Monday, July 18, 2016

Portraits and Pre-Ceremony

Genuinely happy, yet so tired of smiling.
Feeling genuinely beautiful, but when do I get to take these shoes off? 
So in love with my beautiful flowers, but can someone else hold them for a while? 

Pictures were one of the most important things to me that day, but my goodness, they were exhausting. 

I can't imagine how hard they would have been if I had not had the most amazing photographer, and had not been surrounded by my favoritest people ever. 

One thing I was not complaining about; an hour of hugs, kisses, and laughs with my groom. <3 

"Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more." <3

See the beautiful watch I gave him?! :D

Caleb wanted my wedding band to be a surprise, so I got to have a "first look" at my wedding set.

The day just kept getting better and better. Lol!

Pictures with my girls were SO much fun! Once the entire bridal party got there it seemed to go much faster.

Eek! Such wonderful people!
I have such a hard time not gushing about my pictures... is that vain??
It was all so perfect though... The colors, the style, the lighting, the flowers, the people... <3 <3

Somebody brought Caleb his dress shoes, so he had no excuse for not wearing them. :D

Shoes! <3!

So, when I picked my dress I asked if they had any shoes I could try on with it. They brought me a pair of 4in heels with big bows on the toes, and I just knew I *had* to have bows on my shoes. Later, when we were shoe shopping I found these beauties on sale at Dillards and instantly loved them!

I had never had individual portraits of me done, so that was kind of weird, but not nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. All the credit goes to my phenomenal photographer!

My handsome groom. <3 I love his dimple so much... ^_^

Okay. That got lengthy. Sorry. There are just too many amazing pictures!


When we got back to the church after pictures I rushed into my room to avoid the many guests that were already arriving. Anna did some maintenance on my hair, I took my shoes off, drank some water, sat down for a bit, and became instantly antsy. There was no way I was going to spend the next hour in that hot stuffy room just so a few people didn't see me before the ceremony.

My parents.
The church was laid out so that there was a hall from the foyer to the reception, and I had given the ushers instructions not to let anyone into the reception area before the ceremony, so I took advantage of that and made my way there to hang out until it was time to start.

The reception area was buzzing with people working on finishing touches, and family just hanging out. Perfect. I was able to hug my siblings, attempt to hug baby nieces and nephews, and just be with my parents and grand parents.

My flower girl.
My ring-bearer
Caleb and I always knew that we wanted my twin niece and nephew to be flower girl and ring bearer. They did an amazing job, and were little dolls, especially for being not-yet-two years old. <3 

We also knocked out a lot of the family pictures that can be time consuming right after the ceremony.
It was a win-win.

His parents
I don't know what is "normal" for a bride to think in the minutes leading up to her wedding ceremony, but I often see fear, nervousness, uncertainty, and uneasiness.

I had none of that. I had never been more sure of anything.

A few minutes before the wedding, the pastor came into my dressing room to ask me one more time, "Are you sure?". No hesitation at all when I replied "Yes.". He then prayed with me, and for me. I am so blessed to have such people in my life that care for me so much. <3

My sister snapped this picture on her phone for me. <3
Then it was time.

A smile from Gramma, a hug from mom, and kiss from dad.

Then the music started.....

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Getting Ready and First Look

I don't know why I imagined that I would sleep the night before the wedding. 
It was a long, restless night. 
Somewhere around 2 a.m I texted Caleb for a bit and discovered that he wasn't really sleeping either. 

After an excruciatingly long night, it was finely 4:30, and time for me to head to the church. 
I had packed every belonging I have, so I wore my moms pajamas, and the same shoes I had worn the last 4 days. 

Getting Ready

I got to the church around 5 a.m. and unloaded my car. 

My plan was:
Eat some quick food
Put the girls gifts by their mirrors
Have makeup done before hair lady got there

Well, I got the first part done, but I ended up zoning out and spent the rest of my time pushing food around my plate. 
My MOH got there, and I was still standing around in my pajamas, holding food that I wasn't eating.
Then I moved to my table and mirror to stare at myself until my friend showed up to fix my hair. 
Thank goodness the rest of the girls weren't far behind, and one of them brought Redbull. Lol!

After that, things got moving. Caleb texted to say he was there, the photographer showed up, all the girls were there and busy, and I was working ferociously on my make up so Anna could do my hair.

I asked my photographer to take Caleb his wedding present, and to get pictures of it for me. :)
Caleb got ready very quickly, and proceeded to text me impatiently, waiting for me to tell him to head to the park so we could do our first look. 
His impatience made me feel very rushed, but there was nothing I could do to change anything, so he would have to wait. Lol! 

All the while, my photographer was doing detail shots with all my accessories.

I have over 650 pictures, so this will be very hard for me, but I will do my best to limit them.
I wore my great-grandmothers necklace, and my mothers bracelet and earrings.

Anna was nearly done with my hair, so I asked the girls to steam my dress. 
The next 15 minutes were just insane. I stepped into my dress, and things just started happening around me. I stood in the middle of the room while two girls fastened my dress, one was still steaming it, one was putting jewelry all over me, pictures were being taken, shoes ended up on my feet, my hair done, the dress bustled, and a veil in my hair. 

Somewhere in there I texted Caleb to tell him to go ahead, and next thing I knew, I was piled in the back of the photographers car, giving her directions to the park. 

The First Look

 It was a breathtaking morning. We arrived at the park around 7:15 and the air was cool, there was a thick fog over the lake, and the sun was just beginning to peek through the trees. 
From a distance I got a glimpse of my groom as he was walking to the pre-determined spot. Oh my, did my heart flutter. 
The photographer went on ahead to get him in his spot, and I slowly headed that way. 

So, the converse were not part of the plan, but he hated the dress shoes so much that he refused to wear them every chance he got. Lol! 

I remember thinking that it was kind of cold, but mostly just feeling like I was about to burst. 

When he turned around he was in tears, and it was all I could do to not cry. 

We spent a very long time trying to figure out how we wanted to do the first look. We tossed around a lot of different ideas that included different people and/or locations. 
I am sure I probably wouldn't have even know if other people were there, but it was very special to have just the two of us, and the photographer, who was very absent. Once she gave me the go ahead, she left us completely alone for 10ish minutes before we stared pictures. I forgot that she was there as soon as I was with Caleb. 

Shout out to the most amazing photographer ever. She is such a sweet, sincere person, who was fun and easy to work with. She kept poses relaxed and easy, and was also quick to catch the candid moments (almost all of the pictures in this post are candid). 
I would whole-heartedly recommend Ruth Susana Photography to anyone. 
You can see some more of her work on her website.

Up next.... Fun with the wedding party, and pre-ceremony jitters.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Almost There

My life was nothing but wedding. Yes, I went to work, and did other things, but every second, every thought was wedding. 

I asked my closest friends to stand with me on my big day. 
My oldest sister read the card I handed her, and with huge eyes said "Really?! .... I am pregnant." 
And that is how I found out before anyone else. Lol! 

I planned a dress shopping day after spending countless hours looking online. I had several stores I wanted to visit, and a very good idea of what I wanted. 

3 days before the planned day with all my girls, my mother and I were in town, and she talked me into stopping by a hole-in-the-wall dress shop "just to look". 

Well, 45 minutes, and 5 dresses later, Mom made a deposit on the second wedding dress I had ever put on. 

Mom cried. 

3 days later, I added a shop to visit to our list, and took all the girls there to show them the dress I had already purchased. Thank goodness none of them hated it. Lol! 

My mind was in a whirl. I have always been a Ballgown kinda girl, but I was trying so hard to be practical and go with a simple wedding. Well, when I picked a dress that was anything other than sheath, all my mental plans had to be changed. Everything got bigger, fancier, and more expensive. 

Most of my wedding would not have been possible without the generosity and helpfulness of my amazing friends and family. 

If I am not busy, I go a little crazy, so having a ton of projects kept me sane for the weeks leading up to the wedding.

One way that I saved loads of money, and stayed busy, was by doing everything I could myself. 
I designed the invitations and programs, and my family helped me build them. 
I ordered silk flowers a bit at a time, and did all the silk arrangements, and boutonnieres myself.
I also build as much of the decor as I could. I was going to use Christmas lights, but I didn't want them to be forest green. I also didn't want to spend $15/100 lights for brown strands, so I spray painted clearance christmas lights. That meant I spent countless hours taping over the individual lights, so that wouldn't get painted, painting the green strands, then spending many more hours un-tapeing the lights. 
I was going to use paper cones for several things, so I spent many hours cutting pages from a book, and rolling and taping cones. 
Those are only a few of the projects I did, but it was totally worth it. Everything looked amazing.

The final invitation. Made by hand.
The last couple weeks leading up to the wedding were very stressful. I felt like I was being pulled on from every direction. My family needed me because they were going to miss me, my fiance needed me, my wedding party needed me, everyone had questions, and opinions. 
I was completely overwhelmed by so many voices that never stopped.

It didn't help that I was as sick as a dog. For 10 days before, and 3 days after the wedding I had a horrible respiratory virus. My lungs were so shot that the action of standing up sent me into coughing fits. I had not gotten real sleep in days. 

Despite all of it, I was so excited! 
When it was *finely* time to decorate the church, I was ecstatic. I wanted to as much as I could, and I ran around like a crazy lady for two days (totally coughing my brains out the entire time). 
My friends and family were so helpful. I was able to say "*insert name*, make this thing pretty." and 30 minutes later it was perfect. 

Rehearsal went smoothly, minus the group wide exhaustion. Lol! 

I didn't have a wedding coordinator, so rehearsal night I did a lot of talking, and a lot of coughing. Everyone was very patient though, and we made it through without any mishaps. 
There was a close call though, when dad first walked me down the aisle he got all teary eyed. <3 

Last minute details taken care of, a final walk through of the church, and then home for a long, sleepless night. 

The next day, I was getting married. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Reality > Dreams

Every girl dreams of her wedding day. 
I was no exception. 

I could spend a long time trying to remember what my dreams were, but it doesn't matter. 
My reality was better than I ever could have dreamed. 

Before I can describe the best day of my life, you need some back story

On December 11, 2014 a tall, handsome, fun guy asked me to be his girlfriend. 
We had become good friends in the months prior that, and I was scared, but happy to say 'yes' to him. 
The next two months consisted of him coming to my house to become better acquainted with my family (mainly my dad. Lol!), and us growing closer together over text and phone calls. 

On February 14, 2015 he took me to one of his favorite pizza joints, and we set up his Facebook so that we could announce our relationship. 

The year that followed was us falling in love, and growing closer every day.

We had a fun summer of adventures, walks, watching the stars, playing video games, and work. 

We had a lovely fall full of making plans for the future, and just spending time together. I got to know his Fire Department crew, he eventually remembered the names of all my family members.

Then, on a freak, gorgeous 65° December evening, he took me back to his (now our) favorite pizza joint. Within minutes of the exact time one year previous, when he had asked me to date him, he got on one knee, and asked me to marry him.
This time, I had no fear. I was simply elated to once again say 'yes'.

A few days later we decided on a date, and the agonizing wait began, but so did the wedding buzz. The excitement, the planning, the projects. It was all real, and my wedding-obsessed self loved every minute of it.

To be continued.....