Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: What Everyone Else Wore

Almost as soon as I chose my dress we set out to choose bridesmaid dresses. My sister and maid of honor was the only one that lived in Minneapolis so we went shopping with my mom and then gave the other girls options that she liked best.

We went shopping at Flutter Boutique in Minneapolis and I wish I'd known about them when I was dress shopping! However, I think their bridesmaid dress selection was even better than their bridal gowns. Since we were having a November wedding and my ladies preferred it, I knew that I wanted long dresses. I also knew I wanted navy blue. Otherwise, I let Amy decide!

Here's what they tried on:

Anything short could be made long and they all could be done in navy. I loved the center and bottom left ones but selfishly didn't want the bridesmaids to have more lace than me.

Then I sent pictures of the dresses and they called said what they liked. They went with this beautiful dress from Amsale. I also love how their different hair colors looked with it!

As for the guys, I had this vision of all the groomsmen in one suit and Cody in a different one. I'm not sure Cody was 100% about that idea but he got on board for his bride. They found a sale at Jos. A. Bank and it was a way better deal to buy their suits than rent. The groomsmen wore grey with a navy tie. Cody wore navy with a grey tie. I thought they looked great!

Here are some shots of what our Junior Bridesmaids wore from the Wedding Shoppe and our moms wore.

I could not smile anymore at this point, haha

Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

To Travel and Beyond

Friday, September 25, 2015

Five Things on Friday 9/25

-one- One of my closest friends told me on Monday that she's expecting! She hasn't told that many people yet but I know she doens't read this, no one she knows reads this, and I'm obviously not even naming her so I feel like the anonimity is pretty good. We both got married in the same year so we've been on similar paths for a while and I'm so excited for this next step for her (though I'm not quite ready for it). And none of my friends have had babies yet so I'm SO excited!

-two- We went to Acme Comedy Club on Wednesday night. They offer free tickets on weeknights during the month of your birthday so my sister got four tickets. Sean Patton was the headliner and he was hilarious. I feel like live comedy is totally hit or miss but this one was good. It was a nice way to break up the week.

-three- Last night I made Paleo Pizza Pie for dinner. OMG. It. was. so. good. I got the idea from Laura who raved about it during her Whole 30. It's time consuming but super easy. Cody loved it and I'm sure kids would love it, too. I want to make like 5 and freeze them.

-four- I'm going to a U of Minnesota Gopher football game with my dad tomorrow! My sister and I usually buy him some tickets for his birthday and then each get to go to a game. It's going to be 70 degrees and sunny! I can't wait!

-five- We're going to Ireland! Ok it's not until next August but the planning has begun. Cody and I have wanted to go to Ireland as long as we've known each other and my whole family including my parents, my sister, her boyfriend and us are all going together! We definitely need recommendations for how to choose what to do. It seems like there's so much right now!

Linking up here and here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: Dress Shopping

I was not looking forward to dress shopping. I don't like any type of clothes shopping or trying things on. But to my surprise, wedding dress shopping is fun!

I went into my first appointment pretty clueless. I had one picture that I showed them.

They didn't have that dress (it's discontinued now) and I didn't give them much other guidance. I did know that it was important to me that the shape of the dress was flattering. I didn't want to get stuck on a certain silhouette if it wasn't right for my body. So, I spent most of that first appointment trying on different shapes.

#1: I didn't like the straps or how structured the top was

#2: This was my mom and sister's favorite. I thought I looked so fat. Then when I saw the picture it looked completely different.

#3: I thought this shape really wasn't flattering and it's hard to tell from the picture but the front dipped down extremely low

#4: This was one of the favorites. And the price was awesome. But in the end, I just felt like I could do better.

#5: I guess you can tell from my ridiculous face how I felt about that one. I did like the top though and they even tried to get me to put a different skirt on it.

#6: I think they were trying to get the feel of the bolero that I wanted. This felt like something someone royal would wear

#7: Trying something different 

#8: And yet another style

#9: I saw this as we were getting ready to leave and asked to try it. I loved it and it was definitely the front runner when we left. I would have covered the front sheer part to make it less scandalous.  I felt great in it but I still had my idea of a separte bolero stuck in my mind.

That weekend we went to my second appointment.  I went in with a clearer idea of what I wanted. I know my sister took pictures of everything I tried on, including the last dress from my first appointment but I honestly liked almost nothing. In the end, I told them I really wanted two separate pieces and they came through. I bought a dress from one designer and a bolero from another! And I think it was perfect for a chilly November wedding!

I wore Tom's wedges

Right before our first dance I lost the bolero and added this lace belt

Cody gave me pearls for my wedding gift so I put those on after I took off my bolero

 Linking up for Wedding Wednesday!

To Travel and Beyond

Friday, September 18, 2015

Five on Friday! 9/18

I've decided to start writing and linking up for Five on Friday. I think it will be a nice way to recap my week and exciting things that are going on. I'm also excited to link up with other bloggers and find some new blogs and inspiration!

-one- Did anyone else know that Sephora offers free classes? I felt like I hit some sort of gold mine when I found out! I went to my first one on Sunday and it did not disappoint. The class I attended was 'Conceal and Correct'. It's two hours long, either before the store opens or after it closes so it is a very calm environment. They arrange makeup stations for each of the attendees with comfortable chairs and little vanity setups. They demonstrate techniques on a model for everyone to see. Then they determined my exact skin shade and recommended products for me to try. I must have sampled at least 10 products. I ended up buying three, an under eye primer, an awesome concealer, and a setting powder. With purchase of at least $35 they offered a free gift (Sephora is so great with free stuff!) which was actually about a half dozen products stuffed in a little makeup bag. I also got a birthday gift so I left with at least 10 products! It was so much fun and I'm already signed up for a contouring class, as well as a smokey eye class.

-two- I'm on Day 19 of my second round of Whole 30! I had heard that it would harder the second time around but I'm thrilled to say it feels much more automatic this time! Do I still want a glass of wine? Yes. Absolutely yes. But this time I am keeping things much more simple. I'm not making extravagant meals every night. Sometimes chicken and veggies is really good enough.

-three- On the Whole 30 note, I had my first RxBar. Maybe I'm skewed from eating only healthy food for the last 19 days but holy cow, they are amazing! Not to eat for every meal, but so nice to have for an emergency snack. And they are made only with fig, almonds, date, egg whites, and whatever flavoring. I just wish they were easier to find!

-four- I finally started teaching this week! School started August 31st. However, my position is an English as a Second Language teacher. At the beginning of the school year we need to test all new kindergarteners who speak a language other than English at home, in order to determine their language level. We had to test about 60 students. I am SO glad to be finished with that for now and moving on to teaching!

Actually written in my class- how cute

-five- We're moving! When we got married last year, we knew we weren't ready to buy so we rented a duplex in NE Minneapolis. After a lot of discussion we've decided we want to wait even longer to buy so we needed to find a more long term rental. We needed more space, a real dining room, and laundry. Initially we were planning to find a similar place in our current neighborhood but we stumbled upon a beautiful apartment in St. Paul, twice the size of our current place and at a great price. So we're crossing the river!

Linking up!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wedding Wednesday: All the Decisions

Somehow Cody and I unconsiously adopted the same philosophy about wedding planning: "Don't hem and haw." We wanted to make decisions and get on with things. We'd quickly go over our options and weigh pros and cons. Then we would go ahead and tell each other our gut decisions. If one of us felt more strongly than the other, we would go with that.  I am not always extremely decisive but this approach made wedding planning much less stressful!

Photographer: Kokal Photography

I could never say enough good things about Tiffany of Kokal Photography. I seriously think that aside from marrying each other, she was the best decision we made for our wedding. I love, love, love our photos. I stare at them all the time. Not only that, she's an incredible person. Aside from Cody, I probably spent the most time with her that day and she was great to be around!

Videographer: Catch the Sparrow

I didn't know whether I wanted a videographer and I'm so glad we got one. Probably eight weeks before the wedding I remembered that a guy that I'd worked with at Starbucks during grad school had once mentioned that he did wedding videography. I called him up, the price was right, and we booked him! He and his wife came and shot together. They gave us a ton of footage and also produced a cute 'trailer' that was a few minutes long for us to see soon after the wedding.

Caterer: Brie Catering

We looked at a couple of other caterers before this one. We went to a tasting with one that wouldn't give prices beforehand so I was going off of their $$ (out of 4) rating on The tasting was great but then they showed us the estimate and our jaws dropped. Sorry for wasting your time with the tasting! Then, I went to a tasting for a caterer whose prices I knew were reasonable. The food was so average. So I decided to try one more and Brie was it! They just recently changed their name from Lettuce Cater. Everyone at the wedding loved the food. I feel like if wedding food is bad it doesn't really matter and no one really comments on it. But when people comment on how good it is, you know it was really good. They were extremely flexible about accommodating our requests and let us substitute appetizers into our package and change sides. On the day of the wedding, the service was awesome! I'm sure they were paying Cody and I special attention but I felt like I never had to ask for a thing!

Cheese selection

Butler passed hors d'oeuvres - bacon wrapped shrimp, bruschetta, and crab cakes
Stuffed chicken entree

Steak entree
We also had a roasted vegetable entree that people loved but I guess we didn't get a picure!

Bar Service: Mintahoe

They were the only option for bar service for our venue. That makes it simple! They were great about having anything we wanted available. Cody wanted Leinenkugel's beer available for his family from Chippewa Falls. Done. I wanted champagne for the bridal party. Done. They also had flexible packages. We had completely open bar during cocktail hour, then closed it during dinner and had wine and champagne poured. Then we re-opened the bar after dinner for open beer and wine. They tied all of that up into a neat little per person rate.

Post ceremony champagne!

Cake: Buttercream Bakery

We were offered a discount by our caterer if we went with this bakery so we checked it out. Their cake was great and they made really simple, elegant cakes. We had a 4 tier cake that alternated amaretto and neopolitan by tier with, of course, buttercream frosting. Instead of freezing our top tier they will make us a cake for our first anniversary. I just remembered that and am now really excited to get that in a couple months!

Flowers were added by our florist

Floral: Forever in Bloom

Cody's friend had recently been married and worked with Shelli of Forever in Bloom. We checked her out and she came up with the most gorgeous arrangements. She works out of her home and therefore avoids overhead costs and passes those savings on to you. I am completely astonished by what we got from her for what we paid. She worked with us on adjusting our order when we wanted to cut back. She and her husband personally delivered everything and then came back at midnight to pick up vases.

My beautiful bouquet

Bridesmaids' bouquets

Cody's boutonniere

Groomsmens' boutonnieres

Linens: Apres Party and Tent Rental

We rented our linens since the caterer only included black or white. My former roommate works for Apres and knows all things weddings inside and out. We got navy tablecloths and gold runners four our tables. We got a special decorative runner for the cake table. Additionally, we got the amazing sparkling gold cloths for our cocktail tables which we wouldn't have been able to afford if my sweet friend hadn't given us a discount! You can see all of those above.

DJ: Sota Sound Entertainment

Our DJs were two guys Cody went to college with. He had heard them at another wedding and thought they were great. They procured every random song I requested for the ceremony and cocktail hour. My parents friends commented on how they chose great dinner music and the dance was an absolute blast! Lars gets involved wth the crowd and gets everyone dancing and having fun. We were so excited to go to another wedding this summer where they DJed and danced all night.

Officiant: My dad!

My dad was an administrative law judge for over thirty years and now does independent arbitration. Therefore, he is licensed to marry people in the state of Minnesota! He had never done it before but was very touched when we asked him. We didn't have a pastor that knew both of us well so it seemed like a great option and I'm so glad we did. Our ceremony was very personal and meaningful.

My biggest piece of advice with all the endless decisions while wedding planning is not to look at too many different options. If you see the millions of options that are out there you will continue to second guess yourself forever!

Linking up!

To Travel and Beyond