Monthly Archives: June 2011

Stand By Me

What would our wedding be without the wonderful people standing beside us as we enter marriage? It wasn’t difficult at all to select my maids, Mr. Ladyfingers and I are both so grateful for the people in our respective wedding lineup, so I figured I’d follow suit with past ‘bees and give my ladies a well-deserved intro.

Me and MOH Ginger on Halloween 2009. These are pretty much our standard “we’re in a photograph together” faces.

MOH Ginger is one of my bestest friends in the entire universe. We’ve only known each other about three years, but in that time we’ve discovered that we are BFF soulmates. I could do anything with her and it would be fun. She’s the one who cried when I asked her to be my maid of honor – and then followed up with “Are you sure you want ME?!?!?” But I can’t think of a better fit.

She’s also got a pretty rockin’ life and future ahead of her. She went back to school full-time last year and is finishing up her degree before she starts applying for veterinary school. She’ll be the most amazing vet ever – but she’ll have to really work at not collecting more animals! She has a heart of gold, particularly when it comes to our furry friends. She and her awesome boyfriend, J, have a crazyCRAZYcrazy pit bull mix and two nutty cats. As she breaks from school for the summer, she’s going to start putting together the bridal shower and bachelorette plans – and with her at the helm, you know it’ll be a great time!

 

Again with the face — BM Esquire and I at my 30th birthday party.

BM Esquire and I met through friends, and became fast ones ourselves. She’s an attorney, hence the nickname, and we share a lot of the same background from our adolescence – even though she’s a few years older than me, we both recall being very disaffected in our teens, adopting ill-advised fashion trends (baby barrettes during the Hole/L7/riot grrrl eras, baggy flannel shirts, Manic Panic hair streaks), lamenting the lack of cool thrift stores in our respective areas, and pledging our everlasting love to the holy trinity of Morrissey, Robert Smith, and Dave Gahan (maybe that last part was just me, I don’t know). She calls herself an aging hipster – which should totally be a comic book. Ooh… don’t steal that idea from me, OK? I have a post-wedding project now.

 

Me and Preggo at a friend’s going-away party last year

BM Preggo will probably not like me much for her nickname, but it seemed the most appropriate because, well, she’s pregnant! At least she was until June 30, when she gave birth to their second child, a beautiful little girl. She and her husband already have a 2-year-old little terror of a boy, who’s my very favorite even if he does regularly give her ulcers. She and I are such kindred spirits – she’s been totally indispensable, allowing me to cart her around antiquing for centerpiece bottles, helping me score hundreds of little strips of paper for our decorating initials, making belly bands for my invitation suite. She was a paramedic before having their first child, and is now going back to school to move into another health-related field.

I actually didn’t think she’d want to stand up with me because she was four months pregnant at the time we got engaged, and I feared she would be too overwhelmed to want to take this one. So we had an awkward moment when I told her who my maids would be and inserted a random friend, but then said I was torn. I forget how it happened, but she basically said hey, you know I’m in the wings, because you sort of at one point said I could be a bridesmaid, and I realized she really DID still want to do this. Hurray! Sorry, random friend.

 

Me and Spotty in a crappy picture – sorry

And finally, BM Spotlight is so named both because she’s an avid theater fan and middle school drama teacher, as well as for her sunny personality that draws all attention to her. She’s the sweetest soul I’ve ever met – she can say things to you that sound wonderful and deep and meaningful and really make you think about your motivations, whereas if I said those same things, I’d sound like a jerk with a capital B. In addition to her drama role, she serves as the vice principal at her school, which serves underprivileged kids, and oversees the Americorps teachers there, which is how she got into that field in the first place. I know, right? Total saint. So far she’s been most notable for making a PowerPoint presentation of possible shoe and accessory options for her and the other maids. Yeah, we’re not at all alike *rollseyes*.

So there you have it! With chicks like this beside me for the next few months , I would be a fool to stress that much at all. They’ll keep me laughing, keep me sane, and keep me from killing people. What more could you ask for?!

Was it difficult to choose your bridal party? How did you make your selections? Tell me about them!

*All personal photos

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Just Shoot Me – But Don’t Shoot That!

Our photographer “must-have shots” list is a work in progress as I continue to find more and more beautiful examples from the weddings of others. We had originally booked our photographer from about an hour before the wedding to two hours before it ended, in the interest of keeping our budget trim, but as things opened up over the past few months, we decided to book her through the end of the wedding so she could photograph the cake cutting, bouquet toss, exit, and more things we didn’t want her to miss.

I’d STRONGLY suggest putting together a shots list for your photographer. Every wedding and every couple are different, and even with the most professional of photographers, they are not mind readers. They may not end up capturing some special moment you’d like, and the last thing you want is regret as you flip through wedding photos in the years to come.

Our shots list, so far, looks something like this:

Image via Elizabeth Anne Designs/Photo by Leo Patrone Photography

Pre-wedding

  • Detail shots from within the reception room: Centerpieces, specific décor items, escort card table, guestbook table, cupcakes
  • Detail shots from the ceremony area and elsewhere on the property: Aisle decorations, arch, wedding signs from the front of the building
  • Detail shots from within the bridal suites: Accessories, hanging dress, shoes
  • Getting ready – her: Me getting into my dress, primping, bridesmaids putting finishing touches on their looks, bouquet detail shots
  • Getting ready – him: Groom, groomsmen, and best man candids; his mom getting corsage placed on; bout detail shots, ring detail shots

Image via Style Me Pretty/Photo by Beauty for Ashes Photography

Ceremony

  • The moment my dad sees me, all the bridesmaids walking down the aisle, me appearing with my dad, Mr. Ladyfinger’s face when he sees me, my dad giving me away, us during vows, my dad during vows, FIL Ladyfingers during vows, the ring exchange, the kiss, the “introducing man and wife.”
  • Post-ceremony: Marriage certificate signing, posed pictures in various combinations (which I won’t detail here so as to spare you), bride and groom solo shots, bride solo shots, groom solo shots, the bustling, the bride-and-groom shoe shot, the bridesmaids-and-bride shoe shot (because they’re all wearing different shoes)

Image via My DeeJay/Photo by Vesic Photography

Reception

  • Grand entrance, first dance, tons of silly dancing shots, toasts, cake cutting, father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, sunset photos of bride and groom, bouquet toss, garter exchange, last dance, exit.

And I can also tell you what we DON’T want.

  • A fakey photo of me and all my girls laughing at nothing in particular, as if I or some bridesmaid had said something hilarious – but not so hilarious as if we genuinely appear to be laughing.
  • Any other combination of the above
  • The groom running away as his guys chase him as if to say – come back! Don’t get cold feet!!
  • This:

What’s on your must-shoot list? Do you have a “please don’t make us do this” list? And most importantly – am I missing anything?

Let’s Get Physical, Physical

All in the name of fitting into a wedding dress while feeling good about myself, I started exercising almost immediately after Mr. Ladyfingers put a ring on it. I’d never been much of an exerciser, nor a dieter. I’ve been lucky to have never struggled with body image, unlike so many of my friends, but for about a year before the engagement, I’d really been letting myself go. When my clothes stopped fitting me, when I started eating a candy bar and a bag of chips every day, when I grabbed fast food on my way from one place to another 4 out of 7 days a week, when I bought Ben and Jerry’s by the twos and sometimes even ate 2 dinners in one night – one at around 5 and another at 10 when I got home… well, it made me feel super crappy about myself.

Image via My Cat Hates You

I’d promised various things over the years, and never followed through on any of them. I walked for about three days back in ’05, and stopped because it rained on the fourth day. I accompanied a couple of different friends over the years on free gym passes, and quit because gyms freak me out. I vowed to start taking yoga classes, but could never find the money or the time. But now, I was willing.

One late night, when were in Wal-Mart buying the latest version of Trivial Pursuit, I made an impulse buy: Two Jillian Michaels DVDs, a yoga DVD, and some 5-pound weights.

After six-ish months of working out sorta regularly, I’m here to share with you what’s worked, what hasn’t, and how I feel about my pre-wedding day fitness extravaganza.

(Disclaimer: I’m not a trainer, or a doctor, or even mildly knowledgable about fitness or the human body, so this post isn’t intended to serve as workout advice. You’ve been warned!)

Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred

Image via Amazon.com

30-Day Shred is based on circuit training (I think). You do one round of exercises, repeat it, and move onto the next round. 30DS is split into three phases; the intention is you take about 10 days to “master” each phase before moving onto the next. Each workout is only about 25 minutes, but it’s a super intense 25 minutes. I never thought I could sweat so much in my entire life — and I drove a black car with no AC in Florida for three years, so that’s some serious sweating. She alternates cardio and core work with weights, which supposedly helps you burn a lot faster.

I seriously started seeing results RIGHT away. As in, within a couple of days. I’m not claiming this is typical! But because I’d been sedentary for, um, 30 years, it didn’t take much to make small inroads on my hip padding and that roll developing at the back of my natural waist.

Soon, though, I grew bored. I didn’t exactly master phases 1 or 2 – I was still doing modified versions of each of the exercises – but I decided to move on and Jillian’s Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism.

Jillian Michaels’ Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism

Image via Amazon.com

This absolutely took things up a notch. This workout is roughly 40 minutes, not including warm up and cool down, and again uses circuit training to keep blood flowing constantly to different parts of your body. There’s no weights in this one, with the exercises using your body’s own resistance to build strength and muscles. You don’t move from phase to phase, either, although the DVD has options for only doing certain circuits.

There are six circuits in this one – kickboxing, plyometrics (or jump training), calisthenics (running in place, jumping jacks), core work, and then kickboxing/plyo/calisthenics again. It took me many days before I could get through the entire 40 minutes, much less without taking breaks. But I REALLY loved this one – I always felt super proud of myself when I finished it, and each move doesn’t really last that long, so it was easy for me to push myself because I knew it was almost over.

The Jillian combo package

Eventually, I started alternating 30-Day Shred and BFBM… and then I hit a snag. I hurt my ankle one night, and kept working out the following night. I ended up with a swollen useless pathetic limb, and couldn’t work out for about 2 weeks. But in that two weeks, I *missed* working out. Woo-hoo! I’d officially rewired my brain chemistry.

P90X

Image via Amazon.com

Once my ankle recovered, I decided to move to the next level of intensity: P90X. Mr. Ladyfingers had lost about 30 pounds in six months on these DVDs, and I liked that each day has a different focus so you don’t strain yourself. It helps that there’s a few-days break between the upper body DVDs, for example, because my little twig arms cannot do pushups for too many days in a row.

I started with the Lean routine, which is designed to build lean muscle rather than bulk. Here’s what I love about home-based workouts (aside from not having to display my clumsiness to anyone outside Mr. Ladyfingers, our cat, and our dog): there’s a rotating cast of quirky characters in every DVD, and it’s endlessly entertaining. I’d find myself saying things to Mr. Ladyfingers like, “I just noticed last time I did Core that Dreya totally tries to hug Adam, and he kinda blows her off and then goes to give Pam a hug,” or, “Did you notice that Dreya totally starts wiping her brow during the VERY FIRST move in Legs and Back?” or, “Dreya seems so effing proud of herself every time Tony talks to her in Shoulders and Arms. I hate her.”

Notice a pattern? I’m not a big Dreya fan.

I “sort of” finished Lean (did I often skip workout days? Yes. Yes, I did) and now I’m in the middle of P90X Classic. I’m also doing Jillian’s Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism on the P90X Plyo, Cardio and Kenpo days because P90X cardio leaves me shuddering in a corner for hours.

Results? I’ve lost 15 pounds in the past 6 months, and feel leaps and bounds better about myself. My skin looks better, and I feel healthier. I don’t eat junk food (much). I miss working out if I skip it for too many days in a row. I always feel better when I do it, and worse when I don’t.

What’s your pre-wedding fitness routine? Do you have a hard time getting motivated? If this was a new endeavor for you, like it was for me, what have you tried that works, and what doesn’t?

Who Are We Anyway? Part III: How We Decided to Spend the Rest of Our Lives Together

As I may or may not have mentioned, I got really antsy for a question’ poppin’ immediately after we moved in together. Mr. Ladyfingers made the tactical error of telling me last June that he already knew how he was going to do it, and that he’d talked to people about it, and that I wouldn’t have to wait that long.

Being the charming, laid-back creature that I am, this turned every major event between June and Christmas into a nervous freakout letdown session. Our trip to the beach in July, my 30th birthday party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, anytime we went out to dinner, most weekends, and some Tuesdays.

I was a constant ball of nerves, all because he had the audacity to tell me he was going to ask me to marry him eventually. I’m telling you, I seriously checked sock drawers from time to time to see if there was a ring in there. So shameful.

someecards

The difference between him and me has always been that I’m never certain of anything, while he takes everything as a given. More or less. In other words, I was surprised when he agreed we should move in together, while he just assumed it would happen. I was nervous he’d never ask me to marry him, while he felt that it was natural and didn’t understand why I was so pessimistic. Heh… well, I’m the Yin to his Yang (although I’m sure neither side includes tremendous anxiety and social awkwardness).

Well, folks, I had a little preview of what he was going to do the night my dad called me about a week before Christmas. I was at Village Inn one night with eventual-Bridesmaid-Esquire, and I checked my phone to see that Dad had called me four times. Thinking something was wrong, I immediately phoned back. Turns out he was the one who was panicked – he’d gotten a voicemail from Mr. Ladyfingers and assumed it was because something terrible had happened. So he called me. And then asked me to ask Mr. Ladyfingers what he wanted.

Um.

However, after having let myself down so many times, I convinced myself this wasn’t going to happen. Anyway, even if that did mean what I thought it meant, it could be Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day… none of the above… who knows?!

Then, a few days before Christmas as we drove to the supermarket to stock up on holiday food, I saw a parking pass to my dad’s complex on the floor of Mr. Ladyfinger’s car.

Hm.

Still, I wasn’t expecting what happened.

I had been so excited about Christmas Eve for weeks. It’s my favorite holiday. My family always celebrated most on the Eve, as a matter of tradition. Some of this was an Italian thing, eating the big fish dinner and all. The rest was just because cousins and other married folks in the family tended to spend Christmas Day with the non-Italian in-laws, so we did our shebang the night before, even opening presents on Christmas Eve. So that morning, I got up to walk the dog at 7 a.m. and didn’t go back to bed. I was too amped up! I noodled around on my laptop, and then I heard Mr. Ladyfingers get up.

He walked to the linen closet and grabbed a ball cap. This is where things get super embarrassing: I asked him, “What are you doing?!” Well, really I snapped this at him. I like my quiet time, and I’m awfully crabby when it gets interrupted. I need to work on this.

Smirking, he said he was too excited, too. He didn’t want to go back to sleep.

Then he put on a hooded sweatshirt, and walked over to his laptop bag.

“I have a present I want to give you now, though.”

I got REALLY NERVOUS and pretended like I had no clue what was going down.

“Oh yeah? Why… you, you don’t have to do that.”

He apparently slyly moved the ring box from his laptop bag – where it had been for a WEEK as he told ALL our friends and showed it off for days!! – into his hoodie pocket, walked over, and nervously said, “Baby, will you marry me?” as he got down on one knee.

And my response? “SHUT UP! ARE YOU JOKING?”

Heh.

How 99% of my friends found out we were engaged — the Facebook mobile upload picture

(personal photo)

Of course I said yes, and the rest of the day was so special, as my dad and his fiancée came over to celebrate Christmas Eve and our engagement. He later told me that he didn’t want to do it on Christmas Day because that was its own day. He wanted this to be special.

Well, it certainly was.

My first photo as an engaged lady. Because I like to keep it classy.

(personal photo)

I love reading engagement stories – what about yours? Was it at home? On a special day? And did you, like me, make a mockery of your relationship by champing at the bit to get that ring on your finger? Gosh I hope so. It would make me feel so much better about myself.

Love Me, Love Me, Say That You Love Me…

I have a problem.

I really really really REAAAAAAAAALLY really like sweaters. Cardigans, to be more precise. And I live in Florida.

*hangs head*

This obsession been met with everything from admonishment – “STOP BUYING THRIFT STORE CARDIGANS IN THE DEAD OF SUMMER.” – to adoration – “I saw a cardigan you’d love!”

I was especially enamored of Miss Cardigan’s approach to wedding-day-coverup, and emboldened by my on-the-fencedness when it comes to my strapless dress, I’ve been stalking photos of brides in cardigans for months now.

Image via Weddingbee (Miss Cardigan)/Photo by She & He Photography

Uh, did I mention we live in Florida?

Still, I can’t get over this look. I use cardigans to dress up and dress down a number of outfits. I recently started to participate in Kendi’s 30-for-30 remix, and seriously guys, four of my 30 items are cardigans. And it’s almost July. It’s not even cold in my office. In fact, it’s hot. This is obscene.

But. Want more convincing that I should indeed rock a cardigan on the day of? I thought you’d never ask:

I love the short-sleeved approach, and the yellow!

Image via Ruffled/Photo by Shannon Nicole Smith

So, this is the perfect one. Perfect length, perfect sleeves, perfect beading. This is what I want.

Photo via Ruffled/Photo by Kate Harrison

But what about something like this pretty print? Especially since it’s hot pink…

Photo via The Bride’s Café/Photo by Shannon Nicole Smith

At first I thought my best shot would be a vintage number. On Etsy alone, you get more than 300 results when searching for cardigans in the vintage section. Like, f’rinstance, this number.

Etsy seller laceandbones

But seeing as how vintage cardigans can so often fit funky – not a slim enough silhouette, too-long weird sleeves, too hot acrylic with lining – I’d either have to scour vintage stores around here, or shop new. Summer’s probably not the best time to be looking but…

This is adorable, along the lines of the short-sleeved one up top, and a cute as a button color. But I’m not sure it’s fancy enough for a ceremony.

Nordstrom, Maggy London Silk & Cotton Crop Cardigan in Dandelion

This. Is. Perfect. But Kate, why must you taunt me with your lovely garb and your exceedingly high price tags? I thought we were friends, but $300 for a cardigan – that, I cannot abide.

Nordstrom, Kate Spade New York ‘Kati’ Beaded Cardigan in Cream

This is charming and looks quite breathable, but I’m not a fan of the light pink color for our wedding.

Nordstrom, Eileen Fisher Open Front Crop Cardigan in Crocus

At first I thought I wouldn’t wear the cardigan for the ceremony, but given that I can get slightly fancier options, I do like that idea. Cardigans are *me*. It’s my look. I’d really love to bring a little of that into the wedding day, while keeping it classy.

I realize a few things. One, I may be sweating like a pig that day. Two, it may be a little warm still in November in Florida. Three, how do I try on cardigans to find the perfect one that works with my dress? It’s not like I can take the dress to the department store and try it on with the coverups. I also don’t love the idea of buying cardigans with the possibility of returning them, because again, it means I’d need to continue slipping in and out of my dress, which I’m terrified to do. And four, will a cardigan obstruct the lovely corset back?

What do you think? Do you love the cardigan look? Hate it? How would I try it on to find the perfect one? Am I weird? It’s OK, you can say so.

The Incredible Expanding Budget

I once had high hopes for our ability to produce a relatively low-budget wedding. While $10K is by no means a shoestring affair, it matched what we could put aside, and was realistic given the things we wanted to do and how much they cost.

Oh, how naïve and foolish I was to believe I could stick to a budget for something like this. I have a hard enough time not reallocating car repair money to clothing funds in my own personal monthly budget. It’s no different when it comes to the never-ending multitude of STUFF I’ve ended up putting on my “to buy” list.

Miss Magic had an oh-so-apropos blog post on the topic of justifying random wedding purchases that I immediately identified with. I, like so many others, have been quite guilty of nickel and diming our own expenses. While I don’t subject our joint budget to my daily craft whims, I do keep track of all wedding-related purchases in my Mint.com personal account, so that I can look back at the end and get a truly horrifying snapshot of my actual spend on pens, paper, wooden numbers, picture frames, antique bottles, fabric, 3 types of glue… goodness, it never ends.

Personal screenshot

Now, granted, this amount includes checks written to actual vendors we actually needed who were ACTUALLY in the budget. But lots of it does not. Like, oh, the 8 trips to Michaels, and the wedding website I swore we didn’t need to pay for (but we get a vanity URLLLLLLLLL!), and the fabric for the bunting I never planned to make, and the checks for Mr. Ladyfingers’ wedding ring that was SEVEN TIMES the amount I’d originally planned to spend (he loved it so much… how could I say no?).

The one thing I’m incredibly grateful for is that we’re not going into debt for this. For me, at least, I currently can’t hold credit because I made the very useful move of consolidating all my debt into a bank-backed credit program a few years ago to get my interest rate down. The upside is I’ll be 100% debt-free by next summer. The other upside disguised as a downside is that I can’t currently open any new revolving credit lines, nor use what I currently have opened. Fine by me!

So what’s creeped into our budget – and mine – since we originally committed to a hard-and-fast $10K back in January?

  • The venue was more than we’d originally budgeted for, but given that we were saving on invitations (a friend did them as a wedding gift) and photography (a friend-of-a-friend is shooting for hundreds less than a more established pro), and that we get exclusive use of the venue from 9 a.m. to midnight that day, it was a much better value for our dollar, hands down, than anyplace else we looked at. Total over original budget: $1500
  • The caterer was also more than we’d budgeted for, but it includes all rentals, gratuity, and free wedding coordination, plus a DOC and a rehearsal and ceremony coordinator. And even with all that, it was THOUSANDS less than other caterers in the area. For no apparent reason, either, because our choice is delicious and recently won several “best caterer” awards for the area on a number of wedding websites. Total over original budget: $2000
  • The flowers crept into our budget last month, after I decided that I’d drive myself and everybody around me insane by doing them myself. I committed to personally putting more aside to meet this expense I chose on my own. Total over original budget: $1300
  • While our photographer was a total bargain-and-a-half, we ultimately chose to book her for two additional hours so she could shoot the entire event rather than scooting out two hours early and missing cake cutting, garter and bouquet toss, and much more dancing. Total over original budget: $200
  • Then there’s the onslaught of expenses I adamantly refused to spend in the beginning. I added a guestbook, cake topper, and garter, plus the already-mentioned crafting projects. Total over original budget: Uh… 100%. 100% over my original budget. What that number is, I’ll never tell (possibly).

This was all my own personal choice, however. To avoid budget creep in your own wedding, I’d caution you to learn from my lessons.

  • Step away from the wedding blogs! Or, at the very least, window shop once you’ve committed to your own personal plan. I cannot tell you how many DIY projects – and their associated supplies – have made it onto my list just because I saw them on this blog or that. DON’T DO WHAT I DID.
  • Craft-shop with coupons! Michael’s, for one, has so many coupons all the time. I’m not savvy. I would never make it onto one of those “I got 86 boxes of Tide and the store gave me $20 back” shows. Nine times out of 10, I went shopping without a coupon, or failed to plan my purchases around the sales. I easily could have spread one big buy out across five smaller buys to utilize all my coupons… but no, I did not. DON’T DO WHAT I DID.
  • Take something away for every thing you want! I got so hung up on the whole, “Well, we’re saving money here so I can spend money here,” thing that I failed to notice the things I was adding were far outweighing their cousin savings. DON’T DO WHAT I DID.
  • Step away from Etsy! Seriously. DON’T DO WHAT I DID.

In the end, I’m super excited about all the fun things we’re making and the cute things I’m purchasing. I will in no way regret having the cute custom-made guestbook or the adorable custom cake topper or the vintage-modern-sexy garter. But on the other hand, I truly believe I would not have regretted NOT having those things. I don’t want to be a buzz kill – throw the wedding you want, and if it means you go over budget, and you can handle that amount, then by all means. But if you really want to stick to your guns, please. Don’t do what I did. </PSA>

Now I’ve got to add bells and a 3” hold punch to my “to-buy” list because I decided our guests will use bells to send us off. Oops.

I’ve Got Ladyfingers, Baby … Baby, I’ve Got Heart

Hiiiiiiii! I’m Miss Ladyfingers, and I’m super duper excited to meet you! It’s my goal to entertain and inspire you as much as all my predecessors have for me. At the very least, maybe I’ll make you laugh. At me. Which is totally fine. We laugh at me all the time, too.

In my application, I promised gratuitous shots of cute, starring Puppy Ladyfingers — and I do not want to disappoint!

She's so excited her mommy made the cut! Or... distracted. But look how excited *I* am!

For the past five months, I’ve done little but read the blogs of past Bees and dreamed of being one of them. As our planning started to gel and I started to get more projects underway — not to mention a really hefty to-do list — I started wondering when the next generation would appear. Imagine my glee when I opened my feed reader one morning to see the announcement of the Tea Party generation! Looking at all the cute, pastel, delicious icons, I immediately started blogging daily over on my WordPress site. I checked my email like, every 45 seconds for the first week or so, then figured there was no way I’d make it the first time around. Other than slyly checking my junk mail filter every few days, I tried to push it out of my mind. Blogging was loads of fun anyway, so I’d certainly keep it on even if I was turned down. For as long as I could remember, I have written for catharsis and for money. I’ve written really boring stuff and pretty exciting things. With all the stress and emotion and PRETTY of wedding planning, writing would be a perfect way for me to keep myself sane.

But then! In between putting away laundry and starting dinner one night after work, I picked up my BlackBerry and glanced at it to see if my friend had texted me back. It was a blur! I saw the email with the subject line “Weddingbee Application.” Oh, man. Here it is — my “After careful consideration, we’ve decided to keep your resume on file” email. But there was an attachment! And then I read that I would be a great addition to the Bee, and I squawked, “OH! OH MY GOD!” And Mr. Ladyfingers, alarmed, shouted, “WHAT?!” from the dining room. I came dancing in — really more of a wiggle with an awkward kick and some flailing arms — and yelled, “I got it! I’m a Bee!”

I let him choose my nickname, and he immediately landed upon Ladyfingers. “I sound like a spy or something — I’m Mr. Ladyfingers.” It was too adorable to pass up.

I can’t wait to share with all of you the trials and tribulations of our individual planning journey, and to learn a little about you, too! For now, here’s us:

Engagement photo by Short's Shots

I’m Late, I’m Late, for a Very Important Date! <– What the Caterer DOESN’T Want to Hear!

One of the major things our wonderful caterer did with us is create a customized timeline for our rehearsal and wedding day. The catering company owner spent three hours with us outlining where the major players would be on the big day and the evening before, what time everything would go down, and what we should expect, when. It’s a work in progress, and there are still holes to be filled in (and minds to be changed). One big thing is we’re not sure where the rehearsal will actually be because if our venue has a wedding booked the night before ours, obviously that location is off limits. Later, we’ll have a similar appointment specifically to outline the ceremony, as we’ll have a separate rehearsal/ceremony coordinator from our catering manager.

I would ABSOLUTELY recommend doing a timeline as detailed as this. If you don’t have a wedding planner or caterer who takes you through this, consider plotting one out with a close friend who’s been married. They can ask you questions you never would have imagined should be answered, and give valuable input. For instance, I had always figured that if we did do programs, we’d have them waiting on each guest’s seat. And I never considered that with an outdoor wedding, they’d totally blow away. One point for the catering manager. Thank you, lady.

So here’s what our day-of timeline looks like so far:

9-1 PM: Mr. Ladyfingers and guys activities, TBD (they may do golf, hang out, or do whatever else the best man plans)

9-1 PM: Moi and bridesmaids have hair and makeup done in hotel suite (where I will stay the night before)

12-1 PM: I buy lunch in the hotel suite

12:30: Caterer arrives at venue with wedding items; DJ arrives to set up

1 PM: Flowers delivered; me and my bridal party depart hotel via car pool for Palma Sola, bringing dresses and accessories

1:30 PM: Cupcakes delivered; me and bridal party arrive on site and begin dressing in Bride’s Room

1:45 PM: My dad and his fiancee arrive on site; fiancee to get wristlet from florist and join me and bridal party in Bride’s Room; photographer arrives and begins taking pre-wedding shots in Bride’s Room; Mr. Ladyfingers, groomsmen and groom’s family arrive on site, all dressed; best man calls maid of honor to let her know they’re there; caterer checks guys’ pocket squares to make sure they’re all in right, hands out bouts

2-2:15 PM: Me and bridal party candid shots

2:15-2:30 PM: Mr. Ladyfingers and guys candid shots; best man and Mr. LF and FIL Ladyfingers wait in main room, groomsmen take spots on back lawn.

2:30 PM: Guests begin to arrive and self park under direction of site rep; catering wait staff greets guests in parking area and directs to back lawn; DJ begins playing prelude music; two groomsmen greet and seat guests, one groomsman takes gifts and cards to table set up on back deck.

3 PM: Processional, ceremony

3:30 PM: Recessional, AKA we’re totally effin’ married!!!

3:40-4:30 PM: Sir and Lady Ladyfingers, bridal party, guys, and family photos on property

3:30-4:30 PM: Cocktail hour for guests on back deck, with passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails; guests begin signing guestbook set up on back deck; DJ music continues for cocktail hour

4:30PM: Family joins guests on back deck; catering manager opens doors to the main room: DJ invites guests to enter the room and see place card table for seating assignment; The Ladyfingers and party gather on front porch; DJ lines up the group for the intro into the room; headwaiter informs party of their seating arrangements.

4:45 PM: DJ intro’s wedding party; party sits at assigned tables; DJ intros us and we walk through the room to the deck; first dance on the deck; we are seated

5 PM: Wait staff serves salad

5:20-6 PM: Buffet for guests; headwaiter serves us at sweetheart table

5:45 PM: Best man, maid of honor, and my dad toast

6 PM: Party time! Dancing butts off.

6:30-6:50 PM: We slip away for sunset photos

7 PM: Me and dad dance; Mr. Ladyfingers and his mom dance; cake cutting and guests self-serve cupcakes; party time continues!

8:30PM: Garter, bouquet toss

8:45PM: Best man pulls Mr. Ladyfingers’ car around and loads personal items and catering honeymoon basket

8:55PM: Last dance

9PM: DJ invites guests to line up down front steps and to car; wait staff distributes bells; we exit while guests ring bells; we drive away; designated guest takes gifts and cards; guests leave, caterer packs up remaining items and cleans up.

Ta-da! So much stuff, and so many things that may change between now and then. Still, seeing it lined up like this is so very exciting, and makes us a lot more comfortable with the whole scheduling thing. It also brings up a lot of questions I still have that I want to make sure people know the answers to like, will the bridal party stand and wait for us to be announced and enter the reception room before being seated so we can all convene as a group? How will guests approach the buffet – en masse, or table by table? And where will all these tables go!?

Did your wedding day timeline draft excite you? Did it give you a clearer picture of the day, or freak you out? Did it raise questions you didn’t previously have, or make you think of things you hadn’t?

Overwhelmed by Overwhelming Things

We’re meeting with our caterer tomorrow, and while I’m super excited, I’m also kind of dreading it a little. One of the things we LOVE about our caterer is that we’re essentially getting a caterer and a wedding coordinator for less than the price of either. And please, please don’t consider me ungrateful. I am so happy to be surrounded by people who have been through this, either as vendors or married couples themselves, and who can ask me about the countless details I haven’t yet though of.

I love planning this wedding. I love reading wedding blogs. I love telling people about the little projects I’ve taken on, and I love doing them.

BUT. I feel like there are so many details sometimes that it’s overwhelming. We had our first planning meeting with the caterer about three months ago, and we had a lot of holes on our planning sheet. What color napkins? Folded or rolled? What color tablecloths? White or off-white? And how off-white? How many bottles per centerpiece? Is the yellow more marigold or lemon yellow – or in between? How many cupcake stands? Are we doing a bouquet toss? And are we tossing the actual bouquet, or one made just for that purpose? What are guests throwing at us as we leave? Rose petals? What color?

You get the idea. I feel bad when I say I don’t know, and worse when I ask people just to fill in the blanks for me. “I don’t know… what do you think?” It makes me feel indecisive and flaky, even though we’ve been everything but.

Our meeting tomorrow is a honker – 2 hours with the catering company owner, to go over every single little detail, vendor, schedule, color… everything. I just don’t know that I can answer 15 minutes’ worth of questions regarding the wedding right now, much less 2 hours. And I also feel weird not knowing precisely what I want to do about everything, because I feel as if I’m wasting our vendors’ time.

I’m sure it will be fabulous, and while Mr. Ladyfingers may want to blow his brains out, and perhaps I will too a little, we’ll both feel so relieved to have these decisions made after tomorrow. We haven’t changed our minds about much (though I’ve certainly *thought* about changing my mind about lots of stuff!) so I’m confident this will be a big huge checkmark. And then after the meeting, we’re staying down there to explore, perhaps get some beach time, and eat a nice dinner somewhere we’ve never been.

Did you dread meeting with certain vendors? Did you hate all the questions? Did you feel indecisive – and if so, how did you get over this?

It’s a Beautiful Day

I may have mentioned that I’ve never been much of a makeup girl. There are two types, in my mind: Ones that can apply makeup, and ones that cannot. And since I cannot, and don’t want to *look* like a girl who cannot, I tread very lightly on the face paint side of things. It’s a lot for me to cover my ENTIRE face in Bare Escentuals makeup instead of just dotting it on my red marks, and to wear SHEER LIPSTICK and BLUSH, people. Blush. That’s a super big, like, “I have a job interview” kind of a day. We recently went to a black tie wedding and I wore red lipstick, and Mr. Ladyfingers was a little surprised — he had a hard time looking for a few minutes. So bright!

So. Me and makeup = not really buddies. Sadly, I do have to wear it for the wedding, or else things won’t be pretty. Literally. I started gathering as much inspiration as possible, trying to stay within my coloring – which is a little difficult, since I have fair skin with some pink and some yellow undertones. First, one of my very favorite looks for myself.

Photo by Shorts Shots Photography

Now imagine that amped up a bit, mostly in the eye area (also, without glasses).

Image via Rosie Parsons Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty/Photo by Robert Rios Photography

Image via Style Me Pretty/Photo by Beauty for Ashes Photography

As for hair, here’s the big problem of the day: the length. My hair is curly and just above the shoulder — straightened it would probably fall just beneath my shoulders at this point. I have lots and lots of hair but it’s very fine, so when it gets to the stage it is right now, it tends to grow down and OUT, turning into somewhat of a rotund bush shape. So I’m still getting trims and shaping cuts while hoping and praying my hair is still long enough to pull off the style I’m shooting for. All I can say is I’m sick of a limited repertoire of hairstyles that make me look like a 6th grader growing out her bangs. I’m probably getting this crap chopped off post-wedding.

Anyway! Here are my top hair inspiration photos:

Image via InStyle/Credit: Jon Kopaloff

Image via Vintage Amethyst/Credit: Martha Stewart Weddings

Image via Cap Classique

I love the low side bun look, slightly tousled, but I’ve also uncovered a crop of braided updos recently that make my heart hurt a little. So the look of the day will be carefree, fresh, classic, a bit undone.

What’s your wedding day beauty inspiration?