Although my mom is unquestionably beautiful, has flawless skin and a rockin body, she’ll be the first to call herself a tomboy.
She grew up with three brothers, races motocross with my brothers, got her black belt a year or two after I did (at age 35), is an excellent shot with a handgun, prefers a stick shift and regularly hounds me to go skydiving with her. Case in point, she’s awesome. She also raised three children, did all of the above, and went back to school to graduate with a business degree all at the same time. She’s my role model in all that I do. She does not, however, wear many dresses! She jokes that the only real dresses she’s ever worn were for prom and on her wedding day, and my grandma jokes she would’ve shown up in slacks to those too if she could’ve!
I think she’s plain silly, because as you can tell, she sure did enjoy trying on these!
My mom was 21 when she had me, her first child, so she’ll only be a youthful 43 at the wedding. She was quick to demand that she not be put in any old “grandma dress.” You know the type!
|Cameron Blake by Mon Cheri|
So off we went to the mall. The funny thing is, my mom was cursed almost immediately by the wedding faux-paux of white dresses. Pretty much everything she liked was some variation of white or cream! I kept my cool, obviously, and it became more of a joke than anything else. Besides, she insisted that people still dye clothing these days, which remains unconfirmed.
Disclaimer: I’m going to hope all of you love wedding videos of strangers as much as I do, because I’ve included a few!
Guys, I was just not feeling videography at first. I, like many others, thought it was just another expensive expense we couldn’t afford. And I was perfectly happy thinking so! Until the lovely Mrs. Coach (or maybe Vanessa McKellar?) went and ruined it for me.
The first time I became even the slight bit interested in videography was after Coach posted about choosing her videographer, which happened to include this incredible piece by Vanessa McKellar.
The music, the love, the FUN! It was all captured so perfectly! And dang it, hive, I was hooked. Soon I was creepin’ all over the interwebs for more and more of these videos. Mr. Manatee found me several times cuddled up with my laptop and my comfy comforter (IKEA, you can make a mean goose down) with a single tear and the fear that our budget was out the window on this one.
Despite the despair and confusion in my last post about the honeymoon, we actually have a few good ideas of where to spend this three to four night mini-moon! I’m going to list these in order from most probable to mostly wishful thinking.
As a side note, we agreed pretty early on that we want our honeymoon (preferably scenic) to be 75% relaxation, 25% adventure. If you read my last post, you’ll know why. Spoiler alert: Sh*t’s about to get real hectic.
1. Austin’s Hill Country
No, this post is not about wedding night sex!
This post is about the honeymoon!
Now when I first told people I was getting married during nursing school, I got a mixed bag of reactions: Mostly polite congratulations, some crazy looks, and just a little flat-out-rude discouragement. I think I’m getting a slight idea about why.
My particular nursing program is a 15 month “fast-track” program, which means we pretty much go continuously for three month sessions with one week break in between. Guess which week DOESN’T fall on a break! Of course, the week after our wedding! Since it’s a fairly newish program not particularly known for its communication skills, my desperate pleas for information about this summer’s schedule have been met with a whole bunch of “we’re not really sure yet.” The good news is, this program is online with one to two full days of clinicals (school time spent with real patients) a week. They THINK clinicals that semester “might be on Tuesdays, but don’t count on it” and there are rumors that we have a test every week. Joking, (or am I?) I may need some serious Xanax that week.
Because of this, we’ve decided that IF a honeymoon is gonna go down, it’s going to be a mini-moon!
Here are some worst-case scenarios:
1. In the case that clinicals are ACTUALLY on Tuesdays, either head straight from the hospital to the airport (worst, worst case) or fly out bright and early Wednesday morning (slightly better). Study on the plane there/back for a hopefully non-existant test that next Monday. Damn.
2. Throw caution to the wind and re-schedule/skip clinical. Live in a bubble for the rest of the semester to prevent getting sick ever/having to miss another one.
3. Fake death. Go on mini-moon and never come back.
4. World ends on December 21st, situation becomes null and void.
I, like Miss Otter, have been on a little blogging hiatus due to a new job!! In addition to my original hospital, I picked up a job at a county hospital in Dallas! I adore my previous job working with mothers/infants and will stay PRN (very very part time, for non-medical folk!), but this new job is a really great career move. The transition has been time consuming, but exciting!
Anyway! I’ve teased a lot about our amazing photographer, but it’s time for the reveal!
I had actually heard of a photography company based in my high school hometown, Mansfield. Daydream Photography was fairly new at the time that I contacted them. Small world—the photography assistant used to date one of my guy friends in high school. My younger brother’s friend had their senior pictures done by them, and they recommended them. They mostly did senior pictures and family portraits, so I was skeptical. Sure enough, they did weddings too!
Photography by Daydream Photography
I want my girls to look good. Like, “I feel like a rockstar” good. Seriously! I’m not the kind of bride that is secretly plotting to make my ladies look a mess so that I’ll look better by proxy. Hive, that is tacky. Also, no one wants to spend $100-$300 on a dress that they hate. I don’t even like spending that much on dresses I like.
But when I originally asked my bridesmaids what kind of dresses they were thinking about for the wedding, they were totally wonderful…but also very vague. They assured me that “they’d wear a paper sack if I wanted them to.” Well, hive, I’m here to announce the official cure for well-intentioned “I’ll wear whatever you want” bridesmaids! Spoiler alert: Terrorize them with pictures like this.
|Img via RackedNY|
I had some ideas before, mostly Pinterest inspired, but I was torn between matching and mismatched dresses. To add even more indecision, “mismatched” also has about 10 different ways TO mismatch.
Our only confirmed wedding colors are blue and gray. It just so happened that my favorite inspirations were usually one or the other of these colors. I also knew I would really like them in soft, light fabrics—like chiffon. I wasn’t sure if I preferred that they be long or short, just that they all chose long or all chose short. I loved “matching” options like these…
As you can probably tell by now, Mr. Manatee is taking what you might call a “hands off” approach to wedding planning. This is pretty much okay with me, since it means he pretty much trusts my opinion but isn’t afraid to step in if one or two of my ideas go terribly wrong. I also attribute this to a sweet conversation I happened to walk in on between Daddy Manatee and the Mr. He explained it to Mr. Manatee like this— “Your job is to show up, look nice for pictures, and be absolutely amazed at everything she’s put together.” When he puts it like this, how could I possibly disagree?
But the cake? He was all over that. To be honest, he’s not actually much of a cake person normally, so this surprised me. Picking out table linens? Not so much. For me, it was not as much about taste as it was about design. Duh!
I was swooning over these beauties. Sensing a theme? Yeah, me too. Ombre, yet again, and no fondant!
What I’m most excited about, besides the ceremony and the dress and the cake and…
Well, high on The List of Things I’m Excited About (which is about a mile long) is our decision to use Wish Lanterns!
|Image via Martha Stewart Weddings|
Previous bloggers have explored Wish Lantern options, like Mrs. Frog!
I have to admit, most of my desire to have this as a main-event for our reception stems from Tangled. I mean, what bride has watched that movie and not had their eyes grow big as saucers with the sheer possibility of this amazeballs tradition.
Now, Tangled gets cray with it, since it’s a whole village sending these off. That’s simply not in the budget. Although the best pictures I’ve found have several hundred, we’re hoping for a similar effect with 50-75. Since I’m sure everyone has heard some horror stories about setting these off, we’re going to take a ton of precautions. Luckily, our awesome venue has OK’ed the idea, and there’s a huge parking lot nearby where we can set them off without any trees or buildings getting involved. If we order 50-60, we’ll be able to ask our guests to partner up to coordinate the launch, so no one has to figure it out by themselves. We’re also toying with the idea of asking a fire marshall to come out. Like I said, precautions.
Our daydream for this idea looks like this:
After we’d fully ruled out White Chapel for our ceremony, I was given the go-ahead to contact the wedding coordinator at a church just down the road from our venue, First United Methodist Church of Arlington (what a mouthful!). The first woman we dealt with was unreasonably stingy with information. Because of our long engagement, we told her we wanted to become involved in the church we chose to be married in and become members. She was a little older and very suspicious of our motives for membership. It was true that we had heard members paid a lower fee, but we also were earnest in our desire to join the church!
Regardless. This church could not be more perfect in my eyes. It is literally two blocks away from our reception venue, historic, and Methodist, like us! This church was the perfect size, and gorgeous.
One thing we both thought fascinating about this church was that it was built in 1907, and it has tragically burned down since then not once, but twice! The church never gave up hope, and was always rebuilt on the same foundation. I thought this was an amazing metaphor for marriage!
Photo by Simple Moments
We’ve always known we would do some sort of premarital counseling. Both of us grew up with the mentality that divorce is not an option. Considering that the divorce rate in the United States is a staggering 50%, we knew we wanted some tools to help ward off those odds. It didn’t hurt that our church also required it for us to be married, but they were incredibly flexible about where it was done!
Early early this morning (8:00am on a Saturday, ouch!) Mr. Manatee and I battled OU/Texas traffic up to Anthem in Dallas for our premarital counseling seminar. Texas has this fantastic (and completely free!) program for engaged couples called Twogether in Texas. Completely non-faith based, this program approaches touchy subjects like communication, anger, money, previous marriages and blended families. Surprisingly, sex was not really discussed! After completion of the full day program, couples receive a certificate of completion that earns us $60 off our marriage license! I actually found this program on the side bar of advertisements on Facebook.
We dragged out of bed at 7:00am, picked up some liquid courage and joined seven other couples in the most fantastic full backed leather chairs.
We’ve played around with a few color schemes. Some with pink as the fifth color, some with coral, one with green. But the blues have always been the ’base’ of our color scheme. Blue is my absolute favorite color, and given half a chance I’d paint every wall in our apartment a different shade. Blue is Mr. Manatee’s second favorite color, first being green (check out that second color scheme!). But truth be told, the fifth color is not as important…yet. If it were up to me, we’d only be doing the blues, gray and glitter (!!!).
We (I) started looking for a photographer pretty quickly. Several years ago, my aunt (the mother of our adorable ring bearer!) had an intimate destination wedding on the beautiful island of Kauai. She had a gorgeous ceremony, a handsome groom and unbelievable weather (and yours truly as a junior bridesmaid!). It was perfect! The only thing she didn’t have? Pictures.
|My aunt and her husband|
My aunt is a smart woman, an artist, and not strapped for cash. She is also the last person who would hire someone unprofessional, untalented or suspiciously priced. He showed up to the wedding, did his thing, and that was that. He sent them a few sneak peek pictures a week or two later and then….nothing. Long story short, he skipped town. This was probably eight or nine years ago, and as far as I know, she still hasn’t heard from him. Thankfully my grandparents are never without a digital camera, so she still had a few pictures to treasure.
It’s interesting the level of trust we place in our vendors; how huge it is that we place our perfect day in their hands! Of course things like contracts protect our financial investments, but that’s hardly a consolation. I sometimes suffer from memory problems (I guess my doctor would blame it on ADD) and I’m committed to remembering every detail. Because of this and my aunt’s experience, I was prepared to do my research. I’m not sure how long Weddingwire or similar review sites have been around, but I creep those sites like nobody bidness.
When it came to picking our flower girl and ring bearer, we mostly had to look to my side of the family. Mr. Manatee’s family’s children are either way too old, or way too young. The youngest girl is 12, and the most eligible boy in the family is only about year old. He did a pretty good job in his parents’ wedding a few months ago, but mainly because it required something he already wanted to do…walk towards his parents. I didn’t really ask my bridesmaids in any fancy way, but I did order this card from Arleen Design for the asking of our little ones!
So, for our ring bearer we chose my little cousin, Pierce, who lives in Vancouver with the rest of my extended family! We’ve had the privilege of hanging out several times on family trips, and he is always SO much fun!
Despite the fact that Mr. Manatee had very clear intentions of being married in a church, he didn’t really have any specifications of which church. Spoiler alert: This was the first time his mother and I had ever actually butt heads over anything. She wanted us to get hitched in a gorgeous church in his hometown (Southlake) that they attended on occasion, and I had my eye on a church about two blocks down from our reception location. Both of these churches were Methodist, but that’s pretty much where the comparison stops. Always eager to keep the peace between Manatee-In-Law and I, I usually would have just agreed to use White Chapel. However.
|SL White Chapel|
There were several roadblocks between us and wedded bliss at White Chapel.
1. The DFW Connector
We decided Summer 2012 that we better start taking some pictures. A friend of mine from high school is incredibly talented with a camera, and was starting her own wedding photography business, so we took her up on her offer to shoot us! Because Lake Grapevine is beautiful and Mr. Manatee’s family has a boat there, we decided it would be a fun and unique place to shoot. I was also inspired by adorable (and lets face it, super fratty) pictures such as these.
|Photo credit: Krystyn Hogan|