Wedding Update: Bridal Shower #1

This past weekend I was so blessed and honored by the beautiful bridal shower hosted by my future mother- and sister-in-law.

The day went off without a hitch. To start, the weather was absolutely amazing; leaving the house and being greeted by the sunshine was fantastic.

Pre-shower sunshine

Not only that, but the restaurant, the food, the staff, and of course all of the wonderful ladies that attended made for a perfect shower.

We arrived at The Country House in Stony Brook and everything was decorated beautifully. We had the largest of the 4 dining rooms and as we entered the room, a large punch bowl greeted us. It was filled with a champagne and fruit juice mix with blackberries and strawberry pieces floating in it. I immediately took a glass and was pleasantly surprised to find it wasn’t too bubbly but also wasn’t too juicy; I ended up having 3 glasses without feeling any effects, so it wasn’t strong.

Each table was set featuring lavender napkins and centered with a bouquet of flowers. I chose a seat more towards the middle of the room so that I could mingle with everyone instead of being set apart from them all. Mrs. Harrigan bought a huge balloon featuring wedding bells to tie to my chair, making it known who the bride-to-be was.

Big Bride Balloon

I met so many women that I had only heard stories about and sent save-the-dates to, so it was great finally putting faces to names. Meeting some of Mrs. Harrigan’s work friends was fun because I’ve heard hilarious work stories featuring them.

Once everyone had shown up, the staff served us salad to start before bringing out the entrees – a choice of chicken marsala or salmon with risotto. I went for the salmon and it was divine.

After the main course, they brought out the coffee, tea, and cake. This cake. Oh my goodness was it delicious. It was a vanilla cake with a chocolate mousse filling and buttercream frosting. The actual cake part was so moist (ugh, I hate that word), and the frosting was so soft. And to top it off, there was a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Let me tell you, it was Heaven on a plate.

Cake

Once all the place settings were cleared, it was time for presents. It was great because the staff members of the restaurant were at the ready so whenever I was finished opening a present they would come over and take it to another spot in the restaurant. This way I wasn’t accumulating a pile of stuff around me and it made the process of loading up the cars easier.

I could not believe just how many presents were filling up the present table. I (and Tom, by default) was way too spoiled, but I’m so excited about everything I (we) received. Thank you all so much for your kind and entertaining company, loving support, and well wishes.

As people left, they were reminded to take a favor, these adorable little mason jars wrapped with burlap and lace and filled with jelly beans. My sister-in-law found it on Pinterest – she finds the best stuff on there.

Tom went out to lunch with his friends and his dad while us ladies were at the shower, so they came at the end of the party to help with loading the cars and to mingle a bit with those who were still around.

Lovebirds

I have my second bridal shower in 2 weekends upstate where I will get to see my friends and family from home! I am beyond excited to see everyone and have a fun-filled (and hopefully cake-filled!) weekend.

As time continues to wind down and August 16 draws closer, I get more and more excited to be marrying my best friend and (officially) becoming part of the Harrigan family. I love you all and thank you for everything.

Photo Shoot

So back in October, we asked Tom’s dad to go to the beach with us to take some pictures. I saw it as an opportunity to get some nice pictures at the place where we got engaged. How cute, right?

The sun was out and the weather was gorgeous, albeit a bit chilly. So I put on a dress, Tom put on a nice sweater, and we headed to the beach. Luckily, it wasn’t crowded at all, but it was a bit (read: a lot) windier at the beach than we had anticipated.

What ensued was quite ridiculous. My hair was all over the place due to the wind. Tom’s eyes were closed most of the time because he could not handle all of the sunlight. I mean, we were just a couple of messes, coming together to make one big mess. Ahh, love.

I plan on making a separate post for the outtakes/awkward/hilarious pictures. This one is dedicated to the few that were “decent” with a little cropping, color changing, and editing. So here we go with our crazy, windy, sunny, hilarious, and fun beach photo shoot!

After the beach, we headed to the Stony Brook Village Center and got a few more (last 2 pictures).

I hope you enjoyed these and I’m certain you’ll enjoy the outtakes. Courtney (our friend and my MOH) and I laughed for probably 2 hours looking at them. So look forward to that. Make sure you wear a diaper.

Wedding Update: 5 months and counting!

This month has been on the stressful side…

Tom got a new job in Brooklyn at the end of February, so now we’ve both been doing the 2-hour train ride. That’s 2 hours each way. Every. Single. Weekday. And we don’t even take the same trains; they are each staggered 2 hours apart.

So with our daily 4-hour commutes, we deal with a mounting lack of sleep and lack of lives outside of work Monday through Friday. We’re lucky if we see each other for more than half an hour each day, so we’ve been living for weekends. Relaxing, chill weekends. Hence why this post is a day late. Deal with it.

Luckily (or maybe not so much) I have plenty of time during work to whittle away at wedding stuff, but sometimes I just don’t feel like it. Either I’m too tired, or I’m observing or helping out in a math class, or want Tom’s opinion before moving forward with something.

With all that said, I’m excited to say that we have seriously gotten a lot accomplished this month!

1. We (finally!) agreed on an invitation design, which is a Godsend. They’re simple yet elegant, which is the overall feel I’ve been going for.

2. Tom, his parents, and I went to a bridal showcase at our venue. Even though we are already going with this venue, I missed out on the last showcase, so I wanted to see what the food tasted like and see what vendors they offered. We still needed a limo and hotel company, so we figured we could check out what was there.

The food was great, they had the bar open, we got to try cupcakes from our cake bakery, and I got to revisit the venue and remember how pretty it is!

3. We also talked to a couple of local hotels to block rooms this month. And I had no idea how complicated this could get! I honestly thought it was just a simple phone call to the hotel, tell them you want to block rooms, they say okay, give you a coupon code or something, and then you tell your out-of-town guests the phone number to reserve rooms.

Not so much. My Invisalign technician and I bond every time I’m in the office for a visit because she is also getting married this year. She said she was stressed out with the whole hotel thing too!

The first hotel I tried calling is partnered with our venue. When I called, no one answered, so I left a voicemail. After a week, my phone call had still gone unreturned. Luckily, they were at the bridal showcase, so I told them about this and she was super apologetic. Unluckily, “August is a very busy month, so rooms would be very limited.”

Then I contacted a hotel closer to Tom’s house. Again, I left a voicemail that was not returned. So that weekend, Tom’s family and I went to said hotel and spoke with the guy at the front desk. He apologized and nonchalantly mentioned that they had previous problems with the woman whom I left a message with. Doesn’t sound promising for her!

He gave us the business card of the woman (a different woman) in charge of blocking hotel rooms, so I emailed her the next day. She responded shortly after, congratulating me on my upcoming wedding but also telling me they had no availability for that weekend. “You could try the Marriot or Hyatt Regency.” Wow, really?

Tom’s dad is a master negotiator. He’s negotiated with our venue multiple times and has totally gotten his way. So we gave him the task of calling and working his magic on the hotel woman. So here’s what happened:

He tried booking 10 rooms on their website for the weekend we need. He did not get any errors stating that they had no availability for these rooms. Ammo. So he called the woman. Six. Times. Without leaving any messages.

“I realized this woman was the type to let calls go to voicemail so she could think about her response before returning the call.” So sneaky! I’m learning so much.Sneaky sneaky

After the sixth call, he left a message saying he needed to block rooms for a “family function”. She returned his call, saying they didn’t have availability, but he pulled his ‘I went online and didn’t have a problem’ card. Then he asked how many rooms they had and how many were already booked for that weekend. Suddenly, she had 22 rooms available!

Well, since that whole shenanigan, we’ve realized that another hotel is going to work out better for what we need. They can already guarantee us more rooms, have already sent us cards that we can include in our invitations, and just gave us all a better vibe. Plus, they’re less expensive than the other one, which is great for the guests who do end up coming down!

4. We have a venue for our rehearsal dinner. Tom’s parents and I went last weekend to a vineyard in town and, even though everything is still kind of brown because spring hasn’t yet sprung, I can tell it’s going to be gorgeous and I’m really excited! They went back today and talked to the owner, so we got that set!

Harmony Vineyards Stony Brook

5. I also ordered Tom’s wedding band! He tried a couple on and picked out his favorite, so it’s not going to be a huge surprise on his end.

6. I booked our upstate reception venue! The cool thing is that when I called and told the woman our date, she looked in her book and said they were already scheduled to host an event. HOWEVER!!! She said the customer hadn’t yet put a deposit down. So she called them and called me right back. They changed their date to October, so they no longer needed it that weekend in August. Which means we got it!

7. One of the most exciting things that happened this month is that we booked a bed and breakfast out in Montauk for a 3-night mini-honeymoon between the downstate and upstate weekends! Eeeek, I’m excited!Montauk lighthouse

8. One of the least exciting is the fact that I’m having more frequent wedding dreams (read: nightmares). They’re so ridiculous, and I’m embarrassed that these worries are consuming my sleep, causing me to wake in a panic. But they do make decent blog posts.

I am on spring break from work for the next 2 weeks, so I think I’ll set a goal to get the legal stuff started – marriage license, and all the stuff I have to do to change my name. Although everyone tells me that Holliday Chatt sounds cool. Hyphenated name maybe? No, that would make for such an obnoxiously long name.

I’ve gotten more used to Holliday Harrigan; sounds funny at first, but now I can sign my name. How math-y and cool is that? Or I can just write 4 vertical lines and then draw a long horizontal line through them all. Boom, two H’s. Or half of a train track. Regardless, super easy!