Saturday, July 19, 2014

Little Life Things (Week[s] of 7/5/2014 - 7/18/2014)

Double Post!  We were on vacation and it was super difficult to make posts, so I'm doubling up here.

  • We were in Portland for a wedding that occurred July 5.  It was a gorgeous, sweet, emotional wedding, and we were so glad to be able to have been in attendance.  We looked really good, too.
  • After the wedding, we headed off to Vegas!  We went with two of our friends from Oregon, and met a few people there too.  Vegas was great, of course.  The highlight was seeing Evil Dead the Musical.  It was hilarious and perfect.  
Grabbing Ash's boomstick
  • We went down to Fremont street, which I actually prefer to the strip.  It's cheaper, less crowded, and covered so my delicate redheaded complexion won't burn after three seconds outside.  
While there, I discovered how absolutely terrifying the cowboy is 
when his lights aren't turned on.  Yeesh!  Nightmare fuel.
  • Also, we ate food.  We hit some buffets, we snacked, and we discovered the greatest little place on Fremont called Uncle Joe's (go there!).  
This pizza had 10 meats on it.

  • Meanwhile, back in Maryland, a few things happened.  A giant thunderstorm happened and apparently a wind shear (???) swept through our neighborhood and took down a tree in nearly every yard.  We lost the majority of our ONE tree!
Noooooo I had so many plans for this shady space!

  • Also, I got a NEWWW CAAAAAR!  I am very sad to leave my echo.  I've had that car since I was 16, it's the car I learned to drive on!  It drove me all through Oregon too.  But it was time for a change after 12+ years.  After much research and finagling, my new car is a Ford Escape!  My only requirements were: has air conditioning, is big enough for kids and sports equipment and stuff (I'm planning on keeping this one for another 10 years), has storage space, and mostly- HAS AIR CONDITIONING.  Did I mention that I needed my new car to have AC?  
Awkward picture is super awkward

Bonus Photos:

Sunflowers at the Bellagio

Dad sent this to me while we were gone.  He took away the kiddie pool 
and she tried to lay in her bowl instead.  Typical.  

When I took down my hair from the wedding...

Monday, July 7, 2014

How to Be a Rainy Day Bride

1. Get married in the rain!

Just kidding.  Most people probably don't grow up dreaming of rain on their wedding day.  Yes, it is said to be a sign of good fortune/fertility or whatever- but as my dad says, "that saying was made up by someone whose daughter was getting married on a rainy day to keep her from flipping out."  If you are planning an outdoor wedding, you HAVE to be prepared for rain.  I know everyone says this, and you hear it and are like "yes yes, I KNOW."  But inside (and I know this, because this was me), you are thinking "it won't rain on my wedding because it's my wedding and it can't."  Let me tell you- it can.  And it does.  But it's not the end of the world!!!  Take it from me- my husband and I got married during a 15 minute outdoor ceremony while it rained and rained on us.  Was it still a perfect day?  Absolutely.  Would I change anything about it?  Not at all.  Here's a list of some things that helped me through my own rainy day wedding.

1.  Have a plan.
My venue was a state park, so our ceremony and reception were both at the same location, and both outdoors.  When you are booking your reception venue/tent, remember that this is (most likely) your backup location for rain!  Our (unused) rain plan (I'll get to more of this later) was to do the ceremony under the tent with our guests seated at their tables.  Because one of my favorite aspects of the park was the flower-covered arch at the ceremony site, we (I say we, but it was my bridesmaid and her mom) put together a lighted arch from Michael's and decorated it with ribbons, and purchased giant flower pots overflowing with flowers to put it in.  Being as prepared as possible for rain will make the transition much easier if you do have to go with your backup.

2. Practice your plan!
At our rehearsal, we ran through our regular plan several times, and then we also ran through our rainy day plan.  This included coming out of a different door on the house to make the walks shorter.  This included changing up which way the boys came down the aisle so they could hold an umbrella over their escort.

3. Get some umbrellas.
My dad ordered a bunch of giant golf umbrellas online prior to the wedding.  He ordered solid white ones, and some pink and white ones.  You'll see one of the white ones featured in my wedding photos.  You can find some really great deals online.  Or, you can ask around from friends and family to see if they have any extra.  If your budget allows, try to do this in advance, even before you have the weather report- you don't want to be scrambling the week of your wedding to find giant umbrellas that you don't mind having in your photos because the weather report is predicting rain.  We had enough umbrellas for our bridal party and some additional for grandparents/guests.

Take a deep breath.  You'll make it through this, I promise.  Remember: it's a wedding.  Maybe it's not the wedding of your Pinterest dreams, but it's YOUR wedding, it's finally here, and at the end of the kerfuffle- you'll be married to the person of your dreams.  Just remember that.

5. Be spontaneous and laugh a lot.
Here's the part where I tell you my story.  Sometimes, you do all these steps.  You bought the umbrellas.  You made the plan.  You made the backup arch.  You practiced the night before.  And the day of the wedding, it's overcast but holding off.  The wedding ceremony is at 2.  Everyone is seated in their chairs in front of the rose garden.  The music begins to play.  The guests of honor begin to walk down the aisle.  And then... AND THEN... the rain starts.  Your guests pull out their umbrellas- and your dad grabs one for you (the bride), but some of the guests don't have umbrellas.  Your bridesmaids and your groomsmen don't.  You lament that there are TEN GIANT umbrellas in a box inside the manor house, but you're already being escorted down the aisle by your dad and OH WELL, looks like you're doing this thing in the rain!

That's what happened to us on our wedding day.  We stood there while it showered on us, and we stared into each other's eyes and smiled, and laughed, and rolled our eyes, and cracked up at every water reference made in the ceremony- which was quite a few because of the location.  Was I upset that it was raining?  No. I was worried about my guests, but it was a short ceremony and if they were really bothered, they stood under the giant tree.  I even improvised something about the rain into my vows as I was reading them.  The officiant cracked a joke about the rain as droplets fell from his hair onto his kindle.  And then it was over, we were married, and everyone went under the tent.  And the rain eventually stopped.

If you make this big, you can see the raindrops!

But now we have a story.  Something uniquely us.  And very fitting.  Of course we got married out in the rain- why wouldn't we?  That's so very Alissa and Scott.

One final word of advice- take precautions with your shoes in case of mud.  Scotch guard them.  Buy the little shoe caps to keep from sinking.  Trust me.  

Wedding photographs by Melissa Barrick.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Little Life Things (Week of 6/28/14 - 7/4/2014)

Vacation Edition!

June 28 to July 4

  • We're in Oregon!  Scott grew up in Oregon, and his family lives here still.  I lived in Oregon for about 3 and a half years while I completed my master's program.  One of my good friends from grad school is getting married, so we get to visit our old home AND Scott's family, AND celebrate love love love! 

  • My parents are dog-sitting Abby and Jack.  We took Abby to their house, where she is LIVING THE LIFE- as you can see, up there in her pool.  That photo was waiting for me when we landed.

  • We went to one of our favorite bars with a bunch of our friends, and that was so nice!  
  • We celebrated the Fourth of July with Scott's family- lots of fireworks and SO MUCH FOOD!  My contributions to the fireworks display were all cutesy girly ones with names like: "Unicorn," and "Girl Power," and my favorite one, which was in a heart shaped case with a princess on the cover called "Mini Mi Amor."  

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Hints and Tips for Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

I knew before Scott popped the questions that we would write our own vows.  It's just a part of who we are.  We have a lot of character, to put it nicely.  And that character was not going to be summarized and expressed nice and succinctly using vows torn from the pages of some old manuscript, that thousands of others had recited before.  Right after we booked our officiant, who would be writing (from scratch!  Character!) the ceremony, we started thinking about vows.  Well, I started thinking about vows.  Scott just sort of waited until I had all my stuff together, and then he started thinking about them too.  Here is a smattering of info that helped me, that I hope will also help you.

For your sanity, start early.  Think about your vows, even if thinking about them causes your stomach to sort of wriggle in a knot and you start to sweat.  That's good!  Maybe that means these things won't happen on your wedding day!  Seriously though, you don't want to be scrambling to write them the night before... or the morning of.  You'll have other things to worry about.  In our case, the officiant requested that we send him our vows at least one week prior to the wedding date.  He would review them and get back to us if any changes were necessary (see the next point for more on this).  It's good to give yourself a deadline like this.  I would suggest a week prior to the event.  That gives you plenty of time to practice, practice practice, and edit and re-edit if necessary.

Come up with a format/Decide on a mood.
One of the first things you need to think about is whether or not you and your partner will be seeing each other's vows prior to when you're reading them.  You might choose to write your vows together (my brother and his wife did this), or share with one another what you have written.  Either way is perfectly wonderful!  Scott and I wrote our vows separately, and they were secret until we read them- we do love surprises.  However, that's not to say that we didn't talk quite a bit, and at length, about how we were writing them. If you decide to write your vows separately, there are a few things to consider.  Do you want the formats to match?  How about the length of the vows?  You might not want to be up there speaking for 5 minutes if your partner is going to speak for less than 1.  Scott and I decided on a basic format that we would both follow.  This sort of made our vows "match" and also gave us (Scott) a little bit of structure to follow.  Our format was this: Two short intro type paragraphs, followed by vows.  The vows began with "I promise."  We wrote some silly (but sweet) vows at the beginning before diving into the serious, heartfelt sentimental ones.  Our vows both ended with a short piece adapted from some celtic vows that resonated deeply with both of us. 

Brainstorm until your brain falls out
Think about all the reasons you love this person, and all the things that make them special to you.  What promises do you want to make?  What can you work on to keep your relationship healthy and growing?  Write, write write.  Write about the things you like to do together, your favorite memories.  Jot down inside jokes, favorite experiences, future plans.  Look back in old diaries, or Facebook.  Have fun remembering the things that you've forgotten (it definitely happened to me).  Use these thoughts, memories, tidbits to write your vows.  Or....

Look for inspiration (online)
There's a reason why I put this AFTER brainstorming.  The Internet is a wonderful resource.  There are a million places to find vows.  Samples of vows, how-to-write vows, traditional vows, vows from other cultures... It's a wonderful resource!  However.  It is extremely, EXTREMELY easy to get lost in all of this "inspiration" and find yourself copying down lines from other people's vows word for word.  Which isn't necessarily a bad thing- but remember, your vows are about you and your partner.  Not about MrsSmith2012 and her husband (Mr. Smith).  And while Mrs. Smith might have written some excellent vows and you want to jot those down, just be careful that you don't lose your personal touch.  After all, that's probably the reason why you chose to write your own vows in the first place- because you want them to be personal.  I fell into this pit several times.  I wrote down so many bits and pieces of vows I found online- and I took them apart and rewrote them and rearranged them until they felt like they were mine, because I was terrified that I would get up there and be reading someone else's vows. 

This might sound silly.  But practice reading your vows after you've finished them.  Hopefully you finished them and still have a week (or more!  You go, you overachieve, you!) before your event.  Print them out and stand and read them.  How does it feel?  Do you feel like you're trying to speak too quickly to get through them?  Slow yourself down.  Need to make some changes?  Do it, you gave yourself plenty of time.  Are you comfortable with them?  Great.  Now read them to someone else.  I read them to Abby first before I let any human ears hear them.  Then I read them to my bridesmaids.  You might feel that you can skip this practice part, but please don't.  Maybe you have a funky typo that you missed- you don't want to be reading that on the wedding day!  The more you practice, the more familiar your vows will be, and the easier it will be to read them on the day.

When it comes time to say them, don't mumble!
At the very least, your partner needs to be able to hear you!  And yes, we all know that the wedding is about the couple, and particularly the vows are between the two of you, but your guests DID get all dressed up and travel near and far to witness the two of you commit yourselves to one another.  We used a portable mic at our ceremony.  The officiant was also wearing a mic for the ceremony, and we asked him to hold out a mic for us while we read our vows.  Some couples might not feel comfortable doing this, but by golly we were proud of our vows and our love and we wanted everyone to know it.  If you don't have access to this kind of set up, that's perfectly fine.  Just speak up, and don't mumble.  Don't yell in your partner's face either, but don't mumble!  (This is another reason why practicing is important!)

Also: Don't be afraid to improvise!
Here's a tip from your Rainy Day Bride.  It's okay to improvise during your vows!  (It's also okay to laugh through the ceremony).  If something has come up, if disaster has struck- it's okay to mention it in a lighthearted, fun way.  We stood in a rain shower getting soaked for 20 minutes during our ceremony.  In my vows, I wrote something about going on adventures big and small, with two examples.  Instead of reading the examples I had prepared a week prior (something about road trips, I believe), I stated (in sort of a petulant child voice) "like getting married IN THE RAIN."  Everyone giggled, as it was the first actual acknowledgement of the fact that yea, Alissa and Scott are up there getting rained on and we are all going to pretend like that's something that's not happening.  So it's cool!  You don't have to read exactly from the script.  If you're suddenly struck with inspiration looking at your spouse-to-be-in-literal-minutes, preach it! 

Preserve them.
I've seen lots of sweet ways to preserve your vows.  Pinterest has tons of ideas.  You can frame the actual vows that you used.  You can create some wall art.  Or you can have them embroidered!  There are bunches of ideas out there, and why not immortalize those words that you both poured your hearts into?

Wedding photographs by Melissa Barrick.