I Miss This Face

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Whenever he puts on that uniform it means he's leaving.  Two years ago it was for a month here and a week there that culminated in a year long deployment..  This year so far it's mostly a weekend  but this time around it was for a week.  They split his two week drill into two separate weeks so he was only gone one week but will be gone for another week next month.  Well, it's better then a year and after going through that a week or a weekend really is nothing but it still makes me sad.  He usually has to leave really early in the morning while I'm still in bed.  I wipe my eyes and put on my glasses so I can get a good look at his handsome face one last time.  He comes to my bedside to give me a hug and a kiss like he usually does before leaving for work except this time instead of a button up shirt and tie he's wearing his Army fatigues.  He sits on the bed and hugs me and I don't want to let go.  I kiss him a few extra times and hug him a little longer then usual.  He is freshly shaved and I rub my cheek against his smooth face and squeeze him extra tight.

As I lay in bed with my eyes closed I listen as the garage door opens downstairs and closes after he drives away and tears leak out of my eyes.  I wonder why it still makes me cry when it's only one week. When he's away it's like a little part of me is missing too.  Sunday I get a text message.  I open my phone and I start laughing.  He sent me this adorable picture.  I text him back  "I love this pic, you are so cute! Thank you."  This pic will get me through the week.  Looking at it makes me smile.

He is making the 5 hour drive back right now.  By the time I get off work he will already be at home waiting for me.  I'm cooking dinner.  Our pro wedding pics are online now but since he wasn't here we are going to look at them this weekend.  Together.

Just Wanna Go Home

I'm a creature of habit. I like to stick to my routine, I like things to make sense and I really value my time at home after I get off work considering it is so limited. So that's why I was hugely annoyed when I learned there would be a scheduled training for a promo job that I agreed to work this week. By the time I get home it's about 5:30 pm and I like to come home, shower, put on my comfy casuals watch a little bit of TV and relax. Needless to say I was really put out when I found out the training would be on Tuesday on 7:30 pm for 45 minutes. You mean to tell me that my entire evening is now spoiled for a training that we probably don't really need in the first place?

This is already a busy week for me. A 7:30 pm training downtown means that I don't have time to zig zag back and forth across town and go home. I am stuck without anything to do for a couple of hours after I get off work when all I wanna do is go home. Wednesday I have a hair appointment so I won't get home until close to 8pm and then Thursday the promo job runs until 10:30pm. That's three long days in a row and I don't like it one bit. I know. I'm such baby when it comes to this and I know I should just get over it but for some reason I couldn't and I was just so mad.

When I really think about it I am lucky that I get to do this kind of work at all. It's a better paying part time gig then anything else I can think of. I don't get to model much anymore and doing promos kind of keeps me involved and maintains my relationship with my agency. I can't always do these considering I work full time but the general rule I have with myself is that if the agency gets me booked for a promo job I will do it if I can work it into my schedule. I could use the money and I enjoy it so to do otherwise would just be lazy. Fine. But a training? What's the point?

It's not like promo jobs are all that difficult. We are paid to look good and promote a brand. I don't consider it "real" modeling but they pay well and goodness knows I could use the extra money. The jobs range from boring, awful or exhausting to fun and easy.  Often a lot of back breaking standing on your feet.  You usually never know what you are doing until you show up. One of my fav's was years ago when I got to watch Beyonce in concert for free and get paid for it! I feel a little old for the alcohol promo's but not too much of that comes through the agency anyways. I am usually one of the "older" girls which is fine by me because despite my creaky knees I can pass for younger and no one really notices that I'm probably a good 10 years older then the youngest!

Resigned to my fate I drive downtown and manage to find free parking. I sit in my car for about an hour or so reading a magazine and wishing I was at home. I decide to venture out to kill more time and trip on something in the sidewalk to the point where I almost break my sandals. Irritated, I walk towards the hotel where the training is and realize that it's right across from this little tourist spot with shops and restaurants right by the Marina. I take a little walk by the water and take in the smells of the different restaurants. I was disgruntled and not expecting any photo ops.  I didn't have a camera with me and my phone is a million years old so I couldn't take a picture of all of the pretty boats bobbing up and down in the water or the cool horse drawn carriage waiting for customers to carry downtown. I wander into a few shops. The light breeze feels good on my face. I live in a beautiful place and I don't take it for granted but I do sometimes forget that all of this is right here in my backyard.

The pic I would have taken if I'd had a "real" phone. Courtesy of google images.

Suddenly my mood has lifted and I am no longer upset about this whole change in my routine. I got to lay my eyes on the pretty marina and take a nice walk. It was refreshing. Just walking through the hotel was an experience because it was so grand and beautiful. I couldn't help but wonder how much a wedding there would cost! Then, I actually enjoyed meeting the event organizers and the other models-two of which I have worked with before years ago.  Yeah, we probably didn't really need this kind of prep but the marketing company running the event is really organized and wanted to go that extra step. We picked out our sizes and found out a little bit about what we would be doing. I'm actually really excited about working Thursday's event.

Sure, I'd rather have been at home in my jammies watching the latest episode of "If I can Dream" on hulu and I'm tired now because I didn't get home until 9:30pm and got to bed late but it wasn't so bad. I wasted so much energy being angry. I can be so set in my ways sometimes. It just goes to show you that sometimes no matter how hard you try to disregard that silver lining sometimes it hunts you down and taps you on the shoulder anyways.

An Anthropologie Experience

Can't wait to wear this cute top
"Oh, they have an Anthropologie." I was with my big sis at the mall on Sunday and we wandered in there because we just so happened to be passing by and I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. Every female seems to adore their clothes and abhor the prices so I have purposefully never checked out the website or made any attempt to walk in the store-not that I see them too often.  You know, that whole ignorance is bliss thing.  I certainly don't need another store on top of Express AND The Limited that I covet but can't really afford to shop at without coupons.  And something tells me Anthropologie is not very coupon friendly.

I made my way through the store fingering their lovely expensive clothes and hoping not to fall in love. Without planning to I walked out with an adorable clearance sleeveless top -First Flight Tee for $29.99. A bit high for just a tank but you can really feel the quality. The material is so soft and luxurious and I love the little lacy fringe on the shoulder that gives it such a girly yet sophisticated look.  It's so not in my budget but after months of buying mostly stuff for the house I just sorta said "What the hell" and bought it.  Clearance is the only way I'll likely ever buy anything from that store again considering the prices but I really do love their chic and elegant yet girly style.  They have great dresses and tops.  They make cotton look fancy which is perfect for a girl like me who if given an ultimatum would choose comfort over fashion-especially when it comes to my footwear-but REALLY wants to have both.  With Anthro I get this distinct feeling that I could have the best of both worlds and find myself dreaming of my entire closet filled with their pieces.  What if my entire wardrobe was all Anthropologie?  I couldn't help but to look effortlessly fabulous-all the time.  And then I imagine how much that would cost me.  Bubble bursting.  So not happening!!

Incidentally, without even realizing it I actually have two tops from Anthro.  Both given to me by my trendy fashionista little sis as gifts over the last couple of years because she really is just cool like that.  She has been a fan of Anthro for quite a while now along with everyone else.  Now I have one more piece to add to my not really growing collection. I feel pretty cool now that I bought a shirt from Anthropologie although I don't know when or even if it will happen again.  At least not anytime soon!  And yes, I fell in love just a little bit but this store is so far out of my reach that it pretty much kills the whole temptation factor I was afraid of.

Quality Time With Big Sis

I have adequately mourned the passing of my wedding.  No more planning to be done.  No more "So, how is the wedding going?" inquiries or "Bride to be" comments.  That's been replaced with "How was the wedding?" which allows me the opportunity to reminisce and relive my princess moment again and again.  I have paid homage to the magical event by posting blogs and pictures here and on face book.   I have carefully documented and analyzed every moment and every emotion which I will have saved forever.  I have reveled in the awesome memories and gotten closure on my cake.  We got gifts and did a little house shopping with our loot.  Accordingly, I think it's about time I talk about something else.  Bummer. I loved my wedding and being "The Bride" more after the wedding then I did before and as much as I would kind of like to do it all over again I can't.  It's kind of a one time thing.  I am still waiting anxiously for the professional pics and the video my little sis is making for us which will undoubtedly inspire another round of wedding talk but sadly I guess it's time to move on with other topics of interest. For now.

This past weekend was spent with my big sis.  She came down and spent the weekend with me while hubby is out of town.  I wanted to spend some quality time with her before the baby is born and totally takes over her life-even more then he already has.  At 8 months she is about to pop and her belly is HUGE.  I got to really see and touch a pregnant belly up close for the first time.  It's surprisingly hard and it's amazing how her skin has stretched and her stomach has grown so much.  She is slow, tires easily, has swollen sausage feet, sometimes doesn't fit into booths, and can hardly reach her feet to put on lotion or socks.  She can only wear flip flops and sun dresses.  She can't sleep well and when the baby moves it feels like he's scratching at her insides.  Her thighs have developed cottage cheese for the first time ever and she has to give herself insulin shots and strictly monitor her diet.  Sounds a little bit like hell and I am in no rush to do any of that anytime soon and maybe not EVER. 

Saturday we saw Eclipse at the movies [even though she already saw it] and did a few errands.  Don't ask me how but somehow I managed to loose a 6 pack double roll package of toilet paper somewhere between Walmart and my car.  I went to the car to put all of my stuff in there while my sister stayed in the mall and when we got home later that day I realized the toilet paper was missing.  I know I walked out of the store with it.  Who looses a giant package of toilet paper in the parking lot?  Me.  We went to Denny's for dinner that night.  Apparently no one else quite recognizes what a true gem good old Denny's is aside from us so even though I can't get anyone else to go there with me anymore it was actually our top pick.  We stayed up late, well past her bedtime watching TV and talking up a storm.  There is no shortage of conversation or things to talk about when we are together.

Sunday we went to the mall so she could go to Mac Cosmetics and finally use the gift card I got her back in May for her B Day.  I had to re buy my toilet paper at Target.  So sad.  We went to dinner again-us sister's have never been into cooking-and then watched the movie we picked out at Blockbuster that turned out to be really bad.  We spent a lot of time hanging out on the couch in front of the TV.  It didn't matter what we did it was just nice to spend some quality time with my big sis again like we used to.   

Her dream of having a baby and being a stay at home mom is finally coming true. I am so happy for her and excited to have a nephew. This is the first baby in our family.  She finds out when she will be induced some time this week.  Things worked out about as well as we could have hoped.  She got to come to the wedding and mom has been loving having her back at home for a while.  She gets to stay out here and have her baby then her and her husband will be moving to Vegas where he got stationed which is a hell of a lot closer then where she was before.  She moved away 4 years ago and it's when we spend time together like this that I really realize just how much I miss having her around.  That might be the last time we get to hang out like that in a long, long time and it does makes me a little bit sad.  Her life is drastically changing but she will always be my sister and neither time nor distance or itty bitty babies will ever change that.

Cake Closure

You never imagine that you will get the wrong color cake on your wedding day of all days.  The one day when a cake matters so much.  It's just something that you don't think will ever happen to you and I still can't believe that it did.  I felt that sending the picture to the bakery was a no brainer and that it couldn't be clearer then that but apparently I was wrong.  Quite honesly, I would have rather have had the wrong flavor or even a totally different cake as long as it was the right colors because that's what will show up in a picture for years to come and it would have been nice if it matched our wedding.

I sent the bakery an e mail and included the picture of the cake we got and the picture of the cake I asked for.  It was clear to him that they were obviously two very different cakes.  He keeps saying that he saw Silver in the picture of the cake we requested and I still absolutely DO NOT.  As far as I'm concerned even if there was Purple in the cake if I said Pink & Black that's what they should have done.  I didn't push that too much because although I still can't figure out how he decided that Silver was confirmed we both agreed that we got a very different cake then what I asked for and that is what we needed to focus on.

I advised that I understand he can't give 100% but that I feel we deserve very close to it and he offered 50% straight out.  I was very glad that he was kind enough to realize that an error had been made and fair enough to offer reasonable compensation for it.  We will be getting a $216.00 refund check in the mail.  While it can never make up for having a cake that didn't match our wedding I at least feel relieved that our disappointment was acknowledged and compensated in some way.    If When I look back on this I will feel a little bit better knowing that it was resolved fairly.  It would be a heck of a lot worse to just feel as though we spent $425 on a cake, got totally screwed over and they didn't even care. 

I am frugal.  I love coupons and credit adjustments as much as maybe a little bit more the next person but as frugal as I am I would much rather have had them keep the $200 and have gotten the right cake.  Since it didn't work out that way I will take the discount and just be glad that justice has been served.  Now I have some kind of closure on the situation and that's better then nothing. 

The Horrible Wedding Cake Mistake

                                Exhibit A-The cake we asked for                                          

Exhibit B-The cake that was delivered

It was only a matter of time before I got to the Horrible Cake Mistake of my wedding.  I wanted to get to all of the good stuff first because that is what's most important but the glaring cake debacle unfortunately will always be some part of our wedding no matter how hard I try to forget it.  That night there was so much going on and I was having so much fun that once I realized that my cake was an impostor I had to shrug it off and get on with it.  I refused to let it ruin my night.  That's probably why I felt sadder about my cake the Monday after when we turned in our cake stands then I did the night of.  I had finally allowed myself to get upset about it. 

We told them that our cake was the wrong color and that we wanted to know what happened.  The girl at the counter went and got our paperwork and told us that the baker wrote down "Black and Silver stripes."  SILVER?  Where in the hell did they get silver when at no time did the word Silver ever cross my lips when discussing my cake.  The colors of our wedding are Pink and Black and that's the color that our cake was supposed to be.  We had our original sit down and discussed cakes with Pink, Black and White designs.  We continued to shop around and when we finally decided to book the cake with this bakery I did it over the phone.  I e mailed them a picture of how we wanted the cake to look-see Exhibit A above.  I told him over the phone we wanted a Pink cake with Pink and Black stripes.  How much clearer can you get then that?

Not only do I feel badly that my cake was the wrong color I also feel badly that I didn't prevent it from happening.  They are a reputable company and I e mailed them a picture but if I had asked them to confirm the colors when I made the final payment then chances are this would not have happened.  Shame on me for thinking they would get it right instead of pulling some random color out of their ass [I don't cuss unless at rare times I really feel the situation warrants it and this clearly does].

The man we booked the cake with was not in the day we went in.  To their credit someone was kind enough to get back to us right away.  I explained the situation and the person who I booked the cake with did call me back about an hour later.  He tried to tell me I signed off on it and I explained that I did not.  The cake was booked over the phone.  I e mailed him the picture again and he said that on his monitor the stripes above and below the black look silver to him.  This shocked  me because at no time did I EVER look at that obviously PINK & BLACK cake in exhibit A and think that there was any Silver in it at all.  I know that colors on computers can vary so I'm not even going to get too upset about the fact that you could barely even tell the darn cake we got was pink because they made it so light but C'MON!  Even if the reflecting of the light off of the picture gives the illusion of very light Silver stripes on that example cake it still looks way different then the cake that was actually delivered to us.  HELLO!  BIG DIFFERENCE!!!  The stripes on the cake we got are DARK GREY not a subtle light silver and it looks way different then the picture we sent.  Can you tell I am angry?  Well I am and I think I have every right to be.  I didn't spend freakin' $425.00 on a cake for this company to get it wrong.  We did two other tastings and came back to them.  The most expensive of them all-because Mj preferred their flavors-and they turn out to be the bakery that screws it up.

In conversations with both representatives from the company they did allude to the possibility of offering us a store credit-NO THANK YOU-or a partial refund.  They did not admit to any wrong doing.  He claims that he thought we confirmed Silver and that there does appears to be Silver in the cake stripes-but that he is sorry that we didn't get what we wanted.  There isn't a refund big enough to make up for this error but there isn't really anything else that anyone can do.  The question is how much?  Obviously, we got a cake and fed our guests with it-as if we had any other choice-so I doubt they will give us a full refund.  Even though I don't think that would be too much to ask for.  I believe that this error is so egregious that even though I think 30% is somewhat reasonable I am going to ask for 60% and hope they agree to 50%.  I know it will pass but right now every time I look at the beautiful picture of what our cake should have looked like I get angry and that is a bummer.  I hate it that this cake thing is always going to be THERE as the one negative about our wedding day.

Why Have A Wedding At All?

I'd get a call from a vendor regarding a balance due.   Like nothing I'd get my purse, whip out that Master Card and fork over a couple hundred bucks.  It became routine.  Between buying a house and the wedding we'd been throwing around money right and left and while it seemed so jaw dropping and overwhelming when we first started all this somehow I became desensitized.

While it is extremely important not to go overboard and spend outside your means I also don't think it makes sense to spend a dime at all if it's not at at least close to what you want.  I'd rather spend 10k and love my wedding then to spend 5K be disappointed and feel regret about spending even that much because I didn't get much of what I really wanted.  Even though there are moments when I feel that it is positively obscene to spend this much money on a party I have no regrets for these reasons: 
  1. We really wanted a traditional wedding for ourselves and for our families.  We wanted to celebrate this amazing moment with everyone.  Weddings aren't free.  We knew it wasn't going to be cheap.  We knew we were going to be spending way more then we ever normally would on an event but we decided to do it anyways.
  2. We balanced budget with our vision.  I know I did my very best on finding the best prices and getting what we could for our money.   I shopped around and just said no to things that were beyond our reach financially.  Even if it wasn't as elaborate as the wedding industry would have you believe it should be we stuck to what we can afford AND planned a wedding modeled after our vision of what we wanted our wedding to be.
  3. We did not go into debt.  Everything was paid in cash and our wedding will not be hanging over our head financially at all.  Had we not been able to do this I'm not so sure how comfortable I would be with having had a wedding but fortunately we were able to.
  4. Our wedding was something that I was proud of even on a budget.  I wouldn't have it any other way.  You can't half way do it once you make the decision to have a wedding.  If I am going to ask people to travel cross country I want to plan an event to make it worth their while.  Even if we could invite 80 guests inside the courthouse with the justice of the peace for a 15 minute ceremony for close to $0 dollars and call it a day I certainly wouldn't expect them to come so far just for that.  This might be different for every bride.
  5. Our wedding brought family AND friends together.
The very best reason of all that I am glad we did this and one you can't necessarily put a price tag on is #5.  That weddings bring families together in a way in which under any other circumstances would probably not ever happen.  How many times in your life will you ever have a gathering (not counting funerals) like this that will bring both sides (let alone one side) of the family together all in one place? Probably never. Some families do have regular family reunions but most don't.  Who has time or money for it?  What other time will you spring for a party and invite your entire family and tons of friends to come?  Maybe NEVER! Most people can't justify spending even a couple thousand on a party-unless it's a wedding.  Maybe at some point you might have a 40th B Day bash or a retirement party blow out but even then no one goes to the extraordinary lengths to show up that they would for a wedding.  At the end of the day it was the people who were there sharing our marriage with us that made it all so special.  They became a part of our wedding experience and it was truly wonderful.

There is something so special and sacred about a wedding that makes it important enough that people will do what it takes and come from afar just they can just to be a part of it.   It's still not worth spending beyond your means but that alone is priceless and like our wedding a once in a lifetime occurrence.  I am so glad it's an experience that I did not have to miss out on.

Money & Weddings: What Kind Of Bride Are You?

How much to spend on a wedding may very well be one of the very first major money decisions a couple will make. I have identified four different approaches to wedding planning and spending.  Every couple probably falls into one of these categories or perhaps a combo of two depending on budget, the kind of wedding and how much it costs.
  1. Elopers: Those who say to hell with it all and elope to a place like Hawaii, Vegas, or their local court house saving a boatload of money and time in the process.
  2. Frugal Non Traditionalists: Those who buck all tradition. They save a ton of money and say screw the wedding industry. I'm going to cook my own food, wear a dress from Macy's and have my wedding in a converted barn. Not that those weddings can't be lovely but the time, man power and creativity and DIY projects it takes to pull it off right...well it's not for everybody.
  3. Frugal Traditionalists: Couples who don't totally subscribe to the wedding industry machine and are doing it all or mostly on their own. They make sacrifices here so they can splurge a little there and pull off a traditional wedding to their liking while still managing to spend well under the national average which is $19,581 according to costofwedding.com.  The average for my city is between $20,651 and $34,419.
  4. Platinum Partiers: Those who go ALL out and ALL traditional and beyond with a lot of bells and whistles spending loads of money in the process.  These folks spend at least or well above the national average and their weddings look like something out of a bridal magazine complete with themes and maybe even an ice sculpture or two.  They either simply have the money to spend, are receiving major financial help from family or are incurring large debt and stretching their budgets beyond all reason to accommodate their expensive desires.
Can you guess what category we fall into? Frugal Traditionalists all the way. My extreme budget conscious mind sometimes wished I were part of the Frugal non traditionalist category because this would have cost us much less but that just isn't us. We want what we want but are willing to make sacrifices in certain areas to make it happen within our budget. We are not really credit card people. Our cars are paid off and are credit card balances are typically paid off month to month. If we had to do all of this on credit cards then it means we can't afford it and I'm not quite certain if I would have felt comfortable doing that. But luckily, we will not start our married life in debt because we have paid cash for everything we had to buy for our house AND our wedding. Granted, a lot of cash that is gone and never coming back that probably could have been used for important things like shopping sprees or emergency savings, backyard landscaping or for who knows what in the future. We made the decision that having a traditional wedding while not essential was important enough for us to use it for this.

Wedding Sticker Shock

The Date: July 10, 2010
The Colors: Black & PASTEL PINK
Guest Count:  75
Location:  Hotel

Wedding Event-Day Of
Food & Beverage pkg w/Cocktail Hour: $5,338.00
Hosted Beverages: $888.00
DJ & Up lighting: $700.00
Photographer: $1,625.00

Officiant: $0 [ordain a friend]
Ceremony Venue Fee: $1,190.00
Cake: $421.25
Flowers: $447.73
Chair Covers: $233.70
DIY Centerpieces: $80.00
Guest Favors: $80.00
Place Cards: $57.00
Ceremony Arch Dressing: $100.00
Guest Parking: $115.00
Total: $11,275.68

Accessories/Extra Items
Invitations/RSVP: $189.60
Bridal Party Gifts: $90.00
Rehearsal Dinner: ($438.00) [gift from 'rents]
Mani/Pedi: $50.00
Hair: $85.00
Bridal Party Make Up Artist: ($350.00)[Gift from mom]
Total: Actual-$1202.60,  Our cost- $414.60 

Wedding Dress:$491.00
Dress Alterations: $224.00
Bride Shoes:$32.00
Jewelry:  $0 [passed down from grandma]
Groom Tuxedo:$0 [free w/5 paid rentals]
Total: $747.00

We got generous cash wedding gifts from Mj's mom, grandma, and aunt which we deposited into our joint savings.  Budget wise I think I did well keeping things in check so my sticker shock is not all that shocking which is a very good thing.  I shopped around and said no to things that didn't fit the budget.  Tax of 8.75 and gratuity at a whopping 19 percent cut into the budget big time so i had to consider that as well.  Looking at my list of expenses I can definitely see areas where I could have cut costs.  We didn't have to spend $800 on hosted beverages.  We could have got cheaper invitations or settled for the slightly less tasty but probably just as beautiful [and ideally the right color] $325 cake.  The guest list could have been cut in half.  I could have settled for a much cheaper dress.  We could have had a wedding luncheon with no DJ or hors dourves only and no sit down dinner.  We could have had it at a park and hired a local restaurant to cater the food.  Heck, we could've just had a BBQ right?  There are all kinds of things we could have done differently but to do so would have compromised what we wanted way too much.  I also see tons of areas where we could have indulged and added on thousands easy but didn't.  

That being said, our my goal was a nice neat $10,000 not including wardrobe, grooming, honeymoon, rings etc. for day of items central to carrying out the wedding on the day itself.  That was what I shot for but all the while I knew that it would still be OK if we finished somewhere in the $11's.  I may have had doubts before but AFTER wedding I can honestly say without question it was worth every penny.  I am so glad that I didn't over obsess on or spend extra money on budget busting items that I really wanted but could live without because when it came down to it none of that really mattered.  Did my vows mean any less or did I have less fun because I didn't have fresh flower centerpieces?  Nope!  It's more about the vows, the people, and the energy of the event then anything else.  The rest really is "just details."  Even having the wrong cake didn't spoil the magic of my day and that is a really important element.  Would I have preferred to have the cake I ordered that matched my colors?  Yes, but the show must and did go on.  Thank goodness I didn't feel compelled to spend 20K or even 15K! If we had of course it would have been more grand and extravagant but once you get to a certain threshold I don't think that extra expenditure of money is going to enhance your core wedding experience that much more.  I had an AMAZING wedding on 11K.  It's definitely possible!

All of those things that many brides obsess over don't matter as much as you think they will.  I do believe that it is important to get most of what you want though-whatever that is.  It's still your party and there is no point in doing it at all if it isn't going to be something you want.  You just have to find a balance.

The Day After The Wedding

The day after the wedding I was still flying high.  The ladies went off to Vegas for the night so we had Sunday to ourselves.  We hung out with my family at hotel  for a little bit then checked out at 1pm and went to breakfast.  We came home to a pile of gifts on the kitchen counter.  It's funny, but I kinda forgot about this part.  I didn't think we'd have so many presents.  Yes, you spend a lot to have a wedding but you do get something back in the way of gifts.  We jumped right in and opened them and organized receipts and wrote down who bought what right then.  No time like the present-excuse the pun!  I was tired and other then watch a movie we didn't do much else.

I knew I wanted to post about my wedding but there was just so much that happened and so much to say that I didn't know where to start.  All of a sudden I got inspired and found myself tapping away at my lap top for hours.  Seriously-my intention was not to do a 4 part saga about my wedding day but once I got started I was on a roll and it kept going and going and that's what it turned into.  I couldn't seem to stop until I got it all out.  I wanted it all written down so I will always have it to look back on.  With my bad memory I am certain that some of the details will start to fade.  but I have every detail and thought and feeling of that special day preserved forever now.

I took Monday off and we used that day to take our cash and gift cards to Bed Bath & Beyond and pick up a few things we wanted off our registry AND get curtains.  I really didn't think that we would be out getting curtains 2 days after our wedding but hubby was motivated to finally get this done so I went with it.  We got 10% off of everything we bought that day-not just registry items which was nice.  We got the other half of our dinnerware set and some towels I really wanted for the downstairs 1/2 bath.  On our way home we stopped at Hooters since hubby had a craving for their wings.  It was my first time there.  We totally disagreed over which Hooter Girl had the best bod.  Then we went home unpacked our bags, put away our wedding gifts and installed curtains.  Hubby pitched right in with helping me re organize some things in the kitchen.  There are only a few items we will need to return.  At some point I planned to lay down and take a nap but that never happened.

His aunts and mom came home around 7:00 pm and I stayed up pretty late with them chatting about their trip and the wedding.  Mj wasn't going back to work until Wednesday and they all tried to convince me to take one more day but as much as I wanted to I couldn't bring myself to do it.  Mj spent hours trying to get the pics out of his aunts camera but with 3 laptops, 2 memory disks and a power cord nothing seemed to work.  We just couldn't get the computers to read the camera.  I was so disappointed because I got hardly got any pics with my camera.  I was wishing I had assigned someone to take pics with it.  My mom got some but it could be weeks before I get them from her and I was anxious to have them NOW.  When hubby came to say goodnight I stuck out my lip and whined a little that I wanted those pictures really bad.  He said, "Baby, I tried-it wouldn't work." 

"But I really, really want them.  I have no pictures.  She took some great shots and I'll be really, really sad if I don't have them."  

"Do you want me to try one more time?" 

"Yes...please."  And so he did.  He was up until 2 am working on it and still doesn't know how he got them out but he did.  Bless his heart.

Saying good bye to the ladies Tuesday morning as I went off to work was so sad.  They were all part of this amazing wedding experience and I really enjoyed having them there with us and getting to know them.  Going back to work sucked of course but I was still on cloud 9 so I got through it OK.  The atmosphere at work seemed oddly festive that day for some reason.  Everyone was really chatty and wanted to hear about the wedding.  My co workers got us an awesome gift of a picnic backpack complete with tiny wine glasses, plates, and a cheese cutting board.  They also got us a blanket in a bag and two bottles of wine to go with it.  We had something similar on our registry.

Part of the week was spent catching up on TV shows and blogs and just hangin' out-no frantic running around included.  We have left over wedding cake that we took home and we are trying to eat a little  bit every day so it doesn't go bad.  Now, it's Saturday and I am looking forward to the weekend to get some rest in and clean house.  The weather has turned HOT.  It looks like we are finally catching up with the rest of the country and getting our summer over here.  It's about time.

I still can't stop thinking about the wedding.  I thought I would just be relieved that it was over but I have this sense of loss instead.  I am actually sad that it's over and when I read about other bloggers still in the planning process I am jealous!!  I want to do it again!! I never ever thought I would feel that way. 

I am actually glad that our honeymoon isn't until October.  It gives us a chance to re group and settle in.  Mj got back in November 09.  In December we started hunting for wedding locations and in January we started house hunting.  The wedding planning was ongoing.  We closed on a house, moved in May and had our wedding two months later.   Needless to say it's been a super busy year for us and finally we have completed everything we set out to do.  There is this sort of "now what" feeling but it's nice to still have our 7 days in Oahu, Hawaii to look forward to.  I can get back into house decorating and having a life that revolves around things other then home buying, moving and wedding plans.

I don't feel that much different.  We already live together so now that it is official not too much changes-except my last name.  Married life begins and just like the words in our ceremony it's important to keep doing the same things that got us here in the first place.

Our Wedding Rocked [Part IV]

I was never that little girl who dreamed of having a wedding. I never had visions of where I wanted it or what dress I would wear. Not that I didn't want one. I think I mostly just believed it was something I could never have. For me it was something that other people get to do. Not something I would never be able to afford or ever be lucky enough to have for myself.

I was so blase about it at the beginning. Is it worth the money? Do we really need to do all of this? We are buying a house this year-can we really justify it?  Now that I have done it I completely understand what all of the fuss is about and I am so glad I didn't miss out. It is worth every penny. This amazing night was truly priceless and I am thrilled that I will always have this precious memory of celebrating our marriage with friends and family.  I have never felt more beautiful in my entire life.  There is something about that pristine white dress.  Something about celebrating love and the combining of two people that brings out this incredible outpouring of emotion and joy.  There is nothing like it.  There is so much planning and effort involved yet it goes by in a flash. All of these people are there with you in this special moment and then in the blink of an eye they are gone. There are so many precious memories to treasure.  I can honestly say it was easily one of the best days of my life.  And when you think about it that's really how it should be-that's why us brides do this at all.  It's more then just a party and more then a wedding to me.  It's a feeling.  It is a momentous moment and it is absolutely magical.

We packed up the centerpiece parts and gathered up our belongings.  The gifts were packed into the car.  We said our final good byes to the last group of people.  For a moment I feel relief that all the planning and meetings and weekends consumed by wedding details are over. But another part of me is saying, "I want to do it again!!" Planning could be stressful at times and time consuming but the whole experience from the day of setting up blur, walking down the aisle, and our first dance was just that wonderful.  Just that amazing and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.  Not even the cake mistake can spoil it for me and I am really proud of the end result.  It feels like a great accomplishment and the culmination of everything that we've been working towards for the last 7 months.

I am savoring my last moments as a princess.  Tired but wired all at the same time.  Oh what a long yet short, exhilarating yet exhausting day it's been.  I am drunk off of happiness, joy, and more then a little bit of wine.  

We were much too tired for champagne and strawberries that night.  We had other priorities.  Can you really say that you consummated your marriage when the consummating portion has already taken place....before the wedding?  Well, regardless of the technicalities as exhausted as we were there was consummating and we drifted off happily into a deep sleep with our arms wrapped tightly around each other. 
The perfect end to a perfect day.  I got my prince charming and a beautiful wedding to go along with him. 

Today was a fairy tale.

Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night [Part III]

Taking pics is fun! Mj and I have become a walking, talking photo op.  We do all the traditional family and bridal party shots but we also try to have a little fun with it.

Me and my mum

After pics it takes an army of ladies to get me bustled up.  There are six bustles on my dress and of course I can't remember where any of them are so they played "find the bustle button" until I'm all pinned up.  Now I can stop kicking my dress around corners. 

Right on schedule the guests are ushered into the reception room from the cocktail hour and the bridal party waits just outside the room for our entrance. I wasn't sure if I wanted to do this but at the last minute I decided we should. We are the stars of the party right? We might as well enjoy this and it also recognizes our bridal party. I envisioned feeling shy and on the spot as we entered the room but the reality was nothing like that. I am only happy and excited to get in there. This room is filled with good friends and family and love. They cheer and clap for us as "I Gotta Feeling" blasts through the room and Mj and I sort of walk/dance into the room and it's a wonderful feeling. Tonight's Gonna Be a Good Night alright.

We head to our sweetheart table where our champagne bottle is waiting for us. We have a chance to look around the room and see how beautiful the whole set up is. I glance to my left and think really, really hope it is just poor lighting or my eyes playing tricks on me when I see our cake sitting there. I blink a few times and it doesn't change. It's the design we picked out but instead of a pink cake with black and pink stripes around each tier we got a pink cake with dark grey and black stripes sitting there trying to pass as our wedding cake. I come to the sad realization that our beautiful expensive wedding cake is the wrong color and I am just glad that I didn't find out before. This is our night and I am not letting that impostor of a cake get me down. We'll figure out what went wrong later.
The staff starts bringing out dinner plates.  I have heard stories about crazy brides who didn't even eat their entree but not us!  We sat there and enjoyed our Tri Tip steak and chatted.  It was fun to look around the room and see all of our guests enjoying themselves.  Dinner hadn't even ended yet when there were a few folks already on the dance floor....including Blue Suit.  Yeah....at the last minute I told me dad he could stay but that he had to wait until everyone else was seated to find a spot.  I had to make dad sweat a little but I am not a total and complete bridezilla.  He gifted us with a bottle of Dom Perignon for goodness sake and I don't want to punish him!  My anger was directed at my dad for totally disregarding my wishes.  Incidentally, he wasn't the only "party crasher."  One of my friends brought someone who wasn't technically invited nor did she RSVP'd for.  Nothing against this person.  I like her, but it still puzzles me how some folks just don't get it about how weddings operate.  She could have told me asked.  Moving on.

Having a smallish wedding Mj and I were able to go around the entire room and greet all of our guests at each table which was really nice.  We worked the room and then met outside for a bathroom run.  I hadn't used the restroom since I put the dress on and was happy to find I was able to do it without dunking my dress in the toilet.  Mj was in total disbelief about how the men's bathroom looked like a truck stop bathroom compared to the ladies spa like retreat.  Yep.  I had him come inside just in case I needed help with the dress.

We decided to have the DJ open up the floor for toasts.  Just when I thought I was all cried out for the night I quickly find out that I am not.  One of my dear friends and co workers S stands up to speak and I am so touched by her words that the tears start flowing again.  We were in the claims trenches together having been co workers for 8 years.  I vented to her endlessly on bad days at work.  We confided in each other and shared our hopes and disappointments over countless lunch breaks.  I was at her wedding.  My goodness....sometimes you just don't realize what you mean to others and vice versa until moments like this and that is what is so wonderful this.  The room is full of love and everyone is just so happy for you.  It can be emotional.  My little sis is so shy and quiet but she wanted so much much to get up there and express her happiness for us in front of everyone.  I know how hard that must've been for her.  She says "I have always looked up to you. And I'm so happy for you" and the tears start rolling again.  I begin to wonder if I will cry through my entire wedding.  These are tears of joy though not sadness and there is nothing too bad about that.  Some toasts are funny and others make me cry.  We even had an impromptu and unexpected burst of song from my cousin-random but sweet.  We went a bit over schedule but I really think it was wonderful to give anyone the opportunity to speak.

The DJ tells us we are behind schedule because we had so many takers on our toast so we move right into the cake cutting. For an impostor cake it sure did taste good. Mj and I cut the cake and I reached for a fork but he wanted us to feed it to each other with our fingers which was cute and fun. No cake in face shoving as discussed! Then it was time for the Bride & Groom first dance. Even though everyone was watching us I felt like we were in our own little world.  We move into the Father/Daughter dance to "Can You Feel The Love Tonight." Then about 40 seconds in Mj and his mom joined in. This is another tradition that we almost didn't do but I am so glad we did.

After that it really was party time.  I was just the perfect amount of tipsy and I had a blast for the remainder of the night.  We stepped out to do a few night time pics with our photographer and we chatted here and there guests and did a lot of dancing.  Weddings are a whirlwind.  You hope that everyone had a great time but almost feel badly that it goes by so fast and you don't really get to spend that much time together.  They sweep in and share a special moment with you and just as quickly they are gone.  It's just the way it goes.  Guests started coming up to say good bye as the night went on.  I still don't know exactly what time our wedding ended but as guests dwindled and we were down to just a small group of dancers I told the DJ we were ready for our last song and got down on the dance floor until the very end.  I'm so glad that people had a good time.

Even four days later I am still re living my favorite moments and am filled with so much joy over how well everything turned out.  The sights, the feelings, the emotions, the fun.  Sure, I planned to have fun at my wedding but this  night far exceeded any expectations I had.  It was just that much of an amazing night.

Here Come's The Bride [Part II]

The wedding coordinator takes me to my starting place.  The rest of the party enters from a different area and I have this perfect moment where I am alone with my thoughts.  I peak out the door and see everyone sitting ahead of me and to the right waiting for the ceremony to begin.  I hear the beautiful music we painstakingly selected and I can't help but cry.  It is such a beautiful vision.  This is my wedding.  We did this.  We planned this beautiful event and we brought all of these people together to celebrate.  I can see the reception room through the floor to ceiling window to my left.  It's all set up.  My cake has been delivered and the chair covers look so pretty.  I can't believe that I am standing here in this beautiful billowing white princess dress at my very own wedding about to walk down the aisle.  This is a dream come true and I am so happy and excited that I get to do this.  As my dad walks up I ask him to get me at tissue so I don't ruin my make up.

The processional music starts and without anyone seeing me I get to watch  from the rear as my wedding unfolds right before my eyes.  The grass is a beautiful bright green and the white arch stands out brighter then ever against the greenery.  I look up and see that the gloomy skies have finally disappeared and been replaced by a beautiful yellow glow from the sun and a blue sky.  Mj escorts his grandma down the aisle to her seat then goes back to get the mom's and escort them one on each arm.  The bridal party walks down the aisle next two by two.  Everyone has taken their place up front but the first song has not ended.  Should we start?  Not yet, it's almost over.  There is a pause in the processional as we wait for song #2.  Once it starts my dad and I take the longer walk coming from the rear left of the grassy area.  We reach the straight away where the guests are standing and I smile at everyone and take my time as we move closer to the arch.  I've been running around at a frantic pace all day long.  I feel like I am on top of the world right now and I am enjoying every minute.  I don't want to rush this part.  As I get closer to Mj I focus on him.  We smile at each other and make eye contact.


The musics stops and K begins to speak.  He looks and sounds like a pro.  I just know this is going to go well.  We get to the part where each of us says our own vows to each other and the moment I turn to Mj and start speaking I begin to cry.  My voice is wobbly.  I have to pause and take a breath because I can no longer speak.  I look up and see Mj tearing up.  It's the first time I've ever seen him cry.  I didn't think I ever would.  He wipes his eyes and my voice is still wavering as I continue to speak.  There is so much focus on the reception but the moment you stand in front of friends and family and speak your vows to each other is what the whole day is really all about.  I am not really even aware that all eyes are on me and I don't care that my voice is wobbling and there are tears coming down my face.  The nervousness about having everyone staring at me is gone.  I didn't find these words on the internet-I found them in my heart.  I thought about what Mj means to me and this is what came out.  The words I speak are personal but I am not embarrassed to share them or the emotion that goes along with them in front of everyone.  If you are in love you want to shout it from the rooftops-this is finally my chance.
Mj goes next and I look into his eyes while he speaks to me.  You would never know he was up past midnight trying to figure out what to write.  For a first timer K has done a wonderful job officiating and it goes without a hitch.  He has to give us a little hint about what comes next at one point and I try to push the ring onto Mj's finger a bit sooner then I was supposed to at another but I doubt anyone but us noticed.  He pronounces us man and wife and when we kiss I am so in the moment that there is nothing awkward or self conscious about it. 
I almost walk away without grabbing my bouquet back from lil sis.  On cue I hear the opening strains of our recessional song and we walk down the aisle arm and arm and into the special room reserved for us to have a private moment.

There is a bottle of champagne and some cheese and crackers waiting for us.  I don't have to miss my cocktail hour goodies after all.  Mj and I look at each other and I yell out "We did it!  We pulled it off."  We are giddy with excitement and relief.   Now the pressure is totally off.  Any stress I had earlier is gone and I am looking forward to having a great time at our reception.  We drink champagne and revel in this moment.  When Mj says he can't drink anymore champagne after only one glass I am confused.  That is until I find out that his boys have been liquoring him up all along.  He is already going on some beers, a couple shots and who knows what else while I barely had time to suck down 1 1/2 glasses of wine before pictures and the one glass of wine I guzzled down in the limo.

Our photographer has sent Jen to get us for pictures.  It must be about 5 pm or very close to it.  We are on schedule after a rush rush morning and we still have the rest of a very fun night ahead of us.

A Bride's Work Is Never Done [Part I]

Of course I can't wait until my pro pics are here to post re caps so I'm starting out with candids that I snatched from Facebook and the professional pics will follow just as soon as I get my hot little hands on 'em....
[July 10, 2010] I was specifically told by our hotel wedding coordinator [and a few others] that the bride isn't supposed to work on her wedding day and that I must eat because she does not want any wilting brides.  I flat out told her that if I didn't work this wedding was not going to happen but I did tell her I would try to eat.  From the moment I woke up and headed off to my hair appointment until just before I walked down the aisle I was on the go.  I planned to eat except I couldn't exactly figure out when that was supposed to happen.  It wasn't written on my timeline so.....

From the moment I woke up, loaded up my car and headed of to my 8:15 am hair appointment it was go, go, go.  I finished hair at around 11:00 am and encountered my first snaffu on the drive to the hotel when I called the Chair Cover company and told them I was on my way.  "Uh, when we showed up to the Garden Ballroom the door was locked so we left.  We re adjusted our route and will be there at 1pm or 2pm."  OK.  When were they going to tell me this?  I was going to be off taking pics by then and wanted that done before I left so I could pay them and see it before the reception started.
I am the first person to arrive at the hotel.  Thank goodness little sis was staying there so I was able to call her and have her come down and help me start putting out the centerpieces.  I have to ask the staff to put out the round mirrors so we could get going with that and explain to little sis how to turn the LED lights on and how I wanted them situated.  Fe showed up with her dress and I got all excited because I forgot just how pretty the bridesmaids dresses were.

It's getting to about 12 pm and I STILL do not know what table is what freakin' number and STILL can't put numbers on my place cards.  I ask the staff to get me a diagram so I can number the tables and decide which group is gonna go where.  I put the mom's to work numbering according to my chart and alphabetizing the cards and placing them on the table.  I've got about two hours to be in make up and dressed.  Nope-still haven't found time to eat.  The place settings are not out yet so it's hard to tell where the favor boxes should be placed but I'll just have to leave it to sis and mom to make sure everything looks pretty.

Then I get the dreaded call from Mj that he forgot his tux!  Umm.  Are you kidding me?  Unfortunately not.  After going to the wrong flower shop first he's on his way to the hotel with the flowers and to drop his aunts off.  He is on his way to his 12:30 pm hair cut appointment and can't go back home to get it.  He needs my dad to do it but dad is out right now getting food.  Mom finally tracks dad down and he comes back to the hotel.  Big sis is hopping in the car to go with him to make sure this very important mission is carried out.  They have a little less then an hour to get the tux and come back.

Then, I see my dad's friend walking to the car in his bright blue suit.  I had a specific conversation with dad that he was not to be inviting all of his friends after one of them said he'd see me at the wedding and not really knowing what to say I just smiled and nodded.  I had my very first bridezilla moment when I yelled at my dad that I TOLD HIM NOT TO INVITE ANYONE and screamed and stormed off stomping my feet the whole way.  I called my mom immediately and told her that "He could not stay.  I don't care who has to tell him but he was not invited to the wedding and he would have to leave."  At 1:24 pm with just over a half hour to be dressed and ready to go I sat down to get my make up done.  When my dad calls me I just hand the phone to my mom because I am so mad I can't even speak to him. Up until the wedding started blue suit thought he was coming and no one wanted to tell him.  It was almost comical!  I couldn't concern myself with it anymore.  I had a wedding to get ready for.

When the wedding coordinator finds out I still have not eaten she brings me a restaurant menu and I scarf down some chicken street tacos while my make up is being done after I accidentally knock over my glass of wine all over the table.  I am steady on the phone while the make up artist is trying to finish my face but I can't help that.  Mom calls to say some of the centerpiece LED lights aren't working so I tell her I will put some extras in her gold bag and no I don't want her to turn them on just yet.  Wait until closer to 4pm.  We are late.  Everything from here on out is a total blur.  In fact the whole day is a blur.  I can hardly remember who I was talking to and not talking to.  I am so focused that I am oblivious to much of who and what is around me.  I am in a race against time all day.  By the time she finishes my make up and K starts unpinning and combing out my hair I am afraid to know what time it is.  I grab my jewelry and everyone just starts pitching in getting me dressed. I am acutely aware that I am the center of attention and all eyes are on me as I strip down to my bra and undies so I can put on my dress.  As I finally step into my dress I get the good news that Mj has his tux and will be ready in five minutes.  Too bad I won't be.  I never actually tried on my dress with my shoes and jewelry-I just assumed it would look good-and it does.  The make up artist finishes up my lips, there is a few last minute touches.  Jenn tries to take my cell phone away from me but I refuse.  It is welded to my hand and I'm not giving it up.  I put my vendor checks, extra LED lights, CD's and parking ticket in my mom's bag.  I hand off the vow cards and rings to lil' sis, rattle off some last minute instructions and then it's time to go.
I head downstairs to wait for MJ.  The moment I lay eyes on him I start tearing up.  He looks so handsome and I am so excited that our moment is almost here.  We step into the black limo he hired for us and head over to the park for our pictures.  It is 2:30 when I finally get a call from the photographer and I tell him that we are on the way.  We call one of the groomsmen to explain the CD procedure since his wife has volunteered to play them for us.  They are all labeled.  She just needs to press play.  We are 30 minutes late and although feeling very frantic I also feel beautiful and happy as we get in as many shots as we can before we head back to make our 4:30 ceremony time.  By the time the photo shoot is over we are both experts at kissing on cue in public.

It's about 3:50 pm and we are on our way back to the hotel when I get on my cell phone and start calling whoever I can to see that everything is being taken care of.  The CD's are supposed to start playing at 4 pm and I call only to find out that they are still sitting in my mom's bag somewhere so I tell Eb, "Find them and get them over to the CD player.  SOMEONE needs to press play at 4 pm sharp.  And please make sure the favor boxes are lined up nicely in front of the place settings."
Jan, Fe, Me, Lil' Sis, Eb

It isn't until we get back around 4:10 pm and are waiting until 4:30 pm that I finally get a moment to take a deep breath.  I am very glad that I put 4:00pm on the invite and had 4:00pm in the back of my mind even though we didn't plan for the ceremony to start until 4:30pm because it gave us all some breathing room.  I finally see all of my bridesmaids looking absolutely beautiful and the wedding coordinator comes up to get the flowers for everyone.  I tell the bridal party what table they will be at and I finally give up my cell phone.  The show is about to start and we all head down to line up.

The Rehearsal Jitters

I got dressed and rushed out of the house to get to my rehearsal on Friday only to have to turn around when I had this feeling I didn't shut the garage door.  Well, I hadn't forgotten but I'm glad I went back because Mj and his aunts were getting back from Old Town and rushing into the house to change.  We were all able to go in one car and made it on time despite the crazy traffic that was all around us like something out of the twilight zone.

I decided to switch to a bigger room so we would have more space and slightly higher ceilings-it wasn't booked so we were able to do it.  I got a chance to chat with Jenn our coordinator to make sure that there would be enough tables in the room to seat all of our guests unlike what it appeared to be on the room diagram.  I still couldn't get the tables numbered so I could write them down on my place cards which annoyed me but I guess it would just have to wait.

As each new arrival showed up it was so exciting.  My little sis who I haven't seen since Christmas.  My good friend from Atlanta Fe-who I haven't seen since 2007.  I met Mj's grandma for the first time.  Friends and family.  It was wonderful to see their beautiful smiling faces.  These people who traveled all of this way and were there at the rehearsal just for us.

The rehearsal itself went OK.  I say just OK because we didn't have time to actually go through the words like I'd hoped.  It was more for placement.  Our officiant is my friend Eb's husband and this is his first wedding.   I felt confused and I think he was feeling the same.  I'd planned on having us get together for a run through but like many other things it never happened.  Luckily, I had the music there because after changing up the format a little we discover that we actually will run out of time and need to come up with a second song for me and my dad to walk to.  Our coordinator made us kiss multiple times which was quite stiff and awkward.  Not that we've never done it before but we were on the spot and I think it made us both self conscious.  It suddenly dawned on me that everyone is going to be staring at us all night and I started to feel a little freaked out by that.  I guess I should have thought of that before I decided I wanted a wedding huh?


We had a great time at our rehearsal dinner.  It was a casual affair at a little Italian restaurant.  Our party fit on one long table at the patio.  It was nice for everyone to hang out and get to know each other.  I was so worried about the cost but my parents gave us money to cover it and a few people couldn't make it.  We got the bill and it was just a little over budget-even with alcohol included.  They were supposed to only do sodas but whatever-I was glad to see people enjoying themselves so it was all good.
Bridesmaid Eb & Big Sis

Me & Bridesmaid Fe

Little Sis & Boyfriend T

I made a game time decision to have a late night impromptu ceremony rehearsal.  By the time we left our dinner it was pretty late.  I was tired and still had things to do but I knew that it would make all three of us feel better to do a run through from start to finish.  We dropped off his aunts at our house, changed and didn't get to their house until 11:30 pm.  Eb told me K was getting a bit nervous and frankly so was I. Thank goodness we practiced because our first run through was a mess and what a disaster it would have been if we had done it that way when it counted.  I didn't know what to say when.  K would tell me to repeat after him and I would forget what he just said by the time it was time for me to speak.  I couldn't even remember what finger to put Mj's ring on.  We got the jitters out and worked out the bugs.  We did it exactly twice and that was all it took for us to all feel more confident and ready for the next day.

I went to bed with my mind racing with coulda, shoulda, woulda, what if's but at 1:30 am-technically the day of my wedding there was nothing more that I or anyone else could do about anything.  The planning was over and it was about time to execute.