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...