There is so much advice out there about planning a wedding. Checklists, planning websites, binders, TV shows…And so many magazines and blogs put pressure on women to be perfect blushing brides. Many girls I know have successfully lost weight before their weddings. I’ve even seen a couple Groupons for “bridal bootcamp.” But what about after the wedding? All of a sudden, there’s no pressure to fit into a little white dress, to have dazzling white teeth for photos or to stop biting your nails.
So here’s my deep, dark, reluctant confession: since our wedding, I’ve kind of let myself go. I used to go to a boot camp with a couple friends three times a week, I went for jogs periodically with Mr. W, I stayed active in whatever way I could. I stayed fit. I didn’t lose much weight before our wedding (except for eight pounds I lost the week of the wedding from stress…and subsequently gained back on our honeymoon and over the holidays ). But I stayed really healthy, because I did care about looking good. Call me superficial, but I wanted to look good for the relatives I haven’t seen in 10 years, and for Mr. W’s family members who I’ve never met before. I wanted to look hawt in all of our wedding photos, and feel great on our big day.
Yet ever since we got back from Australia, I haven’t summoned the motivation to work out. Since my old apartment had a small fitness room, I did join a gym when I moved in with Mr. W the week of the wedding. But I’ve only been there twice. Twice in two months. When Mr. W heads out for a game of basketball at the gym, I always have an excuse. Thank you cards. Skype catch-up sessions with my BFFs from Seattle. Housework. Blogging for Weddingbee .
And my eating habits have changed too. Even though I saw Mr. W pretty much every single day, I would first go home to my apartment every day to change and unwind for a bit. I would occasionally snack on some fat-free popcorn or eat a bowl of cereal if I was starving after work, but I didn’t snack that much. Mr. W, on the other hand, is a chronic snacker. As soon as he gets home from work, he has a bag of chips in his hand. He plays a ton of basketball, his job is fairly active, and his 6’2″ frame can handle it. But now that we’re roomies, it’s been a novelty coming home to him. After a long day at work, I love to cozy up with him on the couch while eating a snack and watching reruns of Friends and Modern Family. I love that time of the day. But I’m suddenly evolving into a couch potato for the first time in my life, and honestly, I’m not that happy with my body. I also feel lower on energy—probably from eating snacks, and from not getting the endorphin release of a good workout.
The time has come, hive! I’m revealing our invitations today! But before I do, I have to do two things.
First, if you’re doing the math in your head thinking “But, Otter, it’s only the end of January. Why are you sending your invitation so early?” Well hive, by now it has already happened, but on the day we went to get our invitations weighed, we were informed that postage rates were about to go up. While we had to put the extra amount on the return RSVP card, I wasn’t paying for extra postage to delay sending the invitations by a couple of weeks. Instead, out they went! Plus, as not everyone is lucky enough to have the great job that I have, I was concerned that some individuals may not be able to get the time off if we didn’t let them know more specific details sooner rather than later.
Second, yes, I’m a giant nerd. So I went ahead and made Mr. Otter stop and take a photo of me with the sample invitation before we went in to the post office.
If you’ll first remember our invitation inspiration and the final product, you’ll remember these photos:
Just a short post to tell you that Mr. Lemur and I paid a visit to the largest used bookstore in Greenville—Mr. K’s Used Books—a while back to fill our vision of a book-themed wedding. We knew we were looking for classics and books we had read and loved, such as Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice and Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women. OK, maybe that was just me; Mr. Lemur was looking at Mark Twain and Charles Dickens.
We bought each of the following books for about five dollars each-not bad for hardbound classics!
Here’s Mr. Lemur modeling our books…
ecl68 is selling a new David’s Bridal wedding gown, with the veil and slip. She is asking $800 for the size 2 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:
This is the post where I assail you with photos of the Unicycles gazing lovingly into each others’ eyes. If you’re thirsty for more, see our Milwaukee engagement session. (I’m assuming you’ll click this because you’re one of those people who stares at couples who kiss in public. I know your type.)
After we took our final wedding party photos, we released them to the cocktail hour to get their signature cocktail on. They basically ran toward the flowing booze like moths to a bug zapper. Our photographer had other plans for me and Mr. U though. We decided to take a golf cart out onto the green (that’s what golf courses are called, right?) and take advantage of some of the beautiful scenery for our couples portraits.
Photo by Jennifer Shaffer Photography
I really wish we had some affiliation with golfing so this photo would be more poignant.
We found this cool bridge with weeping willows around it and took a bunch of shots through the branches.
Unfortunately AND FORTUNATELY, my wedding planning time is almost up. The Sword’s Big Day is just around the corner and I literally can’t believe I’ve been engaged since last February. Life has flown by in the best of ways during this year and I have enjoyed nearly every second of it. I’ve also learned a ton about what has benefited us the most while being engaged and I’d love to pass my insight on to you.
If you just got engaged over the holidays (congrats) or if you’re still in the early stages of planning, this list is for you!
Miss Sword’s Six Tips for the “Year of the Wedding” (length of “wedding year” can vary from a few months to multiple years)
1. Sign up for a PO Box. This has been hands down the smartest thing we ever did. These days it’s not common for couples to be living together before marriage and to be living in an apartment or a condo. If you live in a place with a tiny mailbox or a slightly unsafe area (heeey big cities!), then a PO Box is the safest way to receive packages, gifts, letters and wedding response cards. We reserved one this past August through UPS for 14 months and it was $360. Every time we order something important (like a gift for our parents, my shoes, the guestbook, etc.), we have it sent to the PO Box. We also put this address on our wedding website and registries so our personal address isn’t plastered everywhere and our wedding gifts are sent straight to the UPS store as opposed to being stuck outside in the snow or at another location because they can’t be delivered. The best part is that they send us an email and a text every time we receive a package, so usually once or twice a week I hop in the car and drive the one mile to our PO Box to pick up our loot. This one from Thursday was particularly awesome. See below.
2. Keep extra thank you cards and stamps nearby for quick return on sending those thank you cards out the door. Most of us are lucky enough to have bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and to receive gifts before the wedding. The best way to show your appreciation for everyone’s time and generosity is to get your thank you cards out in a prompt and quick fashion. This also helps your mental state as well because it’s an easy and fast way to check something off your long to-do list. I gave myself three weeks after each event or party and a week after a wedding gift is delivered to get my thank you note in the mail. You don’t have to write a novel, just sincere appreciation from the heart. I try to buy a set of thank-you cards for each event and then to mix and match extras as not everyone is invited to each event. Does that make sense? I’m really looking forward to using our Once Upon a Time themed thank yous (yet to be revealed) that we ordered from Minted with our invitations to thank everyone for attending our wedding.
After much trial and tribulation and a few frustrating Adobe Illustrator moments where I was sure I was going to throw the computer into the sun, I have completed our custom save-the-dates! In my last entry I mentioned that I was inspired by save-the-dates that feature simple silhouettes, which I thought added personalization while incorporating our 18th century Versailles/Marie Antoinette theme. Without further ado, I bring you our save-the-dates:
Last Sunday was a beautiful day in Philadelphia—highs in the 50’s (!!), sun shining all day long, unseasonably mild for January (my research paid off!). It was a perfect wedding day—and Mr. Ly and I had the best day ever. There were things that didn’t go as planned, sure, and there was an hour or so in the middle of the day where I wanted to absolutely saw my pinky toes off because I chose cute shoes over comfort (note to future brides: be kind to your feet, you will be on them for a LONG time. Consider this in your shoe choices.), but at the end of the day, all the food (and there was so.much.food!) had been eaten, cakes cut, photos shot, and dances danced—we were blissfully tired and basking in the glow of being married. We mini-mooned in Jamaica, and now we’re back in a much colder Philadelphia than we left, ready to start this exciting chapter of our lives.
I am anxiously awaiting our professional pictures, and as with our engagement photos, but our photographer has given us just one picture to hold us over until the rest are ready:
|Right after our first look. Photo via Mike Landis Photographer|
(I don’t know who called us out in the comment section, but I love the WB shout out on our photographer’s blog—thanks!)
sofiekitty added a cute photo of her groom and groomsmen to the Weddingbee Gallery!
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Thanks to our hoppin’ after party, waking up the next day was a bit difficult for a few of us. I think the only motivation people had was the fact that we had to be up and out by 11:00am, as well as the fact that a nice hot breakfast was out and ready, and only being served until 10:00am—just the cure for a full night and day of drinking and wedding shenanigans!
This was about the point where everything just sort of hit me. We were officially married. It was so weird to be able to say that. And this wedding…the one I spent over two years of my life planning…was over. All the flowers were sitting on a lonely table in the empty dining room. The mason jars were collected, cleaned and boxed. My chalkboard signs, cake topper and toasting flutes were jumbled together inside another box.
It might be deemed weird by a few, but I totally teared up a bit. But I already wrote a whole post about that.
And then I remembered that I just married my other half. He’s my husband. What an awesome word! That, and the fact that we were leaving for Mexico in the next 36 hours. Frown=upside down!
So once everything was all packed up and most of our friends and family had left, Foxy and I said one last goodbye to the Vandiver, and to one of the greatest weekends we’ve had on record.
All photos personal.
Bonus: my hair and makeup were still pretty intact! (And that is why you should do airbrush!)
We ended up leaving our lanterns up in the pavilion for the next wedding (per their request), and I gave the photo booth backdrop and frame to our coordinator, Jamie, who wanted to use it for an upcoming family wedding. Hey, if things could be repurposed, I was all for it! I even managed to convince some guests to take boxes of mason jars and vases of baby’s breath home with them. To say we had extras is an understatement.
Despite how low-key our first few hours of getting ready at the hotel were, when we arrived at the Piazza in the Village, the pace really started to pick up. My lovely bridesmaids had put on their red bridesmaids dresses at the hotel, and were looking absolutely stunning, if I do say so myself. Some of you might remember waaaay back when I was searching for the perfect dress for the girls. Believe it or not, the day of the wedding was actually my first time to see the dresses in person. Luckily they fit great, and the girls all looked beautiful!
After arriving at the Piazza and unloading the many decor items I was providing, we headed into the Bridal Suite where I had a quick chat with Tabitha, our coordinator. We went over a few last minute details, and then it was time for me to slip into my dress!
If you remember from my previous engagement pictures post, we chose to go with Niki Marie Photography for our engagement pictures. Niki helped us decide on outfits and locations and we headed to downtown Detroit for our engagement shoot.
That was an adventure in and of itself, of course. Downtown Detroit is fascinating because you can see how it was once beautiful and thriving—massive, tall buildings and a network of streets. However, today so many of those buildings stand empty and abandoned and most people avoid spending extended time there. The unemployment rate has skyrocketed and on every street you can see evidence of neglect. Some of these buildings are the background to our pictures-although Niki managed to make them look amazing of course!
A few days after the engagement shoot she posted this sneak peek!
A few things:
1. I LOVE this picture! I look just like I feel—relaxed and happy—and Mr. Lemur is actually smiling for real. Of course, after all of my dilemma about what to wear and not wearing black…I’m wearing black. In my defense, I had a colored shirt and cute pants on, but it was getting chilly by the end of the day.