1.31.2011

Break in the wedding junk

Taking a momentary break to let the bloggy world know that soon I will be packing heat. Sometimes lawyers are not too favored, especially those in my field, and we need to be able to protect ourselves from crazies. Since I work in SmallTown, there is little to no security in the courthouse. That means any ol rando can stroll up to my office, walk in, and start the massacre.

BC wants us to be safe.

Plus we have an awesome TV at the house we want to protect.

I have made friends with some of the local sheriff's deputies in SmallTown who offered to give BC and I the class to get our Concealed Carry permits. (Which, PS, if you are going to do, make friends with someone who will give you the class for free.)

I've only gone shooting once before. It was at an inside range and I got scared of loud noises. This range was outside and the people we were with were trained firearm instructors. I was super nervous at first, but felt a lot better as time went on. I got to shoot a .38 revolver, a .380 , a 9 mm, a .40, and a .45.

We passed the course (duh) and the officers told us we shoot better than some of the deputies they work with! BC and I are now planning out our gun purchases!! I want a .380 to carry and a 9mm for everyday weaponry. BC wants a .380 to carry and a gigantic .45.

Here's my dead teal paper attacker:
(be nice. remember I was pretty much a first timer.)


Here's what I'm dreaming about:
Kahr .380 in pink

Beretta 90-Two 9mm

Of course, together this is easily $900 worth of guns. So it might be a while. Long time until the birthday. Boo.

Ultimately, we felt really good once we got home from the range. We spent over 3 hours with the officers shooting until we felt comfortable. I got over a lot of my fears. And ultimately you can't be scared of a gun. People are going to use them. You need to hope one doesn't get used on you. And you need to be prepared if someone tries to.

Here's to safety! :)

1.29.2011

wedding junk PART 3

This is going to be about all the in-betweens. All the millions of things that happens between the ceremony and the reception. May seem like nothing, but this time can be crucial.

THE GET-AWAY CAR
Now, this can be one of three things. What takes you from the ceremony to the reception, what takes you away from the reception, or both! We ended up not having one. Now, granted leaving the church isn't the BIGGEST deal, but we definitely did not have a town car to leave the reception in. I got upset. Plus, and I know we aren't talking about reception stuff right now, but at the end of your reception, you're starting to come down off your high and you're still a little wound up. I discovered that, even though I was over-joyed at life, little things still set me off.

Which leads me to a tiny lesson here. If you want your day to be everything you and your husband-to-be dream of, then honey you better know exactly what is going on at all times. Whether there is anything going on at all, whether you've planned anything or not, that's fine. Just be aware. Now, the only way to avoid this is to have a ballin' wedding planner you can trust with your life. Even then though.....man, I don't know. I suppose if you are doing a destination wedding or something you can't help it, but otherwise. I say do it all. That way, you know exactly whats going on.

PICTURES
This may be where I get some disagreement. But I don't care because I'm right about this and everyone who says I'm not right doesn't know what they are talking about because they haven't done it my way so they don't know any better!!!! SO THERE! Look people: do your pictures before the wedding, do NOT do them in-between. Yes, EVEN THE BRIDE AND GROOM PICTURES! Do a First Look! Yes, GASP I know, I just said to see the bride before the wedding!! AHHHHHHHH!!!! Get over it.

I used to be that delusional. I didn't want to "spoil the moment" (as my friend told someone before her wedding knowing I had just done my pictures that way). But in all seriousness, it doesn't actually spoil the moment. I remember talking to my coordinator/planner about it, and she told me she did a First Look. She too hesitated because she didn't want her husband to see her, but she was so eternally grateful she did. Her issue was crying. She said she was a crier and was petrified of getting up in front of the church and balling her eyes out during the ceremony with a hundred people staring at her with mascara running down her face. I was like, you know what? You are probably right. I went home to talk to BC about it, and he agreed. So we decided to do all of our pictures before hand. Bridal portraits are still not done for me, so I can't tell you anything about those, but we did alllllll of our pictures before the ceremony. And let me tell you....it was the best decision we ever made.

Now, if you do a First Look, obviously, you do all your pictures by yourself and with your girls, etc. And the hubs does all his pics by himself and with the guys. But then, and most of the ones I've seen, have the bride sneak up on the groom in some location that is just by themselves. Now with us, we were out in front of the church, so not so private with the traffic and whatnot, but it was just us and the photographers. I found out later the bridesmaids watched from a window in the church, which was really cute. Anyways, I got to sneak up on BC, which was so fun, and when he turned around, his face was priceless! I didn't really cry or anything, it was just a fun moment. We stood and talked about our day, what we had done, crazy things that happened, whatever. We talked about our outfits, pictures, how everybody looked....it was really nice. But strangely it didn't really affect me. After the First Look was over, we went back and side and I sat down with the bridesmaids. They all asked how I felt, and I was like, you know? Oddly enough, I don't feel really different. I said, at this point, it kinds feels like we're all just hanging out in awesome clothes. And honestly, it didn't really hit me until we all lined up to walk down the aisle. It was the most surreal feeling. Seeing all these girls from different parts of my life, all lined up....for me. Just me. They all drove in, flew in, spent money, woke up early, hung out all day in a church classroom....for me. It was completely overwhelming. They all looked at me and waved and smiled before they walked down the aisle...it was really special.

Back to me. I wondered how it would feel walking down the aisle to BC since I had just seen him outside. And y'all I'm here to tell ya: it was COMPLETELY different. Seriously I could NOT hold it together. I walked in and stared straight ahead. I couldn't look at anyone. The first person I saw was my mother, who was blubbering her eyes out and I almost lost it completely. So I stared straight ahead, trying to keep it together as tears were streaming down my face, because I knew somewhere there were cameras clicking like crazy and if I didn't want to look like a complete idiot in all our pictures, I needed to get it together. When I turned the corner (our church has two aisles, not a center one), and saw BC there with everybody around him and the preacher and everything, I started actually crying. It was the most emotional, overwhelming, but the absolute happiest, day of my life. Seeing him in that environment was completely different from seeing him outside. It was almost like outside didn't really exist, except I knew what he would look like.

Now, I talked to BC in depth after this, because I wanted to know if the First Look ruined everything for him. He said that honestly, it didn't. He said it helped him a lot...made him be less stressed to see me ahead of time. And he agreed with me. He said as soon as I turned the corner he almost lost it and fainted. And bless his heart, when I walked to him and my Dad gave me away and we walked up the little steps, he started breathing really heavy and swaying. He seriously did almost pass out. That sobered me up reeeeeal quick.

The best part?? You get to go straight to the reception!!!!! No waiting!! I think we actually surprised people with how quick we got there.

Now, in contrast, at my friend's wedding, BC said he and my Mom waited for at least an hour for us to get to the reception site. And honestly, having been in all those pictures, we really didn't have much time to take any pictures after the ceremony. Everyone was so rushed. At ours, BC and I got TONS of pictures because we took them before and we weren't crunched for time. It was great.

So you see, do a First Look. Its completely worth the time to do it, it helps out a bit with stress, and it DOES NOT AT ALL take away from your special moment at the ceremony. PLUS, it gets you to the reception and lets you eat cake faster. If that's not a good enough reason then you are just a dummy. Cake is awesome.

1.26.2011

wedding junk PART 2

Ok, I think this one should be all about the outfits. Dresses, dresses, dresses and the easy stuff for the guys.

Wedding Dress
I LOVE my wedding dress. Still do. I want to run to my closet and put it on right now. Actually, while I was engaged, since BC and I were living together, my MOH kept the dress at her house. Periodically I would go over to her house and put it on and bounce around for awhile. Again, LOVE.

My advice on this topic is simple. OPEN MIND. You must keep an open mind when wedding dress shopping. First, do NOT get stressed when the dress you buy is one or two sizes bigger than you normal size. Wedding dress companies are all re-re's and want to make us feel like fatties. So that 6 is a 10 and that 16 is a 20. Seriously, don't stress. Second, don't go in there bound and determined to only buy one style of dress. I went in to dress shopping thinking I wanted a certain kind, but still keeping an open mind. I had my dress narrowed down to #1 a bright white, strapless, beady, a-line dress and #2 a ivory, one shoulder strap with flowers, fitted to the low waist dress with fun rouchey fabric folds. I ended up going with #2. I didn't want to take it off!!! Third, do not expect to cry. I did not cry. Sometimes those bridal shows are stupid and make you feel bad when you don't act the same way. Fourth, DO NOT bring crazy people with you. I brought my mother and my MOH. I only asked for their opinions once I was done stating mine and I finished admiring my gorgeous self in the mirror. Do NOT be a spineless turd when shopping for YOUR wedding dress.

It is wise to consider your body type and skin color. As a pale pal, I did not look too great in the bright white. I looked much better in ivory. Also, having one strap suited me better. I am a little, ahem, blessed up top (no do NOT be jealous, don't even get me started) and I would not have been comfortable hiking up a dress all night. Plus, I wouldn't want the seamstress to take that sucker in so much for it to stay that all my back fat was popping out (even though it kinda was already). GROSS.

Now, I only tried on like 4 dresses. Total. From one store. I found mine in that trip. Less than an hour. And it was on sale! HOWEVER, it may take you much longer. It may take you less. Do not expect to find your dress in the first trip BUT do not count out the possibility that that could happen. Just roll with it. If you are freaking head over heels with dress #2 of your whole shopping experience (like I was) don't put it back because you need time to look. But if you are waffling, keep looking. Just go with your gut.

In contrast, my friend from the most recent wedding bought her dress pretty early. There were multiple times where she told me she was having second thoughts but I think in the end she ended up really loving her dress, and that's what is the most important. These dumb dress shows tell us you have to visit 40 dress shops and try on 700 dresses before you find "the one." Not so. And I think that that idea can really freak people out when they find what they like so early. I had a few of those thoughts myself.

Shoes
People, do NOT wait until 3 weeks before your wedding to get shoes. Look early. Nina's has some great wedding shoes (I got mine from there) and they do good sales from time to time. Plus, I was kinda freaking out as it got closer.

It took me a while because I kept waffling back and forth on whether I wanted to get dyeable shoes to match the bridesmaids dresses. Good grief, dyeable shoes are so freaking hard to find!!! Payless is actually a viable option is you are looking for something a little cheaper, with not such high heels, or want to dye them. I was thinking about Payless for a while, but you have to have their company dye them you can't just buy undyed shoes from their store. LAME.

I ended up finding amazing shoes from Nina (shown in pictures two posts ago). In ivory. 4 inch heels. Awesome. My friend bought dyeable shoes from Payless. She got some with lower heels, maybe 2 inches? I don't really know what happened, and maybe I looked at them wrong, but I think she was wearing white shoes with an ivory dress. I was, and still am, very concerned.

Jewelry/Accessories
My dress had one strap, so clearly I didn't really need anything around my neck. There were flowers on the strap, so I did NOT want to overwhelm it. There were some iridescent/Swarovski crystal things down in the flowers, so I chose some small dangly earrings to match. No bracelet, nothing else. Just earrings and my ring.

Now, my friend gave us pearl necklaces to wear for her wedding. Which worked for us because there were no beads or anything on our dresses. Conversely, her dress had some decorations on it. I guess in the vein of wanting to match us, she wore a pearl necklace. I'm not sure I personally would have done that, just because the beading on her dress was so pretty, and I don't think there were any pearls on it. But, to each his own.

Ultimately, don't be overly concerned about accessorizing your wedding dress. This is the one day where, I personally feel, simplicity is beauty. If you need that one signature piece because your dress is plain, fine, but if you pick out a heavily beaded dress, beads all over your veil, and then beads all up on your face and neck? Its going to look ug, promise. Your face should shine in the pictures, not the reflection from all your jewelry.

Also, I allowed my bridesmaids to wear whatever jewelry they had, as long as it was pearls. I felt like this gave them the ability to be a little unique in their choices, and still stand out a bit because they were all dressed the same. I also allowed them to wear their hair however they wanted because I wasn't going to make them spend money on a hairdresser. See? I was an easy-peasy bride :) By doing this, my bridesmaids ended up looking so great!! Some wore heirloom pearls, some had basic cheap-o strands. Some wore their hair down, some had it up, and one with really short hair had a peacock feather headband! I loved it!!

Bridesmaid dresses
The talk about the bridesmaid dresses leads me here. As previously mentioned on my lil blog, I found dresses on Target.com for my girls. They were AWESOME and only $40!!! Yes, $40. Yes, I am the best bride ever. They were simple A-line dresses, in navy, high quality fabric (according to my seamstress), and even had little bra-strap holders under the shoulder-straps! Yay for no stupid strapless bras!! The dresses come from Target with navy sashes, which I thought looked stupid, and since my colors were navy, apple green, and ivory, I decided to have sashes made. Now, because this was my idea, I didn't make the girls pay for the sashes, which because of the effort and time involved, ended up probably costing us about $20 a piece. Again, good bride here. All of the bridesmaids wore ivory sashes, my junior bridesmaid had an apple green sash, and the flowergirl had an ivory dress on with a navy sash (left over from the other sashes). And can I just say the flowergirl's mom found her dress on ebay for $30!!!! Yes, ebay, $30. She asked me if that was ok, and I said heck yeah girl! Get that thing! All in all the girls looked AMAZING. Oh yeah, and I told them to wear whatever silver-ish shoes they had. With the blue dresses and the ivory and green bouquets....I was SO happy with how everything turned out.

Now, this is going to be my harshest contrast. And what I say in the following paragraph is simply based on outfit etiquette, from what I've seen, heard, and read. So....as a bridesmaid in my friend's wedding, we wore long red dresses. I believe that was chosen based on the time of year, but from what I can understand from etiquette boards and other information, its more about the time of day, not necessarily the time of year. Evening weddings and more formal occasions call for floor-length gowns. Also, we had red rose bouquets with red ribbon. Before I go any further, this is not my taste. I felt like everything blended. This could have been exactly what she wanted, I don't know. I was reading a wedding etiquette board the other day that talked about matching flowers and dresses. The wedding professionals that had been doing their jobs for 30+ years recommended diversifying. That you want the flowers to accent the dresses. But, I guess if I'm going to sit here and say "do what you want," I can't start putting rules and laws on things. What a conundrum I have written myself into here. With her wedding, for example, with her colors being black, white, and red, I would have tried to work in white roses, or perhaps black dresses with the red and white, or even white roses with black ribbon? There are tons of possibilities.

Also, please PLEASE keep in mind the abilities of your bridesmaids. I you know off the bat you are going to want a certain look (you found J. Crew dresses you've been wanting forever, you know you are going to want couture floor-length gowns), you should disclose that to your friends. Some people are just not going to be in the right sort of financial situation to oblige your needs. Honestly, my friend's wedding made my budget pretty tight. The dress, after alterations, ran close to $250. If I would have known the price of the dress, or at least the basic idea, early on, I would have been able to better budget for it in the upcoming months.

Guy stuff
Now, a lot of people don't spend much time thinking about the guy stuff. But this topic is very important.  In our wedding, I wanted tuxes that looked like suits. Mostly because I think tuxes look like crap most of the time. I hate the shiny reflector material on the sides. We worked closely with our local tuxedo rental place, and they were able to find us some tuxedos that looked like suits. I also haggled them to death, trying to get a lower price for the ring bearer's suit. I mean, hello that suit is half the size of a regular suit and you are going to make him pay $120 to rent it too? No. Not acceptable. Plus, for some reason they gave us a tiny discount on the other suits too. Now, my dad and BC's dad also wore the same suits. Everyone matched. The minister also wore a black suit. It was very uniform, and looked very put together. I was really happy with the outcome. I was also very careful to pick out IVORY shirts for the guys since my dress was ivory. Everyone except BC had a navy tie, and BC's tie was ivory. It looked AWESOME.

Again, another contrast with my friend's wedding. First, her husband wore tails. I have to stop here and say....no. Sorry. Mostly because his groomsmen were not in tails and their wedding was not formal. The one thing that every etiquette thing I have read says in unison is regarding tuxedos and tails. Now some comments say that tuxedos should be used for only evening wedding as well and suit-type tuxedos should be used for every other time of the day, but that seems to be more out the window these days. Sometimes tuxedo stores just don't have any variety. We really lucked out in that department. Now, I was the first bridesmaid to walk out at my friends wedding. When I walked down the aisle, honestly I was surprised, because I had no idea, based on everything she had told me, that he alone would be in tails. I suppose it was done to set him apart, but there are other ways to do that. Beyond that, little things I noticed (and probably only because I had just planned a wedding) stuck out to me, like the facts the guys all had white shirts and her dress was ivory. It looks so uniform if you can keep it all one color. And I guess that seems super nit-picky, but when you have white right next to ivory, it really stands out.

Additionally, her husband is in the military, as were most of his groomsmen. I was surprised they didn't wear their dress uniforms, as this would not only look extremely classy, but would be free! That's definitely something to think about if you are marrying a military guy.

Finally, I have to do a quick talk about the dads and the ministers. My friend's father, her husband's father, and both ministers all wore different color/types of suits. Personally, I thought it looked a tad disjointed. Of course, again, it could have been a way for each person to stand out and wear what they are comfortable in, but, speaking from my own lil experience, it looks so incredible when each guy is uniform, even if they are just wearing a plain black suit with a muted tie.


This is very long. It is also all right. I am speaking from experience, albeit my own, but I'm saying things that at least one person will think (even if I'm that one person). In situations like this, it is important sometimes to get a little validation on what you are thinking. If you don't have a coordinator under the age of 80, ask a fashionable friend. Outfitting your wedding party is VERY important. Don't be left in the dust.

1.23.2011

my opinion about everything you need to know about weddings PART 1

People, this is going to be very important information. I have been married for 2 months and two days. I have been to about 5 weddings in my whole life and I consider myself a pro. So listen up.

A friend of mine got married today. I was in the wedding. I will compare and contrast and offer helpful tips.

This is part 1. I will be discussing photographers and flowers.

With BC and I, the MOST IMPORTANT THING we have to offer advice-wise, is to figure out EXACTLY what you want, and what you refuse to compromise on. Ultimately at the end of the day, this is YOUR wedding and you want to look back on it with fond memories. Want a specific kind of flower--GET IT. Want a certain photographer--GET THEM. Want a certain color dress--FIND IT. Don't compromise.

We searched out certain people because we wanted to work with quality people. HIGH quality people. The kind you don't have to check up on and worry if they have a clue about what they are doing. We spent the majority of our money (probably a little over half) on the photographer and the flowers. People were surprised that food didn't take up a large amount, but I will get to that later.

Photographer:
There are two AMAZING photographers in my hometown. I wanted one of those two soooo bad. UNTIL I found out that both of them start off at pretty much the entire amount of our budget. (Which, I will share was $10K.) We decided, you know what? We will look around until we find someone equally talented for less price. And we did. We found a photographer in a nearby county who did not charge for travelling. It worked out perfectly. You never know until you meet the person, and after we met with her, we felt really confident in our decision and knew that we had made a sound compromise.

Why is a photographer important? Well darlings, one of the only things you will take away from this day, besides an expensive dress and a frozen cake topper, are pictures. Pictures to take up the space when your brain forgets about that day. So, PICTURES ARE VERY IMPORTANT. By the same token, a good photographer is even more important.

Now, at the wedding I went to today, my friend had a delicate situation to deal with. Her husband-to-be had a cousin who decided he wanted to be a photographer when he grew up (like 95% of the people out there these days). So, she decided to take her chances with his cousin, whom she had never met. I say all that to say this...PEOPLE: THIS IS NOT A DAY TO TAKE CHANCES WITH. This is not a birthday. You will not have another one of these days next month. This is a wedding. In all fairness, I haven't seen the pictures yet, and they may be amazing, in which case I will have to eat my words. But I stand by my advice.

Flowers:
I freaking loved our floral arrangements. Again--quality people put out quality work. I knew that I wanted something more than what my hometown neighborhood florist could give me. I wanted amazing, inspired arrangements. My wedding coordinator worked with a florist in a town about 30 minutes away and suggested him to me. We met with him in the summer, probably about 4 months before we got married. This, of course, was risky. You MUST get your florist early. The only thing that saved us was the fact that November weddings aren't like May and June weddings. We had a little more flexibility. But not much. Now, I'm not that creative, but I knew my colors. You MUST know what colors you want, or at least the theme you are going for. Now, the beauty of working with talented people (read: expensive), is that you can tell them your colors and your overall vision, and trust them to do an amazing job. And that is EXACTLY what I did. Our flowers, bouquets, boutonni√®res, arrangements, everything looked great. It wasn't over the top. And that is another thing to think of..do you want people to remember the stuff? Or do you want them to focus on why they are there? The ONLY flowers we had in our ceremony were two big arrangements. Now...before I offend, to each his own. Really. If you LOVE flowers, go for it. Just keep in mind, everything in moderation. Case in point: I know a girl who got married in November at an outdoor pavilion. She used the same florist as me, and had TONS of flowers and decorations. Of course, they were stunningly beautiful arrangements. But they were EVERYWHERE. I mean...everywhere. Thats all I saw in any of her pictures. And even then, I had a hard time distinguishing what her colors actually were. It was a hodge-podge of colors.

At the wedding today, my friend picked red dresses for us to wear. I found out our bouquets were red roses, with red ribbon. The arrangements were red roses with pink calla lilies. She had tons or candles and candelabras, with long strands of beads and tons of faux rose petals all over. Not my taste. I went for a much simpler look, and I think she was trying to embrace the late afternoon ambience. I talked to my wedding coordinator about it today at church and she said, "well, he can only do so much with that person's ideas." And that is exactly true. If you yourself aren't clear on your colors or theme, then a florist isn't going to be a miracle worker. And I remember talking to my friend about this. I tried to tell her: sit down and figure out exactly what you want. What do you want your day to look like? And go from there!

Stay tuned.

1.20.2011

Hi friends!

Well, I have been MIA for a very very long time. Too long in my opinion. Problem is, every time I'd come back to the blog, I realized I just had waaaaay too much to talk about and I would have a 75 page long post. So I'll just spend my sweet time updating.

For the time being, know that I got married and am, today, celebrating my 2nd (month) anniversary with my new husband! I love being married. When you're married to your best friend its a thousand times easier. A friend is getting married this Saturday. I'm not her maid of honor, just a regular ol' bridesmaid. I do not want to be in this wedding because I have gained 8 pounds since the wedding and my dress is too tight. However, I do not care enough to stop eating cookies. Plus I'm still studying for the bar in February, and SORRY IF MY DIET ISN'T AT THE TOP OF MY LIST.

Ok, off that high horse.

I'm studying for the bar exam. AGAIN. barf. I'm also still working, which makes it next to impossible to study. So I'm taking a bunch of leave without pay coming up. I'm afraid my next paycheck is going to be for like $75.

Also, BC is starting to play music again and send it to one of his old bandmate's to write music for. I'm so excited for him! BC is excited, his bandmate is excited, and they ultimately want to make a record. I think its great. I also think being a billionaire is great.

In the meantime, here are some wedding photos for your enjoyment!