Let’s take a break from recaps for this public service announcement: you only get 30 days after the wedding to change your benefits information with human resources.
Okay, carry on.
Let’s take a break from recaps for this public service announcement: you only get 30 days after the wedding to change your benefits information with human resources.
Okay, carry on.
In hindsight, I can say that it is indeed true that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. For as amazing and stress-free and wonderful and magical and unforgettable that my wedding day was…the day before? Meh.
It started off as planned, I had to wash and flat iron my hair. Remember my hair is natural, so it’s a bit of a project. Then I was supposed to meet the ladies at my place at ten o’clock and we’d be off to do the flowers at the mansion. One bridesmaid texted with car trouble. Another had gotten pulled over by a cop on her way here. Another had the wrong address programmed into her GPS. *sigh* I remember saying to my mom that this would all make for a funny story…later.
Anyhoo, we got to the mansion, did the flowers (which, by the way, the manager of the place loved and was asking to buy our containers…I said, “dude, if you want them when we’re done, you can have ’em”…one less thing for me to have to take home!), had to grab a quick bite then head off to get our nails done.
This is the diy-bride’s dilemma. Everyone will tell you how “the bride” shouldn’t do work for the wedding and you should relax and get pampered. Well, that’s an impossibility when you’re doing things yourself. My nail lady kept telling me that I had to get my fingernails done and I kept telling her that I had work to do. Anyhoo, she was much more persistent than I, so I got my fingers done. Also my eyebrows…I was looking like Teen Wolf! After that, off to the rehearsal dinner, which was held in a gym…seriously.
I’m gonna gloss over this, but here’s the deal. My computer was giving me the blues on that Thursday morning, so I sent it in to get fixed. But I figured before I let it out of my sight, I’d copy the wedding music (yes, the wedding ceremony music that we needed in order to have the ceremony!) onto a cd from my iTunes. Well, iTunes wouldn’t open. Small freakout, no big deal. They were able to fix the computer and I was able to copy the ceremony music onto a disc as well as my iPod…whew! Not naming names, but someone forgot to bring the ceremony music to the rehearsal dinner. So we had to practice the ceremony without the music. As you’d imagine, this didn’t make me happy. I had to remove myself from the crowd to take many deep breaths…then it was okay. Oh, and did I tell you that we were about a half an hour late to the rehearsal? *sigh*
Here I am giving everyone the lowdown on what the haps were:
Here I am handing out gifts:
The wedding party:
Then it was back to my place for flowers because the ladies were worried about the amount of work that needed to be done. My sis-in-law and I headed out to Walgreens for fake eyelashes since she did my makeup for the big day while they were at work. Then I came back and rolled my hair for the next day (and messed up my manicure) and sat under the dryer while the ladies did flowers.
I probably got up at like 6 o’clock that morning and didn’t go to bed until 1 or 2 a.m…long day! And I’m sure like every other bride, didn’t really sleep a wink…my heart was at a steady buzz. The next day was the day and my brain wouldn’t turn off, so I laid in bed thinking about The Mister and wondering what he was up to and what he was thinking.
Doing the flowers was the biggest project of wedding week, which of course couldn’t be completed well in advance…which is also why it was such a big project. I love flowers and knew early on that I’d want lots of flowers, but also knew that I didn’t want to spend the more than two thousand dollars it would cost for all bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages, ceremony and reception flowers. Cue wholesale and I got everything done for about seven hundred…a pretty hefty savings.
Except for time…not really a savings on that one. But the thirteen hundred I saved was well worth it…you’ll laugh at that statement when I tell you this next thing. I didn’t do anything with the flowers. Seriously. Okay, when the FedEx dude delivered them, I took them out of the box they came in, cut, rinsed, fed, and placed them in buckets. That was the last thing I really had to do with the flowers until they (superfabulous bridesmaids!) handed me a bouquet on Friday before the wedding. Sure they asked me questions about what I liked (everything!), what looked good (everything!), and did I have a preference (nope, use your best judgment!). I think they eventually got the idea that whatever they did would be fine with me.
I’d figured out that all of my running of errands had to be finished by Thursday so that “we” (by which I mean “they”) could do the flowers. The flowers were delivered on that Wednesday and flower designing was to take place the next day. Quick rundown of the day: flowers at reception site, mani pedis, rehearsal dinner, more flowers…’twas to be a long night. Anyhoo, here’s some pics chicas:
Here’s how my gorgeous flowers arrived…less than impressive, no?
Those buckets I was telling you about…in my basement, you don’t need a refrigerator, fyi.
Here are the bouquets…amazing right?
Beautiful flowers for the beautiful ladies…you can’t even tell that they’d been up ’til all hours doing those very flowers.
We don’t have pics of the boutonnieres or corsages…maybe I do somewhere, but I can’t find them right now and there are a lot of photos around here and you’ve probably got enough. Here’s the last one…our pew balls. I absolutely loved these. They were the only flowers in the chapel and were totally wonderful.
Okey dokey pokeys…those were our flowers. Those were the ladies that did the flowers. They (the flowers and the ladies) made my day.
Keep in mind, awesome readers, that when you read recaps (mine or otherwise), you’re only getting what we want to give you. If I wanted to tell you everything, I would have told you about the one thing The Mister was in charge of (an essential piece involved in obtaining the marriage certificate) that came scarily and unnecessarily close to not getting done in time for the wedding. But I didn’t tell you about that because I want him to like me after I press “publish”, lol! But I’ve been looking forward to writing this post since the Thursday before our wedding and I was surrounded by the most fabulous ladies ever.
Anyhoo, I don’t know if y’all remember Tina Fey’s skit (read it here if you’d like) from a few year’s ago, “B*tch is the New Black”, but it was an ode to ladies (mistakenly called b*tches by dudes that are afraid of strong women) who know how to work it out. She talks about a lot of funny stuff, but the line that gets me is: “b*tches get stuff done!” I love it! Probably because I fit the bill…and because the ladies I had around me before the wedding got. stuff. done.
From the lady from my job that coordinated the rehearsal dinner, wedding, and reception flawlessly to my mom to my bridesmaids…I was awestruck at the power of women. Not just that we did a lot, but just the ladies themselves. I consider myself to be lucky to know these ladies who are running things in their careers. Smart, beautiful, wise…do-ers, not talkers. I have to tell you that I felt like a weight had been pulled off of my shoulders when I saw them, because I knew that I could trust these ladies to help me enact my vision for the wedding.
I can’t wait to tell y’all about all of the cool stuff that we did, but for now, just know that the people you choose to surround yourself with before your wedding are vital to your sanity. Remember we’d talked about the stress of the day, the fact that the day is “big” even if you’re trying to downplay it, that you’ll be nervous? So the last thing you need is for the folks close to you to raise your stress level.
Have you thought about your wedding day “helpers”? Are they friends or family or both? Hopefully you’ll be as lucky as I was!
So I’m not from here. No one I know is from here. But the wedding was here. That proved to be a bit of a challenge, mostly in that my house had to be wedding central. I’d told you that my to-do list was at about forty things on the Sunday of the wedding and I knew that it had to be finished by Wednesday night because that’s when my shower was…and there were flowers to design and a chuppah to build.
Anyhoo, the fun started on Wednesday night with my bridal shower that my maid of honor threw for me. Let me tell y’all, she’s just like me, so when she threw a shower…she threw a shower! There was a color scheme, good food, fun games, and of course lingerie! Here are some pics:
Here’s my beautiful maid of honor, a little blurry huh? She put in some work on the shower to make it fun.
Game recognizes game…these two ladies hit it off right away. That’s my mom and Melissa, the maid of honor, getting ready for the shower.
That’s me, smiling a bit too hard, wearing my superfly “bride to be” sash.
A closeup of that same table.
This was pretty cool. Melissa asked me early on what I wanted for the shower and I said I needed cookbooks and lingerie. So she figured out a way to get both done. She got people to write down their favorite recipes for me…and also their marriage advice…pretty cool. And I got lots of cute undies that came in quite handy on the honeymoon!
So that was my Wednesday…two days before the big day. I had a blast and was so excited for all of the people I love to be in one place, so this was the first step. At this point I was incredibly tired from running around like a crazy person and not sleeping because I was sure I was forgetting something…perfect timing for reinforcements to come in!
There was no father of the bride at my wedding a few weeks ago. That’s because my dad passed away suddenly in 2008, which turned out to be quite the transformational year for me. It was the year this proud daddy’s girl became fatherless and I also met the man of my dreams who would eventually become my husband.
I loved my dad fiercely and unapologetically, much in the way I love The Mister. They’re both big, strong men physically and emotionally. They’re both the center of attention…the life of the party. They both love me. So I consider myself to be pretty blessed to have these two men in my life. My only regret is that they never got the chance to meet each other.
Happy Father’s Day dad…I know you would’ve loved this great guy I married.
I know you’re all waiting for recaps of the actual wedding day (and they’re coming!), but I’m going to tell you this in all honesty: my preparation for the wedding made the day fun & enjoyable for me. The day didn’t fly by, I remember everything, and I had a blast. The only thing I can say is get your ducks in a row early and you’ll be chillin’ on your day instead of running around like a crazy lady.
My to-do list. I didn’t do anything unless it was on my to-do list. If I thought of something I should do, I put it on my to-do list and did it when it came around. Why? Because there were a bajillion things to do and if I got off track for every super-important-gotta-do-it-right-now, nothing would’ve gotten accomplished.
And I think because I like the to-do list so much, my vendors could sense my Type A personality…perhaps it was oozing off of me like pheromones or something, because they took their lists very seriously. I met with my dj and I’m gonna tell you what…he set it off at the reception. Why? Because we’d met that week and went over the list and I said very seriously (but with a very pleasant smile) that I want you to play these songs, in this order during appetizers and dinner. And very politely and very sweetly (but very seriously) I want you to play these songs, in this order when everyone’s dancing.
Controlling much? I know, but (and this is just my opinion) as much as the wedding is about the family and your friends and not just about you and your future hubby…the wedding planning is yours lady. Remember that, because the week of the wedding is when everyone comes in…friends, family, mom. Still…the planning is yours. Stick to the plan…and those people are there to help you enact the plan.
Anyhoo, I gave the dj an Excel spreadsheet with tabs at the bottom (sound familiar?) for appetizers, dinner, special dances, and dancing. On the “dancing” page, I had it broken down by slow, midtempo, fast, and rap songs. I did the same type of thing for the photographers. We met and I gave them my list of pics I wanted them to take and when. And guess what I heard all day long from them: “okay the next picture on your list is…” They actually listened! Now we had very few (maybe thirty or so) formal shots and the rest were candids that I gave them no direction on…they did a great job. This is the picture they were worried about because I wanted one of everyone who came to the wedding…it’s my fave that I’ve seen so far (it’s a screen shot from AisleDash):
I hate to keep beating this same drum, but for those of you who are coordinating your own wedding, you’ve got to have a great relationship with your vendors and they’ve got to know what you want them to do…you don’t want them guessing or doing what they did for someone else’s wedding.
Check it out: Black Voices on Love
There’s a picture of a random couple, but then one of us down below. FYI, this is a repeat of the AisleDash story.
I had plans of working out during the week of the wedding…I even put it on my timeline for the “week of”. Clearly I was delusional. But two weeks out, I was still working it out like a rock star. At that point, I needed to workout to get the nervous energy out. Ladies, I know you love your man…you think he’s the bees knees, right? So do I, but I was getting nervous as all get out! So that week I got after it.
I also had manual labor to do around the house. Like I said, my house was wedding central. Not just because I was the bride, but because I’m not from here, so literally everyone I know was from out of town. So lots of folks were gonna be around…not to mention the bridal shower my maid of honor (also from out of town) was hosting at my place the Wednesday before our Friday wedding.
Anyhoo, back to the manual labor. Last summer, I put in three large flower beds at my house and they’re gorgeous. I’m really proud of them because I put them in myself with a shovel and hoe…no machines did my work for me. The only problem with beautiful flower beds is that they also get weeds and two weeks before the wedding, the weeds were winning the battle. So I got to work and it took four hours in each bed to weed and groom them…seriously.
As crazy as all of that weeding was, it was great for me. I got a chance to be by myself, in my own head, relax, think about the wedding, not think about the wedding…it was awesome. These were some of my last moments of solitude and they were wonderful. I think when you’re coordinating your own wedding, the week of will be pure craziness, but try to find time in that second to last week to take care of you. Read books, watch movies, work out…whatever you need to do to get your mind right. I’d also plan lots of time with your boo, because the week of the wedding you’re gonna be MIA.
When The Mister and I were going thru the various airports involved with getting to and from our honeymoon, I told him that I’m super forgetful and that’s why I generally write lists for everything and was currently checking for my passport and boarding pass on a level some would call “compulsive”. When he asked how I figured out I was forgetful, I told him that I got a lot of whuppins when I was younger. Seriously. It’d go something like this:
Mom/Dad: Dawn, go clean up your room please.
Me: okay! *continuing to watch TV*
Mom/Dad: didn’t we just tell you to clean up your room? *alerting me to oncoming danger by the edge in their voice*
Me: oh right, I’m going right now! *continuing to watch TV and missing that voice thing*
Mom/Dad: girl, you better get in your room and clean it up!! *hard stare*
Me: okay! *walk to room, forget I’m supposed to be cleaning and start playing with dolls*
Mom/Dad: go get the switch!
So, after many (many) different versions of the same story, I learned that I’m forgetful. As a result, I believe in lists and writing myself notes. I even tell people that they should assume that I’m going to forget unless they see me write it down. And that’s where this whole wedding planning business starts…organization. It’s been that way since the beginning, but in those last two weeks before the big day…it is essential.
I’ll start with the timelines that I sent to the wedding party, here’s a pic that’s probably too small to see:
I sent this out via email to everyone, including the ladies who would help me on the day of. Now I didn’t have a wedding coordinator, but I did have a group of wonderful ladies who were amazingly helpful and deserve their own post and will get one.
Anyhoo, this was done in an Excel spreadsheet and had tabs at the bottom: week of, rehearsal, wedding and reception, wedding, cell phone numbers. The week of tab was so that everyone could plan out their personal stuff around “mandatory” wedding activities and the rehearsal tab was for the dinner. The wedding and reception tab was an all-encompassing timeline from 11 am until 11 pm broken down by the hour for the wedding party and vendors. The wedding tab was broken down in fifteen minute increments and was how the actual ceremony should play out and the cell phone number tab was all wedding party and vendor phone/email contact info.
For those of you out there who are coordinating your own wedding, but relying on others to help on the day of…this is critical! You don’t want to be the go to person for anything on the wedding day. Your ladies and your coordinators have to know what you want done, when you want it done, and be able to contact folks if it’s not getting done.
And for you planning, organizing, list-making, Type-A’s like myself…you have to let it go. You’ve got to trust your plan, trust your organization, trust that you’ve communicated your vision, and trust that your peeps love you enough to accomplish it for you…and then let it go. You can’t worry about how things are going, you can’t be nipping at people’s heels making sure they’re doing things “right”, you can’t have a sour look on your face that makes other people nervous that they’re upsetting you. The only thing you can do once you really hand the reigns over, is be positive and thankful and supportive of those folks who are kind enough to work like field slaves for you.
But playas…that’s the day of the wedding. Until then, you hold on to your wedding plan and planning with a tight grip, lol! Didn’t Charles Heston say something about cold, dead hands? ‘Nuff said.
So how are you (or did you) staying organized? Especially if you don’t have a coordinator to do everything for you…how will you make sure stuff happens the way you see it in your head?