Traditions [Wedding Wednesday]

Ahh, it sure feels good to be back around these parts! Let’s just say, as much as you may think you want an excuse to sit in a bed all day and watch TV for three straight days…you really, really don’t (unless it’s in your own bed at your house and you aren’t hooked up to a computer).  I was sprung from the hospital mid-Friday, and then had the most crazy, fun, sentimental, exciting, love-filled weekend EVER. It was pretty awesome. I’ll save the epilepsy speech for another post (one I’ve already put off for way too long), and instead, I’ll talk about traditions.

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I think that all of us in wedding-land have been hit with the idea of traditions. Honestly, the only traditions that came to mind for me when I got engaged were the bridal traditions (something old/new/borrowed/blue, etc.). Don’t get me wrong, these traditions are definitely important, and they’re important to me! I already have my old (lace from mom’s dress), new (my dress), and borrowed (earrings from my grandmother that my mom wore for her wedding), and I’ve got an idea for the blue…I digress. The traditions I want to talk about today are the ones I’ll be making with Zach, and as we’ve delved into November (I literally missed the first week, so I’m in shock when I realize it’s already November 12th!), the topic of the holidays has come up quite a bit.

First, I need to take a moment to rewind to my previous statement. The only traditions I thought of in July were the bridal traditions. The second we walked into our first registry (Bed, Bath, and Beyond…it was kind of a nightmarish experience), the registry manager asked us this question: “What traditions do you see yourselves taking on when you get married?”. Can I tell you what our reaction was? No, no, no…let me show you.

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We were literally just sitting there staring at her, then looking at each other, then looking back at her…for a silent two minutes. I wish that was an exaggeration, but this woman did not help us understand for a solid few minutes. It was awkward. But then she began to get us thinking. Holidays, events, parties, special things like that; what were we going to do for them? While we both said we didn’t plan on doing any of that (which is mostly true; we have no kids, no plans for kids yet, and we both have a lot of family commitments when it comes to those things). We both have had our own separate familial traditions for 23-26 years, and just didn’t have any plans of making these traditions for ourselves until kids were in the picture. Then the Thanksgiving debate arose…

Do we go to grandparent A’s house? Or grandparent B’s house? DO we stay home? It is Dylan’s (my little brother) 21st birthday, I’m sure he doesn’t want to be out of town for that. Do we just do parent’s houses? Thankfully, my parents answered the first three questions; no, no, and a BIG no (who want’s to celebrate 21 with their family Thanksgiving?). However, that was when Zach and I began to think of what WE wanted to do. I think two weeks ago was the moment where we kind of understood what the elusive registry manager meant; the traditions are the choices we are making as we go into this whole matrimony thing. We don’t have to do what we don’t want to do when it comes to holidays (even on the 4th of July – we could do whatever we want!); this is the time of our lives where we sit back and think about what things we want to do with our families, the things we want our kids to grow up doing.

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Two weeks ago, Zach threw out an idea that I just loved; since nobody in our families were making any big holiday plans, why didn’t we just make a mini-Thanksgiving feast at our place? As soon as he said that, I not only melted into a puddle of happiness, but I said yes! The man was reading my mind. I wanted to get a chance to see what marriage would be like on those holidays where our old traditions were just that – old. We started to think about our traditions, what we want to do until we start making traditions with a Jones baby. Honestly, I think it was the most exciting marriage talk we have had. It was a time when we just sat back and reaffirmed why we are getting married.

We don’t want to be the family that throws all of the big random-holiday parties (here’s looking at you, Memorial Day). We don’t have friends to our place right now because, honestly, we are about a thirty minute drive from all of our friends. We probably won’t ever host a Thanksgiving dinner at our house until we have children, and even then, it won’t be an every year type of thing. Instead, we want to have a private celebration for each holiday. This Thanksgiving, we’ll spend the day with our families, one in the morning and one in the evening. We’ll celebrate our mini-Thanksgiving that Saturday night, stuffing ourselves just one more time before heading out to see a Christmas light display near our house. We’ll ride in the car in our pajamas, listening to Christmas music (even though Zach hates it), and we’ll enjoy our first new tradition. This year, we’ll wake up in our home to open the presents under our tree. We won’t gather around at midnight like we have in the past so that we can wake at 7 and drive to our separate families to spend Christmas morning with them. Instead, we’ll lounge that morning, watch A Christmas Story, and then head off to our families homes together.

I think that as the holidays descend upon us (I’m already breaking out the holiday tunes…no shame!), it’s time to think about the traditions that marriage brings with it. You get to create your own celebrations, your own events, your own memories; and in the end, that’s what marriage is about. Bringing together two sets of traditions and making them into one family. I can’t wait to see the traditions we make as our lives change together, it’s a pretty awesome thing!

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

 Engagement Photo Preview

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What Will Be, Will Be [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there! I hope you all are having a fun and exciting Wednesday, which means we’re one step closer to the weekend! I wish I could join in with the hump day festivities, but as I type this, I am hooked up to some brain activity monitors in a friendly-looking hospital. I’ve seen these walls before, so it is nothing new, but it is never fun to have some health troubles. I’ve had the diagnosis of epilepsy for about three and a half years now, and since then, I have ad no troubles. Until Tuesday morning at around 1 a.m., that is. In the past 30+ hours, I’ve been in the ER, had one rough night of sleep, saw my neurologist, got some confusing explanations (or, really, a lack of an explanation), and then at 10:30 this morning, I was admitted to the hospital for a bit of observation. While many would see this as a nice break off, I really would give anything to be in my classes and sitting in my chilly office at work. But, it is what it is; che sera, sera. So, for this short and sweet Wedding Wednesday, I leave you with our sneak peek engagement pictures! All of these photos were taken by the amazingly talented Lisa Hammond Photography.

10257529_1005812069444545_7575014589380632102_o 10293805_1005811949444557_6754892870289935547_o 10450027_1005811976111221_3345982712991609771_o 10468233_1005811979444554_4422248662685484928_o 10659113_1005811969444555_5613399455838869045_o 10700569_1005812036111215_6529672988134632953_o 10710368_1005812026111216_8629060213096888494_oThanks for stopping by, and let’s all hope I can escape this hospital soon!

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday


Feel free to explore all of the previous Wedding Wednesday posts!

The Engagement

Starting a Budget

Venue Hunt-Venue Number One

Venue Hunt-Venues Number Two and Three

Venue Hunt-Venue Number Four

Engagement Photo Ideas

Where We’re At

Choosing The Venue

 Wedding Timeline

Your Timeline, Not Theirs [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi y’all! Happy Wednesday! I have to admit, I will be a much happier individual come 7:30 tonight (after my class presentation…), but until then I think I can dwell on some happier thoughts. Like the fact that the semester is over with in t-minus 6 weeks! I graduate in t-minus 415 days. I get married in even less! And on that note, lets run far, far away from the topic of school and head into the safe arms of wedding planning.

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If you all are anything like me (type-a, anyone?), the first thing you began to think of after the bliss of the proposal, or even before the proposal, is the planning! You will pick up a wedding planner or planning book (or books, in my case), and you will start to look at where you are, what you need to do, and where the book says you need to be. Alas, as soon as I began to see all of these demands that you “must do A before B, and A needs to be completed by this month”, I was worried. In fact, if you ask Zach, I was in an absolute terrified panic! We couldn’t do any of these things when they needed to be done; our date couldn’t be set until three months later; we were doomed!

(Please tell me you can taste the drama; I assure you, I was reeking of it for a few weeks at the beginning of the planning process.)

I think that this whole situation could have gone a number of ways; one, I could have absolutely read in to all of these mandatory suggested timelines and I could have panicked for the remaining 14 months of wedding planning. Two, I could take a big step back, look at the items I needed to do for my wedding, and create my own timeline. While I did continue the anxious complaints for a few weeks after this realization, I finally took the matter into my own hands, took that step back, and I made my own timeline.

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A book I got for myself (and my BFF when she got engaged) was A Practical Wedding by Meg Keene. One of the first things the book addresses is just how much the wedding industry can really push its ideas and its deadlines onto your plate. When I read that sentence, I immediately knew that I just needed to start looking out for Team Jones (laugh all you want, I just couldn’t say number one – there’s two of us, now!). Instead of letting these wedding industry-published guidelines guide my planning journey, I sat down one afternoon and created my own timeline based on the needs of our wedding. And you know what? I just melted into a pile of organized happiness. I felt like I was in control again, and I was ready to run with my own timeline!

Here’s how I started out; I looked at the different suggested items on the timelines in my books and other magazines. I looked more at the items than the months listed so that I was more focused on what our timeline looked like individually. We knew the date wouldn’t be set until – at the earliest – late October, so we planned accordingly. We know what we do and do not want at out wedding, so we knew that we didn’t need to hear bands try-out for us. We didn’t need to do a huge cake tasting thanks to my gluten sensitivity and the fact that we had already picked our cake shop due to their gluten-free capabilities. We won’t need to look for a caterer because they are a part of the venue, and so on. Each wedding has unique attributes that either the wedding books miss, or that the wedding doesn’t need that the books include. This is what I came up with in my Google Docs for just an easy to follow wedding timeline (or my wedding goals as I like to call them):

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As you can see, I’ve already got a lot crossed off from September until the beginning of January. Just because I’ve crossed something off two months from now does not mean that I’ve screwed up my planning; rather, it is just an item that I got to before it’s due date! I think that looking at the list this way helps me see what all I need to be working on when and how soon it is due. We had to block the rooms early due to a home football game the day of our wedding – and it’s the rival game at that! So, needless to say, that point became more urgent than we had thought originally. Having my own individual timeline has really helped me see where I am and where I need to be, not where a wedding magazine thinks I should be at this point in my wedding planning.

I hope this helps, and if you all need any advice or have any other questions regarding this whole process, please feel free to ask! Just remember, this isn’t just something you can copy and paste. You can easily take the same concept, but make sure to apply your needs to the list, not the needs of some preconceived bride!

As a quick catch-up, I think now is a good time to show you all where I am on my planning goals for October (November starts on Saturday – WHAT?!):

October (11 months):
•Get ring insured (I SUCK. I’m getting the appraisal on Friday)
•Engagement pictures (10/20 @ 5pm)
•Begin registering for gifts
•Make the guest list FINAL
•Finalize the budget
•Choose top three dates
•Book the date!
◦Contact venue and photographer to see if top date is available

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Surprises Around Every Corner [Wedding Wednesday]

Hi there, beautiful readers! I hope you all have had a fantastic week already. Mine feels like it’s just starting; between a four-day weekend (Friday-Monday was a nice break), most of which was spent with my BFF and her man, and then two days of time spent with my love, it was non-stop fun! While I’m sad to see it all go so soon, I am even more excited to start my 23rd year of life. I get married during this year, I get to plan a wedding this year, I get to (almost) finish grad school this year, and I get to spend extra time with the people I love! I think 23 just might be my best year yet!

Anyways, barring any more tangential speeches, I think it’s time to get started on this lovely Wedding Wednesday. Why, you ask? Well, dear readers, besides the fact that (duh) it’s Wednesday…

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WE SET A DATE! AND WE HAVE A VENUE! AND A CATERER! AND A PHOTOGRAPHER! Whoa, I need to cool it with the caps, but I am just so dang excited! I can’t believe it all came together so well – and so quickly at that! Yep, all it took was a few phone calls and everything was ready to g- JUST KIDDING. What would life be without a few twists and turns? On Wednesday last week, as I was beginning to stress over our lack-of-date, I decided to email the remaining venues and see what dates they had available. Venue number three was very quick to respond, but with some dismal news; all but one September 2015 date were gone, swept up by those a bit more pulled together than my fiancé and I…but, not one to get too down on myself, I said thank you, and I told the event coordinator I would email her soon to see if we could come see the space again. I sat waiting for the other venue to email me back, but heard nothing (I later learned that said event staff is off on Wednesdays to make up for their weekend work…doh!).

On Thursday, I opened my email to…nothing. So, I sent another nice email, this time a little more urgent sounding, and got an immediate response. In the available dates, I saw it there. The dream date! It was free!! It wasn’t free the last time we had spoken to the coordinator, yet there it was! I just about fainted, but instead, I quickly replied that we would be there to meet her that night. Five o’clock came around, and my mother and I were wandering around, peeking into the windows of the venue. As it turns out, my email did not go through, so the coordinator had already gone home! I was more than a little dismayed, but after a kick-butt workout, I felt a bit better, and set up a meeting with the coordinator the following evening at 7.

Friday was a very, very busy day. Zach and I were cleaning the house basically from the moment we woke up until our guests arrived around 3:30. As soon as they got there, we started to get excited. Zach had to work, so my matron of honor and her guy were tagging along with me (and my parents) to see the venue! I was so stinking thrilled that I got to share that moment with my BFF of 13 years, I could have cried. Except I was just too happy. So I just smiled instead. We all piled in my car around 6:30, just in time to make it to the venue with some minutes to spare…or so I thought. As soon as we got closer to town, the interstate slowed to a crawl. We got off on our exit – and it just stopped. I had no clue what was going on, but I did know we only had 20 minutes to get to the venue – it was only four miles away! We resorted to our smart phones to figure out what was going on, and then we discovered that a popular event was going on – Big Blue Madness. Now, if you know anything about the University of Kentucky, you know that our basketball team is the best. Don’t deny it; U Conn can try to have its midnight madness, but it’s just not the same when you’re imitating greatness. Which leads me to my next point about the Cats – basketball is a religion down here. So, this traffic jam was basically a spiritual pilgrimage.

I was sitting behind my steering wheel freaking out because we weren’t going to make the meeting on time; we were pushing five minutes, and then it was 7 and we weren’t there…then the heavens opened up (not in a raining way). A lane of traffic disappeared and we were off. We were charging full speed (35 miles per hour…) in the direction of destiny! We made it at just ten minutes late, and as it turns out, my parents were running late, too. Thankfully, the coordinator is AWESOME and she was still hanging around. She was setting up for a wedding the next day, so we got to see what it would be like for our 200 guests to sit in the space; we saw what it would look like at night, felt the weather and it’s effect on the space, and my dad (who walked into the venue saying he was “along for the ride”) asked just about fifty-two questions. No joke. I just walked around the place in a daze. All I could say to myself was “This is where you’re going to have your first dance”. “This is where you hug and cry and laugh with your best friend”. This is where you will stand and look down on your family and friends as they celebrate love and life and the unity of you and the love of your life”.

Let’s just say I was getting sentimental, and I was sold.

As my father wandered off to try EVERY PART of the facility (bathrooms? they run well. upstairs? it’s just as large as the downstairs, just without the center!), my mom looked at me, and we knew that was it. I looked the coordinator in the eyes and said “I want that date”. I really wasn’t a hard sale, I’ll tell you that much. As my dad rounded back down the stairs, he said “Well, despite the convenience factor (I, of course, had a dream wedding date that just so happened to be the same day of the rival football game…) it is pretty nice”. We just told him the decision had already been made. We arranged for the contract to be emailed to me on Sunday morning, along with a payment link. And that was that.

rmrbThat was how I chose…venue number four! I absolutely was IN LOVE with venue number three, and while venue number two was amazing, it was a little too bare-bones for us. However, when it came down to it, venue number four was just about downright spectacular. It is the cheaper (but more characteristic) version of venue number one. So much of the rentals are included in the price, and the catering is run through the event coordinators; it was just perfect. It has it’s own character, so we don’t need extravagant décor. We can just work with what we have – and I LOVE that. LOVE LOVE. This venue is just spectacular, and I absolutely cannot wait for the day (just under 11 months from now!) when I get to dance the night away with my husband.

Everything is falling into place – rapidly! And with that comes some good and some bad. I think I’ll wait for another Wednesday to talk about that. In the meantime, look out for a raving review of our photographer (we took engagement pictures on Monday), and some more little details that will pop out in the near future! Thank you all so much for coming along on this journey with me. It really is great to have a community of women who have or are going on the same adventure – all of the advice and stories are just blowing my mind while also helping me take each step at a time.

Linking up – like always!

Wedding Wednesday

Where We’re At [Wedding Wednesday]

Howdy, howdy, howdy! Welcome to, yet another, Wedding Wednesday!

I must say, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be here this week, for a number of reasons. Zach and I are basically sitting ducks until he gets his work schedule, there really isn’t much for me to do this month that I can do without said schedule, and, to be honest, we haven’t really been in the wedding planning mood lately. It’s nothing bad, by any means, it’s just difficult to talk about what we want to do and like when, in reality, we don’t have the base to build our wedding on! So, instead of getting down on ourselves (or, really, myself), I decided to start a little baby segment that I’ll employ whenever our wedding weeks are lagging. In this lovely little chat, I’ll just go over what we have down, the ideas we’re formulating, and where we’d like to be in a month’s time. Without further ado…

wherewereat[venue] Right now, we have one thing down for certain: we are stuck between two venues. Right now, it’s the battle between venue three and venue four. Unfortunately, it is looking more and more like venue number three can’t happen…for a number of reasons. I’m kind of sad/stressed that it might not be a contender, but at the same time, we have one other top venue to choose (pending availability…). This point right here is why we have been avoiding wedding talk. It’s just gotten so down-to-the-wire as far as setting the date goes that it’s hard to think about without worrying!

[wedding party] We also have the wedding party completely chosen, including ring bearers, ushers, and readers! It was pretty difficult to choose the ring bearers because of two reasons: one, we have about…three small children to choose from, two of whom are VERY young. Two, we had to cut the flower girl because, pursuant to issue number one, we have NO girls to choose from. Seriously. None. So, we just decided to cut the flower girl, and go with two ring bearers. Totally doable! I’ve got my bridesmaid invitations just about ready to go, but I can’t share them until after November 8th. Because…

[dress hunt] We also have the day of the dresses scheduled and ready to go! On November 8th, me and my best gals (7-8 girls…I NEVER thought I’d bring so many people to the dress hunt!) will hit up three local bridal shops and, hopefully, I’ll find a dress I love! I’m not too nervous about the dress shopping to be honest. I know my price range, and I’m really just excited to experience this with my closest friends and family!

[color scheme] We have also changed and chosen our colors for the wedding, as I mentioned in Monday’s post. So, I guess I can count that as finished as well!

[engagement session] Obviously on our “in progress” side of the list are the engagement pictures! Zach now has his shirts for the two outfits, and I found some cute booties to wear. Now, all we have to do is finalize the location(s)!

[wedding party] While this is also on the finished list…Zach really needs to figure out his best man! He kind of just word vomited an open invitation to be in the wedding party, resulting in five guys wanting the bid. But ultimately, it’s up to him who goes where!

[where we’d like to be] I think we all know what falls right here. By the end of October (the 31st, exactly), we want to have the date, venue, and photographer chosen, with contracts signed. Honestly, if we get here in a little over two weeks time, I don’t think we’ll have many stressful wedding thoughts!

Although it’s hard not to worry when you have a specific month you’d like to get married in, but can’t set a date (a unique situation, to say the least!), I think Zach and I both need to just sit down, talk it out, and see where we’re willing to bend a little. I’m not so into an October wedding date (at least not any further than two weekends in), and Zach’s not keen on earlier than September (summer weddings in town are not cheap!); I think, in the end, it’s going to take quite a bit of working and wiggling in order for it to work out.

The bright side? In less than one year, I’ll be married to my best friend! I seriously can’t wait.

[But really. I think I’ve suggested eloping at least ten times…this week…]

Happy Wedding Wednesday, y’all!

Wedding Wednesday