To the Brides to be . . .

As we come down to the last few days before my brothers wedding (sorry if you are getting tired of hearing about this-I’ll be done on this topic soon). I think back to my wedding day which was-honestly a blur. There are moments that stand out in my mind good, stressful, and bad but let’s just say I’m grateful we had it all video taped because I could use a reminder of the play by play beyond what I planned for.

IMG_1559

But one thing I do know is that a lot of pressure is put on this one day, that one moment, this one event that when you get finally get there-it’s a little difficult to know how to feel, how to move forward or what to do. Many bridal magazine will try to tell you how “to look and feel your best” the day of your wedding . But this advice is usually superficial at best: detox tea, face masks, deep breathing exercises etc. only work so well. So I thought I would write a little realistic advice to the brides to be out there for their wedding days.

IMG_1949

Pause, breathe, and take it in-no need to rush!!

There will  be a lot of activity the day of your wedding people decorating the space, the caterers delivering food, or the cake people doing the same, florists, set up of tables and decorations. Then there is also all of the family, and wedding party with their different duties and assignments. Not only that, but every one will want to talk, see, or visit with you while you are being pushed and pulled by those doing your makeup and hair

IMG_0193IMG_0351

With everyone so busy around you, it’s easy to get caught up in the anxious rushed high. But you do not have to worry about a detail-that (hopefully) has already been delegated to those who love you and have volunteered to help.You need to pause, breathe, and take it in. The wedding can’t start without you (and everyone expects it to start a little late anyways).

1

For example,  I had met with my florist only once and since I have a green thumb, the flowers and table decorations were very important to me. I was couped up in the bridal room for hours so Luke wouldn’t see me. When it was finally time for me to leave the room  I wanted so badly to look at the tables, knowing that by the time I would see them again I would  be busy at the reception and it would be dark. The assistant wedding coordinator told me to take a moment to take it in -it was a necessary  to breath and relax before heading down the aisle.

Recognize significant moments and take them in fully

IMG_0647

We all know those moment you want to remember from your wedding day (maybe it is all of them) but the reality is most of it will be a blur. And yes, all of the moments of this day are significant but which of them will be captured in a picture or on the video that you can look back on -and which ones will not?

IMG_0751

For me : these moments are when my dad first saw me in my dress, or when my grandmothers joined the bridal room. Some of these moments are unplanned, such as getting colored drawings from our younger guests, or a passing piece of advice from a friend or relative, a laugh, a glance at your new husband. Things only you can capture and remember.

IMG_0811

Focus on the positive and the big picture. 

As much as you are the one planning through every detail you cannot control it all. You are yourself and are working with humans– it may not all go exactly as you had planned (sorry to be so honest) but it will all be wonderful and beautiful.

IMG_0169

I am a detail oriented with a type A personality. So to give control of so much of “my day” to those around me in hopes it will all go well is difficult-but I had not choice. Of course there are things you cannot predict. For example, there was a miscommunication about one of the groomsmen suits. So a couple from Luke’s side of the family drove quickly back into town to pick it up and back to the wedding right in time. ( I didn’t hear about any of this until Luke and I were driving away that night). Also I could not predict that my dress’ bustle would keep falling out as people stepped on my dress in the tight reception space.  It may not all happen how you want, but if you focus on the positive and the big picture you’ll realize it is amazing.

IMG_1427

Take a quiet moment to yourself

As I mentioned in my first point, you will be surrounded by many people from the moment you get up until you are alone with your husband in the car leaving for the honeymoon. If you are anything like me and even the slight bit of an introvert, a few seconds of quiet time to yourself to take in the day is important. This may mean taking a few minutes to meditate, journal, pray, listen to some music,or go on a short walk before getting going that morning.

IMG_9934IMG_9936

For me, after everyone was seated for the ceremony, and my bridesmaids sent out for the processional, I was left alone. I got a few precious moments in the bridal room to myself. There I was able to pray, look myself in the mirror and take it all in before greeting everyone else.

IMG_0202

Get a calm or relaxing moment with your bridesmaids and/or female friends before the wedding

IMG_0581

Much like the last point, it may be equally important if you are an extrovert to take a few minute to have a calm moment with you female relatives and friends before the wedding. This may be a toast, and encouragement. It could be a time to pray together or just a moment of silence. Or it could be a chance to exchange gifts.

IMG_0562

My wonderful bridesmaids set up time for an informal toast where grandmothers, mothers, friends, cousins, and bridesmaids all gathered and shared encouragement and congratulations. After most of my family had left the bridal room I gathered with my bridesmaids, mother, our pastor, and soon to be mother-in-law to pray for and over the day. This helped calm all of our nerves and help us focus no longer on getting ready but being ready.

IMG_0921

Celebrate

Once the formalness of the wedding ceremony (and pictures) are over remember to switch modes and celebrate. When the reception comes, yes there are still traditional events happening but this is a celebration time. Be yourself, laugh, joke, talk with friends, dance, and enjoy and be in the moment.

IMG_2643 IMG_2800

side note: make sure you have talked through the reception pacing with your MC/DJ. It is important that your MC/DJ knows how to space out the events at your reception. You may want to get all the traditional cake cutting, bouquet toss, toasts etc. over with right away so you can enjoy the dancing and food. Or you may want to space things out, get breaks in between so you can greet people, eat, rest, (or go to the bathroom).

IMG_2850

I was under the assumption, since the MC/DJ was hired by the venue, that he would know and keep a moderate pace for all of the reception events. I figured he would take some time for dancing and socializing between the cake cutting and bouquet toss etc. Instead I was asked at the reception what I wanted to do!!  Unprepared to make any type of decision at my wedding I have no idea what to answer. So all reception events happened quickly in a row-so fast few knew they were happening to enjoy them or take pictures. Then a large amount of time was given at the end for dancing. Because it was dark, and getting cold, people began to leave early since all main events were over. This gave me limited time to see everyone as well as it left a very limited grouping to enjoy the dance floor.

IMG_2930

Remember: at the end of the day no matter how all the pieces, details, and events unfold you are leaving your wedding and starting a life with your new husband.

IMG_2093

Yes that big day  is important, but the decision and promises you’ve made on that day will mark the days to come which will be even more significant. If you keep that in mind,  focusing on the purpose of the day and your future spouse, your wedding day will be a positive blur and one you know is only the beginning.  .  .

25 is Golden

images-1

Today June 25th I turn 25, so today is my golden birthday.  And no I do not have any “gold” themed b-day plans. So what am I doing today?

Unknown

Well this past weekend we celebrated with a day trip to Ithaca (which I will share later ). As for today? I plan to take a walk to the library, pick up a book on my long book list, stop by  Walker Cake Co. downtown and get a b-day treat (probably a cupcake). Then I will head to Soul full cup to enjoy a cup of caffeine and a good read.

images

images-1

Growing up, when it was our birthday we would open up our cards and display them on the mantel above the fireplace for a few weeks. Well right now we do not have a fireplace 😦 . But I have a solution. Awhile ago my parent’s bought me a metal picture holder. Held up by two small nails on either ends, pictures can be held between two metal loops and pinched  in place. When we moved to New York , I decided to use this holder to display cards, pictures, announcements, and invitations much as a fireplace mantel would.

IMG_2836
Displaying all of Luke’s B-day cards in March

In seasons where there are no celebrations, I use the space to display advice cards from my bridal shower. At my bridal shower, guests were given time to write on colorful card stock advice for my marriage. They were all handed  to me at the end of the day some signed, some not. So I thought as a nice reminder, I would display these words of wisdom from my female friends and relatives. In the middle I place one of the Christmas/thank you cards we gave out this past year (for more see: invites and thank you cards: communicating with your guests).

IMG_2507
Displaying advice cards from my bridal shower

Since we have moved this picture/card holder’s items have changed many times, displaying Christmas cards, thank you cards, graduation announcements, save the dates, and wedding invitations. It is a way to stay connected to family and friends, to remember what is going on in their lives, and to be encouraged they are aware of ours no matter how far away we are.

IMG_0246
Displaying my b-day cards as well as my bro’s grad announcement, save the date, and wedding invite

What are you favorite b-day activities or treats?

What do you do with cards and announcements?

The Dress

IMG_0065

The Wedding Dress. It is the most expensive dress you will ever wear and the one you will have pictures of forever. But without  direction, shopping for a wedding dress can be an exhausting and frustrating. Here are a few things to consider before   shopping.

IMG_0625

#1 know you budget and stick to it!!!

A. If you don’t know exactly how much you have to spend on a dress you are bound to spend more than you expected. Although workers at bridal shops are extremely helpful and friendly, they are also salespeople. After trying on several “nos” at my first bridal store, out came an off-white dress covered in lace and applique. It was beautiful. Beautiful that is until I heard the cost. So warning: do not even allow them to put you in a dress that you cannot afford-if you are not sure  ask them –before you put it on and fall in love.

IMG_0800

B. Alterations and rush-order fees: Your dress will need basic alterations (hemming and bustling) which can cost a pretty penny. If you need the dress to be pulled in somewhere it will cost extra. Each place has a different rate/policy about alterations-so ask for an estimate.  It is still important to have your dress altered by professionals; trust me it’s worth the money.

Also know your timeline. If you are going to have a short engagement (like I did) you will probably have to pay a rush-order fee. Bridal shops expect you to come in 4/6 months prior to the wedding. When your engagement is less than that you are already behind in their mind. So tell them your wedding date and ask if/how much a rush order fee would be. That may determine which dress you can afford.

IMG_0611

Hint: For all of this it may be helpful to bring along a calculator . Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t forget about taxes!!

Note for alterations and trying on samples: Sample dresses have been flattened and worn over and over again. So if you  choose a dress with layers of tulle, when the dress is pressed it will be more full than when you tried it on in the store or even during alterations

For example, during alterations I asked for a layer of tulle to be removed from my modified/mini ball-gown. When I saw the dress pressed it still looked very full. At my outdoor evening wedding reception, the tables and were chairs close together.  Because of this and how full my dress was people ended up stepping on it, pulling the bustle out. After awhile this became pretty frustrating.  So much so that I convinced Luke to not twirl or spin me too much for our first dance for fear I may trip and fall.

IMG_2767

C. There are great options for cheaper dresses:

1.Buy used or vintage.  It know you want your own special dress. But who said a used or vintage dress can’t be special?  The dress can be altered (by professionals) and it will look totally different on you than a previous person. With your wedding, your accessories, no one will care or need to know!

2. Buy off of the sample rack. Some bridal stores have a separate corner where sample dresses are sold. You may wonder about their condition considering how many brides-to-be have tried them on. But for hundreds instead of thousands a small repair in addition to professional alterations and cleaning would be worth it. The bridal shop where I got my wedding dress had sample racks next door. I looked at styles and tried a few things on from different price ranges. Doing this helped me discover I could afford something similar next door.

IMG_0075

#2 Know your shape and style

You will save yourself a lot of dressing rooms if you know what style of dress you like and what flatters your shape. There is nothing wrong with loving the style of a mermaid or trumpet dress but if you are like me and do not have a long torso or narrow hips you may not be happy with the outcome if you try it on. Likewise if you are short or petite a formal ball-gown could swallow you up.

IMG_1958

This is not to say you shouldn’t choose these options. You all have beautiful bodies and you want them to look their best. So pick a style you are comfortable with and feel flattering in. Although I looked good in a lacy A-line they were more expensive and I was a little self-conscious of how prominent my hips were. So I opted for a modified ball-gown that flares out at the waste. If you need help determining your shape and style  check out real simple wedding dress: “perfect dress for your body type”.

IMG_0836

#3 Know your venue and time of year

Where you are getting married and during which season will also make an impact on your dress choice. You do not want to wear a heavy beaded ball-gown at a beach wedding in August. Or a tea-length lacy dress for a winter formal church service.

 I arrived and left the ceremony site by horse drawn carriage.  It was a little challenging with a large dress to find the seat and my dad (arriving) and Luke (leaving) had to support me so my slippery dress didn’t cause me to fall out as we went up/down the hill to/from the wedding site. It was a small issue but your ability to get around and feel comfortable in your wedding dress is important.

431686_514806108549424_1982428025_n

My dress was perfect for me. It it had pockets, a sweetheart neckline, plunging back, embellished blush ribbon, and pearl buttons all the way down the train; simple and classy.  I know there are many beautiful options out there. My hope is this blog has helped you get one step closer to finding the perfect dress for you.

IMG_1949