Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hit the Easy Button, not the Panic Button

Today marks "80 days to go" and I can't believe it is approaching so quickly.  In fact, I've got to admit I've had some days where I wanted to hit the panic button.  When we reached the 90-day mark, I just about had a panic attack...the head-spinning, difficulty breathing, feel like the world is spinning out of control kind.

"I still have so much to do!" I thought to myself.  I still have vendors to book and invitations to order!  And then the bridal store called..."We just wanted to let you know your gown has arrived!" the cheery voice on the other end of the phone said to me.  (Gulp!) "Okay, great," I said, trying to sound excited...while inside my head I was screaming "NOT YET!  I'm not scheduled to deal with you until September!"  And then she continued with "We will only hold your dress for one week."  Gee, no pressure.  I had it in my head that I didn't even have to THINK about my gown until after Labor Day, so of course I hadn't even begun to think about WHERE I would store it until the big day!  At least the alterations lady will keep it for awhile.

So...what does a bride-to-be do after a phone call like this?  Call her MOH of course! (That's "Maid of Honor" in wedding-speak.)  After Heather successfully talked me down off the ledge, reassuring me that it's MUCH better to have the gown arrive 3 weeks early rather than 3 weeks late, I called the bridal store back and made an appointment for my first fitting, which happens to be today after work :)  Heather and I are going together, and it's been on my mind all day!

Okay, so wait a minute...Is it really as bad as I think it is?  Of course not.  I've really got it all under control, mostly.  In fact, there is not all that much to do in the way of "big" things.  We've had the major items done for awhile now, we managed to knock off a few more items on the list this past month, and there are more to be checked off very soon.  Technically, all we really still need are Matthew's baptismal certificate and the marriage license and we're good to go.  Everything else is just fluff, right?  Time for this BTB to relax, breathe, and reach for that cool, glass of sweet Riesling...err, I mean reach for that Easy button.  This is fun stuff!  Really!! :)

More Registry Fun...

At the beginning of August, Matthew & I attended a "Sip 'n Scan" event at Macy's Home Store in Mission Valley.  It's not as glamorous as it sounds - basically, you check in and are handed a scanner and a sugary "mocktail" and sent on your merry way in search of items to create your Macy's registry.

After browsing for awhile, we selected some smaller kitchen accessories we missed at Great News, some bedding upgrades, a great set of everyday dinnerware, and some bath linens before the scanner died.  This led us back to the registration area where we spent our remaining time browsing China patterns and deciding what we really wanted to do about China in general (insert political joke here).  We scanned a bunch of items in one pattern, and then, all of a sudden, a different pattern caught Matthew's eye...and that's about the time the lights flickered and a young man's voice said it was almost closing time.  So we called it quits and decided to return later to "really" decide on China and continue looking in other areas we missed.

Penguin Suits

I think I was secretly dreading the task of getting the tuxedos arranged.  Having never worn a tux (nor ever planning on it), I don't know the first thing about them except that wearing one can turn just about any man from Joe Schmoe into James Bond instantly.  I also knew that Matthew owned his own and so does at least two of his groomsmen, potentially complicating matters a bit if they differed in style.  We knew there were a couple of guys, including my Dad, who needed a tux, so we decided to go to a tux shop together and get it all figured out.

A couple of weekends ago was my cousin Theresa's wedding.  Since there was a 2-hour gap between the ceremony and the reception, Matthew & I spent the time going to a tux shop to check things out.  When we were finished, I turned to him and said "I could never have done this without you!!"  We decided on a great style for the guys and successfully checked off another item on the list!

Makeup and Mirrors

Last week I found an artist who I am really excited about!  She specializes in brides who don't wear a lot of daily makeup and want a more natural look for their wedding day (PERFECT for me!!), and I am really looking forward to working with her!

I'm also doing a little research to see if doing our own reception centerpieces will be less expensive than going with the florist, and in the process I found the 12" round mirrors I was looking for so desperately!  Thanks to my bridesmaid Casie, I got them for less than Wholesale Flowers' price! :)  Now I just need to choose between two different designs I like and decide if it's worth DIY-ing them or just letting the florist do it.

Engaged Encounter

Our Catholic friends and family know what this means, but allow me to explain it to those of you who may not be aware of what it is.  Think "Pre-Cana."  It's a weekend away with 39 other engaged couples where you share (privately) with each other learn tools to help you have a successful marriage.  Basically, it's all about communication and developing intimacy and unity in your marriage; laying a strong foundation now so that you can better deal with the hard stuff that your marriage may face down the road.  And it involves a LOT of listening, writing, sharing, repeat for 2 1/2 days.

With Sophie in great hands staying with the McCays and playing with Bruno all weekend, we headed up to Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside.  When we arrived, we discovered it was the feast day of San Luis Rey and they were having a big celebration for him on the mission grounds.  We were quickly directed around the party traffic and to the "retreat center parking lot" away from the festivities.  After our "retreat" started, we did have to pause for the fireworks at one point, and it was a nice treat to see them - we were SO CLOSE to them it was eerie!

We met some nice couples, and particularly hit it off with one of the team couples (probably because they're from New England ha ha).  Our respective roommates were nice to get to know also (even if they did make us feel a tag "older.")  My roommate is a "new" nurse and her fiance is a firefighter, and they're both from good ol' East County.  A few Godincidences we discovered as we conversed with them:  She knows Deacon Dennis (who is doing our marriage prep) because she grew up going to OLPH; the deacon doing their marriage prep is a deacon I know from the last Cursillo weekend I worked!  And finally, we found out they own a BOXER!  Not only that, they're already members of the boxer meetup group that I organize.  "He" (the firefighter) hasn't been to a meetup in awhile but now that they know us, they're going to try to make it to some now.  'Tis indeed a small world in which we live...

Overall, the weekend was a HUGE success and Matthew & I had an amazing experience!  There were a lot of good conversations, some new discoveries, some reassurances and affirmations, and a beautiful ending where I received a red rose from my betrothed :)

As I said in my Facebook post yesterday, words cannot adequately express how amazing this weekend was for Matthew and me.  It was definitely a pivotal point in our relationship and we have SO much to look forward to as we prepare to enter into this beautiful Sacrament of marriage.  I think we're finally ready for this!  God is SO good, indeed!

And I cannot tell you how emotionally and physically exhausted we both were after we got home late Sunday afternoon.  After a long nap and some dinner, we realized neither of us had enough energy to even drive down to pick up Sophie!  Fortunately, Danielle was going to be in the area on Monday morning, so she brought her to us...and it was nice to have the pack back together again.

So...it's getting there.  If someone could go around the world in 80 days, we can certainly pull off an incredibly fun wedding celebration in that time!

I leave you with a fun "list" that I found quite entertaining (maybe it's just because I've got "wedding planning brain").  I can honestly say I can't quite identify with the last two items on the list, and I hope it stays that way ;) Click here to see 12 Signs You're Planning a Wedding

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Flowers, Photo Booths and Registries

Wedding planning update!  But first I have a question:  WHERE did July go?!!

Over the past few weeks, I've had some fun with the wedding planning, and toward the end of the month Matthew even got to join in on it!

Photo Booth LOVE!

Let's start with my favorite:  I think this was the vendor I have been the most excited about booking for our wedding.  Shortly after Matthew and I discussed wanting to have a FUN wedding, I came upon the concept of having a photo booth at our reception.  Love. At. First. Sight!  Little did I know at the time, this tends to be a current trend AND some of them out there like to charge a LOT for their services!

Fortunately, I'm marrying the "King of Free" and I've learned a thing or two from him. Plus, I hate paying full price for anything :)  Remember that bridal fair I attended with my Maid of Honor and mentioned in a previous post?  Well, they had a Photo Booth vendor!  Heather and I loved them!  As I shopped around, I quickly realized they were offering the best deal around, particularly with the "bridal fair discount" offer.  So, if you'll be joining us on our special day, please be on the lookout for the photo booth during the reception...and feel free to bring your own props!  (Some will be provided, although I got the okay to bring others as well; just make sure they're labeled.)

Not sure what to think of this Photo Booth idea?  Here's a fun story for ya:  One of our friends shared with us about going to a wedding that did not have a photo booth and how they discovered that the wedding next door did have one...so they went next door and photo booth-bombed/crashed the wedding just so they could join in on the photo booth fun! :)

I can't wait to see what our crazy friends and family members do with this fun "attraction." Please keep in mind, in lieu of having a Guest Book for our guests to sign, we have opted for a Photo Booth, so please play along with us!  Even if you don't want to do anything crazy, we still want to know you were there celebrating with us!  Come on, it'll be FUN! :)

Roses are orange, orchids are blue, if you must take my leg, please leave the shoe!!!

I have to say, I'm kinda proud of myself on this one.  Having worked at a florist for a few years in college and beyond, I knew a thing or two about petals and stems and could speak the lingo pretty well (even after all these years)!  I even had more fun selecting this vendor than I anticipated (Do I keep saying that for every one?)  This time, I was prepared for sticker shock and was hardly disappointed...although... ;-)

Over the past couple of weeks, I received some good referrals from friends, made contact and set a deadline for myself.  There were two vendors who got back to me in a timely manner, so I met with and received proposals from each of them.  One of them impressed me at our meeting in a number of ways, including knowing what we needed for our Marian devotion flowers (better than I did!) and being openly mindful of our budget throughout the process.  We hit it off well and I left feeling comfortable about contracting with this one.  I met with the other florist the next day, and while there were other things that impressed me about this one prior to our meeting, we didn't have the same chemistry.  Her proposal also came in several hundred dollars higher and came with little in the way of details about flowers we'd discussed using (particularly, loves/likes/dislikes/hates).  So I went with the first one!  (I'm no fool hee hee)  I'm a little sad it's over, but I will have fun working with this florist on the details as it gets closer to November :)

Wherefore art thou Registry?

What woman doesn't enjoy going on a shopping spree, especially when she's not emptying her wallet at the end of it?  Right?!  Well, as difficult as it may seem to understand for some of you, this hasn't been the part of wedding planning that I've been the "most" excited about.  Don't get me wrong, I was definitely looking forward to it, and I totally "get" the purpose of a registry.

On the other hand, my Prince Charming isn't exactly "thrilled" with shopping, hadn't quite warmed up to the idea of a registry to begin with, and I was thinking in the back of my mind "What do we even NEED?!"  The answer to all of this came in the form of Great News!  And I don't mean the kind you never hear on TV (he he) or the stuff Jesus talks about (although nothing beats that kind of great news!).  What I mean is "Great News!" the KITCHEN STORE!

So, how do you help your fiance get over his apprehension about a wedding registry?  First, reassure him we are NOT "asking" for or expecting gifts, and explain how helpful a registry is to our guests who "want" to buy us gifts by taking out the guesswork for them, and, most notably, start by registering at his favorite kitchen gadget store!!  As soon as the consultant said "Let's start in the knife section" I knew he'd be okay.  At one point, the consultant couldn't scan fast enough and she even kept having technical difficulties with the scanning device!  We both truly enjoyed this fun shopping spree experience.  We added a lot of "nice to have" items as well as some great "upgrade" items, and of course we put some "fun" stuff on there too...of course. :)

And here's a great pic to sum up our fun day:
Matthew and our friend Marc who joined us toward the end

Throughout all of this photo/floral/registry fun, I also found my hair stylist!  It turns out I have a cousin who does special event and wedding hair - woo-hoo!  So of course I'm getting the family discount ;) and I'm meeting with her in a couple of weeks for some practice time.

The next sticker-shocking item I'm eager to cross off the list:  the invitations!  Let's hope they don't take my other leg - what will I do with the cute shoes I bought for the wedding festivities?!!

Thanks for reading! xoxo