Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Help Me Choose!

I'm interrupting the recaps for a sec so you lovely readers can do something I know all blog readers LOVE to do: give an opinion!

A family friend wants to buy us a large print of one of our wedding photos and I'm having a hard time choosing which one to get. I'm not sure where we'll put it...I guess it depends on the one we chose. What I'm saying is we don't have a specific spot on our wall set aside for this photo, so don't factor that into your decision.

Oh, and consider this a sneak peek of things to come, too :)





Or maybe you hate all of them and think I should go back to the drawing board. That's ok, too :) Also, I really don't have a favorite, so you'll really be helping me out. Thanks!

Burning River Wedding: All Dressed Up In Love

One of my wedding day requests was to have all of my bridesmaids dressed before me. I really don't like seeing getting ready shots where the BMs are in their "street clothes" or pajamas helping the bride get ready. Personal preference, I guess.

Once my girls were dressed it was time for me to get in my gown! Eeeeeeee!!!!!

There was a bit of a...problem, though. I'd forgotten my Spanx at home. While I didn't need them to smooth out anything under my dress (my dress was very structured and could practically stand up on it's own), I knew I needed something to prevent friction on my inner thighs because my dress was so tight. I should have (and could have) asked some one to drive back to my house to get them, but I didn't want to mess up the schedule so I figured I would be fine. HA. Ha ha ha ha. Again, I'm an idiot. I'll talk about that in a future post.

Anyway, I ended up wearing a black thong under my dress. It really was all I had but it honestly worked out fine. I guess.

No one was really offering to help me in my dress, just standing around awkwardly, so I asked my mom to help. I knew she wouldn't speak up on her own, but I knew it was something she really wanted to do.

That other blond woman is our DOC, Brenda. I LOVE HER. 
Ps, sweet bra cups, right?

Since I know not everyone wanted to see my goodies, I manged to stay fairly covered up while putting on my dress. Here was my approach:

-Wear undies, tank top, no bra, and robe.
-Step into dress.
-Remove robe.
-Hold up dress to chest and carefully remove tank top while trying not to eff up hair and/or make up.
-Zip that baby up!

I spy a tramp stamp! Ooooh scandalous!

This is my "Please dear GOD let it fit" face. 
Can you see my MIL in the background sitting on the couch? She's so cute.

As my beautiful friends looked on adoringly,

I put the finishing touches on my look

and became a bride.

Burning River Bride Tip: have a game plan for getting dressed. Ask yourself some questions: who do you want present? Are you OK undressing in front of a ton of people or would you rather do it more privately? Is your getting ready outfit easy to get out of? These are things you may not consider until you're faced with them, so if you're still engaged definitely take a few minutes to develop your game plan.

Next up: We take a few in-room portraits and a little blue box arrives!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Burning River Wedding: Gettin' Prettified

Despite only a few hours of sleep and feeling like complete crap, I pulled myself together and started getting ready. I inhaled the granola bar and the ginger ale was really helping my stomach. Once all of the girls arrived I ordered breakfast for everyone...you have no idea how much I was looking forward to eggs and ham.

While we waited, the stylists got started on the girls. I also pretended the outside world didn't exist so I didn't have to witness rain on my wedding day, hence the closed curtains.

BM Helen and BM Ena. Sorry Helen, I had to do it :) 
We all looked a bit rough that morning
*Photo courtesy of BM Nikki*

I got a head start on my make up before BM Bree tackled my hair. I'm glad I left plenty of buffer time in the schedule because doing my own make up definitely took longer than normal. 

Right before we started my hair, our photographers arrived! I was SO happy to see them. I hired them over a year before the wedding and stalked them for nearly a year before I booked, so this was a long time in the making. Rachel is a beautiful person with amazing talent and I was so thankful to have her with me the morning of my wedding. I really should have insisted we take a picture with our photographers. They truly are special people.

Bree requested we start with freshly washed hair because her philosophy is you can always make it "dirtier" but you can't ever make it "cleaner." Makes sense to me! She started by blowing out my hair the way only she knows how. Sigh...I'm a lucky girl. Then she curled it and began pinning.

There's a smile from Mama P! One of the few caught on camera that day.

Laughs all around...I was feeling much better by now.

I also worked on my face a bit while Bree pinned. This was harder than it looks.

Some of my favorite pictures of the day are the ones Rachel captured of everyone laughing and having a good time. My goal was to create a relaxed and happy environment, free from stress and drama. I think the pictures showcase this.

I spy with my little eye....a mother-in-law-to-be!

The suite was definitely buzzing with activity. We put the finishing touches on my hair and make up:

The moms got their hairs did:

And the ladies prettied themselves up:

*Photo courtesy of BM Nikki*

Next thing I knew...it was time to put on The Dress! And guess what: we were totally on schedule!! I couldn't believe it. We actually had time to spare.

Burning River Bride Tip (I've lost track of the numbers...whoops): Create a TON of buffer time in your wedding morning schedule. If you think something is going to take 30 minutes, give yourself 45. We managed to stay on time all day which I hear never happens. We started really early (8am), but we were relaxed and not rushed.

Next Up: I become a Bride

Was your wedding morning crazy and rushed or pure serenity?

**All photos by Linczak Photography unless otherwise noted. Do not take without permission.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Burning River Wedding: The Ugly

When I returned to my room at the Marriott I was starving and exhausted. I scarfed down some mixed nuts provided by the hotel and kicked myself for not giving myself an OOT bag. I probably could have hunted down some food, but I was drunk and knew I had to get some sleep. Also, my cable wasn't working so I drunkenly called the front desk (trying to sound as sober as possible) to find out the problem. Apparently all of Northeast Ohio was experiencing a cable outage. Fantastic. Luckily it started working soon after that phone call.

Because of said drunkenness, I knew falling asleep wouldn't be a problem at all. "Man, I'm gonna sleep goooood toNIGHT," I thought to myself. HA! Ha ha ha ha ha WRONG. SO WRONG. Sure I FELL asleep with no problem, but staying asleep? Yeah, that was a different story.

How about I just let my tweets tell the tale (with a bit of commentary from me thrown in). Please take note of the timestamps:

Again...HA. Ha ha ha ha ha Emily you are so STUPID.

I ended up falling asleep right around midnight. I was so excited at the prospect of getting over 6 hours of sleep the night before my wedding! But then...

 I knew I was tweeting to dead air, but I had to get it out.

I tried EVERYTHING I could to fall asleep. I turned on the TV. I read from a book (My Fair Lazy, Jen Lancaster. Buy it!) I played Bejewled on my phone. I went pee (sorry, TMI). Nothing worked and as the hours passed, I knew this was bad. 

Sometime around 5:30-6:00 I fell asleep. My alarm was set for 6:45. When it went off I hit snooze a few times and ultimately woke up around 7. I got up, showered and nearly passed out/threw up while doing so. I was shaking and I was a mess. 

After I got out of the shower I called BM Bree to see if she had any food left over from her OOT bag and if she would bring that and a pop to me when she got to my room. I'm sure I sounded pathetic as I was on the verge of tears. Not long after, I tweeted this:

Oh how the mighty have fallen.

Bree arrived with a granola bar and a pop a little before 8am. As the girls filtered into my room one by one, I sat in bed crying, thinking this is NOT how my wedding day was supposed to start. Oh, and it was raining.

Burning River Bride Tip #5: Wherever you stay the night before your wedding (hotel, parent's house, etc), make sure you have some food for a midnight snack. I know if I'd had a bit more food at my disposal (even a damn candy bar) I would have fared a bit better in the sleep department.

Brides: how much sleep did you get the night before your wedding? Brides-to-be: promise me you'll learn from my mistakes!!

Next Up: I suck it up and get ready.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Burning River Wedding: We Eat (Well, Some of Us)...and Drink...

In my "stuff that went wrong" post, I alluded to the fact that I had a wee bit too much to drink and not enough to eat at my rehearsal dinner. I can laugh at it now, but seriously gals (and guys) don't let this happen to you. Today's tip is going to come at the beginning of this post (and in bold) because it's just that important:

Burning River Bride Tip #4: EAT at your rehearsal dinner!!!

I got so caught up in talking and entertaining (I kind of love being the center of attention) that I kept refilling my wine glass and hardly sat down to eat a damn thing. I insisted that I wasn't hungry (probably nerves) but luckily my MIL forced a few bites of chicken parmesan, potatoes and green beans on me.

Due to my drunkenness, I decided to grab Tyrone for one of our typical bathroom photoshoots. On a similar note, we use the same bathroom...got a problem with that?

There are more...but I'll spare you.

While we were busy vamping it up in the bathroom, the rest of our group was busy mingling and getting to know one another:

I told all of our rehearsal dinner guests that we would leave some time for anyone interested to take the floor and give a speech/toast. I limited the wedding day toasts to Josh's Best Man, and 2 of my BMs (Claire and my SIL Bree), but I wanted to give anyone else an opportunity to talk as well. This worked out so well!!

Josh's parents kicked things off with an incredibly emotional and heartfelt (with a few good-natured jabs thrown in) toast. I don't remember what was said probably because I was crying pretty hard. This is a great picture of the toast:

Love all of our expressions: Brian is saying something smart-ass-y, Nancy is loving it, my mom is shocked, I'm giving Brian my "I'm warning you" look, and Josh is tickled to death. Such a good representation of the family.
*Photo courtesy of BM Claire*

BM Nikki and GM Mike also said a few words that made all of us laugh and of course, cry. I was so happy that our family and friends spoke. It was probably the highlight of our rehearsal for me. 

Since my the tip at the beginning of this post was fairly doom and gloom, here is another one: Try to carve out some time during your rehearsal for speeches/toasts. People might feel more comfortable speaking in front of a smaller, more intimate crowd.

Not only are our ceremony space and rehearsal dinner restaurant housed in the same building, but there is also super-fun piano bar in it! Have you ever heard of Howl at the Moon? It's a dueling piano/sing-a-long bar with locations throughout the country. After dinner, we headed here for some more drinks and a bunch of singing. Some family that didn't attend the RD came and it was a blast! I'll let the photos do the talking:

L-R: Josh's Florida cousins Sarah and Steph, me, SIL Bree
 Josh got on stage and sang "Ice, Ice Baby." He knows every.single.word.

The performers learned that I was a bride-to-be and serenaded me with some raunchy song. 
Also, why the EFF am I drinking a Corona?!?! Some one should have cut me off by then!
*Picture courtesy of BM Nikki*

By 11ish it was time to go...for me and my mom, at least. The rest of the party stayed out til lord only knows when. Josh met some famous baseball team manager (Dusty Baker of the Cincinnati Reds...anyone know who that is?) I heard that SIL Bree gave her brother a stern talking to around 1am. Thanks for having my back, gal!

So clearly our rehearsal dinner wasn't a low-key affair. That's just not how we roll. Tell me about yours or your plans for it!

Next up: wake up in the mornin' feelin' like...Ke$ha.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Burning River Wedding: Let's Rehearse!

We were miraculously still on time after our nail appointment. My mom and I arrived at the Marriott a bit after 3pm, checked in, and got ready for the rehearsal. My bridal suite (which I took zero pictures of) was awesome and huge and totally perfect...but of course I didn't have time to enjoy it because we had a rehearsal to get to!

A couple weeks before the wedding I called Windows to see if it might be possible to have the chairs and stage set up for the rehearsal. Because our ceremony space was a bit nontraditional I felt it was really important for it to be set up for the rehearsal. Well, the venue coordinator told me that unfortunately the space couldn't be set up because a prom was being held in our room that night.


Say what? A prom? Well that's just fantastic. That meant there would be a bunch of tables and chairs set up where my ceremony (and subsequent rehearsal) was to take place. The venue coordinator was less than accommodating in helping me find a solution for this little conundrum but luckily I had Brenda, my amazing DOC, to save the day.

When we arrived at Windows the tables were moved out of the way and Brenda had taped off where the aisle and stage would be. It wasn't perfect, but it would do.

Once everyone arrived it was time to get started. I told myself that I had to give up control of the rehearsal to Brenda and our officiant Peter or else it wouldn't be pretty. I'm so proud of myself that I was able to stick to this! I let Brenda and Peter run the show and it went *so* well.

Ok I know all anyone really cares about are pictures so here are a few from the rehearsal. I'm better at writing captions, anyway.

Peter had us stand in the order we would be in the next day.
You can see the tables and chairs on either side of the picture, as well as the tape marking where the stage would be.

Wheeee! Look who figured out how to make collages! 
After lining up, we recessed and made our way up the stairs.

Then we practiced the processional and realized that the song I'd chosen for the Bridal Party to walk to was the PERFECT length. Hell yes, Emily :)

Dad and Mom, so uncomfortable. In that 2nd pic I'm smiling up at my savior, Brenda. 
Also, I apparently don't know how to link arms correctly.

All in all we had a super-smooth rehearsal with zero tears, stress, or yelling! Ok, maybe a few tears of "Omg this is it!!" but no drama :)

Burning River Bride Tip #3: If you can, give up control at your rehearsal. Hand over those reins and sit back. I'm a total control freak in most instances, but this time I knew I had to let it go so I didn't have a bunch of people hating me. 

**My fabulous mother-in-law took all of these photos and I'm so incredibly thankful to her for doing that. I basically handed my camera over to her and told her to take pictures of everything. That's Tip #3.5, I guess: Give some one a camera and tell them to shoot!

How was your rehearsal? If you have a doozey of a tale to share, please do!

Next up: We eat! And drink...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Burning River Wedding: Not All Rainbows and Butterflies

We've been married for almost 3 months and I'm desperately trying to hold on to every memory of our wedding weekend. But as each day passes, little details escape me. I almost wish I had "taken notes" during our honeymoon whenever we talked about the day. Yes, we have the photographs to tell a story, but our photographers are human and couldn't capture every little thing.

Was the day "perfect"? On the surface, yes, it actually was. I know how incredibly lucky I am to be able to say that. However, looking back there are definitely disappointments, some bigger than others, that are not necessarily surface-level.

Don't get me wrong, I *loved* our wedding. I'm incredibly grateful for everyone who made the day possible. We were surrounded by love, happiness, laughter, family, friends, music, booze and food and at the end of the day I married the love of my life.  Really, that's what matters most. If you told me I could go back and relive my wedding day all over again but couldn't change anything, I still absolutely would.

But...there's always a but.

I know I usually keep things fairly "light" around here, however in the interest of full-disclosure I feel that honesty and openness are important in this circumstance.

Because I don't want this to turn into a novel, I'm going to list the "disappointments" but save the full stories for the recaps. Gotta keep a bit of suspense, right? So here we go:

1. I drank way too much and ate way too little at the rehearsal dinner, resulting in zero sleep and feeling like shit the morning of my wedding.

2. I think some of my BMs were unhappy w/ their hair :(

3. My flowers (my bouquet and BM bouquets) were...not exactly what I expected.

4. Some members of the wedding party (read: the boys) didn't really "get it" when it came to taking pictures.

5. We didn't follow the list I put together for family formals. Please note: I do not blame our photographers for this, I blame myself.

6. My dad...for so many reasons.

7. Most of the wedding party didn't smile while walking down the aisle and this is reflected in the pictures.

8. My mom also did not smile while walking down the aisle and again, you see this in pictures. (Was no one happy?)

9. Guests weren't asked to rise before I walked down the aisle. I know that sounds so ridiculous, but it's something you always see and I was just confused as to why it didn't happen.

10. I forgot my Spanx. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

11. Our cake was wrong.

12. Our shuttle majorly effed up at the end of the night.

13. A very important family member left in the middle of dinner because his significant other (note: not wife or fiance...not even sure if girlfriend is the correct term) felt uncomfortable due to her religious beliefs.

14. I wish there were a bit more "behind the scenes" pictures from throughout the day. Pictures of us in the limo or our interactions between "posed" shots. A few more photojournalistic pictures would have been nice (please note: I LOVE our photographers and this is not a strike against them at all.)

I write this post not to be a Debbie Downer about my wedding, but to be completely honest with my readers, brides who are planning their wedding, and brides who may have the same feelings and want to know they're not alone. Things happen, people disappoint...that's life, welcome. And it's OK to be disappointed, it means you're human and imperfect, just like the rest of us.

Next up: I get back on the recap train and we rehearse!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Burning River Wedding: The Gals (and A Guy) Get Pampered

A few weeks before the wedding BM Nikki and I decided to plan a Rehearsal Day papering session for the bridesmaids, moms and Tyrone. I knew I would have all wedding tasks/errands done by then and I really wanted to spend some time with my girls before things got nuts.

The morning of the rehearsal I was a *bit* sluggish because of the night before, but nothing a nice cup of coffee couldn't cure. Earlier in the week I tried to pack as much as possible (for the honeymoon, wedding, wedding night, etc), but of course there were some things that had to be left out until that day. I ran around like a mad-woman stuffing things in random bags and boxes. I think I kept my cool for the most part, but I can't promise I didn't snap at Josh and/or my mom. Sorry, guys!

Once everything was packed and ready to go, we set out for lunch at First Watch (ugh the site has auto-play music. Click with sound off.) All of the girls except BM Helen were able to attend and we had a LARGE party.

From L-R: BM Bree, BM Ena, BM Claire, BM Despina, *me*, Mama P, BM Nikki, Tyrone, MIL Nancy

I gave the girls their gifts, which I never actually talked about on here. I gave them silver frames with an IOU for a wedding picture, a pretty hanger for their dresses (which I'm not sure anyone used), an a gift card for the mani/pedi's we were about to get. I also paid for their wedding day hair, but I couldn't exactly "give" them that. 

After many laughs, hugs, tears, and kind words, we took our full bellies over to Venetian Nail Spa. The place is huge and was able to easily accommodate all 9 of us. Believe it or not, this was my first time EVER getting a pedicure! I'm not a foot person and my feet are extremely ticklish. I was so nervous!

My bff Claire sat next to me as this was her first pedi, as well! We were in this together and there was NO turning back. I think she was actually more nervous than I was!

Turns out, I love getting pedicures! I picked OPI Miami Beet for both my toes and fingers. I always knew I wouldn't wear a typical "bridal" color on my wedding day. I enjoy soft pinks and French tips, but they're just not *me* and it was so important to show off my true self on one of the biggest days of my life. 

I didn't take a pic of my fingers or toes (bad blogger) but here is a close up of the color:

Yay! I love it and I've received a lot of great feedback from people who've seen pics. I also encouraged my girls to get whatever nail color they wanted. A few went with purple, some went with red, and others kept it classic in pale pink. Everyone looked gorgeous.

Unfortunately, I wasn't too impressed with the salon and the quality of the mani/pedi. It was great because they were able to accommodate many people, but I probably wouldn't go back.

Things were going well and we were on time. I couldn't believe it! My mom and I were the first to finish and we left immediately. We still had to pack up our stuff, get to the hotel, check in, change for the rehearsal, and get TO the rehearsal. I think it was at this point that I realized "oh my effing God, this is totally happening." 

Burning River Bride Tip #2: This is going to sound a lot like yesterday's tip, but spend some time pampering yourself and your girls before the wedding. It was great to have some ladies-only time (Tyrone counts as a lady in this sense) especially because not all the girls knew each other that well. Pedicures are great, too, because your feetsies are about to be under A LOT of pressure over the next few days.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Burning River Wedding: Pre-Wedding Fun!

We have our pro pics from Ted and Rachel so I can *finally* start recaps. Actually wedding day recaps will have a wait a bit because I want to talk about the days leading up to the wedding first.

Josh and I wanted to spend as much time with our friends from out of town (and in town, of course) as possible before the wedding. We had people traveling from Ft. Lauderdale, NYC, San Antonio, Phoenix (that is nowhere near an exhaustive list) - literally all across the country.

The Thursday before the wedding I invited some friends to come over to my house for some pre-gaming and then we hit the town. And by "hit the town" I mean we went to the bar we ALWAYS go to when we're in Lakewood (my hometown.) Fun times and more than a few drinks were had by all.

Ready to wed!

Josh and BM Ena.
They love each other and secretly I think they *want* each other!

BM Ena, me and Tyrone. We used to call each other the Three Musketeers. 
Summer 2005 with them was the best summer of my life

Added in BM Helen :)

Mary, BM Helen and me. Mary flew in from Texas for the occasion!

Dancing on Tyrone. 
This is very normal and despite his face, he loves it.

It felt a-mazing to get out with my best friends for a few hours. I was able to forget my stresses and the details and just *enjoy* myself. The beers didn't hurt, either :)

Burning River Bride Tip #1: If you're not too busy, and hell, even if you ARE too busy, take some time to spend with your friends and family before the craziness of the wedding begins. Whether at your favorite watering hole or your house, your friends will be so happy to spend time with the COH (Couple of Honor. Just made that up!)

*All photos by me. Please don't take them and pretend to be me and or my friends.