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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!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Forever Grateful

Before I get into the "bad and ugly” that lead to my PWD, I need to take a moment and back up to the “good”. I want to acknowledge all the people who treated my day as if it was their own. And for that, I am forever grateful.

(L-R) Brittany, Moi, Amanda, & Ashley at our hotel's bar the night before the wedding.

My bridesmaid Brittany and my Matron of Honor Amanda (aka my BFFs!):

Although we’ve all hung out together before my engagement, Brittany and Amanda were really only friends through me. But as the wedding festivities became more frequent, they got closer and closer. Besides both hosting some of those pre-wedding festivities, they both traveled with me down to Savannah the Wednesday before the wedding to help with last minute prep. It was then that they truly bonded over their shared interest in making my wedding the best it could possibly be. They worked side by side the entire weekend taking the initiative to get things done. They routinely answered my phone and dealt with needy (and I mean NEEDY) vendors. They would come up with a Plan B whenever possible so I wouldn’t have to deal with problems. They constantly hopped in the car and made trips to buy last minute wedding supplies and slaved over making the OOT bags and touching up other DIY projects. The best part is that they are now truly friends on their own. It’s always great to have good friends that don’t depend on a mutual friend to remain close!

Bridesmaid Ashley (aka mash8!):

Thank you for introducing me to Weddingbee. Without WB I wouldn’t have found the inspiration necessary to create my wedding from scratch. I also wouldn't have all the amazing support afterward to work through my PWD. So in essence, this is also a thank you to the hive. It is easy to see who I drew inspiration from by checking out some of my DIY posts. And having the feedback and support of my fellow bees and all the hive members has meant the world to me. You all rock!


My simply amazing day of coordinator Jennifer of Tybee Island Wedding:

I already know that whatever I say here won’t be enough justice for this wonderful woman. From the moment I first talked to her I knew she was going to be nothing less than amazing. She took the time to read through my blog and familiarize herself with my vision. She lovingly put up with my email communication because I suck so much at making time to talk on the phone. She went on the final walk-through at our reception site, ran our rehearsal, and like Amanda and Brittany, spent the entire wedding day running around getting things into place and avoiding disasters. If you are getting married in the Savannah area, do yourself a favor and hire this woman to ease your mind! Not only is she great at what she does, she also comes at an incredibly affordable price. Jennifer, THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for EVERYTHING!

My two moms: (L-R) MIL Lab Denise & Mama Lab Leslie at my bridesmaids' tea party.

My mother-in-law Denise:

Simply put, without her this wedding would not have happened. She graciously opened up her checkbook and helped make up for our financial shortcomings. Although we had what most would consider a “budget” wedding, it was still too much for my mother and I to handle. She made sure all the necessary vendors had their final head counts and took care of all the big-ticket items (including our last minute hire of a cinematographer). I cannot wait to get my tax refund and proudly hand her a check for “loaning” us extra money to make sure our wedding was a reality. Not to mention, I can now officially say I have the best MIL in the world!

My mother Leslie:

Although she spent a lot of the wedding day stressing out loud, which got me worked up a bit, she was stressing about making sure my family was on their best behavior. The Labrador family is known as a rowdy bunch that butts heads quite often when at family functions. Thankfully she was able to keep them under control (with the exception of a few outbursts by my teenage younger brother). I wish I could go back and spend a few more quiet moments with my mother on my wedding day. I know she didn’t get to fully enjoy being the mother of the bride.

Don with his wife Meredith.

Our Best Man Don:

I can’t really speak to all the things he did to help out Mr. Lab but from what I've heard, I do know Don throws a hell of a bachelor party and was thoughtful enough to take Mr. Lab out to Denny's the morning of the wedding. And just the fact that Don snuck us mini bottles of Patron during photos to help us relax and while we were eating our dinner in private during cocktail hour speaks volumes. ;) But seriously, Don is very attentive to the needs of people around him and he was always quick to lend a helping hand whenever possible.

Our groomsman Jimmy:

You might remember when I posted about my two wedding party members that got married back in July? I tried to take a lot of photos for them so they wouldn't have to wait for the pro pics to see their wedding day. Well Jimmy did the same for me and ended up capturing a lot of things I wouldn't have photos of otherwise (like our entire rehearsal dinner and Mr. Lab opening up his wedding gift). Thank you so much for not only giving me that coveted wedding photos turnaround, but also being there with a camera to capture once-in-a-lifetime moments.

My friend Kevin:

Thanks for all the money you saved us on some amazing hotels for vendors and our wedding night hotel! And thank you also for the incredible, show-stopping song you sang at the reception. :D

Whew...they'll be more thanks in the official recaps but these people deserved the special recognition for all they did for our wedding. I wanted to make sure they knew how much their generosity meant to Mr. Lab and I before I delve into the "darker" side of the wedding. I hope all of you know that I will be there for you in a heartbeat to return the favor one day!

Did you have a core group of people who would go to the ends of the earth to make your special day as perfect as possible?

Friday, November 13, 2009

These Are My Confessions.

A week already! Time really does fly when you're getting married. So fast that I didn't even get around to writing my "signing off" post. :( (Btw, big congrats to my wedding date twin, MRS. Cloud!)

I have looked forward to my wedding day for not only the past 11 months, but also my entire life. I was definitely that little girl who grew up dreaming of her perfect wedding day. Very few details in my actual planning process differed from what I had always imagined my wedding day would be as a little girl...

That is, with one big exception: the way I feel now that it's over.

You see, I wasn't in love with my wedding. I never once felt like a bride or really let loose and enjoyed my day. I was extremely stressed out, tired, and focused on not being a bridezilla to my friends, family, and vendors. And now every free moment of mine is spent obsessing over all the things that went wrong or what I could have done to prevent them from going wrong.

I know that a lot of people misuse terms like OCD, ADD, etc. to describe how they feel or act when it comes to all things wedding. But I truly believe I may be suffering from PWD: post wedding depression.

Before I go any further, I want to clarify something. I DID have bright moments throughout the day. Like watching Mr. Lab trying his damndest to hold back tears when he saw me for the first time (only to fail miserably). Or listening to my pastor's homily and feeling giddy as he announced me as Mr. Lab's wife. And even the few minutes we spent alone eating dinner. I cherish those moments and am grateful that they are my favorite parts of the day. They should be my favorite because they are the most important. A wedding is about the marriage. I definitely don't need to be reminded of that. And no one can expect a perfect day. I totally get that.

But that doesn't excuse the fact that I poured my blood (literally, I cut my hand while working on one of our lantern centerpieces), sweat, tears, time, and money into 11 months of planning this wedding and had certain realistic expectations of not only the final product, but of the people involved, that were not met. And because of that, I spent most of my day focused on the wrong things no matter how much I tried not to worry about them. I would repeatedly be taken out of a promising moment because something went wrong or someone did something disappointing.

The full blow of my PWD didn't hit until the night after my wedding. I know the impact was exaggerated due to our lack of a honeymoon. Having to leave our wedding city early and travel 4 hours back home to jump back into school and work really gave me time to absorb all my wedding's shortcomings. I was ill because I had been running on empty for weeks and was laying in my bed when the tears finally came. I called for Mr. Lab and as soon as he entered the room, the dam burst.

I felt horrible as I described how I felt, thinking the whole time that I must sound like an ungrateful bitch for feeling that way. Many people had busted their asses and checkbooks to help me pull off this wedding and I didn't want him to think I didn't care about that, let alone make him think that what should have been the happiest day of our relationship thus far was a complete failure. I wanted him to know I was extremely excited that he was finally my husband, but still get across the need for me to get this soul-draining feeling out of me and into the open. There was no way I could go back to school and work (or even the hive) and "face the music" without addressing how I truly felt to someone first.

Just like a loving husband, he was extremely supportive. It was our first "test" as a married couple and I'm glad he was there to listen and just hold me as I cried.

I have since shared my feelings with a couple other people I'm close to, including my matron of honor. She actually confessed to me that she anticipated my phone call. She knew how much I had put into this wedding and was very aware of all the things that went awry (that's probably because she was one of a just a handful of people working their asses off to make sure I had the best day possible).

To make matters worse, I feel as though the blows keep coming. I realized a couple days ago that our cake flavors were completely wrong. I didn't catch it at the reception because I only tasted the cake quickly after the cake cutting. Then I go to get a slice of it at home and make the discovery that my two-tiered/two separate flavors-wedding cake was actually just a white cake all the way through. I was perusing a few photos from friends on Facebook today and found out there were 12 extra chairs at our ceremony which contributed to me wondering why so many seats were empty as I walked down the aisle. It's as though every day brings another little disappointment instead of acceptance and a chance to move on.

I think the thing that upsets me the most is that I never really knew about the "realness" of PWD. I anticipated going into a bit of a funk after the wedding because I'd no longer have DIY projects or deadlines for vendor contacts or the excitement of a looming big day. But I never in a million years think I'd long to go back and opt for the simple courthouse wedding over mine (not that there's anything wrong with a courthouse wedding, it's just that I never really considered it because most people who say you should have one are bitter divorcees). Let's face it, PWD just really isn't out in the open quite yet. No one wants to poop on your parade of sunshine and lollipops when you're planning a wedding. And then people like me don't want to admit how they really feel when asked that oft-dreaded little question: "How was the wedding?"

I'm just hoping that my PWD will help someone else out there, whether it be a newlywed or a bride-to-be. I'll probably have a post or two that goes into a bit more detail on exactly what went wrong in the days leading up to my wedding and the actual day with tips on what I would have done differently to keep from feeling so helpless afterward (like putting my foot down and having things done MY way). My hope is to get all of the negativity out so my recaps won't be Debbie Downers because I know that years from now I will have worked though the way I feel about my wedding day.

Who knows, maybe because my wedding day was full of mini disasters, my marriage is destined for greatness? I'm off to watch a particular Sex and the City episode to remind me of that and maybe cheer me up a bit in the process.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Licensed To Wed

Finally! And the third time was the charm...
Attempt #1: Mr. Lab and I get all the way to the courthouse with our paperwork filled out and money ready to go. But then we realize we forgot our certificate proving we completed marriage counseling. Said certificate saves us $30. We decide that's plenty enough to wait until our officiant can mail us the required notarized form and try again.


Attempt #2: We had the day off from classes because it was fall break. We waste away the day because it's fall break. We finally decide that we should get something done and go get our license. It is 4:26 pm. Courthouse doesn't process licenses after 4 pm.

Attempt #3: We're proud of ourselves because we have all our forms ready to go and we know this is our LAST CHANCE to get the license before the wedding (we live life on the edge). Despite Mr. Lab delivering some seriously bad news about our ceremony site right before we walk into the courthouse (much more on that later), I'm still looking forward to finally having the license in hand. But we forget the payment! So Mr. Lab had to take a quick trip to the ATM to get cash. Now here's the fun part...

I get hit on while waiting to get my marriage license!!!

An officer sees me waiting on a bench and shoots me a smile. I smile back politely and turn my attention away. But the officer walks right up to me and the following conversation ensues:

Officer: "Hi. I'm from out of town and was wondering where would be a good place to eat lunch?"
Me: "Well, there's a lot of options. If you want to stay downtown, you could hit Transmet. They have some great pizza."
Officer: "Hmmm, have you eaten lunch yet?"
(Seeing where this is going, I lie.) Me: "Yeah, just finished up."
Officer: "Would it have been a bad thing for me to have asked you to have lunch with me?"
Me: "Um....I'm actually getting my marriage license right now......"


Officer: "Oh, well, he's a lucky guy. Congratulations." (turns and practically runs off)
Exactly one second later, Mr. Lab rounds the corner and walks right past the officer. He must have seen the tail-end of the conversation because he gave me a weird look. I explained what happened and he just gave a chuckle.

But yeah, we got our license and here's the proof:

We both hate this pic, but we're posting for the hive! ;)


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Ready To Get This Show On The Road

No... we literally have to get on the road today and we're taking all our wedding crap with us:

That isn't the actual load we have to take today, but it IS what I hauled on my last trip to Savannah. It has taken 3 jam-packed car trips to get all our DIY and wedding supplies to our host city.

It has been difficult mostly because Mr. Lab and I currently share a single (small) vehicle.

Word of advice to any destination brides: start early on your hauling trips! Had we put off even one trip, we wouldn't have enough room to fit all of our stuff! Luckily, Mr. Lab's sister lives in Savannah and has let us take over a room in her house to store all of our wedding stuff.

Well hive, 3 more days! I'll try my best to crank out a few more posts before the big day. But if I can't get around to it, I'll be sure to fill the lag time between the flip side and pro pics with stuff I didn't get a chance to share! :)

Bubbles and Sparkles

I couldn't decide between having a bubble or sparkler exit, so I got greedy and decided to have both! :D

After the ceremony, we'll walk back down the aisle to a shower of bubbles from our guests:


We were fortunate enough to get hand-me-down bubbles from friends who recently got married and didn't use all of their bubbles. We'll put the basket of bubbles (with cute little bells tied to them already) next to the programs at the ceremony with a note for our guests to start blowing them right before we walk back down the aisle.

Then our second fancy exit will be after nightfall:


It'll be the send off to our after party on River Street! I think the sparklers will totally help accessorize my reception dress. ;)

But we needed a way to display the sparklers! The bubbles practically took care of themselves but you can't just lay out sparklers on a table! So I grabbed a couple empty coffee containers and ripped off the labels:

Used leftover spray paint to give them a face lift:

Stuffed some foam into the center (Mr. Lab did this part for me):

Tossed some very appropriate Savannah-esque moss on top:

Then jammed the sparklers into the cans to form a pretty arrangement:

Wah-lah! Sparkler display on a budget! About $5 for 2 to be exact (the sparklers cost $34 for 60).

Are you doing more than one fancy exit?

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Piece of Cake Part 4: Avoiding the "Cake Wreck"

I spent this past weekend in Savannah tying up the last few loose ends of our wedding in person. One of those loose ends was making sure my wedding cake is constructed as close to my vision as possible.

When I first visited Publix to discuss my cake, I was told there would be no problem recreating the Martha Stewart cake I found online. Remember this?


Well, when I stopped back by to actually place the order and hand over my inspiration photo, our baker suddenly realized that the cake was an oval, not a circle. I thought she knew this the entire time! But apparently Publix doesn't do oval cakes and she said she'd have to make the cake round. I reluctantly placed the order anyways, bit my lip and walked out with my head hung low.

But then a couple weeks later I was browsing through a crafts store and saw oval cake pans. I had an idea! What if I supplied the cake pans? I mean, all they have to do is pour the batter in the forms, right? So I called up Publix to see if they would accept them, and they said yes! :D

And then it gets even better. While I was shopping online for the best deal on the oval cake pans, I ran across this:


They're the EXACT same culinary stencils used to create the Martha Stewart cake! I. Was. Flipping. OUT! Up until that point, I was secretly worrying that I might suffer a cake wreck fiasco ala Mrs. Perfume (sorry to use you as an example P!) because the scroll pattern is so intricate. But now all the work has practically been done for them! If they screw this up, something is terribly wrong with that bakery. But I know they won't because I've seen their work which is already amazing PLUS they have all these tools to help them out!

So this weekend, I made a quick trip to the Publix handling my cake and dropped off my cake pans (which I got on sale at A.C. Moore for $27),..

...stencils, big arse peony, and ribbon!

I'm sacrificing the monogram on the top of the cake now that they have the actual stencil, but it's a small price to pay for piece of mind. Now I can't wait to see the cake in all its glory! Here's to hoping I've avoided the cake wreck! :)

Did you supply tools to a vendor to make sure a vision of yours was carried out perfectly?

Revisit the entire Labrador cake saga:

Part 1: Plain and Simple, Yet Oh-So Lovely...
Part 2: There's Nothing Finer In The Land
Part 3: Breaking The Mold

Adding A Little "Thrill" To Our Wedding

Because our wedding is only a week after my favorite holiday, we decided to incorporate some "spooky" Halloween fun into it.

We're starting off by having a ghost tour after the rehearsal dinner for any interested guests. We secured a group rate with Old Town Trolley Tours to go on their "Ghosts and Gravestones Frightseeing Tour". The tour is about an hour and a half long and is (according to their website) "an evening of fun, scares, humor and ghost stories as you are guided through America’s Most Haunted City.”


But the fun doesn't stop there! For the wedding day, we've let our guests know that we are "Thrilling the Reception"! I linked up the website "Thrill the World" to the guest update page of our wedding website so our guests can learn the ever popular Thriller dance. So far, we have most of the wedding party and a few of the guests committed to reenacting the dance in its entirety on the dance floor! I'm especially proud of Mr. Lab for taking an interest in rehearsing it and surprised at how quick of a learner he is (especially for someone who claims he can't dance!).

Photo from our personal wedding website!

I can't wait to see how our practice pays off. But even if we don't perfect the dance in time, we'll do as the instructor says and play it off by acting like a ghoul for a few dance counts. No harm, no foul. :)

By the way, since yesterday was Halloween, I figured I'd share a photo of Mr. Lab and I's costumes! Special thanks to the hive for helping me decide on an costume!

Mr. Lab was a nerd and I was his mail-order bride! Pay close attention to his name and address on the shipping label. ;) And nevermind our friend "Heidi" in the back. It's just one of our wedding guests who flew all the way in from Germany! lol :D

If your wedding is close to a holiday, are you incorporating it somehow?