7 Weeks Out: Checklist Update

Even though it’s totally wigging me out that my wedding is technically *next month*, it’s really still 7 weeks away. That being said, with Christmas rapidly approaching, plus me taking another trip to Macon next week to see my sissy-poo and beautiful nieces, time is flyingggggg. So to stay mildly sane organized, let’s go ahead and pay that ever-growing wedding checklist a visit, shall we?

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☑

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☑

Wedding Rings: ☑

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☑

Dress Fittings: ☑ (Final fitting is scheduled for the first week of January but things are fitting really well!)

Registry: ☑

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Wedding-Day Transportation: ☐ (Need to book this ASAP)

Welcome Bags: ☐

Wedding Signage: ☑

Program & Menu: ☐

Seating Chart: ☐

Alcohol: ☐ (Anyone have a really solid calculator/advice from their own wedding on the alcohol front? We are providing all the alcohol.)

Signature Cocktail: ☐

Centerpiece Bottles: ☑ (fiiiiiinally!)

Ceremony Backdrop: ☐

Card Box: ☐

Keys to Success Board: ☐

Popcorn bar: ☑

Wedding-Day Surprise Element: ☐

Guestbook: ☑

Write Vows: ☐

Marriage License: ☐

Select Ceremony Music: ☐

Wedding Week Beauty Appts – Hair: ☑ Brows: ☑ Nails: ☐

Honeymoon: ☑

Book Honeymoon Excursions: ☐

Book Honeymoon Return Flight: ☐

I feel like now is the time to start crowd-sourcing what I might be forgetting. You know, so I don’t end up flipping out 3 days beforehand because I forgot to put X, Y, and Z on the list. Ughhhh, maybe updating this list was actually not a very good idea, I’m getting stressed out. Okay, off to do some deep-breathing and stress-baking.

Off to Ottawa + Some Updates!


I know, many more weeks have passed since my last update, and I’m pretty much the worst blogger ever. But let’s just go ahead and breeze on past that, because I’m making a point to get this post up today!

Why today? A Sunday of all days? Well, because by the time you are reading this, I am likely many miles above, flying on my merry way up to Ottawa, Ontario!

For those of you who don’t know, I actually graduated from high school in merry Canada, and I still have some very good friends who live there — one of whom is a bridesmaid in my wedding! They are such good friends, in fact, that they have come to visit me more than I’ve been back to visit them! The last time I was in Ottawa was back in 2011… yipes!

Anyway, needless to say, I’m more than overdue for a return “home.” I have to put the word home in quotation marks, of course, because I have like six “homes” — the result of being the daughter of a diplomat and moving every 3 – 4 years throughout childhood. Regardless, I’m super excited to check out my old stomping grounds and reflect on exactly how old I’ve gotten, hahaha.

Actually, I’ll be out and about for quite a while, as I’m going directly from my Ottawa vacation to San Francisco for our annual Yelp Community Manager Conference! #CMWeek15 I’ll be gone for about 12 days, which is a whole lot of time to be on the road for someone who’s got a job that’s totally locally-focused. But I’m excited to see old friends and catch up with my coworkers from around the globe, so it’s all good in the ‘hood.

Now, to catch you up quickly on what’s been a-going on ’round these here parts lately, first off, I had the pleasure of another wonderful visit from my sister, Jenny, and niece, Mia! Having Mia here for her first “real” Fourth of July was pretty fun! She did like the fireworks… for about five minutes. And then got scared. And then got over being scared, but got bored. Oh well, maybe next year she’ll be more into the spectacle?

I know it probably seems like I am spoiled because between their trips up here and my trips to Georgia (I luckily have a work obligation that brings me to Savannah every once in a while, which is only 2 hours from Macon, where they live), I actually see them a lot. But hey, I’m like weirdly obsessed with being an aunt, so it really works for me, ahaha! And it’s like extra bad right now, because I’m about to be an aunt x2, as Jenny is due with baby #2 at the end of August! Wheeeeee!

Anyway, Jenny was in town to attend the wedding of her best friend Lara, whose hair & makeup I was honored to be able to do for the big day. And with Taylor & Ben doing the wedding photography, it was a real Powell family affair, hehe!

It was a beautiful wedding, and the rain held off juuuust long enough, which was perfect (it’s been a really wet summer around here this year!) I will say, attending weddings as an engaged person is even more fun than it was before, btw. And I really liked going to weddings as a non-engaged person, hehehe.

Oh, also, my hair is blue as of Friday:

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Finally, we’ve been making some progress on the wedding planning progress! Here’s where the “Big List” stands right now:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑ (no spoilers!)

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☐ (halfway there!)

Centerpieces: ☐ (Done in that we figured out exactly what they’ll be, not done in that much crafting is still to take place)

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☐

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☐

We officially have our caterer chosen and locked down, and after having our final cake tasting today, I think we’ve settled on a baker as well! Just need to do some paperwork on that front. And now I’m just waiting on getting a quote for DJ/lighting, getting some more floral quotes, and working my crafty little DIY-fingers to the bone on centerpiece elements and our ceremony backdrop. I am also starting to look at invitation options. And unfortunately, I don’t think that Sean is going to jump at my Marauder’s Map Invitation Suite suggestion, haha.

Although I do solemnly swear I am up to no good when it comes to my wedding shoes…

wedding shoes

Kekekekekeke. 😀

Anyway, jumping back to flowers for a hot sec, as you may remember, I was quite torn on whether we should attempt to DIY our flowers, or hire a professional like most sane people do. Well, because I like to think I exist in that space in-between insanity and sanity, we have decided to do at least half of the flowers ourselves. Our centerpiece flowers, that is!

See, I’ve never envisioned having big floral centerpieces — like, one vase with dozens of carefully and artfully arranged flowers. I think they’re beautiful, and if I had a dream wedding budget, I’m sure I’d want ’em, but as it stands… well, anyway, our centerpieces are going to mainly consist of some crafted wine bottles and glasses that will be used as vases.

So I took a trip to a local floral wholesaler last week with my sister and mom to pick up some flowers and play around, and this is what we came up with (as a mockup):

IMG_2734 IMG_2748
The lighting isn’t the best (we took these pics late at night), but considering it’s my first time dealing with floral centerpiece stuff, it’s not half bad, right? This isn’t exactly what they’ll look like on the day, of course, but it definitely gives us an idea!

I’m planning for the flowers will all be a variety of whites, creams, blushes, and maybe some peach (that bright pink hydrangea is just an extra one my mom had for us to play around with). And I do plan on going into more detail on how I crafted the bottles and glasses (with some better pics of those), so stay tuned for that.

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I also played around with making a bouquet, and while I actually think my practice one turned out pretty nice (I mean, it was my first bouquet ever!), it also ended up being more difficult than I actually anticipated. (Guess watching all those Youtube tutorials really isn’t the same as having, you know, like, experience, hahaha.) So, at this point I am thinking that I’ll probably want to leave the bouquets, bouts, and corsages to the professionals.

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If it doesn’t sound too pompous to say so, however, I do think I did a pretty boss job of making a floral crown for myself my flower girl, though! All it took was some floral wire, floral tape, and wax flowers, and maybe like 40 minutes (much of which was spent being distracted watching Sophia the First with Mia, hahaha.) And since I got quoted $110 from a florist for a floral crown made by them, I think I feel pretty confident gifting Mia with a crown of my own creation, hahaha.

So there you have the latest & the greatest in terms of wedding updates and what’s been going on in the Life of Gretchen. I mean, not including the various Yelp events I’ve been planning (I’m doing a SUPER fun dog-friendly series of events in August — check it out, local peeps!), wedding hair trials, spending time with friends (also, Jenny and I went to see Book of Mormon and it was ridiculous and awesome), spending time with my betrothed (well, duh), and trying to decide between a Royal Caribbean cruise and a Norwegian cruise for our honeymoon. Anyone have opinions on that last one? 🙂

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Alas, but for now, I must bid you adieu! As I am headed to Canada, I shall now utilize as much French as I know… which is, admittedly, extremely limited and mosty picked up from one-liners in The Devil Wears Prada. (“Je suis très, très désolé.” “Oh, you’re not désolé at all.”)

Ahem, anyway! À bientôt and au revoir!

Saying Yes to the Date

First off, thank you all SO much for your thoughtful comments and advice with regard to my wedding date dilemma. Many of you just affirmed what I had been feeling all along, which is that I should go for the wedding that I’ve always envisioned! I spoke with Sean about it again, and he is supportive of whatever I want (because he is the best), so I have decided to go with my heart…

Getting Hitched

… and have officially selected January 23rd, 2016 as our wedding date!


There are a lot of factors that went into this decision, but it basically came down to the fact that I had a huge list of pros for January (it’s close to our anniversary, it’s cold and I would MUCH rather be cold than hot on my wedding day, it fits my wedding vision, it’s not as busy a time for Sean and me at work, it’s a little more unusual, some key players are more likely to be able to attend in January) and only one real con (weather potentially affecting people’s travel.) But I did my due-diligence, researched and used some weather predictors (which, who knows how accurate they really are, but they do make me feel better, haha), and decided that it’s true that the “real” snow around here tends to hit a little bit later in the winter, so while it’s still somewhat of a risk, I’m just going to have faith that it’ll all work out regardless.

Plus, I just kept thinking about how if I chose a later date, January 23rd would roll around and I’d feel so wistful not having chosen it. And the one thing I do not want to feel when it comes to this wedding is any form of regret.

So, there we are! I guess I just needed a little bit of reassurance that I wasn’t totally crazypants for wanting to move forward with January. So thank you so much for that!

Oh my goodness, I cannot even tell you how much relief I feel just from having officially picked a date. I mean, I know it’s not official-official until the contract is signed and the first bit of money gets forked over, but just having made an actual decision is a huge weight off my shoulders.

See, without an actual date (and the venue that tends to come with it), it’s really hard to make any other wedding decisions. I’ve been putting out inquiries and doing a lot of research, of course, but without that firm date, it’s hard to book other vendors, plan your Save the Dates and invitations, or even just generally get your planning timeline in check!

So now it really feels like the rest of my wedding planning can begin! I’m obviously very excited to have the date chosen and another thing checked off my big to-do list. So as far as “big” wedding items, here’s where we stand:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☐

Photographer: ☐

Flowers/Centrepieces: ☐

DJ: ☐

Cake: ☐

Invitations: ☐

We also have our officiant taken care of — my uncle is a Bishop and my cousin is a Rector for the Episcopal church, and they have both agreed to fly out to perform the wedding! Hopefully they are open to having some additions and small changes to the traditional Episcopalian liturgy, because I have a lot of ideas when it comes to that too, hahaha.

Anyway, I think that covers all the big things, right? Is there something crucial on that list that I’m forgetting? I tend to think things like my bridal accessories, wedding website (already started, but in very early stages right now), bridesmaid dresses, favors, creative components, additional decor, and the like as things we can tackle a little bit later on… though to be fair, they also tend to be the things that I have the most fun with, heh.

In fact, I may or may not have already snatched up some gold charger plates on Craigslist (160 for $80!!!) without even having any of the other big stuff finalized, haha. But! I know that I want gold to be one of my colors (I’m thinking of a gold and black color scheme, vibing in on that old Hollywood glamour flair, hehe) and I just couldn’t pass them up. Chargers can be anywhere from $2 – $7 EACH through a rental company, so owning them for $0.50 each is just a crazy good deal.

Anyway, the next steps will probably be getting in some additional catering quotes (I’ve only received one that’s within my budget so far, but am waiting on two more) and selecting a photographer, and, of course, continuing to Pin things that I’ll probably never be able to actually pull off, as well as cry about how much Chiavari chairs cost.

Onward hoooooo!