Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year I Get Married

I can hardly believe it.

I am less than 7 hours away from the year I get married.

My friend Laura has been helping me count down the days until 2009. She says that the turn of the calendar into the year when your wedding is is a big deal. And I'm starting to believe her.

For a longer-than-usual 366 days (and one second!) it's been 2008. I graduated from College. I was in two weddings. I attended 4 weddings. I got engaged (!). One of my best friends got engaged (yay for Love & B!). I took engagement photos for two couples and agreed to be the for-real photographer for a third bride. I got my first "big girl" job, complete with insurance and higher taxes. I took on freelance work and spent more time on a plane in 3 months than I had in my entire life up until then. I decided I wanted to really get serious about design, and that I'd start with my own wedding and few sorry souls willing to be my guinea pigs. In short, 2008 has been wonderful, fun & romantic.


But 2009, I'm ready for you! I'll marry the love of my life in 2009. My high school sweetheart will become my husband, and I can't wait. I'll have my first official apartment, with no safety net in Mom & Dad. I get to fluff a nest that is truly mine. Ours. And it really will be ours, both of us. Together.

So I as I go to Carter's tonight for snacks and Wii and time with friends, we'll watch the ball drop and kiss in our new year. Our year. The year of us.

I can't wait!

What are you doing New Year's Eve?

-Amore

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sale Extravaganza!

What comes after a Christmas extravaganza?




A sale extravaganza!!


During Target's Christmas sale I found the perfect addition to my bouquet: A rhinestone "C" pin. (The picture isn't the exact same, but you get the idea.) The C pin will add that extra sparkle to my bouquet and it was only $3!



Momma Love and I hit the sales and got lots of fun wedding finds! First, we found the cookie jars for our cookie bar (I'll post about the whole concept soon) on sale for $10 each at Big Lots. The jars were the perfect size and will look fabulous with our scrapbook paper and ribbon! I promise to share pictures when I try my first DIY wedding craft.




I found beautiful ivory and pearl picture frame sets for $10 each at Belk (sorry there's no online picture)! Each set includes an 8x10 frame and 4x6 frame/album, which makes the perfect gift for Momma Love and FMIL at the bridesmaids' luncheon. I hope to put bridal portraits in them to share with our mothers. . . and I couldn't help but snag one for myself too.



Finally, a deal that all brides can appreciate: Bath & Body Works semi-annual sale! I've had the picture saved for years from a Knottie bio that gave shower gel as favors to her shower guests: "From my shower to yours!" During Bath & Body Works' sale I stocked up on shower gel and lotion for about $3 a bottle! I hope to use these as favors or incorporate them as gifts to my shower hostesses. I think that lotion and shower gel are things that women of any age can appreciate! (Also a good idea to build on for your BM gifts!)

Sale Alert: Victoria's Secret is currently having their semi-annual sale! Don't just plan for your wedding. . . plan for your honeymoon too ;-)

Happy Shopping! What great deals have you snagged?

--Love

Christmas Extravaganza


I love Christmas, but I admit this year I was more excited about what was to come after. . . . buying our very own Christmas decorations!


Like Amore, B and I headed out the day after Christmas to outfit our future home for future Christmases. . . . half off! We already know where we'll be living post-wedding (more on that later) so we purchased all our outside lights and tree lights (we plan to be "real" tree people). We also got our Christmas cards for next year (photo cards waiting for wedding pictures to be added to), Advent calendar, and almost everything we need to make our home ready for the season.


We also started our first Christmas tradition: we bought a Hallmark keepsake ornament each and a "joint" one. We won't start out with a lot of personal ornaments, but in a few years we'll have a "tree full" of ornaments that mean something to us.


B actually said that for the first time over the holidays it felt like we were really getting married. Sure we've talked about it for a long time and are now engaged, but for both of us it hasn't really felt completely real yet. He said spending the holiday with my family, where my cousins called him an "insider" and buying our own decorations for what will soon be our own home made it seem truly real for the first time.


I've shared this "not real" feeling. We haven't had an engagement party and probably won't and we both wondered if that would make it feel more "real." We plan to open our first joint checking account next month and we'll soon begin our registry so maybe those things will make it sink in a little. There are 193 days til our wedding (thank you wedding website countdown), but some days it feels so far away. . . .


When did getting married first feel "real" to you? Has it sunk in yet?


--Love

Monday, December 29, 2008

Our First Joint Purchase!

Love & B got a TV together as their first joint purchase. Carter & I got a Christmas tree!
I won a contest at work (best Christmas decorations in my cube!) and the prize was a $50 Visa gift card. When I won, I decided that I wanted to put the gift card toward the purchase of our first Christmas tree.

We've always been "real tree" people at my house, at least until a few years ago. I love the smell of a real tree, and the process of choosing the perfect one. However, a few years ago we decided to try an artificial tree, as my grandparents were downsizing. Today, we put up the artificial tree and get a small real tree for another room in the house.

Carter's family has been an "artificial tree" family for the past several years. Carter's mom and brother both have allergies to real trees, so an artificial one is a necessity. When it came time to decide what we would do for our joint household, there was pretty much no need for discussion. We would get an artificial tree.

We spent all day on Dec. 26th running around West Knoxville looking for our perfect tree. Carter actually loves to put the lights on the tree, so we wanted to find an unlit tree. That's much harder than it sounds! We're also both big fans of big trees, and especially of fat trees. So, we wanted 7.5 feet and fat.

We actually found our tree at the first place we went--Carolina Pottery. However, the price was a little more than we wanted to spend. Five stores and several hours later, we were empty-handed. Knowing that artificial trees disappear rather quickly once they're on sale after Christmas, we (ok, I) really wanted to get one that day. So, we went back to Carolina Pottery and bought the very last 7.5-foot, unlit, fat, artificial tree.

We got white lights to go on it (on sale for $1.24 at Home Depot!) and lots and lots of ornaments on sale, too! It's been so much fun to plan our first Christmas together, even if it is 260 days in advance!

-Amoré

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Our First "Joint" Purchase


Rather than exchanging Christmas gifts this year B and I decided to make our first joint purchase: a TV!

There was nothing we really needed, and this year it seemed frivolous to buy one another gifts we didn't need since we had so much we would need before moving into our first home. (Now, you could argue that that a new TV is not a need, but not if you're asking B :-)

On Black Friday I was hardcore--like the first person at the checkout at Radio Shack to purchase our AOC 32 inch flat screen (they're currently out of stock). I immediately called B and informed him the TV was ours!

Now it's sitting in my dining room and B begs me almost nightly to hook it up, but since it's our Christmas present I'm making him wait. I don't think it will be weird to not exchange gifts on Christmas (I did buy him something very small ). Last Christmas we lived in different states and missed out on all Christmas preparations together. This year we've really enjoyed getting to wrap our families' presents together and get into the "Christmas spirit" as B likes to call it.

Did you and your fiance decide to forgo gifts this year? If not, what are you giving one another?

(Just nine days til Christmas!)

--Love

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ring O' Drama: Part Two

Recap: Engaged on Sunday. Center stone fell out on Monday. Shipped ring back to get fixed and returned on Wednesday. Jared's repaired my original ring.

At this point I haven't been able to show my ring to anyone. No one besides my parents and BM Brittney who came as soon as she got the call.

B and I had already planned a weekend visit our alma mater, Emory & Henry College (where we will be married). I was anxious to show my ring to my sorority sisters and share in our engagement excitement. Although I was definitely paranoid, my ring was safely on my finger. Until. . . .

Sunday we went to the church we attended together and showed my ring to our "old lady friends". On our way home later that afternoon, B jokingly asked me to check on my ring. When I looked down I did another double take before realizing a stone in the channel setting had fallen out. Not just any stone, but the one directly under the center stone that cannot be touched.

Needless to say I was disappointed. We immediately called the Jared's store manager, who apologized and set up our shipping arrangement again. I sent my ring back on Monday and received it again on Wednesday. I felt like I was renting my own ring!

This time Jared's replaced my original ring. I can't tell a difference except *knock on wood* no diamonds have fallen out of this one. Jared's said my first ring was probably just had defaults and replaced it at no charge. Still the first thing I do every morning is make sure my ring is in tact!

I could have gotten an entirely different ring. Jared's policy is that any ring can be exchanged within 30 days, but I didn't want just any ring--I wanted the ring B had put so much thought into picking out for me. I stuck with a new version of my ring.

For our trouble we did receive a gift card to be used toward our wedding bands and a nice note from the customer service representative.

Do I think Jared's could have checked the first ring better to ensure this didn't happen again? Yes. I was disappointed to send my ring back a second time and it was frustrating to say the least. Was Jared's helpful and timely in the process? Yes. I've never dealt with anything like this before, but if I had to go through this I know that Jared's was helpful and returned my ring in a timely manner.

Have you dealt with a jeweler's customer service? What was your experience?

--Love

The Marriage Book


Soon after B and I began dating we knew we had something special. During our nightly conversations that lasted for hours we got to know a lot about one another, and frequently played "The Question Game," which really isn't a game at all--just a chance to ask all those questions you want of the other.

A few years earlier I had seen an Oprah show devoted to marriage and preparing for it. A frequent guest on Oprah is Dr. Robin Smith, who wrote Lies at the Altar: The Truth About Great Marriages. I wrote the title in my journal and knew that I would eventually use the book.

After B and I began dating, I quickly ordered the book and thought Lies at the Altar was a scary title for a guy I'd just started dating so we quickly re-named it "The Marriage Book." The book is about preparing you not only for marriage, but also for a serious relationship. It was great for us to read together at the beginning of our relationship and helped us see where we had common ground and where our differences lay.

I admit we skimmed lots in the first part of the book and didn't find that part as helpful for us, but the questions at the end make this book a must have for couples. The end of the book includes over 200 questions about well, everything! From pets to finances to sex to family this book covers nearly all the bases. The questions are divided into sections and the last question of each section asks if you have a you've ever had a relationship end because of __ issue.

I think all serious and/or engaged couples should have real talks about what they want out of their relationship, future, and marriage. This book does a great job of consolidating all those "must ask" questions and gives couples a great starting place.

Are there any books that have been especially helpful to you as you prepare for your marriage?

--Love

Friday, December 12, 2008

Glass Half Full


I've always been an optimist. A "glass half full" kind of gal. Sure I have bad days and I complain, but I generally look on the bright side of things.


I'm a Charlotte. The past few days I've felt especially blessed and I can't help but compare my level of happiness to Charlotte's in Sex and the City: The Movie. Now I'm a fan of SATC and in the movie when Charlotte's in Mexico (on what should have been Carrie and Big's honeymoon) she realizes how truly blessed she is.

That's me lately. I don't know if I've ever been happier. There really is something about being engaged and getting plan not only your wedding, but your future with the man you love that makes my cup seem not only half full, but overflowing.

As a girl who spent nearly her whole life as "the single one," I feel like I have an added appreciation for what I now have. B makes me realize that the whole journey was worth it. Charlotte didn't have it easy either, but she kept the faith. I never stopped believing in love even when there were days when it seemed like these days would never come. Now that the days where I'm preparing to spend the rest of my life with my fiance are here I just want to jump for joy!

I still have moments when I can't believe this is happening and get caught staring at my ring. I want to enjoy these days to the fullest!

(I promise I'll blog about the days when my glass is half empty too because, believe me, I have those too!)

What Sex and the City character are you? How do you see that character in your wedding planning?

--Love

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Age ain't nothin' but a number

Kids Kissing



I'm 23 (as of Saturday!). Carter's 21. He'll be 22 by the wedding. We're "young." Based on my perusal of the wedding blogosphere, we're really young. Most brides, at least those outside of the South, are no younger than 25.



I'm also not the first of my "group" to get married. Out of my "girls" that I graduated from high school with, I'll be 3rd (and only because the 4th is having her ceremony at 4:30 and mine is at 3!). Most of my friends from college who graduated a year ahead of me are already married (one before she graduated, one right after, and two in August of this year). Out of my group of friends I graduated from college with, I will again be 3rd. And, as you know, Love (who will be the 4th in our college graduating class) is considered an Old Maid in her town!*

I don't think Carter & I are too young to be getting married (otherwise we wouldn't be). On the contrary, we've been dating for almost 5 years, much of which was spent long-distance. This gave us the opportunity to really get to know one another. We relied on conversation for 9 months out of the year for 4 years. There is nothing I want more than to be married to this man.



So you can understand my irritation and frustration when I get comments such as "But you're so young!" There have only been a few instances, but the kicker came from an acquaintance. She's a mother, and she's a grandmother. And her daughter, the mother of her grandchild, is unmarried and younger than I am (by at least 2 years!). The baby is probably 18 months to 2 years old by now. But clearly, I am not mature enough to make a decision as to whom I want to spend the rest of my life with. A child? Sure, go ahead, you're old enough for that. But marriage? You're too young...



Did you receive any less-than-enthusiastic responspes when you announced your engagement? What's the "right" age to get engaged? Married?

*There are many other people from my graduating classes, both high school and college who are already married or who will be by May 23rd. However, the ones I'm counting are just the ones I was/am good friends with.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ring O' Drama


Engaged. Ecstatic.


I hardly slept a wink the night of the proposal and did nothing but stare at the new bling on my hand. I made muffins with one hand because somehow I felt as if my left hand should do nothing but look beautiful and shiny.


Right after B proposed in my tears of joy, excitement, and shock I said, "Oh my gosh, it's going to fall out!" For some reason I thought my prong setting was delicate and I needed to be extra careful because my diamond was suspended in the air.


At work the next morning I rushed to share my news, and ring, with the girls in my office. As I was re-telling the proposal story, I mentioned that I had even said I was afraid the diamond would fall out. I was talking with my hands like I always do when tragedy struck. . . THE DIAMOND FELL OUT!!!


It was one of those surreal moments when you do a double take and can't believe what just happened. The center stone fell out of my ring and onto the shoe of my co-worker. I was in shock. My diamond was on the floor! My boss, love her heart, very calmly picked up my diamond and put it in a tissue. I stayed surprisingly calm because I think I was still too happy to be engaged. At first I said it didn't matter that because even if my diamond was on the floor I was still engaged. . . then I went into action mode.


I had had my ring for 10 hours! Luckily, the night before B had told me he purchased the full Jared's insurance policy that replaced any damaged or lost diamonds so that was an instant relief. I was also very lucky to have the diamond in my possession because I can't imagine just looking down and realizing I had lost it.


It was 8:00 a.m. and the store wasn't open yet. I waited until customer service opened and immediately called to talk about my options (still tear free). Dee, the Jared's customer service representative, wasn't exactly my best friend at first. She asked me if I'd been too rough on the ring. Hello!? I had done nothing, but stare at it! She asked me if maybe I'd hit my hand on the side of the wall. Seriously?! After I explained to her that no, I had not "abused" my ring and told her which ring it was she became more helpful. . . friendly, in fact.


She said they never have problems with the my ring and she went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of. She had a ring sent from Texas in case Knoxville didn't have any more. I contacted the Knoxville store (that's about four hours from my house so I couldn't just stop by) who sent a UPS delivery man to my office to personally pick up my ring (only after I let him know how important my package was).


I then had to call my fiance and let him know that the ring he had spent so much time, energy, and money on was broken. Luckily, by the time I talked to him I had the situation under control and he took the news better than expected although he was still disappointed and embarrassed.


I sent my ring off on Monday morning and received it back on Wednesday.


I was only without my ring for a day and a half, but still it was the first day and a half I was engaged. I wanted nothing more than to show my ring off to all my friends and family. I'm not gonna lie I was disappointed to have to send my ring back so soon after receiving it, but I rationalized because lots of women have to send theirs to get re sized so this is normal.


In place of my ring I wore my great grandmother's favorite diamond ring, which made the time without my ring a little more bearable.


Do you have a tragic ring story? Did you have to "give your ring up" shortly after receiving it?


Up next: Ring O' Drama part II


--Love

Rock of Love

I've been engaged for a month and it's about time you met "the ring!"


I met her for the first time when B proposed. As you recall, Be had his own rules of engagement. He wanted the ring to be a total surprise and he wanted to choose it all by himself.


One weekend he went to Knoxville to visit his family for no reason. Actually he just went for the night and asked me to not to come with him. I thought it was strange, but made plans for a girls night and moved on.


What I now know is that he had been searching online for months and had finally found the ring he fell in love with at Jared's. He called the store and asked them to save the ring until he was able to visit. When he visited the store he barely looked at other rings because he knew this was "the one" he wanted.


The ring is a princess cut in a prong setting with 10 princess cut side stones in a channel setting.
He choose well!


As much as I wanted to go ring shopping with him before we got engaged I think the ring means more to me because he picked it out himself. It truly was a surprise and gift.


Was your ring a surprise? How was your ring chosen?


Coming soon: ring o' drama

--Love

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Long Time Coming-2

So other than having had my wedding planned (in some form or fashion) for 7 years or so, I've also been doing something else wedding related since before my engagement...

I affectionately refer to it as "blog stalking". And my friends are tired of hearing this phrase out of my mouth, "Well, when I was blog-stalking the other day I found..."

It's no surpise to you if you've happened upon LA Brides by some blog-searching miracle, what a wealth of knowledge and insipiration is available in blog-form. And to be honest, I can't really tell you what started my addiction. I found one blog that listed other, favorite wedding blogs, and suddenly I had a Google Reader full of wedding wonderfulness. I'd never even used Google Reader before!

So, here's a list of my favorites, and I'm saving the best for last!

Always a Blogsmaid, by Always a Bridesmaid. First, how can you not love such an adorable name?!?! I love this blog because they answer questions from real brides (I know! The've answered three of mine!) and because it's chock-full of tips and tricks. This, This and This are the two questions they answered for me!

Snippet & Ink. Inspiration board Mecca. Kathryn is nothing short of brilliant in her creative inspiration boards that she posts every.single.day. She also offers all sorts of advice, DIY, and real wedding inspiration. It doesn't get much better than this!

Southern Weddings Magazine Daily Blog. More real weddings in one place than anywhere...except maybe the Knot! But that totally doesn't count because every one of the weddings featured at SW is GORGEOUS! Some are quirky, some are fun, but all are beautiful and full of ideas for any bride, but especially those of us with Pride in the Southland (extra points if you can name the somewhat football-related reference here!)

Style Me Pretty. Photos, tips and insipiration abound in this wedding blog. Check out Abby's two most recent posts on Photo Tips. Eat it up! Plus, the Little Black Book features all sorts of phenomenal wedding vendors to check out--either for inspiration or to hire...assuming you live in the right area!

The Pink Book--Knoxville. Being a Knoxville girl, I am so appreciative of a local wedding blog! If you can track down a bridal blogger in your hometown, it will be such a huge help in planning your day! The Pink Book also has a general blog, and blogs in these cites: DC, Nashville, Memphis & Indianapolis.

And, saving the best for last...Weddingbee. There is no other blogging community made up of such talented, beautiful and inspiring brides. There are no words to tell you how much fun Weddingbee is! You feel like you really get to know the brides and their weddings, and it's so neat to steal, I mean, glean, ideas from these fabulous Bees! While all of the Bees are pretty much amazing, I do have a few favorites...Mrs. Pomegranate, Miss Champagne, Miss Fondue, and Miss Meatball are tops on my list. (and I'm so excited, Miss Meatball is following me on Twitter now, too! How amazing!!!!)

What fabulous wedding blogs have I left off of my list? What else do I need to add to my Google Reader?

-Amore'

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Long Time Coming

You should probably know this about me: I'm not new to this wedding-planning thing. Well, I am in that my May nuptials will be the first ACTUAL wedding I've ever planned. But I got my start back when I was a sophomore in high school.

One of my good friends and now bridesmaid Melissa (meet her here) and I had a "note-book" that we passed back and forth between classes. Rather than passing loose-leaf notes, we got a journal and just passed it between the two of us. After a while the notes were getting old, so, naturally, we decided to add pictures from magazines. This is when my first wedding was born. Please keep in mind that at this point in my life, I'd never been kissed, and I'd never had a boyfriend. Ever.

I was going to get married the second weekend in September, with a fall theme. My bridesmaids would be wearing long, formal dresses in David's Bridal's Apple Red. I'd carry red calla lilies and my girls would carry white ones. It would a formal, evening affair.

I think Melissa still has the notebook itself, and, well, I just don't have the original images I'd pulled out. But here's a glimpse of what my wedding would have looked like, had I gotten married as a 15-year-old!



I was all about the lace jacket. I mean, this thing was my dream! {source}






This was my idea of the perfect bridesmaid's gown! Long, flowy, and, well, not big enough at the top to support my actual bridesmaids! {source}

And, of course, the calla lilies. I swore I'd have callas everywhere at my wedding. Not so much in real life... {source}


Needless to say, my real wedding will be quite different from what I had imagined 7 years ago. I won't be getting married in September, but May. I won't have a Fall theme, but a Spring one. It won't be a formal affair, but a casual, fun, laid back party. You won't see a calla lily anywhere. And I couldn't be more excited!

Did you plan your wedding long before you were engaged? How is it different from your "real" wedding?
--Amore'

Monday, December 1, 2008

When I Fall In Love



"When I fall in love, it will be forever. . . "

I'm engaged. I'm planning. I'm not looking for a wedding dress.
What?!

I could be crazy, but I'm waiting to fall in love. Ok, I admit that I tear out a few ads from my bridal magazines, but I don't spend my days scouring websites looking for "The One" dress. Instead, I'm waiting to go dress shopping to fall in love.


You see, I'm a wedding dress virgin. I've never tried on a wedding dress before. I've been to plenty of bridal shops and looked at lots, but never tried one on for myself. When my girlfriends got married I never snuck and tried one on because I've been patiently waiting for my time.


My body is unique. I'd like to think it has "personality." I'm no skinny minnie and my "girls" are pushing DD so it's always been difficult for me to find dresses to fit. When I look at strapless dresses if I hear my mother (or grandmother) say, "You're just going to pull at it all night!" one more time I will scream. My wedding dress will be perfect. It will fit me in all the right ways and if it doesn't we'll alter it.


I've been in love before. . . . with my junior year prom dress. It was perfect for me. The first I tried on and I wanted nothing to do with any other dresses. I was faithful.


I'm ready to fall in love forever. . . .


--Love

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bridesmaids Gone Bad

Amore and I have spent the past week or so searching the Internet for my perfect bridesmaid's dresses. I've always known exactly what I want: simple black dresses that can be worn again. Easy, right? How hard can it be to find the perfect little black dress? The task has proved more difficult than I imagined.


I sent my first round of "favorites" list to my bridesmaids this morning and have already gotten a response from Sister Love, my MOH, who hates all my selections.

Sister Love and I have always had very different styles and that's no different when it comes to bridesmaid dresses. I know that when she marries someday I'll be wearing a dress that is fashionable and hip. Likewise she should realize that I will choose a classic dress for my bridesmaids.




Sister Love sent me lots of suggestions for her vision of my bridesmaid's dresses today. Those suggestions included, jokingly, UglyDress.com We may have different styles, but we love one another enough to never, ever torture the other with dresses this hideous!

I once was in a wedding where the MIL had made the bridesmaids dresses and continued to sew our buttons on right before we walked down the aisle, but the dress was still cute.

As a professional bridesmaid I've lessons that are making me a better bride. A word of advice: Brides, be good to your maids.

What's the worst bridesmaid dress experience you've ever had?




--Love

Making the Band(s)

I told you all a while back about our awful first experience looking at bands. Carter bought my e-ring at Kay at the Mall, and we visited a different Kay, closer to home, to browse bands. Big mistake.

Needless to say, we had a pretty bad taste in our mouths! But a couple of Saturdays ago, we managed to find ourselves at West Town Mall, and we stopped in the Kay there. Luckily for us, the fantastic Jessica, who had helped Carter the first time around, was there. It had been about 6 months since Carter bought my ring. But when we walked in and Jessica came over to help us...she remembered his name! Talk about customer service! He literally had not been in the store in 6 months and she remembered his name. Things were looking up!


We started off by looking at rings for Carter. We'd decided before that we wanted a 5mm tungten band, that the 6mm was too thick. However, couple the 6mm with a nice sales person and no undue pressure, and it felt perfect.



















Carter's band {source}

For me, we looked again at the baguette band we'd decided on before.



















{source}


While we still liked this ring, we asked to see a princess channel-set band, which was our original choice. We ultimately decided that the princess band was just too perfect to pass up. It had the right amount of sparkle and simplicity and it looked stunning with my engagement ring.


We'd always talked about an eternity band for me, but we decided (with the encouragement of Jessica) that the regular band was the way to go. Imagine a sales person encouraging you to spend less money! This woman is amazing! She made the point of paying for diamonds you don't see, and she also talked about how difficult it is to size eternity bands. While not being able to size Carter's tungsten is not a big deal, my guess is that my fingers are going to swell like balloons when one day (a long, long, long time from now!) I get pregnant. And sometimes that swelling doesn't go away! So, sizability is an important factor, as well. Plus, once the regular band is sized down, the diamonds will go further around the ring than normal. So, we'll get the illusion of the eternity band, without the price tag. (Not to mention the option to upgrade at an anniversary!)

So, without further ado, my ring! (at least the pic from Kay's website!)



















{source}


My band, in real life, is less bulky than this. The metal on either side of the diamonds is much thinner, and when you look at my ring from this angle, you can't tell that the diamond's don't go all they way around.


Perfection.


I hope to get pictures of my band eventually. It's currently safely tucked away at Carter's house, waiting for a May afternoon.


Carter's band came in at the same time mine did, but the size Jessica ordered and the size that was delivered were not the same, so we're waiting on the correct size to come in, which should be later this week.


Oh, and for the record, we did plan to get our bands in November, that way both of my rings are on the same cleaning and checking schedule :)


-Amore'

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Chapel of Love



List of things I want most for my wedding:
1. B as my husband
2. Emory United Methodist Church

For as long as I can remember I've dreamed of having my wedding at Emory United Methodist Church on the campus of my alma mater, Emory & Henry College. First, this church is gorgeous! The stained glass windows are breath taking. The aisle could not be more perfect for a bride to make her grand entrance.


The church has also had a significant impact on my life. Some of the most powerful worship experience of my life occured in the sanctuary. As a student at Emory & Henry, I was extremely active. The chapel not only served as a place I continued to worship, but also as a place where I grew intellectually and planned numerous events. Both B and I call Emory & Henry College our home. It is where we first met!

B and I are both members of the United Methodist Church (and his dad is a UMC pastor) so it has always been important for us to get married in a United Methodist church. Having a religious ceremony is something we both want.

I had given up my dream of marrying at Emory UMC because it's such a popular church. Everyone recognizes how beautiful the church, and campus, are for a wedding. An acquaintance of mine booked her wedding at Emory UMC 14 months in advance and told me that it was nearly packed for 2009 already. Because B refused to have an engagement any longer than a year so I quietly accepted the fact that I would have to choose another church.

I was making plans to marry in nearby Abingdon United Methodist Church, which was our first church home as a couple. In fact, I had already counted the pews and made planning notes on my bulletin!

The last slide of our engagement slideshow was this picture of the chapel. To my surprise Emory was available on our date and we shall be married at the church of my dreams to the man of my dreams!

(Like our alma mater's fight song):
Emory born and Emory bred now I'll be Emory wed!

Are you getting married somewhere with significant meaning to you?

--Love

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Love's Engaged!!!!!

I'm engaged!

B and I had been seriously talking marriage, dates, and all that jazz for some time now. Despite all our talks I was completley blindsided when my own proposal came. On to the long awaited story of my engagement. . . .

Sunday, November 9, 2008: That morning B brought me a dozen red roses, but said they were for no reason. This is out of character, but as the day went on normally I was convinced he was just being romantic. The day followed our typical Sunday routine: church, a visit to my Mamaw's, and afternoon nap. No idea what was about to happen. . . .

Later that night B made me leave him alone for a few hours so he could "work on preparing a test for his students." I obliged and a few hours later he came into my room with his laptop. He wanted to show me what he had been working on. B created a slideshow of us entitled "Our Seasons" (remember my belief in dating for all seasons). The slideshow had over 80 slides of our pictures together throughout our relationship and songs that were meaningful to us. I laughed, cried, and continued to be clueless.


The last song was our song: "Kiss You Good Morning" by Jake Owen. The last slide was a picture of the church where we will be married. He said he wanted to add pictures to the slideshow, but only if I was wearing. . . . and he pulled the ring out of his pocket.


This is where I got a clue. . . and stopped breathing! He got down one knee, said my full name, and asked me to marry him. I remember saying yes and the rest is a blur. I never really thought I would be one of those girls who cried, but it was pretty uncontrolable. The man of my dreams had just asked me to marry him.


I was totally surprised, and it's pretty hard to surprise me! I obviously didn't expect to get engaged because I was wearing sweatpants and a college t-shirt. It didn't even matter--I was engaged!!! We told my parents, called his parents, and spent the rest of the night making phone calls to our loved ones.

I can't believe we're really engaged and I'm really going to be a bride! I couldn't be any happier.

Our wedding date: July 11, 2009
SO much more to come!!
--Love

My Sweet, Sweet Song (Vol. 2)

Music really sets the tone for your ceremony, so I wanted to share a little more about our "traditional with a twist" wedding. I told you earlier about our processional and our recessional, so today I'll tell you about our prelude and the entrance of the bridal party!

As I mentioned, all of our music will be played by our good friends and Carter's co-workers-- who also happen to be very talented musicians. We want lots of contemporary Christian songs that have sort of a dual meaning: they are absolutely about the beauty and love of God, but are also celebrations of beauty and love among his people. Here are some songs that are on the prelude short list:

No One Like You by David Crowder Band




Godsend by DC Talk




Love Song for a Savior by Jars of Clay




Love Song by Third Day




You get the idea :) We haven't firmly decided on the set list for the prelude, but these are some of my favorites.

Then, for the entrance of the bridal party, I'm fairly certain we'll use Beautiful One, a la By the Tree




Here are some lyrics:

Wonderful so wonderful is Your unfailing love

Your cross is spoken mercy over me

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart can fully know

How glorious, how beautiful You are


Beautiful one I love

Beautiful one I adore

Beautiful one my soul must sing


You opened my eyes to Your wonders anew

You captured my heart with this love

‘Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as You


It's a fun and upbeat song, and I think the line " 'Cause nothing on earth is as beautiful as you" is a perfect description of how special our bridal party is to us.


What song are you using for the bridal party entrance? Does it have any special meaning for you or your fiance'?


-Amore'

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Sweet, Sweet Song

As Love and I were chatting today, we were talking about ways to make weddings personal. I think one of the best ways to do this is by your music choice. I've been holding out on this post, but for no apparent reason, so here we go! Sweet, sweet songs that will personalize my day!

First of all, you should know that we're having a rock band for our ceremony music. We're just not Canon in D people, though the song brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it. C & I are blessed to attend (and work at, in C's case) a church with great contemporary music. We have fantastic musicians that we also call friends, and they have agreed to play for the wedding. We'll have the full band, electric guitar, keys, drums, bass and acoustic guitar, plus vocals. C is the youth worship coordinator at our church, and his groomsmen are his band mates from Find the 01. We are both music lovers, and some of our favorite memories are from concerts we've attended together. Rockin' music is a definite requirement for us.

The one song I've pretty much always known I wanted included in my wedding is "Joyful, Joyful" or Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." This was my parent's recessional at their wedding, and my sister and brother-in-law used an acoustic version as their recessional. Naturally, I always thought I'd be using this as my recessional.

Then I heard this song on my local Christian radio station. It's by a contemporary Christian band, Reliant K. I must say, the lyrics spoke to me to be used as a recessional song. Here are the words to the chorus:

This is the best thing
The best thing that could be happening
And I think you would agree
The best thing is that it's happening to you and me

I can't think of more perfect words to describe what C & I will be feeling after we seal it with a kiss! (to hear the song where we want it to start after the smooch, go to 0:45 on the video).

So, that left me with the conundrum of when to have Joyful Joyful. I really love the song, and I adore the idea that my sister and mom both used it. My verdict? It will be my processional. As I said before, I love Canon in D, but it's just not for my processional. At the same time, Beethoven's version isn't exactly what we're looking for, either. Though it might make him roll over in his grave, our version will sound closer to this:



Fast forward to 0:55 to start with the classic "Joyful, Joyful" lyrics. I love the sound, and I think it's a great way to work in this meaningful song into my day! I think the lyrics are again appropriate for the occasion:

Joyful, joyful, Lord we adore thee
God of glory
Lord of love
Hearts unfold like flowers before the
Opening to the sun above
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness
Drive the dark of doubt away
Giver of immortal gladness
Fill us with the light of day

{sigh} It makes me happy just to think about it!

I have many more special songs that I'm excited about, but I hate to give away everything at once! Expect more posts to follow about song selections, including our thought processes behind them!

-Amoré

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rehearsing Drama

When C & I got engaged, we started talking with his parents about a venue for our rehearsal dinner. Two places came to mind: The Chop House and Lakeside Tavern. Lakeside has always been a favorite of C & his family, and it was even the place he took my parents to ask for my hand. I've always been a fan, and after my parents experienced the restaurant for the first time, they loved it, too. So, Lakeside was at the top of our list.

C's mom first called Lakeside in August to ask about their reservation policy regarding their private room. The folks at the restaurant told her the earliest she could book was 6 months in advance--during the month of November. Between August and November, FMIL called back two more times to confirm that the earliest she could reserve the room was in fact November, but that rather than waiting for November 22, she could reserve on November 1st.

So, on Saturday (November 1st) FILs went to Lakeside to reserve the room. After taking one last look at the space and talking with the reservation manager, FMIL happily handed over her credit card to book the room. A few minutes later, the manager came back to FILs and apologized, because the room had already been booked for our date, about a week earlier. WTF? FMIL called THREE (3) times to establish the earliest possible booking date! She was ready to book the room the first time she called them, in August! She followed the rules and did everything right to reserve the private room for our rehearsal dinner. Yet someone decided that the rules would only apply to some people wanting to book the room, and not others.

FILs left Lakeside angry, but also keeping everything in perspective. They were off to find an alternative for our rehearsal dinner venue. They went to The Chop House, which was on our short list, and were greeted by a very professional and friendly manager who was more than willing to work with us. Since we'd decided on Lakeside, FILs wanted to run a few choices by C & me, so they got "pencilled in" there. They also visited another local restaurant, Peerless, and were treated with the same professionalism and respect.

We decided to go with The Chop House for our rehearsal dinner. We all love their delicious food, and it's within walking distance from the church! The room isn't completely private, but we figure we'll be the loudest ones in the place, so it shouldn't be a problem :) We know they'll take great care of us, and we know that the food will be fantastic!

Overall, we're excited to have our RD at such a great restaurant. And you can bet it will be a long time before any of us head back to Lakeside....

Did you have any venue drama? Are you happy with the way things turned out?

-Amore'

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Happy Election Day!


If you're a bride or wanna-be planner like we are then you are obviously thinking about the future. Don't limit your future minded-ness to just your wedding and marriage, but to the future of our country and the leaders who will impact your marriage, children, and families.

Vote!
I admit that I am the most political of the LA Brides as a former professional political staffer (and general loud mouth), but I encourage everyone to vote in this all important election!

So, today I put away my wedding blogs, magazines, and plans to volunteer for my presidential candidate locally. In fact, I've done that a lot lately in order to make time to write a letter to the editor of my local newspaper, make hundreds of phone calls in support of my candidate, put up signs, and work the polls. I'm taking action in the here and now for my future and the future of our country.

Be a bride of action!

--Love

P.S. I won't be getting engaged today because election day totally qualifies as a holiday for me (and that's against the rules of engagement :-)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Does size matter? Amoré chimes in

Love just posted about wedding size, so I thought it would be a great time to talk about the size of our guest list.

In a word, it's huge. HUGE. When people ask me how big my wedding is, and I tell them, they are shocked. In a "holy-crap-you've-got-to-be-crazy" sort of way. Our guest list is currently at 379. And that's not everyone.

{source}

See, C is on staff at our church--the largest United Methodist church in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The church as a large staff. The church has a large congregation. The church has a large youth group. Our families have attended our church for a combined 40+ years. Our parents are in the same Sunday school class, which is also quite large. C works directly with the youth, and I volunteer in the youth group.

C and I are incredibly blessed in that we have a tone of people around us who love us. We're having six bridal showers. I don't even know what to do with all of the love! Our wedding will be large, but I also think that it will be amazingly fun and personal. C and I are thinking of a lot of ways to make our wedding unique, and I think we'll have a lot elements that will help us to mingle with our guests and generally have a great time.

If I had to chance to have several weddings (all to C, of course!) I'd probably have one as a tiny, intimate affair in snow-covered mountains. (I'm totally jonesing over these photos that Miss Champagne posted on Weddingbee). In my winter wedding we'd have everyone fly in on Wednesday night and have activities all weekend in our rustic lodge.

However, I've only got one go at this, and in that case, I want everyone there who's willing to come. I look at weddings as a great excuse to get everyone you love in one room. The cost? We won't be having a 4-course gourmet feast, but we will have a great time with the people we love the most--every last one of them.

So, you know where Love and I stand on the wedding size topic--we'd love to hear from someone who wants a small, intimate affair!

-Amoré

Does size matter?


I love Cosmopolitan magazine! I mean like love it, share it, read it, use it ;-) In college part of my pledge name in my sorority was "Cosmo." I've read it for years because I believe every young woman, regardless of experience, should be educated. Now, I don't believe everything I read in Cosmo and to be honest it rarely talks about marriage. Sure there are engagement ring ads, but it's targeted to 20-something women. Cosmo usually steers clear of marriage because its readers have varying degrees and ways they show their commitment to significant others.

Today I logged on to Cosmo's website to send my friend a gift subscription for her birthday and found Cosmo talking about marriage. "Why Small Weddings Rock" argues that small weddings are better and far more personal for a couple than a large event with a few hundred people. Cosmo and I agree on some points: all eyes will be on you, it will save your budget, you can invite your nearest and dearest instead of feeling obligated to invite those you aren't super close to.

I think that size is a way that weddings differ the most. Friends of Amore and I are getting married in July with a few close friends and family in attendance, in a field, as the full moon rises. Perfect for them! However, a small wedding just isn't for me. I come from a small town, which includes lots of close family, friends, family friends, church members, political allies (my father's a local elected official and we're both active in local politics), and customers (my family owns a third generation grocery store). Not to mention college friends! If I just invited my closest family members I would easily have over 30 people and that's not counting anyone on B's side. It's always been very obvious to me that my wedding would be large (if not open church, but that's a whole other post)!

I want a large wedding. As a single girl for most of my life, I feel like a large wedding is something I've not only waited on forever, but earned. I want lots of people to share in our joy! I may not be able to afford a five course meal for all in attendance, but I will be surrounded by people I care about. That's what matters to me. I certainly see the advantages to having a small wedding, but I'm an extrovert and can't imagine a small guest list for my wedding day!
How large is your guest list? Have you always dreamed of a large or small wedding? Does size matter?
--Love

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Engagement Chicken?

Lately I've been trying my hand in the kitchen. I have potential to be a fabulous cook. I come from good genes: my mamaw can make anything and my mother's baking is famous in our town. I'm still working on meeting my potential. . . .

For B's birthday I was successful in making chocolate pie! He loved it and it was the perfect end to his birth day of eating! It may not be true for every man, but it is for mine: "The key to his heart is through his stomach."

Thinking of his heart and stomach I remembered a recipe I've had saved for years--engagement chicken. Crazy, I know! First published in Glamour magazine in 2004 if a woman makes the chicken for her man he will propose (it takes some time. . . not drop on one knee after the first bite kind of magic here).

There's no way making a meal for your man will convince him to propose. . . . but could it hurt? Now I'm a Southern Belle, but I'm not caught in the 1950's. B and I have had many discussions about rings, timelines, and all things engagement so making engagement chicken probably won't change a lot for us.

So if it can't hurt. . . . here's the recipe for engagement chicken.

Is this crazy? Did engagement chicken work for you? Did you do any crazy things to "speed up" your engagement?
--Love

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The First Nightmare

This weekend marked my first wedding-related nightmare. No, I wasn't eaten by tulle and satin, or my brain sucked out by curls and hairspray. Instead, it was three weeks before the wedding and I hadn't sent out any invitations.

Not One.

And on top of that, they weren't even printed!

I was one stressed bride when I woke up. I was ready to call Schroeder's dad (one of the groomsmen, his father owns a print shop and will be printing our invitations) at 3 a.m. to make sure they'd get printed in time! Luckily, I realized fairly quickly that I'm still over 6 months away from my big day, so I've got time to print and send my invites.




How long after your engagement was your first wedding-related nightmare? How long did you have them?

-Amore'

Monday, October 20, 2008

B's birthday



Happy birthday, B!


Today is B's 25th birthday! I'm all about celebrating birthdays!





To make his day special I'm feeding him :-) Sure there are presents, but I woke up very early this morning to make biscuits from scratch. His grandfather once told him not to marry a woman who couldn't make good biscuits so I perfected my mamaw's recipe in order to be eligible for marriage. A true Southern Belle :-) I had lunch delivered to his classroom at school. For dinner, I'm going to tackle his mother's recipe for his favorite pie (wish me luck on this one).



Last year, after the first half of his birthday celebrations, he told me he loved me. He stuttered, giggled, and finally got those three amazing words out. I didn't immediately say it back. Stupid, I know especially because I was feeling it. Minutes later (although it felt like days), after I'd walked out of the room and realized how stupid I had been, I came and told B that I loved him too. Why didn't I say it immediately? Our relationship was new and although I had felt very much in love with him for awhile I knew that I would love him more. After I apologized for not telling him immediately, I told him that I loved him. I told him that I was very much in love with him now, but I knew that I would love him far more. And that has been very true.

And now maybe our "happily ever after" timeline is speeding up. . . . . stay tuned!

When did you first say I love you to your significant other? Who said it first? Does it even matter?

--Love

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Bring Your Sweet Tooth

Or go home!

C & I are dessert-junkies. He makes the best brownies out of a box you've ever had. My favorite part of any meal is the sweet stuff that comes at the end. If I could, I'd only eat desserts. My wedding dress would probably hate me, though! My favorite days in the cafeteria in college were when they served "Ice your own cupcakes." My college cafeteria didn't do many things right, but cookies are on that list. And when you can ice your own cupcakes, you can ice your own cookies, which means you can make the infamous Double-Doozie just like from Great American Cookies.



YUM.

But I digress. The point is, C & I both love sweets more than just about any food.

When we originally started talking about our reception food, we wanted Salsarita's. We love the fresh Mexican food, they cater, and it's affordable. Momma Amore' quickly vetoed, though, because while they cater, they just drop off and pick up, rather than staying and helping make sure things go smoothly. While that worked great when they catered lunch at my old office of around 20 people, it could be disastrous with my wedding of 300...

So, as we were thinking more about what we wanted to do and what we could afford, Momma Amore' suggested a dessert buffet. Check out these GORGEOUS pics of dessert buffets (click to enlarge)...

{Style Me Pretty}

{Style Me Pretty}


Our dessert buffet will be catered by Sweet Celebrations, based out of Maryville, Tenn. Their website isn't up yet, but their sweets are simply incredible! We'll having cupcakes galore: red velvet with cream cheese icing, strawberry with cream cheese icing, chocolate with caramel icing and spice cake with caramel icing. They'll also make our wedding cake, which will be white cake with caramel icing (are you noticing a theme here??) We'll have mini key lime pies, mini apple pies, mini cheesecakes, thumbprint cookies and wedding cookies. In addition, my mom and I will be making Chex Mix (I swear, her Chex Mix is the BEST) and cheese straws. We decided we needed something savory to prevent any diabetic shock :) We are so excited about our dessert buffet, and we think it will be a GREAT way to continue our "tradition with a twist" theme.

What are you serving at your reception?

-Amore'

Monday, October 13, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

C & I made two of these this weekend. First, you should know that this weekend marked the fifth (yes, 5!) anniversary of mine & C's first date. That's what happens when you marry your high school sweetheart. You date for many years! We spent the weekend in Nashville with my sister and brother-in-law, who will be celebrating their 2nd wedding anniversary tomorrow! Congratulations, Erin & Matt!

(here's a really terrible picture of C&Me from my camera phone inside the Melting Pot--YUM--we didn't manage to have an actual digital camera with us. Such a shame!)


So, as we spent the weekend out of town, we had lots of time in the car to talk about the wedding! (We talked about other things, too, but this was a great opportunity to figure out a few things that I'd been conflicted on).


First, we have a reception location, and I don't think I'll change my mind anymore! I've known that we'll be having the reception at the church from the beginning. It's cheaper (only one site fee, which is low since C works at the church), it's greener (no gas to get between the two places) and it just generally makes sense to us. Our first though on where to have the reception was a combined space--the gorgeous narthex and courtyard outside of the sanctuary we'll be married in. Here are some pictures from Laura's wedding of that space. (all photos by me!)



A shot of the Narthex. Here, I have my back to the sanctuary




I love the windows in the back of the Narthex, which is where I hung Laura's dress for this picture. The courtyard is the space you see outside the windows.




A picture that WILL be recreated in May! But again, these are the windows at the back of the Narthex, with the courtyard outside.




And here's an outdoor view of the Narthex.


While the location is beautiful, I had several major concerns after sleeping on this idea for a while. First, this space is RIGHT OUTSIDE of the sanctuary and the bride's room. That means when the wedding is over, the guests essentially go no where. The traffic jams I'm imagining with my large guest list in this space made me really nervous. Plus, we'd need to get back into the sanctuary for some post-ceremony pics. Can you imagine trying to work your way back into the sanctuary with all of your loving guests hovering near by? It wouldn't be pretty. Space was my other major concern. How were we going to fit 14 cocktail tables, a buffet line, a DJ and a dance floor all in this space? And what if it rained? We could move to another room, but it wouldn't have the flow or the aesthetic we'd get in the Narthex and Courtyard. So, while this space is unique and gorgeous, I really just wasn't comfortable having the reception here.


We had other options, of course, one of which is the "Old Sanctuary," more commonly referred to as "The Castle." It's called the Castle because of it's decor...I don't have any pictures of the space, but it's a large room with a stage about 3 steps up from the main floor level. There are, in fact, suits of armor (at least one) and the walls have a treatment to make it look like stone. Stone that is lavender, yellow, and light green, I might add. The space is great--plenty of room and beautiful stained-glass windows. But I just can't stomach the color scheme...


Another option is Epworth Hall, or the gym. I attend a large church (3,000 or so members last I checked), and we have a building across the street from our Main campus called the Cokesbury Center. The Center is the home of our contemporary worship services, which take place in a carpeted gym with a large stage. This space is used for everything imaginable. Unfortunately, it's not "technically" an available space for our reception. However, we were willing to at least ask about using the space. But as I thought about it, I realized that maybe it was a bit TOO big. Yes, there will be lots and lots of people at the wedding, but I still wanted it to feel a little intimate. Yes, I realize I'm asking for the impossible, but still, Epworth just didn't feel quite right.


Which leads us to our final option and the one we've officially chosen: The Youth Suite! The Suite is also located a Cokesbury Center, right across the street from the main campus where the ceremony will take place. We'll probably get a crossing guard to help our guest cross the busy street in between the two. We'll also try to find some fun transportation for the bridal party across--a golf cart or something of the sort.


The main room of the Youth Suite is not big enough to hold everyone, especially with a buffet line. But we don't plan on cramming everyone in the one room all at once. We'll set up the buffet outside the Suite, directly across the hall from the main doors. The wall there is sort of shaped like a Bay window (you know, the top 3/8 of an octagon) so I think it will look neat to have our buffet tables there. We'll put the dance floor (we're going to rent) smack in the middle of the main room, with our cocktail tables scattered throughout. The Suite is also home to a rockin' game room complete with Foosball, Dance Dance Revolution and more video games than I can count. We'll have this room open for all the game lovers in attendance! We'll set up our photobooth in another side room.


As for where to put a DJ, that's the other decision we made this weekend. We're not having one. I'll be honest, iPod weddings sort of make me nervous. But, as Love told me today, all you need is a good sound system, a great playlist, and an MC to announce all of the major moments. We've got the sound system covered--the Youth Suite is high-tech like that. MC--we've got several people we could ask. And as for a playlist, we've got 6 and half months to perfect it. That's where you come in--what are the must-plays for my reception? Any and all ideas are welcome!


Here's a shot of the main room in the Youth Suite. Obviously it won't look like this for the reception, but check out how freakin' cool it is!


{source}

So, start the song ideas comin'!

-Amore'

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Bridal Trend I Can't Live Without

I. Love. Photobooths.
More than a dress.
More than a cake.
More than dresses for my girls.
More than Chacos for the guys.
More than a processional or a recessional.
More than anything.
(Except, of course, for C.)

C & I are photog buffs. We love pictures and what's more fun than cramming into a small space and taking cutesy pictures of yourself.

So when I saw in a bridal magazine a long time ago (I don't even remember when it was...) that renting a photobooth for a reception was a trend, I fell in love. I had to have one.

I started researching for photobooth rentals in the Knoxville area. I found several nationwide rental companies that can service Knoxville. Here's a snapshot (pardon my pun!)


Funtastic Foto

Funtastic Foto looks like a really fun place to rent from, because they have lots of fun options for your photobooth. In addition to the classic strip of photos, you can have fun backgrounds and cutouts.

Photo-Me
Photo-Me rents classic photobooths and digital booths. Unfortunately, they don't serve Knoxville :(

Photo Express
Photo Express also offers Dance Dance Revolution games for rental! How fun is that?

Party Booths
Party Booths offers logo printing on your photos. How perfect for a design freak! Love it!

Volunteer Photo Booth Rentals
Volunteer is a fun Tennessee-based company that also offers a "Snap-Lab" rental--digital cameras and instant photo printers.

I. Heart. Photobooths.

My parents, the generous benefactors of the wedding, are, unfortunately not big fans for dropping $900-$1800 on an "extra" for the wedding. So I'm thinking about how I'm going to afford this rental, and I decided to ask Brent. Brent is the youth director at our church, and he's also C's boss. Brent rents a lot of things for youth functions, so I thought I'd check with him to recommend a rental company. I knew he had never rented a photobooth here, but I knew I needed to pick his brain. His suggestion?

D.I.Y.

"Use your Mac! It has a Photobooth application. Rig up a booth yourself and use that application, then you don't have to pay for a rental."

Brilliant.

A quad of shots of me from the photobooth application. Please excuse the weird slanty eyes in the third picture...

Here's my plan: Construct a PVC & Black Fabric "Booth". Place laptop with above-the screen camera on one end, and a bench on the other. Hook up a secondary monitor to laptop. Hire or convince a friend to press the button to take the picture. Print on instant photo printer.

I. Love. Photobooths.

And now I can afford one.

-Amoré