Keeping It Real

A bit of honesty here – I am in denial about my wedding.   It’s only a few weeks out, and by a few I mean less than four.  I’ve been planning for this day officially for the past eighteen months.  Unofficially… well let’s just say I’ve had ideas about my wedding for years.  And now?  It’s so close.

When I pictured the month leading up to my wedding, I pictured my life in perfect order (hey, a girl can dream).  My house would be tidy, I would look the most beautiful I have ever looked and would be over the moon giddy with excitement.  In reality?  My house is a complete mess -gifts have taken over our dining room, our poor fridge is bare because I don’t have time to cook, the wedding room looks disastrous and there are two bedrooms with more clothes on the floor than I care to admit.  I am so stressed that I’m breaking out and overtired to the point that my body is rebelling.  And while I’m giddy to marry Fiance, I am also stressed about getting everything done in time.  And I feel lonely – this is supposed to be the happiest time of my life and surrounded by friends and family.  But the truth of the matter is that my family lives three hours away, and I don’t have time to spend with my friends or even quality time with Fiance because work, wedding preparations and just trying to stay afloat have consumed me.

When people ask me about the wedding I am in complete denial that it’s so close.  I mean my mind knows that it is approaching, but my heart doesn’t believe it.

I’m not writing this post as a woe is me, because this is a really great time in my life, and there are certainly times I feel it.  I’m just hoping I’m not the only one who has felt such a mix of emotions before their wedding.

What are your thoughts?  Did anyone else feel such a mix of emotions before their big day and if so, how did you deal?  Anyone else in denial like me?

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Hair Inspiration

I’ve been fortunate enough to not have many wedding related nightmares lately (fingers crossed it stays that way!).  However a few months ago I had two very similar dreams in which it was the wedding day and I simply wasn’t prepared.  Items that I had planned were not executed, and when I looked in the mirror my hair was an 80’s teased mess.  I was horrified each time.  I knew I needed to find a hair style and schedule a trial to calm the fear of a bad hairstyle.

When I started looking for hair inspiration I found that I gravitated towards two separate looks – the up do with parted hair and low curls/simple twist or the half up/half down do with parted hair and lots of curls.

Up do inspiration:

Image via The Knot (Photo by Mary Claire Crow, Old Hickory)

Image via Dusty Rose Events

Image via Wedding By Color

Half up/half down inspiration:

Image via Project Wedding

Image via Southern Weddings

Image via Style Me Pretty (Photo by  Kim Le Photography)

Which would you pick?

So Many Favors to Choose From

I know I promised last time I would have more invitation details.  I’ve totally been slacking and need to take some photos of those!  But for now I figured I would share what we are doing for favors.

I’ve been to multiple weddings over the past five years and have seen so many creative and thoughtful favors:

  • Chocolate bars
  • Smore kits (complete with the marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate)
  • Chocolate covered candy apple
  • Chocolate covered popcorn
  • Picture frames
  • Margarita mix
  • Flowers/plants
  • Coasters
  • Wine
  • Wine toppers
  • Etched wine glasses
  • Mix CD’s of the couple’s favorite songs
  • Candles
  • Puppies (ok, maybe not puppies)

I’m sure I’m forgetting some, but you get the idea.

When it came time for Fiance and I to come up with what we would do for favors, we didn’t know where to begin.  I wanted to give something the guests would enjoy, but also wanted it to be a reflection of our personal lives.  Then I thought of the other favor that I’ve seen at weddings – a donation to a charitable organization.

The donation is something that I’ve heard mixed reviews about- some think its wonderful that the bride and groom contributed to a worthy cause instead of purchasing something small, while others disagree and say that it’s not actually a favor.

In our case, it was the perfect ‘favor’ to give.  I mentioned awhile back that I wanted to honor my father at our wedding (again, more on that in another post) and making a charitable donation to the American Cancer Society will be a great way to do so.

I still wanted to ‘give’ my guests something though; so Fiance and I ordered Livestrong bracelets that will be at each person’s place setting (in addition to a separate donation we made to the American Cancer Society).

The LS bands, sorted by size

I’m sure many of you are familiar with the Livestrong bracelets already, however proceeds from each bracelet sold go to the Livestrong Foundation and services for cancer survivors.

We also printed out cards that included an image of the Livestrong bracelet on the front and message to our guests on the back.

All the cards in the box

The front of the card

Back of the card

The Livestrong bands will be wrapped around each person’s napkin with the card in the middle

I’m hoping our guests will be happy we made a donation to such a great organization.  And if not, we will be including a photo booth and out of town welcome bags to make them feel loved.

What did you do for a favor?  Anyone else make a charitable donation instead?

The Invitation Reveal

Wow, this is the week of the invites on the Hive 🙂

As I mentioned in my previous post, there were so many pretty invitations to chose from!  I wasn’t really into invitations before (since they get thrown away by most everyone); however I felt differently after seeing so many fun and unique designs.

I actually didn’t pick any from my original group.  Don’t get me wrong, they are all gorgeous invitations, however in one last search for invites I stumbled upon the perfect option for Fiancé and I.

The invitations we chose from Oh So Chic Designs:

Images via Oh So Chic Designs

I loved everything about them – the ability to add personalized photos, how unique they were and that all the pieces of the invitation suite were fastened together, making it easy for guests to keep all the information together.

I contacted the designer Rebecca and we worked together in designing them.  She was a dream to work with, and kept me on schedule (which was much appreciated – especially since my to do list was, and still is, out of control).

I decided to order envelopes on my own so I could use grey outer envelopes (the invitations came with white envelopes) and also so I could also get a head start on addressing all of them.  (Yes I’m crazy and attempted to write out all the addresses in calligraphy).  We ended up ordering through Envelopes.com, and found that they had a great selection and  quality.

The grey outer envelope, pink inner envelope and white response card

The invitations allowed for photographs on each page and we chose to use pictures of our church, venue, hotel and city shot of Rochester.  When it came to wording we kept it mostly traditional, while adding a place on the reply for our guests to include their favorite dance songs.

I’m so happy with how they turned out:

The invitation suite

A snapshot of the front

A closer look at the front photo

A closer look at the invitation suite, from right to left we included a page for the actual invite, reception information, directions, accommodations and reply card

The response card – the bottom says “I promise to dance if you play ____”.  There was a perforated line at the bottom so the top portion detached for the response.

There were a few other details we included in the invitations which I’ll recap next.

Did you go for traditional or nontraditional invites?

The Most Exciting Time of the Day…

Is checking the mail!  So far this week has brought a lot of great things in the mail including…

The newest issue of Brides magazine (I got a free subscription, although I don’t remember how).

Image via Brides (since I didn’t actually snap a photo)

Some unexpected registry gifts! (I have two showers coming up this month, however these were a nice surprise).

The aftermath of opening three boxes.

The generous gifts we received!

An invitation to a bridal shower and bachelorette party for one my dear friends.

So excited to celebrate her big days!

A surprise box from MISS LYRE!  (Ok, so I knew it was coming, but was surprised that day when I wasn’t sure who the box was from.. I’ve been doing a lot of online ordering lately).  What did the box contain?  Wine corks!  Miss Lyre was super sweet and offered to send me hers for my wine cork wedding projects – THANK YOU, that was so nice of you!!

All of the wine corks!

And finally….

Response cards!!  That’s right… we sent our invitations last week and are starting to get some responses everyday!  🙂

I’m so excited to reveal the invitation details to you this week.

September brides, have you sent out invites yet/received responses?  Any others get unexpected (and totally awesome) gifts in the mail before the wedding?

And We’re Registered

Lately my life has been filled with endless to do lists, and one thing that has FINALLY been crossed off the list is registering (yay!).  I don’t know about anyone else, but I have found the whole registering process to be kind of stressful.  Fiance and I have lived together for four years.  As you can imagine, after four years, we’ve accumulated quite a bit of household items.  For every birthday, Christmas celebration and holiday in between I’ve asked for household items.   I’m fortunate enough to already have a Keurig, Kitchen Aid mixer and espresso machine. I’ve also accumulated all those fun little quirky appliances you don’t need, but are fun to have (like the waffle maker, indoor grill and snow cone maker.. I mean everyone needs one of those, right?).

So when it came down to our registry we were at a loss as to what to get.  We considered registering for china – but decided against it since we travel for all family functions and wouldn’t get much use out it.  I also saw the price tag on one set of china (and the matching gravy boats, platters, etc) and decided I would probably cry if a plate broke.  Then I’d be that crazy person who cried over a $100 broken plate.. and we can’t have that.  The dishes I have now range in price from $1-$10.  What can I say, I like nice appliances, but cheaper dishes.

We also considered the honeymoon registry – but decided against it as well for various reasons.  Mainly, we have already paid for our honeymoon.  I’m sure we could have received a credit back, but I just didn’t want to go through that process.

Fiance and I decided instead to update some items in our kitchen, bathroom and register for new bedding.  We set our sites on local stores to make it easier on our guests, although I do love the idea of a universal registry.

So where did we pick?  Macy’s, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma were the winners.  (I’m sad to report that Crate and Barrel did not make the list.  There are none local to us and I wanted to physically see most of the products we were registering for.  I’ve ordered from them MANY times and their products are always amazing, but alas, I didn’t want to register for everything online).

For Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma we went to their registry event, where both stores had extra staff on hand to help us through the process.  We started with Pottery Barn, and to be honest, it was a disappointment.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Pottery Barn, but the associates weren’t helpful (or even around) and I thought it was easier going through their website.   I did end up finding bedding that I loved, however when I checked my registry a few weeks later I saw that one of the sets was already discontinued.  I was surprised I didn’t receive an email from Pottery Barn letting me know ahead of time (since they love sending me emails everyday!).  I wanted this bedding and was willing to buy it off of my own registry.  The pillow cases and shams were already discontinued online at this point, and I ended up traveling to two different stores to find them.  I would have been really upset if I wasn’t able to locate them at all.  Overall the Pottery Barn registry consisted mostly of bedding, towels and picture frames.

Our discontinued Mari bedding, Image via Pottery Barn

Hadley bedding (the other option we went with), Image via Pottery Barn

After Pottery Barn, we hit up Williams-Sonoma.  Luckily this event was much better.  Their staff was helpful and willing to do product demonstrations on a few of the appliances we were eying.  My favorite appliance by far was the Vitamix.  Seriously this thing is amazing.  It is pretty much the best blender you can find, and it also has heat settings that allow you to cook food (perfect for creating soups!).  It’s definitely pricey, but after a few demos (of orange sorbet and applesauce) even Fiance was sold.  I most certainly don’t expect anyone to purchase this and will be shocked if someone actually does due to the price (unless there is a big group gift going on), however we’ll receive 10% off after the wedding for a registry completion which will make it a little more affordable (along with some gift cards).  The rest of the registry consisted of more practical (and affordable) options.  The Vitamix was the only ridiculously priced item we registered for.

Vitamix, Image via Williams-Sonoma

Our final stop was Macy’s.  I know everyone has a different experience, but ours was rather enjoyable.  We met with a nice sales associate who only took five minutes of our time to explain how the registry worked and where to find everything in the store.  Halfway through she found us perusing kitchenware and brought us bottled waters (which was much appreciated).

Fiance comparing glassware

The Macy’s registry included most of our plates, baking and kitchen accessories and random household items.  I had a really hard time coming up with items that we actually wanted (as opposed to putting items on for the sake of having a lot of options).  Overall both Fiance and I are happy with our final picks, although registering is exhausting!

I took a quick break on a display bed – Shh! Don’t tell Macy’s

How was your registering experience?  What were your favorite registry picks?

Changing My Name

I’ve always considered myself to be a traditional person.  Growing up I always just assumed that I would take my husband’s last name when I got married, and never gave it much thought past that.  All the females in my life took their spouse’s last name, so I would naturally do the same.

When Fiance and I started dating I was actually really excited about the prospect of one day taking his last name.  This excitement was based on my love for him – but if we are being honest here, I’ve always liked my last name better, and  it’s easier to pronounce and spell.  Fiance’s last name always gets misspelled.

Once we got engaged I started to feel differently about changing my last name.   Suddenly the excitement of changing my last name turned to fear of losing my identity.  I had my last name for 27 years of my life, and all of a sudden I was supposed to just give that up.  I think part of my fear also came from losing my Dad in the last year – I didn’t want to lose the last name that had connected us (and the rest of my family) too.

I asked Fiance to change his last name.  He politely told me no.  I asked him to combine our last names.  He again told me no.  The traditional side of me knew I didn’t want him to change his name either.  Fiance also told me it was important for him that I take his last name.  I expressed my concerns to a friend who suggested I come up with my own compromise – so in a few short months I will take my fiance’s last name, and the last name I grew up with will become my new middle name.  I won’t legally keep my current middle name (which is Kate).  I like that name, but I don’t feel the same attachment to it as I do my last name.   I also won’t be using all three names when I introduce myself to people (because that’s just a mouthful, and I don’t use my middle name in introductions now).

To put it simply…this September I will become Miss Fairy Old Last Name New Last Name and I couldn’t be happier with this mix of keeping my old identity while remaining traditional and taking Fiancé’s last name.  In the end it’s all about what works for you as a couple – Fiance’s cousin and his wife actually made up a new last name together (that had no resemblance to their former last names).

How are you handling the name change?  Will you keep your current last name, or will you be changing it?  Or will you be doing some combination of the two?