One of my favorite interracial couples, Iman & David Bowie / Image via BruceWeber.com
The idea for this post came to me last week during my annual trip down to Cancun with Mr. Mongoose and his family. While this is my seventh trip to the beautiful Mexican city (my first two times were with a BFF and the last five times have been with Mr. Mongoose), this trip made me much more aware of how we may appear to outsiders.
I love cocktail hours at weddings. It’s always nice to have a drink or two and catch up with friends and family I haven’t seen awhile (especially when we’re assigned to different tables at dinner). We planned this action-packed, detail-studded cocktail hour for our guests—and we missed it. Since the hair and make-up stylists were running really late, we didn’t have time to take wedding party photos before the ceremony. So we wound up taking a ton of photos during cocktail hour. Then we took a few more photos with just the two of us. And then we snuck away to eat some dinner, so we could join our guests during dinner. Well, Mr. W scarfed down a whole lot of BBQ and mashed potatoes, and I nibbled on a piece of cornbread. More on that in a minute.
From the other side of the property where we were posing for photos, I could see that everyone was mingling and getting their drink on. The DJ was spinning tunes from times past (Louis, Aretha, Billie, Otis—okay, okay, and Michael Buble) and sparks were flying.
Teri had set out chairs in little clusters for guests to lounge on while they chatted and waited for dinner. (Told you guys—she thought of everything!!)
Before I knew it, and before I was really even ready for it, Frank the DJ announced and started playing the last song of the night.
I don’t know about you, but I’m obsessed with Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist. And I’m obsessed with this song. And from the moment I first heard it, I wanted it as the final song played at our wedding. (Never mind the fact that we weren’t even engaged yet.) So no, not everyone knew it, and not everyone knew if they should dance to it or not, but once they saw Foxy and I take over the dance floor, the sentiment caught on.
All photos by Exclamation Imagery unless otherwise noted.
When we first set out on our wedding planning journey, I was adamant about creating all of the paper goods and stationery myself. This was inspired partly by the need to save money and partly by my stubborn desire to have total control over the creative process. Our first challenge arrived in the form of the all important save-the-date cards. Mr. C and I knew we wanted something unique and personalized, but let’s be honest, that usually costs a pretty penny.
Never one to back down from a challenge, I took this task into my own (in)capable hands. Never mind the fact that I am not a graphic designer. Or the fact that, at the time, I had no idea how to use Adobe Illustrator. I’ve been using some iteration of Adobe Photoshop since high school. But Illustrator? It’s a different beast entirely. I find Photoshop intuitive but Illustrator takes training, practice, and patience. I was lucky to have the help of a friend who happens to work as a graphic designer. Some one-on-one training supplemented with a few YouTube tutorials and I was on my way. But even after finishing this project, the pen tool and I are not friends. “Oh, you just need some time to get used to it,” my graphic designer friends have told me. No. The pen tool is evil and should be destroyed.
But before we can get to my trial-by-fire experience with Adobe Illustrator, I need to start with the inspiration. With the overwhelming diversity of save-the-date options, colors, and designs out there, it was hard to narrow down exactly what we wanted. We started by deciding the most important aspects we wanted to incorporate into this project.
1) Incorporate the Look / Feel of the Wedding:
The save-the-date is really your guests’ first taste of your wedding style and theme. As such, we knew that it was important to incorporate a some of our wedding colors as well as images that evoke a feeling of Versailles or Marie Antoinette.
2) Size Matters:
I have seen a lot of adorable save-the-dates. Everything from origami, animated flip books, “mix tape” CDs of music, mini calendars (like Mrs. Green Tea’s!), and more! Mrs. Duckling made her wedding date into felt numbers that are pulled out of a tiny envelope. Who could forget a date that adorable? Mrs. Eagle designed her own save-the-date magnets. Check out this adorable save-the-date where the couple asked their guests to “pencil in” their date. Adorable but not very cost effective, unfortunately.
|Image via: Style Me Pretty / Photography by: Pen / Carlson / Planning + Design by: Birch Design Studio|
Then you have the standard photo postcard that many couples opt for these days. This is a very simple and painless way to create your own save-the-dates. The best part is that your friends and relatives will have a great photo of you and your fiance to display on the fridge. There are loads of examples available, but I love our own Mrs. Turkey’s! Unfortunately, ever the overachiever, this seemed like the easy way out to me. Also we may have been slacking on having our engagement photo session. Whoops!
When we left off, we had found three venues that we loved, but none of them worked out. So, we started over and narrowed it down to two potential venues—not our first choices, but maybe better. (That happens sometimes!)
I’m going to spoil this post and just let you know that this story has a happy ending!
Announcing…Luttrell Lodge at the Pleasant Ridge Camp & Retreat Center, the location for our laid-back family wedding. It’s perfect!
We toured the lodge and I took pictures—unfortunately, the quality is so, so awful that I won’t post them and ruin your impression of our venue, since it’s really very nice. Instead, here’s a few more pictures from the website. Trust me, it’s better this way.
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
Once every guest was seated an enjoying their breakfast, the speeches began.
Our friends, C and L, gave a sentimental but hilarious speech about our relationship. We’ve been friends with C and L for a long as we’ve been with each other, so it was incredibly touching to have them say such sweet things about us and our relationship. Unfortunately, their speech was in Spanish and impossible to translate, so you’ll just have to trust my word that it was awesome.
nnenna1982 is selling a custom chandelier cake stand. She is asking $85.
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:
There is one thing I have been very adamant about recently and that is having an off-site location to take photos with the bridal party and Mr. Sword on our wedding day.
I was never a girl who pictured or thought about a beautiful outdoor wedding. Sure, I love the sunshine on my skin, I love the smell of fresh air and a beautiful city skyline, but I have no problems getting married indoors. I’m an indoors girl at heart. Plus, the atrium at our hotel has high ceilings and tons of greenery so it feels very lush and homey at the same time. Perfect.
That said, I really, really want to take some photos outside on the Big Day! I just can’t stand the thought of every picture taken with indoor lighting when natural lighting is so amazing. Not to mention, no matter what the weather, I want to have photographic proof of it. How will I remember how cold or nice it felt on our wedding or how it looked outside if I have nothing to remember it by?
So come rain, snow, sleet or sunshine, we’ll be outside from about 12:00—2:00 pm on our wedding day capturing it all.
Our first off-site location idea was the famous Mall of America (yes, this isn’t outside but it was going to be the first stop of two). This was good in theory, but bad in reality. Mr. Sword loathes the thought of drones of tourists all staring at us (while I’d quite like that) and I loathe the thought of navigating our large group through said drones of tourists. Plus, my idea for a first look in the theme park was quickly thwarted by the ugly neon colors they have going on in there these days and the fact that you really can’t ask a bunch of people to move out of your way just so you can “get the shot.”
In any case, we tried to find some picturesque spots for photos and took some shots just because we were there scouting. But you won’t be seeing me in a wedding dress at the MOA anytime soon. Note the blurry patrons behind me.
Some brides say they have trouble sleeping the night before their wedding, but I passed out the moment we came home from the movie and slept until my alarm woke me up at 8:00 am. I am not a morning person (no matter what morning it happens to be), so MOH Dancer and Bridesmaid Fashionista started my morning with a “It’s Your Wedding Day” dance and song that they made up on the spot.
A few months before our wedding I was telling MOH Dancer that I wanted to find a way to spend as much time as possible with our friends and family that had come into town for our wedding. Since we were leaving at the crack of dawn for our honeymoon, the day after our wedding was not going to be an option for us. Luckily, MOH Dancer’s mom came to the rescue and offered to throw a wedding day brunch for all the women in town for the wedding so I could spend a little extra time with them. Brunch is my absolute favorite meal, so despite the fact that I was still clinging to my bad mood from the night before, I was trying to push my emotions aside and prep myself for the see of smiling faces and delicious food. Momma Dancer did an incredible job setting up the room and cooking the food.
We arrived at the chapel with a few moments to spare. The boys were hiding out in the back hallway, so I went into the bridal room with my parents and bridesmaids.
My nerves had returned, so I drank a glass of water and just tried to breathe. The moments before the ceremony began are a bit of a blur because I had so much rushing through my head. My inner monologue went something like this:
Don’t cry. You’re about to get married. Married! That’s so crazy! Are you so excited? You should be excited. Why aren’t you excited? What’s wrong with you? Every bride is exuberantly joyful on her wedding day. No, it’s OK. Don’t cry. Just breathe.
We took the elevator upstairs to the chapel…
I knew from the beginning I wanted an engagement shoot. Mr. Lemur and I aren’t good about taking pictures, and when we do—let’s be honest, they’re just quick shots with my iPhone. I wanted good quality photos, nothing fancy or expensive, but some nice pictures of us that we could frame and have for the future.
Personal photo—I love this quick shot of us, but that’s all it is! A moment captured at Mr. Lemur’s brother’s wedding on my iPhone before the processional.
The “nothing fancy or expensive” part is where it gets tricky. I’m a graduate student and Mr. Lemur is a recent graduate—and although we both work multiple jobs, we also have to be very careful with our money and don’t want to spend several hundred dollars on an engagement shoot and then more money on prints.
erincredible shares this photo of her country-inspired engagement shoot!
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Okay, let’s say you’re a guest at the Wallaby wedding. Cocktail hour (more on that next!) is coming to a close, and the DJ interrupts the scheduled programming (cocktail hour must-play list—duh! ) to make a brief announcement that dinner is about to start. If you want your mashed potatoes and BBQ, it’s time to take a seat.
A table is set up between the cocktail hour space and the dinner tables, and there are clusters of bottled Coca Cola with name tags. You wander over to the table, locate a bottle with your name and table number (and take a swig…c’mon, you know you love it!), and find your table.
(Okay, crazy b’zilla side note…I would have loved for someone to have ditched the cardboard Coke boxes, uncapped the bottles, and stuck a pretty striped paper straw in each bottle. The cardboard boxes take away from any Style Me Pretty professional escort card charm…But the whole day was incredibly busy for everyone, and in spite of it all, I still got a lot of compliments on the Coke bottle idea…So in the end, it really wasn’t a big deal. Just sayin’. Some things won’t turn out the way you expect on your wedding day, but these small details are not worth sweating over. So here’s a zoomed-out photo where you can see the cardboard boxes in all their glory.)
Hive, I have so much to update you on! So excuse me if I jump around a little bit; I just have too many things to share! First of all: about my little girls. They aren’t so little anymore, but let me explain.
Instead of having flower girls or a ring bearer, I wanted to include my favorite little girls. These two babies have been so important to me since…well, since they were born! It’s a bit of a running joke in our family that my brother and I were with them so much that each one of them could be our twins. And it’s completely true.
Personal photo / K and K
K, the one on the right in this photo, is my twin. We are exactly alike in so many ways, and I tell everyone that I know that I taught her everything she knows. Examples include a love of cheerleading and taking way too many photos. I love these two babies, who obviously aren’t babies anymore, and I wanted to make sure they were included in the wedding. Since we weren’t having flower girls, I decided on an alternative.
Hey, guys! Remember when I shared my $25 Amazon find for Mr. A’s wedding band? Well, I took the leap and ordered a similar one after that particular seller no longer had Mr. A’s size…and IT IS PERFECTION. Seriously, Metal Masters on Amazon.com shipped the ring super quickly, and it came in perfect, flawless condition, exactly as described. Mr. A totally loves it, and it most definitely does NOT look like it only cost 25 bucks. I’m so happy!! Wanna see?
First, as a refresher, here’s a picture of the ring from Amazon.com:
6MM Flat Brushed Center Beveled Edge Comfort Fit Ring from Seller Metal Masters Co. Image via Amazon.
And here’s the ring IRL: