Hive, I’ve missed you! I know, I know, I keep saying that and then I disappear for a really long time, but this time I’m back and I’m finishing my recaps.
For those of you who may not have met me yet: Hello! I’m Mrs. Otter, and I got married six months ago on a chilly—but beautiful!—April day. I’ve actually blogged almost all of our recaps, but life comes up and gets in the way so I’ve never quite finished. Since we celebrated our six month wedding anniversary over the weekend (where has the time gone!?), I wanted to come back and finally finish the posts I have for you.
(Photo by the wonderful Stacy Able Photography)
To jump in right where I left off: we were on our mini-moon in Chicago, and we spent our two days there being as tourist-y as possible. Even though we live in Indiana, I had never been to Chicago and Mr. Otter had only been once, so it was time for us to explore our way through the city. One of our first stops was Garrett’s Popcorn. I eat a lot of popcorn, so it had been recommended to me several times leading up to our trip and it definitely did not disappoint!
I am waiting for pictures to come back to give you all the recaps that you want, but in the meantime I still have details of the day that I want to share with you. When it comes to gift giving, I think I am pretty darn good. When it comes to acting with restraint when it comes to staying within a budget, I have room for improvement! That meant when thinking about gift for the bridal party, Mr. Scooter and I had to set very very clear bounds. I will save our overall budget spend on the bridal-party gifts until we recap our overall spending, but I will say that the gifts we got our bridal party are ones that they will use again.
I knew early on that I wanted to gift my girls with items they could wear while we were getting ready. I wanted the gifts to make them smile and also make our wedding a memorable and fun time. I also knew that my gift (like their bridesmaids’ dresses) would have to be representative of each lady. Each bridesmaid received the following:
Since a majority of the items were things I wanted them to wear or bring while we were getting ready, I wanted to give it to them ahead of time. When I asked them to be a part of my bridal party, I went ahead and split up the responsibilities of planning the bridal shower and bachelorette party. During my bachelorette party, I gave them to BM Jas and BM JuJu. Unfortunately, BM TuTu couldn’t make the party, so I set up a time to give it to her prior to the big weekend. BM Dee, Brande, and Brandy received theirs at the bridal shower. BM Maranda was not able to make either since she lives out of state, so I just shipped her gift.
Today is the big day so this post will be short and to the point. I know I have missed a lot of topics, so I will be updating them while we are on our honeymoon.
I am writing this post from my iPhone as I sit and my hair is being styled. Let me first say thank you for your love and support through this process and your patience! It has been overwhelming at times but you’ve NEVER been under-appreciated! Thank you thank you thank you for allowing me me to share my journey with you. Not only about the wedding but about my personal life as well.
Hive, I need your help. There was no question that we would honor my mother somehow in the ceremony. Oftentimes, my ideas crossed the line of memorial and went into shrine-like territory. For example, one idea that I had was to have a candle burning next to a margarita and a picture of her the WHOLE NIGHT! Typing that makes me feel really creepy. Mr. Scooter (bless his heart) had to bring it to my attention that we are planning our WEDDING not a memorial service for my mother. I know that had to be a tough conversation to plan to have with your grieving fiancée, but he did an excellent job on his presentation. Knowing my mother, she wouldn’t want this day to be about her.
So I am going to honor her a few ways during the ceremony and the reception. During the ceremony, we will have an empty seat open and will place a rose on it in her honor.
Image via Whatsyourgrief.com
I haven’t really gone into details about my mother on the blog other than she has passed, it is painful, and therapy helped me tremendously. (OK, well maybe I have . ) When Mr. Scooter and I first got engaged, I immediately missed her because I wasn’t able to call her and tell her the good news, but deep down, Mama Scooter knew that we would end up together! The last time we all spent time together was homecoming 2010 (late September). While my friends went out to drink and enjoy Purdue as they should, Mr. Scooter suggested that we have dinner with my mother while she waited for her friends to get in town. That Friday we went to TGI Fridays (oh the irony), had a great time, laughed until we were in tears, and dropped my mother back off at her hotel. Something didn’t feel right, but at the time I could only place it as my anxiety to meet up with my friends. The next morning, I called my mother to check in and she briefly mentioned that she had been throwing up and not feeling well. She blamed the bartender putting too much sweet and sour in her margarita. We immediately threw on our clothes and headed to grab breakfast and something to settle her stomach. An old college friend had made it into town, so I felt comfortable leaving.
Saturday and Sunday, Mr. Scooter and I spent time with our friends. Nothing abnormal about that…right? My mother entered Mr. Scooter in a golf tournament (which he won) on Sunday. So I dropped him off and had breakfast with my mother. When we met up, Mr. Scooter wanted to spend more time with his friends. What did that mean? I got to spend more time with MAMA SCOOTER! We got a massage, went to a movie (we both fell asleep), and then headed to the mall. By that time, I had only three and a half hours to drive Mr. Scooter to Chicago for his flight, and then return to Michigan to work (we were cutting it close). I was so angry when he said he purchased another flight that would have him leaving Chicago Monday morning. I thought it was really inconsiderate for him to not take into account my schedule. Mama Scooter had left, so as any tech-savvy daughter would do, I went on a whole rampage about it. My mother laughed and told me that I was getting too emotional about it and that one day “when he was my husband, we would fight bigger battles.” I left it at that and moved on.
My bachelorette party is coming and I wanted to create something cute and funny that my friends could use. Here is the problem—I needed my “hangover kit” to be quick, simple…and cheap. The details of my night are being kept a secret from me, so in order to get an idea of how many kits I would need to make, I had to ask for a range from BM Jasmin. She told me that I should prepare enough for 15-20 (oh…my excitement for this epic party just grew that much more).
In order to make these simple kits, you will need:
Inside of each bag, I put candy that I like (Starburst, Jolly Rancher suckers, BlowPops, Orbitz gum), a can of ginger ale, peanut butter crackers, small bottle of Barcardi Rum, Advil (four pills).
I set up my brown paper bags for the assembly line. I know only 17 bags are pictured, but I made 20. As I was throwing the contents in the bags, I got a nostalgic feeling of being in elementary school when I got to put the Valentine’s Day candy in everyone’s bag. That was my favorite part (along with writing the names).
I NEED YOUR HELP! This is a serious issue. I can laugh all I want, but it is really just to make myself feel better.
With all the stressful situations in my world right now, I have developed a problem I haven’t had in nearly a decade…SWEATY, SMELLY PITS. I can normally get through my work day without feeling like I smell like a pig, but the moment I get home all hell breaks loose. Or when I am at work and something unexpected comes up, I will start to smell then. I think we can all see why this is a problem, but just in case you can’t read between the lines…I DON’T WANT TO BE A FUNKY BRIDE! Yes, read that sentence with an attitude and a black girl neck role. (It’s OK for me to say “black girl” because I am black…who am I kidding, it’s funny as hell.) I just can’t do it! I don’t want to go around raising my arms and being offensive!
As our big day approaches, I have found myself just getting really frustrated. On my way to work one morning, I was venting to myself (this happens a lot…please don’t judge me). I thought, there needs to be a wedding dictionary. Something that will help define some aspects of the wedding.
Hive, today is a special day! Today, our beautiful venue, Mustard Seed Gardens, is being featured in the Indy Star! (If you jump to slide 19, you may just see the Otters, as captured by Stacy Able! ) I’m so incredibly excited for Megan and her family as they continue to grow more and more popular. I’ve heard rumors that they’re already almost full for 2014, so I can only imagine how busy they’re going to be after everyone sees them in the paper!
In honor of this special day, I thought I would skip ahead a little and start sharing some of our detail posts (don’t worry, I’ll come back to finish the story of our mini-moon!).
First of all: let’s just talk Megan. The Skipper family owns Mustard Seed Gardens (and they have a landscaping business, so the property ALWAYS looks stunning!) and they’re also the ones doing the event coordinating. At our first meeting, Megan was out of town with her fiancé, so her dad Mark showed us around the venue. We came back the next time we were home to sign, and when I finally met Megan, it was like seeing a best friend that you haven’t seen in a while. We immediately clicked, and she was so wonderful throughout planning. I even saw her before I saw Mr. Otter on the wedding day!
The moment has hit! I am a few weeks away from my “big day” and it is causing me nothing but stress. I want to warn you now that this post is just me venting to the world.
I am exhausted: mentally, physically, emotionally. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but what started out as a great idea has taken a drastic turn for the worst. I am emotionally unavailable for anyone’s shenanigans, and I feel like that is all I am being met with. From in-laws inflating the guest count to feeling like I am in this alone.
So I am going to take this time to just get a few things off of my chest and I will hopefully be able to move past it. When my mother passed, I reluctantly decided to seek therapy to help me deal with my feelings. I was really looking for validation that I was not losing my mind and that my feelings were real. The therapist taught me a great exercise where I write down what I am not pleased about. Make a small box outside of each item (since I love lists, I was all over this). For each item that I could control or change the outcome of, I had to check the box. Afterward, I needed to make a plan to address the issue. Next, I needed to make a list of things that I am thankful for or excited about. When my environment seems to be going haywire, I meditate on the positive things. When she first described this, I told her that I was paying her too much money for this kindergarten activity (yeah, I was in a bad place—I am not normally that rude). Eventually, when I was honest with myself and wrote done true issues, I found it very helpful. The title of my lists are, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time for This” and “Life Is But a Dream.” Here goes my lists…
Hi, my name is Miss Scooter and…
Yes, those are statements and/or questions that have been asked of me. Some of the time, they were meant to be hurtful; other times, it was asked because someone really didn’t know. The best example that I have of this is a lady at work asked me if I had someone else pass my drug test? Yes, as weird as that was, I had to inquire as to why she would ask that of me. She gave me the, “you know” look and said, “Don’t you smoke weed as a part of your lifestyle?” Yes, I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
“Looking for cute and affordable favors? Put the treat of your choice in adorable boxes from Weddingbee Favors!”
Our wedding day was over. With lots of laughs, posing, and sparklers, the day had come to an end way faster than I ever thought it would. The next morning, we taxied a ton of stuff back to our apartment and met a few of Mr. O’s family members for a quick, early (like, 8:00 AM early…) breakfast before we headed off to Chicago.
Hive, I’m gonna be honest with you: I don’t remember if I ever talked about how upset I was about not going on a honeymoon. Usually it only got to me when I was already down, but it was definitely in the back of my mind throughout planning. We talked about taking a short trip to New York City or Ann Arbor (two of our favorite cities!), but for various reasons, they just didn’t work out.
I’m not sure exactly how it came about, since it was a surprise to me, but FIL and MIL Otter gifted us a mini-moon to Chicago! They put us in a suite at the Waldorf Astoria in Chicago, and can I just say—holy wow? They’d never been, but looking at reviews, they thought it would be a good place for us. Good place? By the time we left, we were referring to it as our apartment.
Driving up to see a Marc Jacobs IN THE SAME BUILDING? Yes.
Remember when I told you that my friend Pri was getting married and I made her a small gift for her bachelorette party? Well, she got married, and Mr. Scooter and I were so honored that she thought enough of us to invite us. Since she married an American guy, they had two ceremonies: Indian and American. This was my first Indian wedding, so it was a fun experience for me.
What I thought was awesome and amazing about this wedding was the merging of the two cultures. This was an occasion of firsts for me. My first time getting henna and first time going to an Indian ceremony, first time going to a wedding as an engaged couple.
Before the wedding, my friend Fallon and I decided that we were going to get henna! We took off work early on a Thursday and headed 30 minutes out of town to get it done by a tattoo artist named Deanna.
Our guests are starting to get their invites, so it is time for me to show you all what we did. I am afraid to call it a DIY; rather, it is a crafty assembly of various parts. So when we left off, we had a digital copy of our overall invitation suite. Once we approved the design, we used Cards & Pockets for our printing needs along with our envelopes. They were awesome to work with and came in at a fairly affordable price. I didn’t go through an extensive search for vendors. Let me be honest with you, I farmed this responsibility of finding a vendor out to a bridesmaid! She did a great job.
If you are wondering how we went from this digital view…
…to these amazing ASSEMBLED invites…
After we enjoyed our last song with everyone, it was time for our last dance just the two of us. We danced to “A Thousand Years” by Christina Perry, another special song of ours.
(All photos by Stacy Able Photography)
While we were dancing, our friends and family were outside getting sparklers ready. Now back story: since we weren’t heading out on a honeymoon (just a quick mini-moon), we planned to go through the line of sparklers and get right into our getaway card. Partway through the evening (sometime between Pitch Perfect and Spice Girls), I noticed that Mr. O had gotten pretty agitated. It turns out that getaway car wasn’t outside like it was supposed to be. Which meant that none of our things were in the car, and that we definitely couldn’t leave.
Hive, I’m not a “let it go” type of person—you must know this by now. But that night, I wasn’t up for fighting or arguing; I just told him to let it go. They aren’t here? That’s their loss, because they won’t be tipped or given positive reviews.