Archive for July, 2011

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Flower girls and french fries … oh my!

July 31, 2011

I keep finding new pictures to love. You would think I’d be sick of looking at them by now, but I’m not. It’s not just about looking at photos – it’s about reliving the day. Obviously something I’m not ready to give up yet.

The picture above is of the two flower girls and me.

<aside>I almost fell over trying to stand up after this picture. I’m not even sure who ended up helping me up. All I really remember is trying to be graceful (knowing I was going to fail miserably); hearing Emilie say, “Bridesmaids!”; and then lots of people rushing toward me. Ha!</aside>

Beyond our smiles and beautiful white dresses, the first thing that comes to mind when I see it is how Nikki (the girl on the right) has her chin down.

Something I had to remind myself to do before every picture. Seriously.

Even if you knew nothing about her background, you might suspect she’s had her picture taken professionally a few times. Which she has, of course, for her dance classes. 🙂

I have to say, I’m really proud of these two girls. Both of them made it down the aisle with big smiles on their faces – and were petal-throwing pros!

Courtesy of Stacy

Courtesy of Stacy

I briefly worried when they clamed up for pictures.

Amberlee and I tag-teamed Nikki in the elevator when she refused to smile for the camera. I promised her I wouldn’t ask her to smile for another picture by herself the rest of the day. Of course, Amberlee didn’t make that same promise. 😉 Nikki took it in stride, though!

You likely remember this picture of Alyssa:

(Amberlee Christey Photography)

I was really, really worried this was going to be the breaking point for her. She just needed a moment, though, as kids tend to do from time to time. The two girls became buddies and all was well after that.

In fact, the only other time I saw tears was at the end of the night. That was pure exhaustion talking then.

And I have to throw in this picture because it makes me smile:

What could we possibly be talking about? Well, the conversation went like this:

Thalia: Lindsay … Where are my french fries? (as she’s wringing her hands together)

Me: Did you not eat your french fries with dinner?

Thalia: (shaking her head no) My french fries …

Me: I don’t know where they are, sweetie. Go ask Mommy … (and she runs across the dance floor)

In true motherly fashion, I asked Chris to check with Tania about Thalia’s french fries. Didn’t want the poor girl to be hungry. Rest assured, she ate them at dinner; however, the golden arches of McDonald’s were tempting her again. 😉

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To tip or not to tip?

July 29, 2011

Do you know about A Practical Wedding?

If not, make sure to browse this amazing resource. Featuring Ask Team Practical, a segment that offers useful advice for answering some of wedding-world’s trickiest questions, this site is perfect for couples who are all about keeping the wedding planning process “real.”

Today’s column is one I could have used right before our wedding. I’m passing it along to you future brides and grooms (or anyone who is interested) to help ease your mind. The topic?

Ask Team Practical: Tipping

Although I encourage you to read the post with a fine-toothed comb, it essentially boils down to this: Tipping your vendors is optional  unless otherwise stated in your contracts with them.

<aside> While I’m writing about contracts … Read and re-read every nook and cranny before you sign them. Ask questions if you don’t understand something. I even recommend highlighting important sections and making notations of deadlines. </aside>

In the weeks before our wedding, I was really stressed out about who to tip and how much. I asked my sister-in-law, mom, and married friends (basically anyone who would listen to me yammer) what I should do.

Just like almost everything else in the wedding industry – I couldn’t get a uniform answer.

Having earned my spending money during college (and putting myself through grad. school) delivering pizza for Domino’s, I really try to be a good tipper. After all, I know what it feels like to drive five miles in six inches of snow to deliver a pizza to someone who hands you exact change.

It sucks.

But lordy, lordy, I couldn’t wrap my mind around shelling out the amount of money some sites were recommending.

So I did what I thought best. We ended up tipping two vendors in cash (in nice thank you cards) with several others already included in the contract. I’m not going to throw dollar signs around, but I will break things down for you a bit:

Tipped in Cash

Officiant

As I mentioned before, our officiant is a friend who is ordained. He offered to perform our ceremony for free, but I wanted some way to show our appreciation. While common-place to invite him/her to the rehearsal dinner and reception, I added some green to his thank you card.

Photographer’s Assistant

Same thing applies here. I knew Emilie wouldn’t disappoint even before our wedding day (oh the wonders of Facebook). I knew we would be enjoying our wedding pictures for years to come. I knew NOT tipping her wasn’t an option (how’s that for a double negative?). 😉

DJ

My parents took care of him. While I don’t know how much, I know they included extra money when they wrote him a check. I mean, the guy drove three hours round trip to give us great music and be an emcee. Have I mentioned how awesome it is he was the DJ for my brother’s wedding, my wedding and will likely do the same when my youngest brother gets married in 2013? That’s keeping it in the family. 😀

 Tipped in Love and Kindness (and/or Food and Alcohol)

Photographer

If you haven’t read the ATP article yet, one of the suggestions for “tipping” your vendors is referring friends and family to them. Amberlee will always, always be the first photographer I recommend to someone. I’m keeping my fingers crossed my brother and future sister-in-law will hire her. I was super excited to hear a friend of mine is hiring her to take senior pictures of her daughter. Weee! Given that she’s become a friend as well, this was one of those instances where I wanted to go above and beyond for a vendor, so I also gave her a gift. 🙂

Ceremony Musician

He put a lot of time and effort into learning specific songs for our ceremony – especially Marry Me by Train. Instead of simply sending him a check, I made sure to also include a nice thank you note. I also invited him and his fiancé to stay for the reception.

Everyone else was either a business owner (florist) or included gratuity in the contract (venue). I did send each of those vendors a personal thank you note.

There you have it! As I always say (but very rarely follow), “Listen to your gut! Don’t over-analyze!”

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Facing the music

July 27, 2011

Our final reception bill came in the mail today.

I swear, the mailbox said “Dun dun dun” as I pulled that white envelope out.

I put on my big girl panties and ripped it open, expecting my face to resemble this:

Instead, it was like this:

Under.budget!

WAY.Under.Budget!

Yippee Skipee!!

The best part? We had a damn nice wedding and reception – and people had a good time.

And I didn’t have to tell my mom to sit down before reading her the numbers.

Weeeeee!

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Biting the bullet

July 26, 2011

I wrote this post at least one dozen times before we got married, but I could never bring myself to publish it.

Basically, I was a chicken sh!t.

Not wanting to rock the smooth-sailing wedding boat, I chose to let a decision we made swirl around in my brain alone.

The subject …

Traditionally, wedding etiquette has pushed an all or nothing approach to kids. Let’s face it; the subject is very, VERY touchy. Trust me. I read article after article trying to find something (anything) to make me feel better about the situation. The more I read, the more I came to realize it’s just like politics – two dominant parties (Include and Exclude) with very few independents (Whatever works best).

We HAD to fall into the independent party, opting for a hybrid approach of limiting children to family and those of wedding party only.

It’s not that we don’t love kids (anyone who knows us well can attest to that), but it was the only way we could keep our guest list manageable. That’s what happens when you get married “later in life.” Also, excluding family – no matter how small – was not an option in my mind.

It was easily the hardest decision we had to make during planning. I obviously still have some angst over it. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this a month later.

Would I change our decision? No. There are several reasons for this. First and foremost, I think it’s really important for couples to make decisions that best reflect how they envision their day.* If that means inviting all children, no children or something in between then so be it. Second, I’d like to think parents appreciate having a “date night.”

With that said, I would have done a better job communicating our decision to loved ones.

To add to previous advice, if you find yourself in a similar situation, consider reaching out to your parent friends and let them know what you decided to do.

🙂

*Now, that doesn’t give you carte blanche to become a “bridezilla.” 😉

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P is for photography

July 24, 2011

It’s no secret I love great photography. I could look at pictures of any kind all day and never get bored. I love taking them as well. There really is something about seeing an event unfold from behind the lens of a camera – and then reliving the experience over and over through the images you took.

My mom says I must have some of my grandfather in me. He ALWAYS had his camera when he was alive. He is the one we have to thank for pictures of every birthday, Christmas and milestone growing up.

When I was a sophomore in college, I took an introductory photography course; however, while I value the importance of film, I found it extremely difficult to learn shooting with my dad’s 35 mm camera.

You see, I’m a visual learner. I need to see immediate results so I can correct errors. With film photography, I dreaded developing my pictures for class. I never seemed to get the desired result … And by that time it was often too late to re-shoot. It didn’t help matters that I never quite got the hang of the development process.

I’ve had the sum total of four cameras in my lifetime – taking baby steps toward purchasing my first dSLR. The last camera I bought, a Kodak with a 10x zoom, served its purpose for many years. I was able to do just enough with the manual settings to capture some nice pictures:

The more comfortable I got, though, the more confining I found my little camera to be.

When I started planning our wedding and, consequently, stalking photography sites, I realized I was missing out.

I know; everyone wants to become a wedding photographer after they get married. It’s not that I want to exclusively be one of those, but rather truly learn the art of capturing life’s precious moments. Not only do I want to understand the relationship between the elements, but I want to take a picture with certain settings and be able to explain why the outcome is what it is.

When I broached the subject of upgrading to a dSLR, Randy said, “How much will you really use it?”

My quick and honest reply was, “I think you’ll be surprised.”

Case and point: My sister-in-law got a Nikon D5000 for her birthday earlier this month. I was in their house on Friday long enough to say hello and give her my gift before saying, “Okay … where’s the camera?” I only set it down long enough to eat dinner during the next few hours. Here are two of my favorites:

Are they the best pictures ever? Nope, but I’m damn proud of them for being a novice and using an unfamiliar camera. 😀

I’ve been waiting for Randy to decide to order my new camera. Under normal circumstances, I would order it myself; however, he loves me enough to be the piggy bank for the expensive purchase. So, I’m really trying to contain my excitement and be patient while he researches the heck out of it.

After Friday, though, my patience is beginning to wear thin. I’m T-minus 32 days from my first Introduction to Photojournalism class … and I’d like to play with my camera before jumping into assignments.

🙂

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Meet Emilie …

July 21, 2011

Things look different around here, huh? I’m still tinkering with the design (until I fork over the moolah for the Custom CSS upgrade), but it’s getting there.

In the mean time, I’d like you to meet Emilie:

(Amberlee Christey Photography)

She helped capture the awesomeness of our wedding day in pictures. She actually took some shots of me alone after our first look and I’m keeping my fingers crossed they turned out well! Here are a few of hers from the day (clickety click each one):

Not only is she an awesome photographer, Emilie is really one of the sweetest people. We really didn’t get a chance to talk much the day of the wedding (I have no clue why that would be ;-)), but I’m glad she befriended me on Facebook so we can now!

Which leads me to pimping her new blog – You and Me and Us.

When I commented on her first post (her wonderful wedding story), I cautioned her that blogging could become addicting. Before I knew it, she had three posts up – and a list of more to come. I think she likes it. 😉

Surf on over and show this new blogger some love. If you ask nicely, she might even make you a “mood board”. 😀

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wee bits 1.1

July 20, 2011

{one} what is your dream job?

Covered this yesterday, I believe. 🙂

{two} how many best friends do you have?

Two plus mom

{three} what’s the longest road trip you’ve ever taken?

Returning to Morgantown from Orlando in 2003. I left the way I arrived – sick! Makes for a terrible trip.

{four} if you had to do one single thing every day for the next year, what would it be?

Read a book for an hour without being interrupted.

{five} what’s one story your family always tells about you?

Hmm … I’m not sure. Maybe I’ll leave that up to them in the comments. I always seem to be the one telling stories. 😉

{six} how did your parents pick your name?

My best educated guess is because it was my mom’s maiden name.

{seven} what’s the one thing that scares you more than anything?

Bees. Hate them. Like, lots!

{eight} are you a good cook?

No, but I’m a good baker.

{nine} where do you see yourself in 20 years?

Hopefully getting ready to watch a kid graduate high school.

{ten} what’s your best childhood memory?

Family vacations. Especially the year we were at the beach over the 4th of July and smoke from fireworks kept setting off the hotel fire alarm.