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I've collected several photos through the image search feature on Google. If any of the featured images are yours, please contact me so I can add a credit if I haven't done so already. I will also gladly remove an image upon request. And please return the favor of crediting: if you use one of my photos, please link back to me! Thanks for all the inspiration!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Meat Cake?

This post is a warning for all brides-to-be out there:

Do NOT let your groom watch wedding shows with you!

"Why?" you ask. Because there is the possibility that he may get some crazy idea from a show and force you to make it happen. You say "But it's GOOD that he's getting involved and voicing his opinion!" I politely scream back "Not when it that idea is a MEAT groom's cake!!!!"


Mr. Lab and I were watching an episode of "Whose Wedding Is It Anyways?" when one groom insisted on having a "meat cake" for his groom's cake. It's a "cake" made of meatloaf and "iced" with mashed potatoes. Decorations are done with meatloaf-complimentary food items like ketchup.

Mr. Lab had been watching passively until the mention of the meat cake. He then perked up (as does every man at the mention of food) and was like "I want that! I want one of those for my groom's cake!" I gave him the stink eye. I couldn't tell if he was serious or just pulling my leg because I obviously had a look of horror on my face. I mean, I love meatloaf as much as he does, but not for our wedding! Maybe for his next birthday or something, but not for the wedding! Besides, I already had plans for his groom's cake that I was keeping secret as a surprise for him...

Mr. Lab, look away if you want even the slightest chance of having your meat cake!


I'm currently searching for a baker for both the wedding and groom's cake. For Mr. Lab's cake, I was planning on presenting him with a replica of Sanford Stadium since the Georgia Bulldogs are so important to both of us. Okay, maybe it won't look as good as one of Duff Goldman's Charm City Cakes (like this one of Wrigley Field shown above), but it will sure be better than this:


I'm really hoping Mr. Lab is playing around with this one. I can usually tell when he's joking, but I'm not so sure on this one. He's barely made any requests for the wedding (ironically, the only real requests he's made have been on the menu items-food again!). And to make matters worse, I feel like I'll have to comply since he has had SO FEW requests for our wedding. I mean, it is the GROOM'S cake, not mine. But I'll be sad that my "UGA table" idea will be nixed if this goes through. I planned to have the Sanford Stadium cake as the focal point on a table filled with photos of us attending football games together. :(

What should I do? Is anyone else experiencing trouble with a groom's request?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brotherly Love

I had an interesting dilemma facing me with who would take the job of walking me down the aisle. My real father lives in California and I've never really had a relationship with him. My stepfather, who I considered the closest thing I ever had to a real father, died when I was 14. My parents divorced when I was very young and my stepfather helped raise me. I called him Dad and never thought anymore of it.

Once I became engaged, one of the first things that popped into my mind was missing out on the father-daughter events like walking down the aisle, being given away, and having a dance just for us. I had already gone through high school & college graduations and sorority daddy-daughter days without one. Who would take over this important role for me? Would I end up walking the aisle alone?

I thought about my grandfather but as soon as I mentioned it to my mom (who knew it was coming already), she broke some bad news to me. My grandpa had already declined because he's been suffering from dizzy spells and didn't want to have an attack while halfway down the aisle, thus ruining my big day. I honestly wasn't worried that it would happen or that if it did it would matter much to me, but mom assured me he would say no regardless. :(

I was back at square one. I asked my mom if she'd be interested and she basically blew me off. That's just not her thing. She never really liked doing the "senior nights" in high school when you could show off your parents and hates a camera on her, let alone lots of people's eyes. Again, back to the drawing board.

Then I thought, "I have three brothers. One of them could do it!"

(l-r) The Lab brothers: Chris, Phillip, & Brandon

But would it be right to choose just one? I hope so, because I did...

Before I tell you who will have the (hopefully) honor of walking me down the aisle and giving me away, let me tell you a bit about each one.

My oldest brother Chris and I at his first Iraq going away party.

Chris is the "manly man-with-a-metro-twist" one. He is a sheriff's patrolman who has done work with the ICE and SWAT squads and even some undercover NARC work in his county. He just left for his second Iraqi "tour" about a month ago to help train officers. :(

Brandon with our niece Morgan (who is now almost 3 and one of my flower girls!).

Brandon is kinda the "bad boy" of our family. He has the beard and tattoos and loves the cars and motorcycles. Pure Californian at heart.

Me and Phillip in Savannah on FSIL's boat. Yes, I was recently a brace-face!

Phillip, my younger brother, is the "ladies man" of the family. He could charm the socks off any woman, young or old. He's the one who completely understands me. We get in fights almost every time we see each other, but they last all of 5 minutes before we're good again. Of all my family members, I am absolutely the closest to him. He's the one I hang out with the most because he's willing to make trips up with my mom to visit me periodically. This is one of the reasons why Mr. Lab chose him as a groomsman; he knew him so well because we're so close.

Phillip and I playing tennis at my old college apartments.

Phillip, Mama Lab, and I visiting the Dawgs during their "Pic Day". [Btw, way to go Stafford as the #1 pick in the 2009 NFL Draft! And congrats to my other Bulldogs drafted so far: Moreno, Massaqoui, Allen, & Irvin!]

Although Phillip is already geared up to be a groomsman, I made the decision to give him a call and ask if he'd like to walk me down the aisle as well. Of course he said yes! And don't worry, my other brothers have already agreed to be ushers and their feelings are definitely not hurt (Chris was my escort for homecoming court and I'm sure there will be another important event in my life that I'll be able to spotlight Brandon).

I'm glad that I'll have someone as equally special as a father or grandfather walk me down the aisle and give me away. Mr. Lab thought it was a great idea to ask Phillip to take that role since he actually did the same for his sister (Mr. Lab lost his father in high school as well). How sweet is this?

Mr. Lab shares a special moment with his sister before walking her down the aisle.

And just for fun, here's how close Phillip and I are:

Playing "Indian Leg War" the morning after my 21st birthday. It's a game where you try to flip your opponent over using one leg and is incredibly harder than it looks.

He flipped me over easily. But I got him back with a well-planned fart in the face! Muhahaha!

And to add insult to injury, I slapped him a moment later for saying something "too philosophical too early in the morning". :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

DIY "Through the Years" Photo Slideshow

To me, DIY projects are not just about having something extremely personalized and to your exact liking; it's about making something yourself that others charge out the butt for creating!

Enter my DIY "Through the Years" photo slideshow project! I did a quick google search for pricing on photo slideshows and found that professionals charge an average of a couple hundred bucks a pop for them. Insanity!

What's crazier is that most people have all the equipment necessary to make a slideshow already on their personal computers! From Windows Movie Maker to Final Cut Pro, there are several options for creating your own photo slideshow.

I'm making mine using Final Cut Pro 6. As a broadcast news major and aspiring reporter, I invested in a Mac Book Pro and all the high end editing software because I knew I'd need it for my class projects and future career. I took advantage of the education discount and got my FCP Studio software for only $500 (compared to the regular price of $1299!). Who knew I'd be using it to create my wedding slideshow one day!

Our slideshow will be presented at both the rehearsal dinner (as a feature) and the cocktail hour (on a continuous loop for casual viewers). It will include four chapters:

1.) Mr. Lab growing up
2.) Me growing up
3.) Our "courtship"
4.) Our engagement from the proposal all the way up to the wedding!

This will be an on-going DIY project that I will probably wrap up right after our bachelor and bachelorette parties about 2 weeks before the wedding. I've already finished Chapter 3! Now I'm waiting on our moms to send our baby photos for Chapters 1 & 2. And of course we still have plenty of photos to be taken throughout the year to finish Chapter 4.

One thing I'm really trying to aim for with the slideshow is including at least one photo of every guest in it. I'm a photo fanatic (most likely to be toting a camera among my friends!) and am sure I will be able to complete my goal. It is my way of honoring our friends and family who have been their through our past, present, and hopefully, future, all while loving and supporting us along the way.

Then comes the songs the photos are set to in the slideshow. I've already chosen "Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg for Chapter 3. For Chapter 4, I've set it to "Better Together" by Jack Johnson, which is also our first dance song (more on that later!).

Now I need some inspiration from the hive! Any suggestions for cute, preferably boy & girl themed, growing up songs for the first two chapters?

Btw, I'll post the finished product here when it's all done!

[Edit] We may use this amazing take on "Stand By Me" somewhere in the slideshow. Loves. Mr. Lab actually found it!

Some songs we've come up with so far:


Kenny Chesney-I Go Back
Kenny Chesney-Young


Isreal Kamakawiwo'ole- Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Flower girl song)
Van Morrison-Brown Eyed Girl (Mom & Daughter dance)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Peony Passion

When I first started planning for our wedding, flowers were the least of my concerns. I'm not a big flower person (they die quick, so what's the point?) but I do want to have bouquets for all the girls in my wedding. Because I'm not a big flower person, it took lots of research and time to find a flower I would like to carry in my bouquet down the aisle. I finally decided on an all white (technically cream) bouquet of peonies. The more I looked at pictures of them, the more I fell in love.

*SWOON.* If flowers were celebrities, the peony would be Brad Pitt. MANY women want them in their weddings. But like Miss Cowboy Boot, I found out that the peony is not in season in November. I was devastated.

I briefly entertained the idea of similar flowers, but I'm not giving up on my new favorite flower that easily! You fight for true love, right? So now I'm considering making my own bouquet using fake peonies. I've found a few sites that offer the "true touch" faux flowers but I'm a little nervous about actually trying this. I would love to get some feedback and suggestions on making your own bouquet and even helpful websites (I will be digging through Bee archives for DIY bouquets!). I still have no clue what I'm doing for my bridesmaid's bouquets but I do know I want theirs to be deep red flowers that compliment the peony. Help on that will be much appreciated as well!

Maybe when it's all said and done I will have my dream bouquet AND save tons of money in the process! I found a site that provides incredibly realistic fake peonies. They sell them as bunches of cupped or full blown blossoms which I think adds to the realism. Here's an example:


At $36 for a set of six stems, this choice seems a bit high since I'll probably have to buy 3 or 4 sets to make a full, lush bouquet. And that doesn't include tax and shipping! Although I'm no florist, I have a feeling that trying to get fresh peonies shipped from some remote place far away for a November wedding would be a tad bit pricier. At least my fake flowers won't die and they'll make a great centerpiece for our home after the wedding!

So what do you think? Should I go through with the DIY fake flower bouquet of peonies? I'm waiting on your feedback before placing my order!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Southern Romantic Charm" Starts with the Venues!

I have a confession. I didn't come up with our wedding theme of "Southern Romantic Charm" all by myself. The truth is, the city of Savannah did most of the work. How could anyone have anything BUT a romantic, southern wedding in that city?!?

Our choice of venues reflect our theme perfectly. For our ceremony, Mr. Lab and I chose the charming Whitfield (or Whitefield) Square in historic downtown.

How gorgeous is this?!?

It has this cute white gazebo right in the middle that will be the perfect backdrop for the ceremony. It's also on a residential block, so we won't have to worry about tons of ugly office buildings in the background. The first time I ever visited Savannah, I knew I would get married on this square one day.

Can you tell how excited I am to snatch up this location? :)

We're planning on renting a trolley to take our guests back and forth between the ceremony and reception sites. Because our reception site is only a mile away, we'll be asking guests to park there. This will save them the hassle of trying to find the ceremony site (which can be hard because it's one of 21 squares) and then struggling to find parking.

As for the reception site, we chose Savannah Station. I did a lot of research on potential spaces, but most started at nearly $8-10 grand and had tons of rules about alcohol and catering, etc. The station is surprisingly affordable for its size and location. I love the history of the station (it used to be a train station!) and the fact that the interior works with our colors.

Here's another confession: I booked the Station site unseen! Because we live four hours away from our wedding city, I can't easily check out venues. Knowing how popular Savannah is for weddings, I didn't want to take the chance of losing such a beautiful venue. When I finally saw the site in person, I was not disappointed at all.

This is the first thing you see when you walk into the Station. I have a super soft spot for chandeliers and this one in the parlor is absolutely gorgeous. I also love all the historic photos of what the Station looked like when it was still a railroad station.

The parlor is where we're holding our cocktail hour. There's a full bar and tables and stools plus lots of space to roam around and mingle with other guests. They also provide antique tables to use for the guest book and hors d'oeuvres.

Photo Source

The station provides all the chairs and tables. I love the mini lights lining the wooden beams. All of the lights can be dimmed. We'll be taking down the tapestries on the wall and adding paper lanterns to the ceiling. All that will be left to decorate are the tables!

Photo Source

The ballroom is a 6000 sq. foot space decorated in neutral colors (yay!) with no carpet (double yay!). Because the room is too large for our 75-guest wedding, we are using a theatrical curtain to separate the room into a smaller, more intimate space. What's awesome about this is that the other side of the ballroom can be used as a backup ceremony site in the event of bad weather. We now have a back up plan and won't have to worry about a tent rental or people braving the elements. Woot!

Photo Source

At night, the Station is lit up on the outside with mini lights as well. It'll look so pretty for our departure!

*All photo without source notation are my own.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Wedding "Bee"

About a month ago, I applied to be a blogging "bee" on the Wedding Bee. I was fairly new to the site at the time but fell in love with it immediately. Then Ashley encouraged me to apply since I already keep a personal wedding planning blog anyways. So I did.

Well...a couple days ago I got an email congratulating me on being the newest Bee! I will be formally introduce early next week to the "hive" (the readers of Wedding Bee as they like to call it). I will be blogging under the name/icon of Miss Labrador Retriever from their dog generation. I'm so excited! The timing couldn't be any more perfect. I mean, it's the dog generation and I snatched up the's meant to "bee"!!!

If you like my blog, you'll love the Wedding Bee. I suggest you head over there right now, unless you have something more important you NEED to be doing, because it can be a real time killer and very addictive. Don't say I didn't warn you! ;)

I can't wait to officially get started over at the Hive! The only thing I'm not looking forward to is trying to find all my photo credit sources... Please let me know if you know where a photo is from since I collected some of these photos a long time ago (like before we were even engaged!). Thanks!

PS. For now on I will probably be blogging with references to my Labrador alter ego. Don't be alarmed! :)