Wedding DIY: Skeleton Key Escort/Place Card Display

So I’ve been meaning to make this post since…well, since we got married over a month ago.

But life has been crazy, I’ve been busy, yada yada, same excuses. So now that I have a spare second (and remembered that I had intentions to post these!), let’s get into my first DIY Wedding blog post!

>>Be warned that with the exception of this first photo (taken by my photographer at the wedding), all of the pictures were taken with my iPhone, so the quality is not the best.<<

My favorite DIY project for our wedding was by far the escort/place card display.

Skeleton key escort card display

I knew from the beginning I wanted to incorporate skeleton keys; I had seen something similar on Pinterest and instantly fell in love. I really didn’t want to just opt for the small, white,  folded cards with names and table numbers on them; I wanted to make them memorable by putting time and thought into them.

When I shared the idea with my (at the time, future-) mother- and sister-in-law, my MIL showed me that she had a whole box of old skeleton keys that her father had collected over decades of antique shows. So we would soak those in warm water and rinse the rust and dust off, easy-peasy.

Clean keys

I originally thought we would have the keys hanging on an old wooden door, but I decided to wait on getting the actually display piece until after we had an idea of how many cards we would need to fit on it. So once we figured out how many people we expected, I figured that a door would be too large (around 30% of total guests would be joining us at the upstate reception only) and that a large picture frame would better suit the amount of people.

My MIL knew my plan and, whilst at a local garage sale, she found a framed picture that she snagged for $3. Turns out, said picture with frame was originally from Home Goods or Marshalls or somewhere like that and was originally about $70. No joke! The price tag was still on the back!

Like, what?! The frame wasn’t anything fancy or heavy duty, and the picture was horrendous, as you can see below. But we didn’t need the picture, so whatever, and the frame was exactly what I wanted/needed, so I was happy.

Awful artwork

The next step was to remove the ugly picture and replace it with some wood for a more sturdy backing for the keys to hang on. We picked up a piece of plywood from Home Depot and had them cut it to the correct dimensions for the frame. I also picked up some nails for attaching the keys to the board.

My mother-in-law had a few rolls of burlap that she had picked up at Walmart during a Christmas sale or something, so we covered the plywood with the burlap and attached it with staples.

Burlapping

Burlap complete

We then attached the plywood to the frame with screws. And when I say “we”, I mostly mean my FIL because he’s handy with tools.

Frame done

So, things were coming together!

I purchased a tag template on Etsy (check it out here!) that provided me with a PDF file of the tag template that I was able to edit for only $7! The process of typing names took a little time because I wanted to perfect them (I ended up downloading about 5 extra cursive fonts and decided I liked Rochester the best…ironic?) and make sure that they would still be legible without looking really crowded and confusing.

Plus, I had to wait until I had all RSVPs (which I didn’t end up getting until about a week before the wedding…) so that I could make the seating chart so that I knew what table each person was going to sit at and include it on the tags. It’s all a process.

During one of my many Michaels runs (this was not the only DIY project I was taking on for the wedding) I bought textured, off-white cardstock to print the tags on. A couple of weeks before the wedding, I went to Staples and had them print off a test copy on their own off-white card stock to ensure that the writing was legible, see the size of the tags, test them out with the keys, etc. I decided that I liked the cardstock from Michaels better – it was sturdier and much better quality. I used those test-run tags and tried out a few different ways of tying them to the keys with different colored ribbons.

Skeleton key decisions

I decided that I wanted to use the white ribbon with looped edging because it went better with the theme of the display (bottom two keys in the picture). Instead of the keys hanging from a loop of ribbon on the nails (like the one on the right), I thought it looked better with the card and key flush together and then I would hang them by slipping the nail through the hole.

Three days before the wedding, the cards were finalized and saved on a USB drive. I took my Michaels cardstock and my USB drive to Staples so that they could print them off. I could have totally used a home printer but my in-laws’ printer tends to leave ink spots wherever it wants to, so I figured Staples would be a safer bet.

As you can see, they turned out awesome.

My SIL, Casey, helped me assemble the tags to the cleaned skeleton keys: I cut out the tags and punched holes where holes needed punching, then she chose a key and attached the two together with ribbon.Escort cards

The next step was to map out where the nails would go so that they were evenly spaced and so that all the cards would fit on the board in a neat fashion. This is where math came in handy! I figured out the configuration of nails/cards and then put the cards/keys in alphabetical order within that layout to make transferring them to the frame easier.

Alphabetical escort cards

While trying to hammer the nails in the designated spots, I realized that they were too long and would stick out way too much, so I went back to Home Depot and bought a pack of black carpet tacks. They worked phenomenally and looked much better than the nails, so that was a relief.

Nail battle

I had found two really cute heart-shaped keys in the collection and knew I wanted to do something with them. I made a couple special escort cards to use with those keys and to add as more of a decoration on the display. So I arranged those keys at the top of the frame with the special cards that read “Mrs. & Mrs. Thomas Harrigan” and “The key to love is inside us all” for a little something more. Awww, I know. Stop the mushy stuff already Holliday, jeez!

Heart keys

The only thing left was to hang all the other keys/cards on the frame. When I finished, I wanted to cry because it looked so good after all of the planning and hard work.

Finished display

It was so wonderful seeing such a beautiful display that I made (with much appreciated help from my future family!) and that the vision I had from the beginning came to life even more perfect than I imagined it would.

Looking for inspiration

You know how pregnant women say they have ‘pregnancy-brain’? Well, I honestly think that ‘bride-to-be-brain’ is also a real thing. And oh boy do I have it.

It’s been awhile since I’ve written an original blog post on here. I’ve written a few drafts of this post, but each time I’ve been unhappy with the outcome. They’re either too rambly or I just didn’t want to publish them. So let’s try again…

Lately, I’ve just been re-posting or linking our wedding website blog posts, because at the moment (and for the next 3 weeks) that is what my life consists of. Wedding stuff. Wedding planning. Thinking about the wedding. Talking about the wedding. Making wedding decorations. Talking to wedding vendors. Coordinating everything with the wedding party.

And then there’s the upstate reception the following weekend. So I guess, technically, my life is all wedding for the next 4 weeks.

Deep breath.

So that’s the major excuse for not writing anything new on here. I guess another excuse is that Tom and I got an apartment in Brooklyn (exciting!), but since he works during the day, I’ve been spending a lot of time unpacking, arranging, re-arranging, and cleaning (not as exciting!). A lot.

As a teacher, I have had the summer off, so needless to say I should be having the time of my life, right?

You’re probably thinking, “Well Holliday, aren’t you lucky that you have all this free time to move and unpack and plan a wedding?!”

But you have remember that humans enjoy interaction with other humans. And they like experiencing things with other humans, connecting emotionally by sharing new or familiar experiences.

So I’ve been going stir-crazy being stuck in our apartment by myself for hours on end. With the lack of close friends or family in the city, I’ve been getting pretty lonely. Friends who are closer obviously have day jobs, so they aren’t free until the evenings or weekends. It makes seeing friends that much more special, but those days or weeks in between seeing them are the worst. Ugh, adulthood.

So I guess what I’m getting at is my lack of original blog posts can be chalked up to a lack of inspiration. I mean, if you want to see a bunch of posts about how I’ve been planning my wedding, there are plenty of those. In terms of decorations or making other elements of the wedding, I want to wait until after the wedding to post anything so that it doesn’t spoil the excitement.

But sometimes, you just want to talk about anything but the wedding stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I am no less excited about getting married to my best friend and celebrating with friends and family. And I understand people like hearing updates and how things are going in the wedding area, but it seems that’s all I think or talk about anymore. And it gets tiring (and frustrating) after awhile. So I want to find an outlet so that I can focus on things other than the wedding.

Tom and I recently got two GoPros to record the wedding. We also talked about making YouTube channels and videos. I was all for it, excited to finally do something I’ve thought about and have wanted to do for years.

But what the hell am I going to make them about? Again, there’s a lack of inspiration. I’m just so consumed by the world of weddings, I can barely think of anything to write or talk about. Other than something wedding-related, obviously.

So if you have any suggestions on what you might be interested in seeing in a blog post (or video!) let me know! In the meantime, I’m going to go print out some escort cards.

I’ll be Harrigan-ized in 6 weeks!

Another week, another wedding update, and I’m feeling a bit more accomplished this week.

First off, I’ve been dealing with some garbage for the past couple weeks that I won’t get into detail about but have talked to a few people about because it just bugs me so much. It’s frustrating when someone tries and tries and TRIES to make your and your fiancé’s wedding day about themselves and you so badly want to tell them off but realize that you need to be the adult in the situation and just stay calm and cool and instead of blowing up at them and telling them what’s really on your mind and to put them in their place (as they have deserved for many years now) you remain level-headed and explain your perfectly reasonable rationale for decisions you’ve made concerning their part in your big day (for the twelfth time) when you’d rather just tell them not to come because you don’t need the added stress and frustration.

Jennifer Lawrence mad gif

Whew, had to get that off my chest. Moving on…

I sent out the remainder of the Thank You cards for everyone who attended my bridal showers. It felt good dropping the last of them in the mailbox on Wednesday!

I continued hunting for bridesmaids gifts and although it seemed as if I couldn’t come up with anything before, now I have too many ideas and need to narrow them down. Like, now I’m juggling between getting the girls Lamborghinis or Corvettes; how is a girl to choose?!

Haha just kidding because mama don’t sleep on a pile of gold ya know. I mean, does anyone? If so, how is that working out for you? Do you see a chiropractor often?

Anyways, I think I’ve decided what I want to get my girls thanks to Tom – he helps me rationalize things when the emotional and stressed side of me gets too strong – so I’ll get their gifts soon.

OMG Shoes

Also, I bought my shoes!!!!!!! I’m not usually this excited about shoes, although I think I would be if I had cute, non-deformed feet. We’re getting down to the wire here and I’m so glad I finally found a cute pair that fits, seems comfortable enough, and meets the height requirements. I found them at David’s Bridal and found out that they were on clearance – bonus! I need to start breaking those babies in so my feet don’t want to murder me on the day of because foreign objects are rubbing them the wrong way all day.

My dress fitting is this coming Tuesday (so I should probably stop snacking on these Reeses Oreos I bought Tom as part of his birthday gift) so it’s good timing because I need the shoes to wear at the fitting to make sure they aren’t too tall. I also started a new fitness plan called Tone It Up to (try to) keep me motivated and moving throughout the days. I’m going crazy not having a job to keep me busy and occupied and moving all day, so hopefully this helps. I’ve been running regularly but this plan provides toning exercises (they even have a Bridal workout section!) to complete on top of my regular cardio.

Let’s see, what else? Oh! We bought our airline tickets and booked our rental car and hotel for the upstate weekend shindig! I think the credit card was smoking a bit after those purchases. Goodness gracious but that was a big check off the list!

Oh, I actually ended up getting two invitations returned to me this week. Like, thanks USPS for waiting 3 weeks after I sent them to give them back. So I’m sorry to those people who will be receiving theirs with only 2 weeks left to respond. The RSVPs keep coming in. It’s funny because one day there will be none or maybe one in the mailbox, then the next there are about six.

I have been working on getting up an “Our Story” type blog post since this website was created. At first, I figured it would just be my point of view since I’m the one manning the wedding website. But as time has gone on, I decided it would be pretty cool to get both of our perspectives. I tend to write a lot, and I’m very descriptive, and I (sometimes) remember more than Tom does. So instead of just having one post with my POV, I’ve asked Tom to write his perspective of how we met, when we dated, got engaged, etc. So be on the look-out for those posts in the coming weeks!

Wedding Update: T-minus-3 months!

90 days folks. Ninety. Days. That’s like how much time stores give to return items. In 90 days, there will be no returns, exchanges, or refunds. No exceptions.No refund or exchangeSo this month, I (once again) have not done much. I bought my plane tickets to go upstate in June for my bridal shower. I also chose the color for my girls’ shoes. Do those count?

Oh, my friend and I picked out adorable outfits for her twins (our ring bearer and flower girl)! They will probably steal the show.

I just talked to our Pastor last night and he informed me we should figure out exactly what we want for our ceremony – whether we want special music, readings, etc. We haven’t really talked about that but we definitely will make some decisions soon!

I literally just booked our wedding night hotel room – jacuzzi tub?! No way! Yes. Yes way.

But yeah, it seems like everyone else has done more work this month than me…

My bridesmaids and maid of honor have been taking care of bridal shower (and bachelorette party?) stuff. And I have no idea what to expect, which is how it’s supposed to be, but I am usually the type to know all the details. But I love surprises and my friends are amazing, so I’m not too worried.

My coworker was asking about my bachelorette party and what I wanted and what I thought they might do for me. All I really want is to have fun with my girlfriends, have some drinks and maybe go dancing (either at a club or bar or in one of their basements). I’m not picky.

She then asked about having male strippers; I told her that if she knew me and my friends, we aren’t into that kind of thing. “Look, I know the bachelorette party is mainly for the bride, but it’s also for the friends to have fun. You never know, some of them might be into that kind of thing.” Ohh if she only knew my friends. I think if they got me male strippers, after puking in my mouth a little, I would ultimately laugh out of discomfort and the sheer ridiculousness of it all.

Chris Farley Patrick Swayze

And no phallic straws, cakes, glasses, necklaces, tiaras, piñatas, etc. please. I’m sorry but it had to be mentioned. I’m not worried that my friends will do that kind of thing, but I just wanted to make a general comment. Good Lord the things people come up with.

Moving right along, my mother- and sister-in-law have been planning a bridal shower for Tom’s family and friends down here. My mother-in-law made a trial hair and makeup appointment with a guy her sister and friend both love and recommended. Woot! I’m excited to be made pretty!

She also found a large picture frame at a garage sale that is going to be perfect for my escort card display. It was a picture originally sold for $70 at Home Goods (the sticker was still on the back) that she purchased for $3. The picture is ridiculously ugly and I can’t imagine who would pay that much money for it. But yeah we’ll take the picture out, replace it with a piece of burlap covered wood, and then hammer nails into it to hang keys from. I saw it on Pinterest so hopefully it turns out okay.

Oh! Oh! I have been looking for outfits for my mom for the upstate reception! Boom! Werk it gurl. So yeah I asked her what kind of outfit she would like to wear and started searching online for dresses and shoes. I have to get her approval so I will show her my finds when I’m back home for my bridal shower weekend next month.

I’m super pumped because she will be able to view them on her new laptop!!!! I bought her an Acer, but shhhh, she won’t get it until I go up in June. I will play around with it, download applications she will need, and get used to it so I can just explain how to use it instead of us both learning together. I got it mainly so that she can have email so I can send her pictures, listen to music, watch me get married, and also watch cat videos on YouTube! She has no idea, and I’m really excited, and I hope she likes it, so don’t tell her!

Let’s see, I’ve been working out at least twice every week so that I can be sure to fit into my dress! I’m using the C25K free app to get me running about 3 times per week; I used it last year when I was training for an actual 5K, and it worked wonders. It’s an 8-week training program that is meant to be used 3 times per week to increase your endurance and ultimately run a 5K in about 30 minutes (to average around a 10-minute mile).

C25K app

Personally, I’ve been using the app to keep me from getting bored while running. You should definitely check it out if you’re either training to run a 5K or get bored while running and need a little guidance to improve your endurance.

So I’m thinking this next month will be filled with addressing invitations, trying out hair and makeup styles, testing a spray tan or two, bridal showers, and continuing to grow closer to Tom (aww, I know, cheesy) as our big day draws ever nearer.

Wedding Dream #2

And yet another addition to the crazy, panic-inducing wedding nightmares. This one was short, but still made me wake up with a racing heart. Silly, I know, but let’s get on with it.

At first it seemed like the current time. It was only March; we had about 5 months to go. No invitations had been sent yet, so I didn’t know who was going to make it. Therefore, no seating arrangements had been made, the ceremony was still a ways away.

But then, standing in the large room filled with decorated tables, men in suits, women in dresses, I had the feeling that this was definitely our wedding.

All these people must have received an invitation, otherwise why would they be here? So that means it’s August. Where have the last few months gone?

Panic set in.

People were still filing into the ballroom, although I didn’t recall booking a ballroom for any of our events. I realized that I didn’t know or mean to invite most of the people searching for a seat at the large banquet tables. And althoug I didn’t remember having a ceremony prior to this, it seemed as though we were now at the dinner reception.

Had I slipped into a coma for 5 months and just now woke up? Had I mentally missed out on the ceremony, only to make it for the reception? Well, I must’ve said ‘I do’, so at least that worked out.

Some girl started taking over the seating arrangements, telling everyone where to sit at the large tables. Tom and I were told to sit at the corner of the table, among all these (unknown) guests. Not ideal, but at least we were supposed to sit next to each other.

Speaking of Tom, I realized I had no idea where he was. Great, is he standing me up? Is he playing golf, like in my last dream? Will he be strolling in wearing jeans and a t-shirt? None of the above.

Unlike my last dream, Tom walked in all dressed in his tux, ready to go. He had to pick up his parents to bring them to the dinner, so that’s why he had just arrived. Me, on the other hand? I wasn’t dressed for the occasion at all.

Tom walked over to me, wrinkling his eyebrows. “Have you even showered yet?” he asked.

No. No I hadn’t. I was still wearing plainclothes. A men’s flannel plaid button-up and jeans, to be exact. Had I been out farming before this? And I had second-day hair, so it’s not like I could just style it and go.

“Yeah, you should go do that. We don’t have much time until the ceremony starts.”

And that’s where it ended. Thank goodness. Anyone else have crazy wedding or other big event dreams/nightmares?

Wedding Update: Halfway There (6 months to go!)

We are halfway there folks! There are only 6 months left in this journey to the altar! And guess what…saturday night live so freaking excited kristen wiig

A lot of progress has been made this past month! We finalized the bridesmaids’ dresses so all my girls can put their orders in and I can’t wait until they receive their dresses so I can see them and have peace of mind in that department. The online company that the dresses are from is actually sending me a swatch of the dress color so I can use that to match the guys’ ties.

Speaking of, Tom and I agreed on the guys’ attire, so we just need to go somewhere like Men’s Wearhouse, find the tuxes we want, and get measurements and orders in. This one is a front-runner:

dumb and dumber orange tux dance gif

We sent out Save the Dates about 3 weeks ago, and it made me feel really good to hear that people thought they looked nice! The following week, I started looking into invitations; goodness, I just finished getting the STDs out, do I really need to start getting invitations already? I’ve let Tom look at a few that I personalized and we have an idea of what we both like, so that’s progress.

Since we sent out our Save the Dates, our wedding website is now public! If you want to go check it out, it’s right here; it includes not only the updates I’ve published here on my personal blog, but also has the proposal story and will continue to have new wedding-related posts that I might not post on here.

Also, we received our first engagement gift this month! One of Mrs. Harrigan’s co-workers/friends (who is invited to the wedding) gave us a set of BEAUTIFUL crystal champagne flutes. They are absolutely stunning, and surprisingly heavy!

Waterford Crystal Believe Flutes

We went to a florist last weekend, and I have to admit that this was one of the pieces of planning that had me kind of stressed. So far, everything has been fairly stressless – our venue, my dress, the bridal party attire – and yet I’m worried about flowers. Is that weird or what?

I had ideas about what I wanted, but there are just so many options when it comes to bouquets and centerpieces and other arrangements. I think most (if not, all) flowers are pretty, so it’s hard to narrow it down! I mean, you can start by figuring out the color(s) you want to use, but after that you still have so many options and combinations!Wedding flower collage

I figured it was time to start hammering out the flower situation, so I made an appointment with a florist in Melville, NY since they have worked with our venue before. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of meeting with multiple florists and having to go over the same layout multiple times and then have to choose which one to go with and then start doubting my ideas and decisions.

The lady we met with was very knowledgeable and thorough in all aspects of the typical wedding flower arrangements. She sat with us for about an hour and a half going over everything from bouquets and centerpieces to boutonnieres and corsages.

We decided that since she was so great and we would be getting everything we wanted/needed, we would just go with this florist instead of shlepping around to others and spending more time when we could just get it done and over with. I’m really thankful that Tom agreed to go with me because I know it’s not something he really wanted to spend a couple hours doing on a Saturday.

Not only did he come with me, but Tom actually contributed his ideas and opinions! I honestly don’t think he realizes how happy that made me. It may seem silly, especially to guys, but I’m sure that all engaged girls out there can appreciate those moments when our grooms participate in the planning process, no matter how small the task. Unless you’re a bride who wants no one else’s opinion but your own; that’s fine, carry on.

But seriously Tom, you’re amazing for picking out flowers. I love you!stefon aww gif saturday night live

Anyways, I guess we can step off the corny train now.

I really want to go cake-tasting. Like, bad. I don’t think that has to happen until about 2 months before the wedding, but I want to go now. I want 20 different flavors of cake, with buttercream frosting, all cut into bite-size pieces, so that I can pop those suckers in my mouth and savor each and every one of them. Except, then we have to decide on only one for the wedding. Bummer.wedding cake tasting

We’ve discussed the honeymoon situation and I think we’ve come to a decision. Since we’re getting married in the middle of August in Long Island, holding a separate reception upstate the next weekend, and I’ll (hopefully!) be starting a teaching job soon after, I don’t see us having time to go on a proper (i.e. week+ long) honeymoon for awhile after. So we’ll go on our honeymoon over winter break; not only would that give us a few months to settle into married life (living together and me starting a new job, for starters) but it’ll also get us out of the cold for a bit!

Alrighty, well, until next month: cheers!

Wedding Update: 8 months to go!

Holy cow this past month went fast! With Thanksgiving a couple weeks ago and Christmas coming up, I just now realized that yesterday marks 8 months until our wedding. This week also marks my last week of graduate school, so my mind has been focused on writing final papers, studying for final exams, and moving out of my dorm room.

Crazy schedule aside, we did get quite a few things established and figured out this month, one being the entire bridal party. I had mine picked out awhile ago and they all said yes! Tom knew who he wanted yet kept forgetting to ask when we hung out with them. But finally, all in one weekend, we either hung out with or he contacted all of his guys. And wouldn’t you know, they all agreed! Yay friends!

While discussing this over breakfast this past weekend with Tom’s folks, I mentioned that I was trying to find some nice gifts for my girls. Tom’s dad suggested we just make t-shirts for everyone with one of our awesome beach pictures on them. So I wanted to try it out. Do you think they would love these or what? I mean, this girl looks happy about it.tshirt

Along with getting the bridal party all figured out, my friend and Maid of Honor, Courtney, helped me figure out the dresses for the girls! While perusing the internet, I had found a dress that I really liked but it was only sold online. Then, back in October, Courtney came down to Long Island and tried on a few bridesmaid dresses, but none of them jumped out to me.

We went to this one place, Estelle’s Dressy Dresses in Farmingdale, that I had looked at online and saw a couple dresses I wouldn’t mind trying out. Not only was the size of the store overwhelming, but so was the amount of cheetah print, sequins, feathers, peek-a-boos, and neon-pink-to-neon-orange ombre floor length tulle dresses. Picture these dresses, but add more sequins and feathers, and take away fabric.Estelle's Dressy Dresses sample shot

I mean, these dresses would be okay if you were going to a rave or party in the Dominican Republic. Or in the dark. But for a wedding? Girl, please. It was comical (although disappointing and frustrating) at how horrendous these dresses were and the fact that people were walking out of the store having purchased something.

As much as I wanted that original online dress, it can be a pain when trying to figure out sizes, whether alterations will be necessary, how the online colors compare to the real-life colors, etc. The cool thing with the company, Wedding Shoppe Inc., is that they have this great policy called Find-Try-Buy that allows you to order samples of their brand of dresses you like for $1 each. They send them to your house and you have three days before you must send them back to the company. Although you specify your size when you order the samples, you may not receive exactly the size you requested due to the availability of the samples. You also may not get the color you are planning for your event, so that can be kind of unnerving.

So Courtney did this for me, ordered two different dresses (both very similar) and sent me pictures when they came in. She said the material was great, and the shapes were nice even though they sent her dresses 1 or 2 sizes too big. And wouldn’t you know it, I liked my original pick the best. So she ordered the dress in the correct color (the samples were both black, which is not the color I want for the dresses) and the correct size, and I’m so excited because it looks awesome…from what I can see via Skype…

So now we have everyone set who will be involved in the wedding – the officiant (we knew who that would be when we joked about marriage back in Geneseo! Little did we know…), the bridal party, and the flower girl and ring bearer.

I did our wedding registry this month too. That was surprisingly stressful. Fun at times, but also stressful. The traditional way to do this is for the couple to go to the selected store(s) together, obtain a set of those scanner guns, and then go nuts scanning bar codes. When I think of registries, I think of the scene from 27 Dresses where Jane and Kevin are in the store completing her sister’s registry.

After Jane scans two identical (except for the color) roasting pans, Kevin comments, “Good God, another one?”

Then she moves on to scan a vase when she says, “And this isn’t just another vase (she says vozz, he corrects her); this is the ‘vozz’ that Tess will get out when George brings home flowers…just because he felt like it.”

“And this,” Kevin says dreamily, “this is the rooster-shaped umbrella holder that will hold all of George’s umbrellas.” He sighs and smiles for added effect.james marsden 27 dresses rooster shaped umbrella holder

Well, we did not do any of this. Tom hates shopping and was ready to just forego the idea of a registry altogether. But it’s nice for the bridal shower or whatever, so people have an idea of what we like and/or need. And I figured it would just be easier to do it all online; that way reviews are readily available, I can take my time researching the best items, figuring out good prices, all that jazz.

So I registered on Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and then decided to register at Target as well. Both are reasonably priced, but Target works well for more everyday items, where BB&B has some great quality items, as well as a wide selection of everything.

amazon_registry

And then, about a week or so later, we found out that Amazon does wedding registries. What??? Yes. And you can download a little Amazon button that acts as a Pinterest button – so if you’re on a website like Target or BB&B or Crate and Barrel, and you like an item, just press the Amazon button and a window will pop up allowing you to add that item to your registry. Plus, it finds matches on Amazon if they exist! How cool? So yeah, I switched everything over to Amazon. Some of the items are linked back to Target and BB&B because either Amazon did not have them or I specifically liked them better.

Last, but certainly not least, we picked our photographer this month! I talked about this in my last update, but I had made an appointment with that other photography company and still was not 100% sold on their portfolio. Our friend from college, Jon, was actually my first pick from the beginning. He’s done a few weddings for other couples from Geneseo, as well as numerous other events. Plus he was a photographer for Geneseo, so obviously he’s pretty awesome. But hey, if you don’t believe me, check out his portfolio and tell me he’s not cool. I dare you.

I think we’ll be going to the venue soon to pick out our menu and hopefully negotiate some more on finagling a dessert in there or something. We now just need a DJ/MC (we have one we’re looking at, we just have to check them out and see their prices) and a florist, and I think that about covers everything. Invitations and the wedding website are on the list of things to get done soon…as has been the story every other month.

I hope everyone has a great Christmas this coming up week – relax and enjoy time with loved ones! I’ll leave you with a couple of pictures taken on Thanksgiving.Thanksgiving

Wedding Update: 9 Months to go!

Down to the nine month mark! This past month has been more thinking and visualizing rather than actually making concrete decisions and plans. I mean, we have our venue and I got my dress, the rest is a cake-walk, right?

One thing I can happily say is that I haven’t been a bridezilla.

Right, Tom? RIGHT?!?!

But seriously, if I’m being completely honest, I haven’t done any crazy complaining or stressing. I mean, I’ve watched some of those shows with crazy brides, and they totally stress me out. I can’t make it more than 2 minutes before I need to either change the channel or walk out of the room.

Like, these women are nuts. And it makes me question the sanity of the chump that asked them to spend the rest of their lives together. You really want to spend each and every day with her? And then there are her friends/bridesmaids whom she treats like total garbage. How have they not ended the friendship? Why did they agree to be in her wedding? And how on Earth do they restrain themselves from punching her in the face?!

Breathe, Holliday. Breathe.

But since I haven’t been stressing too much, I was so surprised when I had this crazy wedding dream/nightmare a couple weeks ago. I wrote about it here, so check out how strange it was.

I guess the one thing that hit home the most with that dream was the part about my mom not coming. I’ve been stressing about this the most and trying to figure out possible ways to get her down here. And then the guilt sets in.

Am I selfish for having my wedding down in Long Island instead of upstate? It has been less stressful planning it down here, and yet I feel like a horrible daughter in making it more difficult for my mom to come.

So I’ve been looking into finding resources in order to get mom down here:

  1. Her friend offered to pay for transportation down here – plane, train, whatever – so that’s one less thing to worry about. Realistically, a plane would be the best way because she can’t sit in her chair for more than a few hours.
  2. From there, we’d need to find transportation from the airport to Long Island (and vice versa when she goes home).
  3. We would need to have an aide with her to take care of anything she’d need that we can’t do.
  4. Along with the aide, the nursing home uses a Hoyer lift for these transports, so we’d probably need one of those.

Is there such a thing as renting a nursing home room or assisted living space for a night? That would be great!

On top of all this, the most important thing is keeping her stress level as low as possible. Stress exacerbates her condition, so we would need to make everything as easy on her as we could. This was actually one of the reasons we didn’t hold it upstate.

No matter what we plan, in the end, her MS will rule the day and decide how she feels. So even if we did hold it upstate, there’s always a chance that she may wake up that morning and feel like total garbage and be unable to attend anyways. See my dilemma?

Whew, okay, let’s move on. I’m becoming a stress-ball again.

On a lighter note, I’ve been designing our Save the Dates. In the wedding world, they call these STDs for short; I know, weird. Tom suggested skipping the STDs…wait…ahem, let’s just use Save the Dates. Come on Holliday, be mature.

You know you were thinking it too.

So Tom suggested just skipping Save the Dates and going straight to the invitations. Because we are having a wedding that has the potential for a lot of out-of-town guests, it would be a great idea to get a head count earlier than typical timelines suggest. This way we will have an idea of how many hotel rooms we might need to block, how many guests in general for ceremony and meal preparations, and how many would attend a separate reception if we held one upstate.

On top of that, we need to figure out a picture we both like to put on the Save the Dates and/or Invitations; we might need a few depending on what design we go with. Tom and I both like the Save the Date postcard idea, so if we do send STDs, we’ll probably go with something like this:Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.47.25 AM copy

Except Tom isn’t a fan of the front picture. Which brings me to finding a photographer…

So an appointment had been made to meet with the photography company that works closely with our venue. Except someone (I won’t name names) slept through said appointment. Normally I think this would stress me (or anyone) out, but to be honest I’m not too impressed with that company’s portfolio.

Since they are based in Long Island, I wouldn’t have been able to attend the original appointment anyways, since I have grad school and work during the week. I’ve had my eye on two other photographers whose work I find so much better, but obviously they’re a bit pricier. I want the photos to be amazing, so I really don’t want to skimp and end up with crummy pictures just to save a few bucks. But I also don’t want to pay an arm and a leg, either.

So I made an appointment with one of the other photography companies I liked better, and I’m hoping that things will go well and we can decide to go with them. I’d also like to set up an engagement session with them. This way we can become comfortable with our photographer and we can all get an idea of what we want for the big day.

A couple weeks ago, we asked Tom’s dad to take a few pictures at the beach where we got engaged since he has a pretty nice camera. We have this running joke about not wanting super awkward pictures, so I mentioned poses like the ‘peering around a tree at each other’ pose. So we made a point to take a picture like that for fun, knowing that it is something we want to avoid with actual engagement pictures.tree

Even with our desire not to get awkward pictures, we got plenty of them that day. Not because we were super pose-y or cheesey, but because it was super windy and sunny at the beach. We wanted candid, we got candid. All I have to say is watch what you wish for. Outtakes might be posted on our wedding website, so wear a diaper for that experience.

Speaking of, Tom and I got to sit down and work on the website together last weekend. Tom did most of the work while I sat next to him and made my suggestions for overall look and functions. I’m always so amazed when I watch him do stuff with computers!

How did you know what to do to fix that? How did you know to type that? Where did you learn all this stuff?!

I’ve learned a lot along the way because he knows how to break things down and explain them to someone who is not completely technology illiterate but is nowhere near his level of knowledge. It was a nice bonding time for us and hopefully the site will be up soon.

screenshot 1
October 2011

On top of all that, I realized that this year will be the first time we get to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas together! Tomorrow, November 17, is the three year mark since we met, but we haven’t actually spent a major holiday together because of the whole 400-miles-between-us thing. We’ve talked over Skype on such days, but to actually be able to be with each other and share the joy that those days bring makes me really excited.

And (okay, let’s get cheesy for a second) kind of emotional. I mean, you have no idea how long I’ve waited to be able to spend special days – holidays, birthdays, even just going out on dates – with Tom. It’s crazy thinking about all the time we spent so far away, all the things we couldn’t do, all the experiences and memories we couldn’t share because of the distance between us.

September 2012
September 2012

Through the difficult times, the frustrations, the doubts, the short visits, the extreme loneliness following the short visits, and the inability to share all the good times without a screen between us. After 2 years of that, you can imagine how ecstatic I am knowing that Tom and I no longer have to endure these!

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. –Romans 5: 1-5

Yes, we will still have frustrating times; I understand that marriage does not magically take away problems. If anything, problems will be brought to light or created as a married couple spending a lot of time together. But we’ll be able to work through them face to face. God seriously tested our relationship, and now we’re going to be joined in marriage! And I’m pumped!

So I told Tom the other day that we might just need to get one of those cheesy “Our First Christmas” ornaments for the tree this year! And we can put one of our awkward beach photos on it. Like this one:IMG_0184 copy 2

Or maybe something more like this:

IMG_0192 copy 2

All I know is there are plenty of awkward pictures to choose from. And all I can say is that we’re a couple of awkward people. And we must embrace it.

So, to put a twist on Romans 5: 3-5,

We rejoice in our shared awkwardness because it produces our endurance to deal with each other’s awkward characters. Let us hope that we can get pictures a little less awkward. If not, we have no shame because God loves us no matter what.