Engagement Photo Shoot Outtakes

So here it is.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for.

Even if you didn’t know it, I assure you, you’ve been waiting for this moment.

The moment when you see just how awkward and ridiculously hilarious two people can look. And how fantastic it is that it was caught on camera.

The moment you find out that 99% of engagement pictures turn out looking like hot messes, only to produce a select few worth editing and retouching to make somewhat presentable photos.

Then again, that might only pertain to this situation.

The moment you realize, uh oh, you might need to change because, hey, you think you just wet yourself from laughing so much.

*So if you haven’t already done so, you may want to psyche yourself out and look at the decent ones here to prepare yourself for this. Kind of like the calm before the storm type deal.*

So now, without further ado, here are the (seemingly unending) outtakes from our October photo shoot; I didn’t include every single one because some are repetitive. Now grab your Depends, make sure you’re sitting down, and let the mayhem begin.

My friend Courtney was downstate for that weekend and came along for the shoot, so she makes a great addition to a couple of the pictures. 🙂

Oh and if you don’t automatically see anything wrong with a picture, make sure to examine both of our faces, Tom’s eyes, my hair, our body positions, etc. You’ll always find something…

Well, congratulations if you made it this far! I’m even more impressed if you did it without peeing your pants. I mean, I was part of the shoot and have looked at the pictures multiple times since October. They still get me to the point of crying; sometimes from embarrassment, but mostly because they’re hilarious.

Let me know what your favorite(s) is/are and don’t be afraid to like and/or bookmark this post. That way you have easy access to a surefire pick-me-up when you’re feeling blue. Or need a good ab workout.

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!

Wedding Dream #3: My Dress

Go on and read the first and second wedding dreams for more craziness!

This dream revolved around my dress. The only explanation I can think of for this dream is the fact that I sat and watched Say Yes To The Dress for 3 straight hours on Friday (Bride-day!).

So we open at the rehearsal dinner, which is in an obnoxiously large convention center or grand ballroom at a hotel. There are hundreds of people here, and I’m sitting at one of the tables with a bunch of random people. Tom is nowhere in sight, but Jennifer Garner, who introduces herself as Jen, is sitting across from me.

Hmm, she looks really familiar…

We chat for a bit and a man at my table casually mentions how great this party is.

“Cool, I’m the bride!” I say. Had they not realized this or was he telling me what a great party we were having?

A minute later, this all seems unimportant when I realize that I’m wearing my wedding dress. At the rehearsal dinner. Shoot, Tom might have seen me! Now it won’t be a surprise when I walk down the aisle tomorrow! What was I thinking?!

Luckily, I find a full-sized pillow which I hug to try and cover myself. In my dream, this doesn’t seem weird at all. But thinking about it now, where on earth did this pillow come from? Plus, the table had a tablecloth on it which would have worked just as well.

I gotta make a break for it. I can try to get home quickly, change into a different dress, and hope this one is in perfect shape for tomorrow.

I grab a couple of people I recognize from high school and tell them my plan. The three of them will surround me until I can get out the door and make a run for it.

All is going as planned until I try to get out one set of doors and, of course, that’s where Tom is. He’s chatting someone up, and I don’t think he notices me as I dash the opposite way, to the other set of doors. I bust out of them and just start running.

Now, I must say, I’m impressed with my endurance throughout the next (what would seem to be) half hour. Upon exiting the ballroom, I’m running through a mall concourse. Darting around people, holding my dress up to ensure no falling or tripping or stepping on it occurred.

It has to be pristine when I get it back home.

Then, before you know it, I’m running through a woodsy area, barefoot, and I start noticing that the dress is beginning to look kind of dirty.

Oh, wait, that’s the black felt (yes, I said felt) design that outlines the bust and train. Except I don’t remember my dress having that…

And then the doubt of whether I picked the right dress starts. I’m certain now that Tom will hate the dress. But I guess I liked it enough to get it, so I’ll just have to embrace it.

Plus, I realize how hungry I am. I knew people said you barely have time to eat on your wedding day, but this was only my rehearsal dinner.

I must not have eaten a lot, and now with all this running…I can’t imagine what tomorrow is going to bring!

By the time I reach what I know as home (it was more like a few Geneseo campus housing buildings put in a row…reminiscent, maybe?), my dress was completely filthy.

I ran that entire way and only had trouble running once. In most dreams, I can’t run; it’s like a force is pushing against me. I remember thinking about that in this dream, but since I didn’t realize I was in a dream, I assumed I was just running uphill or something.

My first stop is to the dry cleaner. I run in, ask if they could have my dress done by the next day, and the guy says, “Yeah, for about a million bucks.”

“What?!” is all I can muster.

“I think what he’s trying to say is since you want it done with such short notice and in such a short amount time, it will be pricey,” a woman waiting in line says.

Thanks for the wisdom, ma’am. Crap, what am I going to do?

And then I woke up. Phew, this has got to stop. Except there are 5 months more to go! Oh man.

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!

Another month bites the dust: 7 months to go!

I hope everyone had great Christmas and New Year’s celebrations; it feels like forever ago already! This post is 50/50 wedding update and rambly blog post/life update. Or maybe it’s more like 30/70…you be the judge.

In the days following my last post, I moved out of my dorm room and into Tom’s parents’ house. And let’s just say it was a miracle that everything fit in his car and still had space to look out the rearview mirror. Except I was crushed under 3 packed bags the entire 2 hour ride home. But I wore my seatbelt. Safety first!packed car

A few days later, we spent Christmas Eve with Tom’s mom’s side of the family. It was so exciting because it was our first Christmas together!!! (Read more about that in last month’s update)

On top of that, I think I’ve worked the past few years on Christmas Eve because Walmart only closes on Christmas Day. Since I never really had plans, I always volunteered to work on Christmas Eve. Let those with families spend the day with them and enjoy some time off. My time will come, some day. Plus, the time-and-a-half won’t hurt my bank account. So this year it was nice to finally have the holidays off.

It had been decently warm for the few days leading up to Christmas, so I was kind of bummed that there wouldn’t be at least a little snow for Christmas. But later on Christmas Eve, after we had eaten dinner, opened our stockings from Tom’s grandma, and nibbled on dessert, lo and behold it started snowing! And they were big, fat flakes! It was so pretty and perfect for Christmas Eve.

When we got home later that night, Tom and I were talking and I mentioned that I hoped he liked the presents I got him. He said something about my possibly getting a present before Christmas. But he never handed me anything or told me to go look behind the desk (A Christmas Story reference, anyone?).

I went to bed, started up Netflix, and checked my emails, only to find that Tom had purchased dance lessons for us! Now we (hopefully) won’t look like complete fools at our wedding! And we can have fun together doing something different! That definitely put a huge smile on my face. 🙂

The next morning, Tom’s sister Casey made the announcement that it was Christmas morning (haha, thanks Case) so we all got up, had a light breakfast, and then it was time for presents. I got all amazing gifts and am so thankful for everything I received (which was way too much).

One of the gifts Tom and I received was an ornament from Casey to celebrate our first Christmas together as an engaged couple. Which is funny because our friends got us one too (a different one) a few days before when we hung out with them! I had mentioned to Tom that we should get one of those ornaments this year, but we never got around to it; now I’m really glad we didn’t!

Ornaments

We spent the rest of the day with his family, his aunt, and grandma, eating dinner and just spending time together. It was such a relaxing and enjoyable day.

The weekend after Christmas was dedicated to traveling upstate to visit my mom, my Godmother Josie, and my friends. All in a matter of 3 days. Yeah, I seriously had a schedule set as to who we saw what day.  I hated feeling like I had to make appointments with people because of our quick visit, but I did not want to leave without seeing everyone. It was a whirlwind weekend, but it definitely filled my heart to full capacity.

Tom and I traveled by bus to Rochester, rented a car, stayed in a hotel, and spent the entire weekend running around, making sure to touch base with everyone we planned to. I’m so thankful that he took a weekend off to do all of that for me. I dragged him all over, and he didn’t complain once. I’m also very thankful that all my friends, my mom, and my Godmother like him…otherwise, there’d be problems.Main St. Pizza friends lunch

We visited my mom Saturday and got to give her our Christmas presents; she’s been pretty down lately because she’s so sick and tired of the nursing home. I know she’s been frustrated and I was hoping that our visit would bring her spirits up a bit. We brought her Chinese food on Sunday, so I think that made her feel a little better too.

She’s also been upset about her inability to attend our wedding. I think she has a newfound determination to make it happen, but I keep assuring her that if she can’t make it we will livestream it for her. Plus, we’re definitely having a separate reception in Batavia soon after. A less stressful situation is much better for her, and I think she would have a much better time with a smaller event with more people she knows (AKA her family).

Before we knew it, it was New Year’s Eve. We stayed home and had hors d’oeuvres that night, watching the NYE festivities on TV. When the clock struck midnight, with Tom by my side, I realized, We’re getting married this year! Yippee!!

Now that I’m done with grad school (hallelujah!!!) and the holidays have passed, I have more time to focus on the remaining pieces of the wedding, as well as finding a job. We got our Save the Dates delivered recently, so my next task is to address and mail those suckers ASAP.

We also had customized labels made to stick on STDs (haha, still can’t get past that) going to people living upstate and elsewhere to announce our separate reception there. That way they know that there is a second option in case traveling 7+ hours by car (1 hour by plane) is too much or whatever the case may be. Second chances are great, right?

My future mother- and sister-in-law ordered their dresses this past weekend! I got to go and see them try dresses on and they look stunning in the ones they chose! I feel like I haven’t been doing much to prepare for this wedding recently, and 7 months feels like forever away, so having that reminder was exciting.

I’ve been putting finishing touches on our wedding website since the URL is on the STDs and (hopefully) people will  start visiting it once those get mailed. I’m really excited because I’ve learned a lot about customizing sites and have finally realized why Tom is so nitpicky about how things look on websites! I find myself judging websites a lot more than I did before…

I’ve also been looking into flowers and think I found a style that I like, so I have to contact a couple florists to see who I like better. I’m hoping that since I have this Friday and next Monday off we can get to the venue to pick out the menu and such. We also have a DJ/MC in mind, so maybe we can check them out this weekend as well. So much to do. Until next month, cheers!

Christmas picture

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.