The Thursday before our wedding was the kick-start to our wedding weekend. I woke up feeling pretty relaxed, but it quickly evolved into a ridiculously stressful day. Our venue did not have an event the night before our wedding, so they graciously offered to let us set up on Thursday.
Before venue setup could begin I had a dentist appointment and I needed to pick up Bridesmaid Fashionista from the airport. As soon as Bridesmaid Fashionista had been picked up (and fed) the rest of our mini army showed up at my parents’ house to help us pack the cars. It took 11 people 15 minutes to load five cars. It was sheer madness, and as much as I love my mom (and her incredible amount of help) she was driving me a little crazy with the drill sergeant like way of ordering our friends around. The minute Mr. Scepter and I got in the car I promptly started crying my eyes out. I’m still not sure why, but I knew I needed a break from all the madness. Once all of the water bottles, coolers, candles, candle holders, chalkboard frames, buckets, program fans, and everything else we had spent a year making and/or buying was unloaded, a little weight started to lift off my chest.
It was a little crazy to watch the elements of our reception come together, but when it was finished I absolutely loved it. After the venue was set up, I grabbed Bridesmaid Fashionista and went to have the only “alone time” I could fit in, which consisted of the two of us running to the mall to pick up some last-minute gifts for my parents.
At the end of the day I was absolutely exhausted, so Bridesmaid Fashionista decided to cheer me up by giving Mr. Scepter and me our wedding gift. (Which for the record was one of my favorite gifts.) The first part of her awesome gift played into my love of board games:
Image via Amazon
The game alone would have been the perfect gift, but then Bridesmaid Fashionista solidified herself as best gift giver ever, by gifting us these amazing shirts:
Before our wedding day, Mr. Toadstool and I need to get a blood test done as a requisite for our marriage license. No big deal—you go, they pinch you in the arm, and you get the results a bit later. The problem is, I’m very bad at it. It’s not that I get nervous (which I do) or cry like a little kid scared of needles (which I also do), it’s that my arms don’t like needles.
Yep, I don’t like needles. / Image via Upbeat Dad
I might be an engineer by trade, but I am in no means a computer science engineer. I know very little about coding, website development, JAVA, HTML…? I speak four languages but computer programming is not one of them. Mr. Wallaby is a little more tech savvy than me—last year for Halloween, we made our own costumes (see photo below): Mr. W was the new iPhone and I was the original iPod, and those are pretty accurate descriptions of our levels of ability in computing.Yet with Mr. W’s help I developed a pretty cool wedding website, and I am here to show you how.
Halloween 2011 / Personal photo
We started out by creating one of the free wedding websites on The Knot. However, a couple weeks later, I encountered this gem (and this and this and definitely this!) and grew green with envy. I LOVE typography and cool buttons on websites. However, I am not exceptionally skilled at using Photoshop or any web design program, so I decided to seek a happy medium and find another free website with a wider variety of templates than The Knot. I found some beautiful templates on Wedding Window and Wedding Jojo. I ended up going another route, though—another bee recommended building a website with flash from wix.com, so I decided to give that a try.
Wix offers hundreds (or thousands?) of free templates that are very easily customized. There are tons of features and widgets, such as guestbooks, photo mosaics, mobile sites compatible with iPhones and Androids, and even a widget that allows website viewers to send you a message to your email. I signed up, chose a template, and incorporated all of these features in just a couple hours. Here’s the result:
Amber is selling a Vera Wang “Ethel” gown. She is asking $3,500 for the size-six gown.
Have a wedding item for sale? Post it with pictures in the Weddingbee Classifieds, and you might see it featured on the blog!
Other great items for sale:
When Mr. Manatee and I first started talking about we wanted for our wedding, I had a few reasonably clear ideas, but a lot of fuzzy desires too. Manatee was adamant about only two things.
I thought these were awesome terms, so we began planning! Our first priority when it came to decisions, like most other couples, was for our venue. The venue pretty much sets the tone for the whole wedding, and I feel it’s the detail all other details are planned around.
Living in Arlington and Mansfield most of my conscious life, I’d occasionally drive past a huge house with a beautiful courtyard garden and twinkling lights. I always thought it looked like something out of a movie. One day I drove past and realized it was a restaurant and hotel, with a banner across the front advertising brunch. I filed it away in my brain and commented wistfully to whoever was in the car with me at the time that I was going to stay there one day. Soon after we got engaged, I drove past it again and a bell rang in my head. I circled it several times, checking it out. They probably thought I was casing the place. Not too long after, during a venue search on The Knot, I spotted it! I had no idea it hosted weddings! I was on this idea like white on rice, and soon enough I was exchanging emails with the wedding coordinator. I was immediately smitten. The Sanford House was reasonably priced, had rooms for our guests (although only 12), and was unbelievably beautiful.
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
Hi Hive! Our tech team has rolled out a feature on the boards that we hope you’ll love!
Now, as a default, when you receive an @reply comment from any member on any thread on the boards (on any thread you’re active on) you’ll get a PRIVATE MESSAGE alerting you that you’ve received a new reply on your thread or to a comment you’ve made, with a link to the thread so you can head back to the boards and participate. Please note that this does not automatically trigger an EMAIL ALERT (we didn’t want to automatically bombard you with new emails). BUT, if you’d like to receive EMAIL alerts for any new @reply’s to you, here’s how to turn EMAIL alerts on for this feature:
Head to the Weddingbee boards to check it out! Let us know what you think about the new notification features, and happy Election Day, Hive!
When we planned on having a photo booth for our wedding reception, I knew that it’d be a hit. What I didn’t realize was for one how freaking hilarious my friends and family are when left unattended and for two how much I’d cherish these images. Sure, they are goofy, ridiculous, and everything in between, but they captured the fun of our reception. And to me that makes them perfect.
Photos by Valerie Demo Photography
…because they give you free stuff for your wedding!
OK, OK, so friends are good for reasons WAY MORE IMPORTANT than that, but when you’re in the thick of planning a wedding on a fairly modest budget, every little bit helps. And because of some good church family friends, we’ve managed to get a big chunk of our reception centerpieces for FREE!
A little while back I mentioned our mostly budget-based decision not to incorporate floral centerpieces into the reception decor. As you can imagine, throwing a garden-inspired soiree without flowers in the decor felt a little…counter-intuitive, for lack of a better word. We still wanted to have the feel of bringing the outside in without blowing holes in my parents’ pockets, but we weren’t exactly sure how we would be able to manage that. But sometimes, problems have funny ways of working themselves out.
We attended a church family friend’s wedding in October of last year (we’ll call the bride Bee). Bee’s mom and my mom are pretty close, and their whole family is pretty much amazing and super awesome. Knowing that our wedding would be coming up soon, after the reception was over Bee’s mom handed us all eight of Bee’s manzanita branch centerpieces (complete with the crystals dripping from them) as well as the huge manzanita branch “wishing tree” she had used for the reception. She basically told us anything we saw in the reception decor that we wanted was “fair game” except for a few items that had either been rented or they were going to try and sell. That night, the Armadillo family went away with a huge chunk of “the centerpiece debacle” solved. They’re currently sitting in my parents’ attic waiting for their next wedding appearance:
(1,000 internet points for anyone who can catch the reference in the title!*)
So…we were married! What exactly do you do right after you get married? We did a receiving line. It seems receiving lines aren’t very popular nowadays because they have a reputation for taking way too long, but we still really wanted to do one. We thought it might be the only time of the day when we’d be able to speak to everyone individually, and we didn’t want our guests to go unappreciated. Plus, there were tons of relatives on both sides that were from out of town, and I wanted guaranteed hugs from all of the aunts, uncles, and cousins I hardly ever get to see!
After the processional, Mr. Wiz and I snuck up the back stairs of the banquet hall, while the bridal party and parents led the guests around to the front. This way, Mr. Wiz and I had a few moments to ourselves, and we were able to have the receiving line in the foyer of the banquet hall, where the escort cards, guest “book” photo mat, and gift table were located—everything the guests would need before going to their table right in one place!
I literally don’t remember those few moments of alone time before the receiving line made it to the front door; I was too far gone on Cloud Nine to be thinking much at all. All I remember is telling Mr. Wizard about the spider and quickly fixing my hair after I’d seen what the wind had done to it (it was not pretty), and before I knew it, the parents had arrived at the foyer and the receiving line had begun.
Get out on the dance floor! NOW! It’s jammin’ time. Those would be the sentiments expressed as Mr. PaC and I motioned for our wallflower friends and family to join us following the parent dances.
“You! Yes, you. Get out here!”
Mr. Mink and his groomsmen arrived at our venue just before a massive hail storm moved through the area. Knowing they were getting ready while we watched the storm, I sent Sister Mink to the groom’s loft with my gift for Mr. Mink.
My gift to Mr. Mink was a nod to all the gifts he’s given me in recent years. I have a thing for a particular jewelry designer, David Yurman, and every year, Mr. Mink gives me a piece of it for my birthday or for Christmas. He jokes that he never expected to have someone he considered to be “his” jeweler, but he’s become friends with the woman at the store where he buys my gifts.
Before getting into this post I would like to apologize for my extended absence. It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Castle household. First we jetted off to San Francisco to attend our first wedding as a married couple. We had an amazing trip and it was a very beautiful wedding. When we arrived back in New York we jumped right into throwing our good friends an engagement party! It was fantastic, but word to the wise—maybe the Saturday before Halloween isn’t the best date to try and throw and intimate party…Then, as most of you are aware there was this storm here…We are very lucky and fortunate compared to many others on the east coast. Last week was really surreal. You would think I had all this extra time to blog but my focus was on the news and what was happening in my beloved city that I call home. So please forgive me for my absence and keep sending prayers and good thoughts to all those who were affected by the hurricane.
I left off showing all our ceremony details. At this point in the day our guests were beginning to arrive. Meanwhile my bridesmaids and I were hiding out in the bridal suite anxiously awaiting for the ceremony to start.
That period of time between coming inside after taking pictures and the start of the ceremony felt like an eternity. I was ready to go and get married but it still wasn’t time yet. We had another mini dance party and then decided to take some pictures to try and kill some time.
After running through the rehearsal (literally, I think it took about five minutes), it was time to get dressed. I could not get into that beautiful bridal suite fast enough. What was waiting for me in there? My wedding dress, of course!
…barbecue and mashed potatoes! Spoiler alert! Mr. Wallaby and I are pretty much already saving our appetite for our wedding-day food, which should be super delicious if the tasting was representative of the culinary prowess of our caterer. This guy is good.
Mr. W and I LOVE food. Well, OK, who doesn’t love food? We love to eat out, eat in, snack (Mr. W gets a case of the snack attack most afternoons…we’re going to start limiting his intake of chips sometime soon), talk about food, watch movies about food, gaze at food at the farmer’s market…I could go on. It’s also something we try not to take for granted, and we have had some really cool experiences volunteering at our local food bank. If you’ve never had the opportunity to help out with organizing packaged food at a food bank or feeding the homeless, I would strongly recommend that you take some time away from wedding planning to help out your community. It’s really, really rewarding and puts a lot of things into perspective.
Mrs.HMBucks shows off her diamond solitaire engagement ring.
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