Hello Garden! I know throughout my wedding planning process I relied heavily on research from the Internet, and the wedding blog community to help me find inspiration and plan my day. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites and also hear which sites you ladies used for all your planning.
Who doesn’t know about Style Me Pretty? I mean honestly?! Even before I was engaged or even thinking about planning my wedding, I was on that site every single day. So much inspiration and beauty in one place, it’s a brides dream come true!
I really love how they also break up real weddings by region like California, Destination, New York, etc. So many ideas for the soon-to-be bride.
The Wedding Chicks is not only great because there’s tons of wedding inspiration to view, but aslo so many awesome free printables for all your wedding needs. I used their printables on my dessert bar goodie containers, and they were adorable!
Another one of my favorites is Green Wedding Shoes. This site is chock full of real weddings, galleries, vendor searches, and a great section on DIY wedding projects.
These sites sure helped with ideas, what about you? What are some of your favorite wedding blogs to check out?
This past Saturday, I served as a bridesmaid in Violet Blossom’s wedding. It was an absolutely beautiful wedding, and I was proud to be a part of it. Violet Blossom and I have been friends since kindergarten, in case the Garden didn’t know!
I’ve been a bridesmaid in multiple weddings before Violet’s, but this is the first since getting engaged. I know that Violet Blossom is excited for me to be engaged, but I also knew that I should keep discussion focused on her wedding from her bridal shower to her reception. We did talk here and there about my pending nuptials, but I was careful to stay focused on her big day.
I will say that being a bridesmaid in the midst of planning your own wedding offers a unique opportunity to learn and observe. I hadn’t been a bridesmaid since fall of 2009, so this past Saturday served as a reminder of how things go. I also took notes on things to look for in decor, ceremony details, and some vendors. Violet Blossom’s DJ, Jason from Cipriano Productions, was a blast, so I might end up hiring him for my own big day!
So I feel that, although it was a new experience, being a bridesmaid while engaged was also a great experience full of laughter and learning opportunities. I feel that I kept a good balance between my own excitement and the joy I felt for my friend!
Mr. Hydrangea and I had discussed a few details about our wedding before we were engaged, including the fact that we would like to get married at my family church, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Massillon. My grandparents, parents, and both of my sisters were married there, and we wanted to continue the tradition. That was the easy decision. Then we moved on to determining the perfect reception venue, which proved to be more difficult than we ever would’ve anticipated.
Our Ceremony Location - St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Massillon, Ohio
We looked at a variety of venues, from vineyards, to barns, banquet halls, and a few golf courses. We ran in to a few unexpected problems along the way. We quickly found that what looked good on paper, didn’t always match what looked good in person. We also learned that there are a lot of people planning November 2014 weddings. At least two venues were booked solid through November 2014 (for Saturdays) and many others had very few dates available. We literally walked in to an office to look at available dates as the couple that booked our date was walking out. We weren’t sold on the venue at the time, but by the time we go to it, it wasn’t even an option!
We also found that many venues are simply not an option in November due to the colder weather. We checked out a beautiful vineyard in North Canton, Ohio, only to learn that the pavilion we wanted to rent wasn’t an option in the colder months of the year, including November. We were also told by every golf course that we contacted that they would not be willing to hold a wedding in a tent any later than early October.
After considering what seems like 500 venues, the process was becoming frustrating and overwhelming. Mr. Hydrangea and I sat down and really talked about what we wanted in a venue. We decided on three key attributes to look for in a reception space: 1) enough space for our growing guest list, 2) close proximity to our ceremony location, and 3) a blank canvas to decorate as we wish (I love to DIY, as you know!). After making our list of must-haves, we were able to narrow down on our options much more easily. Just days later we decided on the perfect reception venue. The Santa Maria Ballroom at the Massillon Knights of Columbus was the closest we had come to a blank canvas, where My. Hydrangea’s mother and I could get crafy and make it our own. The K of C is also literally up the street from our church AND it holds up to 500 people! And so it was decided – Knights of Columbus it is!
The Santa Maria Ballroom at the Massillon Knights of Columbus
I am beyond releived to have made a decision about our venue and am hopeful that when all is said and done, I can say that the venue search was the most stressful aspect of planning our wedding.
What wedding detail has been most stressful for you?
My husband Ryan and I were married on a Friday and left for our honeymoon the following Monday. The night of the wedding, I wanted to stay somewhere local and fairly close to our venue, so we chose the Island Hotel in Newport Beach. We had an amazing experience here! The night before the wedding, my maid of honor and I stayed in their Island Corner Suite and it was fabulous! Plenty of room to get ready right before the wedding, and the perfect place for photos. We had views of Fashion Island (shopping center) and the Pacific coastline.
Photography: Sargeant Creative | Island Hotel
Since we were not supposed to arrive at our venue until 3 p.m., it was nice to have a place to get ready with all my bridesmaids and just relax. The Island Hotel provides amazing customer service, amenities, and I can’t wait to visit them again.
Did any of you in the Garden chose a hotel close by to prepare for your wedding?
With the ceremony finished, we moved on to the reception. During my entire planning process, I was very dedicated to having my reception be a real party. I had been to a lot of receptions during my life, so I had seen a lot of things that I
liked and wanted to replicate in my own reception and a lot of things I never wanted to happen on my big day.
First, I was totally okay with the party starting without me. I hated going to wedding receptions where the bride and the groom are staying behind to take pictures, so the guests have to just sit at their tables waiting for the hosts to show up so the fun can begin. They’re hungry. They’re thirsty. And without anything real going on, a lot of them are most likely bored. “Not for me,” I said in planning my wedding. We got to the church two hours before the ceremony so we could get all of our pictures out of the way before. And we totally got all of them done!
Just kidding. Everyone told me it wasn’t realistic to expect all of our pictures to be finished by the time we walked down the aisle. And I hate to tell you, they were right. Sort of. We finished about 94% of the pictures before the ceremony started. Thus, we spent about 45 minutes after the ceremony taking final pictures. Mostly ones with family that arrived just in time for the ceremony. Since this was the case, I didn’t want people waiting around for me and the Joker before they could start eating. So, I made it perfectly clear to everyone that would be working the reception to get started without us. That way, when the Joker and I arrived, we arrived to happy faces and full bellies as opposed to impatient people who just wanted to get this all started.
Our dinner was an assortment of pasta dishes with salad and garlic bread. And it was delicious.
Hello! I’m Hydrangea Bud, the newest bud in the garden! I’m delighted to join this DIY bridal community and can’t wait to share my planning tips and experiences with all of you.
I am newly engaged as of June 12, 2013. If you ask my friends and family, they would probably predict that my entire wedding was already planned out. I have always been a fan of planning events and parties, with a particular fondness for weddings. So naturally, I’ve been making mental notes in my head about my own wedding for years!
I will admit that much of my wedding is already drawn out in my head. But, as many of you probably already know, making that vision come to life is all the fun! So far, I can say that my engagement ring fit my vision exactly, as do the dress and shoes I’ve purchased for my bridal look. Beyond those details, I have little nothing concretely planned for our Massillon, Ohio wedding which we have planned for November 2014. I do know that I will be DIY-ing a lot! Look for my journey through self-crafted centerpieces, menus, invitations, and much, much more to come!
Mr. Hydrangea and Hydrangea Bud on a recent trip to Silver Beach in Michigan for a family wedding.
Hydrangea Bud, Mr. Hydrangea and their Hydrangea-pups Murphy and Sydney.
Several months ago, I wrote a post about my personalized wedding dress hanger from Lilafrances. The originial post you can see here. I promised I would share with you the hanger in my wedding photographs and here it is:
Photo by: Sargeant Creative
This pretty little hanger is now hanging on the wall in my closet as a constant reminder of the best day ever. I just ordered one for my soon-to-be nephew as well! The shop has all kinds of goodies, even bridesmaid hangers for all your girls, check out Anna’s Etsy shop here. It’s the perfect little keepsake to have for years to come!
Next up in the recap, we come to arguably the most important part of our ceremony: the vows.
The Joker and I really had to think about what we wanted for our vows. Would we go traditional with our vows, or would we write our own? The Joker wanted to stay traditional. He really liked the core of what traditional vows said (“For richer, for poorer. In sickness, and in health…”), and felt it was important we mentioned those parts, since they do describe what marriage is very well. But I couldn’t decide.
On one hand, there really is something to be said about traditional vows. There is something so romantic about a bride and groom saying the same words that have bound couples together for generations. There’s a history there that really is to be admired. Grandma and Grandpa Orchid have been happily married for 62 years, and I have always looked up to their relationship. They are each other’s best friends, their very first and very last thought every single day. When I was a little girl, I started praying God would bless me with a relationship like theirs. And it is so amazing to me to think that one day, so long ago, they were just like Joker and I, standing in front of each other, her wearing a dress and him wearing a suit, saying those same words Joker and I said. I knew if I didn’t say those words, there was a tiny piece of me that wouldn’t feel like we were really married.
But on the other hand, it’s me. And I love my non-traditional wedding. I cherished any opportunity to be creative in our special day, and I loved the idea of getting to stand in front of all of our friends and family and tell the Joker, in my own words, exactly why I wanted to marry him. Plus, there are some people who have taken the write-your-own-vows route and have done it so right. Seriously, do me a favor and go search for “examples of writing your own marriage vows.” If you can read through ten of them without crying at least two, I personally will send you ten dollars. You will also be able to see why the idea of writing my own vows was so appealing to me.
No matter what I did, I knew I was going to shake things up in the vow part a little bit. I saw on an episode of “Four Weddings” where a bride and groom started the vows with “I, Blabitty Blah, ask you, Yakkity Yak, to be my lawfully wedded…” terrible names aside, you get it. I loved the idea of saying “I ask you to be my lawfully wedded” whatever. It was another example of the compromise that comes with marriage. I don’t like the sound of “I take you.” That sounds like your special someone doesn’t have a say in going into this marriage. Like, “You’re marrying me, whether you like it or not. I didn’t ask you, I told you.” But marriage is a choice. And it is a choice to make it work every day. After all, when Mistah J proposed, he didn’t say “Orchid, you’re going to marry me.” He asked me to marry him. So, I wanted us to ask each other again. It was in thinking of this “asking,” and looking at tons of examples of personalized vows, I came up with a compromise.
I suggested to the Joker we start with the traditional vows: “I, Orchid, ask you Joker, to be my lawfully wedded husband…” and do the whole traditional spill. But, when it gets to the end, we each add our own vows, things we promise to do in return. “And in return, I promise to always have a hot supper on the table when you get home, never interrupt you while you’re watching the game, and answer anything you ask of me with “as you wish”.” Soooo kidding. Might I add, he wishes. But on a serious note, the Joker thought this was a great idea. To make it really special, we kept our promises to each other a surprise. We didn’t hear our promises to each other until the very moment we were supposed to in our ceremony. And special it was.
The Joker went first on the big day. He gave the traditonal part “I, Joker, ask you Orchid, to be my lawfully wedded wife. To have and to…” you get it. And at the end, he continued:
And in return, I promise to listen to every story,
Sing along with every song, and
Pick you up every time you fall.
Garden, he lost me at story. Let me explain. Mistah J likes to joke that I’m a terrible story teller. He says I give entirely too many details. The details that I claim are important to a story, and what actually is important are never the same (or so he claims). In his own words: “You’re a great story teller, you just focus on the wrong parts.” (On a side note, I think it’s a little ironic how I’m telling a story about my husband saying I’m bad at telling stories.) So, the fact that the first promise the Joker is making to me as my husband is that he’s going to listen to every story I tell, even if they’re bad stories?? I sobbed. For the first time in the entire ceremony, I completely lost it and just wept. And not just me. A couple of the Avengers saw me crying and started crying just watching me cry! Yes, the boys were crying too! I didn’t even hear what the last two promises were. Sitting here now, typing this, I had to ask him again what he said. His vows to me were completely precious, and I will cherish them forever. Even if I only heard one of them the first time. But next, it was my turn.
I said my vows like normal, and then added my own promises. But a little joke came with this. The Joker didn’t tell me he was going to memorize his vows, if he had, I would have memorized mine as well. But since I didn’t know, I had mine written on a piece of paper that folded up in Princess Rapunzel’s dress pocket. When the time came for me to say mine, I started to turn away from Mistah J to grab the paper from Rapunzel. But the Joker didn’t know what I was doing, so he pulled my hand back to him. I found out later he thought I was done and was moving on to the sand ceremony.
“You need to say your promises now,” he whispered to me. So, to explain what I was doing to him and to inform the audience what was going on, I explained “I didn’t memorize mine!”
Everyone chuckled as I reached back to Repunzel and took my paper from her. Then, I began to read:
And in return, I promise to love you more today than I did yesterday, and even more than that tomorrow.
To defend every movie we see to you when it’s good, and argue against it when it’s bad.
I promise to laugh at your jokes…when they’re funny. (insert a chuckle from the audience here)
And I promise to need you, respect you and walk by your side every day for the rest of our lives.
“I think you had a little more to say than he did, so I see why you didn’t memorize yours.” Said our minister, Father Joker, as he walked back up beside us to finish the ceremony. The congregation let out a laugh again.
I’m thrilled with the way we did our vows. It was the perfect combination of traditonal and unique. It was the same words so many other couples have said to each other, with the opportunity for the Joker and I to say everything we wanted to say about getting married. And I loved it.
What about your vows? Are you going the traditional route, or are you writing your own?
I don’t know about you, but when it came time to decide which music we would walk into the reception to, we figured it would be a piece of four-tiered cake. Boy, we were wrong.
We ended up meeting with our DJ the week prior to the wedding with a gigantic list of songs, mostly “maybes” nothing set in stone. Now, at our previous meeting with the DJ, we got into a huge conversation about our hobbies, and wrestling happens to be one of those hobbies. Well, when we arrived he had a pre-set list for us with a bunch of wrestling theme songs! I figured this would suit us as a couple perfectly, and it is something I would have never thought of myself. I’ll give you a little list of some of the select songs and some photos of the entrances to go with them! Enjoy!
All American – Hulk Hogan
Turn it up – Scotty 2 Hotty
Sexy Boy – Shawn Michaels (HBK)
The age old tradition that still lives! Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue!
Nowadays, there are so many ways to incorporate these things into your wedding. From nail polish to sewing a blue patch into your dress, to blue “I do” sequins on your shoes. All of these are supposed to be just a good luck charm, but there needs to be some significance to decide what you’re going to carry with you (or wear) on your wedding day.
I’ll tell you my items, if you tell me yours.
My old and borrowed were actually the same item, a pearl necklace that my husband’s grandmother gave to me. I matched all of my jewelry to go along with it, and even my veil had some pearls sewn in.
My new, this one seems the easiest to me, was literally my veil down to my shoes! I couldn’t even list you ladies all of the things!
And last, my something blue. I thought this idea was super unique and really fun, it was my pedicure (which even lasted through the honeymoon).
How did you ladies decide what to use? Was it the significance behind the item or was it just a quick decision to fill this tradition?