Y’all, I don’t want to go. I feel like there are still things I could tell you. Like, I never got to brag about how I managed to successfully pee without any assistance, even with my giant ball gown. I didn’t tell you how MOH Leah almost burned a bridesmaid with her handheld steamer. I didn’t get to tell you about the stupid piece of fabric that I kept tripping over all day and how my mom later discovered that it was just tacked on and not an original part of the dress so we could have just removed it.
But…our wedding was only one day, and it’s time for me to move on. It’s time to enjoy all the awesome parts of married life, like eating an entire pound of bacon in two days (not like we did that this week or anything…).
Hive, thank you for allowing me to share our wedding with you. You all are just fabulous. I can’t tell you how much all of your comments mean to me. I read each and every one, and they absolutely always bring a smile to my face (unless it’s something negative, and then I’m sad. But then I read a nice comment, and I smile again!).
One of my all time favorite bee theme posts is the Secret Life of Bees. While some have struggled to come up with odd tidbits about their life, Mr. Whale and I are full of strange quirks. You already know about a few of them, like our manatee obsession. But hopefully I’ll show you a few new things today. So, what do you not already know?
I’m kind of obsessed with Hello Kitty
Here I am with Hello Kitty in Las Vegas!
Okay, maybe obsessed isn’t the right word, but I do love Hello Kitty, perhaps more than a woman in her twenties should. But honestly, why is it that only children are allowed to love bright colors and cute cartoon cats? I think she’s cute, too! Lucky for me, Mr. Whale has been very accommodating to my love for Hello Kitty and allows her to appear all over our apartment. After a brief run through the apartment, I found…a Hello Kitty snuggie, a Hello Kitty robe, a Hello Kitty shower cap, a Hello Kitty make-up bag, a Hello Kitty bag inside my purse, a Hello Kitty t-shirt, Hello Kitty pajamas, two Hello Kitty school binders, Hello Kitty ice packs, and five plush versions of Hello Kitty herself. I almost bought a Hello Kitty ukelele just because it was so darn cute. Mr. Whale is bummed that I didn’t buy it. (That’s not sarcasm. He really is an awesome dude.)
Mr. Whale and I wrote our own vows. And I’m so glad that we did. But, truthfully, it wasn’t the easiest thing on earth. When I set out to write my vows, I just stared at my computer screen thinking, “Is there a template for this thing? Should I have a plan? What am I doing??”
In case you’re lost like I was, here is a little suggested road map for how to get from, “Oh no!! The vows!” to a personal declaration of your love.
Because we all want a few tears, right?
1. Decide whether you want to write your vows together or if you want them to be a surprise.
If you write them together, you can probably avoid some of the other issues I’ll mention. If you write them separately, you have the element of surprise. It’s up to you. I personally was a fan of our surprise vows. But then again, I knew Mr. Whale would write something beautiful, because that’s just the kind of person he is. He is definitely the more emotional one of us and is more willing to share his emotions, so I knew his vows would be great.
2. Tie the two vows together in some way.
There are a lot of different ways to tie the vows together. You could both start the vows with, “I promise…” Or you could use the same general structure. (“I think you’re great because”…then, “I vow to do this”…then, “I love your forever.” Bam. Vows.) Or if you don’t want to be confined to a particular structure (Mr. Whale, I’m looking at you), maybe you at least want them to be similar lengths.
Mr. Whale refused to adhere to any kind of pre-imposed structure. (That’s kind of how he lives his life every day.) But he did agree that we should try to have vows that were similar in length. But how could we check the lengths if the vows were going to be a surprise?? We did a word count. Mr. Whale’s vows were around 450 words, and mine were a little more than 300. (Like I said, he’s the sappy one.) Alternatively, you could time them and make sure they’re similar lengths.
Sappy Mr. Whale
3. Make promises you want to keep.
To write the meat of my vows, I sat down one evening and thought really hard about all the things Mr. Whale had asked me to work on. I have a bad habit of walking away when we’re in the middle of an argument, and it drives Mr. Whale crazy. So I promised in my vows to not do that. Mr. Whale really wants us to always be interested in finding out more about the other person. So in my vows I promised to continually try to know Mr. Whale better.
I highly recommend using the vows to challenge yourself to make yourself a better person.
4. Take the vows seriously.
It’s easy to get sucked into the idea of writing cutesy vows. I will be the peanut butter to your jelly. I will pick up your socks. I will let you steal the covers (sometimes! tee hee). And if that’s your thing, then by all means, don’t let me stop you.
BUT, as a silly person myself, I have to say that having heartfelt, thoughtful, sincere vows was the best thing in our wedding. Think about it. You’re about to make one of the most monumental decisions of your life. And what does it say about your relationship if you make the whole thing a joke?
That’s not to say you can’t have something cute. Mr. Whale and I threw in a few lighthearted bits. (And our vows were written on cards shaped like manatees…) But if your vows sound like a Dr. Seuss book and you’re not a children’s book writer, then they might sound insincere.
5. Practice saying the words.
“I will be a sanctuary of warmth and peace for you in your darkest hours” sounds all poetic and great on paper. But coming out of my mouth it sounds idiotic. Practice your vows out loud so you can be sure you’re comfortable with the words.
If all else fails…borrow.
It’s OK to borrow from the internet. Did someone else’s words bring you to tears? Borrow them! Use someone else’s vows as a template and edit from there. It’s OK! There are only so many ways to promise to be a fabulous spouse. There’s a pretty good chance that a lot of us are working on the same issues.
Hopefully, these tips can help you avoid some of the issues I went through while writing my own vows. If you need a little inspiration, here’s the link to the Blue Whales’ vows. They still make me tear up.
*All photos by Brenda Upton Photography
Splurge is such a silly word. It’s fun to say. Try it. Splurge. Doesn’t it feel satisfying?
Okay, back to the point. Not all of us have an unlimited wedding fund (because if I’d had one, there would have been an epic ice cream sundae station and a gigantic chocolate fountain at our reception). The average bride has to prioritize and figure out exactly what is most important. Enter: the budget. In the words of Mrs. Wallaby, talking about money is so awkward. But I’m going to bite the bullet and do it. Here is what we spent, category by category. (Sorry for so many approximations. I can’t imagine how some brides get everything right down to the cent. I’m just rounding.)
ATTIRE TOTAL: $405
How we saved: Ummm…by getting gifts? But seriously. I didn’t buy new shoes. I made my hair flower. I did my own make-up. The shoes and hair flower alone probably saved close to $200. And the bouquets! At $3 a pop, we had some serious savings there. We also chose not to do boutonnieres for the guys or corsages for the moms and grandmas. No one seemed to miss them (though Mr. Whale recently said that he wishes he’d had a pink boutonniere!).
After I wrote that title, I wondered what an actual blue whale wedding would sound like. And of course I thought of Dori.
But there was no whale speak at our wedding. Though maybe that’s what some people were trying to do when I heard them singing along with the music…
Anywho, maybe you’re looking for some tunes for your wedding. Maybe you need some ideas. I can’t guarantee that you’ll like our music, but it worked for us! Here are the songs of the Blue Whale wedding, from beginning to end.
Okay, we had to skip some of this music because of a tiny fiasco. BUT, we were supposed to have all of these songs played.
Alright. I know you have a list of photos to be taken at your wedding. I had a list as well. But I’m here to tell you that after the wedding, I realized that there were some photos that I didn’t know I wanted until after the wedding! Luckily, our photographer managed to capture some of these without my request. (And several of them are some of my favorite photos.)
But there are some photos I should have requested. So to keep you from making my mistakes, I’ve compiled a list of the photos that I didn’t know that I needed until after the wedding. And I’ve given you a little inspiration and reality to go with it.
Image from Tie the Knot
Reality: No photo for me
Last time I talked about several things that we decided to skip at our wedding that we didn’t miss at all. Today, I want to talk about the few things that we actually did miss.
I know that everyone always says, “Your wedding day won’t be perfect. Something will go wrong.” But honestly, we really didn’t have any of those moments. The weather was perfect. Everything was on schedule. We had enough food and enough alcohol. There was no drama. There were no excessively drunk people. Honestly…I have nothing to complain about.
So I’m going to invent things to complain about. No, that’s not it. Truthfully, because our day went so smoothly, I feel bad saying anything bad about it. But there are a few decisions we made that, if I could go back in time, I would change.
What would we not skip if we could do it all over again?
Who can forget Mrs. Otter’s beautiful father daughter dance? Image by Stacey Able
This post is all about the “typical”, “traditional”, or “trendy” stuff that we chose to skip at our wedding. For the most part, our decisions turned out great. As a disclaimer, I feel the need to say that these decisions made sense for us. They might not make sense for everyone. But if you’re thinking about skipping something and wondering whether you’ll regret it, well then hopefully this will reassure you that some stuff can definitely be skipped.
Of course, there were just a few things that I would have done differently if I knew then what I know now. My next post will be about the few things that I wish I could change, but let’s do the good news first, shall we? So what did we skip and not miss at all?
With our wedding reception at a close, I had one last item on my list of “stuff we need to do on our wedding day.” And that item was “get some sparkler pictures.”
Like about a zillion other brides in the world, I absolutely fell in love with the sparkler getaway photos. (Did you say sparkles? Yes, I’ll have some please.) But as the big day drew nearer, I had some second thoughts. There’s one or two really awesome sparkler photos on Pinterest.
Photo via National Geographic
But once you get past the one or two amazing sparkler getaway photos, the rest are just so so. There’s too much light. Or not enough light. Too blurry. Over exposed.
BUT, where I saw perfection was in the staged sparkler photos. Spelling out “Love” with sparklers. Or drawing the wedding date. Those photos are always stunning. So I decided we would skip the getaway (too much planning!) and just do a few photos.
There were a few semi-failures…
Where I left off, the last song, “Don’t Stop Believing”, had just played. We were all super pumped. And I thought the night was over.
My brother had other plans. He starts yelling, “Play some Beastie Boys!!!” Why Beastie Boys? I honestly have no idea. Seems like an odd choice, right? Maybe. But since we technically had the band until midnight and it was only about 11:40, they were happy to oblige.
So we all rocked out for a few minutes. And then, a funny thing happened…
It was time for the third verse, but the singer couldn’t remember it. And the next thing I knew, my brother was on the stage holding a mic! I think you see where this is going…
Oh yeah. It was like Piano Man all over again, but even more epic. He was born to be a rockstar.
By 11:30pm, things were starting to wind down at our reception. The candy buffet was demolished. Shoes had been removed. And Hello Kitty had been borrowed for the photobooth and now looked like this:
After nearly three hours of dancing and partying, we had some exhausted guests on our hands. As much as I would have loved to have had a supremely rockin’ party all the way up until time to leave, it just wasn’t the case. So Mr. Whale and I headed up to the band and asked that they go ahead and play their last few songs.
Because I’m on the ‘bee all the time, I’ve gotten used to seeing some pretty amazing things at weddings. Some of you all are pretty fabulous DIYonistas. (I don’t think that word is going to catch on…) It’s easy to forget that not everyone is browsing the wedding section of Pinterest on a daily basis. So it really surprised me when so many of our guests complimented our decorations. (It’s not like we did anything life-changing. But apparently, they liked it.) It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. (Actually that could have been my love for Mr. Whale. Or the champagne. Who knows.)
When guests walked up to our venue, they were greeted with several hand-painted signs.
The signs led them down to the ceremony site.
At approximately 10:30pm, two things happened. First, the band took a break. And second, my bustle broke.
Honestly, I was expecting the bustle to break. The alterations seamstress told me that no matter what she did, there was a good chance it would break. (At least she warned me, right?) So mom and I ran off to the bathroom to MacGyver a new bustle. While we were in there, the “band break playlist” that Mr. Whale and I had made started to play. And one of the first songs was “Piano Man”.
Now, one thing you need to know about Mr. Whale is that he loves karaoke. And he loves to sing “Piano Man” at karaoke. So when I heard someone steal a mic from the band and start singing along with “Piano Man,” I just knew it was Mr. Whale. And of course I wanted to hear him sing. So there I am nervously jumping up and down in the restroom asking, “Is it fixed yet? Is it fixed yet?” while Mama Whale tries to fix the bustle.
Finally, we fix the bustle, and I run back into the room. And I find…my MOH’s boyfriend on stage! She had told me he could sing, but Dang! I mistook him for my own husband!!
MOH’s bf on the left. My brother on the right.
It wasn’t long before my brother took the stage along with MOH’s bf. And from there, things got pretty intense, pretty fast.
As soon as I saw some wedding mad libs, I knew I had to have them. And so, we had them! We had one at each seat along with a pen. (Actually, we somehow lost some of them before the wedding, so we didn’t have one at each seat…that’s still one of those mysterious things that we can’t explain.) We had them printed on bright blue paper and it made each table look really good.
Photo by Brenda Upton Photography
Now that I’ve done it, I’m super glad we did this project. Even Mr. Whale agrees that it was an awesome idea. (He wasn’t on board in the beginning, but I told him he had to trust me.) But I do have a few suggestions for future couples.
While I was dancing the night away, some of our guests were joining me, some were outside where the music was quieter, and some were living it up in the photobooth.
My brother and his wife. They’re pretty awesome.
After having a hilariously good time with Mr. Whale in a photobooth at a friend’s wedding, he and I were both adamant that we have one at our own. I decided we would make it a DIY project, because those things are freaking expensive. Now that I’m on the other side, here is my advice: THIS DIY PROJECT IS SO MUCH EASIER THAN YOU ANTICIPATE!!
Sorry for shouting at you. But seriously, I was worried that I was being a fool, thinking I could DIY a photobooth, but it was soooooo easy! Here’s what you need: