Thursday, September 19, 2013

To Beau, as you enter fatherhood

Some people come into your life on a chance, and upon meeting them, you know they are going to stick and be there for good. Well, I guess if I am going to be honest, one of my dearest friends, Beau, didn't initially fit that bill. We met on a whim. One night I was hanging out with his friend Jacob when he heard that Beau was in the hospital with a broken leg. So, we headed to where Beau was and thus, I met him for the first time or more accurately, stood awkwardly by his gurney/ hospital bed.
After that, I saw him more and more, and to be truthful, I am not exactly sure when Beau crossed over to being my own personal friend and not a friend of a friend. We hung out like crazy senior year and especially the summer afterward. My dad met Beau on a church trip and instantly fell in love with him. He and Beau were on kitchen duty, making breakfast, and my dad asked Beau how much milk he had put in whatever it was they were mixing and his reply was, "oh, just a few mouthfuls." I remember my dad saying, "I really like that Beau guy."And from then on, it was almost like he became a pseudo brother to me and my family. One time my mom swore she was going to claim Beau on her taxes. He would come over on the weekends and bring a movie, and we'd both end up asleep before the trailers were done. My parents would walk through the living room in the middle of the night, find us asleep, and just throw a blanket on each of us and go back to bed. One time Beau had fallen asleep at our house when my cousin Sam was visiting. Her mother Phoebe called early one morning and Beau, still asleep, woke up to the phone ringing answered, "Simmons residence." My Aunt Phoebe asked for my dad. Beau took the phone to my father and my aunt questioned, "Patrick, who in the world was that guy?! And why is he at your house so early?" His response, "Oh, that's just Beau. He's here a lot. What's up?" Ha. We've seen each other through a lot over the years, and there is more to come.

Here is a nice little montage of us throughout the years...

Beau's 19th birthday at Shoguns

One of the many times he just showed up to my sister and my first house. 

That one time when Jacob let us roam around Channel 11's studio (where he works), to which we quoted Anchorman with vigor.

When I took a weekend trip up to Fayetteville to visit Beau while he lived there, working on his doctorate.

When Beau lived in a huge old house with a million boys.

When Beau and I got tattoos together, his first one.

Hanging out on Dickson Street

His going away party when he went to Africa with the Peace Corps

 Beau's 25th birthday

My 23rd birthday

Beau coming back from the Peace Corps

Probably the first photo we took together. We were on a church trip doing a team building exercise. My mom snapped this of us with my dad. It is one of my favorite photos.

 The night of his 25th birthday, this awesome girl showed up with this chocolate cake with chocolate icing and two Barbie dolls, mud wrestling atop. And wouldn't you know it, a few years later he married her and now they are having a bebe.

Some of my favorite memories include Beau:
  • him taking me on a tour of UCA my senior year and the class I happened to be walking in was doing a debate about pornography. Yeah, that will pretty much seal any friendship, just fyi.
  • the one time that he and Jacob (mentioned above) rode Beau's scooter on what would have been a 12 minute drive to my house by car, in the middle of the winter. They nearly collapsed upon arrival and my dad threw a blanket in the dryer for a few minutes, then threw it on them. It was just like that scene from Dumb and Dumber, without the snot.
  • the time we went on a spontaneous trip to Dallas to see Saves the Day and when he picked me up, neither one of us noticed the condom which had been stretched over his back wiper...then he got pulled over (and the look on the cop's face.ha), then he had a flat. But I experienced Whataburger for the first time with him while we got his tire fixed. And we even made it to the concert on time. :)
  • the one time his tire just completely flew off after we saw John Mayer in Little Rock. He had gotten my sister and I tickets for our birthdays. And driving down Chenal, his tire literally flew off and was never to be seen again. Him calling his mother, "Mom. It's Beau. I'm fine but my tire just flew off."
  • when we road tripped to California the summer after Freshman year.
  • him teaching me how to knit in college.
  • The one time I was taking him out for his birthday Freshman year to Shogun's and was beyond naïve and only brought my checkbook, which they don't accept, so he ended up having to pay for his own birthday dinner.
  • Getting tattoos together my senior year of college. Mine took 7 minutes, his took HOURS.
  • When he tried to teach me how to drive a stick shift on a gravel road in Judsonia. Yeah...that was good times.
  • The times he would randomly just show up without warning. Once in Crossett: showed up at my apartment door step. I had nothing to eat at my apartment so we went to Taco Bell, and the woman serving us had a huge neck tattoo that said "Steve" and when she went to get our food, he quietly said to me, "Gosh, I sure hope there is a guy named Steve out there with a neck tattoo that says 'Tina'"
  • Aaaand the time he took me as his date to a random African wedding in Dallas that was 5 hours long after the reception, and we drove straight back to Arkansas...and I taught the next day. Oh, to be young again..

  • Most importantly, the time when my father died, and Beau spent every night with me, holding my hand until I fell asleep. He drove to and from Conway every day for at least a week, and even after that, he saw me very often. Once he invited me to stay with him at this huge house he lived in with all these boys in Conway because I had to be in Arkadelphia early the next morning. My father's death was still very fresh, and I remember the cool white sheets on his bed and the light from the moon casting through the windows, and the sound of the fan. And I remember how I tried to be as quiet as I could as I wept during the night but on the other side of the bed, he seemed to know and before I knew it, he enveloped me in his arms and held me in the most unselfish way. In that comfortable way, like your family. In a way that everyone should be held at least once in their life.
We have seen each other through many great times. He has definitely seen me at my best and my worst. I am so happy that any minute now he and his wife are expecting their first child, a girl named Molly Kathryn. I couldn't be more happy for them. I had the great pleasure last year of shooting their impromptu wedding, and not too long ago, I got to shoot their maternity photos in their house.

Beau, I just couldn't be happier for you and where you are in life. I am thankful for all of our memories together and for our futures. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your journey, and thank you for being in mine. I pray you and Sydney enjoy every minute of Molly and that she knows every day just how lucky she is to have parents like you. You already are a terrific father.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

in honor of one year: a PSA for all you lovely single ladies

When I was in high school I was pretty much a jock. I wouldn't really describe myself as a "jock jock;" however, if there was a sport to participate in at my school, I, at one point or another, was part of that team. My main two were basketball and softball. Even though I went to a small school, I remember the kind of rush that came when the teams were formed after try-outs, especially in those younger grades when EVERYBODY wanted to play, so EVERYBODY tried out. There were always so many feelings after the teams were revealed. Girls hugging other girls who didn't make it. Girls who were excited and relieved to have been "on the list." A mess of high fives and tears. Luckily, going to a small school, there weren't thaaaaat many students who didn't make it. Then again, is that luck or does that sting hurt worse? I don't have that perspective because I always made the team. I was that kid who did what the coach told us to do. Always. I remember in 10th grade running over Christmas break with my boyfriend, Matthew, because my coach had told us that she expected us to be in shape after the break. I don't know if it was obedience or fear that moved me. But deep down, I knew there were so many girls who had tried out for teams at my schools and other schools who felt like they did everything right, yet they still didn't. make. the. cut.

Let's fast-forward to a couple years ago, I was a bubbly teacher with a great job in a great school district. By many respects, I had it all going for me:  Great job. Had a car I had paid off. No student loan debt. Never owned a credit no credit card debt. Described by many as witty with a charm. ;) Plus a love for fashion and individual style. A craft for cooking and baking in a house that I HAD BOUGHT BY MYSELF. Add to that a love for people and my God, and I had  W I F E  M A T E R I A L  Sharpie markered all over me. Yet, I had been single for quite a while. Sure, I had gone on some dates: some good, some bad. I had a few kisses here and there. In the mix, I had even had a premature proposal by a fella I had only been dating a couple months (yes, his mother's ring and all. so sad). But I didn't have a gazillion guys rushing to my door trying to knock it down to get me, at least those who fit my standards. By society standards, I was a total catch. I felt like I had all the skills to make the team, but I hadn't I made it. WHY? I mean, I had all the basics down. Had I messed up somewhere and wasn't aware?

If any of you reading are single and part of a church in the south, I am sure you have heard some version of the following:
 "You are such an awesome woman. I can't IMAGINE why no one has snatched you up. YOU ARE A CATCH! Someone somewhere doesn't even know how lucky they are yet because HE IS OUT THERE, GIRL! You just have to bee. lieve. he is."

Vomit, right? Vomit in my mouth...all over the floor. EVERYWHERE. VOMIT VOMIT VOMIT. Sadly, this happens all the time to good, respectable single women. And for that, I am so sorry, girls.

Here is why this is vomit to me:
I got some version of that speech loads of times, and it always seemed to happen at school and at church. I would even sometimes get it from students. (*Side note: my first year of teaching I had an 8th grade girl tell me I needed to get on finding a man because I didn't want to be the oldest mom in my group of friends, did I? Yes. This girl almost forwent marriage and went for my unborn children. I was 23). And the deliverer of said speech always had this pitiful look on his or her face as their head was cocked to the right side, and it was like their voice just got more hopeful as it rose to the finish of some mumbo jumbo about how I JUST HAD TO BELIEVE. I always had to bite my lip, smile, thank them for that and walk off. Instead I just wanted to say curse words and ask that they leave me alone with their unsolicited advice. But, my mother always taught me to be a lady (Thanks, Mom). What I think some married people don't get is how it comes across to unmarried women. I have no doubt that those people had some of the best intentions; however, it got me to thinking about marriage as a club that was so exclusive that not getting an invite meant that there was something wrong with me, and everyone who was "in" had fit some sort of requirement. Luckily, I snapped out of that really quick but struggled for a while with the "what ifs."

I love that we live in a world where no one's journey is alike. For me, I didn't have the atypical college experience of meeting my husband and getting married a couple weeks after I received my diploma. While I have known of my husband since the first grade, eight years of our adult lives we didn't even know of or where each other were. We "re-met" when we were 26, and we were married at 27. By many standards in the South, I could've very well been an old maid (to all my northern friends reading, I can already hear your chuckles as these words leave my fingertips, and I love you for it).  I grew up with parents who met when they were 12, started dating at 16, got married at 17, then had me at 20, and were crazy in love for their entire life together. While that was their story, it wasn't mine.

My point is this, single ladies. I get where you are coming from. Single men don't receive the pitiful looks you get; it seems to always be reserved for the women. I get that you have people pressuring you to find a mister and that they have a great nephew who is purrfect for you. I get that you probably cringe, as I did, when you got asked that dreaded question at church or large family gatherings, "so...are you seeing anyone special?"...usually followed by pitiful glances and loads of compliments I suppose to make you feel better about being single. I get those times when you feel like you have hit a low because you are eating ice cream for breakfast with a fork because all of your spoons are dirty and you haven't been to store in a couple weeks. I get those lonely nights of wondering if there really is someone out there for you after watching a rom-com by yourself. I get how it sometimes stings when people tell you how lucky you are that you are single because relationships are hard and you have all that free time to yourself. I get that our society for some reason has put your life on a timeline when you didn't ask it to. I get it, and I am ON YOUR SIDE. I don't look down at you. I don't think you are worth less than any other girl around. My prayer for you is that you will find deep in yourself a pride of who you are and who you are growing into. I am not going to feed you more clichés that you've been thrown. I will say this, deep down we all want some part of the American dream, even the strong independent types like myself. And there were times when I had a few Charlotte from Sex and the City moments:
"I've been dating since I was fifteen. I'm exhausted. Where is he?!" 
Part of me likes to think she was so exhausted from other people constantly asking her about her love life and trying to dictate her next move. :)

So girls, I don't want to feed you unsolicited BS advice, so I am not going to. But hear me when I say this: KEEP DOING YOU. You have worth. You have meaning. You are lovely. Don't allow yourself to be broken to something that "needs fixing" because in my limited experience, throwing in just any man just so you can" be like everyone else" is not going to solve anything. Know that if you feel like you are doing everything right, but you still aren't "making the cut," it really doesn't mean that there is some major thing with yourself you have to fix. Be confident in who you are because life can be surprising and throw you a curveball when you aren't looking, and in my experience it happened to be one of those way-too-close-for-comfort curveballs that make you hop back a spell and utter a simple, "whoa."

Where is all of this coming from, you may ask? Especially from a notoriously infrequent blogger such as myself. Well, today marks the one year anniversary of my Heath getting on one knee,  inviting me on a journey of life with him by my side. It was earnest. It was lovely. It is a moment that I will forever cherish because it is so sacred because there was no one there but us. My mentor in high school got married in her late 20's, and I always sat by and admired her for being fiercely independent and not settling for crumbs (and many other reasons as well). One afternoon when we were sitting at a coffee shop for discipleship, she told me something that made me view marriage completely different: "Jordan, when I get married. I want it to be someone who isn't running ahead of me, holding my hand and pulling me. I want it to be me running toward my goals and looking beside me and there being someone there who is running the same race. Someone who is cheering me on. Someone who giving me water when I need it. And someone who I can, in turn, encourage. I want someone who I simply cannot imagine my ministry and my life not sharing."

Today, I count my blessings for a year of life with Heath. Next month marks our one month wedding anniversary, and I feel like I am busting at the seams with love. Heath, thank you for this amazing year of home with you. I can say that all of those lonely nights of doubt and fear that I was always going to be "the single friend" were worth it all and then some to be your bride. Thank you for always encouraging me to be my own person and allowing me to express myself so freely. Thank you for adoring me with all of my flaws, all of the things that I find unattractive. Thanks for making me feel like the center of your world, even when we are apart so often.You have been a true Barnabas in my life, my very best friend. I look forward to our continuing journey, my darling. Thanks for choosing me.
^minutes after he popped the question

Thursday, March 7, 2013

about our wedding ceremony

The night before my wedding, we didn't have a rehearsal. We were getting married in a church that was 156 years old and had one outlet and no lights. (My students said that made me extra hipster. Whatevs, kiddies. I just do what I want.) So instead, our very small wedding party went out for sushi and other Japanese deliciousness that evening. I booked a suite for my girls and I to sleep. I stayed up making last-minute things while my bridesmaids slept. I was so excited that sleep just wasn't in the plans. Heath and I had kissed each other goodbye in the parking lot of the restaurant. He was going off with his two best friends while my bridesmaids and I were off to the hotel. I wouldn't see him face-to-face until I made it down the aisle the next afternoon. Of course, in this day and age, we texted one another throughout the night. He couldn't sleep either, and at one point said he was "working on his vows." Imagine my near heart attack reading that because we had kind of talked about writing our own vows right after we got engaged, but we didn't talk about it much after. I just assumed we were going to do the whole "repeat after me" thing. Heath wasn't joking, so since I couldn't sleep, I started writing my own vows. It was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I wrote, scribbled, threw away, wrote some more, scribbled, and scribbled. By the next morning, I didn't really know what to think about it, honestly. I texted Heath after he had his shower, and he said that he had memorized his and repeated them over and over to himself in the shower. Imagining my big lug of a man carefully rehearsing his wedding vows all while washing his hair was one of the cutest things that has ever entered my mind.

By many standards our wedding was really non-traditional, one tradition we did keep was not seeing each other before the wedding (We only had 2 attendants a piece, so we knew that we could take care of photos after the ceremony quickly). As a photographer, I have always enjoyed the reaction between the bride and groom when they haven't seen one another before the wedding, though I have also enjoyed photographing people who do see one another before the wedding with their "first look." It is so raw and intimate. If they are so enamored with one another, it is downright genuine. Even though we had an afternoon wedding, I craved seeing Heath all day. I really did. I was almost antsy waiting to see him. That building anticipation was one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

The fun part about this whole not seeing each other before the wedding thing was that our church only had one big room, not even a bathroom (what up, 1856? what up my Aunt Kim's camper toilet that she put behind the church? WHAT UP?). My best friend, Laura, drove me to the church, and we actually had to have Heath moved so we could pull in because the church is set in a field and didn't have a parking lot per say. To the right of the church we had a white tent and chairs set up for the reception and to the left of the church is where people parked. Laura parked her Sante Fe behind the reception tent until the ceremony started. Though I saw him...he didn't see me. Watching him smile so big, talk, and look so darn happy made my heart nearly explode (#FEELINGS), even if I didn't know what he was saying. Not to sound overly emotional but it made fall even more in love with him. It really, really did.  With no rehearsal, we totally winged the whole when our wedding party walked in, which I think added to the whimsy and charm of the day. In some ways it was like we had woken up that day and decided to get married. We didn't have every single detail planned to the umpteenth degree, but then again, that isn't really us. We didn't have a parade of our grandparents, mothers, fathers, etc. This was mostly because they asked if they could just go ahead and sit where they wanted to and let us do all the walking. We didn't have a ring bearer or flower girl. We each had our two best friends and each other and that was honestly enough. We told our best men and best gals where(ish) to stand at the front and when to walk in and such. The unknown added to the excitement, I think. Since I was walking myself down the aisle, I was so excited that my stepdaddy ("Pops") officiated our ceremony. It was such a blessing and one of my favorite and most special parts of our wedding. He is one of my favorite people on this Earth, and though I miss my daddy terribly, I cannot imagine a better person alive to lead my family.  Heath walked down the aisle with Pops, then shortly after our attendants followed. They walked in to "All I Want is You" by The Vespers, which happens to be a favorite of mine. I preferred this cover to the original by Barry Louis Polisar because though the lyrics are cute and meaningful, his voice seemed disjointed for what I envisioned for our wedding. The beautiful, upbeat harmony set the tone for our ceremony. Take a listen, if you'd like.

This also was the song I talked about here, the one that would not. stop. playing. The funniest thing that happened at our wedding, hands down. If you are confused by the photo...please read it.

Though my girlish wedding planning was pretty non-existent, I knew from the second I heard "Saeglopur" in 2007 that it would be the one I walked down the aisle to. It is beautiful, dreamy, and haunting, even if I have no idea what is being said. The English translation is "Lost at Sea," which I deemed appropriate since I feel like Heath completely wrecked my life when we fell in love. He wrecked it in that I felt/still feel lost without him, butwith him I feel most like myself and the person I most want to be. Sorry for all my mushy truth but that is what it is...the truth. (#MOREFEELINGS)

This song is extremely long, so I googled how to cut and fade songs and used the first 0:56 of this song. I actually rounded the corner at 0:38 and the song faded at 0:54. It was perfect and was exactly what I wanted it to be. People later told me that I looked like I literally floated down the aisle, and honestly, I believe them. I am pretty sure that is the best way to describe it. Floating. Walking down the aisle was in the top most vulnerable and empowering moments I have ever had. I felt naked and exposed., yet triumphant. I was boldly claiming that my life was not going to be as rich and rewarding without Heath being a part of it. My need for him being that great. But at the same time, I was making a huge life decision, taking part in another person all the while offering myself to them. Being so independent my entire life, it took a lot for me to realize that I didn't need him. I have been my own person, doing my own thing, taking care of myself for a long time. BUT (and that's a big but(t)) I wanted him. And that want and desire had slowly melted into a need. It is such a whirlwind of emotion, but all I know is that when I got to the end of the aisle and was enveloped in Heath's arms, hearing my favorite 3 words, everything made complete sense.

We never took our eyes off one another for a second during the ceremony. It wasn't long. It was pretty much to the point. We didn't have a unity candle or anything like that. First, we couldn't have candles in the church, and second, that part in weddings just seem awkward. So in the spirit of "doing what we want," we forwent all that and cut right to the chase.The best part was the vows. I actually had friends who told me that they had never cried at a wedding until ours because it was so honest and genuine (this was so humbling to hear. What praise!). Heath went first and said the most personal promises I've ever been told, and then almost halfway through, he forgot them. His eyes got huge, and I felt his hand shake a bit while it held mine. It was so cute because he was in mid sentence, then said, "...and I forgot my vows..." Then they came back to him. He spoke to me as though it was just us, and though I did my best not to, I cried. I cried great big tears with every word he spoke. I was feeling such an element of exposure that I thanked God we had a small wedding. That would have been difficult with a huge crowd looking on. He had this assurance in his voice, this confidence. It was so calming, yet overwhelming and was very hard to follow. Though I had words rehearsed in my head, I sort of winged them. I took a breath and in my mindsaid, "Jordan, just tell him the truth." The words just flowed from me. How? I am unaware. Then all of a sudden, I FORGOT MY VOWS, TOO. By this point, I was at "ugly cry" status, so I relied on my fallback that I was sure would be a crowd-pleaser. "I PROMISE I WILL RESPECT YOUR CHOICE TO EAT SPAM!" I exclaimed in a shaky, tearful voice (this is a disagreement we had early on in our relationship over Spam and other kinds of potted/canned meat. I vowed early on not to make it or buy it but leave it up to him should he want it). It was a moodchanger. I followed it up with saying I would love him all of my days and that was that. Pops pronounced us, we kissed, and then we walked out to greet our guests for our reception.

...which I will tell you all about...tomorrow.

Thanks so much for reading.
*All photos by Heather Canterbury

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

small wedding planning: the small deets

I won't lie to you, these past two weeks have kicked. my. rear. end.
Deadines + lesson plans + grading papers + saving for Honeymoon ("Big Moon") + teaching Zumba + trying to have a normal life= Jordan in fetal position saying, "No, Life! Not fair! I will NOT!"
I was all, "I'm going to finally blog about my wedding!" ::fist in the air::
then I was like, "Daaaaang, adulthood. Why you no love me?"

Enough of that sob story.  E n o u g h. 

On to what I said I was going to write about in my last post: zee boys. :)

As you can tell by my wedding photos thus far, I am probably the most laid back person in the world. I am all about comfort and being myself. And for my wedding, it was no exception. Since I wanted my ladies to be comfortable, the menfolk were absolutely right there with them. Having been a wedding photographer for almost 7 years, I can honestly say that the most uncomfortable people at weddings are the fellas, especially when tuxes and suits are involved. Heath and I were in sync when it came to wedding plans. We had a small budget we were sticking to because we wanted to have a big honeymoon. We did things together, and any ideas I had, I ran them by him. Once I got my dress and realized our wedding colors were going to be in the "Fall" genre, I felt like it would be best for the guys to have brown tones. One thing Heath stressed was how he didn't want to have a jacket. Honoring his wishes, we opted for the guys to wear brown vests, khakis, white shirts, and brown leather shoes/boots. That was what he said would make him comfortable, and believe me, I wanted him to feel as comfortable as possible on our wedding day. Well, let's be honest...within reason. Heath took care of his guys' vests, and they were responsible for khakis, shoes, and their shirts. This was another big thing for us: we didn't want our best friends to have to pay for anything when it came to being a part of our wedding. We consider ourselves extremely blessed to be in the lives of Roger, Andrew, Jade, and Laura--extra blessed to have them stand beside us on our favorite day. So, after we established the boys' duds, we looked at details. I wanted to have their boutonnieres be something interesting and different--no flowers. This is an area in which Heath and I are so different. Heath thought flowers weren't "manly" enough. Initially, I wanted to have feathers be a major role in our wedding, but I opted out when we went "Fall." After a few things not really working, I decided to do something for the boutonnieres that were "totally Heath." I cannot stress enough the importance of having your wedding be completely about you. It needs to be yours. Own it. Love it. It needs to scream you and your partner. With that mantra, I decided to make the boutonnieres out of the fellas' favorite superheroes. Heath has always been a fan of Batman. Roger likes Wolverine, and Andrew likes Captain America. I went to the toy section of Target and bought the action figures and used fabric, hot glue, and a pin to make their boutonnieres. They were kind of a hit. They were quirky, fun and sooooo Heath. When I surprised Heath with them, he was so relieved and excited to have something that was a personal nod to him and his interests. Usually men don't really care when it comes to wedding things, but I think it is important to make them feel included instead of bossed around on what to do.

The Hunk

Heath and Andrew before the wedding

The dapper menfolk

I know some of you who have planned/are planning large weddings, and let me just say, my hat goes off to you. Heath and I had little over a month to plan and had a small, intimate wedding by most standards, and I still felt like it was hard to breathe sometimes. So seriously, you people who are doing it/have done it: I think you are THE BEST and are some of the greatest magicians of all time. Feel accomplished you all. Add it to a resume, "Planned huge wedding by myself with poise and class...most of the time." Do it and don't feel bad about it.

With the boys being taken care of, I had to figure out what in the world my bridesmaids and I were going to carry as far as bouquets. I didn't really care about having real flowers. Is that bad? Does that make me the worst bride in the history of all brides? I know I sound like I didn't really care about my wedding, but I so did. I was just more concerned with being married to my favorite person that everything else seemed somewhat superfluous. With that being said, my bouquet and my bridesmaids' were made by my mother and myself one evening with some ribbon, wire, and hot glue. Wal-Mart does a whole Fall thing when it comes to home decor and they had bunches of fall flowers for $5. So...3 of those bad boys later, add cutting, tying and gluing--we were in business, and I had zero complaints. I wouldn't recommend planning a wedding in a month to just everyone, but when you have that crunch time, everything seems great. I wanted my bouquet to be a little different, so it was slightly different from the others, larger, and contained a photo of my daddy from when he and my mother were dating in high school (they got married at 17). I honestly don't think, the bouquets could have been prettier if they were real. They were perfect in my book. We used similar flowers to make hangers for the pews and leaves of the same color.

My bouquet

The decorated sanctuary

Please put on your protective eye wear for this photo as my legs are pale some kind of MAJOR...but leaves! Yes...let's just look at the leaves...

A pew adornment

All of our bouquets

We also found these iron window panes shown in the last 2 photos at Decorative Iron in Judsonia. As you can see above, for what we were going for with our wedding, the church served a lot of decoration on its own. The cracked paint, original floors and windows didn't really want for much. It had its own charm and whimsy. We couldn't use candles, as they are forbidden in this church, but we felt like the altar needed just a little bit of something. We got the two frames just to lean on the back wall and used a wreath we were given around the time my father died. The colors were perfect, and as morbid as it may sound to have that as decor in my wedding, it just felt right.

Ok, mah lovelies. This wraps up this segment of my little wedding posts. Tomorrow (yes, please hold me to this), I shall be writing about our ceremony and reception. Then perhaps the next day (or let's be honest, possibly the next), I will be writing about our mini-moon. This is all to be done before our grand European Honeymoon-palooza that is going down in less than 10 days. Not that I am counting...


*all photos by Heather Canterbury

Thursday, February 14, 2013

planning a small wedding: dresses

First off, Happy Valentine's Day, errrrbody!
Hope you are having fun with someone you're crazy about or at least eating something super unhealthy while watching something great on TV. I, unfortunately, am at home, alone (the Hubs comes home at 3:00 a.m. AMEN), eating something healthy (boo), and watching one of my favorite romantic movies of all time, Ghost. Seriously doesn't get much better than young Demi and young P. Swayz, Whoopi, Unchained Melody, pottery, and that RIDICULOUS apartment. Some of the good things in life, friends.GOOD THINGS.

So, in case yous guys were wondering, I decided to blog about my wedding because I know there are some of you right now who are in the throws of planning your own. may not be anywhere close to planning a wedding, but you may find yourself in the position one day. Or you may just find it comical, my approach to planning a wedding.

Ok, dresses! I am not going to lie, I actually had really great success in finding my wedding dress early on and finding ones for my bridesmaids, too. The problem was getting said dresses delivered. More on that later.

Obviously when planning a wedding, you're going to have set out colors. I had originally wanted some fun bright jewel tones, but I didn't think that that would pair well with a Fall wedding. I had wanted simple, black and white striped dresses with bright jewel-toned tights for each bridesmaid. Cute but again, wasn't going to jive well with a Fall wedding. After that, I refused REFUSED to have a Fall-themed wedding. I didn't want anything super expected like that. I then went with a navy, cream, peach, and gold color scheme that I liked, but I just couldn't find any dresses that I liked. Everything changed when I finally saw THE dress.

I really wanted something vintage when it came to my own dress, but everything I found was either TINY or had a stain or was way out of my price range. Of course, all of this searching happened in the course of a few days but still. It felt like a lifetime. Heh. Then I got my answer via blog searching one day. I found a dress that I decided I would make my wedding dress on one of my favorite blogs:
She posted photos and this one sold me:

Katie looks so dern cute, and though she and I have very different body types, I just thought this was me. It was full of whimsy and had that vintage feel that I was going for. Double plus bonus: the store was offering a discount via her blog, so this bad boy was less than $100. For some of you, this is a hot mess of a wedding dress. But that is the beauty of your wedding, my friends; you get to do WHATEVER YOU FEEL LIKE. (unless you feel like spending a lot of money you don't which case, no, you cannot). I loved the flowers and bows, its non-traditional feel, and thought the details could pass for Fall colors. And there you go, I became a convert to a Fall-colored wedding. With the skirt being so voluminous and my hips being the same, I thought it best to add some height to my frame by wearing a tall heel. So I decided I wanted a closed-toe pump in orange, a dark chocolate shawl to cover my shoulders, bright red lips, and a birdcage veil to top it off. Now, this non-planner had a plan and now just had to tackle bridesmaids dresses.

Anyone who has planned a wedding can tell you: bridesmaids dresses can be THE WORST. Lucky for me, we had a super small wedding and coincidentally 2 attendants a piece. I had two of my best gals: my sister, Jade and my bff, Laura. The problem that occured here was sizing. My sister is short in stature and at the time, was going to be about 7 months pregnant on my wedding day. My bestie is tall and slim. So basically, I thought it was impossible to find a dress to accommodate them both comfortably and in chocolate brown, to boot. Something that'd fit in the waist for Jade and something that wouldn't be too short for Lar. Luckily, I have one of the greatest friends ever who just so happens to be the best at finding things, and she found a few dress options for me to look at. One of them was a convertible dress from Target that had straps that could wrap around the waist or neck to create different necklines. It was also made out of a jersey material, so I knew it would be comfortable and probably be something that they would wear again. Aaaaand it was on sale for $17. Again, I am a laid-back, thrifty person, so this worked for me. I also found burnt orange wedges at that weren't too high for Jade and also wasn't going to make Laura be way too tall. They were buy one get one half off, and I got free shipping. (high fives all around). I ordered it all the same day and used the money my Mawmaw gave me to go toward my wedding to buy them. The problem with ordering online, though, is waiting and praying the postal system doesn't fail you.

I could write a novel about my experience with Target and my wedding, but I will spare you. Suffice it to say, Target failed me for the first time ever. Not trying to bash anyone but that was seriously one of the most stressful times of my life. Since I ordered two dresses and two pairs of shoes, they told me that I would receive my shipment in two installments. Well, I got the shoes, no problem, but days went by with no dresses. With this being a really short engagement, I couldn't do this. I called Target every day, and every day I spoke to someone who spoke broken English and couldn't understand the panic in my voice. They said they had the wrong address with the dresses, which is comical since I ordered it all at the same time on the same account. MOVING ON. What ended up happening was my mother reordered the dresses and had them overnighted the week before our wedding. ALL WAS SAVED. IT ALL WAS. Thanks, Momma! (Target gave me a refund and a $10 gift card for my trouble...thanks, Target...2 weeks after the fact).

To style my dress
  • I bought 5 inch pumps from Modcloth, which gave me the height to offset the volume of the dress. I purchased ones with a small platform to make it comfortable, and they were insanely comfortable for the height.
  • I also wore L'Oreal Infallible Never Fails Stars Collection Lipcolour in Beyonce Red. This stuff is UH-mazing. It doesn't matter what you're eating, kissing, whatever IT DOESN'T COME OFF. So, I knew that this was a way for me to wear my signature red lips, be all kinds smoochy with Heath, and not get anything on him. Score.
  • My mother and I actually made my veil. It was definitely a two-person job, and I am pretty sure I lost a few fingertips in the process. Curse you, hot glue gun! (and thank you because we would never have made it without you.)I was inspired by the J.Crew birdcage veil below but was not about to justify spending $295 on the veil, I don't care if it was my day or not. #dropsmic So, we DIY'ed with netting from JoAnn's fabric bought with a coupon, a white headband, and some feather details for a grand total of about $6. Take THAT over-priced J.Crew veil. #dropsallthemics
    Perspective: That one veil would have been more than my dress, my bridemaids' dresses, aaaand all of our shoes. So seriously, J.Crew, shame on you. SHAME.

After all the trouble, I couldn't have been more pleased with the results. My day was the best, the very, very best.

Sorry, y'all, please don yourself with protective eye-wear when viewing those legs of mine.

Last 8 photos by Heather Canterbury.

So that is all for dresses, everyone! I apologize for this dissertation of a post.

Next up will be the boys, the wedding ceremony, and decor.
Thanks for reading :)