10 Day Countdown

Yep, we’re 10 days away from The Big Day. My face is pretty much permanently set in one of the two following expressions:

or 

I’ve happily been able to check off more items off my to-do list, while, of course rendering that act completely pointless since I’ve been simultaneously adding new tasks as I go, hahahaha. But, hey, we are literally in the home stretch, which means that really, even if the absolutely nothing else gets done at this point, in the end, I’m still gettin’ hitched (well, except for that mildly important Marriage License line item, I guess.)

Plus, even though I’m an emotional mess who cries a bare minimum of twice a day (yesterday’s were 1. while reading my vows aloud, 2. while sitting in Red Lobster with my family just thinking about how I’m getting married in ten days), I have lots of awesome things to get excited for now, too!

I’m hosting a Yelp Elite Event on Thursday (my last as “Gretchen P.” — at my next event, I’ll be “Gretchen F.”!), and my sister and brother-in-law are able to attend that so it should be a lot of fun. Plus, my bachelorette party is on Saturday (wooooo!) AND my friend & bridesmaid Jessica is also coming back from Korea that same day! She’s such a trooper for not only flying in overnight, but also for planning on coming out to all the bachelorette activities, even though I would 100% understand if she couldn’t rally.

My bridesmaids are totally spoiling me for my bachelorette party — I mean, based on what I’ve been told, it’s more like an entire bachelorette day! I can’t wait to tell you guys all about it… provided I survive the nighttime activities, ahahaha.

All right, so just for consistency’s sake, here’s the current state of the infamous List:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

Makeup Artist: ☑

Hair Stylist: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☑

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☑

Wedding Rings: ☑

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☑

Dress Fittings: ☑

Registry: ☑

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Wedding-Day Transportation: ☑

Welcome Bags: ☐ (Should be finishing these today!)

Wedding Signage: ☑

Design Program & Menu: ☑

Design Seating Chart: ☑

Print Menus + Programs: ☑

Alcohol: ☑

Signature Cocktail: ☑

Centerpiece Bottles: ☑

Table Numbers: ☑

Ceremony Backdrop: ☐ (Grahhhh, must… finish…)

Card Box: ☑

Keys to Success: ☑

Popcorn Bar: ☑

Wedding-Day Surprise Element: ☐ (Anyone wanna guess?)

Guestbook: ☑

Write Vows: ☐ (I finally started working on mine!)

Marriage License: ☐ (We’re going this afternoon!!)

Create Timeline: ☑

Order Thank You Cards: ☐ (I think I’m going to wait at this point and order a card with one of our wedding pics on it.)

Select Ceremony Music: ☑

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

Honeymoon: ☑

Book Honeymoon Excursions: ☑

Book Honeymoon Return Flight: ☑

And, of course, it continues to grow ever longer with a combination of things I literally did not even think about prior to having my vendors ask about them (I need to pick a song to cut the cake to?), things that I won’t be able to do until literally those final few days before the wedding, and last-minute ideas that I really don’t need but am obviously going to do anyway because, hello, I’m Gretchen (I’m lookin’ at you, flip flop basket!).

Pick Reception Music — First Dance: ☑ Father/Daughter :☑ Mother/Son: ☐ Bridal Party Entrance: ☐ Bride & Groom Entrance: ☑ Anniversary Dance: ☐ Cake Cutting: ☐

Reserve U-Haul for Transporting Alcohol, Flowers, and Decorations: ☑

Print Travel Docs for Honeymoon: ☐

Pack for Honeymoon: ☐

Flip Flop Basket: ☐

Print Seating Chart: ☐

Create Print-Out for Guestbook: ☐ (I’m using a Chinese silk cloth as my guestbook, as is tradition in my family, and want to print out a little explanation of the significance for guests.)

Make Sure Bridesmaid Dresses Fit: ☐ (We did Rent the Runway, so cross your fingers for us!)

Prep All Wedding Flowers: ☐ (We pick them up Thursday morning from the wholesaler)

Make Bouquets & Boutonnieres: ☐

I’m sure I’m forgetting some things, but don’t worry, if I did I’m sure I’ll have some kind of cryptic stress dream about it — In Tuesday night’s wedding-related dream I was evidently getting married on a Thursday afternoon, the makeup + hair people didn’t show up, and my bridesmaids kept leaving me alone to go run personal errands.

I also have plans to implement a strict no-dairy diet next week (normally I just kind of force myself to live with the effects of my lactose intolerance, but I’m not taking any bloaty/phlegmy/uncomfortable chances for my wedding), and really need to up, up, up my water intake. The weather has taken a serious turn to the cold and dry lately, and I want to be well-hydrated so I can be all dewy and glowy and crap.

My sister gave me this emoji poop pillow just because. She really gets me.

Hooookay, anyway, yet again, I make no promises to be back with another update before the big day, but I have a feeling I’ll want to recap my bachelorette festivities with you guys (not to mention to get the personal satisfaction out of showing off a (hopefully) fully checked-off list) so I’ll see you lataaaaa!

40 Days, Baby!

As you read this, Daxter & I are likely high in the skies above, flying back home after spending a few days in Macon, GA with my sister and beautiful nieces, Mia & Kira.

Yeah, we met Elsa & Anna. No big deal. 😉

It was super nice, as always, to get away for a little bit and spend time with my family, but with us nearing the one-month mark for the wedding, plus with all the holiday stuff coming up, I can’t help feeling more anxious than not coming back into everything. My sister has been doing her best to help me tackle things one by one, prioritize, and not freak out, and I’m trying to follow her advice, but I seem to be incapable of de-stressing even as I am crossings things off of my ever-growing to-do list. Le sigh.

Gretchen___Sean_»_Eat__Drink__and_Be_Foxy_

I mean, I know that we’re getting into the home stretch, and at this point even totally normal people who aren’t A) DIY-ing way so much crazy sh*t and B) already prone to being overly anxious, emotionally compromised stressballs are apt to reach their boiling point. I swear, I am trying to keep it all in perspective: I still have 5 – 6 weeks to get everything done, my sister’s coming up in a couple more weeks and will be staying for the entire month before the wedding, and my two other bridesmaids will be in town for the full week prior. But I’m in this weird limbo where I feel like I’m both doing too much and not doing enough, lol.

I do feel better after meeting with Caitlin, my awesome day-of coordinator. She’s really ending up as more of a month-of coordinator, and I am so, so glad that I have someone there to reassure me that everything will work out (that I’m not related to, that is), and who is there to specifically help me execute all of my ridonkulous ideas. It makes the fact that I’m putting all these man-hours into details that barely anyone will actually notice much less suicide-inducing, hahaha.

I also have a walkthrough with our caterer scheduled for next week, which I’m sure will also put me more at ease, since it’ll give me the opportunity to ask all of the zillion questions I have on how exactly everything’s going to work. #notabridezillaiswear

I mean, don’t get me wrong: it’s really not all bad. I mean, one of the things that I crossed off my list while in Macon was taste-testing specialty cocktails for the wedding!

Hey, it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it!

Check out that Asian glow! 😉

And speaking of crossing things off my list… let’s take another look at that, shall we? (Are we super annoyed with this incessant list-updating yet?)

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

Makeup Artist: ☑

Hair Stylist: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☑

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☑

Wedding Rings: ☑

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☑

Dress Fittings: ☑

Registry: ☑

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Wedding-Day Transportation: ☑

Welcome Bags: ☐

Wedding Signage: ☑

Program & Menu: ☐

Seating Chart: ☐

Alcohol: ☐

Signature Cocktail: ☑

Centerpiece Bottles: ☑

Table Numbers: ☐

Ceremony Backdrop: ☐

Card Box: ☐

Keys to Success: ☐

Popcorn Bar: ☐

Wedding-Day Surprise Element ;): ☐

Guestbook: ☑

Write Vows: ☐

Marriage License: ☐

Create Timeline: ☑

Order Thank You Cards: ☐

Select Ceremony Music: ☐

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

Honeymoon: ☑

Book Honeymoon Excursions: ☐

Book Honeymoon Return Flight: ☐

I actually had to reneg and un-check the popcorn bar one, because I was getting a little ahead of myself. I have all the containers and whatnot, but haven’t placed an order for the actual popcorn yet, oops.

Still makin’ pretty good progress, but since this week is super busy for me work-wise, and the following week is, uh, Christmas week, I don’t really know how much I’ll get done until after Christmas… guess we’ll just have to see how the next couple of weeks go!

If I don’t make it back to update you guys before then, I hope you have the most amaaaaaaah-zing holiday season!

129 Days and Counting!

Howdy, folks! It’s been yet another while since my last update, I know, but things have been moving along pretty swimmingly! Between work, wedding planning, and family stuff, I’ve definitely been keeping busy. In fact, I just came back from spending some time down in Macon getting to meet (and take photos of) my new niece, Kira!

Coming back home after spending some time with my adorable nieces meant jumping right back into wedding planning and work stuff. I’m actually hosting an Elite Event tonight, another one on Monday, and another one on the 27th. Whew! And next month brings another three events, three weddings (one of which I’m shooting with Ben & Taylor!), AND a trip up to Pittsburgh to help out at my coworker’s Yelper Party. WHEW.

But, hey, no rest for the wicked, right? And all this work craziness does come at a pretty good time, since I’m sure that as soon as I enter November, the wedding insanity will start to REALLY set in. November brings my bridal shower (squee!), a trip to Houston to visit my grandmother (she won’t be able to attend my wedding, so we’re going to perform the traditional Chinese tea ceremony for her), and, then, of course, the beginning of the Holiday Season! Double whew.

Luckily, I think I’m in pretty good shape with things right now. As far as most of the wedding planning timelines and to-do lists that I’m able to find online, it looks like we’re pretty much on target! Here’s where things stand:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☑

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers:☑

Centerpieces:☑

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☑

Cake: ☑

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☐

Wait a second… are you seeing what I’m seeing? That’s a lot of checked boxes! Like, almost all of them! And while some of the checks are really more like, half-checks, since I can’t actually complete them juuuust yet, the decisions have been made. So I’m counting it!

After all, we’ve figured out the exact configuration of the centerpieces, the flower count is being calculated, the invitations are being designed, and, best of all, my real, ACTUAL dress came in!

No spoilers for you (that isn’t even my real veil!) BUT, I’m pretty darn excited. And miracle of miracles, it actually fits really well! It will still need some alterations, of course, but those don’t need to start until November.

All of which means that, um, the big things on my wedding checklist are basically complete! CRAZY!

Of course, this doesn’t mean that the planning is over by a long shot.the majority of what I have left to work on right now falls under the whole Death by DIY heading that I’ve already mentioned. You know, making the ceremony backdrop, painting the rest of the centerpiece items, finishing up the dessert bar decor (turns out that making cake stands from thrift store plates and glasses is pretty much the easiest thing ever!), and getting my bridal accessories. And I know that as we get closer to the date of the wedding I’m sure more and more things are sure to pop up.

In fact, here are just a few additional things that weren’t originally included on the “main” list that I think I should probably start keeping track of, even if the deadlines are still a ways off:

Bridesmaid Dresses: ☑

Bridal Accessories: ☐

Wedding Rings: ☐

Groomsmen Tuxes: ☐

Registry: ☑ (Thanks to everyone who told me about Zola, it’s really cool!)

Hotel room blocks: ☑

Shuttle/Transportation: ☐ (The hotels are technically walkable to the GW Masonic Memorial, but it’s January, so I’m trying to figure out is providing transportation is still a good idea.)

Welcome Bags: ☐

Wedding Signage: ☐

Program & Menu: ☐

Seating Chart: ☐ (Obviously this won’t be doable until after the invitations have gone out and RSVPs have come back, but it’s still good to keep in mind, as it’s a pretty important to-do.)

Alcohol: ☐ (We are able to purchase our own for the wedding — yay! — so I need to figure out amounts/types.)

Honeymoon: ☑ (Wheeeee!)

Oh boy. The list just keeps on growing. Heh. Oh well, whatever, you guys know I love this ish.

Speaking of the honeymoon, we finally decided on escaping the winter weather on a cruise out of Miami! It’s a 7-day Eastern Caribbean itinerary on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Escape! I’ve never cruised Norwegian before, but am a big fan of cruising in general, and am super excited about the prospect of a brand spankin’ new boat (seriously, the ship hasn’t even started sailing yet. Eee!)

We are also going to spend a few days beforehand touring the Florida Keys, which neither Sean nor I have been to before. So if any of you have any tips about which cities in the Keys to visit, where to stay, or honeymoon-y things to do, please let me know!

Okay, I think that just about catches us up. I’m sure that the secondary list will just keep growing and growing, but I am super excited! We are 129 days out, and I am definitely already getting antsy, hehe. Onward we go!

A Rose By Any Other Name

Hola!

Sorry for the long hiatus, party people! Things have gotten a little bit crazy ’round the neighborhood lately (I’ve had four Yelp events already this month, and another two to go!), and so both my blogging AND my wedding planning have been pushed to the side for a bit.

But my parents are returning from their amazing 3-week vacation in France (lucky sons of…) which finally means that a lot of the things I was waiting to do with my mom can finally get done! So I’ve got a full week of catering tastings, floral meetings, and the like set up. Hooray!

For those of you who were wondering, by the way, I did end up deciding on that Save the Date. By overwhelming response, the winner is…

So yes, Save the Dates are done and have been sent out (to all the folks whose addresses I was actually able to get, haha), which means the rest of planning is going full-steam ahead! My Big Item Wedding Checklist now looks like this:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑ (and I ordered my veil, too!)

Caterer: ☐ (tastings this week!)

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☐ (consultation this week, and see below)

Centerpieces: ☐ (in-progress)

Ceremony Musicians: ☑

DJ: ☐

Cake: ☐ (tastings scheduled)

Day-of Coordinator: ☑

Save the Dates: ☑

Invitations: ☐

Lol, notice how the list keeps growing? Hahaha. I hope to have DJ (and lighting) locked up soon, and I also have scheduled a couple of cake tastings, which, along with the catering tastings happening later this week, officially marks the start of the “fun” stuff, I’m told! Our wedding website is also live (although not 100% complete, as I’m meeting with potential hotels to book room blocks this week), which is fun (and gives me a use for all those engagement pictures, hehe.

I also am continuing to deliberate on what to do with flowers. When I first blogged about trying to figure out my priorities for the wedding, I had flowers pretty far down on the list. In fact, I didn’t even think I was going to have any flowers in my centerpieces at all! But, of course, the more planning and research (and Pinning!) I do, the more I do want some fresh blooms at the wedding, haha.

I’m meeting with a florist on Thursday, but am also still heavily considering DIY-ing the flowers, especially since I have hired a day-of coordinator to help get everything set up, AND I found out from the venue that I will be able to store things overnight on-site (though we won’t be able to set up until a few hours beforehand.)

Everyone I talk to thinks I am a bona fide crazy person for even considering DIY-ing the flowers, but I just honestly don’t think it’ll be that bad! Costco sells bulk flowers (and, as you can see above, their roses are gorgeous, I bought some off their flowers the last time I was there and they were beautiful and lasted a week!) and I am fortunate to have access to more than one wholesale flower market in this area as well. I’ve also found a site that will portion out flowers in smaller amounts than you’d be able to order online, so you can get a wider variety of flowers instead of having to buy like 200 of one kind.

332A0726 Untitled
I’ve also already DIY-ed some brooch flowers to include in my bouquet anyway (more detail to come on this in a later post), and I’ve watched a lot of tutorials on putting together bouquets, which can be done the day before. And my centerpieces are not going to be big floral centerpieces in a vase like you see at a lot of weddings, but instead will only require about a dozen loose flowers per table, which I think will be pretty easy to set up (esp. if we can stage them the night before and just have the coordinator transport them from the storage room to the tables.)

But, again, I don’t know if I may be taking on too much. At this point, it’s still easy for me to evaluate all the various DIY projects I have going on (centerpieces, ceremony backdrop, flowers) and say “I’ve got plenty of time!” but since flowers cannot be done in advance, I may be taking on more than I’ll really be able, or even want, to handle in the days before the wedding.

I dunno. I guess I’ll have a much clearer idea after I speak with the florist later this week — maybe her prices will be fairer than I’ve been seeing from other florists in the area. Who knows?

Did you DIY your flowers, or do you know anybody who has? How much did you end up spending on wedding flowers?

Wedding Update: 37 Weeks Out

Aloha!

Hope everyone’s having a good week! Mine’s started out a little rocky, as I think I’m fighting a sickness of some kind. I’ve just been crazy exhausted for the past few days, and Friday night I got hit with the WORST headache of my entire life. It was so bad that I practically had to pull the car over on the way back from seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron. All I wanted to do was cry in the dark somewhere with my hands over my head.

I am fortunate in that I don’t tend to get very many headaches (I have so much sympathy for those of you who deal with migraines and the like), but I think that just meant I was even less prepared to deal with this one. It lasted almost all weekend! At first I thought maybe it was my body reacting to the liquid sugar I poured into it (in the form of a White Raspberry Icee) during the movie, but when it didn’t go away… I dunno, the headache coupled with my exhaustion over the past few days does lead me to believe that perhaps it’s something more. Maybe I’m legit getting sick, or perhaps it’s stress-related, or, hey, maybe it’s even tied to my monthly ladytime.

Whatever the case may be, I’ve basically spent the past few days sleeping a lot and generally just moping around the house being useless. And while that has indeed affected my ability to be productive with, like, my job (yesterday I took a sick day — my first since I started working for Yelp), it hasn’t stopped me from trying to be productive with regard to another component of my life.

With that component obviously being wedding planning. Duh.

First-off, here’s the latest update on where we’re at with the major wedding-related items:

Date: ☑

Venue: ☑

Dress: ☑

Caterer: ☐ (tastings scheduled)

Photographer: ☑

Videographer: ☑

Flowers: ☐

Centerpieces: ☐ (in-progress)

DJ: ☐

Cake: ☐

Save the Dates: ☐

Invitations: ☐

In addition to having selected our date and venue, as well as my dress ordered, we’ve now got the photographer and videographer officially selected as well. Contracts have been signed, deposits have been sent out, and things are starting to come along!

I’ve scheduled tastings with our top two caterer choices, though we won’t be doing the tastings until after my parents return from their vacation in southern France (sooooo jealous) in mid-June. And as far as centerpieces/wedding decor goes, I’ve already started on some of it!

Not sure if you know this about me, but I actually really enjoy crafting. I’m all about that craft life, man. Give me a roll of butcher paper, yarn, some Mod Podge, and a truckload of glitter, and I’ll be occupied for hours. So, that being said, I am indeed planning on DIY-ing quite a few elements of the wedding — almost all of the centerpiece components, escort cards, even the majority of my own bridal bouquet.

I know it’s kind of early still, but since I have a lot of relatively ambitious projects in mind, I figured it’d be much better to get an early start on the wedding craft projects. That way, if I get tired/annoyed/too many papercuts/high off of spray paint fumes, I can take a breather without feeling the pressure of being on a time crunch just yet.

 

For those of you who are interested, I definitely plan on writing posts that detail the various craft projects I’m working on.

Of course, with so many different components that I’m creating myself, I know that I’ll need some help to make sure everything gets set up on the actual wedding day. So I’ve also been chatting with a few different planners about day-of coordination.

Some folks might not see the value in hiring a day-of coordinator, especially when you have friends or family who might be willing to help out. I, however, really loathe the idea of inconveniencing anyone, so I think it’d be better just to have someone specific in charge of all the day-of tasks — getting the centerpieces on the tables, making sure the dessert bar labels go out, moving decor from the ceremony space to the reception space, helping to pack up at the end of the night, etc. Plus, I hear time and time again from past brides that the best thing they did was to hire a day-of coordinator! How can you argue with that?

Now, as mentioned, a lot of what I’ve already started working on isn’t super time-sensitive. After all, we’re still a good 8 months out from the wedding date. The most time-sensitive thing is probably our Save the Dates, which I am definitely trying to get out soon (especially since our wedding will be taking place somewhat close to the winter holidays, I want to give folks as much notice as possible.)

Sean and I were supposed to have our engagement photoshoot with my brother and sister-in-law (Taylor & Ben Photography) on Sunday, but, alas, circumstances intervened. So we’ve rescheduled for Friday instead! Which means I get to spend another four days obsessing over how I should wear my hair and whether I’m making the right accessory choices, heh.

Once we have our engagement photos in-hand (or, rather, in-computer), I’ll hopefully be able to whip up a quick Save the Date design (I’m thinking I wanna do a magnet), order ’em, and get them out pronto. And once we have our photos, I’ll also be looking to launch the wedding website that I’ve been working on!

Anyway, I think that just about catches us up to where I’m at with the whole wedding planning shebang! Still quite a few “big” items to nail down, but we’re definitely making headway.

Here’s to many more weeks of getting glue on my fingers, obsessively comparing vendor proposals, trying to figure out if it would be truly crazy to try and DIY the wedding flowers (all of my family members say I’m muy loca for even considering it, but A Practical Wedding make it seem soooo doable…), and glitterizing, well, everything.

Did you DIY (or, perhaps if your fiance is less glitter-averse than Sean, DIT) any of your wedding components?