Tuesday, March 31, 2009

4. Money dance

Have any of you heard of a money dance? It's a wedding tradition popular in Louisiana and in some cultures. Basically, the bride and groom go up on the dance floor, and men line up to dance with the bride while women line up to dance with the groom. Each person gets a few moments with the bride or groom and gives him or her some money, to wish the couple well and start off their marriage.

It's a nice way to get to spend some time with people during the reception, and I have been to weddings in Louisiana where they did this dance, but I'm really torn about it. My family hasn't ever heard of it, and I'm guessing they aren't the only ones. I don't want anyone to think we're being greedy by having a money dance, and I don't want anyone else to feel like we're bucking tradition by not having one.

Have you ever been to a wedding that had a money dance? What are your thoughts? I'd love some input on this one!

Monday, March 30, 2009

5. Winding down

I know we're getting close to the end, because my to-do list items are getting smaller and smaller. Huge items like "book the honeymoon" are gone, and replaced with littler things like "print out directions for the honeymoon."

In fact, we don't have any big things left except to meet with the DJ later this week to finalize the music. My list for today was "print directions to honeymoon place, buy mascara, and print pictures for parent gifts" and I'm almost done.

I intentionally left the first half of this week open so I wouldn't have much to do, and I could feel free to get all the little things done. I've even paid all of the bills we have due up until we return from the honeymoon! It's a great feeling.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

6. A great wedding present.

My boss gave me the day off on Thursday because of the wedding! Thanks, boss!

That makes a week and a half off for wedding-related festivities and the honeymoon. I know I'm going to enjoy it!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

7. The last stand

Or, my last big bash as a single lady! I actually don't have any pictures from the day at all, but to me that's okay because we were having too much fun to stop and document it.

I started the day at 9:30 at Gould's Spa, where my ladies had gotten me the bridal package! It included a massage, facial, body polish, lunch, and a mani/pedi. Awesome. I felt so wonderful when I left there. Then, we stopped by my sister's to spend time with her sweet baby, after which we met everyone for dinner at Macaroni Grill.

Dinner was sooo good. I had the grilled pork chops and mushroom risotto (I love risotto), and two peach bellinis. We finished it off with tiramisu, one of my favorite desserts! From there, we hit up Fox & Hound for drinks, including shots and a bottle of champagne compliments of my awesome friends. At the end of the night, we headed back to my house where I sat and hung out with a couple of my girls, talking and sharing stories. It was a great end to a fabulous night!

I can definitely say I'm ready to be married, but I hope I get many more wonderful nights with these girls, for sure!

Friday, March 27, 2009

8. Woo, party!

We finally got the liquor situation resolved. We are serving Cosmopolitans, as well as Jack Daniel's. So we'll have my favorite drink, and Cory's (Jack and Coke, actually). I'm really excited about this, because it saves us half the money we'd spend on an open bar, but we still got enough liquor for everyone who might not want beer or wine. I think it's going to be great.

We're working on the music for the ceremony/reception stuff, so hopefully I'll be able to write about that soon. Tomorrow is my Memphis bachelorette party. It should be an awesome weekend!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

9. We're on the 10-day forecast!

It will be interesting to see if this holds up. I fully expect it to change a million times before the actual day.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

10. Finished with the decorations!

We have everything ready to go to bring to the wedding! Guestbook, decorations to hang, and even a box for people to put cards in at the reception. It looks like a stack of presents, and it says "cards" with our monogram below it. It turned out really cute. Now, all we have left to do is get ready for the honeymoon, decide on the music, and get the liquor situation straightened out.

Here's our card box, which I think took less than ten dollars to make:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

11. Informal poll

Trying to narrow down the liquor situation. Please comment if you can!

1. How long do you usually stay at a wedding reception (number of hours)?

2. How many drinks would you have while hanging out at a party for about four hours?

3. What are you most likely to drink: wine, beer, vodka, whiskey, none of the above, or a combination?

Monday, March 23, 2009

12. What's in a name?

I always knew that when I got married, I would change my name. People who know me pretty well know that I'm not close at all to my father (parents are divorced), and I just don't have much attachment to my last name. When I was little, I always wanted a normal last name (mine's a word, but not very common as a surname), and I figured being married would be my chance to have that.

Well, those of you that know Cory know his last name's not common at all! But, it's still a change, and I'm really looking forward to having that symbol of my new identity. A lot of women drop their middle names and add their new last name, so their name goes First Maiden Last, but I'm actually really attached to my middle name, so I'm keeping it.

We've gotten our first couple of cards addressed to us as a married couple, and it's pretty neat. I've tried to practice my new signature a couple of times, but it still feels too weird. I'm going to keep trying, though! It's much harder to get my hand to scrawl something different than to think of myself as a married woman. You write the same thing over and over for 26 years; it's the name I wrote when I learned how to write. I guess just like anything, it will get easier over time.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

13. The Bochelor

Okay, so we're not talking about Conan O'Brien's The Bochelor. It's more like Bachelor Party. Cory went away this weekend for his bachelor party in Louisiana. Lucky guy gets two weekends in a row of bachelor parties!

Meanwhile, I spent the weekend hanging out with my girlfriends and doing housework. I got to see I Love You, Man (which was awesome), and attend a friend's shower and bachelorette party. It was kind of fun going through that with the new perspective of having just recently been to my own showers and bachelorette party. I will say that I have a new appreciation for RSVPs, and will always try to come to someone else's shower if I possibly can! It meant so much to me to see the people that made it to mine.

With less than two weeks to go, the next laid-back weekend I will probably have will be as a married woman. Here we go!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

14. Two weeks

Two weeks.

Two weeks until I put on that white (well, ivory) dress.

Two weeks may be a long time if you're in The Money Pit, but for those of us not in Hollywood, it's not very long at all! It's amazing to me that when he first put that ring on my finger, it was 35 weeks before the wedding, which we hadn't even planned yet.

In 14 days I will marry a man who makes me laugh, challenges me intellectually, understands me, empathizes with me, and loves me, heart and soul, wrinkles and all. We will be our own new family, with our own identity. That part is worth so much more than all the flowers and food and music.

I can't wait.

Friday, March 20, 2009

15. Something...

Old, new, borrowed, blue, right? Technically, there's also supposed to be "a sixpence in your shoe," but I'll have enough shoe comfort problems that I'll probably avoid that.

I have had several people ask me if I'm going to do this ritual, and what I'll do for it, and the answers are "yes," and this:

Old: My freshwater pearl necklace my uncle gave to me for my 8th grade graduation.
New: My wedding dress! My mom got married in jeans, so that wasn't an option.
Borrowed: My mom's pearl earrings (because she has real ones, and I don't).
Blue: My garter has a tiny blue bow on the inside, meant as a "something blue."

It's a pretty neat feeling to know that I'm going to be a small part of an old tradition that many brides before me have done. A little bit of history carried with me for a little bit of luck.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

17. Final payment - done!

Well, we went down to the ballroom and made our final payment there. It's a great feeling to have almost everything paid off! The only major unpaid item on our list is just the DJ. Here are some of the details we finalized:

- We're going to have three kinds of wine and three kinds of beer. For the wine, merlot, chardonnay, and white zinfandel, and for beer, Budweiser, Bud Light, and Miller Lite. I think that should hit the perfect range of everyone's taste (at least of the people that I know have a preference!).
- We will have the cocktail area blocked off before the ceremony. Everyone will enter into the main ballroom for the wedding, then go to the lounge for cocktails while they change over the room (15 minutes, I think). Then the ballroom will be opened up and people can hit the buffet or the dance floor.
- Also, for you Memphis fans, if they are playing during the reception, there is a TV on the wall behind the bar, so we will ask them to put the game on. In return though, try not to check the score during the ceremony if you can help it - it's going to be short!
- There is free parking for ballroom guests. Either lot behind the building (or if you're in front of the building, they are behind or to the right) are free to use.
- The menu! We're having chicken tenders, mini hamburgers, Swedish meatballs, a fruit and cheese display, a veggie tray, crab stuffed and Italian spinach stuffed mushrooms, and assorted pastries (which we are told includes chocolate covered strawberries). And cake, of course!

We also finalized the layout of everything. I think it will be awesome! It's nice to have such a big piece of the puzzle in place.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

18. Wedding brain


That's the only word I can think of to describe how I've been feeling the past couple of days. I've been having trouble concentrating at work, and it seems like every hour or two I get interrupted by something for the wedding. Sometimes it's a phone call; sometimes it's an email or even just my thoughts. I have a mental checklist that grows and retracts as I suddenly remember something or forget something else.

We're 18 days away from the wedding. I'm trying to enjoy the time we have before the big day, but sometimes it's hard to stop and look at the big picture when all the details are screaming out at me.

Monday, March 16, 2009

19. Ceremonial stuff

We went back and forth about whether to have readings in our ceremony. We aren't regular churchgoers, and we don't have favorite romantic poems or anything like that. When it came down to it, we decided that the ceremony that would suit us best would be simple. So it will go something like this:

The preacher will welcome everyone and say a prayer. Then, we will exchange wedding vows, using the traditional words. We will give each other the rings that have waited patiently for the past few months, and then receive a blessing from the preacher. After that, we will turn and face the people we love, and be pronounced Mr. and Mrs.!

It's short and simple, and I love it.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

20. Poofy balls

I've done a few things myself for the wedding, and my current DIY project is these tissue paper pom-poms from Martha Stewart.

The idea is to bring some color into the space and bring the eye upwards. I think they're turning out really cute! The only thing I'm worried about is bringing 30 of these guys up into the ballroom and not being able to hang them. Haha, oh well. I'm going to ask about that when we go to make our final payment.

Here's a picture of the ones I've done so far:

They're a pretty fun and inexpensive way to make cute decorations.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

21. All the ladies in the house

I had the best bridal shower this weekend at my godmother Tanya's house. I arrived early with my three Memphis bridesmaids, Kim, Sarah, and Tammy. Kim ordered the prettiest cake - it was a spring green with white scrollwork; a vanilla cake with almond buttercream. It was delicious, but so was everything else! We had meatballs, taco dip, artichoke dip, herb cheese and crackers, chicken salad, and more.

We played some great games like bingo and had a purse scavenger hunt. We also played a game where everyone had to answer a quiz about Cory, and then everyone got to watch me answer the quiz in front of everyone. I got the best score out of the group, which is pretty appropriate. The unfortunate part is that for every question I got wrong, I had to stuff a marshmallow in my mouth. I could only keep a couple at a time without gagging, so I kept having to eat marshmallows to get more in there!

I got some wonderful gifts, too. Everyone was so sweet, and we got a lot of great serving pieces that I am really excited to get to use. Having showers sure has made me want to host a party of my own. Maybe when all this wedding hoopla calms down, we can have a really great one!

Friday, March 13, 2009

22. Cutting through the red tape

Or going along with it, anyway. Today we got our marriage license! It was a (not) fun-filled day that began with us waiting four hours at the DMV to get our new driver licenses with our current address on them, then off to the county clerk for the marriage license. The desk was surrounded with lace and tulle and pictures of married couples; it looked cheesy but cute. It only took about 15 minutes to get everything signed and printed out, and $97.50 and two signatures in a very large book later, we were on our way! The marriage license register book is actually pretty neat; you really feel like a part of history thinking about how many people have written in that book and all the others that preceded it. We even had to give them our parents' names and where they were born.

It's a great feeling to have this big step out of the way, because now, no matter what, we're getting married. Even if the flowers don't show or the food tastes horrible, at the end of the day, we will have done what we set out to do. Hopefully getting our license on Friday the 13th doesn't mean anything bad for the wedding!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

23. TYVM

I am very proud to say that we are completely caught up on thank-yous from the shower in Baton Rouge a couple of weeks ago. Of course, we're probably about to have another round from the shower this weekend, but it's nice to feel caught up.

I've never been a big thank you note writer, mostly because I don't usually keep cards around, and I feel awkward because I never really wrote them growing up, either. I've kind of come around to thinking they're pretty cool, though. It's a neat feeling to see that someone liked your gift and acknowledged it with a traditional note in the mail. I have gotten some thank-yous from people whose baby showers I attended, and I really appreciated them. I bought some cards on clearance at Target that are super cute and match our wedding colors, so it's great that I didn't have to spend a lot, because obviously they didn't come with our invitation suite (because we didn't have one).

It does help that I actually have people's addresses now, because of all the wedding invitations. Planning a wedding does wonders for completing one's address book!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

24. It's all in the timing

I have been working really hard to make a timeline for the day of the wedding. You wouldn't think it would be that difficult; just get ready and show up, right? Not so much.

The general idea is to work backward from the time of the ceremony. I know we want to take our pictures before the ceremony because it will be dark afterward, and before that of course, we have to get ready. I'll have a hair appointment at some point that day, too, and I need to make time to eat. Also, I need to approve the floral setup and set up a few of my own decorations at the site.

I think the hardest part is figuring out how much time we need for each item. For example, at first I thought two hours would be the right amount of time to get ready, but then I thought, "All we need to do is put on makeup and slide into a dress. Am I going to sit around bored for over an hour?" So I've been rethinking and tinkering with the timeline. I'm not 100% happy with it, but we're getting there.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

25. Music

Cory and I are still trying to decide on what kind of music to have in the ceremony. Because we're not having a church wedding, we'd like to have secular songs that we both like or have some kind of meaning to us. It's a lot harder than it sounds! It's amazing to me how many songs aren't really that romantic when you listen to them. It probably also doesn't help that we don't have the most conventional taste in music. I like a lot of pop songs, but I would never have "I Swear" in my wedding or anything like that. I like the idea of our wedding having its own musical signature. We've looked at a lot of stuff by the Vitamin String Quartet (they do instrumental covers of songs), and we've looked at a lot of other songs, so we still have some work to do.

At least we decided not to write our own vows! I would love to do that, but I don't know how either of us would ever come up with something we felt worthy. A mixture of traditional and modern would definitely be how I would describe our wedding.

Monday, March 09, 2009

26. Cocktails

We are still trying to make a decision on what kind of cocktails to serve at the reception. We are having a beer and wine package, and would love to provide one or two cocktails to serve along with them. We have several friends and family that aren't really into beer or wine, and we want everyone to have a great time and party, and feel like they have drink choices they will enjoy.

We've thought about something with Jack Daniels (even just Jack and Coke, one of Cory's favorites), and maybe a Cosmopolitan or something else with vodka (I love the fruity drinks). We've even thought about serving hard iced tea like with sweet tea vodka.

Have you ever been to a wedding that had signature cocktails? What do you like to drink at a wedding?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

27. Paying it off

Well, we have finally reached the part of the planning process where we are starting to pay off some of our vendors. I am proud to say that we have paid off the cake and the flowers, and really the only expenses we have left are the DJ, food, and hotel. Of course, I can't pay for our hotel rooms until we use them! We will make final payments with the DJ in a couple of weeks, and with the caterer when we have our final head count (two weeks before the wedding). It looks like we are just barely going to make our minimum of 100 people, which is just fine. We are so lucky to have 100 people in our lives who would travel or spend the time to witness our marriage. We are less than four weeks away (and so far, under budget, too)!

Saturday, March 07, 2009

28. Engagement pictures

We went to take engagement pictures today, and it was so much fun! We got together with our photographers, and headed downtown for a day of pictures. I think Cory and I both felt really self-conscious a lot of the time, because we're not used to being the center of attention so much. I guess we just have to get used to that part, because I'm sure more than a few people will be looking at us on our wedding day, too. Here are some of my favorite pictures from the day (all pictures by Charbonnet Photography):

Friday, March 06, 2009

29. RSVPlease send that card back in

Today's a short one. I just want to send up a call to the cosmos - we have a week until the response date, and we're still waiting to hear from over 50 people! I'm not looking at anyone in particular (Cory's family), but we do have to make decisions on food and knowing how many people are coming might help that. Not looking forward to all the phone calls we'll have to make, for sure. I promise in the future to always send my RSVP right away.

At least it makes going to the mailbox a little more exciting.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

30. Fitting in the dress, and fitting the dress to me!

Okay, I won't be showing pictures of my dress, but I thought I'd at least talk a little about how the alterations went. It doesn't sound exciting, but it was pretty interesting, actually. We went a little over a month ago to see the alterations lady at David's Bridal, and I got all the layers of stuff on for my dress, and we went to work.

I knew it was too long (I'm a shortie - 5'2"), but there were several other places that were just too big or too weird on me. I'm a true petite, short waisted and short legged, so she had to pin it on the sides and through the bust, too. Plus, there is an asymmetrical drape over the front, so that had to be shortened since the hem was being shortened. The halter neck was way too big, so that was pinned, and then we had to create a bustle. Mine is a five-point French bustle, and basically the point of it is to fold up the back of my dress so that the train does not drag on the ground at the reception. You leave it down for the ceremony, and bustle it for the reception so you can dance all night without anyone stepping on your skirt!

I got to try on the finished product last night, and it was so worth it! The dress fits me to a T (I guess that is the point, isn't it), and I feel really ready to be a bride. It was the first time I tried it on that I didn't want to take it off.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

31. Registering... is fun?

Today is the one month mark for the wedding! It's amazing to me that all the work we have done in the past seven months will be finished, and we'll be getting married. Of course, there are still some things to do (I have a dress fitting today, even), but it's nice to see it all come together!

We registered several months ago, but there are some things I have learned since then that I would love to have known beforehand. For instance, when someone tells you that you can return a gift if you want, even if you don't plan to you should take the receipt! We got a gift at our shower that was a duplicate of one that had been shipped to our house that we didn't know about. Now we have the choice of trying to ship back the one we actually registered for (and like better) or try to get a receipt from someone who lives 500 miles away.

Also, I would have kept a list of what we thought of every time we said, "I wish we had one of those" or "That would come in really handy." That's the kind of stuff I feel like we're missing from the registry - like TV trays (which have since been added)! I don't want to add them this late because I'm trying not to look at the registry at all, because people are actually buying from it now.

I am glad we registered early. You do have to watch, especially at places like Target, for things going out of stock on clearance. Just know that if you register for something seasonal, if you wedding is more than a couple months away, it might not be there when the season your wedding is in comes around. Also, Cory and I went to two stores, but I took my mom to the other one. Cory got to pick out stuff he was interested in at Target and Bed Bath & Beyond, but he's not interested in serving pieces or anything by Martha Stewart (though he did like the Hotel sheets we registered for), so Mom went to Macy's with me.

Registering is fun; it's full of excitement and hope and you can have a blast thinking about how things will fit in your new life together. I would just recommend bringing a snack! We got really tired and hungry at the end, because you do spend several hours in the store. It was totally worth it, though.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

32. I can't think of anything clever to say about veils.

When I first got engaged, I didn't think I would be the kind of girl who had a traditional veil at her wedding. I love the vintage look of a birdcage veil, like this:

from Whitney Lee Photography

As I tried on my dress a couple more times, though, I started to have second thoughts. What if I regretted not having a wispy traditional veil? We tried on a few at the store, and I really started to fall in love with the idea. I went home and stewed about it, and ended up getting one like this:

from David's Bridal

I have to say, I'm still a little torn about it, but I think what I might do is have the long veil for the wedding, and switch to the short one for the reception. Best of both worlds? I hope so!

Monday, March 02, 2009

33. BP in the BR

Bachelorette Party in Baton Rouge, that is!

Right after the shower, the girls and I headed over to the Melting Pot for cheese and chocolate. It was so yummy! We had a cheddar cheese and a white cheese blend (that included blue cheese) for the appetizer fondues, and then for the chocolate ones we had a Turtle (dark chocolate, caramel, and pecans) and a Sex Kitten (white chocolate, marshmallow creme, Bailey's, and Oreo crumbles). After all the food at the shower, we didn't think we would really be that hungry, but somehow everything mysteriously got eaten. :-)

Christon had organized the party and had goodie bags for everyone with tiaras and necklaces. Mine was a special tiara with a veil, as you'll see in the pictures below. She also made a picture frame with a mat inside for everyone to write "advice for the bride." All the girls wrote such sweet things, but I was good; I didn't cry!

I don't have pictures yet of the Melting Pot or the place we went immediately afterward (the Texas club), but the last stop of the night was North Gate Tavern, and we had a blast there, too! We ended up staying until closing. There was a band playing, and a couple of our other friends were there and buying us drinks. We danced and laughed and had a great time listening to the music.

Here are some pictures! Not pictured are Cory's sister, Stephanie (who left after dinner to see her sweet baby) and my friend Christy (who had an exam coming up, so she had to leave early - I was so glad she made it out with us that night!). All images from Tiger Weekly.

Julianne, me, Erin

Amanda and Christon

Everyone that made it to North Gate! Amanda, Chris, Julianne, Christon, me, Erin

Us with the owner, Sam

Soon to be family - Cory's cousin Cade and his wife, Erin. How cute!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

34. April showers start early...

We went to our first shower this weekend. It was a couples' shower given by Cory's family in Louisiana. It was so much fun! There were around 40 people there, mostly family, but several of our friends came. I don't have any of the pictures yet, but I wanted to write about it so I didn't forget everything.

His sister Stephanie organized most of it, and did such a great job. She made all the decorations blue and green (like our colors) with touches of brown. She even bought green and blue flowers for all the arrangements, and made centerpieces for the tables from clear, square vases filled with blue and green candy. The cake was from Ambrosia bakery, and was a vanilla cake with half Bavarian cream filling and half strawberries and cream filling - so delicious! There was a ton of food - jambalaya, Boudin balls, taco salad dip, baked beans, salad, chips and dip, cream puffs, eclairs, brownies, and probably other stuff I can't remember, too. Everyone really went all out on the buffet.

We got a bunch of things we registered for, including a lot of kitchen stuff. My favorite thing was from Stephanie and her family - a Wii Fit! Cory and I played with it some last night and it's really fun.

I had such a great time at the shower. I can't wait for the next one!