Thursday, September 19, 2013

Wedding Planning: THE HOME STRETCH

Good morning!

GUYS, I'm almost to the altar! EEEEEEK! We've been running around like crazy the last week or so trying to nail the down the last details of this to-do and the weird part? The zen-like distance I am feeling towards the ceremony itself. Two weeks ago, I was in a hot panic over flower decorations, centerpieces-- pretty much about a week ago, as things started to fall into place, I stopped worrying as much about details. The same feeling you get when you've prepared and prepared and prepared for a school presentation or a job interview is what I have now, where sure, there are things that I will remember that I need to do day of, but as far as prep work, I am do-o-o-one. For today's post, I thought I might show you all some of the things I've learned over the five months from save the dates being sent out to THE DATE BEING ALMOST HERE!

Matthew at my folks' house, practicing for height. The arch will be about a foot taller,
after we finish assembling it, so I can fit under!

Q: How long does it take to string a trash bag full of silk flowers into a 10 foot long garland of alternating colors and leaves?
Approximately 3.5 episodes of Law and Order: SVU on Hulu. My mom gave me these fall flowers in May or so, and I was deadset against them. "Mo-o-o-om, they look like cemetery flowers, come ON." I didn't want real flowers either because of a) the expense and b) my conviction that something, somehow, would happen to the organic material in such a way that it would look bad before the ceremony (see Austin Scarlett's corn dress in season 1 of Project Runway). Matthew and I made approximately 500 tissue paper flowers in reds and whites and yellows, which gave the whole thing a kind of cool Elvis Aloha from Hawaii look. While the color theme was consistent and I liked how unusual it looked, I was last minute worried that the whole thing would look like someone's third grade class project gone wrong. Weekend before last, I shook out the bag of flowers, stripped each bunch of its leaves and petals, arranged them in piles by color, and then used a needle and fishing wire to string them all together. This is much more like what I was going for! 

I love Barbie's flyaway veil!
Q: From what height and at what speed does the 1960 Wedding Ken ornament we've chosen as our cake topper sustain loss of feet and base fractures?
Um, apparently when you just barely touch him and he falls from the mantel onto carpeted floor. Not to worry, my dad's going to airplane glue Humpty Dumpty back together. I bought these figures at an estate sale in the pouring rain in Hendersonville, the same one where I bought four bags full of costume jewelry because it was something like 80% of the original price that day. The weird thing about the sale, other than the torrential downpour? There was a fifties' two-car garage in the backyard-- imagine one of those ones with a concrete floor, almost like an outbuilding. On the tables around the edges of the room, were PILES, and PILES, and PILES of wedding decorations. Mostly from the eighties', but some going back to the sixties'. Everything looked like it had probably been in the garage for 20 years (maybe the person has a wedding related business?) except these mint-in-box Barbie and Ken Hallmark ornament from 1995. We'll take it! Sidenote: All the in-store wedding toppers I've looked at have been awful! Does nowhere sell those sweet, plain little figurines to put at the summit of your cake? I kept seeing either a) clear figures (??) or b) the one where the groom is running away and the bride is catching him (because that joke is so fresh). Oh well! I'm happy with Barbie.

Q: When is the best time to buy miniature cacti in Tennessee?
Mid-August! On my birthday, Mom and I stopped by the Dickerson Road Lowe's to price some tiny succulents for the centerpieces. Since my success with the cacti bowl in my living room, I've been hooked on the idea of replicating it for the wedding. I made cake stands by gluing clear glass dessert plates to cordial glasses (25 cents a piece on half off day at Goodwill), and the little round bowls with the cacti and gold army men will sit on that! These cacti are not only in my wedding colors, but were fifty cents apiece on a clearance rack. "It's a birthday miracle!" I said to my mom. I'd planned to go with some kind of grass or similarly inexpensive foliage if the cacti price was too dear, but it was actually less than I'd even planned to spend on it! Can you see the army men and lizards/dinosaurs in the rocks there? I bought a bunch at Dollar Tree and spray painted them gold so they'd be a uniform color. I think they give it that extra "oomph" to the displays. These, the cake stands, hand-picked tchotchkes from my collection, and small stacks of old library books will make up the centerpieces. I really can't wait to see what it all looks like.

Q: How do you explain the mechanics of a wedding processional to a group of artistic people, especially if you're a complete control freak about planning stuff ahead of time?
Infographics, naturally! They're all visual learners, and the high school teacher I used to be came out in spades as I designed this wedding rehearsal cheat sheet for my nears and dears. It's a very small wedding, but I still want to do a very traditional down the aisle processional. I wanted to make sure everybody knew where to go and when! I pasted this, along with information about the restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, a menu from that restaurant, and a time line for the wedding on Saturday on a double sided sheet we can hand out at the rehearsal so people will have something to look at while I'm frantically trying to put silk flowers all over the place before we get started. I also happen to think it looks super cute.

Well! I gotta get back to work, but let's talk! Do you have any last minute wedding planning advice? What went well that could have gone better at your wedding or wedding rehearsal? What did you learn in the process of planning your own nuptials or seeing another plan theirs? I can still benefit from your wisdom!

That's all for today, but I'll be back for a final Photo Friday before matrimony tomorrow! See you then!


  1. With all these teasers, I really cannot wait to see what the actual day of pictures look like. Is it sad that Austin Scarlett's corn dress in season 1 has been a reference I've made in regards to wedding flowers too!! The man has taught us many valid lesson with a husk party dress.

  2. Yay! It's going to be so pretty! Will be sending good vibes to y'all! My only advice is 1. Next time you find a garage like that, call me. It would allow me to die happy and 2. Make yourself some notes about exactly everything that you want to cover at rehearsal. You get a bunch of people in there that like each other and things can get super chatty and long and drawn out. You'll have other stuff that you'll want to do that night so get int and get out! : )

  3. I love the floral arch but I'm so glad I eloped. It takes out all the stress of planning a ceremony, especially when your in-laws are atheists and you're catholic. Luckily, they aren't jerks about it but still.

    I love the the cacti center pieces. So unique and very cost effective. We had a Super Mario themed cake for our reception (a year after our elopement) and had to order a couple of Koopas. I was freaking out because I sent the figurines express from USPS and they didn't arrive until the day of the reception. I was pissed. I paid $18 to have them guaranteed by the Thursday before the reception. Did I mention we planned all of this out of state? It was hard but having family help is always great.

  4. Lisa...if Humpty-Dumpty Ken can't be glued together, I have that very ornament (yes, from 1995) and you are welcome to him. Or, I've got a sweet little vintage cake topper in the booth that you are welcome to, as well. Let me know if you'd like either's fun to hear about your special day all coming together!

  5. lisa - you are perfectly prepared!

    the thing gone wrong on my wedding was the night before. the wedding was in the hometown of my hubby and we slept in a bed&breakfeast. i have house dust allergy and the whole place was loaded with allergens. I think I have not slept a minute - but I had felt like suffocate. thank god there is make up and champagne.....

    so make sure you sleep where you know you can!

  6. You've totally got this! Last gasp of things to think about: 1. Right before the wedding, put a small package of kleenex (better yet, a vintage hanky!) on your mom's chair and his mom's chair. Even if they don't cry, it's a sweet gesture to find it there from you. 2. At the rehearsal, make sure (then double check, then triple check) that the musician/dj knows when to begin - if he's on track, everyone's on track. 2a. Walk s-l-o-w-l-y down the aisle, regardless of the tempo - EVERYONE will want to see you come down (it's such a wonderful entrance), so don't race by them. 3. During the rehearsal and on the wedding day, don't look at the minister when repeating your vows or placing the ring - look at each other (you only have one shot at reciting your wedding vows, so don't miss them!) 4. Give your marriage license to your minister the night of the rehearsal (less to keep up with Saturday) 5. Keep those knees bent and drink lots of water the day of the wedding (also - lots of water works wonders for dehydrated and hanging over groomsmen) 6. If your photographer can only get three pictures - make sure they are of Matthew's face as you come down the aisle, your first kiss and the shot of bubbles/birdseed/petals getting tossed at y'all as you leave the reception (trust me on this). 7. Make sure all the guys hold their hands the same way (right over left, fig leaf) during the ceremony. 8. Feel free to be OCD and put a note in the guy's changing room that says, "Fellas, please make sure your phone is set to SILENT". 9. Make it a priority to EAT at the reception - you'll have a MUCH better time if you do. 10. It's going to be an equally big day for your mom and dad - make sure you take a couple of minutes to give them a squeeze and remind them they'll always remain your first loves. Give your sister a kiss on the cheek and tell her you couldn't get married without her beside you. 11. Delegate, delegate, delegate wherever you can, control what you must, and let go of what will be. 12. Take every single opportunity presented to laugh, hold Matthew's hand and enjoy your dear friends and family. Smile at the toasts, drink the champagne and save the top tier of wedding cake. Many congratulations - we can't WAIT to see pictures!!!!

  7. I have absolutely no advice, but tons of well wishes for you two! I have no doubt that your wedding is going to be super lovely and fun and fabulous and beautiful.

  8. i can't wait to hear all about it! your wedding is going to be great, i can just tell. it will be so full of personality and love! and how cute is matthew posing under that arch! i don't have much advice, i'll just tell you, as an untight details person, i was so happy on my wedding day to be getting married to travis that i wasn't sweating anything! i still can't believe it. I bet you will be so full of love, with all your nearest and dearest around, you won't notice if anything isn't just right. enjoy it!

  9. I'm so excited for you two!!! I am not going to offer any advice because you've already gotten a lot and probably have been getting it from all directions. Just have fun, enjoy it and don't worry too much about things ... that's really at that matters in the end. :)

  10. Dangit! I wish I had read this post when it was brand-spankin'-new, I've been planning on getting one of those cacti for my boy, and fifty cents!

    I love all of the work you've done! I got married 8+ years ago, and I would not take back a *second* of time I spent making invitations, tissue poufs, my gown or any other part of it. I sure hope you share pics of your big day when you get home... Congrats, it looks like you had a fun day!

  11. Dangit! I wish I had read this post when it was brand-spankin'-new, I've been planning on getting one of those cacti for my boy, and fifty cents!

    I love all of the work you've done! I got married 8+ years ago, and I would not take back a *second* of time I spent making invitations, tissue poufs, my gown or any other part of it. I sure hope you share pics of your big day when you get home... Congrats, it looks like you had a fun day!



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