Thursday, September 29, 2011

{ Attire } Planning for E-Pics

Saturday Carl and I are starting the journey of taking our engagement photos. I think I have put the idea of a Save the Date out of my mind until I have the e-pics back. I haven't even been thinking about what the STDs will look like!

But, what I have been obsessing about is Carl and my clothing for our pictures. That's right... I've become THAT fiance. The one who is planning the outfits and being a little too Type-A... I already said to Carl that I think I am going to have to bring a duffel bag for all the clothes that MIGHT work that day. Oh, and I went to Target and spent a good hour or two in the men's department where I finally bought Carl a bunch of neutral tone, plain colored shirts... Because he has none. And I'm crazy. I promise I won't be this crazy when it comes to having children and wearing matching outfits for family portraits. I promise!

I've been laying out possible options for me... So far we have the dresses:

Then we have the semi-casusal tops:

And last, the super casual, fun tops:

I love my t-rex shirt. And I bought Carl a Mountain Dew shirt. Oh god. I've lost my mind, haven't I?

Did you pick multiple outfits for your e-pics? How did you narrow down your options? Were you happy with your choices, looking back at your photos?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

{ Planning } The Wedding Party

I'll admit that I have been the girl who has been planning her bridal party for years. Ok, maybe not seriously, but I think this is something many girls daydream about.

Carl and I wanted a small, meaningful wedding party. We wanted those who were closest to us to share in celebrating our day by standing for us at our wedding. By all means, we wanted to avoid this:

Image Source / Fan Pop

Early on, I sent an introduction email out to the girls, so that everyone could get to know one another. I'm going to cheat a little and reiterate a bit of that email for this post.

Chrissy is my Matron of Honor and we have known each other for almost 14 years. At least since homeroom in 8th grade. Isn’t that a little freaking to think about? Chrissy has always been a wonderful friend to me and we have stayed close, even through all of life’s changes throughout those 14 years, including high school, college, marriage and baby Tegan!

Sarah is my second cousin and the biggest sweetheart in the entire world. Sarah and I have always had a really special bond. I call her my sister-cousin, and for good reason. She’s fun, funny, and my partner in crime (especially while growing up and playing make-believe at the cabin!) Sarah is an extroverted version of me, and I love any time I get to spend with her.

Stacey is also a close friend of mine. I have known Stacey through my brother since high school, but we also worked together for five years, mostly just drawing cartoons for each other on our long Sundays in the summer. Stacey has been a very and honest, true friend to me over the years and even though we don’t see each other as often as we used to, I’m always glad that we’re still close. I know I can count on her honesty for just about anything from fashion to the big picture things in life.

Samantha will be our awesome Groomslady! Samantha is a long time dear friend of Carl’s and I love her to pieces, too! I have to say that I know the least about Samantha, but have enjoyed the time I have gotten to spend with her during visits to New York quite a bit. I’m looking forward to lots more…

Asking each of them was really exciting. I knew I had to ask them each in person (Carl actually asked Samantha). I wanted to see their reactions and have that memory.

I  left asking the guys up to Carl... which was easy -- He asked his best friend Matt to be his Best Man. After a few weeks of trying to ask my brother (and, I'll admit, my nagging Carl to get on with it and ask him cause I was anxious to have him be a part of it all)... I ended up asking him on the was to a Twins game. My brother is really important to me, so I was really excited to ask him, too. When he gladly accepted, we had a full wedding party and planning was ready to go.

How did you ask your bridal party to stand for you? Did you send them a card? Call them? Ask them in person? How did you choose those who would stand for you?

Monday, September 26, 2011

{ Wish List } The Flowers I Dream Of

I have been in love with Princess Lasertron's flowers for almost three years. I've blog stocked her and dreamed of what kind of bouquet I would have her create for me some day. Reality is that her flowers aren't cheap. She puts a lot of love into her work, and deserves the highest of praise for these heirloom quality treasures she makes for brides all over.

Just for fun... I sent an inquiry to her. The pricing range for the flowers I like the best isn't unheard of. In fact, it's started me thinking that I could purchase a few of her kits for the bridesmaids and make those myself, and have mine made by Princess Lasertron.

Maybe it will turn into my one bridal splurge. Maybe I will continue on my trek to hand make all of my own flowers. Maybe I will give up on it all and purchase flowers from the farmer's market and just be done with it all. In the mean time... a girl can dream.

And now, for the Flower Porn. 
**All photos from PrincessLasertron.Com**
Seriously. Go check this girl out. She is a renaissance woman. Flowers, accessories, dresses... she does it all. AND she's a new mom. AND she runs a creative space. This gal is what I would call a BAMF.

What bridal splurges are you making?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

{ Tasks } Setting The Date: Part Four - The Conclusion

I took some advice that I heard awhile back to heart after my meltdown. I gave it 24 hours. I actually gave it 48 hours. I didn't think about it. I didn't talk about it. I just... Reset myself. I needed that to calm my anxiety and the mounting worries of losing the venue and losing the place Carl and I loved because of waiting too long, of waffling too much, etc. Reality was that this was a pointless worry. They still have quite a few days that would work of us, but if I'm not worrying about something, I'm worried that I'm not worried.

I took a deep breath and hugged Carl tightly one night. He is so very much my rock that I needed to hold on to him for a moment before I could voice my thoughts. I told him that I loved the idea of a Friday the 13th wedding, but I really wanted my mom to be a part of our wedding. She's my mom, and I love her. I need my mommy. I want my mommy to be there with my and be excited and happy, not stressed and balancing work and the wedding. I asked if August was out of the question... and his response?

"No... Why would it be? I thought we were going to pick whatever worked best for us. If August works best, August it is."

Paraphrased, of course... but very close.

Really? I mean... really?!! Misconception. Assumption. Anxiety... and it was THAT easy?

Man, those relationship shrinks know what they're saying when they talk about 'communication is key'. Ironic, because Carl and I have prided ourselves on our open communication over the years we have known each other. When did it suddenly become an issue? My guess... Because weddings are a touchy subject. I have my ideas. He has his. Friends have theirs. Family has theirs... and I want to make everybody happy. I need to remind myself that this just isn't going to be possible -- but I will do my best without giving up on what matters to Carl and me.

So the date was settled on after a little more discussion and I proudly trotted upstairs to morning the date up one more time to the 'rents. Mom had been talking to her boss about the July date, I had talked to mine about August, so when I told the 'rents our choice to have the wedding in August, I could almost see a the stresses float away from her. It felt good to have talked everything through with Carl, with Mom, with friends... And now it was really happening.

August 10th it would be, and finally... everything felt real.

Was setting a date difficult for you? What sorts of things did you consider while picking your wedding date?

Setting the Date: Part One
Setting the Date: Part Two
Setting the Date: Part Three

{ In Love } The Dreams Are Starting...

I started to dream about my wedding. The anxious kind of dream that I'm sure any woman planning a wedding has. This dream could have been a nightmare, but instead, it was really just stressful.

It was our wedding day. My dress arrived, but it was the wrong style. I realized Carl never ordered his wedding band. Our photographer wasn't answering her phone. My family was all late. The reception hall was too small and not decorated at all. We were running late on every detail.

And I wasn't bothered by any of it. As each new complication came up, I just looked at Carl and smiled. I told him it would be fine. He comforted me when I was stressed... and in the end, it went off without a hitch.

I can only hope I handle wedding disasters this well when they're real!

What kinds of dreams did you have while wedding planning?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

{ Tasks } Setting The Date: Part Three

We last left off with me casually mentioning the idea of a Friday the 13th wedding to my mom. I had emailed her our plan before slipping into a meeting that lasted til the end of the day. I was chipper and excited to feel like my wedding was finally going to be a real, solid day. All this time I had felt like the planning, the thoughts, the ideas were all a waste of time. No date was set, so nothing felt like a wedding yet.

When I came home, Mom and I talked about the 13th and how bad of a time of year it would be for her. Inside, I was crushed. I knew she was right... I just hadn't even thought of how the time of year would affect her. It would be fiscal ear end for both of us, which means craziness, long hours and lots and lots of stress. Add a wedding into the mix and it just becomes overwhelming.

We ended the conversation with "you have to get married when it works for you"... and the selfish teenager in my brain that I keep hidden just for these moments started to act up. I knew that August would be hectic for me, too. So would July. So would June. I work at a non-profit that has summer events -- a summer wedding would never be ideal... but it was going to happen.

Plus a little part of me wanted to get married sooner. I'm so excited to be a bride and a wife that July just sounded so much closer than August. Over the next few days, the topic kept getting brought up. Eventually I dreaded even speaking about it. Then, one day, it was brought up one final time. Mom reiterated how much stress having the wedding in July would put her under and...

*enter first bridal meltdown*

I cried. A lot. I felt like I was being a burden (I wasn't). I felt like my mom was mad at me (she wasn't). I felt like I was doing everything wrong (again, I wasn't). I felt stupid, terrible, frustrated (I wasn't, I wasn't, I wasn't)... And I knew I was being irrational and having a dreaded Bridezilla moment which made it all the worse (was this going to be the start of a trend?) I was already ashamed of myself and ready to apologize to anyone I ever talked to about the wedding for my awful Bridezilla-ness and irrationality. I ended up saying stupid things and not making any sense... Even to me. I was in full anxiety breakdown mode.

All over one stupid date. Why was I letting this get to me so much?

Stay tuned for the conclusion in part four...

Setting the Date: Part One
Setting the Date: Part Two

Thursday, September 22, 2011

{ Tasks } Setting The Date: Part Two

We last left off with the venue needing to know our date. Cue the nail biting. I’m an anxiety riddled person naturally, so sitting down for a discussion about something that might get touchy just made me avoid it all the more.

While we were at the venue, a joke about Friday the 13th being wide open came up and we all giggled. We had said “well we aren’t getting married on a Friday, so no big deal.” After the viewing, I asked our contact to kindly send us their available dates… And for comparison sake, send Friday availability, too (can’t deny the cheaper wedding!).

After seeing costs I knew that if we wanted to book our venue, it should be a Friday, but I still wanted to play with Saturday numbers. It wasn't NOT do-able, but there were fewer Saturday openings than Friday.

So now if you're following my thought train, here is where it gets complicated. I first thought August, then realized after Carl's comments that July should be an option, too. Then I said I didn't want to do a Friday, but still asked for Friday availability at the venue we liked. And all the while... none of this had been discussed as a couple. Assumptions were being made left and right... and you know what they say happens when you assume...?

Don't do it. It's going to back fire.

Yikes. What did I think I was doing? Inviting him to the wedding? Ha! He had to be in on this decision! It affected him as much as me! I mean, I know he said he was leaving the planning up to me... but I think this is one of those things that trumps that statement.

A few days pass and we start joking about a Friday the 13th wedding. I mention it at work and people respond well. It's cute. The venue is wide open that day. It's memorable. It's after one of our major events at work and before another, so the timing (for me) would be great... So I bring it up to my wonderful mother.

The idea went over about as well as an elephant trying to jump a fence.

Stay tuned for part three...

Setting the Date: Part One

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

{ Life } Tan Lines and E-Pics

I currently have tan lines that battle some of the epic fail modeled below:

Image Source / Blogger

Thanks to an outdoor Twins game I went to,  I think I am closest to "tennis". It's all funny and cute until you realize we want to do our engagement pictures next week. What am I supposed to do?

I thought about a tanning bed, but held it as a last resort. I thought about tanning outside everyday, but in typical Minnesota weather fashion, we went from 90 degrees to 45 degrees in a day. So what am I trying?

Everything I read in my panic search for "fix my awful tan QUICK!" said Jergen's Natural Glow lotion. It slowly gives your skin color like a rub in tanner without turning out orange or being super fake looking. I have to say... In three days, it has made a difference. I'm hoping that by next weekend, I can proudly say I won't have to beg our photographer, Kate, to Photoshop my skin into one uniform color.

Here's hoping!! I'll keep you posted as the results develop!

Did any last minute glitches hold up your engagement shoot plans? How did you overcome them?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

{ Life } Turning 27

Somehow, I really forgot about my birthday this year. I even said 'I forgot until someone told me what day it was that my birthday was tomorrow'... and still, when Carl gave me a big "Happy Birthday!" this morning, I was confused. I thought 'it's not... it is!'

How did I forget? Maybe between the wedding plans and a huge project at work, I've just sort of lost track of time. It's not usual for me to forget my birthday. I've looked forward to it every year. I like waking up on my birthday morning and feeling... special. Today, I was born. Some birthdays over the years:

My 16th birthday, where Chrissy, my best friend and now MOH, made me a sash, had all my friends sign it, and had me carry around a coconut all day in class. I think I got the chocolate and whipped cream from someone else...

On my 18th birthday (and I don't have photos for some reason), my friends surprised me in first period with a brownie with a candle in it, and they sang to me. It was really nice, even though I hate public displays!

 My 21st birthday, and first legal beer at Meister's

 My 22nd birthday, away at college. My two 'roomies' decorated my door for me.

We are skipping my 23rd birthday, in which my now ex broke up with me and made me move out of our apartment. You can see why.

 My 24th birthday with my friend Morgan, where we had a joint party (we are only a few days apart) with all our friends in my parent's garage

 I also caught a fish on my 24th birthday. It was my birthday fish.

 My 25th birthday, celebrated at the Bulldog. We all did a shot at midnight.

And my 26th birthday... Where Carl flew out, met my parents, and this whole crazy ride really got started. I also got a fishing pole, haha.

And now, my 27th birthday... My last birthday as a single woman. I realized that next year, I will be turning 28 as a newlywed. How exciting it that? But until then, I think I will celebrate with some great German food tonight with my family, and then go out for tacos and pitchers of margaritas with my friends on Friday to celebrate turning yet another year older.

Here's to a great birthday.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

{ Tasks } Setting The Date: Part One

Picking a date was something I had never put a lot of thought into until we started looking at our venues. What was the point in setting a date just to be sad when a venue we loved didn’t have it available? We were flexible, and we wanted to stay that way.

We only had a few requirements: the date needed to be in the summer months (June-August), it needed to be next year, and it couldn’t be during any of the events I need to work for my job. That was it. It left the majority of weekends open to us, so I started scanning websites and digging through listing after listing of venues with a vengeance, looking for our perfect wedding location. Since dates weren’t a huge concern for us, I never even really thought about it again.

Somewhere along the line, I got August set in my head. I don’t know how or when this happened, but it did. Maybe it came from whimsy-ing about getting married on my parent’s anniversary date, but one way or another, that nugget got in my brain and wouldn’t budge.

Whenever I said we were getting married in August, Carl would chime in “or next summer.” It happened every time. Every time! Or at least my sensitive and anxiety riddled mind heard it that way.

After a few repetitions of this exchange, my brain started hearing “he doesn’t want to get married in August…” AAAH! PANIC!! So then, naturally, it became July. Carl and I never actually sat down and discussed our expectations of a wedding date. I had mentioned my parent’s anniversary. I have mentioned the dates I knew wouldn’t work for me. At no time did we actually talk about what date WE wanted to choose. I figured we had time and it was really a non-issue (ha!)

Then we found our venue… and they needed to know a date.


Stay tuned for part two...

Friday, September 16, 2011

{ Life } Minnesota State Fair

The Great Minnesota Get Together is done and gone for another year... and somehow I forgot to blog about Carl's first visit to the second largest state fair in the US.

When I first visited Carl in New York, he brought me to the Scoharie County Sunshine Fair. We saw bunnies and drank slushies and I had my first cheese-steak. I couldn't help but mention how this fair was about a tenth the size of my hometown fair... I jokingly called their county fair 'quaint'. I mean c'mon... there was a tractor pull (which we laughed at so hard we cried).

Naturally, I have been anxious to take Carl to the Minnesota State Fair ever since. I have gone at least once every year since I can remember. Sometimes two and three times. I take this fair thing seriously! And why not? There are farm babies! Concerts! All the food you could want... on a stick! Butter sculptures!

So the day came and I brought Carl to the Minnesota State Fair. We ate, we saw animals, we walked and walked and walked... And here are some photos to show off some of the highlights. It's about to get pic-heavy up in here!

Carl & I enjoying cheese curds

1/3lb slab of bacon on a stick? Heck yes!

 Chipotle Orange sauce for the Big Fat Bacon... *drool*

 MinneApple Pie with cinnamon ice cream... YUM

 My favorite... Australian Battered Potatoes

 Why not?...

 Puffy aplaca!

 This is how to do cheese curds! Mmm... deep fried cheese...

 Cake contests winners. Check out the knitting cake... and the burger and fries cake next to it!

 Who doesn't?

Tired of walking? Take the sky ride!

I already can't wait til next year! Where else can I get my deep-fried cookie dough? My frickles (fried pickles)? My Scotch eggs on a stick... and all the useless crap you have to have but will never use... Like the bubble gun or a giant stuffed animal won on the Mighty Midway? Where else can I ride the giant slide?

Do you have a county or state fair you love to go to? What are your favorite parts?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

{ Tasks } The Parent/In Law Meet Up

Every website, every book, every anything I read has the very first task on your wedding planning task list is to have your parents meet his parents.

*insert cricket chirps*

I suppose for a traditional couple, this isn't such a huge deal. Maybe your families are a few miles from each other, or maybe a few hours... But how about 1,200? It is highly unlikely I will be completing task number one. We're off to a great start! sigh

Image Source / Long Distance Lover

Carl is from New York, I am from Minnesota. We have only been to New York twice -- and I am near certain we won't be visiting before the wedding. The last time we were in New York, Carl told his parents that he was proposing... And here we are.

Since we won't be able to visit before the wedding (wedding budgeting means money is tight and our cruise will take up most of our time off of work), and it has become apparent that a visit from his parents won't happen (his mother is a teacher, so she'll be busy until next summer... when the wedding will be)... We did the next best thing. Well, Mom did. My mom called Carl's mom to say hello. A sweet little gesture to link or families together, at least in some way.

I'm also planning to write to his mom to keep her informed. Send pictures, any new developments or ideas... I wrote to Carl for all these years, why not carry on that tradition with my future in-laws? I want to keep his family in the loop during the wedding planning. I want to grow close to them... they will be my new family!

I know other brides, grooms, other families deal with distance. How do you stay in touch? How do you keep the families linked through out the planning of your wedding and your future?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time For My OCD to Act Up...

So it seems as though my OCD is acting up a bit.

I'm unhappy with how my blog has been organized and with how often I'm (not) posting. I'm going to be working on redoing a bit and giving myself a somewhat clean slate to start a better, more organized and thoughtful flow.

Maybe then I will feel at ease and happy with how this wedding planning tale is shaping up.

Until then, Ben Folds concert on Saturday! Mom's bday! My bday!

It's going to be a quick few weeks!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

{ Attire } I Said Yes to the Dress

Well... I did it!

I... *gulp*… ordered my wedding dress!

It’s funny. I have no reservations about buying my perfect pretty, but I was still so scared to place the order. The down payment, the waiting… it’s all anxiety inducing! What if it arrives in the wrong color? What if our measurements were off? What if I lose too much weight before the wedding? What if I… don’t?

Luckily I know that the size I am ordering it in fits my body perfectly right now. If I make no progress in my weight loss journey, I will be a-ok… Just gotta tone up these arms a bit! I’m sort of nervous about putting on weight before the wedding, but I am certain this is something ALL brides worry about. Oh the weight worries…

True story: I was the skinny girl who actually had to put ON weight to fit into her prom dress. They didn’t have the dress in a 2, so I had to bulk up to a 4! GASP! The scandal! Really, all this did was made me feel free to eat to my sweet tooth’s content. I’m a sucker for anything in the baked goods world.

I’ll admit… I’m also terrified that I will lose too much weight. I know that when I stress out, I lose weight. Those last few weeks before the wedding will be huge! Hopefully all the stress weight loss will be done by the time of my final fitting.

Ordering my dress opens up the door of what ifs… I can only imagine what putting the down payment on our venue will be like when we finally make our selection! It all still feels so surreal… Pinch me – this is real, right?

What sorts of what if’s held you back or are holding you back in your wedding planning?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

{ Life } Don Williams

I was raised on classic country music. Charlie Pride, Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall... those are my guys. Last night, the folks and I went to the Don Williams concert... man that man can sing. That deep raspy voice... those simple, classic lyrics... that's REAL country!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

{ Inspiration } Floral Floundering

How do you decide?!

I know I’ve got bigger fish to fry than picking out my bouquet, but these pretties are preoccupying my mind! So many options out there, especially for the bride who is willing to DIY. There are the obvious fresh flowers… Fake flowers… And then the trendy or not-so-obvious...

Fabric flowers…

Felt flowers...

Ribbon flowers…

Pearl bouquets…

Image Source

Brooch bouquets...
Image Source

Combinations of the above...
Image Source

I think I’m just going to have to attempt one of each to help me decide (haha, with who's time?!). I can see any of them looking gorgeous with my dress. Some seem sort of impractical, like a full brooch bouquet (too heavy!) or felt flowers (easy to look cheap). How is a girl to choose?

How did you choose your bouquet? Have you decided to go classic or to follow one of the latest trends?