Now it’s time for the fun part: the part-y part! (See what I did there?) The part that has all the crazy photos of all the crazy guests dancing in crazy manners. These photos are some of my favorites because they offer glimpses into the dancing frenzy that overtook our reception. Some brides may worry about their guests not dancing at the reception…if that’s you, I will lend you some of our guests. Because our guests. Are. Amaaaaazing!
I secretly had high expectations from my cousins and my parents’ old college buddies, all of whom know how to have a good time on the dance floor. Not only did they step up and deliver, but they were joined by many, MANY more! I was absolutely blown away by the vivacity of other friends and family members on the dance floor, some of whom were even delightfully surprising. Aside from a brief intermission for some flower tossing and garter flinging, the dance floor was hopping non-stop from the moment the party portion of the reception officially started til the very end.
We had a little switcharoo of the bouquet toss music the morning of the wedding. Originally we had planned on “Beautiful Girls” by Van Halen. However, around the same time as my wedding was when what I like to call the “Call Me Maybe” blowup occurred. My bridesmaids and I could not get enough of the song and such parodies as:
(Video via You Tube)
And while these were not out at the time, they are currently among our favorites:
So I shared with y’all some of the wedding dress contenders I tried on, then dropped the bomb that I didn’t have a dress, but that my mom was making it. Then I went all radio silence, and left you hanging about the dress… sorry! I kept my dress top-secret under wraps, not just from the hive, but from everyone. Only my mom and I knew anything about it, and only my bridal photographer saw it before our wedding day.
I originally kept the dress details quiet because I wasn’t exactly sure what the final product would be. I had a style in mind, as well as a couple of alternates, but knew that there was a chance Mom would get a bee in her bonnet, or I would get re-inspired, and we would change direction. And I didn’t want to take the chance that Mr. Archer would manage to find out anything about it, so that was good motivation for my secrecy. I was super-open about my wedding planning process, not just on the blog, but in conversation as well, so this was something private and special. I occasionally wished I had shared my dress with my bridesmaids during the wedding windup, but that was just because I am terrible at keeping secrets, and it was hard to get input on accessories when the main part of the outfit is a mystery!
I’m aware how incredibly lucky I am. I got to imagine and have created my absolute dream dress, and I’m hard-pressed to come up with something more sentimental than having your mom make your wedding dress.
When it came to vision, I drew inspiration from a variety of styles. I loved the low back of Winnie Couture’s Emily, the restrained-but-floaty tulle of Monique Lhuillier’s Candy (both of which I tried on), as well as the silhouette of Enzoani Cincinnati and the lacy straps of Enzoani Diana.
Cincinnati and Diana, both via Enzoani
I imagined all these and more when I thought about my dream wedding dress, and did my best to translate it for my mother. Once we had a plan in mind, she set to work, beginning with a giant pile of white textiles—bridal satin, tulle, and Chantilly lace.
I was thrilled my grandparents were able to attend our wedding. I’ve always been very close with them; they feel like a second set of parents. And they’re the cool kind of grandparents, sometimes cooler than my own parents! What would be the best way to pay tribute to them? I first read about the idea of an anniversary dance on Weddingbee. I knew immediately that this tradition was for us. And we would make it a surprise!
Now that we had decided to put the spotlight on my grandparents, we had to give them something to dance to. After a secretive phone call to my mom, we decided “Moonlight Serenade” would delight them. It’s a big-band classic for their generation and remains a beautiful song.
We’ve always known we would do some sort of premarital counseling. Both of us grew up with the mentality that divorce is not an option. Considering that the divorce rate in the United States is a staggering 50%, we knew we wanted some tools to help ward off those odds. It didn’t hurt that our church also required it for us to be married, but they were incredibly flexible about where it was done!
Early early this morning (8:00am on a Saturday, ouch!) Mr. Manatee and I battled OU/Texas traffic up to Anthem in Dallas for our premarital counseling seminar. Texas has this fantastic (and completely free!) program for engaged couples called Twogether in Texas. Completely non-faith based, this program approaches touchy subjects like communication, anger, money, previous marriages and blended families. Surprisingly, sex was not really discussed! After completion of the full day program, couples receive a certificate of completion that earns us $60 off our marriage license! I actually found this program on the side bar of advertisements on Facebook.
We dragged out of bed at 7:00am, picked up some liquid courage and joined seven other couples in the most fantastic full backed leather chairs.
Mr. Castle was ready to see his bride. I can only imagine what was going on in his head. Look at all the different emotions that were on his face!
Photography by the amazing Palos Studio
As I waited in the bridal suite with my Dad, I started to feel those nervous butterflies. I thought about how this event was the focus of my life for the last 15 months and I couldn’t believe it was finally here. I joked around with my Dad and asked if he was going to cry. He said he wasn’t, which was a lie because he definitely did. Right before we were about to walk out the door I noticed a huge beetle in my path! I didn’t want it making a new home in my train…so I asked my Dad to please get rid of it. He saved the day by kicking it out of the way. Then it was time to go!
The music began, an instrumental version of “Rainbow Connection.” We got our cue to go and we began our journey down the aisle.
After we rang in the new year, the party kept on going! The DJ turned the music up and some of the guests went a little nuts with props that had found their way to the dance floor.
Annabananaorange is selling nine ivory lace table overlays, and one lace table runner. She is asking $120 for the set.
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:
Our Save the Dates are done!! I am beyond thrilled with how they turned out.
They are so totally us. Mr. Whale plays the guitar, and I play the piano. I also love to wear bright colored tights, leg-warmers, and bright shoes (lucky for me, my dude grew up in the 80′s, so he thinks these things are totally hot. I know, I snagged a pretty awesome guy.).
The best thing about our Save the Dates is that they look awesome! The second best thing? We made them ourselves!! My mind was blown when I heard that some people spend hundreds of dollars on these things. You totally don’t have to! And now that they’re done, I’ve definitely got some tips.
Tip Number One: Either have a professional photographer or talk a very patient friend into helping you. I have to give a BIG thanks to my mom for being our awesome and incredibly patient photographer. We probably took about 150 photos until we could get this one. Crazy, right?? What did the ones we didn’t choose look like?
Here’s pretty awkward angle:
Hive, in the weeks leading up to our wedding we were getting so many wedding-related packages in the mail that I didn’t have a chance to share my news with you about two special deliveries:
1) My wedding band! I don’t think I ever provided you with the back-story on my engagement ring either, so here’s my story in a nutshell. Last fall, Mr. Wallaby and I had been talking about getting married, and on a rainy Sunday afternoon he decided that it was time to go ring shopping. Cue to a popular jewelry store at the Houston Galleria, where I nervously tried on rings galore. I had never paid any attention to engagement rings. None. I didn’t know there was a difference between princess and cushion cut. And I definitely didn’t know that a lot of rings these days have halos of diamonds around the center stone. But once I had tried on several rings, I decided that I looooove round diamonds, with halos and with pave diamonds around the band. I left the rest up to Mr. W, and several months later he proposed…with a beautiful round-cut diamond ring prettier than any I had imagined.
About an hour and a half into dancing, it was time to throw the bouquet and garter. But before we could do that, I had to find a bouquet and a garter!
I had planned to just throw my bouquet because I couldn’t really take it with me, but it had my bee charms and my grandma’s brooch in it, that I didn’t want to lose. My mom found one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets, I ran upstairs and put on my garter, and it was go time.
The single ladies got ready to made a grab (particularly Fatina…). I was worried I’d throw it too high and bounce it off the tent frame, but I ended just lobbing it directly behind my head. I don’t think those in the back row really minded.
I mentioned in my early blogging days that Sparks and I weren’t planning to incorporate any real wedding traditions into our big day. We honestly didn’t have much time to think about it and didn’t feel like we connected with an idea strongly enough to make it part of the celebration.
Well. My aunts had other plans.
“Surprise! Time for some Polish tradition!”
While I’m a classic, American, cultural mashup with a hefty dose of Polish thrown in, my dad’s side of the family is the real deal. And at all of our Polish weddings, there’s a tradition called the oczepiny ceremony that takes place during the reception. Basically, this is the moment when the bride is welcomed as a married woman…and your family gets to embarrass you a little.
I am having some anxiety about my teeth and Mr. Sword’s teeth, but since I’m also able to laugh at myself and my diluted first world problems, I decided to share this with everyone. Make sure you locate your own sense of humor before reading on, it’s quite pathetic.
Dilemma One: How do I get Mr. Sword to agree to whiten his teeth?!!? I’m planning on doing some form of whitening myself because I’m a bit sensitive about my side fangs that appear quite yellow in photos, and because I could use an overall brighter set of pearly whites for the Big Day. Since getting engaged I’ve been talking to Mr. Sword about getting his teeth whitened as well, but he wants no part in it.
You know the joke about people from the UK not having good teeth?
image via Gotcha Movies
I’m lucky my Scottish man has really good teeth, but I’m still nervous that they will look a lot more yellow when photographed next to mine if he chooses not to whiten.
From our fun bridal party photos, we moved on to Wayfarers to prepare for the ceremony. The first thing we did was sign our marriage certificate and had MOH Wino and BM B sign as witnesses for us. Then, guests started to arrive, so Mr. Genie went to greet guests, and we girls stayed in the bridal room, touching up and collecting ourselves.
And it was also time to put on my veil. I really wanted my mom to help me do this.
We’ve played around with a few color schemes. Some with pink as the fifth color, some with coral, one with green. But the blues have always been the ’base’ of our color scheme. Blue is my absolute favorite color, and given half a chance I’d paint every wall in our apartment a different shade. Blue is Mr. Manatee’s second favorite color, first being green (check out that second color scheme!). But truth be told, the fifth color is not as important…yet. If it were up to me, we’d only be doing the blues, gray and glitter (!!!).