97 Days to Go!

Yesterday, I was honored to be a guest at a friend’s wedding in Dallas… this was the first wedding I’ve attended since becoming engaged, by one of my peers, in my city, and scheduled at the same time of day and day of week as my ceremony… so you can bet I was taking mental notes all evening. 🙂

The ceremony was scheduled for 5:00, and actually got started at around 5:10. There were six bridesmaids, all in tea-length, strapless black dresses, and six groomsmen in black tuxes with black ties (the groom had a grey tie). There were two flower girls and two ring-bearers. The bride wore white, with lots of rhinestone accents. The ceremony was lovely – it was in a church, and was religious, but was inclusive and sweet. There was something about a baseball that I didn’t quite understand (too many sports references for me!), but I appreciated the symbolism of the two pieces of leather stitched together with one string. There was also a touch of humor with the unity candle ceremony. The bride and groom stood with their individual candles for several minutes, attempting to light the unity candle, but it just wouldn’t take the flame. The minister stepped in to try to help, to no avail. Eventually the bride gave up and grabbed a nearby tealight and perched it on top of the candle as a makeshift solution. It was clever and funny, and the audience responded with appropriate laughter.

After the ceremony, we all headed to the Room on Main Street for the reception, which happens to be a 10 minute walk from my apartment. So instead of trying to find paid parking in the area, we just drove home and walked to the venue. Rich and I arrived a little later than the rest of our little group (there were 9 of us who knew each other from work), and found that our group had snagged a table and left a couple seats open for us. There were no escort cards, place cards, or table numbers in sight. Just 26 or 27 ten-person tables, one (that I saw) with a reserved sign, and a sweetheart table for the happy couple. There were two (open) bars at either side of the room, a photo booth tucked in the far corner near one of the bars, two small tables to the right of the entrance with bride and groom cakes, a table to the left for gifts, a buffet table on either side, and a DJ booth opposite the entrance, near the sweetheart table. The tables were round, with white tablecloths, a black runner, and black napkins. The centerpiece was a simple vase of white hydrangeas on a mirror base, surrounded by four candles.

At around 7:00, the wedding party entered the hall and took their seats, followed by a mariachi band! The mariachis serenaded the couple once they were seated, and the couple was served dinner and ate during the performance. After they were taken care of, tables were sent one by one to the buffet table to fill their plates. Food was standard wedding fare; beef, chicken, mixed veg, mashed potatoes, spinach salad, and bread – fairly similar to what we’ll be offering. The mariachi band continuted to play throughout dinner, and at around 8:00, was replaced with a DJ, who played dance music for the rest of the evening. At around 9:00, the MOH and BM gave toasts, and around 9:15, the cake was cut (the cake was a gorgeous 4-tiered work of art by The Cake Guys, patterned to match the bride’s dress, and was a delicious white cake).

We ate cake, drank a bit more, and took advantage of the photo booth. At some point around 8:00 or so, a caricature artist arrived and set up an easel near one of the bars. The line was too long for us to take advantage, but it seemed like a fun idea for those willing to wait.

We danced and drank, and had a fun time with my friends, and departed a little after 10:00. I saw a few others starting to make their way to the door at around that time, and I would guess that the party probably wrapped up before 11:00.

One other thing I should mention – the bride was assisted by Courtney from Bride Associates, who is also my coordinator! It was really great seeing her in action – very organized and in control, but also very unobtrusive and behind-the-scenes. I took a moment to say hello and congratulate her on her own recent engagement, but she understandably didn’t have a lot of time to chat. 🙂

Ideas I’m going to steal… I wasn’t quite sure at first, but the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of unassigned seating. People tend to gravitate towards the guests that they know, and they end up sitting where you probably would have assigned them, anyway.  And I can see how it’d relieve a little pressure from the bride & groom, too… they don’t have to worry as much about tracking every name, assigning every seat and worrying about no-shows, and (even worse) trying to find spots for extras who didn’t RSVP. To accomodate everyone in this fashion, it’s probably wise to have at least one extra table, since some groups might not fill a complete table. But I think, even with an extra table, I’d save money this way, since I wouldn’t be investing in table numbers and escort/place cards.

I liked the idea of the couple being announced as they entered, and immediately going to the dance floor for their first song.  They’re up anyway, and everyone’s attention is focused on them at that moment, so why not?  I also liked that the couple was fed as soon as they sat down.  This gave them time to enjoy a quick bite, then get up and mingle while others were getting their food.

I liked the aisle runner she used for the ceremony, and really think I should invest in something similar.  I guess hers was to protect the carpet from crushed rose petals – mine would be to protect my dress from grass stains.

What I’m going to skip… The DJ wasn’t really to my tastes.  He was very talented at scratching and such, but I didn’t like how he mixed songs together – there’d be a few phrases of one song, then it’d jump to another, and another, with no breaks in between.  And everything was current popular dance music, without any ballads to slow things down.  So the older people in the group had nothing to dance to.  I’d rather do a mix of fast and slow so there’s a little something for everybody.  And there were few announcements… at one point he told everyone to be quiet so that the bridal party could do toasts, but that was pretty much it.  No announcement (that I heard) that cake was being cut or served.

The second bar ended up being largely unnecessary.  Most people gravitated towards the one in the front, and I really think it would have been enough to accomodate everyone.  And since she had more guests than I’ll have, I think I’ll do fine with just one.  Also, my drink of choice (vodka cranberry) seemed to be many people’s drink of choice for the evening, so I’ll have to remember to stock up on vodka!

The photo booth was fun, but I don’t know how many people took advantage of it.  And the booth shot out duplicates of the pictures – usually, the bride and group would keep one copy as a memento, and the guest would keep the other, but we were given both copies.  So it was a cute favor for us, but nothing that the couple will ever see, and that seemed like a shame.

Overall, though, it was a really fun experience, and Rich and I had a great time celebrating with the lucky couple!

EDIT: I didn’t really think about it until days later, when I saw pictures popping up on Facebook… we completely missed the bouquet and garter toss!  It must have happened well after 10 – I’m sorry I missed it, but it was just too late for us to stay on a work night.

100 Days to Go!

We’re almost in the double digits now!  I don’t have too much more to update, but I have scheduled bridal portraits with Shawna for 8-19, four weeks prior to the wedding.  That should give me plenty of time to get the dress properly fitted and finalize jewelry and hair accessories.  And hopefully will give my mom enough time to recover from her knee surgery, so she can be there with me, along with my sister. 🙂

102 days…

I have the dress!  Sort of.  Actually, Tiffany (my sister) has the dress… she’s kind enough to keep it for me since I have no room to hide or store it.  She and my niece and I all picked up our dresses on Saturday.  Sara’s needs a minor alteration to the halter strap that my mom has agreed to take care of, Tiffany’s is just fine as is, and I’m scheduled to meet with a seamstress on 6-18 to take in my waistline a little. Hopefully the alterations won’t take long, since I need to schedule bridal portraits with Shawna soon.

Wedding invitations have shipped from the printer, so I should have those in my hands in the next few days.  Postage (love stamps) still needs to be purchased… I’m going to try to hand-deliver as many as possible, though, to cut costs.

Rich and I are starting to discuss rehearsal dinner (lunch) plans.  Our refearsal is going to be noon on the Saturday before the wedding, so we’ll have a late lunch after.  We’re currently discussing Sambuca Uptown as a possible venue.

I’ve started a new DIY project – Ribbon wands!  I was able to find the parts wholesale, so they’re not costing too much to put together.  I’m hoping to get people to wave these (instead of rice/confetti/bubbles)when we leave the reception.

I’m also still working on decorating fans for the ceremony, and have a birdcage for cards and ringbearer books that need to be embellished.  These should be fun little projects to tackle.

Rich and his groomsmen are getting together this Saturday to get fitted for tuxes or suits.

So, we’re getting there.  Not too much longer to go 🙂

Invitations ordered!

I heard back this afternoon from Kristin, the florist, and she’s ok with the change in time, so I think everything’s in place. I went ahead and pulled the trigger on the invitation order, so no more changes! It’s official – the wedding will be at 5:30 pm. 🙂 It felt good to finally place the order – I’ve been looking at this invite for months, and have just kept putting it off.

110 Days to go…

Panic’s starting to set in. Well, who am I kidding? I’ve been panicing for weeks. So many little details to coordinate. I’ve recently realized that I need to firm up the ceremony start time so I can get the timeline in place and order invites with the right time printed on them. Back when we originally reserved the venue, we were thinking we wanted the wedding to start at 5, so we reserved the space from 4:00 to 11:00. The next vendor we met with was the caterer, who told us that that wouldn’t work – they’d need 2 full hours to prepare, so we couldn’t start the ceremony until 6. We were ok with that, but concerned that starting later meant a shorter party, and we’d lose people too early in the reception. At some point some other vendor told us that we should just move it up to 5:30, so I started telling people 5:30… Anyway, it was a whole big mess, because some people were given a 5:30 start time and some 6:00. So my big task of the weekend involved emailing all the vendors and making sure everyone was ok with a 5:30 start. Caterer said that was fine, but we’d need to reserve the venue from 3:30 for it to work. String quartet and coordinator said no problem. Florist has yet to get back to me. TDG agreed to extend our reservation for an additional charge (yay, more unexpected expenses) so we can accomodate the caterer. Anyway, I think it’ll all work out, and I’m planning on ordering the invites today – Wedding Paper Divas has a 25% off deal that ends today, and I’d like to take advantage. Am hoping to hear back from the florist today, but I don’t think she’s going to have problem with the change.

Other stuff to do:
Dress fitting is this Saturday – I’m a little nervous about that! Hope everything goes well. I didn’t lose as much weight as I’d hoped, but I should be proud of the 8 pounds I managed to drop and keep off the last few months. Maybe I can lose 2 more this week.

I need to finish up my wedding favors, but I think I can knock those out in a few hours.

Rich and I need to figure out our first dance song and learn how to dance to it. We’ve set up dance lessons in July with Elaine from Vow to Dance (she’s the one who taught us to salsa and swing), and she’s promised to help us with song selection as well as choreography.

Need to figure out the rest of the songs for the reception… hopefully the DJ will do most of this, but we want to have some input.

Need to write our vows and come up with some inspiration for the officiant, so he can start writing his bit.

Rich needs to figure out his groom cake design.

Other little details like escort cards and table numbers, where we can either be boring and basic, or show our creativity.

Lighting vendor acquired!

Rich and I had a really productive meeting yesterday with Tony and Craig from Dallas Light & Sound. These guys have done tons of weddings at TDG and know everything there is to know about the space. So not only did they sell us a great lighting package, they made quite a few excellent suggestions on how to best utilize our space. For example, they recommended for the ceremony that instead of walking the full length of the allee, all the way to the fountain, that we stop about 2/3 of the way down. This both shortens the walk for me, and reduces the sound interference from the fountain. They also suggested renting an elevated platform on which to stand for our vows. This will give the guests a better view of the proceedings, and minimize grass damage to my skirt. And they can provide us with a mic and outdoor speakers so everyone can hear what’s going on.

They were also very helpful with picking out linen colors, since they know how different colors show up in their light. We’ve decided on ivory tablecloths with blue napkins. And the flowers will be a beautiful orange contrast. I feel much more confident after meeting with them, and can’t wait to see what they put together for us!

Updates for this week

I got a call last week that my dress has arrived at Alfred Angelo! And yesterday, got the call that Sara’s has arrived as well. Tiffany’s arrived the day before mine. Since Sara’s in finals week, we’re going to hold off on the fittings for a couple weeks and do it all together on June 2. Maybe that’ll give me a chance to lose just a few more pounds, too. 🙂

Also, we’re meeting with another vendor this weekend – Dallas Light and Sound, who is the preferred lighting vendor for Texas Discovery Gardens. We’re going to discuss uplights, gobo (lighted monogram on the wall), and a spotlight for the cake.

Officiant confirmed!

Wedding Countdown Ticker

Rich’s and my friend, Chris Powell, has confirmed that he will be our official officiant for the ceremony. 🙂 Chris is very good friends with Rich’s Best Man, Ben Hall, and his wife Marlena, and we met him through them. Until very recently, CP was the general manager for Lone Star Comics in Arlington. Just a few months ago, he was hired as the executive director of Diamond Comic Distributers in Maryland, but he has graciously agreed to fly back down to Dallas for us, and for another couple who have a wedding the following weekend. What could be more perfect for us than a comic book geek who performs weddings in his spare time?

Cake!

On Saturday, Rich and I met with Melissa, sales manager at Frosted Art Bakery. I gave her a couple ideas, and she was able to quickly translate them into a pencil sketch which perfectly captured my vision. I am so excited to see what they can do, and I have full confidence that it will be amazing. Then we talked about a groom’s cake for Rich, and came up with some crazy awesome ideas for that, incorporating his various hobbies and interests. I think the guests will be really impressed! The flavors for my 4 tier cake (unless I change my mind) will be pumpkin spice latte, mojito, vice (bourbon, espresso, caramel and chocolate), and orange. His will be chocolate / peanut butter, I think.