Thursday, August 1, 2013

Saying "I Do"

On September 10, 2011, the Mr. and I became husband and wife.  Here are the details surrounding our special day…

Leading up to the wedding day was nothing short of being chaotic.   Being that I had anticipated this day for such a long time, I had a lot of the plans figured out in my mind.  Of course, those plans changed slightly once the ring was actually on my finger.  However, one thing that never changed was the fact that I wanted my wedding to be unique.  I am a traditionalist yet I strive to be unique.  When it comes to planning a wedding being traditional yet unique can prove to be a little difficult.  Ha!

First things first, we had to come up with a date.   We wanted a date that meant something to us, yet wasn’t too far in the future as we did not want a long engagement.  I scanned through the calendar and immediately noticed that September 10th was on a Saturday.  There isn’t a specific importance to September 10th, but it stood out to me for sheer fact that it was a chronological date: 09.10.11.  The Mr. couldn’t possibly forget a date like that!

I’ve always thought that outdoor weddings were absolutely gorgeous; however, I’ve known that an outdoor wedding is not for me.  I like being organized, having a plan and being well-prepared, all of which are up-in-the-air with an outdoor wedding.  Having an outdoor wedding means that I would need a back-up plan should the weather not cooperate and my nerves just couldn’t handle that.  I could feel myself having an anxiety attack just thinking about rain at an outdoor wedding, so outdoor was never an option.
Being that it would be an indoor affair, we wanted to get married in our church, Windy Gap Baptist.  It is the church that I grew up in and the church where Matt later joined once giving his life over to Christ.  It was also big enough to accommodate our families and friends.  Once the date was nailed down, we checked with our pastor to make sure the church was available and it was, thankfully.   The church has a large Fellowship Hall where we could have our reception.  I found this important as a lot of times if a ceremony and reception are in different locations some guests may not attend the reception. Plus I didn’t want our guests having to drive from place to place.  So it worked out nicely that everything could take place at our church.  The church is located in my hometown and about twenty-five miles from Matt’s hometown. 

Once the wedding rehearsal was over, everyone made their way to the Fellowship Hall for dinner.  Matt’s mother’s side of the family is part Italian so we asked if they would be able to prepare an Italian feast for our rehearsal dinner.  They were more than happy to oblige.  My mother-in-law, two of her sisters and her mom spent the day before and day of rehearsal making homemade lasagnas, spaghetti with meatballs, garlic bread, salads and cheesecake.  My sister-in-law’s mom made mandarin orange cupcakes and cake as well.  A HUGE thank you to Michelle, Gramma, Aunt Net, Aunt Zaz and Darlene for all their hard work the food was beyond delicious!

After the rehearsal dinner was over, Matt and I went our separate ways until time to meet at the alter the following afternoon.  Matt went back to his house with the groomsmen. The Bridesmaids and I went to the
Cabin at Finnegan’s Farm owned by a family friend that could house us all for the night. Once at the cabin, the girls threw a lingerie shower for me.  They are all so sweet.  It was a great way to end out the night.
On the wedding day, my sister hosted a Bridal Luncheon at the Sunset Restaurant in Franklin for all the bridesmaids.  It was so nice to enjoy a meal with my closest girlfriends.  As random as it may be, I ate a chuck wagon and fries.  To this day, that still cracks me up.  I have no idea why I would order that on my wedding day of all days!  Thank you, Nancy, for being so awesome and doing that for me.  I think I’ll keep you as my little sister.

Oh, the dress.  I always thought I would buy a new wedding dress and then wear my mother‘s veil.  However, my desire to be unique changed everything.  I realized that if I went to a bridal boutique to find a dress that somewhere in the USA another bride (or two) probably chose the same dress.   Yes, I know I may sound petty, but I didn’t want to share my wedding dress with anyone else even if I didn’t know who she was.
For those of you who do not know, my real mom passed away when I was two years old.  (To avoid future confusion, after Dad remarried, I have referred to my step-mother as “Mom” because that is exactly what she is to me, my Mom.)  My Dad had always told me growing up that he had my (real) mom’s wedding dress preserved in a box should my sister or I want to wear it.   I remember thinking as a child that her dress was pretty but very dated.   It screamed 1977.  Like I said before, I always thought I would buy a new dress and would wear her veil.  A few days after we were engaged, I went home and with the help of my mom and sister-in-law, I tried on my mom’s wedding dress.   There was chiffon.  There was lace.  There were ruffles.  There were big poufy sleeves.  There was layer of rain coat material.  It was interesting to say the least.    But as I was standing inside this dress that was way too big for me, I saw potential.  I saw the dress as something more than what it seemed.  I began describing my thoughts and slowly as we began to tuck and hide I saw it; my wedding dress. 

Once I had my dress envisioned, I met with a the seamstress who confirmed that my alterations were possible and we moved forward.    The chiffon sleeves were removed and the right shoulder was removed to create a one-shouldered dress.  Other than taking in the dress, no other alterations were necessary.   I fell in love with the dress.  I was thrilled that no other bride would have the option to wear a dress exactly like mine.  It was unique, it was special and it was all mine.

*Front of the Dress*
 *Back/Side of Dress*
I ended up not wearing the veil.  Instead, I purchased a birdcage and a flower to wear in my hair.  I wanted to wear heels with the dress, but due to the amount of “taking in” that took place, I lost some of the length, so I had to wear flats.  I chose a pair of gold peep toes.  My jewelry was minimal.  I wore a strand of pearls my parents had given me as a Christmas gift several years ago.  The Mr. gave me a pair of diamond studs that I wore in my second earring hole.  In the first earring hole, I wore a pair of blue pearls that my Mom gifted me shortly after we were engaged. 

In true southern fashion, we served barbecue at the reception courtesy of Fat Buddies Ribs and BBQ.

The menu included pulled pork, baked beans, cole slaw, apple sauce and hush puppies.   In addition to Fat Buddies BBQ sauce, Matt made his own batch of homemade BBQ sauce.  Chuck and Judy of Fat Buddies really out did themselves in preparing such a fantastic meal for us.
"slap your granny good"

Our cake was a gift from a sweet lady at church.  Mrs. Pam is dear friend and an amazing baker to boot.  She said whatever we wanted she would make.  We chose a four tiered French Vanilla cake and French Vanilla butter cream with Strawberry filling.  I didn’t want the cake to look perfect as I was aiming for a “rustic chic” type feel, so I asked Mrs. Pam make spoon-swirls in the icing and call it a day.    For the unique factor, the cake featured alternating square-round-square-round tiers.  The cake was placed on a large crosscut of wood which sat on top of a square bistro table.  The cake was topped with a grapevine monogram (made by my fantastic sister) and moss rocks were scattered around.  The table also featured a boy/girl squirrel couple that I had fallen in love with one day while shopping.

The groom’s cake was made by Tannie of Cupcakes and MoreShe created a gorgeous cake that fit Matt’s personality perfectly.  It was a square vanilla cake with chocolate chip butter cream filling.  The top of the cake featured a putting green with a University of Florida golf bag.  Matt loved it!

Gators and Golf

The round tables were covered with white linen cloths.  In the center was a cross cut of wood.  The cross cut contained a quart-sized and pint-sized mason jar and a quilted jelly jar.  The quarts and pints held floating candle-less flames.  When lit, it gave the illusion that the flame was floating on top of the water.  The jelly jar held a white spider mum.  There were also a couple of mini whitewashed/terracotta-colored flower pot candles and a scattering of moss rocks.
As far as favors for the wedding guests, I had various wild flower seed packets stuffed into brown envelopes.  Each envelope had an “H” stamped on the front.  These were placed at each of the place settings on each table.

Seed packet favors placed on top of the napkin

The napkins were from Ikea (great prices for cute napkins, something like $2.00 for a pack of 50).  They were paper, but who cares?  They were white with a moss green pattern.  We folded them to make a point and placed the seed packet favors on top of each napkin.

Matt and I had a hard time trying to nail down the right number of attendants.  Personally, I didn’t want any attendants so that I didn’t run the risk of hurting anyone’s feelings.  But Matt insisted.  So then it was on to trying to figure out how many attendants to have.  It was T.O.R.T.U.R.E.  If we were going to have attendants, then in my OCD-ness fashion, we had to go with an even number because I didn’t want my pictures to look lopsided.  You know, if there are three attendants, then in pictures, two will be on one side of you and the third will be on the other.  It’s not symmetrical and my heart cannot handle asymmetry.  (I know I’m odd.)  Long story short, we ended up with 8 attendants…each.  It was a circus with eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, two flower girls and one ring bearer.   

  -Matron/Maid of Honor:    
Jennifer and Kellye (college roommate/friend)
  -Bridesmaids:                 Nancy (sister), Malea, Mandy, Becky, Mickey and Candace
  -Flower Girls:                  McKenzie (my niece) and Alannah (Matt’s niece)

  -Best Men:                           Chris and Jason
  -Groomsman:                      Bryan, Jon, Dan, Josh, Mike and Kyle
  -Ring Bearer:                       Lucas (my nephew)

  -Officiate:                             Pastor Brandon (my brother-in-law)
The bridesmaids wore knee-length cotton dresses featuring a Y-neckline, skirt pleating, sleeveless silhouette and pockets.  The color of the dresses was Fern.  It was a beautiful shade of green, not too grassy and not too olive.   I thought it was a pretty natural type color.  I had found a pair of wedges that were perfect for the dresses, but of course, I couldn’t find them anywhere.  So I found a pair of floral pumps that I thought fit the bill perfectly, although I’m sure some may say were hideous, but I didn’t care.

(L-R: Kellye, Candace, Mandy, Becky, Mickey, Malea, Jennifer and Nancy)

*Bridesmaids with The Mr.*
The flower girls wore white knee-length sleeveless dresses.  The skirt was made up of multiple white rosettes.  They wore gold glittered ballet flats.

*My dear McKenzie*

*Alannah and McKenzie*
*Silly kiddos*
The groom wore a tan suit and vest with a tan/brown multicolored tie.  The groomsmen wore tan suit and vest with chocolate brown tie.

(L-R: Mike, Dan, The Mr., Bryan, Kyle, Jon, Chris, Jason and Josh)
*These guys are crazy*

The ring bearer wore a tan vest with slacks and a chocolate brown bow tie.  He was awful cute if I say so myself.

*My Ring Bearer is so handsome*

*Our gorgeous nieces and handsome nephew - Love these kids more than anything!*

I did not want flowers at my wedding…at all.  Before you think I’m a horrible person, let me explain.  Although flowers are beautiful, they are very expensive.  I was purposely trying to keep my wedding as cheap as possible for the sheer fact that I am a firm believer that weddings can be beautiful without having to spend gobs of money.  In my book, flowers are overrated when it comes to weddings.  There are two options:  1) real flowers that are expensive and will die in about 3 days or 2) silk/dried flowers which are still expensive and what the dump do you do with all of them when the wedding is over?
*Bridesmaid Bouquet in the Hanging Mason Jar*
Apparently, I am the only one who felt this way.  So to appease others, I reached out for help from a dear friend who is a florist (she was also a bridesmaid.)  Since I didn’t really want flowers, I knew I definitely had to do something unique.  I didn’t want the bridesmaids to carry the traditional nosegay-type bouquet in front of them.  Everyone does that.  I wanted to be different.  It took me a while to figure out what I wanted but I finally found it in a mason jar with a handle.  I had Mandy create a simple, wildflower-esque arrangement in each of the jars.  The bridesmaids carried them by their side in the right hand, like you would a purse if you will.  This satisfied the wishes of my family to have flowers and met my need to do something nontraditional.
My bouquet was more traditional, I guess.  It featured several white/green orchids along with English roses and kale.  I had the stems wrapped with ribbon and one of the lace cuffs from my mother wedding dress that we had removed.  The other lace cuff was rolled up to resemble a rose and was placed in the top of the bouquet.
*My bouquet - can you spot the lace cuff rose?*
The groom’s lapel displayed a white orchid and yellow billy-balls.
The groomsmen and ring bearer all wore white orchids on their lapels.
I was having trouble finding the right basket for the flower girls.  Finally, one day it hit me.  I already had two wire baskets that looked like the golf ball baskets just not as big and with a lid.  They were cute and we stuffed them with rose petals and it was perfect.   It still kept with the simple rustic feel of the wedding.
In lieu of a pillow, the ring bearer carried a small bird's nest that had a little wooden heart monogrammed with a "D and M" by Hans Creations.  It was super cute and something that I still use in my decor at home.

*Flower girl wire basket and the Ring Bearer's nest on top*
The music was probably one of my most favorite parts of our wedding. 
  -Seating of the Grandmothers:   When You Wish Upon a Star by Jim Brickman
  -Seating of the Mothers:              
A Mother’s Prayer (Hannah’s Song) by Rachel Aldous
  -Wedding Party Processional:     
A Wink and a Smile by Marc Shaiman
  -Bridal Processional:                     
What a Wonderful World (featuring Kenny G) by Louis Armstrong
  -Lighting of Memorial Candles:   
Holy Ground sang by yours truly (pre-recorded of course)
  -Sand Ceremony:                           
I Want to Stroll Over Heaven with You sang by Keirsten
Signed Sealed Delivered by Stevie Wonder

Of course we all know that it’s the small details that make a wedding.
Keeping things simple, in the foyer of the church I had borrowed a couple of whitewashed console tables from Humanité (thank you Erin!)  One table had a display of baroque picture frames that were painted either an ivy green, olive green or ivory.  Each frame held a photo of our grandparents who have passed away.

*Memorial table with our Grandparents who have gone to be with The Lord*
The other whitewashed table had a basket with our program and a frame for signatures.  I know that everyone is doing the sign-the-matting-of-a-picture these days, but to be slightly different, I used our monogram in the center with our wedding date below it in lieu of the traditional couple’s photo. 
The focal wall of the vestibule had a long wooden console table (the whitewash tables were situated to the outside corners of this table creating a v-shaped entry.)  This table had a burlap covering across the length.  In the center of the table was an old weathered rectangular window with chipped white paint.  The window had 8 panes.  Each pane held a black and white photo of our parents and grandparents on their wedding day.  Hanging from white and green printed ribbon, flanking each side of the window, was an ivy green wooden plaque with a white “D” or “M” in the center. 


The sanctuary of the church had little decorating but that is exactly how I wanted it.  My wonderful dad built a set of steps for me, so that I could go straight up the middle of the stage opposed to having my horde of bridesmaids moving over to make room for me. At the bottom of the steps were two huge mums that were covered in buds.  What I loved most about this was it looked like they were big balls of greenery. The stage had three small tables.  The table on the left had a photograph of my (real) mom and a lantern with a candle.  The middle table held the mason jars with sand for the sand ceremony.  The table on the right had a photograph of my brother (who passed away in 2006) and a lantern with a candle. The back part of the stage had ferns, trees, and other green leafy plants.

*Memorial Candle for my real mom on her wedding day - in the original wedding gown*
*Memorial Candle for my older brother, David*
Being that I have a fear of birds, I knew that there was NO WAY that the Mr. and I were going to be showered with bird seed or rice.  Plus I didn’t want to worry with making boo coos of little mesh bags tied with ribbon.  Sheesh, that’s for the birds.  (See what I did there?)  Coming up with something different than bubbles or sparklers was no easy task.  Then out of the blue it hit me, balloons!  I had 200 pearly white balloons with sage green ribbon.  The wedding guests grabbed a balloon or two and then made two lines.  As the Mr. and I walked pass them they let their balloon go flying up into the sky.  It was really pretty to see all the balloons ascending against the blue fall sky.  

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day with family, friends and other fun moments.

*Becky and I at the salon*
*My Sister and My Mom.  Two of my favorite people*
*Kellye and Jennifer getting gussied up*
*The feet of some of girls that mean the most to me.*
*oh this birdcage wanted to be difficult*

*lots of hands in my face at one time*
*take a moment and breathe*

*The first man I ever loved*

*Daddy and Moma*

*Placing my brother's boutonniere on his grave.  He couldn't be present in person but he was definitely present in spirit.*

*A special moment with my Mamaw*
(On a side note, she joked that she was really torn between coming to our wedding or
going to the carnival that arrived in town the night before.  ha!  She's such a comedian.)
*Sister and Becky - two of my dearest friends.*

*here goes nothing*
*Mickey and Candace, two friends who hold a special place in my heart.*

*Doing what they do best, standing around. hehe*
*Alannah waiting for the garter and bouquet toss*
*The garter I wore from JLWeddings*

*I was mortified*


*He's so dapper.*
*Robin caught the bouquet*

*Mandy and Jennifer - two funny ladies*

*I cant thank Mandy enough for the beautiful flowers that she arranged for me.*

*Alannah, Kellye, Jennifer, Mickey and Candace*

*Mickey and The Mr.*

*Three of the sweetest girls from church.*

*Spencer caught the garter. Pound it out.*

*The Mr with his parents and brothers*

*The Mr.'s extended family plus my nephew*
*L-R: Joe, Annette, Sam, Gramma, Michelle, Lucas, Matt, Alannah, Kristy, Michael, Luke, Lisa and Josh*
(Lucas is in this picture because he said that since we are now married that he is part of Matt's family.  They couldn't tell him no.  So sweet.)

*My Father and Mother in Law; they're grrrreat!*
*Our Moms*

*The Mr.'s parents, brother, sister-in-law and niece*
*We got swag*
*I am a lucky girl*

I also had a friend offer to take photos for me while I got my hair and makeup done and then getting dressed.  Thank you Jane!  You done a fantastic job and I was so happy to have you there with me!

*Just Married*

Sharla Stoltzfus
  -Hair:                    Nicole Miler
  -Alterations:       Debbie Stewart
  -Flowers:             Eastside Florist
  -Invitations:        Vistaprint
  -Photography:    Style Street Studios, Sylva, NC

And there you have it, our wedding in a nutshell (er, a rather large nut shell).

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