Hello world!

I’ve taken a bit of a break from blogging lately, and I apologize for the long over-due update, but I thought I should hurry up and post the story of our wedding day while the details are still fresh in my mind.

And all in all, everything went well.  The rehearsal the day before went according to plan.  The weather was lovely, everyone had a good time, and the rehearsal luncheon at Gordon Biersch turned out perfectly (and under our budget!).  I was still struggling with the last of a cold / cough that I hadn’t quite shaken from the week before, but I was mostly recovered by then.

Sunday morning arrived, and with it, a steady rain.  I knew there was a chance for it in the forecast, and had prepared by buying several big umbrellas a week before, but I really hoped I wouldn’t have to use them.  Around noon, my lighting guy, Craig, called me and said we’d likely have to move things inside.  Even if the rain stopped before 5, the ground outside would be too wet.  I told him to do what he had to do, but I really didn’t want to use the butterfly house for the ceremony if there was any way we could help it… The butterfly house is beautiful, but a bit cramped for 130+ people, too humid for my string quartet, and one of my ring bearers revealed during rehearsal the day before that he is terrified of butterflies!

My bridesmaids and make-up artist arrived at my apartment around 12:30.  We ordered a pizza to share, and Tai got to work.   We decided to give Tiffany and Sara up-dos, and to leave my hair down.  The plan had been to get the girls done up at my apartment, then move to TDG and do my hair and make-up there.  But we were moving a little slow, and decided it’d be a more efficient use of time to go ahead and do my hair and make-up at home.  I was starting to get a little anxious towards the end because it was getting late and I didn’t know what was going on at TDG.  I was texting and emailing back and forth with my vendors, and learned that my coordinator had made the decision to have the ceremony in the Grand Hall, and that they would quickly flip the room between ceremony and reception.  This was a vast relief to me, as I knew this would be a better option for my musicians and my lepidopterophobic nephew.  I knew it’d be harder on my catering crew, because they wouldn’t have as much time to set up as they’d like, but they were up to the challenge.

Tiffany, Sara, and I arrived at TDG at about 4:15, an hour later than I’d hoped, but still with enough time to get ready.  The bridesmaids were good to go – they’d dressed at my apartment, so all that needed to be done was to get me in my dress.  I had my crew scrambling when I came in, because all the favors, programs, photos and guestbook were in the trunk of my car.  My parents came to meet me in the bride’s room, I gave my car keys to my dad, and he and Courtney and her team quickly took care of getting all the stuff out of my trunk and into the ceremony space.  After that I could relax a little bit because there was still about 45 minutes until I was to make my appearance.

Shawna met us in the bride room and took a few pictures of us and of the dress on it’s hanger and then the ladies helped me finish getting dressed.

On the other side of the building, the men were just arriving.  They were a bit delayed because they didn’t take into account how long it’d take to shuttle all the alcohol from Rich’s condo to the TDG, check into the hotel, and get dressed.  But they did arrive by 5:00, so, like us, they were in time for the ceremony, but didn’t really get much time to relax before show-time.

I don’t know how long I could have stayed cooped up in the bride room, though, if I had arrived early… it didn’t quite hit me until I got there, but I finally realized that once I was there, I couldn’t leave the room.  I wanted to go out and see the ceremony space, to help direct the placement of my photos and guestbook and favors; to make sure my cake was there, and the string quartet was set up.  It was hard for me to let go of control, but fortunately my mom and photographer were there to assure me that everything was in place just like I wanted, the cake was beautiful (Shawna showed me a picture she’d taken), and the quartet was setting up.  So all was well.

A few minutes before we were due to move to the hallway, Mito the caterer showed up at the door with a glass of ice water, which I was most grateful for (somehow none of us had thought to bring water in our rush, and my throat was starting to get scratchy).

The ladies assembled in the hall, and my dad joined me to escort me down the aisle, and it finally started to hit me what I was about to do… Panic finally started settling in when I heard the music start, and Tiffany and Sara left me to walk down the aisle. I was hyperventilating a little, but Dad managed to calm me down and assure me that everything was going to be ok.  Before too long, it was my turn to go… I was so grateful to have my father at my side, with his arm to hold onto.

I don’t remember much about the walk down the aisle.  I honestly don’t know if I did the bride walk correctly, or if I shuffled my feet… but I do remember the warm, smiling faces all around me, and feeling like I was surrounded by love and support.  My fear quickly dissolved, and I knew that everything was as it should be.  And I remember seeing my groom up on the stage.  He and his groomsmen looked so handsome in their black suits and hats (which they graciously removed as soon as I entered the room).

Somehow I made it up to the stage, to stand opposite my groom.  My dad gave me a hug and slipped me my iphone, which he’d carried for me in his pocket.  I hid it behind my bouquet, and no one noticed until I passed the bouquet to my sister and read my vows off of my phone. 🙂

6 days

This time next week, I’ll be a married woman. 🙂

We weren’t as productive as I would have liked last weekend, but we did have a fun shopping trip at Spec’s on Saturday, and ordered lots of booze for the wedding.  We decided to keep the beers in the Shiner family (yay local beer!) and also got a Texas vodka.  And there will be plenty of wine and rum, as well.  The only hitch is that, while they deliver, they can’t deliver on Sunday (stupid Texas blue laws).  So they’re going to deliver to Rich’s place on Friday, and we’re going to have to figure out how to transport it from there to the venue on Sunday.

We’ve still got a few little things to do, but I think we’ll get it all done in time. 


Bridal portraits!

I met with Shawna Hinkel last night to look at bridal portraits, and they turned out great!  Ask me nicely and I may give you a direct link and password. 🙂 I’ve ordered one 16×24 canvas to display at the reception, and am trying to decide on what else I should order. 

And after seeing the photos, I am quite happy with the work Tai Tipton did on my hair and make-up.  It seemed so heavy and bold to me when I looked in the mirror, but in the photos, it looked great!  And Tiffany did a great job powdering my nose and touching up my lipstick throughout the shoot – I was so worried that I was going to look all hot and sweaty, but I don’t think you can tell.

24 days

It’s been a busy week for wedding planning!  When I wrote last, I was in a panic about possible rain on bridal portrait day.  As it turned out, I got very lucky and it was a warm but dry day.  Tai from Carpe Diem showed up at my apartment a little after 7 to do hair and make-up, and Tiffany arrived around 8. We finished up a little later than expected – mostly due to Tiff forcing me to eat something, and then taking a while to properly lace the dress (not her fault – it’s complex!).  Anyway, she managed to shove me and my dress into her car and got me to the Arboretum at 10.  An hour past when Shawna was expecting us, but not so bad, all things considered.  Shawna spent about two hours shooting, and found some beautiful backgrounds for me.  She emailed me a couple days ago to say she’s ready to show me the proofs, so I scheduled to meet with her this afternoon after work.  Hopefully we got some good shots – If there’s one I particularly like, I’d like to purchase a canvas wrap print to display at the reception.

Yesterday, Rich and I started our day with a nice long walk to the Dallas County Records building to obtain our marriage license.  It’s a big paper with a gold seal on it.  Very fancy.  🙂 Afterwards we walked to the Iron Cactus and celebrated with tacos and margaritas for lunch.

And at 5:00, my fiance’ and vendors and I all gathered at TDG to do our final walk-through.  We spent almost two hours gathered around a table, discussing details like the number of tables, where the gift table goes, what color table cloths, etc… We decided on 15 tables of 10 – that’ll give us more than enough room for the 130ish people I expect to attend.  And we’ll have a long rectangular head table on the stage.  There are so many little details that still have to be worked out, but it was really refreshing to see such a sharp, experienced group of people bouncing ideas off each other, and in such a familiar way.  It was clear that they all knew each other well and had all worked together many times before.  And as we were winding things up, someone started talking about a wedding they had at TDG last week, when there was a fierce rain storm.  They somehow managed to squeeze 180 guests into the butterfly house for a quick ceremony, while they set everything else up in the Grand Hall for the reception.   Courtney showed me a couple pictures, and it looks like it was a lovely ceremony. 🙂  So, I feel bad that that couple was somewhat inconvenienced, but at least my team now has a workable rain plan in place and know that they can do the same for me if the weather requires it.

32 days!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. 🙂 On August 4, Rich’s family in Chicago surprised me with a remote Skype shower. They had a party at Sue’s house and let us watch as they opened gifts for us. It was a little unusual, but really sweet, and we very much appreciated the gesture. 🙂

On Thursday, August 9, my coworkers threw a big shower in the conference room. There were tons of gifts, great food, and cake. I had a hard time making room in my apartment for all the wonderful presents, but I’m really going to enjoy using them all.

Saturday, August 11, my sister threw a shower for me in my apartment complex’s community room, which went surprisingly well. I did have a moment of panic on the day previous, when I realized that I had accidentally booked a different, smaller room… I was able to call the leasing office and get it straightened out, though, and everything went off without a hitch. We got tons more gifts (my apartment is really full of stuff now), my homemade sangria went over really well, and it was great seeing all the various groups of friends mingling.

I had another moment of panic this week regarding the cake. Rich and I had our tasting back in April, and I decided on the bride cake (he’s yet to finalize the groom cake plans). I emailed the baker the other day because I hadn’t received an invoice yet or paid a deposit. Turns out that there was a miscommunication – they were waiting for me to contact them before putting me on the books, and I was waiting for them to contact me… anyway, it worked out, since they still had my date available. I paid a deposit right then over the phone, so we’re back on track.

Next on the agenda is bridal portraits… and another opportunity for panic and stress. I’ve yet to meet the hair and make-up artists, but I feel confident in their work based on their website, and the owner has excellent email communication, so I’m sure they’re great… and of course I’ve worked with my photographer before, and trust her… what scares me is the weather. I’ve been updating weather.com’s extended forecast every hour for the last week and am really nervous that it’s going to rain on us in the middle of our outdoor photo shoot. We’re currently looking at 40% chance of rain for Sunday… I just don’t know what we’re going to do if it rains.

65 days!

Invites went out on Monday, and several people have already turned in their RSVP cards. Yay! I love opening those little envelopes and seeing peoples’ names.

Next task is to schedule the final walk-through at the Discovery Gardens. It’s not easy having to coordinate with the venue, planner, caterer, fiance’, and my cover at work, but everyone’s been really accomodating, so I think we’ll work something out.

I had a great email conversation with Sean this week, wherein I asked a bunch of questions about chairs and set-up and various other little details, and he gave me the firm answers that I was looking for. Basically he let me know that James Johnson will set up my ceremony chairs (which are provided by TDG). He recommends using TDG’s $2 chairs for the reception. He recommends seating 10 to a table instead of 8, as I’d originally planned; he pointed out something obvious that I’d completely overlooked – more tables = less dance floor. And of course more tables = more flowers, linens, etc., which = more money. Also, he can order any color of linens that I want, given a 10 day notice. So, we can go over all those little details when we meet up at the end of August.

So I’m feeling a little more confident about the little stuff now.

Other things on the to-do list for the next couple weeks:

  1. Sign a contract with my apartment leasing office to rent their comunity center for bridal shower (edit: check!)
  2. Get a list to Tiffany of people that I want to invite to shower (and decide if we want girls only or co-ed)
  3. Finish making a list for Shawna of family portraits that we want to have taken
  4. Decide on and book a rehearsal luncheon venue (currently under consideration: Buca di Beppo)
  5. Finish putting together favors
  6. Decide on a first dance song (hoping our choreographer can help with this next week)
  7. Choose about 30 songs and finalize the don’t play list for the DJ.
  8. Communicate with the officiant (who is currently at Comicon) about ceremony details

76 days…

We went wedding band shopping yesterday.  First stop was Robbins Brothers – the storefront near the Galleria is so huge, I figured they’d have a massive selection.  Turns out that they just have a massive building… they don’t have any more rings than any other mall shop.  Anyway, it was a good first stop.  We found a few possibilities, but nothing that knocked our socks off.

Next stop was Zale’s at the Galleria, where we found a band for me.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be getting a wedding band or not – my engagement ring is rather large, and doesn’t really need any more embellishment, but we managed to find a band that was contoured just right to fit against my center stone.  And it was on sale, and deeply discounted, and the stones were bigger than the more expensive one at Robbins Bros.  And it didn’t even need to be sized.  So I couldn’t resist. 🙂 

Rich is still on a quest for the perfect ring… he started the day wanting something titanium or tungsten carbide, but ended the day leaning more towards white gold.  He likes hammered finishes, which look more realistic when done on gold, and look like chiseled facets on the harder metals.

We found one at Bachendorf’s (alas, I can not find a link to it) that was really unique – platinum, white gold and yellow gold blended together.  But it was ten times what he was expecting to spend, and four times what I was expecting.  So we’ll keep looking.  Hopefully we’ll find something for him soon.

I also found my shoes yesterday.  I’m going with these from the Tom’s bridal collection. 🙂  I tried them on at Nordstrom, but they only had one pair, which looked a bit worn – they’d clearly been tried on quite a few times.  So I ordered them online and will have a new pair shipped to me.

Also today I initiated contact with James Johnson, who will be doing out clean-up/tear-down after the wedding.  We’ll meet with him on our final walk-through (note to self: remember to call him when I’ve scheduled the final walk-through!)

This Saturday at 3:00 is our 60 day walk-through at TDG.  I think we’ve got everything pretty well in hand at this point, so mostly we just need to take care of our next payment.  It’s always good to see the venue again, tohugh, so I don’t mind doing another walk-through!


vendor love!

Who would have thought I could weep happy tears at the sight of a vendor contract?  I received my invoice today from Dallas Light and Sound, and the total was 30% less than I’d expected!  When we met with Anthony and Craig a month or so ago, they went over all the things they’d like to do in the hall, and I had to stop them when they wanted to add in extras that were $300 over my budget.  They said that was ok – they would throw the other stuff in, since our numbers weren’t too far off.  Then we went outside, and they pointed out more stuff that they could do, that I hadn’t thought of before – a platform for us to stand on, a speaker system and mic for the officiant… more money… I said I’d have to think about it and figure out how to work it into the budget.  Anyway, when they sent me the invoice today, I saw that they just ended up throwing all that in for free!  I couldn’t believe the generosity!  I’m just overwhelmed.  And a very happy customer.  I thought these guys were just going to do a few uplights for us and that’d be it – but they’re doing so much more. They’re practically secondary wedding coordinators, even – they’ve offered advice and ideas about things that have nothing to do with lighting.  Anyway, I just couldn’t be happier with this service, and will post positive reviews for their company everywhere I can.  Much love for Anthony and Craig! ❤

90 days!

Just three short months to go!  This week I’ve scheduled my 60 day walk-through at TDG for July 7 at 3:00 (any family members who are curious to see the venue are welcome to join).  I’ve also signed a contract and paid a deposit for Carpe Diem Bride to do my hair and make-up.  I’ve received my invitations, and will pass out a few to family tomorrow.  The rest will have to wait until I get the return address stamp that I ordered from Etsy last week (I’m not gonna do all that by hand!).  I’ve ordered and received love stamps from the post office (they have orange calla lilies on them!).  I’ve purchased a bridal headband from a seller on ebay and am awaiting shipment on that.  I’ve contacted my DJ and requested some song selection advice, and he responded with a wonderful sample list that’s very much to my tastes (everything from “Volare,” to “Hey Ya!” to “Jump, Jive, and Wail!”).  I trust he’ll help make our wedding into a really fun event.

That’s about it for now.  Rich and I are taking a break today and doing something really fun – we’re attending Beerfeast 2012 at The Flying Saucer.  I know, it’s totally unbride-like to drink lots of beer, and it’ll totally ruin my diet, but I think I’ve earned something fun.:)  Tomorrow we’ll be visiting with family and celebrating Fathers’ Day.  I’m looking forward to a really relaxing weekend!

Monday, it’s back to wedding stuff… Tiffany and I are headed to Alfred Angelo at 6:00pm for my dress fitting.