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?
It occurs to me that I have never mentioned the amazing community of girls I met throughout my wedding planning process and how much of a support system they were (and still are) to me. Back when I started planning, I downloaded just about every Wedding Planner and Organizer app on the planet. I went through them within the week and kept only a major few. Of course, you need a countdown app, a mobile version of your Wedding Website app (if there is one), a guest list app, an app leading to your registries, and one very important and helpful app, the Bridal 911, if you will, a community forum app for brides-to-be.
Now I used this app for EVERYTHING. From which line sounded better on my invitations, to me and my fiancee having a huge fight and I needed some words of wisdom. I put my faith and trust into a group of strangers, and it worked out so well. Of course, there are some ladies out there who are only out there to cause some trouble and to meddle into others problems with ill intentions. BUT if you can seed out those ladies, you can find other great ones. There was a small, but solid, group of ladies that continually showed me their support, including telling me in the nicest way possible to leave Sunflower Dude alone and stop over reacting.
I began planning my wedding almost two years ago now, and I am still in touch with some of these lovely ladies. In fact, we are quite the bonded group from Facebook to Instagram. I finally have such a great support system of girls around the globe. I hope to one day meet these ladies and thank them properly.
I advise you ladies to reach out for help when you need it, there may just be a helping hand waiting for you on the other side of the globe through that little screen on your phone.
It has been a tumultuous beginning of 2013. With Mr. Cotton by my side, I just knew that I would get ahead of the game and knock this wedding planning out of the park in the first couple of months on the new year. However, life gets in the way of the best laid plans. Some of the surprises I’ve encountered in the first 30-ish days of 2013 are as follows:
- My mom has breast cancer again. It had been about three years since the first time she was diagnosed. Thankfully, during one of her routine check ups this “second batch of cancer” was found in the early stages. My mom’s doctors are very optimistic that all of the cancer can be surgically removed, and there will be in no need of chemotherapy. My mom seems to have a great sense of humor about it all and calls her reconstructive surgery her “midlife boob job”. I love my mom; she is amazing! She keeps telling me that during her recovery time she’ll be wanting to plan wedding stuff to keep her mind busy. We’ll see how she’s feeling. (Who knows maybe this will lead to a breast cancer awareness bachelorette or bridal shower. Would that be too crazy?)
I will have to get this shirt for Mr. Cotton to give to him after our wedding!
- Mr. Cotton’s sister – a bridesmaid – has announced that she is pregnant! I’m going to be an aunt just a couple months after becoming a “Mrs.” I am thrilled!! I now have a board on Pinterest dedicated to future nieces and nephews. However, this does kinda put a kink in the bridesmaids’ outfitting. The dress I had picked out might not be suitable for Mr. Cotton’s pregnant sister. She says she still wants to be a part of the wedding, which is awesome, but I want to make her comfortable while does me this honor.
- One of my bridesmaids might be traveling out of the country for an extended period. I got my information through one of her Facebook statuses. I have been trying to bring this up with her, but I get the feeling she’s avoiding me. I will not begrudge her if this is a good opportunity for her, but I would have liked to have gotten a heads up. I’m unsure how to handle this.
- I was unsure if my sister was going to be a bridesmaid for quite sometime. Last night she told me she was willing and honored to be in the wedding!! I’m thrilled about this!
Although, there have been a few struggles along the way to planning “The Cotton Wedding,” there have also been many triumphs too! I brought home my dress from David’s Bridal a week ago! (I thought David’s Bridal was going to be a cookie cutter experience – unoriginal and bland – but I found the David’s Bridal in Amarillo to be the most amazing experience! The women in the shop made me feel beautiful and comfortable. I walked away with a dress that feels like it was designed with me in mind.)
I know that wedding planning and life in general can be difficult and overwhelming at times, but I don’t have a single doubt that all of it is worth it. The end goal is to be Mr. Cotton’s wife. No difficulties along the way will make any difference as long as I can marry my bestfriend on August 10th.
Recently, my amazing MOH has started doing some research for my shower. As all good planners do, she asked for a rough estimate of the guest list. I went to my mother and she and I compiled a list of people, all of whom have known me most of my life, are close friends, or relatives. Then, I asked my MIL for her guest list, which is where my etiquette conundrum began.
On the list she gave me, of the 40 people she wanted to invite, I had only ever met (and remembered meeting) 13 of them. Violet Dude informed me of a few relatives that were on the list that I met at a family reunion once, but I couldn’t pick them out in a line up if I tried.
I’m planning on calling my MIL and having the discussion with her about reducing her guest list. This is my reasoning:
1. The bridal shower should be people that know me, that I’ve met and that I don’t have to be reintroduced to at my own bridal shower.
2. It’s kind of rude to invite people, who haven’t met me before, especially because the shower is a gift giving occasion. I’d feel really uncomfortable receiving a gift from someone I’ve only met once or that I’ve never met.
3. Her guest list is almost as large as my mom’s and mine combined. (We both have around 22, so it’s 44 combined) I have a problem with this, since it is MY shower and Violet Dude won’t be there.
4. I think having 80 some guests is a little overwhelming for a shower. I know some of you are planning weddings that aren’t even that big! But, I don’t want to have two showers because finding time for us to have one is going to be stressful enough.
5. The day should be about me, my friends and my family. I have become close to Violet Dude’s family as well, and I’d like to invite the ones I have become close to, but I’m relatively sure that his second cousin probably doesn’t want to come to my shower any more than I want her to be there. The wedding is a different story completely.
So, Garden, what do you think? Am I being a bridezilla? Should I just give in and let her invite all 40? Or, does etiquette dictate that I’m making the right choice?
Well, my fellow buds! The big day is now over, and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! I’ll make two separate posts about this, maybe more. Let me start by saying SEVERAL things went totally wrong the day of the wedding, never mind leading up to it. But in the giant scheme of things, it didn’t matter! So, my first little piece of advice is: don’t sweat the small stuff.
I was set on having our two ring bearers carry out mini pumpkins with our rings on the stems. How cute and totally rustic, right? Well, I got so wrapped up into it that I brought them with ME to bring to the venue on the big day because I didn’t want anyone to forget them. I forgot them! They walked down with their hands at their sides, and I had the Best Man grab the rings for us before arriving at the venue. After all was said and done, no one even noticed that the ring bearers weren’t carrying anything.
Also, I let my mom handle all of the catering, aside from picking the dishes. Turns out, she did not account for feeding our vendors! And I hadn’t thought to mention it to her. Well, during dinner we had the venue coordinator come up to me and ask about this, telling me that our photographers were wondering about food. I was absolutely embarrassed also mixed with a little anger that they came up to ME to ask. I ran over to the photographers, apologized and had them add the meals on our tab. They felt so bad about making ME upset, but they ate, our venue paid for the meals for ALL other vendors, and they even stayed an extra hour for us! So, every little problem did have a happy ending.
Oh! I almost forgot, our original photographer had to be rushed to the emergency room the day of the wedding, and the two fantastic replacement photographers were the ones who stayed. Don’t worry, I got in touch with her afterwards and everything is going great now.
Even though anything you never had thought could go wrong, take a deep breath and relax. Someone will be there to save the day, whether it be your coordinator, mother or even your photographer. You will leave a married and happy woman!
One of the projects my mom and I were able to do together was our favors. My parents used to have a garden and would grow peppers, tomatoes, jalapenos, etc. and every year they would make their own salsa. It got pretty popular among their friends that sometimes they would only have one jar left to themselves!
MG Bear LOVES anything spicy, so I figured why the heck not! My mom was a little leery at how big this was going to be considering we had to make enough for 130 mini jars, but after we talked about it she was beyond happy to have a project to do with me.
We had to chop the project into two days because we could only make 60-70 jars per day. We went out to the local farmer’s markets and road side stands to find the best deals, and you wouldn’t believe that the second weekend we were supposed to finish up the salsa, we couldn’t find tomatoes ANYWHERE! My dad drove around everywhere, and it had been so hot that local places didn’t have many tomatoes! He ended up finding a nursery that gave him a deal, but it ended up costing a little more than we expected to pay.
We were able to finish up the jars two weeks before the wedding, and my mom got assigned to decorating the jars. We got little printable tags made from Etsy and used twine to tie the tags onto the jars. We also put the salsa in Kerr mason jars because it was my maiden name (cute right?!?!), but that also back fired on us because we ordered the jars from Southern States thinking similar to what they looked like online that the lids would have “Kerr” written on them and they didn’t! They were plain so the only place that had the name was on the front of the jars, but they were so small that it was hard to see. We were all super bummed, but we moved on and finished up the project without any other glitches!
Here are some pictures from the whole process!
Here is the final product at the wedding!
Everyone LOVED the favors and some people didn’t even wait until they got home to eat the salsa! We got so many compliments, which made the hard work worth it.
I’ve been a bad Blossom lately! I love blogging, and I am always looking for new things to blog about. Well, ever since I got married in September I have been extremely uninterested in blogging about wedding related things!
It’s so strange because like every girl, I was so excited for a wedding, and I figured the feeling would always stick even after I got married. Well, not so much! I unsubscribed from all the wedding blogs I followed, I unfollowed all the wedding inspiration boards on Pinterest and unsubscribed from wedding related emails. EVERYTHING wedding related is gone!
WHY Garden, WHY?!?!
Well, I’ll admit that the week of the wedding I was totally over it. I’m not sure if it’s common among brides, but I was so tired of answering questions, planning, re-planning and accommodating everyone else that I lost total interest. For example, I had a slight dilemma with my table numbers the day before and in total opposite fashion of Morning Glory Blossom, I picked the easy way out and settled for something not-so eye appealing, and it didn’t bother me. I said “Whatever! No one will notice or care.” The day before the wedding and the day of, I was calm, cool and collected which is SO not me. I’m always freaking out at the last-minute, getting mad about something or taking it out on MG Bear (poor guy). So, it was an odd thing for my friends to see me so relaxed. My professional pictures have been in for almost a month now, and I still haven’t done anything with them and thank you notes–don’t even mention thank you notes! My office at home is an absolute mess with after wedding things I keep putting on the back burner!
So, my question is, am I the only one? Was anyone else totally over their wedding before it even happened? Or totally over all wedding related things after? I pinky promise to get more posts out soon since my pictures are done!
Something that I have seen a lot of lately (Since there’s been 6 weddings this year that I have already attended or plan on attending soon!) is mishaps with couple’s registries.
I have to admit that when we initially got engaged last year that the first thing that we did after booking the venue was register for gifts. It’s one of those exciting things you can do as a couple and most men don’t mind it too much since they are allowed to pick out stuff too. The only problem is that couples get a little “trigger happy.” You know, when you go to a place like Bed, Bath and Beyond, and they give you the little scanning gun, and you stroll around merrily with a BEEP here, BEEP there, BEEP everywhere until you cover the whole store.
The problem is that most couples don’t actually look at their registries ever again (unless you are OCD like me). Recently, I visited a friend’s registries, and she pretty much had double everything on each registry, which led me to write this post to give advice to newly engaged ladies and those planning a wedding. Here are a few key items to remember when registering:
- Keep it simple – Think practically about what you need before you register just for what you want.
- Variety – Make sure you have different price ranges on your gifts because not everyone has $100 to blow on one item.
- Keep up with your registry after the deed is done – I don’t know how many times I’ve seen couples get double of the same thing because they registered for similar items at different stores!
- Make sure there are enough items available in store - If you added items to your registry online, make sure there are a decent amount available in store for those last-minute shoppers.
- Double check to make sure items aren’t discontinued - You’d be surprised how often this happens and couples have half their registry unavailable because items were either seasonal or inventory changed.
I have to admit that I did register for a Kitchenaid Mixer for $359 hoping that someone who loved me very much would buy it. Well, they didn’t. One thing to keep in mind is that yes, registering for gifts is a chance to ask for things that you wouldn’t normally buy yourself or spend the extra money on, but it’s also not considerate to have a large amount of the more expensive items on your registry. We ended up taking the gift cards we received to purchase our bigger ticket items which was great! Our only problem was trying to find somewhere to put all of our new kitchen items! Cabinet space is limited, so we had a lot of re-arranging to do! Another thing I also suggest is donating your old items or free-cycling them to someone who could use them!
The biggest piece of advice out of everything I’ve written about is to keep up with your registry! You will end up less frustrated in the long run when you don’t have to return a bunch of items!
I had my final fitting for my wedding dress a week or so ago. I felt GREAT in it and was so impressed with the alterations. I decided to go to another bridal boutique to get the alterations done because the place I bought my dress didn’t get very good reviews on any bridal websites. Plus, I got that “vibe” when talking to the owner that she didn’t think much needed to be done. When I actually needed my dress to be taken in one whole size!
With that being said, I brought my (new) maid of honor with me to the final fitting so we would know exactly how to put the dress on the day of my wedding. Luckily, my dress zips in the back, but it has the buttons that need to have a crochet hook to put it together.
But my biggest challenge right now is… trying to figure out how I am going to go to the bathroom? The dress is tight to my knees. So there’s no lifting it up and the buttons in the back will make it a VERY long process. All I know is that my MOH is going to get put to work! She’s going to want to strangle me (and she has already told me this). Stay tuned for some funny stories on how many times I have to make her do this!
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If it rains on your wedding day, it’s good luck.” Well I always believed that was nonsense and was only said to the bride to keep her from freaking out on her wedding day. My parents have been married 30 years, and my mom said it was pouring on their wedding day. So maybe the saying is true?
The funny part is that it has rained during my bachelorette weekend AND the day of my bridal shower. Which all the bridesmaids said to me, “I hope this isn’t a sign for your wedding day!” The prospect of rain on my wedding day makes me want to cry. My ceremony is outside and while everything is on a covered deck, who wants to have a ceremony surrounded by gloomy weather? I know I have to focus on the fact that I am marrying my best friend, and not on the weather, but it’s hard not to stress out about these kind of things! Thoughts race through my mind like: I wouldn’t be able to do all the cool pictures with my bridal party on the docks, and I would have to scurry inside from the car and have to worry about my hair and dress getting messed up from the rain.
I did my research before we booked our date and the farmer’s almanac said it has not rained on September 15th in seven years! So let’s hope that it’s true and our day goes off without a hitch!
Did it rain on your wedding day? How did you deal?