Thursday, June 30, 2011

Passport To Love: From The Heart

Mr. E has a way with words.  His words are so meaningful to me because of the fact that he is the typical "dead sea" from The Five Love Languages when it comes to communication style.  Leading up to the wedding I always knew that I wanted to exchange cards on the day of.  Mr. E wanted to exchange gifts at the rehearsal dinner, but I asked to save the cards for the day of.

Our rings inside of the book Mr. E wrote for me

Funny fact about Mr. E and I, we can't hold off on surprises for the life of us.  I still remember one Christmas where I went out bright and early on Black Friday to secure a PS3 for Mr. E.  I lasted all but about 6 hours before I spilled the beans and told him what I purchased.  Following in similar fashion, we actually ended up exchanging wedding gifts at home by ourselves the week of the wedding.  He gifted me an awesome camcorder and I gave him a PSP.  We did save a couple of smaller gifts for the wedding weekend including his grandmother's hankerchief and the Superman cufflinks.  The most touching gift by far was a book of poems and stories that he had written for me.

Mr. E had the book printed and bound at a local shop.  He had the L for our last name (from our monogram) pressed into the front of the book, which was in our signature blue and green colors.

I read some of the book the night of the rehearsal, but was instructed to save a taped off portion for the morning of the wedding.  I was smart enough to read it before my makeup was applied, because from the opening words I was in tears.

Personal picture

His words are from the heart, and I feel like they are a window to his soul.  He wrote about his childhood, his dreams, love, children, religion and our future. I learned more about the life he has led and am amazed that through all of that adversity he could become the man that he is today. As BM Philly said that day, it takes a strong man to show his sensitive side.

Sharing a touching section with Mama E 

I wondered when he had the time to write this 64 page book and he later told me that he did them during my "naps".  I laughed because he was referring to the time between 10pm and 12am when I normally fall asleep on the couch while he's watching tv, working on homework or playing a game.

I want to share one of the poems that he wrote in particular for our wedding day.

It has been so long,
this journey to today.
To make it special
in every way.

Tears will flow,
and love will grow,
and a bond confirmed
for all to behold.

Give me your hand
and I will give you mine.
Walking down as two,
one last time.

what a wonderful day.
the beginning of the next journey.
And forever after,
the greatest time to live in.

For today you have made me happy,
beyond the time,
beyond the journey,
beyond all obstacles.

Today is ours,
forever remembered,
as the day you and I
became a couple 
of Lords

Will you be exchanging cards the day of your wedding?

All photos from Lynn Michelle unless otherwise noted

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love:
- Getting Ready Details

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Passport To Love: Getting Ready Details

I am a huge fan of detail shots! Thankfully with Lynn's awesome team they were able to divide and conquer to capture so many of the pieces that would make up our wedding day outfits.

Of course we have to start off with the beautiful dress & veil that I would be wearing when I said "I do"

My something blue shoes, which I actually ended up spending less time in then I thought.

I blinged it out with my something borrowed earrings from Mrs. Champagne, my beautiful blue necklace from Mama E, and my hair pin.

Mama E gifted Mr. E and me our wedding day scents the night before at the rehearsal. I love that she had mine engraved with my new initials and our wedding date.

Our custom converse sneakers were such a hit, all of our guests remembered them from our RSVP postcards.

There were a couple of wonderful physical reminders of bee love added onto my shoes, you may remember them from Mrs. Rainbow's wedding.  Those little bees had traveled across the country in between her wedding and ours.

We can't forget about Mr. E!  Thank you again for helping to pick out his tie, it stood out so well against the groomsmen's ties. Mama E had a set of handkerchiefs embroidered with his initials.  These were very handy during the reception!

And last, but not least the superhero shout on my garters and his cufflinks.

Are you excited to see the parts of your bridal attire come together on the big day?

All photos from Lynn Michelle

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love:

Monday, June 27, 2011

Passport To Love: Relax, Prep & Shuffle

Once the small issue with getting into the Crowne suite was settled, it was time to hug it out and enjoy my morning with my mom and closest friends.

That's a non alcoholic mimosa for BM Cali and her baby bump

We relaxed, chatted and and prepared to get pampered.  BM Aggie and BM Philly took some time to check out the morning golf tournament from our balcony.

I made sure to order food to be sent to the room while we were getting ready so that no one got hungry around lunch time.  We also snacked on some left over goodies from the OOT boxes.

Shortly after getting into the Crowne suite, our make up artist and hair stylist had arrived and began setting up.

While the girls took turns in the make up chair and hair chair, MOH Navy and I went around taking pictures.  Knowing that one of our photographers would be interested in taking detail shots, I decided to line them all up on the counter for easy access to grab and go.

MOH Navy captured this awesome shot of me taking detail pics with my dress hanging in the mirror

Who would have thought that picking up a wedding day card for Mr. E would be so difficult for me.  I tried a couple of stores and was less than impressed with their small selection of wedding cards for the bride and groom to exchange with each other.  Thankfully my cousin's wife (and our house party member) Olympia ran out and picked up a card so I could write a note that morning.

During the planning period, I made a playlist of wedding tunes with songs from our ceremony and on our reception must play list.  I listened to this playlist over and over during those 2 years, always day dreaming about what the day would actually be like.  Now, here we were the morning of the wedding listening to these songs and it just ramped up the excitement for me.  When "Cupid Shuffle" came on Mama E wanted a refresher so she would be ready to dance to it that night. MOH Navy and BM Philly were there to help her out.

I left the shoe selection up to my friends, any pair of silver shoes would work.  Many had shoes in their own closets, but couldn't make a decision.   MOH Navy brought a couple of shoes for us to help her choose from.

She went with the ones on the right

We took some time to sneak downstairs and see how our planner Kathie and the staff were doing with the set up of the reception room.  It looked AMAZING!!  We got to see the uplighting, pinspotting and place settings.  I did not envy the person who was sitting on the floor patiently filling all of our take out boxes with our handmade chocolates.  We timed it just right to see the cakes being delivered.  They looked exactly how we planned them! I can't wait to share all of that in a later recap.

By this time we got back upstairs and looked outside, we spotted our photographers walking around scouting out shooting locations.  I was so excited to see Lynn, Viv and Audrey!  They headed upstairs and we had story time to talk about the morning's events.

With our photographers there it was time for me to get my makeup and hair done!

Are you looking forward to some quality time with your friends the morning of your wedding?

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Passport To Love: My Mini Meltdown

Once we checked out of the hotel it was time to head up to the Tribute and for me to experience a mini meltdown.

The thing with the Tribute is that part of our wedding package included rooms for the bridal party and groom's party to get ready in.  One of the major perks (and added selling point for us) is the size of the Crowne suite for the bridal party which is then the Newlywed suite for the night.  This place is huge, and I loved the fact that we wouldn't be on top of each other while getting ready.

MOH Navy taking a picture of me taking detail pictures

Other half of the room (MOH Navy Pic)

The catch is, if there is a wedding the night before the room is not available until 1 pm (gotta let those newlyweds sleep in).  If this was the case we would have been in a smaller room until the bridal suite was available.  Lucky for us, there was no wedding the night before so we were able to get into the room as early as we wanted.  I let the venue coordinator know that we would be getting there around 10:30 since our hair and make up team would be starting at 11.

We arrive at the Tribute, get some carts to haul all of our suitcases and dresses upstairs and find out that the room is locked.  No problem, we head down the hall to see if the housekeeper had a key to let us in.  She didn't, so one of my girls went downstairs to the pro shop to ask if they could open up the Crowne suite.  One of the guys comes running upstairs and knocks on the door.  I was a little confused since the room was blocked off for us, and lo and behold there is a response from inside.  The pro shop guy asks how long until they can get out of the room, and then told me it would be some time for the couple to get out and have the room cleaned.

Cue mini meltdown.

I started to tear up and told him that he needed to get that room cleaned up as fast as possible since our hair and make up team were on their way and I did not want to have them set up in one room to then move into another.  I was upset because I wanted to get settled and begin to enjoy the morning.

Mama E and my girls clamed me down.  We headed down the hall to wait in another room while that person vacated the room.  Bethany (the venue coordinator) came up and apologized profusely for the breakdown in communication.  Turns out the couple in the room was there to help out with the golf tournament or friends with an employee or something (in my mini meltdown state I wasn't really paying attention) and they had another room for Saturday night, but since the big suite was open Friday night they decided to sleep there.  Bethany informed us that the room would be cleaned that second and we would be in it in no time.  She also offered some mimosas to help calm me down (free alcohol is always a plus).

Mama E and I enjoying mimosas once we got into the bridal suite

Looking back I realize that this was nothing to cry over, but in that moment I saw it as a sign that everything that day was going to go wrong.  I so wanted to be the "zen bride" but my emotions got the better of me.  There are definitely worse things that could happen and I'm happy to say that the only other tears that fell from my eyes that day were happy tears.

Did any other brides have non-zen moments during the planning period or on their big day?

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love:

Getting Ready & First Look

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Passport To Love: Early Riser

I think I've mentioned it once before, but I'm an early riser.  I usually get up early to walk Gypsy, but even without her around (like vacations) I still tend to wake up early.  I try to go back to sleep, but it hardly ever works. I feel bad for Mr. E who is the typical night owl - early mornings are not for him.

This was no different for the morning of the wedding.  I felt like I had a decent night before the wedding sleep (in bed around 11 and up around 4), but MOH Navy and BM Philly were still sleeping so I didn't want to get up and turn on the TV or anything.  I texted Mama E's phone and surprisingly got a response from my dad.  I think I get my early riser tendency from him. ;)  We texted back and forth for a little bit until I decided to walk over to their hotel.  We'll just say that the knocked out Mama E was surprised to see me climb into bed with them.

As strange as it may seem, laying there talking with my parents was the perfect way to start the wedding day. We chatted about the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner, and how great it was to spend time with our guests (some of which were friends and family that they have not seen in years). We discussed the weather, again, and said a little prayer for the day to go off without any major issues.  Talking with them was such a calming experience, and before we knew it was time for breakfast.  Mom and Dad decided to head back over with me so they could join us girls for the free hotel breakfast.

Texas shaped waffles, how cute!

After breakfast and a shower, I got dressed for the day.  Side note: a getting ready outfit was something that totally slipped my mind.  The week of the wedding I made a trip to Old Navy to search for a white hoodie, but the only options were pretty thick and I knew I would be too hot in it.  I picked up some black carpi yoga pants and a blue/green stripped shirt and called it a day.  Mama E and Aunt Bunny to the rescue! As I got out of the shower Saturday morning I found a light weight, white hoodie which was perfect for getting ready (and feeling a little bridal).  Love you Mama E & Aunt B!

BM Aggie and me relaxing in the hotel

MOH Navy secured a hotel cart and it was time to check out, load up and head for the venue!

Will you be wearing anything special to get ready for the wedding?

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Passport To Love: Tex Mex Delight

Once our guests had left their mark and found their seats it was time to eat!

Before a blessing of the food, we took a moment to thank Rev. Rosset from coming all the way from Arkansas to officiate our wedding, and for my Dad's childhood friend and his wife for coming all the way from Trinidad and Tobago for our wedding.

Rev. Rosset, her husband and Mama E

As our bridal party finished up their meals (and after some filled up on seconds) we handed out packets of information which I typed up using Mrs. Daffodil's template.  Everyone was so impressed with it, so a huge thank you Mrs. Daffodil!

After the important stuff was handled, we got to the fun part of handing out gifts.

My cousin, and usher, Jason still reading his packet

We were SO excited to thank our bridal party for hanging in there for such a long engagement, and helping anyway they could during those 2 years.

We gifted all of the guys ties for the wedding.  This was the tie for the ushers.

For our ushers, I decided to make their gifts specific to their tastes which ranged from super hero shirts and best buy gift cards, to monogrammed beer mugs and wine glasses

My girls received their hangers for the next day as well as their jewelry.

Then it was time for the Coach surprise!

While my girls were opening their purses, the guys were opening their shoes.

Hugs all around.

We thanked Daddy E and Mama E for hosting our rehearsal dinner with their shadow box of DIY projects and a new wallet to make up for all of that money he burned through for our wedding.  Right after mom opened the shadow box, she was showing it off to her sister's family - giving them a heads up on the DIY goodness they will see at the wedding.

I found the idea of personalized handkerchiefs for the mothers from another local bride (thanks Stephie!).  I reached out to Etsy seller Chrissy's Creations, and was able to pick the font, color and saying for both mothers.

I gave Mr. E his chufflinks, and then he had me in tears again.  (What is it with him making me cry??)

What was it this time?  Mr. E surprised me with a 64 page book of poems and stories that he wrote about love, life, his past and our future.  I'll go into more detail about the book in a later recap.

We wrapped up the dinner with some more pictures with our friends and family.

Mr. E and me with our parents

 Mr. E getting in on the male cousins picture from my mom's side of the family

Mama E with two of her sisters

After we nudged the last of our guests out the door (we had gone well over our 2 hour period), we did a quick clean up and then headed back to the hotel for more drinks and conversation.

Who will you be including in your rehearsal dinner?

All photos from Lynn Michelle

Catch up on the Elephant recaps, Passport To Love: