(The photos used in this entry were stolen with love from the respective facebook photo albums of Robert Bullen, Dan Foss, Elizabeth Kennedy, Morgan Manasa, and Lindsey MacAllister, as well as a few that were kindly sent to me in advance from my Mom’s photos.. which I know are in the hundreds. Our professional photos will arrive soon, and I’ll post highlights here, so stay tuned..)
I’m married now.
After eight months of planning, stressing, daydreaming, and at times lamenting, our wedding went off without a hitch this past Saturday.
Here’s how it went down – I’m doing this largely for my own memories, as well as to share.
The Morning Of The Wedding:
I woke up on the morning of my wedding and headed to get an iced coffee and a mani/pedi.
While at Nail Bar on Diversey, I had my first sign that the day was going to go fantastically. My nails were being done by an adorable woman named Gloria, who was obviously over-the-moon happy. After a while of smiling and giggling to herself, she told me (after unnecessarily apologizing for speaking little English) that she was happy because she was from South Korea, had been in this country for seven years, and her mother had finally come over last night to join her. She then asked me what my plans for the day were, and I told her I was getting married, which led to her and the staff clapping and laughing and me getting a little extra special treatment – an extra topcoat and detail work – before they happily sent me on my way.
From there, I headed to Eric and my neighborhood restaurant to meet my future husband and indulge in an omelette for breakfast (Which was delicious.) Again, the staff of the restaurant (Thanks to Eric’s parents frequenting the place over the past week they’ve been in town) figured out it was our special day and we got congratulated.
After that, I headed home to shower and pack my bags before Kristen (Eric’s sister and a bridesmaid) and I hopped a cab to the hotel where Aleisha (other bridesmaid) was staying to get our hair done.
Aleisha was kind enough to sacrifice her room for the sake of beauty, and her room was soon packed with people – Me, Bob, Kristen, her, My Mom, my Grandma, various friends and relatives who popped in and out all afternoon (it was a little like a Marx Brothers routine for a while) but it was all in good fun and good spirits.
Pamela, our stylist, was an absolute joy and professional. She managed to whip up clever hairdos for Kristen, Aleisha, Lindsey (flower girl), My Mom, My Grandma, and myself all without losing the smile on her face. Personally, I loved my hair and it was exactly what I wanted, so I remain forever in Ms. Pamela’s debt. If you need a stylist for an event, let me know. I’ll give you her number.
From there, we headed to Catalyst Ranch.
Catalyst Ranch (http://www.catalystranch.com) could not have been a more perfect place for our wedding. The colors were amazing, and the staff was so helpful and friendly throughout the entire process. Everyone commented on how much they loved being there and all the photos of the space look amazing.
Our centerpieces were small stacks of books we love (Everything from Wuthering Heights to Transformers books) wrapped in purple ribbon and topped with small vases of carnations and lilacs. The tables were covered in purple linens thanks to the caterers, and it all looked just gorgeous.
The ladies of the bridal party were given the entire 3rd floor of Catalyst Ranch to get dressed on, which meant we got to use “The Sausage Room.” It’s an adorable little brick-walled salon complete with vanity table, and we had a good time getting dressed in our own little world. I started to get really nervous about fifteen minutes before the ceremony, which was only slightly compounded when I wound up with chocolate on my dress. Fortunately, My Mom and a Tide pen were on hand and the dress was saved and no one knew the difference. Tada! Thanks, Tide!
The Bridal Party:
Aleisha and Kristen wore purple dresses from Nordstroms, and little Miss Lindsey wore a purple sparkly dress. All three had silver shoes. The boys wore purple and white striped shirts and black suits with purple ties and socks.
The Groom had some extra-special bling – Transformers cufflinks, courtesy of the Best Man.
Our ceremony was short and sweet, just as we wanted it. Presiding over the event was Anita Vaughan (www.AnitaWeds.com) who could not have been sweeter or given us a more perfect celebration. Eric even managed to get her to kick off our ceremony with “Wuv. Twue Wuv..,” from The Princess Bride, which absolutely set the tone for the rest of the day.
The bridal party entered to “A town with a view of the ocean” by Joe Hisaishi, before I made my entrance to an arrangement of “Go Places” by the New Pornographers played by our friends Shahin and Eliza on guitar and violin. I remember thinking “I am not going to cry.” However, as soon as I entered and made out the first face – Christopher Nolden – it began. I cried, and I’m fine with that. Waterproof mascara is a godsend. I remember Eric’s vows made me cry a lot, and I got a knowing laugh from one specific table of friends with the Doctor Who reference I made in my own vows.
The ceremony seemed to go by in four seconds, and the next thing I know we had exchanged rings, kissed, and were exiting hand-in-hand to Shahin and Eliza playing “La Vie En Rose.”
Immediately after the ceremony, my wonderous photographer Leah Renee (who, disclaimer, is also my wonderful cousin) wrangled the large gang of family and bridal shower members through a photo shoot in amazingly smooth record time. Leah had also done pre-wedding shoots with both the girls and the guys around the venue, as well as earlier in the day at the hotel, and I cannot wait to see the shots she got.
Check out her work at http://leahreneephotography.com.
After Photos, we got champagne and entered the reception (held in the Jitterbug room) to the Doctor Who theme. Dan and Bob did toasts that were lovely and incredibly touching. We could not have chosen better on our Best Man and Male of Honor, in all seriousness. These two were our rocks in the weeks and days leading up to the wedding, and we will owe them drinks forever and ever and ever again.
Eric and my first dance followed the toasts. Our first dance was to “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” by the Flaming Lips, which is our song. I remember talking quietly to him during the dance saying a) “OMG We’re married.” and b) “This is a really long song.”
Following that, he danced with his Mom and I danced with my Dad to “Look after you” by The Fray. Then, our bridal party dance was to Jane Monheit’s arrangement of “The Rainbow Connection.”
We decided to forego the DJ and do our own music via ipod, and it worked out to be just great. We had guests request songs they wanted to hear, so everything from The Backstreet Boys to The Scissor Sisters wound up playing over the course of the evening. It was nice to be able to skip forward to songs we wanted (like when Mallory had to leave early so we got to jump to the Glee cast’s rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin’” before she left..) and to know what was coming up when in order to schedule things like the bouquet toss (which I did to Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth.”)
Brad and the gang from Tri-Star Catering (http://www.tri-starcatering.com/) catered our event, and from what I have heard, everyone loved the food. I figured it was going to happen this way, but as the bride I was on my feet all evening and managed only to have two of the chicken kebobs, but they were delicious. (Biggest regret of the evening? Not having a crabcake. Seriously.) The staff members Tri-Star sent over were awesome, and I wish I’d been able to learn all their names to call them out for their professionalism and senses of humor. After all, when you can high-five your caterer mid-reception, you know it’s a successful partnership.
Stephanie from AngelFood Bakery (http://www.angelfoodltd.com/) gave us the exact cake we wanted. It was chocolate with both raspberry and espresso cream fillings with white buttercream frosting and candied pansies and blackberries, and everyone dove into it.
(Cutting the cake was harder than I thought it’d be. We also had to wait until Grandma was back in the room before we could do it, so there was a moment where everyone cheered when she walked back in the door.)
Mandy from Evolution Floral (http://evolutionfloral.com/) was one of the highlights of the whole process for me. It’s nice to meet a vendor who just gets you from the moment you meet them, and that was Mandy. On the day, she delivered the most beautiful bouquets I’ve ever seen. Mine was deep purple lilacs accented with white ranunculus, and the bridesmaids had lilac bouquets. Lindsey carried a little poof of white ranunculus.
I must also praise Mandy because, honestly, I chucked my bouquet during the bridal toss, and it got bounced around between lots of hands, and it’s still in perfect condition. (Ms. Lori Hensley inadvertently caught the bouquet, which totally surprised her, but was hilarious. All the jostling and fighting, and she literally held out her hands and wound up with it. Huzzah!)
A moment of calm with Betsy Morgan and Elizabeth Kennedy, sitting curled up on the yellow couch at Catalyst.
Brett Lee arriving mid-reception after his show.
Dancing with Eric to “Halo” while Bob, Herb, and Leah made a human Halo around us.
My Mom and Brent dancing to “Toxic,” by Britney Spears.
Brent Walker catching my garter – and finding it serving as a hairtie in Molly Jones’ hair a while later.
Realizing Annie Passanisi’s date was the amazing Shannon Trompeter.
Michael Carney making me sit down and bringing me a chicken kebob. Which was delicious.
Sharing wedding horror stories with the bartender, Anita, and Aleisha over the course of the night. (Basically, I came to the realization that if I made it through the night without losing my front teeth, ripping my dress in half, or someone losing a finger in a doorjam, my wedding was made of win.)
My Dad finally meeting Brent.
Introducing people to people they needed to know – like when Aleisha and Herb (both Northern Michigan-ers) finally met.
The CMU reunion table of Mike, Megan, Chris, and Aleisha.
Annie Passanisi, Mallory Jandrists, and Allyson Baisden doing their best Backstreet Boys impression to “I want it that way.”
Jason and Kristen doing a brother-sister Tango.
My favorite moment:
Many of our guests are huge theatre-nerds. As we asked guests to request songs, we were thrilled when “You can’t stop the beat” from Hairspray the musical wound up on our playlist. Hands down, my favorite moment of the night was when the song finally came on and the theatre-geeks rushed the dance floor for the most spontaneous celebratory dancing I have ever been a part of, and the rest of the room looked on in awe. It was completely of the moment, completely joyous, a total blast, and I will remember it forever.
The Last Dance:
At midnight, we knew the evening was ending, so we gathered everyone around for a last dance.
However, I think we tricked everyone into thinking the last dance would be a slow song.
In reality, it was “Lollipop” by Mika, which is an uptempo, clappy song, and everyone danced. (My Mom even danced with Herb and a feather boa!) It was a perfect way to end the night.
Bob, Dan, Gator, Eric, and I managed to wrangle all gifts and supplies out of the venue before Eric and I headed to the hotel, armed with a tier of the cake. We got to the suite to discover pizza was waiting for us, so pizza and cake was to be had. However, we wound up with so much cake left over that we wound up with the super-nice manager of Aurelios (the pizza place in the hotel) having to box it up for us in order to get it home.
(I also realized I’d messed up and sent the wrong bag back home with Kristen, so I wound up calling my mom to borrow the dress she wore to the rehearsal dinner to the following morning’s breakfast! Hee!)
I realized over the course of this weekend how much I love the people around me – family and friends alike. To think how far people traveled, and how generous people can be when an event like a wedding comes along will never not floor me.
I’m also going to be forever glad that Eric and I did our wedding our way. It was everything we wanted it to be, and I couldn’t have asked for more.
My advice to future brides:
1. Hire people you like: When you’re searching for vendors, especially if you live in a big city, there are lots of people to choose from as far as bakeries, florists, and caterers (etc, etc) go. Make sure the people you hire are people you like and trust. Get referrals. Our caterer, baker, and florist all came from recommendations from the venue, which came recommended by a friend. The stylist came highly praised from a past co-worker. I had some lovely times interacting with all of the vendors we hired, and plan to write them all thank you notes for being so amazing to work with.
2. Tide Pen: Just have one around. Seriously.
3. Comfortable shoes: Thank you, Nine West. My shoes stayed on my feet until about 11:30, when I kicked them off for a dance. I put them back on almost immediately afterwards, and though my feet were sore when I got back to the hotel, they could have hurt SO much more.
4. Hydrate and Eat: I have lovely friends who made sure I did both, and I’m grateful. It’s an exhausting day of your life, and prep for it like you’d prep for a 5k. You’d never go into a 5k not having eaten anything.
5. Take a moment to yourself: This was a piece of advice I got from Aleisha, and it’s why I scheduled my morning coffee/mani-pedi. It was a nice centering time, and absolutely helped me remember to breathe as the day went on.
I won’t really get much of a break from weddings, as the adorable and incomparable Lindsey MacAllister and Krisoye Smith (pictured above) are getting married in June in Des Moines and I’m a bridesmaid. However, hopefully I can offer some up calming and helpful advice along the way now.
(And I’m totally bringing a Tide pen. Did I mention how great Tide Pens are?)