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 :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Planning a small wedding: Part I

I thought I would go ahead and write about my wedding, you know...almost 4 months later...

Let me go ahead and say, I am not a planner.
I'm just not.
Most of the time when I do plan things ahead, I feel like they end up being worse than the spontaneity of just "winging it." Call me crazy, but that is just the way it is when it comes to me.

So, when Heath proposed to me, I knew that I was going to have to get over that and get down to business.
and it terrified me.
Heath and I toyed with many ideas when it came to our big day. Neither of us wanted anything big because we both are pretty laid back. An idea we alllllmost went with was eloping. We had talked about getting a cute white dress for me, some slacks for him, pick up some flowers, and head to City Hall. Then after "I do's," go out for cupcakes with family and friends for our "reception." Cute, right? As cute as that was, we decided that we wanted to have a private wedding among family and really close friends. Something small, something meaningful, something totally us. Heath is an only child, so I knew this would be the only wedding his parents would ever get to partake in, plus my sister got married in Las Vegas, so technically, this was going to be the first traditional wedding for my family, as well. So once that set in, my mind started racing with questions. I have been around weddings for 6 years now as a professional photographer, and I always joked that I could plan a wedding in my sleep with all the knowledge I accumulated of all the "do's" and "don'ts." One thing was for certain, though: we didn't want to wait very long at all.

I have witnessed lots of people having long engagements and while that may work for lots, it didn't for me. Allow me to use math to illustrate my thoughts:

Heath Ring + Jordan Simmons = Heath and Jordan Ring.
Jordan Ring > Jordan Simmons

(I'm a math wizard, y'all. Pretend you are not impressed..)

When Heath and I verbalized our desire to marry one another, we both agreed that when the time came and he proposed, we needed to be in a place to where we could marry THAT DAY if we wanted to. So the week that we got engaged, we set the date for October 27, which gave us a month and a half. To me, that was feasible, that was HAPPENING.

My momma and pops looked up some places in Searcy for us to get married. I wanted a small, white church, at least, that was my dream. But honestly, I would have married Heath in a cafeteria if I had to. #YOLO #heistheverybest  #hashtagsdontworkinblogs

They looked and looked and were striking out left and right. We were working with a small budget for our wedding because the plan was to have a small wedding but take a BIG honeymoon (which we are in 4 short weeks! Eek!). One glorious afternoon, however, my mother was babysitting my nephew and he found a magazine for the Searcy Parks and Recreation that had a bird on it. He brought it to my momma saying, "Bird, Gigi, Bird!" And wouldn't ya know it, on the cover of that magazine was THE church that we had originally wanted. It is a church that sits in a curve that I travelled by many times growing up. I was always enamored with the church because it was just so cute and dainty. I even shot some engagement photos there for a college friend a few years back. My mom and I didn't even think to look there because the city of Searcy owns, so we didn't even think it was an option as a venue. The magazine had a little article about a wedding held there, complete with a spread of photos. At the bottom, it gave a number to call to see about availability. So Mom called immediately and found out that our date was available. Then came that awful question to ask, "How much?" The places my mom had found before were either unavailable or insanely expensive for what were planning to do. Then God did that thing that he is sooooooo good at doing; He blessed our pants off in a great big way. The reply my mother received was, "$150 for the day." Then the clouds opened, choirs sang, and the sun shined a little brighter. We also found out that Smyrna Methodist Church was also the oldest documented church in Arkansas, dating back to 1857. One of my favorite stories of the church is that during the Civil War, the minister's son went off to fight. They didn't know where or how he was. After the war was over, the minister was preaching on a Sunday morning, and his son walked in to church, from the war. If those walls could talk!Heath and I are both history nerds, so we kind of geeked out over that. It was like icing on the cake.

Seriously, though. Isn't it the CUTEST EVER? Because it is.

Once we had the place on lock, I went ahead and got our invitations together. In case you missed it, you can read more about that here. It was really difficult, in a way, having a small wedding because of narrowing down our guest list. We could only have 95 guests tops because that was all that was allowed in the church per order of the city of Searcy. My immediate family alone is huge, so first we listed family only. Then we gradually invited our close friends. However hard, it was a really comforting feeling to know that there weren't going to be a ton of people there. It helped me relax. I've been to weddings before where there were people who attended solely to criticize. I didn't need that negative energy on my day. I wasn't going to be doing the "normal" things brides do who have at least a 6 month engagement: tan, work out like a crazy woman, and diet like there was no tomorrow (though I did get pretty healthy before our wedding, which I dubbed my LGN plan: look. good. naked.) So we invited people who either cheered us on during our relationship or people who influenced us individually in order for us to be prepared to be better as pair. Keeping it small allowed us to have a big honeymoon, and as much as we would have loved sharing our love with everyone, we really wanted the honeymoon, naturally.

Within that first week of being engaged, I ordered my dress from LA, and it arrived a few short days later. The bridesmaids dresses, however were not as easy as my dress.

That is enough for tonight; I'll write more about that tomorrow.