A Seuss Shower

Yesterday Was Cinderella’s baby shower. It was a beautiful evening. Her family worked so hard to make it the perfect party. Here are a few pictures of set-up. If you look close enough you will see me in one picture.

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The 7th Anniversary

It’s been seven full years since the day I officially became a nonsmoker. I don’t have much to say about it that I haven’t said in the past. I’m grateful to be free of this “friend” that I was so attached to for such a large part of my life. When I quit smoking I remember thinking the long-term would be two years or even three years smoke free. I don’t think I ever even considered it was possible to have a seven-year abstinence.

I just consider myself so blessed to be at this point where my life exists without cigarettes.

Losing My Last Name

This post “Losing My Last Name” originally appeared on May 22, 2014 at The Hooray Collective. Go over there to see the incredible work they are doing.

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In 23 days I am getting married.

The next time you hear from me, I will go by a different name. While my first and middle name will remain the same, my last name will have changed. I’ll have a new driver’s license (with brown hair, not blonde like my current license) and a new last name. Once I become Mrs. O, I’ll now fall in the middle of the alphabet, and I’ll have to listen for a new name to be called when I pick up prescriptions.

And I consider this a very beautiful thing.

I’m looking forward to sharing a last name with the man I love. I look forward to sharing my step-son’s last name with him as well.

But yet…

I’ll miss my last name.

I’ll miss the connection it gives me to my parents and my brothers and my nieces and nephews. I’ll miss the connection it gives me to my grandmother and grandfather who are no longer with us. I recognize myself as Miss C. Soon, I won’t be her any longer.

I’ve always wanted to change my last name when I got married so that I’d share a name with my husband. So this was an easy decision for me. I just didn’t expect to feel so nostalgic about my current last name. I toyed with keeping it as a middle name, but what would I do with my current middle name? In the end, I chose to just switch last names, and say goodbye to my maiden name.

I can’t be the only person who has experienced this nostalgia before. How did you all feel when you changed your name?

Currently In June

Reading: Wedding cards and notes from the kind folk who attended our wedding yesterday.

Listening: to the mix CD our wedding DJ gave to us after the reception last night.

Excited: to be the new Mrs. O!

Watching: a PawSox game for Father’s Day.

Wearing: Oh, let’s just make this a completely wedding themed post! Yesterday I wore my wedding dress (yahooooo!) and today, Mr. O and I (and Wolverine) are wearing our matching “Just Married” tattoos!

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Wishing: I could relive our entire wedding. It was such a happy, beautiful night.

Drinking: Champagne. Getting ready to drink a lot of booze during my honeymoon.

Loving: How low stress and happy this month has been so far. I love that in just a couple days I will be in Aruba on my honeymoon.

Loathing: When it is less than 24 hours since you were pronounced husband and wife (and it also happens to be Father’s day!), how can you loath anything?

Admiring: my new husband, my new stepson, and all the wonderful people in our lives who came out to celebrate our marriage yesterday.

 

Check out: JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay

 

Bridal Shower Reflections

First, Happy Cinco De Mayo! Enjoy a margarita with good tequila today.

 

Next, let’s talk about my bridal shower! Seeing as it has been one month today since I was showered with kindness from friends and family, it is as good a time as any to talk about how much I enjoyed my shower.

My shower was thrown by my mom and Mr. O’s mom, with the help of my incredible bridesmaids.
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This is is my lovely wedding party. My two maids-of-honor are the most far-right ladies, and the other five (four in real life and one in picture form) are my bridesmaids.

I’ll be honest, I was pretty nervous about this bridal shower. While I love giving gifts, and truly enjoy receiving gifts, something about being the gift-getter just makes me real nervous. I always feel so awkward opening gifts in front of people, and I just just really worried about it all. It isn’t that I’m not appreciative in any way, I just get nervous.

Plus, after being a bridesmaid a billion times, I’ve been to my fair share of bridal showers (and many more baby showers too). No matter what, they’re pretty boring for the guests, and since I worry about everyone else so much, I was so worried about my guests being bored.

But everything turned out so perfect. The centerpieces were beautiful! The cupcakes (in a form of a dress) were so yummy. The brunch was excellent.The games were fun (and funny) and actually went by so quickly. There were so many gifts, and I opened them quickly, and actually had fun doing so. (Does this mean I no longer have a fear of opening gifts in front of people? Because if that is true, everybody buy me presents!) Honestly, it was perfect.

I’m so grateful for my bridesmaids and my moms for throwing me this lovely party. It went by so fast, and I’d do it all over again if I could.

 

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May 2014 Goals

20140502-164336.jpgThis month, I hope to accomplish many things, but really, they all fall under the same goal:

Finish EVERYTHING that needs to be done before the wedding in May. Leave nothing for June.

The only exception to this goal is my wedding flowers, which I’ll be doing myself (with one of my bridesmaid’s assistance), because, well, obviously you can’t do flowers six weeks in advance or they will wilt and die and smell.

I’ll be sure to do a follow-up post to go over the list of items I’d like to accomplish, but until then, it is definitely time to get to work.

 

Sending Out My Wedding Invitations

Today I am going to the post office to mail out my wedding invitations. Today is also three months until my wedding. Some might think that mailing the invites out today is a little early, but I need to give specific counts to the venue about three weeks in advance, so I’d like them back as early as possible. So for all of you in blogland, here is a sneak peak at my invites. 20140314-135026.jpgI love how they turned out. We are playing off a slight flag theme (as we are getting married on Flag Day), and love the flag feature in the zip codes. The handwriting-font is also what we used on the invite itself. As you can see, we are inviting a few fancy people. I have real high expectations for President Obama to actually show up at the event. I’m even keeping a seat for him and Michelle at the Sweetheart Table.

Wedding Update

It’s been a little over a month since I’ve updated y’all on my wedding plans! December flew by. Part of me feels like I still need to prepare for Christmas, not 2014. Since my last update, we have made a lot of the big decisions.

Here is what we’ve been up to:

  • Mr. O and I asked my oldest brother to officiate the wedding. In Massachusetts, anyone can marry you pending you apply for a one-day officiate license from the state. I’m so glad someone so important to us will be officiating.
  • In Massachusetts, you don’t need to get your marriage certificate from the city/town you’ll be getting married in (as long as you get married in the state), so we’ve found a town right near by where the cost of a certificate is half the cost to get it in our city. Boom-Half the cost works for me. (I’ve got to thank Mrs. Jetsetter for this knowledge!)
  • I purchased my wedding ring. I’ll need to get it sized, but here is a picture of the two together.My pretty rings! reinventing erin
  • We booked our DJ and our photographer. The DJ ended up being a super easy decision for us, as she had the best prices out of everyone we queried, and I’ve known her since I was a child. We’ve seen her DJ before and she does a great job. The photographer search was ridiculous. It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made so far in the planning process. There were five photographers I was considering. One was above my price range. Even though she was totally worth the price, I knew I didn’t want to pay the cost, so she was out. The second was a friend from high school, but he didn’t have the day we chose available, so he was out. The last three were “tied” in my mind. One had a lot of experience, but only digital rights available. The next had two photographers and a few “extras” in the package, but it was only for four hours. The final is a fabulous photographer who is somewhat “new” to the business having just opened about a year ago. She is who I chose. Her package costs were super reasonable, and I was able to get extras included (such as an engagement shoot and an album) along with digital prints. Many people told me to make sure I “clicked” with my photographer, and they were so right. I did want to get the biggest bang for my buck option-wise, but what really sold me was how much fun I had with her when we met for a coffee. I’m so looking forward to working with her in the next six months.
  • I created (in my opinion) the world’s cutest “save-the-dates” and included them with my Christmas cards (which went out late). I have one hanging up in my office and it makes me so excited every time I see it!
  • I purchased the wedding invitations. I’ve decided to go the DIY self-printing route, and even though I know that can be a pain, I’m very excited by my choice.
  • Most of my girls have ordered their wedding dresses, and two have even gotten their dresses in!
  • Part of my gift to my bridesmaids will be jewelry, and I’ve ordered the first piece of jewelry!
  • I have a bunch of DIY projects to do for the wedding. I will be doing a display like this for behind the sweetheart table. I’ll also be making my own veil for the wedding, and I’ll be sure to update you all on the projects as I get to work.
  • We are going to have photo guest books at the wedding. I’m thinking I will have two (or three) of them, so that more than one person can sign at a time. I ordered and received the first book and I love it. I used all candid pictures of us throughout the past three years. In the next book, I plan on using only engagement photos. If I make a third book, I might do a mix of the two (or possibly photos from the bridal shower?)

Asking Our Wedding Party

So far asking my wedding party has been one of my favorite parts of the wedding-planning process.

(Aside: That, and actually deciding on a wedding dress, which I find completely surprising. Don’t get me wrong, I love pretty dresses and getting dolled up, but I never thought I’d actually feel so tied to one specific dress. My rational was simply that all dresses are beautiful, so I’m sure I’ll find one in my price range that I like and feel comfortable in. I am amazed with how much I adore my dress. It is perfect.)

I’ve officially asked my whole bridal party to be in my wedding, and they all said yes! I mean, I didn’t expect anyone to say no, but it’s still super exciting for them all to say yes, and also to be so excited to be a part of the wedding. Mr. O has asked all of his guys to be in the wedding as well, so we’re fully staffed.

In asking my girls to be in the wedding, I used a little Pinterest inspiration and “popped the question” with a ring pop! Mr. O thought it was quite funny, but he was really great and helped me figure out the logistics of how to present the ring pop to the ladies. Three of my friends I wasn’t able to ask in person (one lives far away and the other two live about an hour away) so I asked them online and then texted them my ring pop picture!
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How did you guys ask your friends to be in your weddings?

 

Making It Happen

So it has been about a week since my last check in, and I won’t lie, I am seriously kicking some butt with this wedding-planning stuff.

Since my last note, I have…

  1. Decided on and purchased my wedding dress.
  2. Asked the majority of my bridesmaids to be in the wedding (so far they’ve all said yes!)
  3. Decided on bridesmaid dresses.
  4. Figured out a few more decor ideas for the reception.
  5. We picked a ceremony venue
  6. and a reception venue!

Not too shabby, eh?

Guest Lists

Guest lists are a drag.

I’ve always known that the guest list would be an issue when I got married. I’ve never wanted a huge wedding, so I didn’t want the list to go much over 100-150 tops. That being said, I LOVE so many people. It’s a little ridiculous if you ask me. I also firmly believe that if you invite someone to your wedding, you should allow them to take a guest with them, and that spikes your guest count.

Let’s think about that for a second. If I want a 100-guest wedding, that means I can only invite about 50 people total and allow them guests. That would barely cover our family and wedding party!

Take my MFA program for example: I was lucky to go to school with incredible people. Not only are they great writers, but they are great humans as well. Seriously, I love so many of these people like a kindergartener loves playtime, but I can’t invite each and every one of them to my wedding. Which stinks. Now, who am I supposed to choose? I don’t like this playing favorites thing the guest list is making me do. If I could have it my way, everyone I love (who isn’t in our immediate families) would just crash my after the meal.

I really want to enjoy my night with my guests, which means, I really don’t want a huge number of people in attendance. I want to be able to chat with everyone briefly. I want to dance with everyone. I want to take pictures with everyone. So that means I need to limit the number of people I invite.

How did you guys manage your invitations? I’m loving the comments I’ve gotten on previous posts on how you planned other aspects of your wedding, so I’d love to hear how you managed your guest list.

Oh, and by the way, I’ve been engaged for one month today. Time does in fact fly by when you are having fun, folks!

Choosing the Wedding Date

I’ll be honest, for a long time I’ve wanted to get married on July 19th because that day is also my grandparents anniversary. I love my grandparents with my whole heart and thought that it would be a beautiful way to honor them, and to also start a married life.

But now that I’m actually in the situation, I’m not sure the month of July works for me. One reason is that Wolverine’s birthday is in July, and I don’t want to overshadow him (or overbook us). It can also be extremely hot during the day, and mosquito-filled at night. Also, with Wolverine being out of school for the summer, it’s like we’ll be away from him for even more time (because of the honeymoon), and I don’t like that. Plus, I want to enjoy my weekends off on the summer, and once the wedding is over, the summer will soon be over.

So, that moves us to the months of May and June. Here is what I’ve come to learn about planning a wedding in under nine months. The specific date you are looking for is almost never available. So if you have your heart set on a specific date, then just plan a longer engagement. I don’t want a long engagement; I’m simply looking forward to becoming Mrs. O as soon as possible, so the date is simply going to be whatever day is available at whichever venue we chose.

How did you all choose your wedding date? If you aren’t married yet, are there any dates you specifically like?

 

 

 

Did you Skimp or Splurge on Your Wedding?

I’ve been thinking about my post yesterday, and trying to decide what are the most and least important wedding-related things I will be spending my money on.

I know I want great pictures of the event. So my plan is to either 1) invest the money into a great photographer with the hopes the small amount of photos I get will be perfect or 2) invest in a two-photographer team in the hopes that there will be great photos in the larger batch.

I really want my ceremony videotaped, but I’m not sure I’m willing to spend the money on a videographer, so unless it is somehow included in the photography package, I might save some money by asking a family member to tape just the ceremony for us.

But what about you all? I know that many of my blog readers are married, so I’ll ask for your help. Let me know what you skimped on and what you saved on. Also, let me know if there is something you changed your mind about after the event. Did you skimp on an item only to wish you would have splurged? I can’t wait to hear from you!

Wedding-Planning Whirl

Mr. O and I got engaged on October 13, 2013, and since then, it has been a rush of planning.

We’re aiming to get married sometime in the late Spring to mid-Summer 2014. This means that from day one of being engaged until the day of the wedding, there are only seven to nine months for us to plan. Yikes!

Here’s the good news: I’ve been around the wedding block. Not only was I a bridesmaid a whole bunch of times, but I worked in both the event-planning industry and also the flower industry.

Here’s the bad news: Being deeply involved and understanding of wedding culture, I know how much of everything is up-sold and overly expensive just because it is for a wedding. I don’t like that at all.

As I’ve mentioned on the blog, Mr. O and I have been actively looking to buy a house, which means we’ve been actively saving to buy a house. I can totally appreciate (and enjoy) putting $8,000 in the bank right now as savings (if anyone wants to give me the money), but what I cannot-in any way-appreciate is paying $8,000 to simply rent a space for the reception (not including tables, chairs, linens or even silverware for that matter).

I’m not trying to be a cheapskate. I understand that this will be one of the most special days in my life, and I shouldn’t skimp on costs. But then my next thought is this: A wedding lasts for one day; a house lasts for many days. Am I right?

Anyway, I know I’m not the first bride to feel this way. The whole point of what I am trying to articulate is this: I am going to spend the next six to eight months (Yes! Almost a whole month has passed since we got engaged!) working hard to plan the most splendid beautiful day celebrating the love between Mr. O and I. At this point, I have found the dress (but I haven’t said yes to it yet!), and we have narrowed down the venue to our top three choices (which we hope to decide on this weekend). We started looking at photographers and bridal party clothing and invitations.

Basically, I’m in a six-to-eight month cyclone of all things wedding related. I hope you don’t mind taking the ride with me.

 

To My Future Husband: The Proposal

Dearest Future Husband,

I wanted to take a moment out of the whirl that has been wedding planning to thank you.

Growing up, I never thought too much about my wedding, but I did wonder about the proposal. In the new world of social media, we see elaborate wedding proposals all of the time. There are flash mobs singing to a future bride. There are staged dance routines. A boyfriend creates a proposal video and airs it in the local movie theater under the guise they are watching a real film. I’m a sucker for love, and every single one of these got me.

But, I’ve wondered: how would our proposal happen?

Well, I no longer have to wonder. You created the most beautiful, most us wedding proposal. I couldn’t have dreamed up a better, more personal way to do it. It was surprising and heartfelt and funny and it honored the both of us. That is what I loved most. The fact that the proposal wasn’t all about me. It wasn’t all about you. It honored the both of us.

I cannot articulate how happy I am to one day be your wife. I love you.

Thank you so much for the perfect proposal.

With all my love,

Your Future Wife

2013 World Series Champions: The Boston Red Sox

WE WON THE CHAMPIONSHIP!

I am so very excited that the Red Sox won the World Series last night, especially since yesterday was my MFA Big Brother’s birthday.

I was planning to write about our engagement today, but I’m just so excited, so I thought I’d dedicate this post to Red Sox Nation. Go team.

Boston Strong.

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