Archive for July, 2010



July 30, 2010

I just realized I forgot the Up Next at the end of last post.

I knew that would happen sooner or later – the topic ideas swirling around in my brain were bound to end.

So, today, I’m writing about making ass-backward wedding decisions (ABWDs). Since we’ve been engaged for 17 months (whoa!) and are still 11 months away from the wedding (!!!), I’ve had a lot of time to mull things over, research online, read LOTS of bridal magazines and, of course, buy some things that should have stayed on the store shelves.

ABWD #1: No dress, no shoes? No way!

Never a trendsetter, I surprised myself by falling in love with the idea of wearing colored shoes. Pink shoes, to be exact. For the record, pink is not even on my wheel of favorite colors. Weird. I think it all started with these Stuart Weitzman peep toe pumps:

*sigh* Aren’t they amazing? Unfortunately, they are wayyyyyyy out of my price range. They also don’t seem to be in stock anywhere (probably last season). I browsed Zappos every day in search of the perfect pink shoes. It was there I came across Franco Sarto and these precious shoes I now own:

I ❤ them! They are the most comfortable pair of heels I’ve ever owned. I pull them out of the wedding box-o-stuff every now and then just to make sure I still love ’em (and I do). They’ll even go dress shopping with me in September. 🙂

ABWD #2: Just because it’s on sale doesn’t mean I’ll use it

I love the clearance aisle at WalMart a little too much. I have more thank you cards and ribbon than will ever be necessary. Why? Because they were on sale. Sometime late last year I bought two baskets from Michael’s that were perfect for my flower girls. Now, my girls will be carrying oversized Gerbera daisies. Those baskets will probably become bubble/ribbon wand holders, so I’m not too worried about them.

ABWD #3: It’s never too early to book the DJ (or photographer)

Our DJ penciled us in at my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding (Oct. 2009). We also had our initial meeting with Amberlee shortly thereafter. At first I was worried I was doing too much too soon, but I now realize that’s not the case when it comes to the big things (venue, photographer, florist, etc.). Amberlee has mentioned several times that our date has been one of her most requested.

There you have it – my list of ABWDs (so far). Did you make some while planning your wedding? If so, tell me about them in the comments. 🙂


Candy, candy everywhere

July 27, 2010

One of the material* wedding items I’m most excited about is our candy buffet.

I’m an equal opportunity candy lover (except black licorice flavored anything … ick). That’s probably why my teeth are more metal and porcelain than enamel and dentin, but I’d rather blame that on genetics. 😉

When brainstorming ideas for favors, Randy and I both agreed we wanted something edible. We looked at personalized M&Ms, endangered species-friendly dark chocolate bars, or creating West Virginia shaped iced cookies. I was 95% sold on the cookies when I came across this picture online:

All of that candy on one color-coordinated table almost sent my sweet tooth into overdrive.

I immediately began searching for the best candy prices (Bulk Foods with $5 shipping on orders over $75) and glassware (too expensive because of shipping) online. When I crunched the numbers, it seemed like pulling off this candy bar would be too expensive. I thought about it until my wheels became squeaky (as Randy would say) and finally quoted the famous Nike slogan: Just Do It.

I scoured several Saturday yard sales with my friend (and bridesmaid) Tania for glassware and walked away with 19 containers of various shapes and sizes for a fraction of the original cost:

I originally wanted to coordinate the candy with the colors of our flowers (pink, orange and green). That meant lots of peach rings, orange, strawberry and green apple jelly beans, boxed Nerds, and rock candy. However, Randy was quick to point out that sticking with those colors might decrease our options of candy people actually like.

Back to the drawing board.

I wanted there to be some sort of theme – not just a mish mash of candy thrown into glasses.

I realized the table would need some sort of decoration, but not necessarily flowers. I Googled candy buffets countless times hoping something would jump out at me. While I didn’t immediately find my muse, I did find some gorgeous and well-executed bars:

Somewhere along the line, however, I stumbled upon these gumball topiaries and decided two of them would make lovely centerpieces for the buffet (one of the craft projects I alluded to here):

It just so happens Michael’s was having a HUGE sale last week, so I made several trips to the store for supplies to take advantage of every coupon. I walked away with all of the candles for our reception tables, supplies for the topiaries and three of the four letters for the cake table decorations.

Not only will the topiaries serve as centerpieces, but they’ll also be the inspiration for the candies we choose – Runts, M&Ms, Swedish Fish, Nerds, Pixie Sticks, Rock Candy … the list goes on and on. 😀 I can’t wait to start gluing gumballs to Styrofoam and burning my fingers on the hot glue gun!

*These material items I write about (pictures, candy, cake toppers, flowers, etc.) are important to make the vision of our wedding come to life, but nothing is as important as exchanging vows and celebrating with our family and friends. Differentiating between the two is my way of maintaining perspective. Sometimes it’s difficult not to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of planning this huge party; however, at the end of the day you’re married – which is the only thing that matters. I’m sure the married gals reading this understand what I’m saying.


Bubbles or Ribbon Wands?

July 20, 2010

Since our ceremony and reception are at the same location, I figured we’d have to sacrifice the traditional greeting of the newlyweds (rice, birdseed, bubbles, etc). At every wedding I’ve attended, the ceremony was indoors with the receiving line in the church entry way. The guests greeted the families as they left the church and then waited outside for the new Mr. & Mrs.

For the life of me, I could not figure out how something like that would work when we’d be transitioning outside to inside. Then the light bulb came on.

Why not do something like that as we’re walking down the aisle after the ceremony? 😀

Since I liken birdseed to sand (you’re still cleaning it up days later), I figured we’d just use bubbles. They’re fun, carefree and often remind me of summer days as a child. They also make pretty cool pictures:


My brother and sister-in-law


Random couple

They also happen to be budget friendly.

But then I found cute pictures of people waving ribbon wands:

How cute are those? They almost make me want to take up rhythmic gymnastics. Almost. 😉 Since I’m not normally a DIYer, I’ve decided I to limit myself to two projects (and one for Randy :-P) outside the normal place cards, programs, signage, etc. I already have one (read about it later this week!), but these ribbons could be the second – especially after  finding this simple tutorial on Style Me Pretty. Even I can’t mess that up.

I like both ideas for different reasons. The bubbles because they’re easy, the ribbons because they’re different. But I can’t decide. So … I’m taking a poll:

Up Next: Candy, candy everywhere



Just the two of us … and a photographer

July 16, 2010

Amberlee Christey Photography

As most you have probably already seen, we had our engagement pictures taken last Sunday.


After eight years together, Randy and I will finally have pictures to frame! Honestly, I can count on one hand the number of photos of us – and the majority were taken during our first year of dating. We’ve changed a bit since then with added grey hairs, wrinkles and dark circles. Ahhh … the beauty of aging. But, I digress.

Knowing this might be the only opportunity for professional photos of just the two of us, finding the perfect photographer was tied with the venue as the most important of the “material” wedding aspects. I knew I wanted someone artistic, somewhat photo-journalistic, who would tell our story through pictures. I wanted someone who was easy-going and personable but isn’t shy about giving directions. I wanted someone who would produce pictures like this:

Amberlee Christey Photography

Amberlee Christey Photography

And this:

Amberlee Christey Photography

Amberlee Christey Photography

And this:

Amberlee Christey Photography

Amberlee Christey Photography

That someone is Amberlee Christey.

I could write paragraph after paragraph about how I found her, why we hired her, and how awesome I think she is. But, I’ll save that for another time. 😉

Let’s talk about our super fun engagement pictures instead.

I’ll admit we could have waited a bit longer to have them taken, but I’m not a patient person – especially when I’m excited about something (Randy and I balance each other that way ;)).

Amberlee told me in advance to think of some places that meant something to us.


I thought and thought, but the only place I could come up with was Domino’s Pizza. Not only is it where we met, but both of us worked there for a LONG time.

Otherwise at a loss, Amberlee said if she picked places one would be grungy.

Sweet! I’m all about grungy, dirty places. I’ve always loved pictures like that. And, let’s face it; Randy spends more than enough time being grungy since he loves working outside and on cars. It’s just so fitting. As is evidenced by this picture:

Amberlee Christey Photography

We took a few shots at Domino’s and then moved on to Westover. For townies, make the first right after crossing the Westover Bridge and we were down along the tracks.

It rained a lot the Friday before and I was worried about the ground being wet, but Amberlee took advantage of the puddles:

Amberlee Christey Photography

And I didn’t even freak out when a spider started crawling on me during this shot:

Amberlee Christey Photography

That’s saying something.

I laughed hysterically at Randy’s inappropriate comments:

Amberlee Christey Photography

And pulled him close to kiss me (while trying not to hit my head on the rusty truck):

Amberlee Christey Photography

When our attempt to go to Osage failed (why were they doing construction on Sunday anyway?), we went downtown to get a few pictures on WVU’s campus.  However, I should learn to read my E-News more carefully because I didn’t realize Woodburn Hall was being refurbished and was covered in scaffolding in the front.

That’s okay, though, because we took pictures in the doorway of Martin Hall – home to the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism – where I spent the better part of my days during undergrad. and grad. school. By this time, however, I could tell Randy was done. Over it. Tired of pretending to like me. Ha! 😛

In spite of that, she got some great shots:

Amberlee Christey Photography

She also captured two of my favorites. The very first one I posted (best picture of us EVAH!) and this one:

Amberlee Christey Photography

Aww! ♥ ♥ ♥

In the end, this wasn’t just about having fun and getting pictures taken. It was also great practice for the wedding day. I hope we’ll both be more comfortable – freer with our actions and movements (but not too free! :-P) – with the camera(s) around the day of.

Up Next: Bubbles or Ribbon Wands?


Another June-iversary

July 11, 2010

Photo Credit:

I’m terrible at remembering important dates. Terrible.

For years I thought my friend Mary celebrated her birthday on March 21. Several years ago, though, she finally told me it was really March 22. D’oh!

Last year, I wished my friend Alicia happy birthday on June 15 … a month too early.

Randy and I once let our anniversary pass without giving it a thought.

I’m the girl who would pray there wouldn’t be match the date to the event questions on history tests.

You get the picture. 😉

When I told Randy’s parents we’d decided on June 25 his dad said something about another day to celebrate that month.

*blank stare*

I was politely reminded they were married in June (21st) – and so was Randy’s sister (18th). It just so happens she also celebrates her birthday then (15th) as well.

I knew that. Really, I did. I just didn’t connect the dots.

Looking toward the future, I think having all of them in one month is awesome! Instead of meeting four times to celebrate, we can do it all in one day. And that’s not a crack on spending time with my soon-to-be in-laws. It just means less travel time, less money spent on dinner, and only coordinating schedules once. It’s so efficient! My Type A personality loves efficiency. 😉

My only hope is that our marriage will be as long (40+ years) and happy as his parents (and mine, but their anniversary is in August).

Up Next: Photo shoot!


To toss … or not

July 9, 2010

Although my friend Stacy commented she likes the “Up Next” feature, I need to break from that for a post.

After reading this entry on Weddingbee, I feel I must confess:

I’m not tossing my bouquet.

Photo Credit:

Randy will not be tossing the garter.

Photo Credit:

I told several friends and family members about our decision to nix this part of wedding tradition and the reactions ranged from “What!?!”*** to “We didn’t toss anything either.”

My response is always the same, “The majority of our guests are already married.”

True story.

Besides, we’d rather incorporate something more fun:

P.S. Do you know the history behind the garter and bouquet tosses? Who knew men and women used to tear pieces of the bride’s dress because it was considered lucky? Brings new meaning to Trash the Dress!

***A surprised “What?!” I’m not implying they had a problem with the decision. 🙂

Up Next (again): Another June-iversary


‘Mom, I’m getting married here’

July 8, 2010
Erickson Alumni Center

Personal Photo

That title sentence  adequately summarizes how the Alumni Center (AC) came to be the chosen one.

I toured the new venue after a meeting in late 2008 – several months before Randy popped the question. I couldn’t get over how nice the place was! More importantly, with the exception of the Club Room which has red and gold tones, the entire facility is a blank slate with almost endless decorative possibilities. Likewise, the courtyard and fireplace are amazing.

After the tour finished, I called mom while walking to my car. I don’t think I let her finish “Hello” before I blurted, “Mom, I just toured the new Alumni Center. I’m getting married there one day…”

We oohed, aahed and shared exciting ideas, but the information was tucked away for future reference at the end of the conversation. “One day,” I thought.

That one day was Feb. 27, 2009.

I didn’t immediately book AC, however. I researched other venues like I felt I should, but I knew deep down nothing would compare.

I got price lists for the Waterfront Place Hotel and Lakeview Golf Resort and Spa since they best fit my two main requirements for our wedding – outdoor ceremony space and the ability to host the ceremony and reception.

I’ll be honest; I nixed Lakeview right away. My parents were not impressed when they attended a wedding there, and I never really pictured myself getting married on a golf course. I knew if I couldn’t, there was no way Randy could. 😛

WPH was a contender, but, again, the ceremony location (concrete patio overlooking the Monongahela River) wasn’t ideal. In the end, though, the ornate décor was what pushed me away. I’m scared of color, you see, and the idea of mixing pink, orange and green flowers with blue, gold and brown décor was too much for me.

In June, I attended a meeting at the AC and popped my head into the director’s office afterward.

“Hi! Can you tell me how far in advance you take reservations for events?”

“Well,” she said. “I have some 2011 dates booked already.”

Wha …??

After I regained my composure, I was able to tell her we wanted to get married in June 2011. She already had one Saturday booked during the month, but the other three were open. She gave me a packet of information, told me to read it over and give her a call if I was still interested.

And I did … the next day.

Just kidding.

But it was less than a week.

Randy and I met with her to go over the contract in July; Mom and I met with her when I signed the contract and put down the deposit in August; we’ll meet again later this year to discuss menu options. Yay!

Up next: Another Jun-iversary