me, rachel

I'm home! It's wonderful. I love my family oh so much! And I miss them when I'm away at school. I was convinced that when all my homework was over and done with, I'd have tons more time, more than I'd know what to do with, in fact!

False. I do not have any more time. However, I'm not sure where it disappeared to.

Probably the same place my other sock went. Home is like that.

I got home May 1st and started work on May 3rd. I figured that after 5, I would be free to focus on all the wedding-related tasks that are vying for my attention. Instead, I come home tired, and just want to chill with the rest of my family. Unfortunately, chilling with the fam in front of an NCIS turns into an NCIS marathon...and next thing you know it's 11:00 and Dave's calling. And I accomplished nothing. Except 3 rows on my super cute lace knit hat.

Basically I've accomplished nothing.

Now I've been home for 3 weeks. I got our invitations sent out the first week. Actually, there was a minor fiasco that went along with invitation sending, wanna hear it? I knew you did!

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know that I designed our invitations myself. In case you missed them, here's a link to the post about the invitations and RSVP's, and here's the thank you cards.

Naturally, if I'm going to put that much work into my stationary, I'm not going to neglect the packaging! I planned on designing a cute envelope design when I got home and printing all the addresses on in a super-cute font to match the invites.

Unfortunately, when I got home, my computer crashed 3 or 4 times, and in the process of being fixed, became a vegetable (the operating system was removed, and the new one didn't work. Thankfully, it works now!). So, I lost my precious Adobe programs and had to design my envelopes in Microsoft Word. Not exactly the best graphics program.

When I finally got the graphics arranged in a passable manner, I tried to print our addresses. Unfortunately, I forgot that our printer is possessed by a paper-eating demon, which proceeded to eat several of my envelopes. By now it's about 11:30 pm, the day after I wanted them sent out.

I had just resigned myself to handwriting all 130+ addresses by myself, when dad saw me and felt sorry for me. So, he volunteered to print them at work for me the following day. I set up the documents as best as I could at that late hour, and sent them with him.

The next day, I received several calls from my family, trying to reach me. I finally call my dad back, and he explains to me that he didn't realize that the proper font wasn't installed before he started printing. He had printed about half the envelopes in some large, sans-serif font. Did I want him to continue?

I took a few cleansing breaths, and explained how to download the proper font, so that at least some of my envelopes could be saved. But, as was the habit of this particular project, it didn't work. His computer wouldn't let him unzip the file, so we were stuck with the large Ariel-style font. I told him to go ahead and print them.

So, at this point, we had 6 envelopes printed in the right font, about 20 that I had handwritten, and about 100 printed with this alien font. Mom and I stuffed and stamped them, and we sent them out the next day on our way to Virginia for my cousin's wedding.

After a whirlwind 3-day trip to Virginia (an 11 hour drive, one way), we came home, and I went back to work. The first few days, I was so beat after work that I couldn't do much more than sit on my bum when I got home. I slowly started recovering, and started realizing that I was getting married in 5 weeks, and still had more tasks to do than I could imagine.

That weekend, my Dad's side of the family threw me a bridal shower! It was lots of fun. My grandmas from both sides came, as well as all my aunts on that side, and most of my female cousins. The house was all decorated in pink and green (the colors of our  wedding!), right down to the ham salad sandwiches! I tell you what, when my Aunt Mary Jane throws a party, she throws it right!

Thankfully, they didn't deliberately try to embarrass me. However, the second game we played, "Bridal Jenga," got a little embarrassing. A lot embarrassing. They-talked-about-sex-in-front-of-my-grandmas embarrassing. Apparently the game, which was a regular Jenga game with questions written on about half the blocks, was made by one of my cousins for a bridal shower for a college friend a number of years ago. Some of these questions would have been awkward in that setting, but not the end of the world. However, when your grandma pulls the block that says, "Name two places (outside the bedroom) that you would like to have sex," and you and your grandma both are supposed to answer it...yikes!

I plead the fifth.

Overall, it was really fun! Showers are, by nature, rather awkward, what with getting all those gifts and such, but I had fun. And it was nice to see so much of the family again. I've missed a lot of family events being off at school.

That night (Saturday), Dave came up to visit with Wes and his new bride, Shele. They were up for around 24 hours, to visit their grandparents who are home from the mission field for about a month. I spent all day Sunday with Dave, and got home late that night. Monday I was back at work.

Weekends here are NOT relaxing. Just saying.

This week, I decided that doing wedding planning in the evenings wasn't going to work, so I told my boss that I needed Friday's off, starting immediately. I worked Monday through Wednesday this week, then stayed home sick/played hooky with my bestest buddy yesterday. (I was actually sick, she played hooky. And we ate mint oreos and watched the best movie ever made: Anne of Green Gables).

Today I contacted several people in an attempt to chase down information I need for planning this big shindig we have coming up in less than a month.

Oh yeah, did I mention that? This week Wednesday was the one-month mark. Freak out time!! Ahh!! So much to do, and no time to do it!!

So, right now my biggest things to tackle are the cake (with me being out of the state for school, the cake got overlooked until it was too late and all the bakers in the area are booked full for June, so we're gonna make it ourselves), flowers (we're making our own bouquets using silk flowers, but I haven't decided yet what they should look like), ceremony decorations (which, by the way, I could still use suggestions for!), ceremony music, reception layout/decor, makeup, photography, music, hairstylists, shoes (which I don't have yet! eep!), and probably about 100 other things that I'm forgetting.

Oy vey. Buckle up kids, this should be fun!

And to think, at the end of this, I'll be a wife. That totally hasn't sunk in yet. Not sure it will for another year or so. That's about when I'll wake up when I finally get the chance to stop.
me, rachel
Wow! What a month! I've been so busy with school, and Cedars (the campus newspaper, of which I am the visual editor) and wedding planning that I haven't had time to keep you updated on what I've been busy doing! Honestly, I don't have time to be writing this now, but sometimes I like to pretend that I have time. It keeps me sane. Ish.

So, in the past several weeks, so much has happened! While I haven't had a lot of time to devote to wedding planning specifically, things have happened. I guess I'll start at the beginning!

Sunday April 11: Lingerie Shower

I feel so scandalous saying "lingerie" on the internet for the whole world to see! But hey, it was a fun party! The girls in my unit decided a while back that they wanted to do something for me, and this seemed to be the favorite option. So, I provided them with sizes of...*ahem*...well sizes they needed to purchase gifts, and a guest list! Obviously all the girls in my unit were invited, as well as Julie, my RA from last year (who, fun fact, also grew up with Dave!). I also asked that Dave's sisters (in law) were invited, as well as my two best friends from back home (who are in the wedding party).

Almost everybody came! There were a few girls in my unit who couldn't make it, and Emily and Holly (besties from  home) couldn't make the trip. But all the sisters came!

Now, I know that with a lingerie shower nobody is really interested in the guest list. You all really only want to know one thing. And instead of telling you, I'll show you!

THE FOOD!!! Wait, you thought I was going to show you something else? I honestly can't imagine what that would be...

Yes, we had tea! Three types. In the first, epically graphic, teapot: White Tea, Island Mango and Peach. The violet pot held Holiday Spice Blend tea (which seriously tastes like Christmas in a cup. No joke!). And the leopard print pot held Tanganda, a favorite of anyone from Zimbabwe (as Dave's family, and Julie, are)!

We also had finger foods like strawberries and cheese. It was quite delicious. If I wasn't so embarrassed and focused on keeping my elbows pinned to my side so the wet circles under my arms wouldn't show, I would have eaten more!

After we had food they had me tell our story! So I went on an on unintelligibly about back seats and long crushes and hopeless flirting and long distance. Thankfully, I think most of them had heard our story before, because otherwise it wouldn't have made much sense.

(Disclaimer: the back seat thing? Totally not how it sounds. We met in the back of a van. Um well that doesn't sound right either. How about we just say it was youth group thing and totally innocent and leave it at that.)

Then, Becca, my RA, had this game planned. She had asked Dave a bunch of questions beforehand about me/us/our relationship, then asked me the same questions right there in front of everybody! The goal was to see how well our answers matched up. For the most part, they did! There was one pretty bad question, tho.

"What is the most embarrassing thing Rachel has ever done in front of you?" This question scared the bejebers outa me! Not because I had done anything particularly embarrassing...but because I was terrified that I had done something embarrassing and forgotten about it, and he was about to reveal it to all my friends! Thankfully, his answer was something I had done that embarrassed him, not me, so I didn't mind at all!!

After the newlywed game (soon-to-be-wed game?), the girls couldn't wait anymore. They wanted me to open my presents! Now, let me just tell you something. It's very awkward to go to a party where the entire point is to give me presents. When I do get presents, I'm used to it being like Christmas, where everyone gets presents. At this shower, there were enough bags stacked up on the table to be Christmas, but they were all for me! It was really weird.

See? That's a lot of bags! I started opening them up, and got more embarrassed than I was before. Remember when I was just eating cheese cubes and digging my elbows into my side to keep my wet circles from showing? Yeah, these "unmentionables" are a tad more embarrassing than cheese cubes! As I tried to gracefully pull the delicate underthings out of their striped bags, I looked far less than delicate. But since nobody was looking at me, they'll never know!

Except I'm posting it on the internet.

And even those of you who weren't present know now.

Oh well. Moving on to bigger, more humorous problems. Every time I picked up something with straps of any kind, I got it tangled up! I literally had trouble figuring out which end was up on many different strappy numbers, and my roommate had to sort them out for me. My roommate. Had to show me. Which end. Goes up. Among other things. I think they should have come with instructions, personally.

Now, I can imagine what you're thinking. I'd be thinking the same thing if I were in your shoes. You want to see something that I got! Well, I suppose I can let you see just one.

What? you thought you'd see something exciting? Well let me tell you something: that flower is a blessing! You don't really want to know. Trust me. You don't.

Now the only problem is figuring out how to send thank you notes for these particular gifts. What am I supposed to write? "Dear Friend, I'd like to mention my thanks for the unmentionables. They will be greatly enjoyed. Love, Me." Awkward!! Oh, and to make it better? The adorable thank you cards I designed (and just got back, yay!) are postcards, so my awkward thanks can be read by every postman from here to kingdom come! Oh well. What's a girl to do?
me, rachel

Time. Now there's something I could use more of! Right up there with dresses and chocolate. There are so many things that demand my time: classes, work, more work, homework, eating, wedding planning, fiance', and sleep, to name a few. I've come to the conclusion that something's gotta go. I wish it could be classes, or at the very least work, but if I quit the work, I'd have to quit the classes...which would in turn leave me without an education and working a fast food counter for the rest of my life.

"Would you like fries with that?"

Yeah. So I've decided sleep's gotta go. And I'll keep thinking that until I fall asleep. Then I'll pick something else to ignore.

But, as much as I'm sure you all care about my busy/crazy/hectic/insane schedule, that's not the time I want to talk about. I'd like to talk about wedding time.

Yesterday, Dave and I were looking at vows (which we REALLY need to figure out!), and what all we want to go into our ceremony. As I said in the previous post, I haven't spent much time thinking about the ceremony, because the reception and other over-all concerns have been filling my wedding-plate. While we were discussing this, we realized that we didn't really know what all was supposed to go into a ceremony! We know we don't want it to be too short (march in, I do, I do, big smooch, march out) but we don't want it to be too long either (mosey in, special music, special reading, more music, congregational sing, pastor's five point applicational sermon followed by an alter call, more special music, hand-written vows, traditional vows, big smooch, hug every guest on the way out).

All that to say, we don't know what to incorperate into our own ceremony! We like the idea of traditional vows, and don't feel the need to share personal vows with all our guests. However, we haven't looked at any music at all (processional through recessional), much less special music. We also haven't discussed if we want any Bible or poetry readings, or what we want our officiant to speak on in his charge to the couple.

I do believe we will encorperate the unity candle ceremony, but beyond that (and the traditional vows, the particulars of which we have not yet decided on), we don't really know what we're doing.

Do you have an example ceremony timeline from your wedding? We're looking for the ceremony to be 30ish minutes long, but we're open to any suggestions that will help us out!

Besides the ceremony, I also need to come up with a timeline for the reception, as well as a pre-wedding timeline (for the day of) so that I know we can get all the girls' hair done, get some lunch, take the pictures, set up the reception, etc. all before the ceremony. Hopefully we can do that without getting up before the sun. I am not a morning person.

I have no idea how long it will take to get our hair done, I suppose the first step would be to talk to Michele, as well as find at least one more hairdresser to help us out and figure out how long it takes to do five girls' hair.

Then I also have to talk to the photographer and find out how much time he anticipates needing. We'll have to decide where to take the pictures, and set aside enough time for that.

I'm positive I'm forgetting something. Maybe a lot of somethings. Help? What else goes into a pre-wedding timeline?

The reception timeline will be easier, because Dave DJ's wedding (and birthday parties, and powerlifting, and life) in his free time, and has helped design timelines for receptions for other brides.

But I still need your help! I really need ideas for the ceremony, because I'm totally stumped on that. I can still use design and decorating ideas, too! Plus, if you have any idea what I could be forgetting for the morning of the wedding, let me know!! It would be so helpful!
me, rachel
This weekend, we went to the church where we will be having our ceremony. It is Dave's church (mine used to be a school, and isn't built very well for weddings!) back home. We signed the contract (finally), and looked at the sanctuary, the other rooms we'll be using, and the decorations they have available. This was the first time my mom's really been there, so it was really good for her to see everything. I had no idea what all they had available, and thankfully they do lots of weddings, and have lots of decorations that we can use for free! However, I've hardly spent any time thinking about the ceremony, because the reception takes so much more effort (it's a shame, because really, while the reception is longer, the ceremony is more important!).

So, basically, I need your help! This is the sanctuary:

It's currently decorated for Easter. The whole stage will be cleared off for us, meaning the chairs, the modesty rail, the communion table, etc.

These are some of the decorations availiable:
They have flowers in every imaginable color that we can decorate the stage with, as well as pew bows and holders, tulle, white Christmas lights, and so much more I don't even remember. However, I think this is my favorite part:

Actually, my favorite part would be those rectangular beams lying on the floor there between the pillars. Those make a frame that can go over the pillars. As all my favorite ceremony pictures have been of Jewish weddings and their huppas, or canopies, I love this idea!

Here are some of the ideas I have:
This is a huppa. Yes, we are Christian, but there is nothing that says I can't borrow the lovely idea of a canopy for my own wedding! Symbolically, it stands for the home that the couple will build together.

I'm trying to decide if I want to use the basic white puffy pew bows that the church has, or if I want to come up with something of my own. Ideas?

OK, now I need help! Even with these few ideas, I have no idea what to do! I've spent little time dwelling on the decor of the ceremony, and many of the inspiration pictures I have are of outdoor weddings! What have you seen done that worked well? What did you do? What do you think I should try? I could really use the advice!
me, rachel
Just thought I'd give you a little taste of what's inspiring me for my wedding! I wish I could tell you where all of these pictures came from, but since I've been collecting them from blogs, Google images, and wedding planning websites for the past year, I have no clue!

Cute picnic food! (Left to Right) Very adorable way to serve drinks! LOVE the boxed lunches! I may look into seeing what we can do in this area, as it is so darn cute! The ice cream and fruit sandwitches look soo yummy! I showed you this cake before, and it is just so summery; it is, after all, strawberry shortcake! This jar is the cutest way to serve lemonade; I'd love to do pink lemonade with pieces of real strawberries (instead of the lemons)...a favorite of mine, and very yummy! These lolli-pops and rock candy favors are just too cute! Watermelon and ice cream are absolute MUSTS for picnic anything :-)

Picnic design ideas! (Left to Right) LOVE LOVE LOVE this; I don't know that it will work practically, but I love the look of picnic blankets on the ground! Bocce ball is just one idea we have of fun picnic games. These hay bales and quilts would make for a fun lounge area to rest tired dancing feet! Wildflowers are a perfect fit! lately, I have loved the idea of mix-matched china...maybe not for eating off of, but as serving dishes? adorable. These wooden signs could totally be used everywhere! Since our ceremony location is only 2 miles from our reception location, they could even point the way! Mason jars are adorable, and I totally want to use them to decorate the reception! And this photobooth...adorable! Daddy's gonna help me build one!

I spend way too much time collecting photos that inspire me, hopefully this little taste will inspire you, too!
me, rachel
So, lately I've been wondering what do do about my hair. Not so much about how to cut it, thought that's been on my mind lately too...but I mean how to wear my hair on my wedding day. Like everything else that is a part of this wedding, I have collected a folder full of pictoral inspriation! I start by collecting any and all pictures I like, whether they are possible or not. Then I can go through them again and find the ones that are easilly used, and the ones that can be altered to fit my event.

In the hair category, however, I'm pretty much stumped. See, I love my hair, I really do, but I wish that it was naturally curly, or at the very least could hold a curl. Because of this wish, all my favorite pictures seem to be ones like this one:

This is by far my favorite picture in my folder. However, my very straight smooth hair couldn't do this if you begged. Trust me, I've tried begging. However, I can adapt this! I looked at it and said, "what do I like most about this picture?" Besides the obvious love of the loose curls and the textured style, I realized I LOVED the flowers! So then I found options like this one:

Now this one would work in my hair! It is much more like my texture. Oh, a note about flowers: I'd be wearing them for the reception. I have veils for the ceremony :-)

That isn't my favorite style. I'm not entirely sure what I want, to be honest. I have lots of pictures of smooth buns, but those seem so...boring to me. I guess I want my hair to be elegant and beautiful, I'd love for it to be curly (for just once in my life!), but I also want it to be "me."

These are the things that I do know about what I want:

1) I want my hair up. I wear my hair down everyday, so wearing it straight, for me, is not special. If I had it down, I'd want it to be curly, but I'd be surprised if my hair would hold a curl (when worn down) for the length of the ceremony, let alone the entire reception!

2) Related to 1, I don't want it completely plastered with hair spray. The only times I have ever had semi-successfull curls were times that my hair was so stiff with hairspray that it was crunchy. Ew! Not beautiful bride!

3) While I want it up, I don't want it WAY up. I want my hair on the back of my head or the nape of my neck. I don't want it to add any height to my already 5'7"-before-'my-3-inch-heels self!

4) I'd love curls of some sort, although this is not as necessary as the other three. Curls are romantic, and to me, they are special! I know all the girls with curly hair who read this wouldn't agree with me, but when my hair is curled, it's a special ocasion. If I want to be pretty (and I do, it is my wedding, after all!), one of my first thoughts is of beautiful curls!

So, I don't think that's too picky...actually it must not be because I still have no idea what to do with my hair! I really need your help! I'd like to decide on this detail before too long because Michele, the amazing girl who married Dave's brother Wes 2 weeks ago, has agreed to do my hair for me, and I'd like to talk to her about it before school is done and I go back home! Plus, having time for a trial run would be nice, if she's ok with that.

Any ideas on my hair delimma? I'd love your help!
me, rachel
I just had to show you these! I threw them together on Sunday, based on some ideas and inspiration pictures I had gathered previously (maybe that'd be something interesting to tell you about someday; my inspiration and where I get it from. That might be fun!). With a little input from Holly, my roommate Kelly, and my future sister Rachel, this is the final product!

FYI, the ink goes to the edge of the page. If you were to click on the actual image, there's a white border; ignore that. It's not real. 

This is the size of a standard postcard, which is awesome for several reasons. One, it's different! And obviously I'm all about different/quirky/fun in my stationary! Two, it actually saves money! The postcard itself costs the same as a traditional folding card, but now we don't have to pay for envelopes, and postage is half as much as regular cards! Saving money win!

So, I'm super excited about getting the stationary done! At least the stuff that had to go to the printers. There is a minor amount of printing that we will be doing in a home printer, but I don't have to worry about that yet!

What do you think? Is this too out there for you? Maybe you'd rather stick with the traditional calligraphy and flowers, all romantic and beautiful? Or maybe you like it this quirky, and even have a few more quirky additions you'd like to make! I'd love to hear your opinions!
me, rachel
Wow...this week's been absolutely crazy! I had the school paper to layout over the weekend, and have been playing catch-up in my classes all week. Actually, I'm still catching up. I shouldn't be here. Shhh...don't tell!

But I simply had the urge to tell whomever cares to listen about something wedding related today.

You know, when I started blogging about planning my wedding, I did so mainly because I knew that if a friend of mine were planning her wedding, I'd love to know what's going on in her planning process! I love juicy details about fun stuff like this. This was also my thought process behind posting pictures of (almost) every wedding gown I tried on, and those were a hit! (I say "almost," because the very last time I went in, it was on a whim, and I didn't have a camera with me. Sad day, my friends.) Here's a link to those, just in case you missed them: And the Bride Wore...

Anyway, because I've been so busy, wedding stuff has unfortunately been placed on the back burner. I'd so much rather plan my wedding than do my homework, but what cand you do? I haven't accomplished anything significant or interesting in the past few days, but still want to talk about it, because it's fun! So I thought I could instead show you some of the things that have been on my mind lately.

Dave and I have been trying to finalize our registry lately, but as I said before, I over think things like this. You don't even want to know how many times I have changed the colors of our kitchen towels, or the number of salt shakers I have looked at. But this overthinking is not all negative. I am enjoying the process of picking and choosing many of the elements of our future home together, making sure it will represent us!

For example, this little treasure is adorable! Totally fun, and something that is just weird (and, OK, childish) enough that it would make perfect sense to find it my our future home.

However, I cannot justify spending (or asking someone to spend) $37.99 on salt and pepper shakers! But it made my day just to see them. Seriously. You can't look at those monkeys and not smile!

Another thing I have realized through all this overthinking is that I want everything to be perfect (which should be I am a perfectionist...hence the overthinking...). I want to know going in that everything I have works together, and that instead of trying to find things that "work," I can have a theme and find things that "go." For example, the kitchen towels that I spent so much time mulling over? The reason for that was that I decided I wanted a kitchen with subtle pink accents (not a grandma kitchen, but enough that it looks like me!). I figured it couldn't be too hard to find pink towels to match this:

But pink things aparently only exist in October (Breast Cancer Awareness Month), and on Valentines Day. This is very sad news for a pink lover like me! So, we decided to get pretty green towels for now, and I can add other pink accents as we go along.

So that's what's been on my mind lately! Hope it entertains you and/or tides you over until I get something wedding-related done!
me, rachel
As of today, we have 100 days left until our wedding! It's crazy that it's coming up so quickly! That's only a few days over 3 months...when we got engaged we had 14 long months to go! It's amazing how fast the time has flown!

Last week, I was home for spring break. My main goals for the week were to finish--and send to print--the invitations; to look at bridesmaids dresses; to look at flower, cake, and decor options; as well as other general wedding planning.

I got the invitations done and sent to the printer (along with the RSVP cards, but I guess that's all included under the "Invitation" umbrella). We looked at bridesmaid dresses, and actually ordered all 4! One has even come in already! I went to look at silk flowers to see if they'd be an option. We didn't get much done on the cake front, unfortunately, and since decor isn't as urgent as other things, it's been pushed off to a later date.

But ever since the beginning of last week, my mind has been going overtime with wedding ideas and stresses. I've come up with numerous different food ideas, found decor inspiration, reconciled my ideal seating with the practical (at least in my mind...we'll see what the other ever-practical planners have to say about it), and thought through song ideas almost constantly. Even when I'm in class, I'm distracted by quaint images of icream cone-clutching children, watermelon slices, and blankets in the shade. I have 10 different idea lists in every imaginable place, becaus if I think of something I don't want to forget it!

I was hoping to run through a lot of these ideas this weekend, and possibly do something about some of them, however school obligations have come up (that I knew about, but didn't have in the front of my mind) and we'll see what all I actually get done.

How about you? Did your brain go over-time when you realized how close your wedding was getting? Or are you in the throes of it now? How do you stay focused on everyday tasks with something as interesting as a wedding on your mind?
me, rachel
Last time I talked about bridesmaid dresses, I was still waiting on one lovely lady, Miss Holly, to pick out her dress. She did that this past weekend, and here's her dress!

This dress is totally cute, and Holly seems to like it! Now, there are a few things you need to know about Holly. She doesn't wear pink, and she doesn't wear dresses. However, she loves me more than her pride, and has agreed to wear a pink dress for me! Isn't she awesome?

Another thing that I have promised updates for is our website. I showed you a picture of it as we were designing it, and promised I'd post a link once it was online. Here it is!

Let me know what you think! I think there's still one or two pages in progress, so if there is Latin gibberish, or information looks silly and/or incomplete, it's probably not done yet.

Finally, I'd like to show you our invitations! I've been working on them for a really long time, and I'm really happy with the result! We sent them into the printer early last week, and should be getting them back in a month or so.

This is the invitation:
It will be printed in a #10 size, which is the size of a standard business envelope! Totally nontraditional, funky, and fun! It will be flat printed on white linen-texture paper.

Here's the RSVP:

It will be printed in A1 size, (basically tiny enough to fit in the business envelope), also flat printed on linen textured paper. I'm super excited to get them back!

I'm thinking about adding thank you cards on to our order, because it won't cost any more than buying generic, mass-produced thank you cards to have them custom printed, and I could get them to match the rest of our stationary!

I'm so excited to see everything coming together!
me, rachel

Dave's brother Wes got married this weekend to a wonderful girl named Michele. This has been a long time coming, and we were all so excited to share in their wedding!

Originally they had planned on eloping (if one can "plan" to elope...), but her family talked her into a small ceremony. Wes' parents were unable to attend as they are missionaries in Africa, and can't exactly stop in for weekend visits. To solve this problem, the happy couple will be going to Africa for their honeymoon and having another small ceremony there so his parents can attend.

They got engaged on December 30, so their wedding plans came together quickly! Shele already had a dress, so that part wasn't an issue, and they had one attendant each. Will, Wes' identical twin, was the best man, and Beth, Shele's younger sister, was the maid of honor. Coordinating matching outfits for one is easy!

They chose a lovely bed and breakfast in our area and rented it out for both the ceremony and the reception. The bride also stayed there the night before the wedding.

The ceremony was a very short affair at 1:30, after which they had a lovely hors doeuvers reception. They had scones, finger sandwitches, and the cutest collection of china tea cups with a selection of loose teas.

And the cake.

Can you believe she made that herself?? I don't know when she found the time! It was absolutely beautiful.

They had a short time for dancing, kicking it off with their first dance and the father-daughter dance. The rest of the dancing consisted of the "couples songs" of the various couples in attendance! Grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters all heard their first dance song dedicated to them in a tribute to the wonderful families supporting Wes and Shele. It was absolutely adorable.

Dave has a small wedding DJ business, so Wes asked him to DJ for the reception. This is the first wedding I have attended that he has DJed, and I learned a few very important things.

First of all, when the DJ is your date, you never dance to the end of a song. At least not when he has improvised his set-up to deal with the limited space availiable.

Secondly, when set-up is improvised and space is limited, problems are more likely to occur. A cable went bad in the middle of a song, and Dave is convinced that it wouldn't have happend with a sound board. And when things go wrong he feels personally responsible.

I also learned that I'm really bad at encouraging when I am tired. And I was tired. I meant my encouragement to sound like this: "I love you darling dearest mister! I think you did a beautiful job at the wedding, and the music was fine. The small kinks that happened are the sort of things that happen, and they certainly didn't ruin the wedding! Everyone was happy and still dancing after it was fixed, and it was wonderful!"

Instead, it ended up sounding more like this:
"It was FINE. Nobody cares. It was great. Shush. I'm tired. Take me home."

Aren't I a good encourager?

Speaking of minor wedding snafus, we arrived on location (I came with Wes and company), Beth came down the stairs and asked Wes if he had the ring. Needless to say, Wes hurriedly sent someone home after that very important band. Also, shortly before the ceremony, he realized that he had forgotten the marriage license. So after the ceremony someone else ran back and picked that up.

But over all,
the wedding was beautiful. The reception was only about 2 hours long, but it was perfect. It was a day full of loved ones for Wes and Shele, and a wonderful time for all of us, witnessing the ultimate expression of their love for each other. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Wes' parents could have been there!
me, rachel
I'm home on spring break this week. Yeah, I know, this snowy winter wonderland is hardly the place for the 'ideal' college spring beaches, bikinis, or burns (the last one is a good thing at least!). None the less, I am home, and it's nice to relax! I've been able to visit with friends, finish up the invitations (!!! I'll have to show those off later), get more registering done (with Emily, MOH extraordinaire), and kick back and relax.

One of the biggest accomplishment so far this week has been ordering 3 of the 4 bridesmaid dresses! I have 4 bridesmaids, and each of them is a different shape and size. They're all gorgeous, but they don't all look the same. So, because a happy girl is a pretty girl, I never considered making them all wear the same dress. Instead, I picked a color at David's Bridal (guava), and told them to get knee-length dresses. Beyond that, it was up to them. We've been in several times before, and not found anything. Usually at least one of the girls was cranky or would have rather been somewhere else, which doesn't make for a pleasant shopping experience! At our last excursion, Emily decided on the dress she wanted, so Monday while we were out, we ran in, she tried it on again in a better size, and ordered it.

Here it is:
Now, this isn't Emily. I have a picture of Emily in this dress, but it's a horrible color, and the wrong size. So instead of putting that horrendous picture (and many others like it!) up, I thought I'd show you the dresses in the proper color on models.

This dress is uber-cute, comfy, and makes Emily look like a babe! Well, she is anyway, but it just fits her so well! It hugs all the right places, the neckline is a fantastic shape, and the hemline is a great length for her! She was really excited about it after trying it on over Christmas, and this week she finally ordered it.

Sarah and Hannah didn't fall in love with anything like Emily did (of course, that is the nature of Emily. She is always in love with something...when I was shopping for my dress, she had three picked out...for her. She's decided to plan a wedding and plug in a groom later!). They each had a few to come back to, but nothing they couldn't live without. This week, we went back, and both of them found something they love! This is what Sarah decided on:
It looks awesome on her! It accentuates her amazing legs, and the awesome heels she is so fond of will look amazing with this dress (Sarah loves fun shoes!). The halter ties behind and hangs like a gauzy scarf down her back. It fits her like a strapless dress (which she loves) but has a neckline for added interest (which I love), and everybody's happy!

Hannah had quite a few choices, because everything is cute in a 2. However, because she is petite, she had trouble with quite a few of the dresses. Many of them were too long or shaped wrong for her adorable frame. This is the one she decided on:

It makes her look so grown-up!

We decided that everyone will wear silver shoes, this way they're not stuck with ugly dyed shoes in this pink, because it will never match anything, ever again. I hope the pink isn't too awful, it actually looks much better in person, it's richer, brighter maybe. These pictures look like bubblegum, the actual color is somewhere between a cirius fruit and a jewel tone.

I'm super excited about everybody's dresses! I wanted to make sure each girl felt good in her dress (believe it or not, I didn't want to end up in the ugly bridesmaid dress hall of fame). Hopefully the color is ok, but I think everyone but Holly likes it (Holly actually doesn't like pink, or dresses, but because she loves me, she's agreed to wear both for my wedding!).

Holly is the last girl left to order her dress...and when she decides, I'll let you know what she picked!
me, rachel
When Dave and I went registering a few weeks ago, I got totally stressed out. We spent way too long in the store, and I way over-thought things, and then changed everything online that night anyway!

And we only got through the kitchen. Correction: mostly through the kitchen. We didn't even register for everything we needed for that one room.

Now, before you go off thinking I'm a crazy lady, let me just say that the store we were in was quite small, and had an extremely limited selection. Which would actually make it easer for most women to decide.

Now you can call me a crazy lady.

Anyway, our excursion of several weeks ago is not my topic today. Today my topic is kitchen towels.

Mom sent me an email yesterday asking where I registered and specifically what color(s) I wanted in my kitchen. We had decided on awesome black and white dishes, but we tend to be pretty colorful people and mom needed a color for something. Unfortunately, the towels that the store we registered in were tan. Actually, they were called latte, which is a fancy word for expensive coffee and tan towels. Here's a picture:
So, this evening, Dave and I got on the internet and browsed the sites of the stores we are registering at, looking for exciting towels (to-be-weds are an odd group...for a month our idea of "quality time" was sitting in his cubicle after dinner and browsing for dishes on his computer).

I found these at Macy's, by Martha Stewart:They also come in a bright red. These I love. They are such a pretty color, and then Martha Stewart has a whole line of kitchen products, so I could accent with a blue spatula or bright mixing bowls, and have it all still match! I like matching. So we added them to our registry.

One big, ugly oozy problem: these towels (and the matching striped ones) are it! In the blue, there is no oven mit and no pot holder, and there are no wash cloths for neither blue nor red.

That's a problem. Then not everything will match!

So we unadded them to our registry, and continued to look elsewhere.

We ended up with the red version of the origional Latte towels. While they're not vibrant, Martha Stewart red, they still work, and have all the necessary pieces.

I just don't love them. Is that weird that I want to love my towels? I guess it's my house, and if I get to pick the way it look I really want to pick the way it looks! I don't want to settle for just OK.

Honestly, what I would love would be some light pink towels, to match my Kitchen Aid Mixer. I don't want a whole pink kitchen, but the stainless steel/chrome appliances we've already registered for as well as the black utensils and the black and white plates would look nice with a small amount of pink!

Two problems: one, I can't find pink anything anywhere. I don't want a pink toaster or refrigerator or anything, I'd settle for a pink towel set! Two, I promised Dave I wouldn't decorate his house in pink. But I think I can justify this one with the mixer color that he chose for me!

Any advice? We're currently registered at Bed Bath & Beyond and Macy's, an we're planning on registering at Target. Our kitchen badly needs color, and I don't know where to look!
me, rachel
I love Valentines day! Really, does it get any better than a day devoted to love, pink, and chocolate?

Didn't think so :-)

This is only our second Valentines Day actually together...even though it's the fourth since we've been dating. For the first two, I was still living at home with my parents and Dave was going to school here. Last year, we went out to dinner and a movie, which was fun, and this year Dave pulled out all the stops!

I had no idea where we were going or what we were doing. He kind of tried to tell me what to wear, but that didn't help me much...I dress up so rarely that I wanted it to be perfect!

Here's what I ended up wearing:

Don't worry...I didn't wear the slippers on our date :-)

We went out on Saturday, even though V-Day was actually Sunday. Dave had to work until 4, which gave me time to sleep in AND primp! Win-win!

I grabbed his gift, which I had wrapped in newspaper and written "I love you" all over in multiple different languages (corny, I know. But I had no wrapping paper! And I had plenty of newspaper...) and headed for his car.

When I got in the car, he explained how our plans had changed (which meant nothing to me, because I knew nothing of the plans in the first place!). He said we'd run up to his house, pick up my present and a chocolate pie (yum!), and head over to Michele's apartment (she is Dave's brother Wes' fiance (Dave lives with Wes for 2 more weeks until Wes gets married)) because his house was in the process of being torn apart and repainted. There we would exchange presents, watch a movie, and eat dessert. Then our dinner reservation was later so we'd do dessert first, then dinner!

When we got to his house, I saw my roses! Yay! I love having flowers!! We picked up the chocolate pie (yum!) and he grabbed my present and off we went! At the apartment, we exchanged gifts. I gave him this photo, blown up to a poster and framed:

It's one of our engagement pictures that I had photoshopped, and I knew that he really liked it.

Then he gave me my present.

A photobook of our engagement! He borrowed some of what I wrote on it originally, and added his own comments and perspectives.

Then after he told the story, he put in some of our favorite engagement pictures! But the back is my favorite:

"And so it begins..." I don't believe there is a more appropriate caption for that picture. Ever.

But wait. It gets cuter! On the spine, he put simply "2009." He said this is so we can make a new one every year with the highlights of that year! Ahh!!! I am simply melting from the cuteness! Isn't my Mister awesome?

He also told me that he had signed us up for ballroom dancing lessons! I've been wanting to take these with him since...forever. I've always wanted to take a class before I got married so that I'd know what to do on that dance floor! We had our first lesson tonight, we're taking it with Wes and Michele, as well as Dave's soon-to-be-roommate, Jim and his girlfriend Emily (Jim and Wes work together at the YMCA, where the class is held).

Then he told me to keep opening my present. It was a gift bag with lots of tissue paper, and right at the bottom was the movie "The Time Traveler's Wife." I've been wanting to see it ever since it came out, and this was our Valentine's movie! So much better than going to an uncomfortable theater, in my opinion!

We then cut our pie, made some tea, and watched our movie. It was incredible. I would recommend it. There are some butts out for that. But otherwise a very good romantic chick-flick.

When our movie was done, we dashed off to the Seasons Bistro and Grille. Amazing. This was a cute/fancy/hole-in-the-wall place with amazing food. Delicious. Delectable. Mouth watering. I had the Poultry Pot Pie, and it was with out a doubt the best pot pie I've ever had.

After our romantic, candle-lit dinner, we wen't back to Dave and Wes' house (soon to be Wes and Shele's...hence the reason it was a construction zone) and played with their puppy and Will and Anna's dog (Will is Wes' twin...Anna is Will's wife. I should do a post about the fantastic, alibet confusing, families we come from. That may be helpful!). We were playing with the dogs because the other four were in the kitchen painting and cleaning and sorting and sweating, and none of that sounded fun for me in my pretty dress.

We had an amazing Valentine's date, and I look forward to many more in the future!
Labels: 4 comments | edit post
me, rachel
So, one of my profs hung a bunch of these up on the bulletin board in our news room today...sooo funny! They're from a blog called 10,000 Words, and I thought I'd share my favorites with you :-)

Those are cute, but this is my absolute favorite! :-)

Share these with a writer close to your'll make them smile!
me, rachel
About the time I decided to design my own invitations, the creative bug bit me. This is weird because I've never been a very creative person. I love to make things, but mostly I like to follow patterns (this is why I'm still scratching my head over my decision to get a graphic design minor. It just doesn't fit).

Anyway, when I realized that I could have complete control over my invitations if I designed them myself, I got pretty excited. I'm a little bit of a type-A personality, and having control over something like my invitations makes me feel more secure. And, designing my own invitations made me want to use this new-found talent and design everything. And I mean everything. At some point through this whole wedding planning process I have considered how I can personalize or unify almost every part of the wedding. Thankfully, besides the stationary, the only one I've stuck with personally designing is our website.

Every wedding web site worth its salt offers brides a free personalized wedding web site. This is a place for the bride and groom to post information and directions for the guests, as well as provide an alternate way to RSVP, and acts as a socially acceptable way to get registry information out there. I've signed up for multiple wedding sites, and looked into every personal web site availiable, always looking for one that would let me put my own design or template into it. None of them let me.

Normal girls would take this as a sign, pick a pretty pink-flowered pre-made template, and get on with her life.

Normal girls would do that. I have never been a normal girl. So I didn't do this. Want to know what I did instead?

Yeah, I know you do. You can't resist my strangeness.

I talked to my loving fiance about this dilemma. I told him how I wanted a site that was just so "us," and one didn't exist out there. About how everyone had a web site, and we weren't going to be any different, but how I wanted our web site to be a first glimpse for our guests into our wedding day, and some pre-made pink-flowered template with someone else's loving phrase scrawled across the top wouldn't cut it.

Yeah, I know. That's low.

Anyway, the past two weeks we've been designing and building our very own personalized wedding web site. A wed site, if you will (hehe...sometimes I make myself laugh. I understand if I didn't make you laugh. It really wasn't that funny). Now, it's almost done, and we're almost ready to put it on the web!

I'll give you a sneak peek:

This is just the designing part. Dave is using his mad skills to turn it into a web site instead of a static image. But it was super fun do design! I did the whole thing in Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

So now it's almost done, and we'll put it up as soon as we can decide on a domain name! Dave basically gave me the job of picking one, and I don't know what to use! So, I'd love your help. We've thought about using, which would work. Or we could do something like Or even Perhaps

See why I need your help? It's pretty bad. So give me your ideas, if they're better than mine (is it possible to be worse than mine?) maybe we'll use them!

Then I'll definently give you all a link here when it goes up! There's some super cool content on there! I'm just so excited to show it off!
me, rachel
I got one of these yesterday!! Well, kind of. Dave and I started our registry last night, and this is on it!

After talking about it for a long time, and looking at (at least) five different stores for dishes we liked, we finally picked up the gun and started registering!

Today we went to Bed, Bath &Beyond because we figured it would be a good place to start. The lady we talked to was very helpful in signing us up, then she took us around the store.

Oh. My. Goodness. It was overwhelming! All the pots and pans and dishcloths and measuring spoons and irons! Unfortunately, the way she started us out was not my style. She would walk up to a display and hand me two pans from two different collections and say, "Okay, which one feels better?" I would pick one and she'd write something down and then speed walk over to the next display, where she'd hand me two spoons and do the same drill. After we had circled the entire store, she handed us the registry gun and told us that what we had looked at was already on our registry, and to find whatever else we needed.

Now, I am the sort of person who likes to look at all the options and choose for myself, the long hard way. This is proven by the fact that Dave and I then spent two and a half hours in that store going over the rest of our registry, and didn't even get halfway done! We finished all the main kitchen things (we haven't yet registered for our dishes, the ones we like best are at Macy's), but didn't register for anything else really. We looked at bedding and such, but spent forever looking and didn't decide on what we liked best!

My mom is making us a beautiful quilt for our bed, so maybe next time we go home we can pick up a swatch of the colors so we have something to base our sheet color choices on. One thing we did notice at this particular store was that the selection was slim. This was a very small branch of BB&B, and as such there were very few styles and colors to choose from in any area. We will probably go to a bigger store in the future to finalize a few more things.

I was exhausted by the time we got done, and so ready to sit down! So we got Panera for dinner and came back to his house to go over everything. We went through and deleted duplicates and edited things that we had thought were different (for example, I thought we registered for stacking cookie racks, but we had accidentally gotten a regular one).

Today, looking back, I'd say we had a good time, got some good stuff done, and learned our registry style, which will be very helpful when we register again in the future!
me, rachel
Wedding. Bride. Groom. White. Dress. Cake.

Those things just go together. It wouldn't be a wedding without a bride, and (many would argue) that it wouldn't be a proper reception without a cake. I am no great lover of cakes, but I do want a wedding cake (along with a delightful desert bar, of course!). It just provides so many wonderful decorating and photo opportunities. It is often the centerpiece of a reception hall. And the photos of the bride and groom cutting the cake--priceless! Of course, Dave and I will not be smashing cake in the others face; the tradition of feeding cake to each other shows trust, and how can you trust someone who grinds frosting into your meticulously applied makeup?

but thats a different story for a different time.

The dilemma facing us today is this: I can't figure out what sort of wedding cake I want! Not flavor-wise...honestly, except for that first bite I don't know that I'll eat any. I'd rather focus on the cheesecake and cookies. I just can't find a cake design that fits.

Now, this cake I fell in love with years ago. No joke. Mom brought home a wedding magazine one day just for us to read for fun. Boys, you probablly won't understand this, but girls like reading things like wedding magazines, even if they're in high school and aren't engaged.

Especially if they're in high school and aren't engaged.

Anyway, here's the cake:

LOVE IT!! It's designed by Elisa Strauss of Confetti Cakes, although I don't think she makes this particular cake any more. But this cake is just so, so...perfect! It's whimsical, fun, and very out of the ordinary. When I said I fell in love with it, I totally mean it. I just keep coming back to this cake.

Unfortunately, besides not being made anymore (I think), the bakery is in NYC, costs $20 per slice and couldn't be shipped even if I had that kind of dough. So, sadly, this dream cake is out of the question.

Now, since neither Dave nor I are great lovers of cake in general, my next thought was skip the cake all together!

I like pie.

Unfortunately, pie is messy. And I agree with my mother: for many people, it's not a wedding unless there's cake. The fact that I do not eat wedding cake obviously isn't important here. I still want a wedding cake.

So, since I want a cake and a desert bar, I'm aiming for a fairly small cake. Two, maybe three (small) tiers, to feed 50-80 people. I've been looking at cake pictures on every wedding website imaginable, and some of them are so ugly! So, I'm kind of striking out. I can't figure out what I want.

I found this one, which isn't very pretty, but looks so yummy! For a cake this simple, tho, I can't imagine hiring a baker. There's not even frosting on it. But it's peaked my interest, if only because Strawberry Shortcake is one of my favoritest deserts ever!


Anyway, I am completely indecisive. I know where I'm going to order my cake from, but beyond that, I'm stumped. Suggestions? Adorable, whimsical, non-ugly cakes to send my way? Or perhaps totally ugly cakes to make me smile (this is almost completely unrelated, but this site is awesome). Whatever you've got, I'd love to hear about it!
me, rachel
So, one of the biggest wedding trends in the past several years is having a photo booth. The first ones to become popular were those sit-down booths that print out strips of pictures, like they have in the mall. While I thought it was a fun idea, it seemed like a waste of money to me because renting those things are not cheap! But then different kinds of photo booths started showing up on my wedding radar.

These were homemade, personalized to the wedding itself, and run by a friend with a digital camera. Some were as simple as a piece of colorful fabric draped over a dowel to make a backdrop, and some were as fancy as to reproduce a wall, complete with wallpaper and picture frames, with several of the frames cut out so guests can look through them! Some even went so far as to add a couch in front of the wall to create even more dimension. Here's one I love:

I think what I like best about this particular one is the old family photographs hanging alongside the open frames. I love the idea of incorporating wedding photos of our loved ones into our own special day to celebrate marriage.

My daddy has a woodshop at home. When I showed him this idea, he loved it and said we could work on making one for our reception. My future sister (in-law) has volunteered to shoot the pictures for us.

Beyond just having a photo booth set up, we're excited about the idea of using the precious pictures of the guests as our guest book. I must say, I'm not impressed with the idea of a "sign in sheet" for guests, especially because I already know who they are and where they live! I wanted a more creative guestbook anyway, and this would allow it to be so cute!

We've been tossing around the idea of how it would work to create the guest book in advance, and give each person/couple/group a place to sign with a blank on the page where their picture would go, then after the wedding, developing the pictures and pasting them in next to their respective comments.

What do you think? Lots of fun? Or too much work?
me, rachel
Our wedding is not going to be formal. Dave and I aren't formal people, for one thing, and so we liked the idea of a more fun, laid back wedding to really show our personalities. We knew we wanted every aspect of this wedding to make people go "Oh! That's so Dave and Rachel!" I'm still looking for some elements that fit us this well, but the invitations were easy!

Since we wanted a laid back feel, I knew we couldn't go with the standard calligraphy invitations printed in white and ecru; we needed something fun! So, I turned to my favorite source of inspiration, Google Images, and googled "wedding invitations." Naturally I got tons of pages of results, and as I looked through them, I saved the ones that looked kind of fun for my own future reference.

Then, I stumbled across these gems:Not only are they fun, they're whimsical, adorable, laid-back, and oh-so us! They are designed by a gal named Holly Hatum at Teardrop Weddings. I would totally encourage you to check them out, because the adorable designs will give you warm fuzzies inside.

One thing I did know about my invitations going in was that I wanted to design them. I am in the graphic design program, and how adorable would it be to be able to say that I designed my own wedding invites? So, using these, ideas about us, and tea as inspiration, I've begun designing my own!

And it's so much fun!
me, rachel
So, the idea of a day-after photo shoot (day after the wedding, or in our case, a week or two after) is totally appealing to me for several reasons.

One, it'd be way more relaxed than on the actual day (and knowing me, I'll be totally stressed out the day-of!), allowing for sillier, more relaxed, natural poses.

Two, it's another excuse to put on my awesome dress!

Three, because it's after the wedding, I won't have to worry about my dress, which will allow for more unconventional locations for photos (some people go as far as to "Trash the Dress," which usually turns out looking pretty cool, but I'm not so brave...or so fond of water).

Four, it's just so darn cute!

There are lots of pictures that I've seen that I love resulting from this type of shoot, but one in particular stands out to me:

This photo, taken by Jasmine Star, is amazing! It has set my mind racing as to all the fun things you could do with a "Playing House" themed photoshoot. We could do it in our new apartment, and just do fun photos of things married people do. I saw another photographer had pictures of a couple, she was knitting and he was doing something else (Dave and I already do this). Then there's the pictures jumping on the bed, or sitting on the porch or eating cookie dough without baking it. Wouldn't that be the cutest shoot ever??