Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The budget-conscious bride

Photo via Black Bridal Bliss.
I think one of the most daunting tasks in planning a wedding is coming up with (and staying within) a  certain budget. Not every bride has the luxury of having her parents or family help pay for the affair. I will say that I was very blessed that my parents were able to help me with paying for the wedding, and I am both thankful and grateful for their generosity in doing so. However, I come from an average-income, middle-class home, and due to a number of factors, still wanted to keep the budget of the wedding at a very reasonable (and somewhat frugal) level. 

We did have the wedding and reception of my dreams though, and though it may have seemed like a pricey affair, it was actually done at (and within) a very reasonable and thoughtful budget. It just didn't look like it. :)

So basically I'm saying here that it can be done! You can have a classy and elegant wedding and reception without breaking the bank. You just need some savings savvy, smart shopping, a little bit of help, and a lot of DIY.

I have come up with a list of 10 ways I was able to save money in the planning process:

  1. Save and splurge. I decided early on that I was going to save on some things and splurge on others. I decided to save on the décor (flowers, lighting, etc.) and food, and splurge on the photographer. My reasoning was that as someone who appreciates the art of photography, it is important to invest in quality work that will capture the moment and last a lifetime. To save on catering, we found a reasonably-priced caterer who was willing to serve wine that we purchased from an affordable retailer.
  2. Take advantage of sales and coupons. Everything that we bought was either on sale, with a coupon, or both. For example, when it came time to finding the guys' attire, we priced out both renting tuxes and buying a suit. Since the price was basically the same, we opted for purchasing a suit that could be kept instead of renting a tux that would be worn once and then returned. We took advantage of a BOGO offer at the Men's Wearehouse and now the groom and groomsmen all have a nice suit they can wear again after the event. As for the bridesmaids, I wanted a "muted palette" and was able to achieve this by allowing the them to pick out their own dresses within a similar color palette. Some of the bridesmaids got their dresses from Nordstrom, and were able to take advantage of price adjustments when their dresses later went on sale, while others were able to pick out their dresses from Target, and spend around $35 on a dress that could be worn again! Another way I was able to save was to use coupons when purchasing décor. I make it a habit to ALWAYS check for coupons whether making a purchase online or brick and mortar. Some of my favorite coupon/promo sites are RetailMeNot and CouponCabin. Also, most craft stores like JoAnn's, Michael's, and A.C. Moore will have weekly promotions or coupons that can be used. Get out that smartphone and save some money!
  3. Forget flowers. I never went to a florist. I decided I wanted to do all the flowers myself. Instead of spending hundreds on centerpieces and bouquets, I made everything with preserved or artificial (silk) flowers. For the boutonnieres, bridesmaids' bouquets, and centerpieces, I used preserved wheat and lavender. For my bouquet and the corsages, I used "real-touch" silk gardenias. Some of my favorite places to shop for flowers are Afloral and Save On Crafts. An added bonus: they last forever!
  4. Price match. Many stores will price match. I saved $100 on my wedding gown by price matching it with multiple stores. The original store I went to was willing to sell it to me at the matched price that other stores were offering. 
  5. Pick a public venue. I saved a lot of money by picking a venue that was owned by a town. It was priced very reasonably, allowed me to use my own vendors, and even gave me the ceremony site for free. I couldn't be happier with my choice! There were no stipulations or minimums I needed to follow. It was fantastic. And the cost-savings allowed me to hire a wonderful wedding planner.
  6. DIY. I can't tell you the number of things I did on my own. Flowers, décor, invitations, favors, etc. Whatever you can do on your own, do it! You will save a lot of money in the end. Instead of purchasing our invitations and programs through a stationer or an online company such as Wedding Paper Divas or Minted, I had my father-in-law, who is an artist, design our invitation and programs, and then had it printed locally at a reasonably-priced printer. I purchased reasonably-priced envelopes, and then stuffed and mailed everything on my own. 
  7. Buy instead of rent. After speaking with a number of rental companies, I found it was much more economical to purchase table cloths, table runners, and chair sashes, than it was to rent them. Most companies were charging $18 per table cloth. I found them online with a sales promotion for $9.98 a piece. Best of all, I was able to sell them afterward to make all that money back. Instead of renting table runners and chair sashes, I realized it was much cheaper to purchase rolls of burlap (used as tree wraps) and cut them myself than it was to spend $7.00/each on runners and $3.99/each on sashes. Again, I was also able to sell them afterward and recuperate most (if not all) of that money.
  8. Find your friends. David and I were very blessed in having wonderful family, friends, and acquaintances that were willing to go out of their way to bless us in helping with the wedding. For our reception, a family friend lent us 120 mismatched china plates to use. (The neat thing about this was that she had purchased them originally for David's sister's rehearsal it was fun to have that little bit of history.) We had friends that were professional DJs, videographers, and bakers, who were willing to give us "friends and family" pricing on their services. For our ceremony, we asked our friends who owned a tree-cutting service, to help us make some hand-crafted rustic-style benches. We helped make the benches, got to use them for the ceremony, and then they were able to sell them afterward. A win-win situation for all of us.
  9. Do your research. When I found out the average cost per head for catering in 2011 was $61.00, I about had a heart attack. Can you believe that I found a caterer who priced what I wanted at $9.50 per head? I did have to pay for travel, set-up, delivery, and waitstaff, but it was worth it since we had hors d'oeuvres, wine and beer, and a carving station. We saved money by limiting the number of hours the waiters served, and by having our guests pre-choose their entrees. Price out everything, and then (obviously) go with the most reasonably priced option.
  10. Sell. When that big day has come and gone, it's time to take charge and sell! Sell all the things you no longer need, and make back some of the money you spent. Return things that were unused (or that a store is willing to take back), and sell anything else that you no longer need. There are so many brides and event planners out there that will want to purchase your gently used items, so take advantage of eBay and Craigslist! To date, I have been able to return $120 of unused items, and sell $650 $1300 worth of décor. That's a total of almost $800 $1500 I was able to recuperate and give back to my parents!
It is completely possible to have an elegant, classy, beautiful, and expensive-looking wedding without breaking the bank. I am proud to say that I was able to have my dream wedding without spending a dream price. It does take a lot of planning, effort, running around, and DIY, but in the end, I think it's completely worth it! There's nothing about my big day that I would change.

the Bride

Thursday, November 21, 2013

To clean or not to clean...

I definitely cringed a little today when I saw a lady drop off (what I assume was her daughter's) beautiful, all-lace wedding gown at the dry cleaners. She was very specific about a "certain way" to zip and unzip the gown properly. I wanted to be like "Lady, that's the least of your worries."

As you know, I have a background in textiles and apparel. I have a M.S. in Textiles and I'm finishing up the last year of my Ph.D., so I guess that technically makes me an expert...whatever that means. Obviously, when it came time for me to look into properly cleaning and preserving my gown, I did a lot of research. There are many different companies out there and each one has slightly different methods, techniques, and ideas for the proper way to clean (and preserve) an heirloom garment...however, from my schooling, research and experience, this is essentially what I have come to believe:

For proper cleaning and preservation, each stain (some visible, some not) needs to be identified and treated properly. Makeup, champagne, cake, perspiration, deodorant, etc. all affect fabrics differently. For example, sugar stains, if left untreated, and chloride salts (sweat), will oxidize over time and appear as brown spots months or even years later, causing irreversible fabric deterioration. This is why it is so important to find someone who is experienced in the proper cleaning methods.

Dry cleaning, while appropriate for most natural fibers, can be detrimental to certain dyes and finishes. Some dyes and finishes will dissolve in standard solvents. Beads or buttons made of certain plastics can become discolored. Aqueous solutions can cause certain fabrics to shrink. Gelatin-based sequins can dissolve. That's why it is important that the person cleaning and preserving your gown know what he or she is doing. It's important that they identify the composition of all the materials in your gown before treatment. Certain notions are outsourced to different manufacturers, meaning, your dress could be made up of a certain type of button or lining, but the way each piece was made might be different...and therefore one method of cleaning may be fine for one section of buttons, and then may completely ruin another section.

After cleaning, it is important to understand the proper way to store heirloom apparel. Acid-free, acid-free coated, lignin-free sealed, air-tight, boxed, bagged, hung, blah blah blah. Personally, I think it is better to hang a garment than it is to fold and box it. My reasoning is that museum professionals and costume historians have been hanging costumes and gowns for years. (Ideal storage conditions call for laying a garment flat...but that is not always the case for large or bulky garments.) Folding/creasing, etc. weakens and abrades the fibers over time. It is also important not to leave a gown in a dry-cleaner's plastic wrap or plastic garment bag. Plastics are an enemy to textiles. It is best to store your gown in a muslin bag that is naturally acid- and lignin-free, and as always, the bagged gown should be kept in climate controlled conditions (such as a window-less closet). 

Photo taken from an August 2012 exhibition at the National Museum of Singapore entitled, "The Wedding Dress: 200 Years of Wedding Fashion from the Victoria and Albert Museum, London"

There many companies that offer cleaning and preservation that give you back your dress in a nice little display box...but your "lifetime" warranty is void as soon as you open the box. The problem with this is, you can only see the top portion (bust) of your dress. How do you REALLY know if it's clean or not? You can't exactly open it up to inspect how the heck did they stuff the whole gown and train into that tiny little box? Here is an interesting read from The Wall Street Journal. They tested four companies that preserved four gowns from four brides. I found the article and its results to be really informative and helpful.

Ultimately, what a bride chooses to do with her gown after the wedding is up to her. Some sell it. Some trash it. Some hope to preserve it and give it to their daughters as an heirloom. If you want to clean and preserve it, it's important to take into account what you invested into the dress originally (money spent on the dress itself, alterations, etc.) and what you want to get out of it ultimately. Then go from there and decide what you want to spend on the process. Obviously, if you spent $300 on the dress, you're probably not going to want to spend $400-$600 to clean and preserve it. Although, the value could extend beyond that $300, since you are emotionally invested in it.

the Bride

Friday, November 8, 2013

I Do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 2 (The Ceremony)

The next morning we woke up early. The first thing I did (and admit to doing pretty much everyday starting 2 weeks before the wedding) was check the weather: 65 degrees and sunny with 0% precipitation. Hallelujah; praise Jesus! I then went downstairs to eat breakfast. (It was a B&B after all.) I had to text my bridal party to make sure David hadn't already gone downstairs (but I should have known better since he loves to sleep in.) I was in the middle of eating when I got a phone call from both my friend (and hairstylist), Kate, as well as our makeup artist, Ginger

(Before I go on, I must gush about both Kate and GingerKate is the creative mind behind The Small Things Blog and all those amazing DIY hair tutorials you see on YouTube. I would just like to say that I take full responsibility for introducing  Kate to her husband, Justin. You're welcome, Kate. ;) Ginger just happens to be the gorgeous wife of our wedding photographer, Brian...and I must say that having a makeup artist who understands photography and lighting is a plus! Also, Ginger uses airbrush makeup, which turns out flawless..."like velvet.")

Anyway, with hair and makeup arriving, I brought breakfast upstairs for Emily...and soon the other bridesmaids and my mom joined us for the glam party. Priscilla scheduled me to have my makeup/hair done later than the rest of the group, so I spent some time (freaking out and sending panicky texts to the groom, MoG, planner, etc.) At one point, I snuck upstairs to a quiet room to write my a special note to my groom. We had discussed exchanging gifts before the wedding, and I had the perfect gift for him: a swiss army knife. You're probably thinking, "A knife? Why?" Well, I'll tell you why. When David and I went to apply for our marriage license, he forgot he had a swiss army knife keychain on him, and since they have security scanners at the Register of Deeds' office, he took the knife off and (discreetly) stuck it into the dirt of a nearby planter. On our way out, he (sadly) discovered his knife had been stolen. It was a gift from his father, and something he used all the time (pen, nail file, knife, etc.) I found the exact same knife, only this time in blue (which he'd much prefer over the previous red-colored one) and an LED flashlight, which I knew he'd find handy. I had it engraved with his initials and our wedding date. More about this later.

First Look? Not for me! 

While Kate was putting the finishing touches on my hair, Brian and his assistant, Jenn arrived. Before I knew it, it was time to put on my dress! It was a fun experience with my two best friends (and Matrons of Honor). They helped me put on my dress, shoes, garters, and jewelry. Then Kate put on my veil for me before my mom had her "first look." I never really knew about "first looks" with grooms, dads, etc. until I was engaged. David and I decided we did not want a first look, even though some couples do it to save time (with photography, etc.). I discussed this with him when we were in the planning process, and he and I both agreed that we wanted that magic of him seeing me for the first time when my dad walked me down the aisle. I also spoke to a lady who owns a popular wedding venue, and she told me that there is just something about the look on the groom's face when he sees his bride for the first time, and if you spoil that before the actual ceremony, it's just something that can't be "captured" again by the photographers. I am 110% glad we did not do a "first look," and know that we made the right decision. I can't wait to see our wedding photos!

So back to the "first look" with my mom. When my mom came in to see me, it was a very special moment. Even though she was with me when I picked out my dress, sash, veil, etc., she hadn't seen me wearing everything together, and all done up for the day. It was a special moment to me, and at the same time, a hard moment for my MoH, Emily, who lost her mom in college before she got married. When I saw Emily tearing up, that did it for me. I started tearing up, and I knew that I was going to have to really hold it together to get through the day. I didn't ever used to get super emotional at things like weddings, etc. I guess you change as you get older and you start hitting certain milestones.

When I was finished getting ready, the bridal party and photographers arranged for David and I to exchange gifts (without seeing one another). They had us on either side of a door, and we could hear each other, and pass our gifts around the door without seeing one another. I gave David his gift, and he gave me mine: the Royal Carriage Pandora bracelet charm--how perfect!! 

When it was time to go downstairs, we took some photos (with bridesmaids) on the front porch of the Magnolia Inn. I got to see our horse and carriage (driven by Frank, our coachman) for the first time! The carriage (and horse!) were all done up with flowers and ribbon, and Frank was wearing a straw skimmer. It was perfect! Before I knew it, it was time to head to the ceremony location! The carriage ride was a special moment for my dad and I. It was arranged for us to take the 30 minute ride to the ceremony together. I am very close with both of my parents. I think of my mom as my best friend...but at the same time, I also have a special relationship with my dad. He lovingly refers to me as his princess, and what little girl doesn't love being daddy's little princess? It was during this carriage ride that I gave my dad a special gift. My dad has always always had a handkerchief with him at all times since I was little. As a little girl, I could always count on him having it in his pocket, and it was used for many things: wiping off sticky fingers, wiping a runny nose, etc. As a special gift, I had a handkerchief (with hand-rolled hem) embroidered with a special message for my dad. I took this time together to give it to him, and held his hand the whole way there.

It was so much fun riding through the Village of Pinehurst in the carriage...and it was especially fun because I was in my wedding dress and veil! People waved and smiled...and a guest later told me that when her little boy (4-years-old) saw me, he said, "Mommy, look there's a princess!" I felt like a princess. I really did. 

The bridesmaids were lined up and so were the ushers and our dogs (the ring bearer and flower girls). I could hear the string trio playing pretty Prelude music. Then I heard them play "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, and I knew they were seating the grandmothers and mothers. Then they began playing the Processional ("Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop" by Landon Pigg) and the bridal party made their way down the aisle. My dad asked what song they'd play for us, but I had kept the Bride's Processional song a secret from him. When they began playing Pachelbel's "Canon in D," he goes, "I know this song!" and I laughed. I picked it just for him. It's a special song (and favorite) of both of ours, and we listened to it all the time when I was little, specifically the recording by James Galway on flute.
Yes, we did give a shout out to our childhood dogs, Shiny, and Abby. :)

I vaguely remember walking down the aisle...this part starts becoming a blur. I had chosen to wear a blusher veil, just like my mom did when she married my dad. I actually don't recall having ever attended any weddings where the bride has worn a blusher. I've seen many brides and many veils--cathedral, fingertip, birdcage, etc.--but no blushers. Many aspects of our wedding were actually quite traditional, and I really liked it. It was something different, a bit unexpected, and something that reminded me of my mom. My bouquet was handmade (by yours truly!), and inspired by Macie's bouquet (a bride whose wedding was featured on The Wedding Chicks.) I added a few special touches: photographs of my beloved grandpa, my childhood dog, and an anchor (for my grandpa, who was a Captain). I also had my "something old," which was a special brooch my grandpa had given to my mom years ago. The flowers in my bouquet included gardenias, hydrangeas, and cymbidium orchids...and yes, they were all fake!

Ceremony Highlights
When my dad gave me away, it was a really sweet moment. He lifted my veil, kissed me on my cheek, and then he did something he hadn't done at the rehearsal the day before--he placed my hand into David's. This was a sweet gesture, and something that meant a lot to me. David's dad gave a special "Charge to the Bride and Groom," which was a message directly to David and I, which was also very special. For the longest time when we were in the planning stages, David and I had discussed how the generic unity candle and sand ceremonies were just not for us. We rattled our brains for creative ideas to do for our unity ceremony. We joked about making waffles, shooting rockets, mating lizards, etc. It wasn't until I brought up the dilemma with my mom that she suggested we do a Chinese tea ceremony. I absolutely loved this idea, as David's paternal side is British-Canadian, and "tea time" is a special tradition in their family. I also loved the idea of incorporating some culture and Chinese heritage into the wedding. It was perfect. The day of the wedding, we served jasmine tea (my mom's favorite) to David's parents and then my parents using a special tea set that was given to my parents when they got married years ago. My good friend Vince, of the band Army of Me, played the song "Beloved" by Tenth Avenue North during the ceremony. 

The ceremony itself was beautiful. We had a number of pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor, Jason. Jason also conducted a really neat "covenant" ceremony, which is a bit different than the generic wedding ceremony with the typical "Do you take the bride..." script. It was really special, and afterward, I had guests mention to me how much they liked it. When we were saying our vows, my voice started wavering, and I did my absolute best to keep from crying. It was really hard...because once those tears start flowing, I just can't stop--and I'm an ugly cryer! You absolutely can't understand a word that comes out of my mouth when I start crying. Luckily, I was able to keep it together (for the most part) though it started affecting David (and apparently some of my bridesmaids too)...but I made it through the vows, Jason pronounced us husband and wife, and we were married! The end.

Just kidding. That's not the end!

After the ceremony, the guests began heading over to the reception venue, and Brian and Jenn began posing us for our family portraits. It wasn't until then that I really got to take a look at the ceremony space. It was absolutely breathtaking. I hadn't done any of the decorating for the ceremony or reception--Priscilla wouldn't let me--and that was really hard. I'm a control-freak, very Type-A, and especially when it came to the wedding. I mean, I planned every little tiny detail from beginning to end...but I couldn't believe it when I saw it. It was absolutely perfect! The pergola was decorated in lush, hanging white and purple wisteria--straight out of Twilight. There were birdcages hanging and pearl and crystal garlands that caught the sunlight just right. The rustic log benches (that we made) were perfect, and the aisle was lined with blush, lavender, and white rose petals, with purple hydrangeas in glass jars hanging from shepherd's hooks. It was breathtaking. One of my favorite touches was the floating flowers--I made these with silk stephanotis blossoms.

The cherry on top was the love bug that we got to use as our "getaway car." In the weeks before the wedding I had been searching high and low for a new Beetle to use for our car. If you recall, I have a history with Volkswagen Beetles--I loved watching The Love Bug with my dad, I drove a new Beetle throughout college, and we used a vintage bug in our engagement shoot. After calling multiple rental companies, I started resigning to the fact that I wasn't going to be able to locate a bug to use...but the week before the wedding, I got in touch with my friend Ashton, whom I helped with a few projects for her college portfolio. Her family has a vintage cream colored bug and her father was gracious enough to offer to drive it all the way to Pinehurst to let us use it for pictures! (This wasn't actually confirmed until 1:30pm the day of the wedding.) After the ceremony, I walked out of the Pergola Garden and saw the bug and was just ecstatic! Ashton's dad, Ken, was so sweet and nice. Our plan was to take the carriage halfway to the reception venue (and a car the rest of the way to save time), and he agreed to meet us and take us to the reception in the car. It totally made my day. :)

One of my favorite shots.
Arriving at The Fair Barn.
I am smiling as I write this. It really was the wedding of my dreams! And can you believe that it gets better? I can't wait to share the details from our reception! Stay tuned.

Next post: I do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 3 (The Reception).

the Bride

Here is a list of the songs that were played during our wedding ceremony. All songs were played by Opus One Strings (trio: violin, viola, cello) except for "Beloved" which was played by Vince Scheuerman of Army of Me.


Air in G 
The Way I Am 
Vivaldi Largo Con te Partiro 
Over the Rainbow 
In My Life 
Annie's Song 
Here Comes the Sun

Seating of the Grandmothers and Mothers

Falling Slowly 


Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop 

Bride's Processional

Pachelbel Canon 

Tea Ceremony



I'm Yours

Friday, November 1, 2013

I Do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 1

Guess what! I'm a married woman. Just call me Mrs.! :)

I have been both looking forward to and dreading writing this post. Part of me wants to document every detail of the entire weekend, but part of me knows it's going to take forever :) I am going to break this up into separate posts to keep things concise.

On Thursday morning, I picked up my best friend (and one of the Matrons of Honor), Emily, whom I have known since 4th grade. We spent the rest of the morning and afternoon shopping at The Streets of Southpoint before heading to a salon for some eyebrow threading and waxing. The next day, Emily took me to The Spa at Fearrington for some much needed R&R and girl time. We had pedicures and massages before enjoying a quick lunch at The Granary. We were on a bit of a time crunch though to get back in time for my Bachelorette Party, but Em did let me stop to play with the oreo cows.

This is the first time I had a pedicure in a galvanized tub with milk bath. So neat, and the space was gorgeous. To quote Emily, it looked like a page right out of the Restoration Hardware catalog.
I was in love with the decor.
Here was my massage room, which was also really large, luxurious, and unique. I fell asleep during the second half of the massage, which is saying a lot for this stressed out, insomniac of a bride.
Emily and I bought bought this souvenir glass from The Granary. I mean, who wouldn't want a glass with an oreo cow on it?!
Last stop: oreo cows!

My parents had also come in that evening, but we only had a few minutes to talk to them, as we were running late for the Bachelorette. We finally got ready and met everyone at Bia Restaurant on Glenwood South. It was the exact swanky, classy location I wanted, and it was fun to spend time with Emily, Tammy, Melody, Alicia, Brittany, Martha, and Kelsey. After a tapas style dinner, Melody and Alicia had to head home, but the rest of us went next door to C. Grace where we enjoyed the theatrical, burlesque style atmosphere before calling it a night. Then I spent the rest of the night organizing and packing wedding items and trying not to freak out before crashing on the couch. We had a full house with my parents in my bedroom, Tammy and Emily sharing the guest room, and the two dogs. 

Back (left to right): Alicia (bm), Brittany (bm), Kelsey, Melody (bm).
Front (left to right): Emily (MoH), me (bride), Tammy (MoH), Martha
Back (left to right): Alicia (bm), Brittany (bm), Kelsey, Melody (bm).
Front (left to right): Emily (MoH), me (bride), Tammy (MoH), Martha

The next morning, my parents and Tammy went their separate ways to run errands and take care of pre-wedding things (picking up my brother, etc.) while Emily took me to my chiropractor where we found out I likely had bruised (but thankfully not fractured) my ribcage (in a near car accident a couple nights before). After that, we went to the nail salon so I could get a much needed manicure. Then we went back home, arranged a quick meeting with Seth and David, who came by with the Kikers' box truck which held the 26 benches we hand-made for the ceremony seating, and packed up the rest of the boxes of ceremony and reception decor. Then Emily and I finished getting ready for not only the rehearsal that evening but also finished packing up all the personal things I needed (wedding items, honeymoon luggage, etc.) and loaded it all into the car before arriving (half an hour late) to the rehearsal. 

Emily suggested I get something fun on my ring finger, so this is what I did. :)

David's dad, David, Seth, and Alicia had already spent much of the day decorating the ceremony location (placing the benches, shepherd's hooks, and decorating the pergola). It was already looking quite beautiful when I arrived. I had a brief freak out moment when some of the accommodations with wedding party/family members went awry, but after that, we were able to start working on ceremony preparation with our wedding planner's assistants, Sharon and Susan. Sharon walked us through the ceremony lineup and schedule, and then we went through the ceremony with our pastor, Jason. Just as we were wrapping up, it started raining...luckily the Nelsons had brought enough tarps to cover all the benches as well as the decorated part of the pergola.

Noah (ring bearer) taking a break on one of the benches we built.
Here are the 26 benches we built and stained with the help of the Kikers, Michael (best man), and Brittany (bm).
Baby Lake (9 months) hanging out at the rehearsal! 
Izzy (3 years) and Uncle Cameron (gm) at the rehearsal.

After the rehearsal, we went to the Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club for our rehearsal dinner on The Terrace hosted by David's wonderful parents.

The Mid Pines Inn & Golf Club

The Menu

Baby Greens with Cucumbers, Grape Tomatoes
choice of dressing

Traditional Meatloaf 
roasted tomato demi glaze
Chicken Carbonara
fettuccine with a carbonara sauce topped with grilled chicken

Sautéed Asparagus
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes


Vanilla Ice Cream
Groom's Cake
yellow cake with raspberry filling
Freshly Brewed 100% Columbian Blend Coffee

After dinner, we enjoyed the lovely groom's cake that his mother and I had made for David. It was in the shape of a pirate ship, to celebrate David (and my) alma mater, ECU. Arrrgh!

Miah's Cakes did an amazing job on the groom's cake! 
Thank you to Moriah of Miah's Cakes!

Izzy loved the cake!
It was supposed to be "purple and gold" on the inside.
Cake and ice cream!

The dinner was such a lovely way for our families to all meet one another at the same time and to really get to know one another. After dessert, the Nelsons led a sweet time where family and friends shared endearing stories and memories about both David and I. It was truly a lovely evening.

Baby Edwin loved the automatic piano.
Love my sweet parents and brother!
Bride and groom. He picked out his shirt and tie himself! :) 
...and also his socks and shoes.

That night, my immediate family (except my brother) went to stay at the Pine Gables of Aberdeen Bed & Breakfast, other friends/family went to nearby hotels, and David's immediate family, the wedding party, David, and I went back to the Magnolia Inn where we were staying. I spent a short amount of time with some of the family/cousins in The Pub, before taking a short walk with David around the Village of Pinehurst in the quiet of the night. It was fun to spend some alone time with him before I had to leave him at midnight (or fear turning into a pumpkin!) We snuck into one of the closed dining rooms and practiced our (secret) first dance one last time before saying goodnight.

The Pub at The Magnolia Inn

Then Emily and I headed back to our room (The Page) where we giggled, talked, snacked, and then I tried my hardest to get some sleep before the next day.

Next post: I Do: The Wedding Weekend - Part 2 (The Ceremony).

the Bride