Old Sheldon Church Ruins

30 April 2012

John and I were lucky enough to travel south for a mini vacation a few weeks back, and we saw and experienced so many neat things that I’d love to tell you about! Expect several posts over the next few days from our South Carolina adventure :)

Our first major stop was at the Old Sheldon Church Ruins, which John first heard about on Trip Advisor. The Ruins are a historic site just outside of Beaufort, SC (that’s Byew-furt, for my Northern readers, distinct from Beafort (Bow-furt), NC, where John and I got engaged). There is no admission fee. The original church on the site was built between 1745 and 1753, then burned down by the British in 1779 during the Revolutionary War. It was rebuilt in 1826, then burned again in 1865, this time by General Sherman in the Civil War. The ruins remain on the site, surrounded by beautiful live oaks.

They actually hold events, including church services, and I think weddings, on the property. How crazy would it be to get married here??

All photos by moi

Bridesmaid dress recap

26 April 2012

Here it is, the post you’ve all (maybe?) been waiting for: my recap of our own personal bridesmaid dress drama. It’s over, it’s finished: we have placed the order, and there’s no going back now. Deep breaths.

A brief aside: I have heard a lot of brides complain about shopping for bridesmaid dresses. And honestly? I didn’t really get it. It’s not that hard, little old me thought. You just pick a dress that’s in the right price range, and place the order. Done and done.

WELL.

Perhaps it was that easy for someone out there, but it certainly wasn’t for me. Here are just a few of the things that made bridesmaid dress shopping a challenge for me and my crew:

1. It’s very difficult to compare pricing, as prices are set individually by salons – so, a Bill Levkoff gown that costs $220 at one salon might cost $245 at another. For someone like me, who was desperate to get the best price, this made research a never ending nightmare.

2. It’s hard to gather feedback when you and your bridesmaids live in five different cities. If we all wanted to look at a dress in person, we had to make five different appointments, wait until everyone had fit a trip into their schedule, and then discuss over email. That is a long process.

3. It’s a strange and uncomfortable position to be in, dictating what someone will wear and how much they’ll spend. As nice as my bridesmaids are, I still cringed every time I emailed them a new set of dresses I wanted them to see in person, or asked whether a certain price would be palatable. I feel like I was more distraught over spending their money and time than I would have been over my own.

4. It’s rare that four gals will like the same dress from four different options. And then how do you choose??

5. Even once you’ve chosen a dress, there’s anxiety about ordering the correct size. At least there was for us. Not one of my bridesmaid’s measurements aligned perfectly with the sizing chart, and so we felt a bit like we were taking a stab in the dark when we chose sizes for each.

So yes, it was a long and difficult process, stretching from approximately October to April. But we’re done! Here’s how it ended:

Back in October, I told you that we would likely be making a decision on bridesmaid dresses in November. Ha! Not even close. Then in January, I told you we’d narrowed it down to three options. The gals tried on as many of the three as they could, and we decided that Bill Levkoff 537 was the group pick. I decided to order a swatch of our color – pewter – just to make sure I liked it. It was almost an afterthought, but I’m glad I did, because once I saw it in person, I immediately saw that it was much more of a lavender gray than a true charcoal gray. I think this photo, which is of 537, demonstrates it well:

Lauren Brooks via Style Me Pretty

Unfortunately, we were looking for something more along the lines of this:

Stephen DeVries

So, in despair (yes, despair), I headed back to the drawing board. My first stop was at Dessy, because I knew they were a large chain and it would probably be easy for my ladies to find a store near them should they choose to try the new crop on. Yes, this time I didn’t even expect them to visit the choices in person, though I gave them the option of doing so. Due to schedules, two ended up trying on the four new potentials – 2846, 2834, 2859, and After Six 6639 — and two did not. Of course, the feedback was across the board, although no one liked 2859 much, 6639 looked awful on one gal, and everyone generally liked 2846 and 2834. In the end, I made an executive decision, and we went with 2834 in charcoal gray, a color I saw in person and liked.

Oh yes, and I forgot to mention that somewhere in there I went on a short-lived but crazy tangent (egged on by my younger sister) and briefly considered the J. Crew Arabelle in dusty shale. I went back to the straight and narrow gray path pretty quickly, but photos like these still make my heart skip a beat:

yazyjo via Style Me Pretty

After that, we rounded up everyone’s measurements, and did our best to fit them into the Dessy sizing chart (a process that involved much consultation and many back-and-forth emails). The final price ended up being $187 per dress from RK Bridal, which is a bit more than I wanted to spend, but not bad considering it’s a floor-length gown. Mostly, I was just happy to be finished, as I’m sure my gals were, too. The delivery is scheduled for July 14, which should give us plenty of time for any necessary alterations.

There’s no way alterations could be as painful as this, right? Right?!

:)

Wedding planning update: 4+ months to go

25 April 2012

Less than five months to go!!

Photo by Lane Dittoe and florals by Oak & the Owl

Since my last update…
— WE BOUGHT BRIDESMAID DRESSES!! Woo hoo!
— We bought John’s tux and tuxedo shirt!
— We finalized our invitation design and sent it to the printer to see samples
— I designed, printed, and framed the first piece of signage for our reception
— I designed our marriage certificate and guest book cards
— I had my first wedding gown fitting!!
— We scheduled our first meeting with our pastor, our tasting with our caterer, and our site walk through with our florist and day-of coordinator
— Marget and I chose a veil designer, and I’m meeting with her tomorrow!
— We received our first wedding gifts! I’m shocked by how far people plan ahead!
— We booked the first night of accommodations for our minimoon

Next up on the list?
— John’s job is to lock down our rehearsal dinner venue, so I’m hoping he has that on his list for this month
— I’d like to book the rest of the minimoon accommodations
— I think we’re going to purchase our wedding rings!
— I would love to finish the crepe paper flowers… and share my tutorial with you!

More soon!

Engagement photos!

24 April 2012

We are having them taken! Our friend Gina Zeidler is going to be in NC next week, and when she offered to shoot a little engagement session for us while in town, we couldn’t resist!

Of course, we’re still trying to figure out a great location, as well as what to wear. To help, I thought I would collect a few of my favorite engagement portraits to see if I could spot any common themes in environment or styling. What do you think?

Love the closeness in these, both by A Bryan Photo. Also: checked shirts on both guys. Noted.

Love the movement in this one by Meredith Perdue.

Hugs. Lots of hugs. (Elizabeth Messina via 100 Layer Cake and Gina Zeidler)

Striped shoes? Perhaps. (Nancy Ray)

I want her eyebrows! And her hair! (Thank you, Abby Jiu.)

Love the laughter and their arms in this shot from A Bryan

More hugs! (Gina Zeidler)

More laughter! (A Bryan Photo)

Love the porch setting, and the ice cream (Meredith Perdue, and Kate Headley).

Love these two of our buddies in their shoot by Veil & Bow.

Lastly, one of my favorites, from Tec Petaja via Once Wed.

Since most of my favorites are tightly-cropped shots, we really don’t need a stunning location – just somewhere fairly neutral, and pretty quiet. Also, fun outfits. If any of my NC peeps have suggestions for us, I’d love to hear them! Outfit inspiration hopefully coming later this week!

P.S. Bonus shot! I thought this engagement session by Nancy Ray with pizza was incredibly adorable.

The wedding morning, part three

23 April 2012

Yes, this is the third post about the morning of our wedding. (In case you missed it, I posted about the soundtrack and my outfit here, and the location here.) Perhaps I’m thinking about it right now because last night I had an interesting dream that involved this topic. Would you like to hear about it?

Ozzy Garcia

The dream opened at about 5 in the morning. It is still dark outside. I am in my gown and trying to do my own hair and makeup in my bathroom in my childhood home. No one else seems to be around. Eventually I get ready, and I go downstairs to find five groomsmen who are each wearing a different outfit. I don’t remember this bothering me. John starts to come down the stairs, and I start dashing around, trying to stay out of his sight. End scene.

New scene. I’m in a ballroom, which also is apparently a church, and there are now a ton of people around me, all asking me questions and reminding me of things that haven’t been done. (Most of the questions were about escort cards, which we’re not even having in real life…) In the middle of this, I’m trying to explain to the pastor (not our pastor, but apparently this guy was going to be co-officiating our ceremony) that we want to serve communion, but that we only have one cup, not two, and no wine or bread. He said he thought that was a very bad idea. In the middle of talking to him, I realize that we never decided on our vows or readings or hymns or anything having to do with our ceremony, and I decide that John and I need to talk to our real pastor about this immediately. End scene.

New scene. I’m at my pastor’s house, and he and his family are watching TV. He agrees that we should discuss the ceremony, but says we should wait until John arrives. John eventually arrives, and the three of us go out to a tree house (???) to have our discussion. Apparently I am no longer concerned about John seeing my dress, although I had put on a large winter coat at some point.

And that’s it! I just remember sitting down in the tree house, and then I suppose I woke up.

Now clearly, I don’t expect anything remotely like this to happen on the morning of our wedding. I know we will have written or decided on our vows far in advance of September, and I know our wonderful pastor would never let us get to the day of the wedding without choosing readings or hymns. So why is our ceremony always what my wedding dreams focus on? I’ve had three so far (that I can remember), and they all revolved around us having a completely unplanned ceremony. I’ve never even dreamed about our reception at all.

Just for fun, I wanted to offer up three reasons. I welcome you to offer your own interpretations in the comments :)

1. Though John and I have had a several discussions about our ceremony, we’ve made very few concrete decisions about it, since we’re waiting until we meet with our pastor for the first time before we do so. Even though we have several months to go, perhaps part of me feels like we should be making those decisions sooner.

2. I do not like to be in front of people, and I especially am uncomfortable showing emotion in front of crowds. The ceremony is both the part of our day that I am most looking forward to, but also the part about which I feel the most anxiety. This could be manifesting itself in my dreams.

3. Lately, I’ve been feeling like there is still a LOT to get done, and not enough hours in the day to do it all. Hence the middle part of my dream.

I promise I am not going crazy, and that in my waking hours, I feel very comfortable with where we are in our planning. What do you guys think? Any alternative interpretations out there? :) Did you have a bad dream (or two) about your wedding day before it happened?