My parents divorced when I was 13 years old, and it was a nasty, bitter split. My dad left my mom for another woman. Not an upgrade or trophy wife, but a woman his age with three young children. He moved to the other side of the country and several years later he remarried. While I have since forgiven my father, my mother has not. In fact, my mother has never met my stepmother. My mother understandably has a lot of old wounds from the divorce. She had a really hard time recovering (it took years) and I think even now, even though she has remarried and moved to Illinois with her husband, she has not forgiven nor forgotten the past.
The last time my parents were in the same room together was in 2006 when my mom was seeing me off at the airport when I was moving to Japan. My dad also happened to be there as he was flying through Atlanta (he’s a commercial airline pilot) on a trip. I won’t lie—it was awkward. I remember standing there and feeling red in the face, hands sweaty. My dad looked incredibly uncomfortable. I was so thankful when it was over, but then I cried realizing it was the first time I’d seen them both together, at the same time, in 10 years. Even at 30 years old, the idea of having a photo taken with my mom and dad at my wedding still makes me tear up. Old emotions like this don’t heal and disappear, they lurk under the surface of your skin; they resurface at Christmas, on birthdays, whenever I think about being able to go “home,” which doesn’t exist anymore.
Always over the years, the one thing that has been cycling through the back of my mind is: what’s going to happen when I get married? Even when I was in relationships that I knew had no future potential, even when I was single, it was always a worry that would surface from time to time: what happens when my mother, who can be at times very volatile and irrational, finally meets the woman who she believes destroyed her marriage?
Mr. C and I are getting married at Cloverleaf Farm a relatively new venue that has only hosted a few weddings thus far. Actually, their very first wedding was just in November, but we booked them in August before they had even finished renovating the property. There was a lot of work to be done—a barn to clean up and repair, painting in the house, a bar to be built. We booked them on good faith that by May most of the major projects would be completed.
Well, our good faith and patience paid off! We visited the property just last week and I was blown away the beauty of the property. We arrived at 6:00 pm, around the time we will be getting married in a few weeks, and the light was absolutely gorgeous. All the rustic, rolling fields and pecan trees behind the property were aglow with the golden hues of the setting sun. I’m not usually a very weepy person, but I actually started to tear up looking out over the field where we are getting married in a few short weeks. The barn has been renovated with cafe lights and rustic chandeliers strung from the ceiling. The coordinator directed me towards their blog with even more gorgeous photos from their recent April weddings. You can see them on the property website under their photos section, if you are interested. I am just so excited to be getting married at this venue!
I took a few photos with my phone that I wanted to share, since I really didn’t have many photos of the venue to share when I first posted about it last fall. You can read about how we chose Cloverleaf in the venue entry. I was trying to capture that lovely golden hour just as the sun is setting.
Since the beginning of our engagement I’ve always known that I would like to have a reading from The Little Prince at our wedding ceremony. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a children’s book written by French author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I was first introduced to the book as a child when my dad read it to me. I always loved the simple tale about the world of adults and the world of children.
One of my bridesmaids recently gave me the Little Prince popup book, which is so beautiful! I love it so much that I actually bought one for my dad to give him as a thank you gift before the wedding.
Our reader is a dear friend and coworker, the English department chair at our school. She actually played a large role in hiring me at the school where we work, which in turn played a role in me meeting and falling in love with Mr. C! So we actually owe her a pretty large debt of gratitude, and we thought she would be the perfect person to be a reader at our ceremony, especially when she reads in her gentle, eloquent teacher-reader voice.
I love macarons. Specifically Ladurée macarons, but any will do really so long as they are made with care. In another blogger bee life, I would have loved to have blogged as Miss Macarons from the Tea Party generation. Macarons were present on the day Mr. C and I got engaged. We were at Versailles and of course Ladurée has a small boutique inside the palace to satiate your sweet tooth. There is nothing more decadent than sitting on the beautifully manicured grounds of Versailles or in the whimsical gardens of the Queen’s Hamlet and munching on some dainty little macarons in all the colors you know Marie Antoinette herself would have loved. I remember my first visit to Versailles in the summer of 2011. I was there with my stepsister, and I knew I had to try the macarons I had seen photos of so often online. I sat on the lawn munching away thing, “This is the life.” My stepsister, however, was not as impressed. Well, more for me!
The days have been flying by lately. I feel so consumed by work and wedding tasks that I look up and a week, two weeks, three weeks have flown by. Everything is moving so quickly and I feel that we are going to reach a critical mass soon! I’m starting to wonder why we decided to get married one week after the school year ends. But despite the mounting stress of work and the wedding, I’m glad that we will be getting married early in the summer so that we can enjoy the rest of our time off without worrying about wedding tasks. We can enjoy our much earned break and enjoy being married to each other.
Even though I’m feeling burned out and overwhelmed by the wedding—I’m still going to be sad when it’s all over. I think that I am probably very susceptible to experiencing the dreaded post-wedding depression. There are a few reasons for this. First of all, I have a stressful job that isn’t always easy. In fact, most of the time it is not easy. Mr. C and I work at a Title I high poverty high school, and there are a lot of emotional issues that are attached to what we do each day. Not only due to the current state of education, but also with the daily issues that students come to us with each day. We both teach “high stakes” test subjects, which puts a lot of pressure on us to bring in good test scores with students who, even as 12th graders, often struggle with basic reading comprehension, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. Needless to say, the wedding has been a very happy, positive distraction this year.
I had my hair trial last Friday! It was a busy day because, as one of the two Senior Advisory Board sponsors, I had just finished organizing and chaperoning the Class of 2013 senior picnic. I’ve been referring to the senior events as my “second wedding,” as it has involved designing and printing senior T-shirts, collecting money, securing payments for vendors, organizing catering and decorations for a senior breakfast, organizing catering and a DJ for the senior picnic. It has been a LOT of work and a lot of extra stress these last few weeks. But the good news is that everything came together perfectly. There were a few mistakes here and there, but I will know better for next year. I’m just glad it’s over and that means one huge worry and time commitment off my shoulders. Now to focus more on the wedding (and the big tests my AP world history and economics kids will be taking).
I rushed straight from the picnic (in my own senior T-shirt) to the salon. I wasn’t feeling very bridal or beautiful, but I left feeling really happy and confident in the skills of my stylist. I came in feeling like a hot mess and I this is what I left with:
Our invitations were definitely a labor of love. Thankfully, I learned the basic ropes of Adobe Illustrator when I sat down to create our save-the-dates earlier this year. This meant that the invitation process went much more quickly and smoothly than the save-the-date creation process. What took me a long time was finally settling on a color scheme and design. There are so many choices and it can feel overwhelming at times. At the end of the day, I simply needed to sit down, pick a design and walk away from it—and that’s just what I did. I’m incredibly happy with the way that they turned out. Here is how it appeared to our guests upon opening the envelope:
Poor Mr. C punched out all of those belly bands using a Martha Stewart punch one morning while I was sleeping in. He popped in The Hobbit DVD and went to town. By the time I woke up he had 100 beautiful belly bands neatly stacked into piles. He was also a huge help in the assembly process, as we ended up mailing off around 80 of these invites to our nearest and dearest.
In the midst of wedding-crafting madness, I wanted to share a few updates with you guys! First of all, I recently completed a really simple DIY project.
I picked up two wreaths, wooden letters, and silk flowers that were on sale at Michaels and crafted these up in a few minutes. I know they would probably look better with fresh flowers instead, but it’s one less thing for me to worry about and maybe a fun detail for photos. More than likely not many people will even notice them! But I know they will look cute on the back of the chairs at our sweetheart table during the wedding reception.
Mr. C and I did something slightly unconventional—we recently celebrated our joint bachelor/bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas. I thought it would be a a lot fun if some of my bridesmaids and his groomsmen could meet and mingle during an awesome Vegas adventure. Not many of our entourage were able to make it (my bridesmaids live all over the country and two just had their first babies)—but it was an amazing time nonetheless. This might not be the most typical way to celebrate, but I highly recommend it!
In the end we had two of Mr. C’s groomsmen (one being my older brother) and two of my bridesmaids plus the husband of my matron of honor. It was a fun, laid back group and we tried our best not to get into too much trouble (wish I could say the same for my brother and the other groomsmen!).
|After getting a little too much sun by the pool.|
In order to save money we ended up staying at Excalibur. It’s certainly not the nicest or classiest hotel, but it served our needs of a place to crash. Plus it was dirt cheap and their pool is actually really nice, and that’s where I ended up spending most of our afternoons anyway. The one big disadvantage is that Excalibur is located way down at the end of the strip. In the past, I have also stayed at Treasure Island and Aria, which have much better locations in the middle of the strip and closer to Caesar’s Palace and the Venetian. I think a lot of new visitors to Las Vegas don’t understand how much walking and stair-climbing you will do as you explore the strip and its many outrageous hotels and attractions. This was actually my fifth time to Vegas, so I had a pretty good idea of what to do and where to go. But don’t wear ridiculous heels unless you pack yourself some flats to wear on the walk (or take a taxi or the tram).
We’re all guilty of it—giving in to the constant barrage of Western culture telling us that our biggest, most special day ever is the perfect time to spend oodles of money on silly, unnecessary things. American consumerism at it’s finest! All those fancy wedding blogs only make things worse. Well, of course I absolutely must have fun sunglasses at our wedding. And let’s not forget a new, special perfume just for the big day! Did someone say paper parasols? Those would look amazing in our wedding photos. I’m ordering nine of them!
Image source via: lazygamer.net
And that’s how you end up spending all of your hard earned cash on silly, unnecessary things. Right now I feel like I could just take my paycheck, turn it into a paper airplane and just sail it off the top of a skyscraper. Poof! Gone forever.
So why all this unnecessary spending? I think that part of me is terrified that I will look back on our wedding with regret. I will lie awake at night sweating over the sparkler exit that we skipped because I didn’t feel like spending $65 on sparklers. I hate feeling regret. What a silly emotion because of course, we can never go back and fix things so it’s best to just accept things as they are and move on. Unfortunately, my brain does not often listen to reason and I assure you that I will still lie awake at night regretting stupid, irrelevant things. So, in a frantic attempt to bypass future regret, I have plowed full speed ahead into unnecessary wedding details. Right now I have 100% control over what will and will not be purchased for our wedding and I feel like it’s now or never for these little special splurges. We are only weeks away and my checking account has been feeling it hard lately!
And so, without further ado, I bring you the insanity that is an American wedding:
1) A Signature Scent
Recently I completely finished gathering everything we will need for our guestbook. This was another great thing to cross off the list before we get too close to the wedding. There are so many unique and fun options for guestbooks these days; not many people still opt for the traditional book of signatures anymore. Something I’ve always wanted to do was the the photo guestbook. I love photography and I have scrapbooks and photo albums jam-packed with photographs. I was sort of the record-keeper as a kid—I took and kept most of the photos and films of my friends as we were growing up. Therefore, the photo guestbook seemed like a natural choice for us—plus something Mr. C and I will enjoying flipping through for years to come!
Mr. C gave me a Fujifilm Instax MINI instant film camera for Christmas a few years ago. Granted, I don’t use it very often (the film is rather expensive), but as soon as we got engaged I knew that it would come in handy! The idea is to have each couple or group of guests photographed. The instantly developed film will then be added to our guestbook with a personal message. We plan to have an attendant stationed at the table for a while in order to assist guests in taking photos. There is also a cool little fisheye mirror at the front of the camera, which will allow guests to take selfie photos as well, in case the attendant has left for the evening.
This week it’s all about the accessories! To find out about the headpiece and jewelry that I’ll be wearing, please check out my last post here!
I think there are two camps of women concerning wedding shoes. The ones who are shoe addicts who can’t wait to splurge on a pair of designer heels for their wedding and the ones who hate shoe shopping and just want to pick a pair and get it over with. Yup, I’m in the second camp. I like shoes alright, but I don’t go out of my way to lust over them. I like high quality, stylish, and well-made shoes that are comfortable and versatile. Not many bridal shoes fit all those criteria, but there are so many beautiful pairs of shoes out there and marketing has worked its magic on me. As such, I am somehow only drawn to shoes in the $250.00—$350.00 range. Yikes! (BHLDN, I’m looking at you.) Unfortunately such luxurious shoes simply don’t fit into my meager teacher budget.
Let’s take a moment and stare wistfully at shoes that are completely out of my budget. Can you hear me sighing pathetically?
|All shoes via BHLDN|
I tried checking out the used shoe sections of websites (like here on Weddingbee’s Classifieds or preownedweddingdresses.com) and I barely lost out on an ebay auction for an amazing pair of used Badgley Mischka’s. But it is a serious time investment and honestly guys, ain’t nobody got time for that. This is referred to as search costs in microeconomics. At some point the cost of searching the internet for used shoes in the correct color, size, and condition outweighed the benefit of the deal I would conceivably score. Essentially I got frustrated and gave up. That’s when I spied these unconventional beauties on StyleMePretty a few weeks ago:
I had my first dress fitting last Thursday and it gave me an opportunity to give my new wedding accessories a spin to see how they look together with the dress. Now that I finally know what I will be wearing, I’d like to share some of my wedding accessories with you, starting with the most important one: the headpiece.
The days of rocking only a veil on your wedding day are long gone. There’s an overwhelming number and variety of bridal headpieces that you can wear on your big day. I knew that I didn’t want to wear a veil or a large flower, but that left a dizzying array of options from all over the internet. The biggest issue? Price. Many headpieces run anywhere from $100 to $700! I know girls who don’t even have a $700 dress budget! Unfortunately, the very high cost deterred me from purchasing any of the lovely headpieces above, but I did use them as inspiration to find something more in my price range.
I recently watched Father of the Bride for the first time. I was looking for something to get me excited about the wedding and sometimes wedding films have a certain magical, nostalgic appeal. Mr. C warned me that I would likely cry, and I did. The worst part? When Steve Martin’s character was up late the night before the wedding reminiscing about his daughter’s childhood and her transformation into an adult. I cried, oh I cried. I’m telling you, something about planning a wedding has you constantly on the verge of tears. But apart from that, I am such a daddy’s girl that it hit a very soft spot for me.
Do you sometimes imagine your wedding and try to predict the moments where you will become the most emotional? I think that moment is a toss up between the father-daughter dance and when I will look at my dad before walking down the aisle. How in the world will I overcome such emotional moments without turning into a hot mess of ugly tears and nerves? No one wants to see the bride bawling her eyes out as she walks down the aisle. And the father-daughter dance? Don’t even get me started.
Just after I was born: March 20, 1983.
My dad and I have always been really close and I like to think that all the really awesome parts of me are from my dad’s influence. At a young age he instilled within me a love for history, art, reading, and nature. He has always encouraged me, picked me up when I was down, and helped me develop a healthy self-esteem. He raised me to be a strong, independent woman. Through all my weird phases, he has stood by my side (or on the other end of the phone) and listened as I described the most recent book, TV show, anime, or movie I was obsessing over. He’s always made me feel unconditionally loved and accepted.
Thanks to the wonderful advice and example set by our own Mrs. Wallaby, I decided to create our wedding website through Wix. It was actually quite simple and I had a lot of fun creating a unique look that reflects the theme of our wedding. I upgraded to a premium account and bought a domain name through 1&1. You can actually buy a domain name directly through Wix or through a variety of other providers. It was important to us to have a web address that is simple and easy for our guests to remember, plus it’s incredibly inexpensive! I would highly suggest purchasing your own domain name.
I have a widescreen monitor so I was struggling with cropping these images and keeping the look of the website. Sorry they are a little wonky!
The main page really sets the stage with our wedding colors and one of our engagement photos. The flower graphics were actually from a Wix template but they worked perfectly for our purposes! And yes, because I apparently live on the internet of the 1990s, we have a song that plays when you visit our site. You can turn it off with the pause button, but I just had to do it, as stupid as I know it sounds. It plays a song from the soundtrack of Sophia Coppola’s film Marie Antoinette.
I wanted to have a little fun with the website, so I added some 18th century fashion plate illustrations to tie it into our wedding theme. These illustrations won’t have a place on our big day, but I thought the website was the perfect place to add them and incorporate some of that whimsical flair. You will see them on subsequent pages of our website.
If you can’t tell from the screenshot above, I broke our website down into several pages: Our Story, Gallery, People (an introduction to parents of the bride and groom and the bridal party), Events (address and maps for the ceremony/reception and rehearsal dinner), Accommodations, RSVP, and Registry.