Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bachelorette Recaps

We survived! My bachelorette party this weekend was SO MUCH FUN and I'm so glad that most of my girls and some other close friends were able to come and celebrate with me! We had a blast. My sister/MOH Callie and BM Steph did a fantastic job putting the whole thing together.

We started off just hanging out at my house. Well, some of us. Others met us at the hotel in Center City Philly. But MOH Callie, BM Steph, and my college roommate Jen met at my house where we had some strawberry sangria (made by moi), some mojitos (made by Callie), and lots of yummy food (also made by Callie). Steph also brought a hoagie pita pizza (an italian hoagie inside a giant pita shaped/cut like a big pizza - it was awesome). So we feasted and sipped our cocktails before we headed into the city to meet up with the rest of the gang.

Once we got to our hotel (the fabulous Embassy Suites in Philly), we met BM Nicole, BM Tina, and other college roommate Denise. We proceeded to check into our rooms and get ready to hit the city! Again, we shared some more sangria, pita pizza, and lots of laughs to kick off the night!

After everyone was thoroughly prettified (not like that's hard for my girls!), we headed out to dinner. Steph had made reservations at El Vez, but somehow we thought it was El Rey (both Mexican restaurants, both by the same restauranteur). We walked into El Rey and then Steph realized it was the wrong place. And since it was time for our reservation, Steph called El Vez while we grabbed a couple of cabs. Or one. A van. With no air conditioning. That was a steamy 9 blocks.

But we made it to El Vez and our table was still waiting for us, so we took our seat and started looking over the menu. YUM-O. El Vez is owned by Steven Starr, who has several restaurants in the Philly area. I have eaten at and loved several of them, and after Saturday night, I can safely say the same for El Vez. We got a couple pitchers of their Pink Cadillac margarita, which had tequila and cranberry juice and some other yummyness. We also got some of their hand-smashed guacamole. It was incredible. For dinner, I ordered the chipotle chicken tacos, and they were deeee-lish! Everyone else seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meals, as once the food was in front of us, we didn't do a whole lot of talking! It was a great meal to start off the night.

After we were sufficiently stuffed, we walked over to Jolly's Dueling Piano Bar. Dueling piano bars are one of my favorite things in the whole wide world. Matt and I have been to several around the country (Arizona, Myrtle Beach, etc) and we always have a fantastic time. Jolly's was pretty great, too, but WAY smaller than I expected it to be! My brother-in-law had arranged for us to have an open bar, which enabled us to basically reserve a whole "section" at the bar, rather than just a booth near the pianos. At first, we were a little disapointed, but I think it actually ended up being better - we had plenty of room to dance and do shots...

and sing like fools...

and everything else that happens at piano bars. No worries, though, we did get up to the piano and onto the piano and...well, we had a BLAST!

Once we had finished our open bar time, we headed back into the city. The girls tried to "surprise" me and take me to a male strip joint, but I foiled their plan and put the kybash on that. You know how I felt about Matt going to a strip club, so I certainly didn't want to go to one myself. Plus, I wanted to dance! I didn't want to sit there and watch guys gyrate around me! So I made the cabs turn around (might have been a little bratty!) and take us back to Noche - bar and restuarat by day, dance club by night. And dance we did!

Here, towards the end of the night, is me with sister/MOH Callie. She's the bestest.
All in all, a GREAT time was had. And, for those of you following, Matt did not go a strip club. They had planned to take him, but he told them he wasn't interested. And he also passed out at 12:30. Silly boy. I love him.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

It's Bachelorette Time, Baby!!

Today is my bachelorette party!! I'm so excited. My MOH/sister Callie and BM Steph have arranged quite a day/night for me, it seems. I've been left pretty much in the dark, so I can't wait to see exactly what they have in store. Better yet, though, I can't wait to see the pretty faces of all my favorite girls!! Tune in later for some recaps and - maybe - some pictures!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ceremony Readings Continued...

Last time, I revealed the non-religious reading that Matt chose for our ceremony. That left us to figure out what Bible verses we wanted to include. As I mentioned, we had to have one reading from the Bible, plus the Gospel. We looked to a lot of places for inspiration, including the booklet we were given by the church and the internet.

We wanted to find a passage that really spoke to us and that spoke to not only our relationship with each other, but our relationship with God. As I've mentioned, neither one of us could really be considered terribly religious, but we do have beliefs and live our lives according to those. We wanted whatever readings we chose to reflect those beliefs. I was pretty adamant that I did not want any passage that had to do with the wife submitting to the husband, which ruled out quite a few "suggested" verses. To me, that is not a marriage. I also didn't really want to use anything that talked about how the couple is no longer two people - I don't like that it vaguely suggests of losing your identity because of getting married. I also didn't want to use Corinthians. Not that I don't think it's a lovely verse - I do. But it's been used at almost every wedding I've been to, and, well...we like to be different. I might've mentioned that before, too.

So we ended up choosing Ecclesiastes 4:9-12.
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:
If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will
keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be
overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not
quickly broken.

We like how it spoke of being together and being able to support and protect one another. That's what our relationship is to us - a mutual supporting of each other - helping each other through difficult times and being happy for each other in good times. This is what we hope our marriage will continue to be - a partnership.

For the Gospel, we chose 1 John 4:7-12.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone
who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does
not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among
us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through
him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent
his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so
loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but
if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

We chose this because it speaks of sacrifice and compromise in the name if love. I'm sure that we all know all too well that sometimes you have to sacrifice something in order to show your partner how much you care for them - whether it it's something as simple as giving up a tv show you like or moving across the country to be together. Matt and I do feel like we have made some small sacrifices for each other, but all have been worth it to keep our relationship - our love - strong.

Choosing our reading was not as difficult as we thought it would be. We're really happy with what we've chosen, and think that they all reflect who we are as a couple.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Ceremony Readings

When we first met with our Pastor, we had absolutely no idea what our ceremony would look like. All we knew was we wanted it to be short and to the point. We definitely did not want a whole service with communion and all that stuff. With neither of us being extremely religious, we didn't really feel like a full ceremony would be right. Nor would it feel like us. We mentioned our feelings to our Pastor, and she said that there are certain things that we have to have in the ceremony because it's in the church, but there definitely were things that we could cut out. She gave us a general outline of what the ceremony would include. She also gave us a booklet that included several options for each part of the ceremony - from the greeting to the dismissal, we could customize the wedding to be how we wanted. But, of course, the real customization comes from the reading. And Matt and I worked really hard trying to decide what to include.

Pastor Cindy said that we had to have one Bible verse plus the Gospel. We could add an additional reading if we wanted to. We both decided that we wanted to - again, with us not being religious, we could use the additional reading to make the ceremony really ours. So I scoured the internet and went through song lyrics and poems and book passages. Most of my inspiration came from indiebride. Seriously, if you're looking for a non-traditional reading, you MUST check out that list. They have put together
18 pages of options. I made up a list of my favorite 7 or 8, and then left the final decision up to Matt. I am thrilled with the one he ended up choosing. It's "Union," by Robert Fulghum, and I think it speaks perfectly to our relationship:
You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.
I absolutely love it. And what's even better is that Matt loves it. He was really excited when he read it, and thought it was perfect for us. We've asked my brother-in-law to do this reading for us. While he's only been my brother-in-law for 2 years, he's been a part of my family for what feels like forever. It was only natural to include him in our ceremony in some way.

Stay tuned for our other readings...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The S Word

I have a confession to make. I am having major anxiety about the bachelor party. Like, major anxiety. I really don't want the boys to take Matt to a strip club. I seriously get physically ill at the thought of it. I've kind of voiced this to him, but I'm pretty sure he doesn't know the extent of my feelings about it. I've basically just told him that I would prefer that he doesn't go to one, but know that my opinion basically doesn't count. But the more I think about it, and the faster the weekend approaches (next weekend), the more freaked out I get about it.

We've been watching back episodes of the Sopranos recently, and you know how Tony does all of his business at the Bada Bing? I hate those episodes. I get mad when the topless ladies are walking around. I actually have a fairly strong physical reaction. It's weird. And last night, we were watching I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, and the whole thing (at least what I saw) was centered around the main character taking his friend out for his bachelor party. They went to a strip club a few towns over because the clubs where the live had instituted a "No-Touch Policy," and apparently that was unacceptable for this bachelor party. At least, for the main character it was unacceptable. Anyway, they got to the part where the guys were in the strip club, and I got so upset about it, that I just picked up my phone and went to bed. Just left the room and went to sleep. This morning, when Matt asked me why I went to bed without saying goodnight, I told him that I didn't like watching the guys hanging out at a strip club. I couldn't bring myself to tell him about my extreme physicial reaction to it.

I'm confused about this on 2 levels. 1, because I don't really know why I'm so averse to him going to a strip club in the first place, and 2, because I don't get why I can't just tell him how I really feel about it. I have a fairly good guess as to why I'm so averse to it. I have never really liked the idea of strip clubs, but I've never been the type of girl who was like, "Ew, that's so gross...boys shouldn't go there." I've always just sort of thought, "Well, boys will be boys, and it's kind of a right of passage, per se, so...whatever." But in the past few years, the idea has increasingly freaked me out.

Remember when I talked about that
time in our relationship where "...things happened and I moved out?" Yeah, well, the thing that happened was an ex-girlfriend who reappeared and got into Matt's head. Big time. She got in there enough to make him question his feelings for me and whether or not our relationship was really what he wanted. That's as far she got - his head - but it was enough to do some pretty serious damage. After we worked through all of that and all of those issues, we had a lot of talks about trust and cheating and all the stuff that comes with a situation like that. His biggest concern was that I'd never be able to fully trust him again. And I'll admit, at first, I wasn't sure I'd be able to either. Especially because, at first, I just kept mentally picturing him with this girl, and it made me absolutely sick to my stomach. But now, I swear, I swear, I do trust him. It's the guys he'll be with and the girls at the club that I don't trust. Lately, when I'm obsessing over this (and I have been), if I close my eyes to try to clear my head, I see a stripper grinding away on his lap, and it turns my stomach. While I haven't told him that I don't want him going to a club at all, I have told him that I don't want him to get a lap dance. His answer to me was, "Well what I am supposed to do if the guys buy me one?" I've been just kind of shrugging and mumbling, begrudgingly, "Yeah, I get it." But I don't. Why is it so hard for a guy to just say, "No, really guys, I'm not interested."

Probably for the same reason it's so hard for me to tell him how I really feel about all of this. He doesn't want to look like he's "whipped," and I don't want to look like the "whipper." I had a friend a few years ago who forbade her fiance to go to a strip club, and at the time I was like, "Ugh, that's so ridiculous. I'm never gonna be That Girl." And yet...here I am. I'm That Girl. Or at least, I'm thinking like That Girl. And I certainly don't want to give the appearance that I don't trust him, because, as I said, I really really do. It's just that the thought of 1/2-naked women parading, dancing, shimmying, slithering around him...it just disgusts me.

Am I being crazy? Someone please tell me I'm being crazy. Or tell me that I have every right to request that he skip the strip club without seeming controlling and psychotic.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

And They're Off!

The invitations have been printed, assembled, stamped, addressed.... and now that they're officially in the mail and being received, I'm happy to share them with you! We are totally in love with our invites and so excited for everyone to see them!

We worked with Etsy (there it is again) seller The Extra Detail. She was fantastic to work with. She let us customize the entire project - the trifold color, the ribbon color, the invitation/rsvp/extra info card colors. She sent us samples of the colors that we requested, and let us choose EXACTLY what we wanted. Once we got that straightened out, she sent us multiple proofs and let us change the font as much as we wanted (which ended up being 4 different times). Once everything was absolutely perfect, we placed the order and a few weeks later, they arrived on our doorstep. Initially she sent us the wrong size outer envelopes, but she quickly corrected it, free of charge. Another great Etsy experience!

Sooo....are you ready to see them? Well, here they are, in all their gorgeousness...

We sent them out on Monday, and we've already gotten lots of feedback from people about them! I hope you like them as much as we do!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Slow Down!

My best friend got married a couple months ago, and though we were at his wedding, we barely had a chance to see him all night. So a couple weeks ago, we met up with him and his new wife for dinner and drinks. The first thing they said to us about their wedding day - "It goes by so quickly!" That's what we've been hearing from absolutely everyone. Liz told me that she basically remembers saying I do, messing up the end of her vows, waiting to come into the reception, and their first dance. Otherwise, the whole day is a total blur.

Seems to be a pretty common thing. Months and months of planning, thousands of dollars, and it's all over in the blink of an eye.

So I'm making a vow - right here, right now - to try to mentally (and photographically) document every single moment of the day.

I want to remember what I feel like while I'm sitting in the chair at the salon, getting my hair done, surrounded by the 6 most important women in my life (my mom and my bridal party).

I want to remember how I feel the first time I step into my dress, pick up my bouquet, and look in the mirror - finally, actually, really a bride.

I want to remember the emotion of standing in the back of the church with my dad, waiting to walk down the aisle and see Matt standing at the front, waiting to become husband and wife.

I want to remember seeing Matt for the first time, all handsome in his tux.

I want to hold on forever to the feeling of kissing my husband for the first time and being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Matthew Iacavone.

I want to never forget swaying on the dance floor to our song, "Chasing Cars," feeling like we're the only two people in the whole wide world.

I want to remember dancing with my father, knowing that even though I'm not his little girl anymore, I'll always be his daughter, and there is nothing more special than that in the world.

I want to savor the moment of dancing with my girls to our special song, reveling in the fact that these girls have been with me through the best and worse times of my life, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I want to take a moment and look around at all the people there to celebrate with us and remember how loved we are.

Every single moment, every single smile, every single tear... I want to remember all of it. I have been looking forward to this day for months, if not years, and I refuse to let it just slip through my fingers. I will hold on to anything and everything, and I will lock it all away in a corner of my brain that I can run to when times get tough and I need a pick-me-up. Because what better pick-me-up could possibly exist than looking back at the happiest day of your life?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

More Wedding Gifts

I promised that I'd tell you about the other part of the wedding gift I'm giving Matt. I was waiting until it was in motion, and now that it is, I'm happy to share!

I did a boudoir photo shoot! OMG, it was seriously the most fun ever. But let me back up a bit...

I had seen lots of boudoir shoots in the various wedding blogs, and I toyed with the idea of doing it. Then I found out that a friend of mine from high school, who is now a professional photographer, actually shoots boudoir, and the shots she had on her blog were great. So I got in touch with her and we worked out the details. I went shopping (had LOTS of fun at Victoria's Secret!) and wound up at her house this past Sunday. She had managed to find someone from Empire Beauty School to come and do my hair and makeup, at the cost of nothing more than a tip and the fake eyelashes she put on me. Brittany (the makeup artist) did a fantastic job - my hair looked styled but casual, and my makeup was amazing - she did a dark brown, slightly-toned-down, smokey eye (Megan kept calling it the Kim Kardashian) and added fake eyelashes. It looked awesome.

We spent about 2 hours taking photos. Megan made me feel really comfortable and relaxed (as relaxed as possible, being in my skivvies around 2 total strangers and 1 person who I hadn't seen in over 10 years!). She also managed to make feel completely HOT. I've never felt so sexy in my life, and I walked out of there with the highest self-confidence I've had in an awfully long time. It felt amazing.

I haven't seen the finished product yet, but the shots that I did get to see during the day were incredible. Megan somehow managed to make me look gorgeous. I remember at one point she showed me one and I actually said out loud, "Wow...I look quite pretty!" It was shocking to see myself like that! I don't think I'm going to post any pictures on my blog, but maybe... we'll have to see!

I would seriously recommend that every woman in the world should do a set of boudoir photos. If not for someone, do it for yourself - you will feel GREAT about yourself when you're done!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Idle Bridal Thoughts

From Me to We

I remember the first time I saw the first
Sex and the City movie. I was having a girls' night in (Matt was visiting a friend in Maryland), and decided I should take advantage and watch a chick flick. I had seen all the hype about Sex and the City, and though I'd never been a regular watcher of the show (mostly because I didn't have HBO while it was running), I did always enjoy any episodes that I caught. So...I had a night in with the SATC girls. And I bawled the whole way through it. I mean it. I bawled. It was embarrassing. I mean, the whole thing with Big and Carrie - the moment she realized he wasn't showing up at the wedding, my heart broke for her. For this random tv character who I've (obviously) never met, and who I didn't really even "know" like the real fans of the show. And yet...well, let's just say, I was a mess.

One thing she said at some point after that really stuck with me. She told the girls that the wedding got away from her. I remember her saying, "Everything was 'me' and 'my wedding.'" She realized that she'd been spending so much time talking about the wedding and thinking about the wedding and planning the wedding, that she forgot about her relationship. Plus, she was so worried about making it the wedding of her dreams, that she forgot about the fact that it might not be the wedding of Big's dreams. And she thought that that was what scared Big away.

That really stuck with me. Not that I think that Matt wouldn't be happy to let me do pretty much whatever I want, but my dream wedding is one that we plan together. It's one that has aspects that reflect both of us. It's one that incorporates things that he wants and things that I want. I ask for and value his opinion on just about everything, but I also take the reigns on things that he expresses absolutely no interest in, like the flowers.

I've been really careful to talk about it as our wedding, not my wedding. Because that's what I want it to be - OUR big day, not mine. It makes me crazy when people say, "Oh but it's your day..." No! It's not! It's our day, and Matt's thoughts, feelings, and input are important to me. Making him feel included and a part of the day is important to me.

I also make sure that we do things completely un-wedding-related sometimes. A few weeks ago, we spent a weekend at a B&B in the middle of PA wine country. We called it our wedding-free weekend. We spent the whole weekend just enjoying each other's company (and yummy wine) and talking about our marriage and our relationship and our future...but not the wedding. And I have to say, that even though I've had a blast planning this wedding with him, it was a lovely break. We're also planning for the weekend before the wedding to spend the weekend in our own home (rather than going back to Hershey for planning and detailing and stuff) - we even got tickets to see Last Comic Standing at our local theater! When we saw it was coming, we said it would be a great, fun, mindless thing to do before the real wedding craziness sets in.

My whole life before Matt was about what I wanted. But I'm getting married, now, and my decisions affect someone other than me now. And, you know what, I like it that way!

Monday, August 2, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Planning...

This past week, I took a bit of a break from wedding planning to plan and execute a baby shower for one of my oldest (old meaning years known, not age) and dearest friends. And, I must say, it was a huge success!

This was the shower I thought I was throwing back in May, when I was ambushed by my MOH and BMs, who threw me a surprise bridal shower. So needless to say, the next time BM Abriel was coming home, we decided this was our chance to get all the girls together again and finally throw her a baby shower.

This is pretty much the same group of girls who are in my wedding party, plus another friend of ours and a friend of Abriel's.

We have all basically been friends since high school, and therefore all of our moms are friends, too.

My mom and I started planning, and decided that the menu would carry a Georgia theme (since Abriel and her husband now live there). We executed a super-yummy menu that included pork tenderloin, sweet Vidalia onion dip, peach salsa, salad with pears and candied pecans, cornbread, and crab gazpacho. Dessert included peach trifle and turtle cheesecake, and to drink we served sweet tea and peach sangria. Unfortunately, it seems that no one got pictures of the awesome spread, which is really sad, because it came together really well.

Everyone gathered at my mom's house and ate and drank and socialized, until finally we decided to rally the troops and play some games. I had put together two different "quizzes" for the guests to fill out. One was celebrity baby names, where I listed the baby names and the guests had to come up with the famous parent(s). This was a pretty successful game, and lots of fun to laugh at the weird names that some celebrities have come up with (Apple? Bronx Mowgli?). The second game was a baby animal game - I put a list of babies and a list of animals, and the guests had to match them. This one was kind of hard and people struggled a bit (like, did you know that a baby eel is called an elver?). But I think everyone enjoyed them and - what the heck - it's always good to learn something new, right?

After the games were done and the prizes were handed out, Abriel opened gifts. On the evite, I had reminded guests that she would be flying back to Atlanta, and asked people to bring small gifts or photos of bigger gifts. For the most part, people obliged, and I think she had a manageable amount of stuff to get back on the plane. They got some great gifts. I mean, how cute is this?

Born in 2010! The two little ones are our friend/BM Tina's little girls.

For the favors, I made Mason Jar Cupcakes - red velvet with cream cheese icing, and french vanilla with peach icing. I found the idea here and thought it was perfect. Dessert doesn't get much more Southern than red velvet cake, and they loooove their mason jars down there! I used box cake mix and a tub (or several) of Betty Crocker cream cheese icing. I made the peach icing from scratch with a recipe I found here (just the icing, not the cupcakes), but I substituted peach baby food for the fresh peach that I would've had to mash, puree, and beat to crap. Peach baby food just seemed easier, and in the end, I'm really glad I went that route. This was time-consuming and a bit complicated (it took me 4 evenings after work), but totally worth it. They were delicious. Again, it seems that no one got a photo of them, but trust me - they were adorable and really yummy. We displayed them on an antique high chair that my parents have, and encouraged each guest to take one on their way out.

All in all, a great day, and a nice break from the wedding planning. Especially since now that we're at the 3-month mark and our weekends are so full, I'm starting to feel like we're getting to crunch time. We need to schedule our final meetings with our vendors, and given all the other stuff we have going on this summer, plus my one-weekend-a-month serving on-call for work...we're having a hard time scheduling all the meetings! These next 12 weeks are going to absolutely fly by!

(all photos courtesy of BM Tina!)