the girls were off doing this...

*All pictures courtesy of Maid Britney*

L to R: Maid Britney, Me, Anna, and MOH

Yep, we had a Spa Day!!! It was SO much fun. The girls really worked hard pulling this all together and making it a great day for me, and I am so thankful to have such great friends. Here’s how it went down...
I knew what we were doing (sort of) but didn’t know where we were going or for how long or what exactly we’d be doing once we got there. And these girls pulled out all the stops! Even if we did think that MOH got us lost on the way out there – the spa was out in a rural area where nothing else was...but it was totally private and secluded, which was exactly what MOH was looking for when she booked this place.
Our two ladies - Angie and Donnie

It was called Sink Creek Day Spa, and if you’re located in or around the San Marcos area, I would HIGHLY recommend this place. When you book your “event” you are booking the whole place. There are no other customers there, and the women who work there are devoted solely to was being someone really important! The women (Angie and Donnie) greeted us with smiles and hugs and made us feel welcome while the girls unloaded MOH’s truck and told me to take a seat and not do anything. They set up the spread on the back porch in the shade and man oh man, did we have some yummy food! We munched on lunch, had some vino, and just relaxed for about an hour.

Then the presents came out...they TOTALLY surprised me with a lingerie shower. I was literally shocked...but that didn’t make me pause for too long! Haha. Here’s some of the goodies that I got:

You can ignore the crazy faces that I was making, believe me there are more! I was a little worried to open the box from Frederick's of Hollywood...

After the fun was over with – since all good things must come to an end - Angie and Donnie came out and gave us our instructions. We were to change into our swim suits and hop on into the sauna to get our pores nice and open and to start the relaxation process that would lead up to our massages. Here I am being a dork, which is normal! Me and Anna

Me and Maid Britney

Me and MOH

I could only stand the sauna for about 30 minutes. Our friend, Anna (the only unmarried one with us – who got married two weeks after we did!) and I were the only ones brave enough to do the cold outdoor shower that the women suggested for us before hopping into the hot tub. It was all warmed up and ready to go for us. Once we all settled in, MOH served us more drinks and then Angie gave each of us a glass of champagne with our choice of either cranberry or orange juice...SO yummy! She told us that the champagne would just do the last little bit of relaxation that we needed before the massage, but I think that she were having just as much fun as we were! After that, they took us back two at a time for our hour-long massage. MOH and I went in together and laid down on the beds. We were in the same room and could have easily talked...but we were way too relaxed to do much else. Since I was the lucky bride-to-be, I also got a facial with my massage and Donnie was SO wonderful. She relaxed me so much that I actually fell asleep! Can you believe that? And this coming from the girl who hasn’t gotten a massage in over ten years because I’m so ticklish! But she did a fabulous job of working out my kinks without tickling me at all...I really can’t recommend them highly enough.

MOH and I went back outside and let Maid Britney and Anna take their turns on the table. I was worried that passing an hour while waiting for them would drag by, but another glass of vino and a comfy spot on the back porch made for a quick cat nap. In no time, it was time to get dressed and meet up with the boys for dinner!

We had the BEST time at Sink Creek Day Spa...loved it, loved it, loved it. Here’s one last picture of us with the ladies of the spa before we left...we were all sad to go no matter how happy we look there!The sun was right in our eyes and we could NOT take a great picture that showed us all...oh well, it was fun trying anyway!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Some Big News...

So, I’ve been kind of quiet this past week or two. Have you noticed? I don’t mean to neglect you all, but there has been a LOT going on...and I was waiting for my pictures to get here because I’d kind of run out of things to say.

Well, if you know me, you know that’s not true! I always have something to say...but in this case, I think that a picture will say it better: What’s that? A pee stick? With a positive sign on it? Yep! We’re pregnant!!! We couldn’t be happier, and I’m feeling really good so far, even though it’s early still. I’ve known for about two weeks now, and even though I’ve really wanted to keep this one under wraps a little longer, it seems like everyone knows – which means that I can FINALLY share it with you!

To answer some questions that you might be thinking:
#1 – Yes, we were trying.
#2 – Yes, so soon after the wedding! B actually tried to talk me into trying BEFORE the wedding, but I put my foot down on that one. So instead, he went around telling all of our friends and family that he was going to get me pregnant on the honeymoon...turns out he did!
#3 – I’m officially 6 weeks along, so even if I would have rather waited to share until closer to that 12 week mark when you’re past the more dangerous zone of pregnancy, it just wasn’t in the cards for us to keep this one quiet.

We. Are. Thrilled. There’s just no other way to say it. Over the moon with joy might also work, but it’s a close second.

So, with that being said, let me introduce you to my new blog, A Mother...Again. I’ll be writing all baby-related posts on my new blog, so stop on by and check it out. I’ll follow the same format there as I did being a bride here – the changes that I’m going through, my thoughts and fears, decorating the nursery, and all the other stuff that goes along with a lovely little package of love. And yes, I’ll be doing the belly shots as I progress...just in case you’re wondering!

I’ll still check in here for a little while, I mean, I DO still have official recaps to do, and there are SO many things from the days before the wedding that I haven’t shared with you all yet, so I hope that you’re up to following along with two blogs by me...I’d love to have you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

They're HERE!!! They're HERE!!!

Yep, you read that right...out professional pictures arrived on my doorstep just yesterday. I'm telling you all about it before I even open up the package! I've viewed them all online, and just fell in love...

Christina of Christina Carroll Photography did SUCH a great job capturing our day...I'm so pleased with the pictures. And I'm REALLY excited because she posted her favorites of the day on her blog today and I'm able to share them with you here. So get ready!

I'll save comments until I do the official recaps, so these will just be pictures...

Here we go!

And to all...a good night! haha. I'll try to get through the discs as quickly as I can so that I can start some recaps for you all...but I hope that you enjoyed the "sneak peek" for now!