Archive for the ‘Friends’ Category


I now pronounce you …

December 17, 2010

Here’s the deal: This is the happy post I alluded to on Wednesday. I promise it’s likely only exciting to me; however, I hope you all can appreciate my school-girl giddiness. With that said, consider this advance warning of the religious topics I discuss below. If that makes you uneasy, please bow out now. If you decide to read on (and I hope you do), know that I judge no one for his or her beliefs and expect the same respect in return.

Visit any wedding website or read any magazine and you’ll likely find this piece of advice:

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize

I’ve tried my best to do that, but everything seems SO important. From the venue to the invitations to the place cards, I had a very difficult time crowning one thing King Priority. When all was said and done, I ended up with three numero unos.

Everything else, of course, is tied for second. 😛

You already know I snagged an awesome venue – and an amazing photographer – but my third number one may seem a bit out of place.

It’s not our cake vendor.

It’s not even our florist.

It’s the person who will marry us.

I was raised Catholic and attended Sunday School on a regular basis until I graduated high school. I was active in my parish’s youth group and the regional youth ministries for years. I still have a very dear friend who I would have never met otherwise.

However, as I matured and became more worldly (as worldly as someone can become in West Virginia, I suppose), I came to realize my belief system did not align itself with the Catholic Church anymore. For awhile I attended with my parents when I stayed with them, but I gradually eased myself away from even that. I still attend on Christmas Eve more so out of tradition and respect for the meaning of the season than anything else.

On the flip side, Randy’s religious background is Church of God and Pentecostal. He attended church every Wednesday and twice on Sundays growing up. His mom had very strong beliefs when it came to church, The Bible and the meaning of the passages within.

Randy and his sister never celebrated Halloween. Not even in the modern sense of dressing up in cute costumes and asking people for candy. The symbolism of the day conflicted with his mom’s (and probably his to some degree) convictions.

Although he doesn’t talk about it much, I get the sense he’s grown apart from his religious upbringing over the years. I believe we both have maintained some of the core values even though we may not claim a particular religion as our own (together or separately). To this day, neither of us has sought out a church in town – and we’re okay with that.

We said from the beginning we wanted our ceremony to be unique to us. We want an officiant who is flexible and willing to work with us. We want to say vows meaningful to us as a couple.

I was plagued for months, however, by not knowing where to find someone willing to do that – and Google provided little help.

I looked at my to-do list last month and saw two red (overdue) entries:

  • Hire ceremony officiant
  • Hire ceremony musician

It was then I realized … Oh crud! We can’t get married without someone to perform the ceremony, you silly bride.

I had dinner with Bridesmaid Alicia shortly thereafter and she listened to my story. She then reminded me her brother-in-law (who is a former co-worker of mine) had once thought of becoming ordained to perform his friend’s ceremony.

Ooooh! Could it be the right person was under my nose all along?

I casually mentioned it to him – explaining what we’d want – and asked if he’d be interested. He said yes, but asked me to check into the requirements he’d have to fulfill.

Did you know there are plenty of organizations that offer online ordination?

I figured that’s what he would do (picking whichever organization he likes best), but after reading West Virginia laws I briefly worried it wouldn’t be possible.

§48-2-402. Qualifications of religious representative for celebrating marriages; registry of persons authorized to perform marriage ceremonies; special revenue fund.
(a) Beginning the first day of September, two thousand one, the Secretary of State shall, upon payment of the registration fee established by the Secretary of State pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, make an order authorizing a person who is a religious representative to celebrate the rites of marriage in all the counties of the state, upon proof that the person:

(1) Is eighteen years of age or older;

(2) Is duly authorized to perform marriages by his or her church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization; and

(3) Is in regular communion with the church, synagogue, spiritual assembly or religious organization of which he or she is a member.

When I read the words “church,” “synagogue,” “spiritual assembly,” and “religious organization,” I took them at face value. Would his ordination through an online organization be recognized?

I called the Secretary of State’s Office to inquire, fully expecting the answer to be, “No.”

I was pleasantly surprised! Yes, my friend can become ordained online and perform our ceremony – as long as he fills out the application and sends the required documents (proof of ordination, letter of good standing, etc.).


I’m over-the-moon happy everything turned out the way it did.

Now I have to find or write a ceremony. Or I could have someone else write it for us.


Janelle gets married

October 18, 2010

My friend Janelle got married last weekend in the Carlisle, Pa. area. Yay!

This weekend wasn’t just about a wedding. It was also a reunion of three Disney roommates:

Lindsay, Janelle and Meg

Janelle, Meg and I lived together for six months while doing the WDW College Program eight years ago. The three of us and Becky, who wasn’t able to come, became fast friends and really stuck together when our two other roommates caused drama (sticking hundreds of mailing address labels all over our apartment, anyone?). I’ve been fortunate to see Meg twice since leaving Orlando in 2003, but not Janelle or Becky. We’ve all stayed in occasional contact via e-mail though. Isn’t technology wonderful?

We really couldn’t have asked for a better reason or weekend to get together. The weather was beautiful. The restaurants (and beer) were fantastic. The company was even better.

Quite frankly, this was the best wedding I’ve ever attended. Janelle and her husband Tim went above and beyond to make the ceremony and reception deeply personal. Even the staple wedding items (ceremony, centerpieces, favors, place cards, etc.) didn’t feel cookie cutter. Although Meg and I knew no one except Janelle, we were welcomed with open arms by her parents and other friends and family.

To get the day started, Meg and I joined Janelle, her mom and cousin Ashley at the salon for mimosas, danishes and wedding hairdos:

The ceremony was held at Children’s Lake in Boiling Springs, Pa.:

Janelle and Tim wrote their own vows:

They also incorporated a tribute to Janelle’s brother, Jeremy, who was tragically killed March 14, 2009. The ceremony musician played and sang Jeremy’s favorite song, 99 Red Balloons by GoldFinger. At the end of the song, Janelle released a red balloon into the air:

After one more picture, we headed to Rillo’s Restaurant for the reception.

A true Disney girl’s fairy tale, the reception theme was Lady and the Tramp (Janelle’s favorite Disney movie).

The place cards were hung over the movie poster.

Photo by Meg

The couple’s sweetheart table was adorned with a red and white checkered table cloth.

The wait staff all wore cute aprons.

The favor was all of the dry ingredients for Minestrone soup.

The table numbers were the focal points of the centerpieces.

Photo by Meg

The guest book which I didn’t take a picture of was a book of classic Disney tales. We were asked to sign the page of our favorite story. Bet you can’t guess which one I picked. 😉

We even drank Wedding Cake martinis. Sooo good!

We dined on spaghetti and meatballs, chicken and haddock, as well as pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting. Not only was the cake beautiful, but it tasted beyond amazing. It was, hands down, the best I’ve ever had.

They danced to Because You Loved Me by Celine Dion.

Tim found Janelle’s garter.

And a friend put it on the leg of the woman who caught the bouquet. Does she look familiar?

Afterward, the drinks flowed freely and the dance floor was jumping. A good time was had by all!


Gifts Galore

August 22, 2010

Bridesmaids Warning: Unless you don’t want your gifts to be a surprise, I’d suggest you skip reading this post. Mmmmkay? Thanks!




Before I tell you about some of the gifts I’ve picked out for my dear friends, I need to give you some background on my gift-giving skills (or lack thereof). For as long as I can remember, my parents would ask us what we wanted for our birthdays. And that’s what we would get. For Christmas, we made lists and that’s what Santa brought us. I’ve found myself doing the exact same thing with Randy and friends. If you don’t tell me what you want, you’ll likely get a gift card. 😛

I don’t mean that to sound as if I don’t try. In actuality, I probably over think purchasing gifts (wanting something that’s perfect) and end up running out of time or getting frustrated.

I want to make sure the gifts for our parents and wedding party truly reflect how much they mean to us. Seriously, we wouldn’t be where we are without their love and support. Soooo … I got a heads start on the gifts for my girls: Alicia, Becky and Tania.

It’s true we live in the world of social networking and online sharing, so phrases like “Can I have a copy of that picture?” have been replaced with “Make sure you tag me!” At the same time, it always nice to have pictures to display around the house. Since a print credit is included with our photography package, I’m going to let each one pick her favorite photo from the day.

But, I can’t give them a picture without something to display it! I thought it would be nice to have a frame with “Friends” written on it, but what would happen if they chose a portrait and the frame was landscape oriented (or vice versa)?

Walking through WalMart one night (when there weren’t MOBS of college students lining the aisles), I found the solution to my problem:

Sweet! It’s modern, kinda funky and no matter which way it’s displayed, “Friends” won’t out of place.

As someone who is very much into useful gifts, I thought it would be nice to get each one a wristlet from syl2830 on Etsy.

They’d be perfect for storing essentials – mirror, lip gloss, keys, phone, etc. However, I got a lukewarm response when I asked which particular pattern each liked. No biggie! I’d rather know before I buy; that’s why I asked. Becky didn’t hesitate to pick a pattern, so I’ll buy on for her. For Alicia and Tania, I semi-reverted to my gift card giving ways – giving each a gift certificate to her favorite restaurant.

My reasoning extends beyond not knowing what to give. Alicia is a newlywed whose husband works out of town. I thought it would be nice for them to go out to dinner (on me!) when he’s home. Similarly, Tania is married and has two little girls. As you can imagine, date nights are few and far between. I’m sure many mothers can attest to how important those nights are. 😉

Philosophy has some of the yummiest smelling shower gels and shampoos. It just so happens they have a Bridal Party set:

Who doesn’t need bath goodies? The wedding scents are just a bonus. I may even buy myself one!

I know jewelry is typically a “standard” bridal party gift, but I have to be honest … I’m not really comfortable buying it for other people. I’ve done it, yes. Would I do it again? Highly unlikely. I feel like jewelry is really personal. Some people like silver, some gold. But is it yellow gold or white gold? Hoops or studs? At the risk of them opening up the box and saying, “Does she really expect me to wear this,” I decided to leave the choices in their hands. 😀

Instead, I’m giving them something that’s going to remain a secret for now. Hey, a girl has to keep something to herself (and from them … just in case one or all decided not to head my earlier warning :-P). I may throw in a few miscellaneous items as well – Old Navy flip flops, Solemates, a small survival kit. Who knows!

But what does one put all of this STUFF in?

A much-bigger-than-I-thought monogrammed tote, of course!

Check another item off the list – thank goodness. 🙂