Monthly Archives: November 2010

Love in Lowell: Dinner and a Game

With the religious portion of the rehearsal over (and the church never having burned down for any of the bridesmaids being there!), we all huddled back into Miss Sox’s car to head over to the rehearsal dinner location, an Irish bar in downtown Lowell.  Thank goodness I hadn’t taken my car because I never would have been able to navigate!  Or find parking for that matter.  For a Thursday night when college wasn’t in session, there was a serious parking problem.  No open spots were to be had.  There was also a fair share of crazy drivers, one of whom looked a lot like the priest and promptly cut off Mr. Sox.  Screaming and beeping out the window, we all burst into laughter when we realized it just may have been the priest!  It turns out that it wasn’t, but it made for a lot of comic relief as we drove in circles trying to find a place to park.

Finally, we landed in a parking lot a few blocks away and hoofed it.  There were a few times when Al and Mr. Library were asked to go back to the car to get forgotten gifts, but all in all, it wasn’t so bad.  We were led upstairs to the function room in the bar where the bartender was ready for us.  As an incredibly generous offer, it was an open bar!  Not one to drink a lot at all, I simply drank water and a Malibu Baybreeze.  Yum!

Dinner was served buffet style, and once Brother Sox decided to dig in, the line started.  There was Caesar salad, chicken tenders, chicken alfredo with broccoli, spanikoptia, and some other fried things in which I could not partake.  Al, Mr. Library and I loaded up our plates and found a table. 

Coolest photo ever!

Al had been assigned Sistah Sox’s camera for the night, and I love this one I got of her checking out her work. Once everyone had eaten (and Mr. Sox had solved the problem of the restaurant not supplying enough food), FFIL Sox got up to give a welcoming speech that made people laugh, cry, and smile… sometimes at the same time!It was adorable to hear how much he clearly loved his son and how much he loves and welcomes Miss Sox into his family.  He did a wonderful job highlighting some of the important guests in the room, like relatives and friends who had traveled far distances to attend, and really getting to the heart of the commitment Mr. and Miss Sox were about to make.  It made me wish we had asked someone to give a speech at our rehearsal dinner.After FFIL Sox ended his speech, dessert was brought out and a game began.  Miss Sox had come up with a “getting to know the couple” game that asked participants to look at how much they knew about the Soxes.  To tell you the truth, my knowledge felt inadequate.  Sure, I knew some of the answers from the bridal shower games, but I had no idea what dorm they met in!  The beauty of the game was that you could ask other people in the room, thus getting people to socialize.  Well done, Miss Sox… you must be a teacher or something!

Look at our desserts!  They look delicious (and they were!)  Hooray for iPhones and quick thinking wedding elves!

The game lasted for a while, ending with the couple sharing the answers.  Some that people came up with were hysterical.  It was a great way to get to know the other people in the wedding party.

Once the game was called to a close, it was Brother Sox’s favorite time of the night:  present time!  He had been talking about presents for weeks, and he just wanted to get his hands on his! 

They called each of their members up one by one, giving a little details as to how they met us and how we bonded.  It was personalized and adorable.  It was ultra adorable when it was the siblings’ turns to receive their thank yous.

Once everyone had received their gift bags, we opened them together.  I was floored with their generosity!  Miss Sox ended up gifting us…

flip flops!  My feet rejoiced!pasmina scarves/wraps.  I wear mine all the time to school now!And Coach wallets!  SHUT UP!  I was just laughing with Al about how much I needed a new wallet, and here it was.  And Coach no less!  I use this thing every day!  I love love love it!  Oh, and yes, it does match my pashmina!

As a way of acknowledging how much we loved our gifts, we posed with the bride to show them off.

And I posed with my husband to show how much I loved him.

With people rejoicing and pumped for the next day, it was time to go back to the Sox house to have a girls’ (plus Mr. Library) sleepover!

The Love in Lowell Series:

The Bachelorette Party

Mr. Library and I Arrive

The Wedding Elves Rescue Dessert

The Rehearsal

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Love in Lowell: We’re Going to the Chapel

Ahh… if only our day was that simple.  It would have been great to save the day with dessert and then simply get ready for the rehearsal, but there was an element missing:  the groom.  Mr. Sox needed to be picked up from his parents’ house about a half hour away so that we all could set up the reception ballroom (which was practically right next door).  Our team of wedding elves was on the job.  We picked up the groom, said hello to FMIL, FFIL, and Dory Sox, and went to Devens Common.

The ballroom, and the Commons itself, was gorgeous.  Despite the rain that had started to fall, the grounds were green and the atmosphere inside was lighted beautifully.  Aunt J was already in overdrive getting the wedding coordinator to show her all of the choices for mirrors, so Miss Sox directed us in how to set up the tables with runners and centerpieces.  We also set up the photo booth area, which was easy enough since the PVC set-up was the exact one we had at our wedding!  Hooray for wedding recycling! 

Within a half an hour, we had everything set up.  Aunt J said she would take care of the rest of it later that evening after the rehearsal, but now it was time for us to go back to Lowell, check on our desserts, and groom ourselves for the actual rehearsal.

With dessert safely in the fridge and people showing up in droves, it was time to get ready to head to the church.  Thankfully, the church was only about a mile away and there were three mirrors available for all of the ladies.  I decided to wear the same dress I had worn to my own rehearsal because (A) I loved it and (B) it was clean from our honeymoon.  I quickly did my hair, helped some of the other girls with dressing, and ran to Miss Sox’s car.  We were running just a little late, and I certainly did not want the reason to be me.

Short car rides are never uneventful when you load a car to capacity with overly excited wedding people.  Mr. Sox drove, Miss Sox sat beside him, and we three wedding elves smooshed into the backseat.  We were well dressed (even though Mr. Library was grousing that I had made him wear a shirt and tie and Mr. Sox wore a nice polo) and ready to go.

The wedding coordinator at the church took over immediately once most of the wedding party had arrived.  Due to a sinkhole the size of a car on Route 93 and traffic on 495, some people were late, but the show had to go on.  We practiced our processional as Mr. Library and Al took pictures.  Mr. Library was still pretty new to my fancy-pants camera, so some of the photos came out a wee bit… um… blurry.

Having gone through my own wedding rehearsal, I knew that it was important to just go with the flow and memorize where you needed to be when.  Don’t fight the system; speak up when you need to, and then just let it happen.  The wedding coordinator was a strict bird, but she did a great job making sure people knew where they needed to be.

Once everyone was in the correct place, it was Mr. Tim’s turn to practice his reading.  By this time, his reading had become legendary.  Why, you ask?  Because it talked about “his lover being a gazelle” and began with a firm and boisterous “Hark!”  It. Was. Hilarious!  We could see that he was trying everything he could to keep it together during his practice, and he did a good job.  But the real question remained… could he keep from laughing tomorrow?

We recessed like champs when we were told to, and just as we hit the end of the aisle, the missing groomsman showed up.  Nice timing!  We practiced a few more times with him in the mix just for good measure.  The priest said, “Now is when you all act like you ALL just got married and walk down the aisle together with your partner.”  Uh… didn’t I just get married for realz?  Hmmm.  Awkward.  At this point, I decided it was a good idea to introduce myself to the man on my arm since we had never met or spoken before.  It turns out his name was Dan and he could walk pretty fast.More aunts and uncles began to appear at the end of the aisle, meaning one thing:  It was time for dinner!  With a last few words about how to get to the restaurant and the wedding coordinator warning Miss Sox that the service had to start on time the next afternoon, we were off to fill our stomachs.

The Love in Lowell Series:

The Bachelorette Party

Mr. Library and I Arrive

The Wedding Elves Rescue Dessert

Love in Lowell: Dessert 911

Welcome to the morning of the rehearsal.  It was hot, sticky, and people were a little on edge from wedding stress.  Once everyone was up and out of the shower, the troops rallied in the foyer to go over the day’s schedule.  Yes, there was a schedule, and yes, it was posted on the wall for double checking.  Miss Sox went through it with all of us, pointing out who needed to be where when.  Al, Mr. Library, and I were a team that day, so we traveled in pack (which was good because I was the only one with a car…).

Our first mission was to find white twinkle lights for the deck at the reception location.  Aunt J had declared that we needed more the night before, so we thought we would drive to nearby Nashua, New Hampshire, to see if the stores had any.  Like the thinker she is, Al called ahead to ask.  Sure enough, they had a few boxes of them, so we headed to the car to leave.  But, just as we were reaching for the door handle, we remembered something else from the night before.  Dessert.  There wasn’t any dessert for the rehearsal dinner that night.  None.  We didn’t happen to think that it was that big of a deal — people could simply eat what they wanted for dinner and fill up on that — but once again, Aunt J put her foot down.  “Women in the C family MUST have dessert.  You’ll just have to come up with something to fill that void!”  Great.  Thanks for more stress, Miss Sox’s face seemed to say.

Miss Sox called Mr. Sox and had asked him to call the venue to ask about options, but with everything else going on, we wedding elves knew we should step up and get it done for them.

Once in Nashua, we located the party store, bought three packages of white lights (which are apparently NOT called “clear”), and decided to give the venue a call.  To our groans and dismay, the rehearsal dinner venue did not do dessert, but we certainly could bring it in on our own.  Okay, well… that opens up options.  But what do we make?  It was a 93 degree day and we had very little time.  As luck would have it, Al’s iPhone came in handy and I noticed a Market Basket in the same shopping plaza as we had parked the car.  Maybe luck was on our side?

The general consensus was that we wanted something with fruit and chocolate, something that was light, and something that could feed 30 people without individual messes.  Fruit tarts became the answer.  We scrolled through dozens of recipes trying to find the one with the least amount of ingredients to keep costs down, and landed on one that used cream cheese, powdered sugar, whatever fruit we wanted, and something called Dream Whip.  Uh… Dream Whip?  What on earth is that?  How do you make a non-dairy whipped cream?!

(Source)

After what felt like hours of searching, we found the Dream Whip box and were immediately sketched out by it.  Still, there was just no time to spare if we were going to sneak lunch in, so we tossed it in with the rest of our goodies.  In the midst of picking out large quantities of strawberries, Mr. Sox called me and said, “I called the rehearsal venue and they don’t do dessert.”  He remembered his job!  Well done, Groomy!  I told him we had it under control and he didn’t need to worry.  He may or may not have said that we were the best people alive next to his very-soon-to-be-wife.  We may or may not have told him that we knew.

After some lunch at the ever delicious Panera Bread, we went back to Lowell and took over the kitchen.  We had three tarts to get done before other people began coming to the house to get ready to leave for the church.  Al took over slicing the strawberries, I took over figuring out the Dream Whip situation, and Mr. Library did his best to find whatever it is we needed.  Brother Sox, who had been chauffeuring Aunt J around the whole morning, looked relieved to see us and helped us in the kitchen as much as he possibly could.  I think he was just glad to see other people.

Somehow, and I really have no idea how, but somehow, we got dessert ready for 30 people in under twenty minutes.  The Dream Whip, when mixed with cream cheese and powdered sugar, became a delicious almost-cheesecake substance.  After pouring the mixture into chocolate graham cracker crusts, we layered strawberries on top and called it a day.  Mommy Sox and Miss Sox were obviously relieved to know that the situation was handled without any intervention from them, and we were proud to serve our creation at the rehearsal dinner at evening.

But before we get there, we had a church to get to!

The Love in Lowell Series:

The Bachelorette Party

Mr. Library and I Arrive

Love in Lowell: The Early Bird

As I said at the end of the last post, I headed back to Maine, but it was only for a day or two.  Sure, there was plenty to do here.  Mr. Library and I had barely moved into our apartment, there were boxes to unpack, and I had to change all of my information to my married name.  There were still belongings in our parents’ houses too that needed to come to our apartment, like a bureau for me!  There was plenty to do here to keep us busy.

But it didn’t stop me from wishing I was in Massachusetts.  Being a key part of putting on a wedding is an irreplaceable feeling for me; I want to know that I helped to bride however I could and that I helped make her day that much better, stress-free, and special.  Being in Maine, I felt like I was missing that.  Her other bridesmaids had gotten to help with craft projects over the year.  I didn’t.  I just wanted to be a part of it and not be the “slacker” bridesmaid.  I also wanted to spend more time with Al.  Living on separate coasts, quite frankly, sucks.  I wanted to spend as much time with my best friends as possible, and Maine was just getting in the way.

Mr. Library and I were supposed to journey to Lowell on Thursday in time for the rehearsal, but on Wednesday, as I was sitting in the Social Security office waiting my turn to change my name (which was such a NICE process thanks to the lovely woman who waited on me!  She was amazing and super nice!), I got a texted message from Miss Sox.  I texted back that I would be at her house as soon as she said the word.  One conversation led to another, and as soon as I was done changing my name to Mrs. Sox, Mr. Sox and I stuffed our wedding belongings in a suitcase and hit the road!

We arrived at Miss Sox’s house around 2.5 hours later to find wedding craft central.  A hurricane of crafts, random ideas, and drill sergeant-ness had blown in, and it’s name was Aunt J.  As soon as we were greeted at the door, Aunt J gave us jobs to do.  Poor Mr. Library had probably believed that his wedding craft days were over for a little while, but boy was he wrong.  We were given the job of creating tissue paper poofs from a couple of kits Aunt J had picked up.  Being a self-proclaimed expert of poofs, it wasn’t a problem… until she wanted twelve of them and had no idea if Miss Sox was even going to use them.  Sigh.

Soon enough, Mr. Library and I escaped upstairs where the rest of the craft people were hiding out in an air-conditioned room.  This was one heck of a hot and sticky day, so all types of breezes and air conditioning were welcomed.  This room was also a respite from Aunt J.  She was obviously very well-meaning, but I wasn’t ready to be bossed around as much as she could throw down.

After dinner and chatting, we decided to figure out where everyone would be sleeping.  Mommy Sox seemed to raise a little bit of an eyebrow when Miss Sox said Mr. Library and I could share a bed, but Miss Sox reminded her, “Mom, they are MARRIED.  It’s okay!”  Hahaha I love moms.  We all ended up spending the night on Sistah Sox’s floor since (1) it had the most room and (2) it was air-conditioned.  But before any sleeping happened, we had to take one of my favorite photos to commemorate our twelve-year-old sleepover party…

Sleep was important for all involved… Tomorrow was the rehearsal day, and we had no idea what was really in store for us…

The Love in Lowell series:

The Bachelorette Party

Lowell in Love: Ladies Night

Roughly thirty-six hours after returning to U.S. soil, I was leaving my new husband for the night and heading to Massachusetts.  It was time for Miss Sox‘s bachelorette party, and though my body hadn’t adjusted at all to Eastern Standard Time, there was no way I was going to sit this one out.  There was fun and payback to be had!

The rest of the bridesmaids really took the reins on this one since I was gone for so much of the month, and I was pumped to see what they had come up with.  It was great!  Bridesmaid Kater really outdid herself on the food she prepared.  There were tons of hors d’eouvres, ranging from simple cheese and crackers (mmm Irish cheddar!) to Green Goddess dressing to bacon-wrapped scallops.  She also went out of her way to make white plum sangria.  In short, Kater is a cooking goddess with a beautiful apartment to boot.

Our theme for the evening was all things pink, black, and penises (peni?).  What can I say?  It was a classic bachelorette party.  Ladies began to arrive around 7 PM, and the bride arrived a little later.  There was food, drinking, and general laughter at everything.  It was great.  We played pin-the-penis on the stud, and Miss Sox had to assign us penises according to our personalities.  Each one had a little poem to go with it.  Somehow, I got the double-headed one with graduation caps on it.  Maybe because of our ties through grad school?

I think the most fun about this time for me was just being with Bridesmaid Al and Miss Sox, as well as all of the other friends I was making quickly.  These ladies were all wonderful, and it was nice that I didn’t have to play host at this party.  I could simply relax and enjoy it!  I also got to share some stories from Europe, which didn’t hurt either ;-).

After some noshing and putting a few drinks into the bride’s system, we all loaded into three cars to go into Boston.  Trying to get everyone to the same location was a bit hilarious, but thanks to cell phones and GPS systems, everyone made it there.  Bridesmaid Al and I took advantage of the car ride and took ridiculous pictures… 

There is a bar outside of Fenway Park (I know, who has ever heard of such a thing being outside of Fenway?!) that had a live band and a great atmosphere, so we ended up staying there for the night.  

The band was great!  They did fantastic covers of some classic dance tunes and had the whole floor rocking.  We, of course, took charge of getting the dancing really going.

So you know that thing they say about married women attracting more men than single ones?  I (1) think that is totally true and (2) think it also extends to engaged women.  As soon as we really started dancing, we were bombarded by single men looking for partners.  This was my reaction.

Oh dude… you have no idea what’s going on.  Sorry, I’m taken.

Miss Sox had her own line-up of tempting men.  Wearing a veil covered in confetti penises probably had something to do with it.  While most of the men were pretty tame, there was one guy who really took the cake.  And I’m pretty sure Ke$ha wrote a song about him…  Listen as I explain. 

Manny, as we will call him, is a very short man.  Now, most men could fall into this description around Miss Sox as she is around six feet tall, but Manny would have been called this around just about anyone.  I believe he measured in at around 5’4.  But height doesn’t really matter to some people, so why fault him for that?  Well, his height gave us the perfect view of his bald spot and combover.  The wisps of leftover hair were screaming out from being pulled so tightly from one side of his scalp to the other.  Still, no matter.  It’s just hair.  What was the final straw?  His age.  He was almost as old as my dad.  Sorry Manny, but I am not a girl with daddy issues.  I’m pretty sure none of us in this bachelorette party are, so why don’t you try the girl next door who is almost molesting the table?  Great!  Thanks!

No such luck.  He followed us around for the better part of the night, asking if there was anything he could get us or if anyone wanted to really “get down” with him.  Barf.  It continued until Sistah Sox told him off and he left.  I don’t typically condone being mean to people, but sometimes you just have to do it.

Around 1 AM, my body was begging for sleep.  I still wasn’t used to the time change, so I partied through it (but there was no way I was drinking that night… no sleep and alcohol is a bad combo).  Miss Sox decided she wanted to call it a night around 1:30, so we took one last group picture and all headed back to our cars to go back to Kater’s apartment.  I had no idea where I would be sleeping that night, but I figured it would be where the Soxes and Al went.  We travel in pack.

Once we got back to the apartment, people continued to chat and I proceeded to fall asleep on the couch.  About six of us fell asleep there, and all of us were abruptly awoken by pounding on the apartment door.  At 8 AM.  Yeah.  It turns out that there was some sort of gas leak in the building, and the nice people trying to find it wanted to know if we had left the stove on.  Kater’s fiance had no idea, so I piped up that we had in fact shut it off the night before.  How I remembered this detail, I have no idea.  I didn’t even go near the stove!

No one was asked to evacuate, but we were all a little on edge.  No one likes to end their bachelorette story with “and then we got blown up from a gas leak!”  Some people (aka Miss Sox) went back to sleep.  The rest of us snoozed, chatted, and ate leftovers.  

With only days to go before the wedding, we were all excited to come together again for the big day!  I stuck around to hang out with the Sox sisters and Al a little longer, but I couldn’t wait to get home to my husband!  After a meal at Friendly’s (because Al doesn’t have those on the west coast) and some wedding catch-up on the crafting front, I headed back to Maine… for a day or two.

Volumes of Love: God Only Knows Where I Would Be

This is it.  Two hundred and eighty posts later, I have completed my journey from a know-extremely-little blogger to a Mrs. with a love of wedding planning and more realistic views of what a wedding entails.  It has been quite a journey, and I would do it again in a heartbeat… even the tears of frustration and the nights were I just kept repeating how much I hated the process.  It was all worth it.  I am now the wife of an amazing man, and we have a marriage I can be incredibly proud of.  That’s what it’s about, right?

Before we finish our wedding recaps for good, I want to thank those special people who stood with us throughout our journey.  There were so many people who went out of their way to give us a hand, both literally and figuratively, and we are incredibly blessed to have them in our lives.

First and foremost, we have our parents to thank.  Both pairs have been together for over twenty-five years, and they have set marital examples for us all along the way.  They have been supportive and loving, accepting our new spouse into the family with open arms.  We love them so much!To our extended family members, many of whom were more generous with their time and fund than I could have ever imagined:To our wedding party.  We would certainly not be the same people (or have the same moves on a pole) without you.  You are an incredible group of people, and we love each and every one of you more than you know.To our friends who came from near and far to be with us.  Your love and support made the process of wedding planning fun and humorous.  We hope you fully enjoyed yourselves!To Mrs. Botka, the woman who probably never thought she would be a matchmaker in her middle school Gifted and Talented classroom.  Without you, we wouldn’t have known each other, and we wouldn’t have achieved as much as we have.  You are always welcome in my classroom!Finally, to Mr. Library, the man of my dreams and the love of my life.  I certainly wouldn’t be the same woman without you.  You have helped me become someone I can be proud of.  You push me to think about difficult topics, branch outside of myself, and try new things.  We are going to have the best adventure together, and I cannot wait to experience life with you by my side (and in the same state!).  I was a very smart 18 year old when I told you that I would say yes in the future if you proposed.  Thank you for giving me a million and one reasons to say it.  I love you with all of my heart.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Library wedding.  I have loved, cried, despised, rambled, worried, and had a blast.  Thank you for reading, and please stick around!  I’m not dead yet! (Quick, name the movie!)  In the next section, I relive the second wedding I was in during the summer!

Walk me through this completely:

Our bridal party began to come together!

We did as UPS does!

We’re cat-walking baby!

We practiced eating!

Our wedding gets Jewish!

The girls and I have a slumber party!

I fell in love with a poet.

Mr. Library runs around.

Wake up call!

Christmas in July

Hairscapades abound

Making us up as we go

The Groom Squad strikes back

Magical flowers

We get the deets.

What should I wear today?

Click click click flash

Ding ding ding goes the trolley

The Groom Squad activates

We hear the music.

The guests are coming!  The guests are coming!

Let’s have a parade!

A walk to remember

We do?  Yes!  We do!

Let’s have a hug

Documenting the love

Our friends get in on the act

We find a snack in a pretty field.

We keep it in the family.

We dance into the reception.

Ch-ch-ch-chow down!

You have a little something on your face…

Dancing in tune

Catch!

There’s so much to love about the reception.

The photo booth genius

We could have danced all night!

We can sleep when we’re older!

One last summer fling

The married bachelor and his party

Mrs. Library X 2

If we could go back in history…

If I were you…

Volumes of Love: Vendor Recommendations

It has come down to it, dear readers.  We are nearing the end of my ramblings about the Library wedding!  SAD!  But don’t worry… this blog isn’t going anywhere.  It will be alive and well as I continue to think about, dream about, and help plan weddings.

Speaking of helping to plan weddings, I would like to give my totally honest reviews of our vendors from our wedding.  Sometimes I feel like the responses on websites like WeddingWire are a little suspicious because they contact the reviewed vendor to ask if it’s okay to post it.  Who is going to say okay when the review isn’t flattering?  That’s pretty much common sense, people!  I, however, am not going to run this by them… just by you!

Wedding Dress: The Running of the Brides, Boston, Massachusetts

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

I cannot tell you how much fun I had getting my dress.  I never planned on buying my dress that day, and while it did create a little drama within my family, I wouldn’t change the fact that I got it at such a cool event.  Because of the conditions of the warehouse where the event was held, the bottom of my dress was dirty when I purchased it, but after sending it to a certified dry cleaner, it was better than new.  I didn’t need any alterations besides some bead reinforcement and the addition of a bustle, so I scored on the price of this dress.

If you plan on attending, make sure to plan for the following:

  • Bring lots of friends and wear coordinated outfits to help find each other.
  • There is no such thing as organization, so know what shape of dress you would like and your approximate size going in.
  • Be open to different options.
  • Be open to stripping in front of other people… and some of them will be men!
  • Bring water and snacks, and don’t be afraid to throw some elbows!
  • Don’t forget the camera!

Wedding Dress Total (with alterations and dry cleaning):  $254 + $8 + $85 = $347

Bridesmaids’ Dresses, Flower Girl’s Dress, Veil, and Bride’s Shoes:  David’s Bridal, Portland, Maine

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

I loved my girls’ dresses and still do.  I went into planning knowing that I wanted a tea length dress in a cobalt blue, and while I didn’t think this was it the first time around, it grew on me.  The price was also far more reasonable than the Alfred Angelo counterparts I had my eyes on.  The cotton was light enough for July and the cut was flattering on all of my girls’ body types.  The addition of Sister Library’s dress created a wonderful way to set her apart without changing colors.

My veil was full price, and while the price still seems a bit high, I loved the piece itself.  Mr. Library also loved it and remarked how much he liked the tiny pearls scattered throughout it (he noticed it!).  My shoes, while lovely and on sale, were PAINFUL.  I lasted through pre-ceremony pictures, the ceremony, and the receiving line, but after that, I was on the flip flip train.  I can remember thinking during the ceremony that it felt like my toes were becoming painfully numb.  Not good.  I probably should have broken them in a lot more, but still.  I shouldn’t be in searing pain.

Working with David’s Bridal was pretty easy.  They were pleasant, while there was the problem with not being notified of the discontinuation of Sister Library’s dress, they remedied the situation quickly.  The manager, Megan, is wonderful and extremely cooperative.  The dresses came in early and were of pretty nice quality.  I would definitely use them again.

Total for Bride’s veil and shoes:  $79 + $30 = $109

Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire:  Mens Wearhouse, South Portland, Maine

RECOMMENDWhile the suits were great and they looked nice, trying to figure out how to get each groomsman’s payment in was a little bit of a headache.  You cannot pay over the phone if the amount is more than $20, and not all of their locations accept payments.  The bride is also the only person (read:  the ABSOLUTELY singular person) who can change anything on the order.  Mr. Library couldn’t even have called in to ask about anything if he had wanted to!

No one had any problems with ill-fitting pants or jackets, and the prices were pretty reasonable, so in the end, it was a good decision to go with this company.  But please be aware of what you are signing up for!

Total for Groom’s Tux:  Free with 5 other rentals

Ties for the Guys:  Cyberoptix.com

HIGHLY RECOMMENDThese ties were amazing!  Not only were they hit with the guys, but people commented on how great they looked in the wedding as well.  We got standard width, standard cloth ties for $30.  While it was a bit of a splurge for all of the guys, we decided it was completely worth it and went for it.  The service was accommodating, prompt, and informative.  I would buy ties or scarves from this website any week.

Total cost of Groom’s tie and gifts:  $150

Ceremony Site:  The Artist’s Covered Bridge, Newry, Maine (run through town office)

CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!I love our ceremony site for so many reasons.  It was gorgeous, it was unique, it was accessible, and it was free!  This ceremony site made our wedding stand out among others, something that was important to me when planning my wedding.  I wanted to be different from my cousins, and this helped us achieve that stance.  While the slits in the floor caused issues with wearing high heels, we overcame that obstacle and had a lovely ceremony.  The lighting was fantastic for photography.  While this is a public site and there is no controlling those who wish to visit the bridge while you are there, many people who were swimming were more than willing to move their cars and stay off of the bridge while we celebrated.

The town also put us in touch with Olson’s Tent Rental, a local company who rented, set up, and took down the chairs.  They were very much on top of their record keeping and called me in January to make sure their 2010 book was correct.  They were pleasant and very reasonably priced.

Total cost of ceremony:  $150 for 115 chairs with set up and take down

Reception: Sunday River Grand Summit Resort, Newry, Maine

CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!I cannot imagine working with better people.  Mr. Library and I were sold on Sunday River because of their affordable prices, their flexibility, and their availability in the summer.  Thanks to the fact that they are a ski resort, they had lower prices than a lot of other businesses who rely on weddings to bring in revenue during wedding season.  All of the personnel we worked with were courteous, welcoming, and positive.  Mr. Library and I loved Jessica, the long-term wedding coordinator at the resort, and had full faith in her abilities.  She was organized and would respond to emails in a couple of hours.  The same goes for Meredith, the day-of coordinator.  We were sad to hear that they had moved to different states, but we fully enjoyed our time with them.  The food was great, the staff knew who we were and kept asking what else they could get us, and everything was fixed immediately if need be.

Total cost of reception and catering$4970

Photographer:  G. L. Strom Photography, Portland, Maine

HIGHLY RECOMMENDGreg was a stroke of luck.  When attending a bridal expo in January 2009, we bumped into him.  It turned out that he and Mr. Library had been in a play together through community theatre and hit it off.  We really liked his portfolio and booked him.  During our wedding, he was great.  He showed up when we asked and left at the end of the night.  There were never any hour restrictions or more money to have him stay longer.  He stayed through it all.  While I do wish that certain photos had come out a little differently, I love the ones that he captured, and boy, did he capture a lot!  Greg shot 1400 pictures at our wedding and gave them all to us on a CD with the rights to them.  We did have some communication problems, but I am willing to overlook the couple of times I couldn’t get ahold of him for the times he really pulled through.  We had our complete wedding photos a week after we returned from our honeymoon!

Total for photography for 12 hours:  $1500

Videographer:  Fat Sheamus Productions, Scarborough, Maine

HIGHLY RECOMMEND

Shea and his wife were fantastic.  I found Shea after having our friend back out of being able to capture our wedding, and I had a very tight budget.  I went onto Craigslist and found an ad.  I contacted Shea, asked about availability and pricing, and away we went.  We were supposed to meet in person, but due to a timing goof on my part, we never did.  I ended up booking him from what I saw online and prayed for the best.  That’s what we got.  I love our video and will show it to anyone who will sit still.  His prices have gone up since I booked him, but they are still very reasonable in the video production world.

Total for videography for the ceremony only:  $265

DJ:  Long Island Larry, Biddeford, Maine

HIGHLY RECOMMENDLarry kept people on the dance floor as long as there were warm bodies present.  While some of our family members were older and weren’t as inclined to boogey, he made sure that the music was exactly what we wanted and generationally appealing.  As you can tell from the photos, he did a wonderful job.  He was organized, and though we had issues in the middle of planning with his email address working, he made up for it during the stressful stretch before the wedding.  He had lists of songs ready for when we couldn’t think of any good ones and helped us create an organized timeline for the day.  He was also ready to do music for our ceremony if need be.

Total for DJ:  $615 (thanks to a discount for booking early!)

Baker:  Nothing Bakes Like a Parrott, Portland, Maine

CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!
To say that Jessica’s cakes were delicious would be an understatement.  They were amazing!  I am counting down the months until we get to order our free one-year-anniversary cake!  Working with Jessica was easy for the most part, though I had trouble getting in touch with her during the last week, which caused some stress.  I wouldn’t have any qualms about wholeheartedly recommending her to anyone, though.  She was creative, willing to be as flexible as we wanted, and funny.  She even delivered!  The portions were huge and her prices were very well priced.  We were sold from bite number one.

Total for wedding cake, Groom’s cake, and birthday cupcakes:  $328 + $65 + $14 = $407

Florist:  Pooh Corner Farmhouse and Florist, West Bethel, Maine

SERIOUSLY CANNOT RECOMMEND HIGHLY ENOUGH!Carole is a miracle worker.  I love our flowers, and Carole made it happen.  When we began working with her, I had no idea what I wanted except that I had my heart set on peonies during a season when they just aren’t really available.  Somehow Carole found enough just for our wedding and made me a bouquet with my favorite dark pink peonies.  I cannot thank her enough for her patience and dedication when I kept changing my mind on what we needed.  Carole is simply amazing!

Total cost for florals:  FREE thanks to Mr. Library’s Aunt M (though I think it would have cost somewhere around $1100)

Accessories: Garter from The Green Hanger Shop.com, Laurens, SC

CANNOT RECOMMEND ENOUGH!Judy was fantastic to work with, and I honestly believe that it was a true blessing to have a chance meeting online.  Thanks to my over-exuberance when it comes to weddings, she offered me a fantastic deal when I didn’t win her contest.  I jumped at the chance and created my own garter set.  It was simple, yet elegant, and Judy was a joy to work with.  She worked very hard on it, and I could tell it was created by a woman who loves what she does.

Total for all of bride’s accessories (including jewelry but not rings):  $80

TOTAL FOR ALL WEDDING (WITH MISCELLANEOUS ADDED IN):   ~ $9500

ORIGINAL BUDGET:  $11,000

So there you have it, our big vendors.  We had such a great time with everyone we worked with, and there were very few hang-ups with the process.  If you would like more information on any of them, please contact me through the comments.  I would be happy to elaborate more!

With just one last Library wedding post to go, I leave you with our nearly completed list:

Walk me through this:

Our bridal party began to come together!

We did as UPS does!

We’re cat-walking baby!

We practiced eating!

Our wedding gets Jewish!

The girls and I have a slumber party!

I fell in love with a poet.

Mr. Library runs around.

Wake up call!

Christmas in July

Hairscapades abound

Making us up as we go

The Groom Squad strikes back

Magical flowers

We get the deets.

What should I wear today?

Click click click flash

Ding ding ding goes the trolley

The Groom Squad activates

We hear the music.

The guests are coming!  The guests are coming!

Let’s have a parade!

A walk to remember

We do?  Yes!  We do!

Let’s have a hug

Documenting the love

Our friends get in on the act

We find a snack in a pretty field.

We keep it in the family.

We dance into the reception.

Ch-ch-ch-chow down!

You have a little something on your face…

Dancing in tune

Catch!

There’s so much to love about the reception.

The photo booth genius

We could have danced all night!

We can sleep when we’re older!

One last summer fling

The married bachelor and his party

Mrs. Library X 2

If we could go back in time…