Hiya, honey bees! Long time no see…too long, I know, so apologies all around. Missed y’all, and glad to be back.
“Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure, a year in the life?”
- Jonathan Larson
One year ago today, Mr. Archer and I found ourselves on ourwedding day. The long road there was undoubtedly worth every step. It was exactly where, what, and with whom were meant to be, and that, my dears, is a glorious thing.
Having a over a hundred of our nearest and dearest come from all over the world to converge in New Orleans and celebrate our love was one of the most humbling blessings of our lives.
This time tomorrow, we Archers will be on a plane bound for our belated honeymoon, and we are beyond excited! I’ve not mentioned our honeymoon plans previously, so let me rewind for a second.
After our New Orleans wedding, we enjoyed a several day mini-moon. Between the wedding and the following few days, we had accounted for the entirety of our budget, so we planned to delay our honeymoon for a while to allow ourselves time to save. We were beyond humbled after our wedding to learn that we had been generously gifted by our friends and family—enough so to allow for a lovely honeymoon!
Immensely grateful, we began to assess and plan for a few potential honeymoon locations. Forerunners were the Mediterranean, the Adriatic, Southeast Asia, and Central America. We compared itineraries and schedules, price points and excursions, wanting a fabulous new experience together, some adventure in turn with some luxury, and, of course, the most bang for our (budgeted) buck. After much debate, we booked our tickets for a Costa Rica honeymoon!
We’ll be spending 12 days in Costa Rica—we’ve reserved a rental SUV and Mr. Archer is psyched to drive us through the jungle. We’ll be traveling through several areas of the country, and I’m so looking forward to visiting the different areas. After an overnight in San Jose, we’ll spend a few days in Arenal. We will be staying first in a hot springs resort near the volcano, then an actual tree-house hotel! I have booked us a couple’s massage on our wraparound patio, and we have plans to tour the hanging bridges, luxuriate in the hot springs, and zip-line through the cloud forest.
In my very first post, I chatted about how and why I chose my moniker. I still find Mr. Archer’s comment amusing, and remain a Hunger Games fan. Referring to us as the Archers has become second nature and, well, I’ve always been a bit of a cheeseball.
A while back, Mr. Archer and I went on a date, to the Renaissance Faire for the first time. We had such a blast drinking mead and eating turkey legs. I was so psyched when we came across the archery section, and we quickly set me up with a quiver of arrows and a period instructor so I could live my nickname!
Despite (or more accurately, because of) my excessive enthusiasm, I was terrible at first. Like, missed the hay bales—by yards. As I’ve mentioned, I’m awfully uncoordinated, so this was no surprise. After a few rounds and some generous instruction, I was sort of OK, and even hit the target a few times!
When I left off, my dress was in progress, or in limbo, as I called it. Right after that last picture was taken, my mom drove me to the airport to catch my flight home to Los Angeles and Mr. Archer. Then, I waited (not so patiently, tbh) for just over a week while Momma Archer’s nimble fingers worked their magic to finish my dress. I was so excited when that big box was delivered, to see my dress completed and have it in my possession. I definitely had a moment of OMGSOSOON, and must admit that I did a little dance—thorough testing, you know. And that weekend, I played dress up at a friend’s gorgeous home in the Hollywood Hills and had my bridal portraits made.
A confession—we shot these the day after my shower and our joint bachelor(ette) here in LA, and after excessive amounts of revelry and champagne, I was feeling rough. I was not in love with the idea of getting done up, a photo shoot, or anything but sleeping it off, really. It is a testament to Jhovany’s skill that he managed to hide the hot mess. I mean, I even forgot to wear my engagement ring—who does that? Regardless, my mom was really pleased with these pictures, so mission accomplished.
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 and am obsessed with our invitations, despite the immense amout of work they were. Our paperie vendors (Audrey, our graphic designer, Bridget, our letterpress contact, Angi, our calligrapher, and Robert, our printer) were so fabulous to work with and produced such quality work.
We did have one more small hitch, with the embossing of our return address. We’re not sure if it was the metallic embossing powder, the silky texture of Lettra stock, or the detail in the stamp, but it was clumpy and blurry, so we scratched the embossing, and just stamped our return address in dove grey ink.
Other than that, everything else turned out just as I imagined!
WE DID IT!
(pic personal, via KP)
We made it through our wild and crazy wedding week, and our mini-moon in our hometown, and just landed in Los Angeles as Mr. and Mrs.! A delayed flight home and impending colds (we’ve run ourselves ragged) mean that our first dinner at home as newlyweds is In-and-Out in front of the television.
I’m lying in bed right now, listening to Bridesmaid K sleep next to me. The sun is shining through the curtains (thank you, universe—I hated our rain plan!), I can hear the streetcar rattling down the avenue, even though I’ve only been awake for half an hour, tears are streaming down my face as I write this, and today is already the best day of my life.
This week has been an absolute whirlwind—from the time we landed here in NOLA on Wednesday, we’ve been running at top speed. To call it an emotional roller coaster is an understatement. Last-minute venue issues, a major suit crisis, and my general control and anxiety issues have made for some scary moments, not gonna lie. But all that ain’t no thing in comparison to the fullness of my heart. I’ve gotten to watch over 100 of our beloveds from all over the country trickle into our hometown, having made a weekend to celebrate our love a priority. And last night at our (delish) rehearsal dinner, as our friends and family toasted and roasted and blessed us, I laughed till it hurt and shed tears at the sweetness (a few groomsmen and our parents totally undid me). When it was our turn, I made it three words before the waterworks turned on, and just a few sentences before Mr. Archer had to take over. Suffice it to say, I have never in my life felt more humbled, blessed, or loved than I have this week. My cup runneth over.
As our wedding day approaches, I’ve stared down a serious to-do list. While it is mostly crossed off today, a week before our wedding (!!!) I’d be telling baldfaced lies if I took credit for all of it. So let me tell you how it really went down and share the credit where it’s due.
I had a bit of a stressmelt about my task load, so Mr. Archer decided he would help me with my DIY projects. This was incredibly out of character for him; he normally just refills my wine glass and occasionally makes an encouraging comment, since TBH he has the crafting skills of a kindergartener and we both know it. So I was a little concerned about his execution when he joined me outdoors to spray paint frames and make chalkboards.
He was surprisingly patient with both the 90-degree-plus temperatures and the finicky chalkboard paint, and really did a pretty good job on the chalkboards.
…was, without a doubt, to go on vacation the week before the wedding. We are currently doing that, and it is amazeballs.
I write from glorious-yet-scorching Palm Springs, where I’m working on my tan poolside with a watermelon-ginger libation Mr. Archer whipped up. There’s only one other couple and a friendly shit-tzu named Toby on the property, so we’ve had the pool and deck totally to ourselves, beyond our cute little condo.
looking through my iPhone
We’ve tried to have both fun and focus on this getaway. With the wedding day ever-rushing sooner, we knew we’d need to delegate some time for the almighty wedding to-do list. So we have, and we’re doing pretty well! While here, we’ve organized our rehearsal dinner menu and details, crafted our ceremony text, touched base with most of our vendors and bridal party members, organized the day-of timeline, and more—we even shipped boxes of decor from Palm Springs! Not gonna lie, all this was way more fun / less stressful with incredible views like this…
As a former pageant girl, I looove me some long lashes. Though I’ve used Latisse mostly consistently and with pretty good results for the last year, that’s still not enough lashage for me. So I wear false eyelashes pretty much whenever I’m getting “done up.” Nights out, celebratory dinners, and occasions where photos are taken are all reasons enough to bust out a pair of falsies.
So for my wedding-day look (more on that soon), some kind of lash enhancements were definitely happening for this girlie girl. I’m comfy with the strips I often use on myself and others, but wanted to experiment. I had liked the individual lashes I got during my trial, but was eyeing (teehee) fancy-pants lash extensions. So when an offer came across Lifebooker, I snagged it, thinking I would give them a pre-wedding test run to see how I liked them and how they looked.
I’ve mentioned before how inspiring the hive can be, and here is yet another example. Mrs. Doily had a fantastic idea for choosing a first dance song, and when I saw it, I promptly decided to copy her! The Archers love football, not to mention a little healthy competition, so we were super excited to create our first dance-song bracket!
We began a few days before our first dance lesson with a little “pre-draft scouting,” discussing some of the songs we were considering for our choices. Several songs had made both of our rosters, so we divvied them up, filled in the blanks, and prepared to debate our choices.The contenders included lots of country, some classic rock, some jazz—a pretty decent mix of some of our favorite genres (we’re saving the hip hop for later in the party).
Mr. Archer’s choices, in ascending order, were: “God Gave Me You” (Blake Shelton), “Let’s Stay Together” (Al Green), “All I Wanna Do” (Sugarland), “Faithfully” (Journey), “Big Green Tractor” (Jason Aldean), “Whatever It Is” (Zac Brown Band), “I Run to You” (Lady Antebellum), and “Wave on Wave” (Pat Green). My competitors, again in ascending order, were “So Small” (Carrie Underwood), “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” (Elvis Presley), “Johnny and June” (Heidi Newfield), “Ribbon in the Sky” (Stevie Wonder), “Honeybee” (Blake Shelton), “What a Wonderful World” (Louis Armstrong), “History in the Making” (Darius Rucker), and “Free” (Zac Brown Band.)
Sorry I’ve been MIA for a bit, y’all. We’ve been knocking things off our wedding to-do list like crazy, I’ve been traveling for consulting and, most of all, I’ve been giving Humpty Dumpty a run for his money—which is equally painful, sucky and horrifically ill-timed.
Illustrations by the source for learning, via teachersandfamilies.com
Let me explain what I mean. I’ve mentioned before how I have a bad foot, and four years after the accident, it continues to be contentious. But I’m not talking about that—in the last few months, I’ve had two other accidents that have had friends and family suggesting we invest in a Bubble Boy suit.
Remember when I told y’all about my plans for DIY florals for our wedding? That is a major project that continues to be a work in progress, but at least progress is a good thing. We’ve worked out flower counts and a few variety replacements, and the next step is to order them. Recently, we made a Home Depot trip, and I spent an afternoon replanting succulents we’ll use in my bouquet and a few shallow arrangements.
I’ve credited the hive for some of my ideas before, so it’s no surprise that I found myself again inspired on a few wedding projects. People around these parts are really creative and crafty!
I’m obsessed with it, but I couldn’t justify the cost when multiplied by eight bridesmaids and four flower girls. So, inspired by Mrs. Hyena, and Miss Dragon, I decided to hit up Ikea and Michaels for the supplies for some DIY hangers. I dusted off my sorority-girl paint-pen skills, printed some initial templates, and an episode of Chopped later, had some good-looking hangers for my girls to hang their dresses on! I’ve got wide gray satin ribbon that will make some pretty little bows to top them off, too!