Thursday, September 10, 2009

So, How's Married Life?

We've been asked this question a lot lately, though sometimes I suspect it's merely small talk or an ice breaker. Other times, people are completely serious.

And I always have the same reply: "No different, really. It's just good."

I know this may seem like a Debbie-Downer response. Maybe people expect me to gush about just how wonderful it is to be married, like as soon as I said "I do," a magical marriage fairy came down and sprinkled me with special marriage dust and everything in the world became brighter, more clear, and sparkly.

Well, not so my friends, not so.

But what I can tell you is that life is good. Really good. I wouldn't say "better," simply because we enjoyed each other before the wedding, and we enjoy each other now.

I came across a quote this morning. I LOVE quotes. Love them. So it's not odd that they "speak to me." Most of them do. I saw this, studied it, and decided, "Hmm. I like it."

"Dating is about loving someone just the way he is today;
marriage is about loving someone just the way he will be tomorrow."

And I still do like it. But now, after staring at it a bit more, and re-reading it, I've decided that it doesn't really apply to us.

You see, we loved each other as-is, without conditions, for the majority of our relationship. The concept of "dating" really is foreign to both of us, as we settled into a serious, committed relationship long before it's considered normal. But we knew. We knew deep in our hearts that this was meant to be.

And now, our marriage, feels like a deep sigh of relief. A chance to relax without the pressures of wedding planning, really. But in terms of our emotional relationship, it's little different. And for us, that's a good thing.

It's funny, after the wedding, and for us, it really was on the ride home that evening, it all seemed so far away and so, well, insignificant. The details that I pored so much time and effort into were fabulous, but inconsequential. I don't regret the amount of time I spent thinking about our flowers, what color shoes I should wear, or if the men's' suits should have two buttons or three. Everything came together and was lovely, and for that, I have no regrets. I'm glad we focused on what we did and ignored the rest. I'm grateful that we feel this way, because I know not all couples do after their weddings.

So, how's married life? It's good. We're content and enjoying life. And if my blog posts continue to be sporadic, this is why. I will surely update once we get the rest of our wedding photos, and then send you all on your merry way to our other blog endeavor, Living With Murdock, for honeymoon recaps, snippets on home, decor, crafts and cooking, and basic life updates.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Professional Pictures!

Today, Kara posted a sneak peak of our wedding photos. Can't wait to see more!

First kiss!

Umm...Bec, where's your smile? (And Nic, you look a bit like Mary Poppins!)

LOVE this one! What silly boys we had!

Okay, so this was our big surprise! As we got married on the hottest day Chicago has seen this summer, we had an ice cream truck arrive and serve our guests! How awesome is that?!?!


Love it.

Meh. Stupid heat made my dress cling to me, hence producing wrinkles where I didn't have them before. Oh well.


We were giggling through this entire shot, because I was so nervous his hands would be sweaty from the heat and drop me!

Like it.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Our Ceremony.

Since I'm still waiting on more pictures to surface, today, I'll provide the text from our wedding ceremony. I LOVE this ceremony. True story, I'd just sit and read and re-read it before the wedding. I just thought it was so fitting.

Throughout the process, we had said we wanted to be married in a ceremony that spoke to us -- not just a traditional ceremony because "we're supposed to." That's not us, and that wasn't how we wanted to start our marriage.

One of the best compliments I could have received that day was "I just loved the ceremony," or off-shoots of that. We received so many of those, I was shocked. I didn't expect people to embrace it, as 80+% of the guests are Catholic, and have only most attended Catholic weddings.

The bottom line is we did what we felt suited us best, and because people saw the honesty and thoughtfulness in it, they liked it. Or at least they claimed they did!

Oh well. So, without further adieu, here's the text: (**last names have been removed for privacy, as this blog is searchable**)



Good morning!
Everyone, please be seated.

Before we get started, let me introduce myself and explain a little about the ceremony.
My name is Nick. As many of you already know, I am a good friend of Tom and Beth, and this is the first wedding I have officiated.

Beth, Tom and I have worked together to create a ceremony that is meaningful for them and celebrates the love and affection they share with you: their family and friends.

You all are as much a part of this as Tom, Beth and even myself. You are not here to simply hear words uttered in ceremony, or just to witness the first kiss between husband and wife.

So, we ask for your active participation in this ceremony, just as you are active in their lives. You should feel free to clap and cheer and laugh as the mood strikes you.
And towards the end, I will ask you to join me, in pronouncing them a married couple.
Beth, Tom,
You're getting married!
(*hopefully audience will clap*)

Before we start, take a breath and look around you. All the planning and preparation, has come to fruition.

Your family, your friends, have all gathered to share in this morning with you. We have friends from childhood, high school, college, and your workplaces. We have brothers, and sisters, nieces and cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and dearest of all, moms and dads.
Today, we bring together not just two wonderful people, but two wonderful families.
Thank you all for coming.

Box, Wine & Love Letter Ceremony
Before we proceed with the rings and vows, Beth and Tom have chosen as a couple to perform a box, wine, and love letter ceremony.

*(reach down and pick up the box from behind the altar*)

In my hands, I have a box, a bottle of wine, and two glasses, and Beth and Tom have love letters from each to the other. The letters describe the good qualities they find in one another, the reasons they fell in love, and their reasons for choosing to marry.
They have given much thought to these letters, and they have been sealed in individual envelopes. Neither Tom, nor Beth has seen what the other has written.

Beth and Tom, should you ever find your marriage enduring serious hardships, as some marriages do, you are to, as a couple, open this box, sit and drink the wine together, then separate and read the letters you wrote to one another on the day you were united as a couple.
By reading these love letters, you will reflect upon the reasons you fell in love and chose to marry each other here today and share a new resolve to strengthen your relationship.

The hope is, however, that you will never have a reason to open this box. And if this is the case, you are to open it to share and enjoy its contents on your 20th anniversary!

Tom and Beth, please seal the box.
(*Beth and Tom put letters into the box with a lid, where they tie the bow on top of it together*)
At this point, I’d like to read a piece titled “Union” by Robert Fulghum. Beth and Tom feel strongly that this reading represents their relationship, and their reason for being here today.
Union by Robert Fulghum

“You have known each other for years, through the first glance of acquaintance to this moment of commitment. At some moment, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with "When we’re married" and continued with "I will" and "you will" and "we will" - those late night talks that included "someday" and "somehow" and "maybe" - and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. Just two people working out what they want, what they believe, what they hope for each other. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, "You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed - well, I meant it all, every word." Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another - acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. You have learned that good company and friendship count for more than good looks. And you’ve learned that marriage is a maze into which we wander – a maze that is best got through with a great companion. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this - is my husband, this - is my wife.”

And with that, Beth and Tom will begin their vows.
Beth and Tom, please join hands and look at each other.
These are the hands of your best friend, of today and every day. These are the hands that will work along side yours as you build your future together. These are the hands that will lovingly hold your children. These are the hands that will help you as you struggle through difficult times. And lastly, these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours.

My wish for you today is that you will be able to clear your heads and try to remember every word and cherish this memory. For most people, this is the most memorable few minutes of their life. So my wish for you today is that you enter into your vows with conviction, with your hearts open.

Tom, please go first:
Tom: I, Thomas Chester, choose you, Elizabeth Anne, to be my wife (PERSONAL VOWS – 30 seconds)
Beth: I, Elizabeth Anne, choose you, Thomas Chester, to be my husband (PERSONAL VOWS – 30 seconds)

May I please have the rings?
(*Best Man gives rings to Nick*)

Rings have endured as a symbol of love and commitment because of their strength, durability and shape. These rings represent your home in each other. Every time you look at your ring, remember this night. Remember the feeling of excitement, the look in each other's eyes, and the love in your heart.

As you exchange rings, declare your commitment to one another.
(*Nick gives Beth’s ring to Tom*)
Tom, please repeat after me:
Beth, take this ring as a token of my love

which is true and ever-lasting.

With this ring, I thee wed.

Do you, Tom, take Beth as your wife, to love and support her, to treat her lovingly and with respect, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, and to be a faithful, committed partner, for all the days before you?
Tom: I do

(*Nick gives Beth’s ring to Tom*)
Beth, please repeat after me.
Tom, take this ring as a token of my love

which is true and ever-lasting.

With this ring, I thee wed.

Do you, Beth, take Tom as your husband, to love and support him, to treat him lovingly and with respect, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health, and to be a faithful, committed partner, for all the days before you?
Beth: I do

The engagement ring is a symbol of promise and intention. Now the intention is realized
and the promise fulfilled. Please place your engagement ring on Beth’s finger over
her wedding band to symbolize that the love that brought you together will always protect and sustain your marriage.

Traditional Celtic Handfasting Ceremony
What is about to take place is a Traditional Celtic Handfasting ceremony. While at one point in Celtic regions, and still today in Scotland, this was recognized as a legal form of marriage, Beth and Tom have opted to participate in this ceremony as a lasting reminder about the honesty, sincerity, and commitment required of a marriage.

Nick: Please join hands. Tom, will you cause Beth pain?
Tom: I May
Nick: Is that your intent?
Tom: No
Nick: Beth, will you cause him pain?
Beth: I may
Nick: Is that your intent?
Beth: No
Nick: Will you share each other's pain and seek to ease it?
COUPLE: We will
Nick: First cord is draped across the bride and groom's hands
Beth, will you share his laughter?
Beth: Yes
Nick: Tom, Will you share her laughter?
Tom: Yes
Nick: Will both of you look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?
COUPLE: We will
Nick: Second cord is draped across the couples hands
Beth, will you burden him?
Beth: I may
Nick: Is that your intent?
Beth: No
Nick: Tom, will you burden her?
Tom: I may
Nick: Is that your intent?
Tom: No
Nick: Will you share the burdens of each so that your spirits may grow in this union?
Nick: Drape third cord across the couples hands
Beth, will you share his dreams?
Beth: Yes
Nick: Tom, will you share her dreams?
Tom: Yes
Nick: Will you dream together to create new realities and hopes?
COUPLE: We will.
Nick: Drape fourth cord across the couples hands
Nick: Tom, will you cause her anger?
Tom: I may
Nick: Is that your intent?
Tom: No
Nick: Beth, will you cause him anger?
Beth: I may
Nick: Is that your intent?
Beth: No
Nick: Will you take the heat of anger and use it to temper the strength of this union?
Nick: Drape fifth cord across the couples hands
Nick: Beth, Will you honor him?
Beth: I will
Nick: Tom, Will you honor her?
Tom: I will
Nick: Will you seek to never give cause to break that honor?
COUPLE: We will
Nick: Drape sixth cord across the couples hands. Tie cords together while saying:

The knots of this binding are not formed by these cords but instead by your vows. Either of you may drop the cords, for as always, you hold in your own hands the making and the breaking of this union.

Group Blessing

Each of you are here today because you bring something special to the lives of Beth and Tom. Some of you have known one or both of them for years - and some of you are
meeting one of them for the very first time today. But whether you’re an old friend or a newly acquired relation, you have a special place in their hearts. Likewise, you have a special purpose. As beloved family and friends, it is you to whom they’ll turn in the coming years, whether in joy or in sorrow. It is you with whom they’ll share their happiness, and you to whom they’ll bring their pain. You will watch their marriage mature; you will watch their children grow.And when hard times come, and the loving support of friends and family is needed, Beth and Tom hope to be able to turn to you, just as they will turn to each other.

And so they ask that you commit to them, as they are committing to one another. That just as they pledge to support and protect the other, you pledge to support and protect their relationship, today and always."

When prompted, please answer “We do”.

They ask: Do you offer this man and woman your blessing as husband and wife?
Please say, we do. (We do.)
And do you offer their marriage your support, as loving friends and family?
Please say, we do. (We do.)

Tom and Beth, you have signed the legal paperwork. You have received the blessing of your family and friends, made vows, and exchanged rings.

Now, I ask everyone to join me in this pronouncement, saying together, in full voice:

And please repeat after me:
We, your family and friends,
now pronounce you husband and wife!

Tom, you may kiss the bride

(*Beth and Tom kiss! Hopefully everyone else cheers.*)

I am very happy to introduce, for the first time as a married couple,
Tom and Beth!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Le Fleurs...

The flowers, which I really put so much focus on early in the planning, were beyond my wildest dreams! Kristen from Kio Kreations captured what I wanted perfectly --- modern styling with a summery, garden feel, and flowers that just made everything POP! She was awesome enough to blog about us here, and I stole all these pictures from her! I'm guessing that some towards the end might be from our professional photographer, Kara, so consider this a sneak peek! I sure do!

My bouquet, including the locket Tom bought me for Christmas 5.5 years ago!

I love the pin detailing she did --- lovely, but simple enough not to detract from the flowers or the locket...

Boutonnieres --- I believe Tom's is on the right:

Words cannot say how much I love this picture!

Oh my gosh. Perfection. I just wished my legs would have been a bit more tan, haha.

Love it.


And, lest we forget it, the infamous brick:

Monday, August 24, 2009


After a long hiatus, I am happy to return here to this blog on the other side --- the married side.

The day, albeit hot, was absolutely wonderful. Of course, a few things went wrong. We knew they would. But overwhelmingly, the day was rather successful. Everything came together, just as I had suspected.

Hopefully soon we'll be looking at our professional pictures, which I'll certainly have highlights of here. In the meantime, I'll be spending the next few days recapping the wedding day and our honeymoon, which was AMAZING!

More to come later -- promise!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Finished Seating Charts...

So we've said all along that we didn't want to go with traditional escort/place cards, and instead, wanted to simplify into a seating chart.

Below is a semi-inspiration picture...

We opted to cut the chart up across 5 picture frames, with the names listed in alphabetical order. Final product below:

Would it have been cheaper to do the traditional folded pieces of paper? Probably. But in the end, this wasn't really expensive, either.
Cost breakdown:
5 picture frames: 40% off @ Michaels, and used a 25% all picture frames coupon: $12
5 4" black easels: $14.99
Blue backing paper: FREE (same as used for the envelope lining)
Time, labor, effort: FREE (though I should probably charge for my services!
Even though it cost around $30, I know I'll be able to reuse all the black frames in my house when we're done (probably for wedding pictures!), and I can probably re-sell the easels, too!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

If My Dad Could Plan My Wedding...

Two posts in one day?? Shocking!

But, this, I could not resist.

The long-standing joke in my family has been that my parents, well really, my dad, would host a spectacular carnival wedding for whichever crazy daughter agrees to it. Every year, our family parish hosts a carnival, and a few years back, my dad started brainstorming.

He has it all planned --- the tent is already there, the band is already booked. We'll pay for beer, the guests all get pizza or hot dogs, and onion blossoms will double as both the centerpieces and appetizers. No really, he's thought it out.

And if all that wasn't stellar enough, the bride and groom get a free ride on the Ferris Wheel. Lucky us.

So imagine my shock/horror/chagrin when I came across this on The Knot's "Wedding Ideas We Love" blog:

I guess my dad's been right along when he claims he thinks about ten years ahead of the trends...

The Final Checklist.

So I know I'm a bit tardy with July's checklist, but I've been just a wee bit busy. Here goes...*I'm estimating a 95% success rate!)

  • Buy wine bottles for "guest book" & ceremony box Done!
  • Purchase remaining bridal party gifts :) Done!
  • Attend appt. with stylist for hair/veil If by stylist you mean my mother, then yes
  • Attend gown fitting (currently being hemmed, bustled at the next) Dress is finished & in my possession!
  • Send out rehearsal dinner invites Word-of-mouth is a handy thing...
  • Trial hair/makeup runs Done!
  • Finish, print & assemble programs Done!
  • Get marriage license! Done!
  • Go over ceremony with "officiant" Done!
  • Wrap bridal party gifts Done!
  • Get final count for reception & confirm with Maggiano's Turning it in today! (170 +3 kids!)
  • Confirm & send out final payments for Czarina, Kristen & Kara Done! (Well, final payment for Kristen the day-of...)
  • Book airport shuttles and other tours for Australia Done!
  • Send "must-take" picture list to Kara Done!
  • Finish up music playlists and confirm equipment Done!
  • Paint flower girl wands and get them over to Kristen Umm...done. Sorta. She did this for us...
  • Create signs for wedding day Done! Dropping them off tomorrow!
  • Finalize after-party arrangements! Done. This one is sad. There are no after-party arrangements any more :(

As for our current to-do list, we're almost done, really. In the next few days, this is what we have left...

  • Create seating arrangements (assignments done, just need to be typed)
  • Print miscellaneous signage
  • Pack ceremony & reception boxes
  • Pack for honeymoon
  • Clean house
  • Finalize rehearsal menu and buy any other food we'll need
  • Confirm all honeymoon reservations and flights
  • Pack overnight bags for Saturday
  • Get nails done
  • Break-in wedding shoes
  • Create checklist for all items to make sure they arrive and are safely returned
  • Finish vows and send to officiant
  • Print out final copy of ceremony and pack binder for ceremony
  • Pack gifts for rehearsal dinner

I think this is all. Don't worry, I have a master checklist at home so we don't forget anything the day of!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Why I Love My Fiance: Reason #5,235,298

Remember my inspiration for our programs??

Look what we have!

Ours are a bit bigger and squared -- 8.5 x 8.5, and the corners are rounded, though it's a bit hard to tell from this picture. Tom, despite having a bunch of other important things to take care of, spent the day armed with a hot glue gun and glue 100 of these together. Tonight and tomorrow, I'll be trying ribbons around the stems.

Teamwork, I tell ya -- it's glorious!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Bear With Me.

Things I Hate Right Now:
  • 93 degree weather forecasts.
  • Vehicles that decide to breakdown.
  • Poor timing.
  • Seating arrangements.
  • Knowing I put important documents in a safe place, only to forget where said safe place is.
  • Dishes that pile up in my kitchen sink because washing them will ruin my nails.
  • Having to worry about ruining my nails.
  • My inner control freak.
  • Options.
  • Purchasing expensive luggage, only to find that it's actually crap upon arrival.
  • Attempting to return said luggage.
  • Trying to find new luggage 7 days before you leave the country.
  • Packing.
  • To-do lists.
  • Confirming reservations.
  • Breaking in new shoes.
  • Hot glue guns.

Le sigh. It's been a rough weekend. But, the good news is that I was able to try on my dress for the first time complete with hair, makeup, veil and jewelry. I am SO pleased with the result. For once, something in this wedding has actually lived up to the vision! Everything else has been close, but the look was just spot on.

The programs and menus, hot off the press on Friday, have been freshly corner-rounded (if any one's counting, that's 800 corner punches, brought to you by these little hands!), and are awaiting the final assembly. We'll be finalizing the seating arrangements tonight, and hopefully I can start formatting the seating chart and get that printed soon. We'll be turning the final count in to Maggiano's this week, and then from that point, just confirming setup times with the rest of the vendors. Overall, we're still feeling confident, and the calmness ebbs and flows.

At this point, I guess that's all we can hope for...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Loose Ends... (& the Music!)

Right now, I feel like I'm drowning in small details. I feel like every project is half-completed, and we'll never get to the finish line.

The programs? Printed, but not assembled.
The ceremony? Edited, but not printed.
The vows? Started, but not finished.
The signs? One base coat down, one to finish. Assembly and ribbons still required.
The Thank-Yous? Half purchased, have to get the rest this week.
The seating charts? Assembled, but need to get the easels.

I know things will come together sooner or later, but I just wish more of this was done. It's a really crappy feeling knowing the fate that awaits you for the next 10 days --- glue guns and paintbrushes galore.

We're STILL finalizing the final guest count, which keeps teetering between 164-170.

The one thing we have done is the music playlists for the day (and that was only because I outsourced this to my lovely sister and maid of honor). I LOVE all the music we're having! I can't wait to share it with you, so here it is:


Plain White Tees- Write You A Song
The Last Goodnight- Pictures of You
The Proclaimers- 500 Miles
Adam Sandler- Grow Old with you (With Billy idol intro)
Taylor Swift- Love Story
Ingrid Michaelson- The Way I Am
Frank Sinatra- You make Me Feel So Young
Matt Nathanson- Wedding Dress
Josh Radin- I’d Rather Be With You


1,2,3,4 - Plain White T's
I'm Yours - Jason Mraz


Katrina and the Waves- Walking on Sunshine
Natalie Cole- This Will Be
The Monkees- Daydream Believer
Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye- Ain't No Mountain
Sonny and Cher- I got you Babe
The Turtles- Happy Together
Captain and Tenille- Love Will Keep us together

Cocktail Hour

Dean Martin- That's Amore
Michael Buble- Sway
Jason Mraz- Beautiful Mess
Frank Sinatra- Moonlight Becomes You
Michael Buble- Everything
Billy Joel- For The Longest Time
Frank Sinatra- Embracable You
Gavin Degraw- Follow Through
Dean Martin- You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You
Michael Buble- That’s All
Phil Collins- True Colors
Sara Bareilles- Many The Miles
Michael Buble- The Way you Look Tonight
Dean Martin- Everybody Loves Somebody
Jason Mraz- You and I Both
Nat Cole- L.O.V.E
Michael Buble- Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Dean Martin- Memories Are Made of This


Jason Mraz- Lucky (First dance)
Irish Eyes... (Father/Daughter dance)
My Wish - Rascal Flatts (Mother/son dance)
Michael Buble- Feeling Good
ACDC-You Shook Me
Stevie Wondie- Signed Sealed Delivered
Etta Jones- At Last
Kenny Chesney- The Good Stuff
The Commadors- Brick House
The Weather Girls- It's Raining Men
Casper- Cha Cha Slide
Bobby Vinton- Beer Barrel Polka
Tiffany- I think we’re alone now
Rascal Flatts- God Bless The Broken Road
Billy Joel- Just the Way you are
Sir Mix Alot- jump on it
Brian Setzer- Jump Jive n Wail
Michael Jackson- Beat it
Elton Jon- Crocodile Rock
The Four Seasons- December 1963
John Mellancamp- Jack and Diane
Whitney Houston- I wanna dance with somebody
ABBA- Dancing Queen
Chubby Checkers- The Twist
The Isley Brothers- Shout
Lionel Richie- All Night Long
Toby Keith- Me Too
Journey- Don't stop Believing
Sir Mix a lot- Baby Got back
Marcia Grass- Electric Slide
Jackson 5- I want you back
The 4 tops- I can't help myself
Journey- Faithfully
Van Morris- Brown Eyed Girl
Michael Buble- Save the Last dance

Some of the reception songs have changed and others have been added, but this is the basic gist: fun, happy music. I'm so excited -- I have a feeling this will make for a very enjoyable mood all day!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Set in Stone...

Remember WAY back in March when I mentioned that our wedding ceremony includes a memorial brick in the garden? No? Refresh your memory here. So I took a ride over to Wilder Park yesterday to scope out our brick location, what plants were in bloom, and the overall parking situation. I can report only good things!

Plus, I can prove photographic evidence!

Hey look! That's us!!

Sorry for the stinky picture, but seriously, how cool is this?!?!?!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What I'm Doing Now...

Obsessively checking the 15-day weather forecasts.

I am happy to report that there is not a drop of precipitation near August 9th. Cross your fingers it stays that way...

Coincidence that our wedding day is the only one labelled "Sunshine"? I think not...

Monday, July 27, 2009

With Open Hearts, Clear Minds & Conviction

Tom and I had a lovely weekend -- sure, it was busy and eventful, containing smatterings of family, friends, parties, broken car windows, unexpected expenses, wedding tasks, and thankfully, a little R&R.

Among the most eventful things, however, was a resolution we made. From today (well, yesterday) onward, we decided that we will not stress out or let anything in the next 13 days (!) bother us. Que sera, sera. We're not dumb -- we understand things will go wrong, unexpected issues will arise, things will be lost, forgotten, etc. Bearing all that in mind, we have made a conscious commitment to each other to not let it bother us, and to not let anything ruin the next few days for us.

I think it hit us both yesterday, as we spent an afternoon shopping online for new luggage, that once these next 2 weeks are over, we will no longer be dating. We will no longer be engaged. We will no longer be Tom and Beth, technically single. We will be Tom and Beth, married.

I know that sounds fairly obvious to all of you, considering you're reading a wedding planning blog. But taking into account that we've been dating for 6 years, and engaged for 2 of those, it's all we've known.

We've been looking forward to this day, and all that will follow it, for what feels like centuries. To have it so close, so impossibly tangible, it's almost unbelievable. I realized yesterday that I feel like I've been holding my breath. Just waiting, waiting, waiting....and now it's finally time to let it out, relax, and ENJOY all that the next few weeks (and again, beyond!) have to offer.

So, as our title says, and so do our vows, with open hearts, clear minds, and conviction, we have decided to reside on Cloud 9 for the remaining days of our engagement. Feel free to find us there, and if you have any problems, leave 'em at the door!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"It is Time to Get Excited!"

I think it's been fairly evident with my lack of posts lately, and the length of the ones I do post, that there's been little excitement around here.

I'm not sure if it's because I'm overwhelmed (not really with the wedding, but with simultaneously trying to plan a honeymoon and 2 weeks out of work), or if it's simply because I'm impatient and just want the day to be here already, but I'm just not excited. There. I said it. Judge me if you will, but I've been finding it harder and harder to be excited. I know I should be jumping around and dancing and gushing to every single person who will listen, but I can't for some reason.

This isn't cold feet or anything, please don't jump to conclusions. Maybe it's just the overwhelming-ness of the plans (as stated earlier) with the realization that I'M ACTUALLY GETTING MARRIED. Weird. It still doesn't feel real, and probably won't until about half-way through the reception, once it hits me square in the face.

Yesterday, as I enjoyed a fun outing to a baseball game with my lovely fiance, I received an email from one of our vendors with some contract details. As I read the email, I saw these words: "It is time to get excited!" A genuine smile crept across my face, and as I leaned over to show Tom the email, I saw the grin on his face get wider, too.

And there you have it, folks. A glimmer of hope. Maybe, just maybe, I can break out of this funk and enjoy the next 2.5 weeks (though I'm guessing with my diet/exercise regimen that might not be possible)...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hi, My Name is Beth...

...and I have a problem.

An addiction, really.

I love wedding signs. I do. I really, really do.

Look at this one I found this morning on Etsy!

Charming, no?

Tom's already cut the wood for our signs (and they actually look just like this!). Now, I'm tempted to redesign the way I want them painted so they look all cute like this!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

So It's Finally Happened.

I like to call it "The Part of the Wedding When You Have SO Much Stuff That You Can No Longer Functionally Use Your Living Room or Kitchen Table."

Yep. We've hit that point. I naively never thought we'd be here --- I always figured that I was organized enough that we wouldn't have boxes of wedding paraphernalia strewn about. I was wrong. Gravely wrong.

Poor Tom came home from work to find the house littered with tulle, sparkles, scraps of paper, boxes of parasols, and mountains of other crafty supplies. Even my best effort cleaning it all up left us with over 4 boxes stacked on tables and couches.

At least we held out this long!

20 days to go!! :)

Friday, July 17, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Don't worry, I'm still alive over here.

Strangely, with about 3 weeks to the wedding, things are moving slowly over here. I feel pretty in control and only have a few minor things to accomplish. I've been taking the last week easy, because I know after this week, there's no turning back. It's going to quickly become wedding central over here, and I just don't know if I'm ready for that!

This weekend, I have another dress fitting (checking the hem and starting the bustle!). I also hope to make a trip to the craft store and pick up the picture frames for our seating list and a few other miscellaneous things I need. I also need to paint the signs that Tom made. (They're WAY cute and I can't wait to show them off to you!).

I've spent some time this week finalizing the programs, and now am just searching for somewhere to get them printed (you wouldn't believe the ridiculous prices I've been quoted!). I've figured out the final checks we need to write, and now just need to sit down and write them. Then, I need to make the confirmations for our honeymoon reservations.

That's the major stuff right now, and what I hope to get done this week.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2009

She's Got the Look...

Hair and makeup for me is tricky. My hair is thin, fine and completely straight. It's difficult to get it to hold a curl, and applying product only weighs it down and makes it look dirty. With makeup, I never like the way it turns out when a professional does it. I don't look good with black eyeliner and mascara does absolutely nothing for my eyelashes (luckily, my eyelashes are super long and curly!!).

From the beginning, then, I had decided that there would absolutely be no professionals involved with my hair and makeup, besides my mom and sisters. Tomorrow I'm heading over to my mom's house for hair trial #1. She's known for her mild hair talent and major eyebrow talent, so this has all been entrusted to her.

But, we still have the makeup to work out. I'm a huge fan and proponent of Bare Minerals, having been on the bandwagon for over three years (and converting at least 5 people to it since...). I plan on taking a trek over to the Bare Escentuals store soon and testing out more of their eyeshadows and liners, since I really want to concentrate on my eyes (what I deem as my best feature).

I saw the picture below, and really liked how her eyes were the focus, and the rest of her makeup was natural, but still pretty. Substitute the black eyeliner for brown, and this is pretty much the look I want to achieve:

I really think my makeup should still be natural looking, and just a slight exaggeration of how I normally wear it. I want to look back at my wedding pictures and see me, not see the trends of '09 reflected on my face (much like the brides of the '80's look back and see blue eyeshadow staring at them).

Eh. Time will tell. Of course, I'll post updates on how my adventures go.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why I Love My Florist

This sounds like the great beginning of an essay, and maybe it should be.

I know I've extolled her virtues and talent before, here, here , here and here, but you've got to believe me -- she really is superbly talented.

And even though I have complete faith and trust in her, I can't say I'm not nervous that I won't actually see the flowers until I arrive at the ceremony on the wedding day. So yesterday, when she posted on her blog about a wedding she did this weekend where the colors were white and light blue and encompassed most of the flowers I'm using, I was so excited to see them!

Below are snapshots of the bridesmaids bouquets --- these are essentially what we'll be doing, but with some green hypericum berries and some blue/green hydrangeas thrown in...

Gorgeous, no?

Bouquets and photographs lovingly copied from Kio Kreations

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The 2 Sides of a Wedding

Lately, I haven't quite been feeling the "fire" for wedding planning. Whenever people ask me how it's going, I usually reply with a one-word answer and try to focus on something different, usually the honeymoon or our house or our dog...anything but wedding details. I feel guilty that I'm not more excited at this point. I've been racking my brain lately trying to figure out why I'm doing this.

Am I excited to be married? Absolutely! Am I excited to celebrate the day with our closest friends and family? Absolutely! So what's the problem?

Today I had a bit of a "Eureka!" moment. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that despite blogging for almost a year now, and silently planning my wedding in my head before that, it never really occurred to me WHY this is such a challenge.

One's wedding has two sides --- 2 separate, distinct parts. The first part, and the most important, is about committing to marriage with the person you love, and celebrating that with your family and friends. The other, and the part that is often CONSIDERED more important but isn't, is the actual planning of an event. It's the details, the timing, the vendors -- everything associated with a party.

When one graduates college, what do people ask you? "Are you excited to graduate?" "Any job prospects?" "Where will you be heading next?" -- not "Are you having monogrammed napkins at your party?" or "What color is your cap and gown?"

So why is it that weddings are treated differently? Of that, I'm not sure.

But what I do know is that I cannot wait to be marrying Thomas. Period. The party, as they say, is small potatoes. Our marriage is what is to be celebrated, not our choice of flowers.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Wedding blogs, if not filled with pictures, are simply just musings. This blog, without its occasional spattering of pictures, would just be terribly boring. I love photography, I love fine art photographs, I love pictures of the quirky details -- I love it all.

But now, as I face the task of making a list of "must-have" pictures, I find myself struggling.

How detailed do I get? Where is the line between being a control freak and demanding "pictures of guests laughing" versus letting our photographer do what she does best?

I have complete faith that our photos will be gorgeous -- I just don't want any of my "details" to be overlooked.

So, below is a random assortment of pictures I love. Maybe they'll provide me with the perfect amount of inspiration when compiling my list.

Oh, and I welcome (most) suggestions. Please don't suggest any family/group type photographs, because that's simply not what I'm interested in. We'll take those, don't worry, but right now, I'm looking for helpful suggestions on what photographs speak to you (or what photographs you wished you would have gotten at your wedding).

The quintessential ring shot. Already on my list.

Simple, yet perfect.

Sweet. And I love the blue shoes peeking out.

Perfect timing.

I love it. Who knew you could capture so much personality without seeing any faces??

Thursday, July 2, 2009


Today, Tom and I are making it legal.

We're heading over to the DuPage County Clerk's office to complete the paperwork for our marriage license!

Once we file this, we have 60 days to get married. And with 38 on the official count, I think we have a nice cushion.

So, with my lovely half-day today (and a full day off tomorrow!), Tom and I are meeting up for lunch and then we're off to file our paperwork.

We're getting SO close! I don't know how I'm going to be able to stand being in the same house as the license and my wedding band and not want to elope!! :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Old Hair/Veil Debate.

Here's the dilemma:

My hair is at a medium-length with plenty of layers and sideswept bangs. It's not exactly what you would call "bridal hair." It's a proven fact: my hair usually looks better down than up. Why? I'm not really sure. Fact: I refuse to wear my hair down for the wedding. Fact: I also refuse to wear my veil (if I wear one) on the crown of my head. I will only wear it at the nape of my neck, or not at all.

So how are we going to make this work? I'm not sure. I'll be scheduling an appt. with my normal hair stylist and hopefully she can figure out the puzzle. Below are pictures of how I'd LOVE my hair to be:

Ideally, of course.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

June's Checklist -- Totally Successful!

In May, I was only semi-successful with getting things done on my to-do list. But, with the wedding getting closer, it was time to buckle down. Without further ado:
  • Workout 5 days a week. I'd give myself a "B" on this one. I was doing this, until I pulled a muscle in my hip. Worst pain I've experienced to date. Honest. Now, I'm doing yoga until it heals. :(
  • Assemble, stuff & ship envelopes. Totally successful.
  • Celebrate birthday! Success. :)
  • Make sure Tom gets his passport (or else I'm honeymooning by myself...) Got it! And it came in the mail last week!!
  • Attend 2nd shower, write thank-yous, unpack new stuff! Finishing the thank-yous tonight and tomorrow! :)
  • Confirm men's attire with the groomsmen, and hound them until they've figured out what they're doing... Done.
  • Paperwork. Arrange new insurance policies, draft will, etc. Half-done. We have to wait for our marriage certificate to take care of the rest...
  • Remind Tom to figure out day-of transportation... Done! We've booked a convertible to drive around that weekend! :)
  • Begin working on writing ceremony and vows (!) Ceremony - done. Vows -- I still think it's a bit early, though I've been brainstorming.
  • Get new accessories for Thomas (shoes, shirt, cuff links, etc.) Done!
  • Finalize bridal party gifts... Almost done. Most are purchased/the rest have been figured out.
  • Decide on veil...(?) Well, I've ordered the tulle to make it, and will make a final decision once I meet with my stylist this month.
  • Make rehearsal dinner arrangements Done! Now I just need to let everyone know...
  • Finalize wedding timeline and photographer schedule Done, too!
  • Finalize floral selections & send to florist Boo. Not done.
  • Draft program & get quote from printer Half-done.
  • Reserve & confirm honeymoon hotels Done!

If I say so myself, that was one heck of a month! Go me! :) Unfortunately, July's going to be just as bad, if not worse! Let's take a look:

  • Buy wine bottles for "guest book" & ceremony box (more on that later)
  • Purchase remaining bridal party gifts :)
  • Attend appt. with stylist for hair/veil
  • Attend gown fitting (currently being hemmed, bustled at the next)
  • Send out rehearsal dinner invites
  • Trial hair/makeup runs
  • Finish, print & assemble programs
  • Get marriage license! (yeah! I think we're doing it this week!!!)
  • Go over ceremony with "officiant"
  • Wrap bridal party gifts
  • Get final count for reception & confirm with Maggiano's
  • Confirm & send out final payments for Czarina, Kristen & Kara
  • Book airport shuttles and other tours for Australia
  • Send "must-take" picture list to Kara
  • Finish up music playlists and confirm equipment
  • Paint flower girl wands and get them over to Kristen
  • Create signs for wedding day
  • Finalize after-party arrangements! Yes!!!

Anything I'm missing?? I'm sure there is...

Monday, June 29, 2009


As predicted, we had such a great (but busy!) weekend.

Our shower on Saturday was fabulous, and we really got some great gifts. We have pretty much everything we need now, and are really excited to get everything organized so we can start using it! Some highlights:
  • We got TONS of baking stuff this weekend! Everything from rolling pins to sprinkles to cookie cutters to cupcake carriers -- it's AWESOME!
  • We have almost all of our dishes now (short 1 set) and we have all our everyday silverware :)
  • We got all of our towels and a shower curtain, which looks lovely with our freshly painted guest bath!
  • Pots and pans! (You don't want to know how we've been improvising...)
  • A party pack, complete with cooler and tiki torches!
  • A crockpot!
  • A new tv!!!

Yesterday, Tom and my brother-in-law finished up the painting in our dining room and bathroom, so once we get all our new stuff washed and put away, those rooms and the kitchen should be almost done! :)

I can't believe we have less than 6 weeks to go!!! Stay tuned tomorrow to see how well I did on our checklist!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I Live for Weekends.

Words cannot express how glad I am that today is Friday. This week has just been tedious, filled with many menial tasks.

But tonight, things are a-changing. We're having some friends over for dinner, which is exciting, because we haven't really had anyone besides our families over to our house yet. Then, we're all going out to see the new Transformers movie (that part I'm NOT looking forward to). Tom and I haven't been to the movies in such a long time -- I'm glad we're going, even though I don't approve of the choice! :)

Tomorrow is our 2nd wedding shower! Yay! Tom's parents are hosting his family, his friends, and their friends. I'm really looking forward to it :)

And, on Sunday, Tom and I will be painting our dining room. Again. For the 3rd time. 1st time: wrong color. (oops.) 2nd time: spotty. 3rd time: new (expensive) brushes, new (expensive) rollers = hopefully success. I'm seriously getting tired of our furniture, as well as all the dog stuff crammed into our already packed-with-wedding-stuff living room.

Yay for weekends! :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Just Say No.

As the days continue to drop and our wedding inches closer, I find myself trying to make last minute additions to the wedding. As soon as I talk myself out of something, I talk myself into something else.

At this point, I'm finding the tedious details to be painful and overwhelming, simply because I have no interest in planning logistics. I'm anxious for our day to arrive, I'm anxious to say our vows and exchange rings, and I'm anxious to jet off with Tom to the other side of the world. The rest is becoming one big, beautiful blur, and yet, I still feel compelled to continue to add to it.

There has to be a point where I just start saying "No." In the wedding planning world, where there is continuous sensory overload, it's tough to stop imagining small details that would "be so perfect."

Today, 200 blog posts later, I'm still struggling. And then, I came across one of my favorite bloggers, offering her no-nonsense, practical and thoughtful ideas, and it seemed like she was speaking directly to me:

"If I've learned one thing planning this wedding, its this: The times that you say 'NO, that is not who we are, that is not what we want' will be vastly overpowered by the times you say 'YES YES YES, this is who we are, this is what we want, this is how we live'." - Meg at a Practical Wedding

So true.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What a Weekend!

With just under 50 days to go until the wedding, we're racing against the clock to make sure that all the details are getting ironed out. This weekend, we knocked out some really big things. First, I had my dress fitting. I approached this with some apprehension, as there was a little concern about my dress actually fitting. And, in a moment of excitement, tugging, pulling, and some oxygen loss, it fit! There's certainly more work to be done, but this is a HUGE thing we don't have to worry about now.

After my fitting, my mother accompanied me to Maggiano's, where we met with our event manager and finalized the menu, timing, and room layout. If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times --- book vendors you feel comfortable with. I am SO pleased with Maggiano's right now. Beyond the food being fabulous, the service is just impeccable. They're so flexible and let us completely customize how the event will flow, rather than just following the typical schedule. They're even going to have waiters walking around passing drinks as people come in, rather than have people wait in line at the bar! We don't even have to pay extra for that, which is a rarity in the wedding planning world. Fresh flower centerpieces and exquisite linens are all included -- and surprisingly, they live up to my standards. Love, I tell ya. I just plain love this place.

I am feeling so much better about everything now. I feel like everything that's left undone is simply small details. If they happen, they happen. If they don't, it won't change our day.

Oh, and since writing the ceremony the other day, I read it daily. I am IN LOVE with it. It's so sweet, simple and honest. I can't imagine having anything else right now!

I know I'm rambling, but I just feel like I'm on cloud 9 right now. Everything is coming together in the most perfect of ways -- this day is simply about celebrating Tom and I, and I am so pleased that it truly reflects us as a couple.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Booked! (And a Freebie!)

Yesterday's post really did inspire to buckle down and finish up the main plans for our honeymoon.

I spent hours yesterday researching hotels, scouring the internet for deals, rating hotels on qualities, features, locations, specials, etc., and sending top choices to Tom for input.

We had originally planned on using our credit card rewards for the hotel cost, but we found out that are type of card doesn't allow transfers to our hotel rewards program. Major bummer. Despite that setback, we were still able to book five-star hotels, get upgraded rooms, and save over $400!

I'll admit that I'm a bit of a hotel snob, and I didn't want to settle for anything less than perfect. You only get one honeymoon, and in reality, probably only one trip to Australia in your lifetime. Armed with that knowledge, and a free sweet upgrade, we booked this glam hotel in the heart of Sydney:

It was originally the old post office, which was converted to super swanky rooms!

While this isn't our exact room, ours will be similar:

We're about 1-2 miles from most of the major tourist attractions (Darling Harbor, Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the Rocks, etc.). Exciting!

Halfway through the trip we fly from Sydney to Port Douglas, a resort town located off of the Great Barrier Reef.

We're staying at a resort here, so while it's not as modern and swanky as Sydney, it's still pretty awesome. Our room includes a private balcony, and a private entrance into the pool. How cool is that??

With the great deal on airfare, along with my lovely hotel finds, we've saved over $700 off of what we originally budgeted for this trip. That doesn't factor in the actual savings off of the rack rates for the hotels and plane tickets. With the current currency rate, I'd venture to say that we've saved well over $2,000.
And if that's not all, since we weren't able to use our credit card points towards our hotel program, we were able to apply half towards our credit card balance (reducing what we pay for the hotels by about $115), and use the other half to get a new camera for free! (Tom brought my camera to Colorado, and there was a baggage handling incident that caused it to die an early death).
Seriously, a money-saving day indeed! :)