04 June 2008

The Stuff that Made Me a New Mrs.

I want to soak it all in and write it all down. Last week was fabulous. From the bachelorette party in OKC to the filing of the marriage license and drive to the airport for our flight home...

First, the background...the stuff. I may put the summary of the entire experience in a separate post. We'll see how far I get on this one. Some of the experience details are creeping into this though!

The preparations were detailed, intricate and time consuming. I crocheted 40 bells, each about 6" tall with 3" circumferences at the bottom. They were created in pairs, and my Gran starched every single one, making perfect pew decorations for the church when tied together with ribbon, which I bought online -- it was customized and had our names and wedding date. These bells made perfect thank you gifts for the many people who helped make our wedding possible and who traveled so far to be a part of it! The bells were attached to the pews with fishing line and each had a silver/white bow, which were clearance items after Christmas, and the two front "family" rows were given to me for Christmas by my Aunt Lee Ann.

I ordered my dress online (onsalebridal.com), a white V-neck number with a medium-length train and buttons down the back (only for show - the dress has a zipper). I bought my shoes online - Target ($8!) - and had a secondary pair that were strappy, purple and FABULOUS from Nordstrom online, but I just couldn't get away with it...hurt my feet too much! I crocheted my own garter - with a purple ribbon to keep it on my leg, unfortunately it did not stay up, so I ended up leaving it off for most of the evening - at least it didn't get sweaty! AH! My jewelry was ordered online, although I borrowed the bigger earrings I wore from my mom.

I ordered our flowers online (fiftyflowers.com) - purple hydrangeas (which they were out of, so they sent purple DYED hydrangeas - what a mess, but they look great in the photos!), white roses (these were fine) and purple roses (they screwed up on this, and sent pink roses...but they did refund my money so I got free pink roses, which were beautiful and the flower girl really loved). Beth and I carried hand tied hydrangeas - with purple ribbon that matched what we wrapped around the cake. I also wrapped a locket from my namesake, Marilyn Jean Russell, around my bouquet's stems.

Shawn's suit came "from New York" - which was his cute answer when someone asked. (Actually from Men's Wearhouse - much like Charlie Sheen - *shudder*) It's Italian wool, super fine, black and tailored especially to him. He wore a French cuffed shirt with cufflinks that matched his tie PERFECTLY. We bought his tie, the best man's tie and our dad's ties at TJ Maxx. Shawn will get a LOT of use out of this suit, and he looked so handsome.

Our photographer - John LeVan of Futuremod photography - was with us at the rehearsal and all day on the wedding (from hair dresser to last dance). I found him through Google searches. He had just what I was looking for - would give me the digital photos to use as I wish and would snap all day for a flat fee. He turned out to actually work for Lawton Public Schools - and so Beth had met him and recommended I look into hiring him after I'd already hired him! I've seen the photos and they seem to have turned out really well - although It's going to take some creative cropping and adjusting to keep our album from feeling like a tilt-a-whirl. Many of the photos have "artistic" angles. But overall, I'm very pleased with the quality of his work, and just how nice he was.

Beth and I had our hair done at Colour FX in Lawton. Charismon did our hair - and it looked GORGEOUS! She did each in 30 minutes, so we were out of there in an hour, much less time than we expected, and for MUCH less money than I had been expecting. She did such a fabulous job that I gave her a generous tip, and I'm going to try to figure out The Knot.com enough to give her a high rating.

The flower girl basked was a metal scroll design, which I accentuated with our custom ribbons tied in bows. She dropped petals (ordered online) of white faux roses. Beth made the ring bearer pillow with black satin, purple ribbon and white lace. It looked awesome!

I had faux white hydrangeas and purple roses (ordered online at efavormart.com) in the church's stage - there's a divider for the choir that has flowers in it, so with the church's existing greenery I punched it up with the flowers. It looked really good!

The unity candles were from Hobby Lobby (unscented is KEY!) and the stands were from some Christmas clearance shopping. (The silver, tall one a present from my mom.) I bought the guest book and guest pen (white with black scroll work/leaf work) online. The bride and groom bear (whose favorite song is "Strangers in the Night" - just ask Owen) were a gift from a sweet coworker.

The memorial candles (for our grandparents and Shawn's brother) were also from Hobby Lobby, and they were placed in hurricane vases that I borrowed from my cousin LaRae and her daughter Kelli, who got married last January. They looked really nice and were on the altar, which had been moved to a corner at an angle. I was so happy with the way the church looked.

We also had a string quartet, a gift from my mom, which did a good job. They played for 30 minutes as guests were being seated, then the intro songs and "Sweet Sweet Spirit" for the lighting of the unity candle (awkward pause came free of charge). We exited to the Next Generation theme, which was so amazing and perfect. I can't stop smiling just thinking about it...

Our favors were sparklers, personalized match books and envelopes of tea - all ordered online. We customized cards for the sparklers (Thanks for making our night sparkle. Please light your sparklers when directed at the end of the night for Mari & Shawn's exit.) and the envelopes for the tea (Enjoy this Tea. Earl Grey. Hot. from Mari & Shawn, a Perfect Blend). I also had 15 disposable cameras - so people were taking photos with those, and then they were left with my mom who will have them developed. Should be so fun to see all the candids!

We had a cake baked by a friend, which was gorgeous and wrapped in purple ribbon between each layer - it looked so classy and modern. LOVED it. And we had a white bride and groom sculptural type thing for the top - also ordered online. We had a Star Trek ship (Next Generation, to jive with the tea) for the top of Shawn's tower of cupcakes (in lieu of a groom's cake). I broke it in transit, but I held it above the tower for photos and it looked really cute. The tower and ship were ordered online - both can have uses in the future. (The ship can be fixed with a bit of super glue, but I didn't realize it was broken until trying to put it on top of the tower!)

The cake table was also decorated with photos of our family members' weddings: our grandparents', parents' and Shawn's brother's. I bought black frames from Target (also clearance!) - and then was able to gift the frames to those who loaned me photos. I have several smaller frames left over, perfect for wedding prints, perhaps!

Our caterers were the Branding Iron BBQ. We ordered WAY too much food - probably 25% too much. But they brought everything and carted it all away, so it wasn't too bad. They left rather abruptly, so some people didn't get to eat as much as they would have liked. But everyone raved about the food and said it was tasty! (I had a box packed up that I ate later that night, and it was pretty darn good!)

Unlimited Dance Productions spun the music for us. It was SO reasonable, and Mr. Lyon did such a good job (only slip up was that it's Dr. and Mrs. Walker - haha!). Funny because he was also the DJ at my prom. I would highly recommend him, and he played the songs I requested plus a few others some good (Cha Cha Slide) and some not (Apple Bottom Jeans???). We had a pretty full dance floor and everyone had a good time.

I had specific songs for
  • entrance (At Last - Etta James),
  • first dance (Ain't No Cure for Love - Leonard Cohen),
  • Father-Daughter dance (Does That Wind Still Blow in Oklahoma?),
  • Mother-Son dance (Que Sera - Doris Day),
  • sister dance (She's in Love with the Boy - Trisha Yearwood),
  • Owen dance (Godspeed - Dixie Chicks),
  • cake cutting (Love You Madly - Cake),
  • bouquet toss (This One's for the Girls - Martina McBride) and
  • garter toss (Foxy Lady - Jimi Hendrix).
For the reception decor, I bought white twinkle lights on clearance after Christmas (NOT online!) - and my parents, Shawn's parents, Aunt Lee Ann, Beth and I wrapped all the polls in the lights on Thursday evening after the rehearsal. The rest of the decorating had to happen on Friday: Chinese paper round lanterns/globes (ordered online) assembled, hung and lit, tables wrapped with silver Christmas clearance wrapping paper and tied as packages with black and purple tulle (ordered online), silver chargers and place mats from Christmas clearance with purple potted plants (both the pot and flowers were purple) sitting on each table. Looked SO good, both at sunset and when it was dark.

We had napkins and cake plates ordered online - napkins and plates in the black and white swirl and purple, customized napkins with our names and wedding date. SO CUTE! We didn't use the square black plates or the cups I bought for the dinner from Sam's, so I can get my money back for that. We did use the ordered-online plastic flutes for the toast (which was sparkling apple cider). I was only chided once for not having liquor - we did have beer, and most of it was not drunk that night.

Another gift from a different coworker were the engraved monogrammed toasting glasses. MWS. We toasted to our future and happiness with them, and I'll look forward to using them many times on romantic dinners in.

I did my own stationery - from the save the dates featuring an engagement photo to the programs at the church. All the paper came from mountaincow.com, and the invites were black ink on white cards layered over a bigger black card, mailed in purple envelopes with white postcards for RSVPs. The programs were on 4x8 paper, double sided. I used the same flourish throughout and used the same fonts - Honeyscript and Echelon (both free). For our monogram on the program, I used New Yorker Engraved. I used the same design/fonts for the favor cards and envelopes. I did buy my thank you notes - cream colored with purple foil Thank You in a script font with deckled edges on the cards and envelope flap. SO cute. I have plenty left over and they aren't SO wedding-y that I can't keep using them. (So that's one thing)

I bought some wedding day crayon kits for the kids, and then only two showed up (my ring bearer and flower girl). I also bought purple glow-in-the-dark necklaces for the kids (and adults) to wear in the dark - but we forgot to get them out. Blurgh! I guess a minor detail. Both those things came from Oriental Trader.com. Maybe the necklaces can be used at Fourth of July (along with the left over sparklers!).

Along with the bells, I gave gifts to the people who helped with the wedding and were a part of it somehow:
  • My mom - a purple amethyst necklace
  • Shawn's mom - a purple "MOM" necklace with a poem
  • Beth - diamond earrings
  • Chris - an engraved/monogrammed flask
  • Karman - an engraved bracelet
  • Kaypeus (Karman's sister who didn't attend) - an engraved compact mirror
  • Owen - an engraved silver train bank
  • My dad and Shawn's dad - leather wallets with their initials embossed
  • Our grandmas and aunts - purple pashminas
  • Jenni (Chris' girlfriend) and Sheryl/John (my aunt and uncle from California) - Oklahoma bags with Oklahoma wine, a corkscrew and BBQ sauce
  • Matt and Micah, my cousin ushers - engraved keychains
I loved picking out the presents. My tip for getting personalized things is to look for shops that aren't "BRIDAL" - almost all these gifts were bought online, and engravingshop.com was much better than anything geared toward brides, and I am very pleased with the quality that I got.

It was a LOT of work, and I'm sure I'm not remembering every detail. My next task will be to write up the day, what I felt, thought and did. But this is a good start!

~Mari.

PS The photog has posted our photos - email me for a link, but I'll post a link to my Flickr album once I get it together. :)

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