After opening gifts, Mr. O and I proceeded in separate cars to the venue.
While I was waiting in the car, I saw them walking him down to where we would later say our vows, and I was once again overwhelmed with emotion. There he was, my soon-to-be husband. And he was about to finally see my dress, which I had managed to keep secret for SO. LONG. (An impressive feat for me, because I do not do a good job of keeping things from Mr. O!)
And now I’ll let the photos speak for themselves!
(All photos by Stacy Able Photography)
Hive, I have to tell you. As much as the emotions hit when I was wide awake at 4:00AM, they hit hard when I had my veil put in. I’m not sure what it was about the veil rather than the hair or makeup or people going back and forth from room to room, but for some reason when I put that veil on, I just felt like a bride. In that moment, I felt another rush of emotion—this is it. This is me, getting in to my dress. Right now. I couldn’t believe the time had finally come!
(All photos by Stacy Able Photography.)
And for honesty’s sake: I have to say that in this photo, I just wanted to open my damn present (hence the veil in but no dress look that I have going on). See, I knew that in the other room, Mr. O had already opened his gift, and I was anxious to open mine. But nooo, I couldn’t open mine until I was in my dress, and I couldn’t be in my dress until everyone ELSE got dressed. I believe it was at that point that I started saying “get dressed, get dressed, you guys, come on, get dressed.” I knew the moms would change in the bathroom, and I knew K (mom of the little ones and also one of my favorite people in the whole world) would also change in the bathroom. The ladies though? STRIP! We’re all ladies, and quite frankly, I wasn’t interested in seeing lady parts or who was changing where, I just wanted everyone to get dressed.
Well, hive, you may have noticed in my last post about gifts that everybody was already dressed…Oops! I might have skipped a post or two about getting dressed in there somewhere, so here’s the first!
While the girls were getting pretty allllll morning, the guys were hanging out at the Otter apartment, watching TV, and playing video games. They had pizza delivered for lunch and then came to the hotel. From there, it took them a good 10 minutes to get themselves ready for the day. TEN MINUTES! Compared to the ladies, they had it so easy! No hair, no makeup, and they could totally destroy their room because the purpose of keeping it nice was for them.
(As a funny note, though: notice the Aldo box in the shoe closet? Yeah, BM Blondesquared really wanted that and it got left behind. Oops!)
All photos by Stacy Able Photography.
PREZZIE TIME! Hive, I love prezzies. I also participate in Chrismukkah, because, as Seth Cohen explains, it is “eight days of presents, followed by one day of many presents.” But that’s a story for another time.
After the guys got ready and I officially became a bride, the guys were kicked out of the room so Mr. O could open his gift in private.
(All photos by Stacy Able Photography.)
When we left off, the girls and I had finally settled in for bedtime. Anxiously awaiting the next day, I took my usual sleeping medication plus a little extra (that makes three doses of sleeping medication…) to help ensure I stayed knocked out until my alarm went off the next morning.
HA! What a joke. Instead of sleeping through the night as planned, I woke up around 4:00AM. So now what? I mean, I’m in a room with two of my best friends, the TV is already off, and I’m awake. And not just awake like I-took-my-meds-but-I-woke-up awake, but wide awake.
(Personal photo, clearly taken after the wedding. More on this soon!)
So, I resorted to exactly what any normal anxious bride would do: tweeting, browsing Instagram, and texting my very, very soon to be husband that my stomach hurt. Because those are the very important details that I needed Mr. O to know at four in the morning the night before our wedding. (???)
After whisking ourselves to the hotel, I believe we immediately overwhelmed the desk clerk. I mean, you can’t blame the guy. Four girls (SIL T was with MIL O on her way over) pull up in two cars jam packed with lots of bags, a huge wedding dress, a steamer, and several bottles of champagne, and then they expect you to find a solution to their luggage problem. We were a hot mess, freezing, and ready to get our asses inside!
We unloaded, got the cars parked, and made our way up to our two rooms. This was not so much planned, but rather was more of a called-too-late-to-get-a-suite…then realized that still wouldn’t have worked because the boys needed a room to get ready in, too. So two rooms we had, and we separated our stuff out and got comfy so I could shower them in gifts.
These ladies had done so much for me throughout the planning process. My besties were there through the ups and downs, the good and the bad, the “I can’t wait!” days and the “I hate my arms so much I want to cry” days. It was only logical that I would shower them with gifts just as they had showered me with gifts (and love!) a few months before.
(My life right now is Arrested Development, which none of them watch, so I was trying to explain how this shirt IS Arrested Development without even saying anything. They didn’t get it. I gave up.)
This night easily produced some of my most memorable quotes from our rehearsal and wedding days. The first came when trying to hang my beauty of a dress. Standing on the bed, I wasn’t tall enough to reach the glass window pane thing, and I thought I was going to break my neck. (So did poor Alison, our DOC, who had just come down to grab a few things, not see me fall!)
When we left off, there were road closures. LOTS of road closures. To the point where I was concerned that we wouldn’t make it to the venue. One of the two paths that Daddy Otter and FIL Otter had found was closed, but the other was thankfully open. MOH Cubs and I tried every other option first (ahem, because the local police hadn’t updated their website in six hours…), so we ended up driving around for a good hour trying to get to the venue.
Finally, with much apprehension, we arrived at the venue. Hooray! We started setting up and slowly but surely, our family and wedding party started to arrive. I was most proud to see Best Man Batman and GM Billygoat arrive FIRST! For arriving early, they were rewarded with alcoholic beverages. (Please note: I am not above bribes.)
(My mini! I raised this baby girl until just a couple of years ago, and now she isn’t a baby anymore!)
Hive, it’s time! After a short break to start writing our recaps, I’m back, and the recaps are ready to go! And before I begin, I must give two very special thank yous out. First, to Mrs. Armadillo, for being sweet enough to make the Otterly In Love graphic you’ll see at the bottom of each of my recap posts. I never could have made something so cute (she even gave Mr. O glasses!). Thanks, Mrs. A! Secondly, to our amazing photographer, Stacy, who got our pro pics back to us in two weeks. TWO. WEEKS. I was fully prepared to not-so-patiently wait, but nope, not the case! Thanks, Stacy!
And on to the recaps…Let yourself travel back in time, to a day not so long ago…
On the day of the rehearsal, the ladies and I spent the day getting pampered. We spent our day at Chateau Bijou, a local spa and salon. They took on our group (which was pretty big compared to the size of the actual nail area of the salon), let us bring in food and drinks (lots of drinks!), and fully indulged us in our inappropriate conversations.
(All photos personal)
(I don’t usually like pedis, but whatever these feet things were, I loved ’em!)
Hive, you are the best! Thank you for each and every one of the sweet comments on my post about what went wrong on the wedding day. I know that other people have much, much more to complain about than I do, so I really appreciate just laying it out there and getting a sweet response from all of you! I’ve started a list of recaps that I plan to write (eeek!), but I wanted to talk about a couple more things before we get photos and really start recapping.
If you’ve been around the ’bee for a while, you’ve probably seen these acronyms before. The Post Wedding Chop is something many great bees before me have participated in. Typically, these lovely ladies grow their hair out for the wedding, and then chop it off after. Some chops have been just a few inches (like Mrs. Mink’s), some chops have been new bangs (like Mrs. Wallaby’s), and some chops have been accidental manglings of gorgeous hair (I’m sorry, Mrs. Cola!). But whatever chop it was, it was post wedding.
I’ve been growing my hair out for a long, long time. I chopped it one time, and it just never grew back. But finally, it started growing. Hooray! For the wedding, I knew I wanted to leave it down and curled, and with thin hair, we thought we may have to use extensions. Thankfully, my hair proved to be enough, and my hair came out like this for the big day:
Photo by Stacy Able Photography / Our first kiss as Mr. + Mrs.!
Surprisingly, I did have a few friends ask about my post wedding hair plans. Would I go auburn like I always say I want to? Finally allow someone to trim it? Perhaps I would even get really crazy and get some bangs??? Here is my post wedding hair:
Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Neither are weddings. So in the interest of being totally honest and candid, I’m getting the what went wrong out of the way right now—and then I’m not looking back.
I believe that all brides want their day to be amazing…not perfect, because I think most brides realize that there’s no way the entire day can go perfect. It just can’t. But it can be amazing, beautiful, and more than you ever imagined it could be. We were blessed enough to have a day like that. Thankfully, there were only a few things that truly disappointed me on our wedding day. (Okay, and one the morning after, so I cheated a little on my list, but oh well!)
I’m not including this in my wedding recaps because honestly, I don’t want to remember these things. I want to remember our beautiful day, and let these things go. So I’m getting them out, and then I’m going to do my best to let them go. And as a quick disclaimer: I was never drunk, so these are real feelings. I did have a few drinks, but after having a whole glass of wine (!) spilled on my dress, I strayed away from the alcohol.
Photo by Stacy Able Photography / Our Otters! You’ll see more of them…
First, and most importantly, there is one thing we probably won’t be able to easily forget, but we do want to move on from. We had some very important people that we had reserved seats for in the front row (because they are that important to us) that didn’t show up. To be fair, the person missing on my side did come to the reception, but [he/she] wasn’t present at the ceremony, which was the most important part of the day to us. It was truly heartbreaking to realize that for whatever reason, [he/she] just didn’t get there in time. For Mr. O, there were a few seats reserved for his family members. I can’t speak on his behalf, but I do know that he had to be calmed down before walking down the aisle because he was so upset at their last minute cancellation. (And I thought it was those pre-ceremony jitters when I saw him in the waiting area, wrong!)
Hive! I have a HUSBAND now. How crazy is that!? First, the good stuff—the photos!
(All personal photos, unless otherwise noted.)
I am back to finish up our STD discussion. Since people are acknowledging that they have received their postcards, I figured it was safe to let the cat out of the bag. Last time we discussed the Scooters’ ideas on STDs, we came up with a list of how we wanted our little beauties to look. This list included:
As we discussed the design, we decided to incorporate a cool idea. I hadn’t seen it on a wedding save the date in the same way we incorporated it (if I may say so myself). So what did I decide we wanted on our save the dates, you ask? We incorporated a QR code into our design. It wasn’t just a regular QR code that would send people to our website—I wanted it to actually SAVE OUR DATE. It took a lot of time to find a QR code that, when scanned (with the right app), would actually populate your smart phone calendar!
Hive, it’s time! Time for me to write one last post as a Miss…because TODAY is the big day! It’s finally, finally showtime. Sixteen months of planning, a lot of dollars spent, a lot of highs and lows, and here we finally are.
Yesterday was, for the most part, very laid back. We spent a good portion of the day at the nail salon, enjoying mimosas, inappropriate conversations, and lots of laughs. (I mean, obviously lots of laughs if the conversation sways toward inappropriate. )
All photos personal / At the nail salon
After the salon, we encountered the hectic and very, very stressful part of the day—trying to pack my car not only for the wedding, but also for Chicago. Unfortunately, the weather really wasn’t in our favor the past few days, and several inches of rain rendered most of our main roads closed—as in, instead of five routes to the venue, we were down to one. It was a road I hadn’t ever heard of, so trust me when I say that I was pretty skeptical while driving on it.
That’s right, hive—the Otter wedding festivities have officially kicked off!
Last night, Mr. O and I picked up the lovely MOH Cubs from the airport and went straight to our favorite place—Roy’s!—for some of their legendary breadsticks and Long Islands.
All photos personal
Let’s just say “some” means “a few,” and we were pretty excited to find a giant comb on the way back to the car, and even more excited to go shopping in the $5 movie bins.
Hive, my heart feels so incredibly full. My wonderful boss and coworkers kept a secret for AN ENTIRE WEEK and managed to throw me a surprise shower on Tuesday. I cried, of course. I also tried to back into Mr. O, but he shoved me forward where I hid by my boss lady until I could pull myself together. I am so happy and blessed to work somewhere so amazing.
And of course, my boss did a wonderful job of gathering all my favorite things. Not only did we have Chic-fil-A for lunch (om nom nom), but we also had cake AND cupcakes (yes, those count as different things) and part of our gift was my favorite wine.
I truly have nothing else to say—just a big, big thank you to my coworkers and boss for planning something so wonderful for me. I am NOT a surprise person, but this truly made me so incredibly happy! Plus, it was a great way to spend my last day of work before the wedding!
A card everyone signed for me, so thoughtful!