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?


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.


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!)


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.


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 :)


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?


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!!

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'?


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!


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?


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.

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!


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 :-)!