Chapter 7: Expectations

This story is about my wedding night. It is safe for work.



We were covered in glitter.

It had been a beautiful night, until the moment I was covered in glitter. The sinking in the pit of my stomach the moment I realized that my sisters had been unsuccessful in guarding my car still makes me feel sick. Pulling away from the chapel I could feel my cheeks burning red despite the rolled down windows. Brandan’s wedding night surprise felt ruined as we peeled out of the parking lot. That sound is stuck in my head, it was an accident since Brandan had very little experience with the manual transmission in my little car. We drove with silence between us, just the clang of the metal cans behind our car filling our ears.

“Pull over please.” My voice shaking as I tried to contain something between anger and crying.

We pulled into a nearby neighborhood and in my heels and get-away clothes I laid down under the back of my car and tried to cut the cans off with the edge of a key. It took five minutes, the Virginian August humidity still hanging heavy in the dark, the sweat just making the glitter stick and itch. Brandan moved to the passenger seat and I threw the cans in the back of the car. The knots where still on the back of my car when I sold it last year.

“I didn’t want this.” I didn’t really care about the cans, I was referring to the copious amounts of glitter that would forever be ingrained in my car.

“I know, I’m sorry.”

 “Now I’m just upset and I shouldn’t be upset right now.” My voice sobbing. I took a breath then threw the car in reverse, backing into a strangers driveway to reorient myself with the main road.

“I know, I’m sorry. Just breathe.”

And I did.

“Turn left.”

Brandan pulled out a piece of paper with directions to the hotel. He’d been teasing me with it for weeks. I didn’t know where we’d be going for our wedding night. It wasn’t like Brandan to surprise me, or keep things for long. But he had. I didn’t know where we were going, and he apparently did not either.

“Will you just tell me where we’re going now?”

He didn’t say anything until the next direction. “Just keep going through this light.”

“Why would Chrissy let them do that?” Even his surprise couldn’t distract me. “We have to drive to Tennessee tomorrow. We have to drive with the windows down. All of our stuff is going to be covered.” Forget our stuff – we looked like we’d come from a strip club. 

About five minutes later we pulled into the parking lot of a historic bed and breakfast in old town Fredericksburg. I looked over my shoulder at the hotel, the lobby dark as it was almost midnight now. I felt nonplussed. “I’m sorry I’m in a bad mood.”

“It’s not your fault, let’s just go in.”

The bells rang as we pulled the door open, but there was not a person to be seen. We carried our two bags and a cooler my maid of honor had sent along with snacks. Up three stories worth of stairs and down the blue carpeted hall we found our room on the right. Brandan pushed the door open and reached in to turn the light on. It was lovely. Antique bedroom furniture in the first room, a claw foot tub in the bathroom, and a second sitting room with similarly beautiful furniture. Brandan smiled, a little pride coming through. “I thought, ya know… since we’re both into going to historic places… I thought you would think this is cool.”. I nodded. “This is the Stonewall Jackson suite.” And sure enough, the walls were dotted with drawings of Stonewall Jackson.

Still covered in sweaty glitter we decided a shower was in order. A sign in scrolly font informed us that because the pipes were old it could take up to five minutes for the water to heat up.

In hopes of clearing my mind Brandan and I took separate rooms. Closing the door behind me, I opened my small bag on the couch, then turned to the vanity in the corner. My make-up was badly smudged; it looked like I’d applied a whole bottle of mascara then rubbed my eyes. My cheeks were still red, and my hair was frizzy, a halo of humidity-induced tendrils going every which way. 

What a mess. It shouldn’t be like this.

I spent the next few minutes cleaning the make-up off, not wanting to look like a banshee fresh out of the shower. Water-proof mascara is a fickle friend, but with that situation under control I could move to the next task at hand. I opened the door to the bathroom, took a deep breath of the hot steam, then knocked on the door to the bedroom. Brandan opened it, church slacks and a white t-shirt, glitter and blushed cheeks to match mine. I don’t remember what was said though, because seconds later the smoke alarm went off in our room

We hadn’t realized that it was the steam setting off the alarm (true story) so Brandan opened the door to the hallway. Within minutes the hall alarm was going off and other people were coming into the hallway. Brandan acted confused – though I’m sure it was not acting – while I pulled the small cooler from the corner of the room and grabbed my shoe. Standing on my tip-toes on top of a cooler, waving my white patent leather pump at the smoke alarm mounted at the top of the 15 foot ceiling, covered in glitter. This is not what I wanted.


The alarm shut up after a moment, the hall way emptied quickly, and my husband of less than 12 hours re-appeared. I showered alone, antique furniture is loud and non-conducive to wedding night activities, and sleep beckoned – knowing we had an 8+ hour drive ahead of us the next day.

Stonewall Jackson on his deathbed, Brandan being a goofball.

The next morning I signed the guestbook. “Sorry for the glitter, the Reeds.”

This night should’ve been many things. It should’ve been a beginning, a hallmark for the rest of our lives. But it wasn’t. If anything I want to forget it and pretend that we left for a week long honeymoon on an island. Instead we drove to Tennessee so I could start school two days later.

I’m still mad about the glitter, and his family still thinks it’s funny.

But it taught me an important lesson: it doesn’t matter.

None of it. Easily one of the worst nights of my life and it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because it didn’t mean anything. I get to choose what has meaning in my life. I was already married – the end of the night didn’t change that fact. I have a husband who loves me and can forgive me for behaving so selfishly in my anger. I can write it off as a lost, a funny story to tell, and truth be told I ruined the night as much as the glitter did by letting it bother me. My sweet husband – the only thing that matters from that day – has inadvertently turned me into a far less self centered person. It’s a nice feeling.

I feel so grown up.

For the record: there was still glitter in the civic when I sold it.



In my house I have this piece of artwork I made when Ginny was a newborn.


I have everything I need and more…


I walk past it a million times a day, but today I saw it.

I need to remember this now, more than ever.



Health Stuff

I don’t have cancer in my bones! In honor of that announcement, this song has been in my brain as I waited on those results.

<Tiësto feat. Tegan & Sara – Feel It In My Bones>

For clarity: I have Stage 3 Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma. I have a bunch of tumors just under my diaphragm, and one in my chest under my right clavicle as well as preliminary involvement in several different sets of lymph nodes in my chest. Doesn’t matter, having chemo any way. Chemo doesn’t pick and choose what to kill.

My side effects are currently minimal. I’m tired, I’ve had a few headaches, a few weird pains, lots of heart burn, but…honestly… it’s no worse than being pregnant (I had a pretty easy pregnancy).

Tuesday was my bad day. I woke up with a headache, nausea, and back pain that lasted all day. Then it was gone. I don’t have a lot to complain about.

We did a Chemo class this week, and got to consult with an oncology nurse. She said that symptoms tend to stay the same, but they get worse with each cycle. So thus far my cycle is: normal, normal, slightly uncomfortable, uncomfortable, bad day, uncomfortable, normal, normal, normal…. all things considered I literally have nothing to complain about.

Today I did lots of normal things. It was beautiful.

I’m still going to lose my hair. I’m okay with that.

So overall, I’m good. I feel loved. Our fundraiser is moving along and the stress associated with the cost of cancer is going down, little by little. After weeks of stressful waiting that felt like torture, it’s nice to sweep the floors, do the dishes then go shopping for large quantities of toilet paper. Life. Plain, old life.

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You’re invited!

I waited until I had a ring. Then I started hunting for wedding invitations. I went to many paper stores, and any place I could think of that would sell wedding invitations. I was hoping to find some sort of inspiration to establish a color pallet or theme or something. Oddly enough… in the grand scheme of wedding planning, the invitations were one of the last items decided upon.

The price of “professional” personalized invitations eventually led us to look further into making our own. For a while we had planned on doing a black and white theme, so we purchased a kit from Michael’s and it sat around the house for a while… but after a while it just wasn’t going to work. I’m not a fancy enough to person to warrant a black & white affair. After settling on blue and brown we were able to more seriously continue the invitation making endeavours.

We purchased a kit from Target. It came with brown “envelopes” (picture coming) and cream inserts. The inserts were… saved for later. I used the small envelopes and cards for writing thank you notes after the wedding. And from there my Mom went about creating the information inserts for the invitations.

On the front we printed address labels in blue ink:

When you opened up the invitation you were greeted by our picture.

Underneath the picture were the details to our Summer BBQ… and wedding of course!

In the invitations that we gave to people from church we included this card at the top. Figuring out how to incorporate both of the ceremonies was a little tricky.

We also included this card to people whom we are close to, and that we definitely wanted to attend the temple with us:

At the bottom of the envelope was a little pocket.

The enclosed card detailed how our guests could get directions, hotel information, and address for the different venues we would be using. To avoid sending out tons of little envelopes with stamps that might not get used (we sent a lot of invitations as “announcements” rather than as invitations) we also had a place for guests to RSVP on the website.

With all of those little goodies inside the envelopes were folded up and sealed with a “W”.

And there you have it! The invitations!

I guess at some point I may write about the difficulties of having an LDS wedding when the only family members we had in the church were my parents and siblings. Honestly, the pain of things that my own family said to me over the course of the event still stings, over a year and a half later… which is probably why it is not a topic I have touched, and I probably won’t for a while.

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Getting Gussied Up

As mentioned when I blogged about our “budget” – we kept everything pretty low key. The people who put my wedding on are my Moms. Yes, I have more than one. When you move around a lot, there are people who you meet who become instant family. These women that I’ve known, some for the majority of my life, some for a few years, and some only for a few months, put my wedding together. One of these women happens to be a hair stylist. She did my hair for my bridal pictures, and she was ever so gracious is doing my hair for my wedding as well. The other Mamas helped get every body else ready too! So, here are my “Getting ready photos” – it’s kind of a scant section, but what I have will do.

5:05 pm – less than an hour before the ring ceremony starts. It took us a very long time to get from northern DC to Fredericksburg!  This is one of my sister’s dresses. Both of them were my bridesmaids. The Maid of Honor’s dress was blue with a brown belt.

I started the afternoon out by lying on the floor. I had been up since 3 something in the morning and was completely exhausted. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who felt this way… but I was the only one who laid down on the ground.

I got up off of the floor when two of my college roommates showed up. They came all the way up from Tennessee! Hmm… love!  The two people behind me came to Virginia all the way from Georgia! I’ve known them since I was a freshman in highschool.

I already had my jewelry on by this point. Brandi was curling my hair to give it a little more volume so it would look better in my up-do. Naturally I kept my veil on… THE ENTIRE DAY… so there aren’t actually any pictures of the back of my head.

According to our budget… I did my own make-up. Which was perfectly fine because I got a lot of compliments on it. I went very simple, and kind of understated. This is actually the same make-up I wear every day, plus lipstick. I did it that way because I knew that my normal make-up looked good. Why fix something that isn’t broken?!

Here is the Wendy-lady (she came all the way from Utah!) doing Chrissy hair (the maid of honor).

I gave Teresa, my sister and flower girl, this necklace. Isn’t she a cutie!

And that, sadly, is where my getting ready pictures end. Why? Because as soon as I was done with hair and make-up I disappeared. I went to an empty part of the church, and wrote down what I wanted to say to B-man. Yes. I procrastinated THAT much. As soon as I was finished it was… about 6. So I got dressed in the bathroom with just my Mom. Then she hurried out to be walked down the aisle and I slowly walked the hallways to meet my Dad at the back of the church. The next time any one saw me was like this:

Pictures by Alea Bryar. Except the last one. My Aunt Cyndi took this one.

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Home decorating…

For Christmas my sister in law gave me hundreds of 5 x 7’s of the wedding pictures she took for us. It is such a beautiful gift, and I have spent a good deal of time looking through them. I don’t really have the money or patience to hang hundreds of little frames, so I needed to come up with a quick way to hang up a bunch of these pictures. It felt like such a pity letting them sit in boxes!

So this is what I came up with. I would love to do this AROUND a room, but it just wouldn’t work here. Maybe in an office… but not here. So, to qualm my itch to display these pictures, I bought mini laundry clips and some ribbon, and behold!

And now 24 of my wedding pictures are up on display in the living room. 🙂 I also threw in our first picture together in college… four years ago, and a few of my bridal pictures. Since we’re moving in a few months, I don’t want to spend tons of money on personalizing this home any more, because it might not work in our next home… ya know?

So, tell me… what’s the most creative home-decoration you’ve ever used?

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A Clandestine Example of my Craziness.

Disclaimer: If you like snowglobes, don’t take offense to my opinions. Also, this is an impecible example of how selfish I can be. I’m not usually so ridiculous. B-man brings out the best, and the worst in me some times. So while I am embarrassed about this, the story is ummm… worth you all knowing what a terrible person I can be.

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary. I’m not sure how people usually celebrate these kinds of things. We don’t have much by way of experience, so we just kind of …winged it. Almost too late we decided we should exchange gifts. Too late to buy anything on the internet, we decided to make a trip to the mall. I already knew what I wanted to get the B-man, so we set our time limit (an hour), our price limit ($100), and our meeting place (in front of Dillards). We had both managed to leave our phones at home – so we couldn’t just call to meet up. It’s okay though. I headed into Dillards, and he went the opposite direction.

An hour later we ran into each other. I had my gift, a card, and a pretty box to put it in.

He had nothing.

So we set up another meeting time, and I told him where the Hallmark store was so he could pick out a card.

30 minutes later, we met up again… still no present for me. At this point I decided I would follow him around. Of course, I didn’t want to be sneaky… so I just walked right next to him. We went to the Potterybarn.

“This was the only place that I could find what I wanted to get you.” He explained. I walked around the store, quizzically looking at everything. There was no jewelry in this store! Bah! How could he be buying my anniversary gift at a home goods store?!?!?!? I was a little bit distraught. Then he said…

“It’s frustrating because I could find what I want to get you at any Target or Wal*mart, but not here.” At this point I was pissed. They don’t sell fine jewelry or anything fancy at Target, or Wal*mart. What the heck was he thinking? Were my hints not clear enough? Had I not made it perfectly clear that I wanted something sparkly? Truth be told… he didn’t even remember me telling him what I wanted. I’m still learning to not expect anything said within an hour of bed-time to stick. It just slips away into dream land.

So at this point I am thoroughly upset, and I’m having a hard time masking it. Then we walked past “Things Remembered.” Ya know, that little knick-knack store were you can get anything engraved. As we walked past I pointed it out, and he declared that, perhaps, they had what he was looking for. I left him to peruse and I walked over to Kay’s jewler. I got my rings cleaned. And then tried on something sparkly. Why couldn’t he just get me this? About 15 minutes later I decided I would go take a peak, and see if he was still perusing, or if he was almost done. As I peaked around the corner, I saw him standing at the register. I didn’t look again. I would hate to ruin the surprise. Which is a lie. I hate surprises, but I was trying to be nice. I stood behind the gaudy snow globe display, my head down, thinking about what a wreck this idea had turned into. I happened a glance in the direction of my husband, and to my horror and disdain the clerk behind the counter was holding… a snow globe. What?! I had never told B-man about my disdain for snow globes, ridiculous winter-themed items that people keep out all year long. Where was I going to put it? There is not room in my house! It was a big one too… pink… shiny… glittery. I hate glitter. And snow globes. This was a wreck. I looked away quickly, back to the snowglobes in front of me. Bah! I wasn’t going to be able to be nice. I felt it inside of me… that little monster who some times comes out when I get very selfish.

B-man returned to me “Did you look?” I responded no, coldly. He informed me that it wouldn’t be ready immediatly, so we would have to come back tomorrow. Great. I’m going to have to try and be happy for a whole day. Gah!

Back to the story. He told me it would be ready in an hour, but that we could just get it tomorrow. I told him we could go to Target and walk around, and then just go back and pick it up. I was almost seething. My sentances were short. How could he THINK I would want a snow globe? A pink glittery snow-globe. My husband had lost his mind! As we walked around target, I saw a giant, old-fashioned style alarm clock. Giant, with bells on top of it. B-man has been having a hard time getting up in the morning. Our phones are kind of whimpy in the alarm department. So I picked it up .

“Happy Anniversary” I mumbled, shoving it towards him. I didn’t look at him, and just kept walking down the aisles.

“Is this my gift?” He asked.

“Yeah, is it disappointing?” I asked. I could’ve handed him anything from that store, and the situation wouldn’t have seemed any different to me. I was handing him a random item, and calling it a gift. One that he was going to pay for. I was being mean. He just stood there. I kept walking. As I heard his footsteps approaching me, he said

“I’ll just tell you what I got you. There are two themes for anniversaries. Traditional and Modern. I wanted to get you something from both. So for the modern one I got you a clock, at the mall… to represent the time we’ve spent together, and the time we will spend together in the future…”

I froze. He thought I had handed him the clock, telling him what a disappointing gift it was, because I was mad that he got me a clock.

Then I laughed.

The poor man. He married a crazy.

He asked me if I had seen it at the store. I swore that I hadn’t. But he thought I had, which was why I was handing him the clock.

I managed through my relieved laughter that I had seen the clerk holding up a snow globe, and understanding flashed across his face.

Crisis averted, monster Jessica put into her place, I heaved a sigh of relief.

“I didn’t know that you don’t like snow globes…” B-man informed me. I guess it’s not something I talk about a lot.

There are two morals to this story.

  1. Never buy my a snow globe
  2. My husband is smarter than I give him credit for.

We finished up at Target, and then went back to the mall to pick up his gift for me. We then went home, wrapped up the gifts, and then gave them to each other at mid-night. I think B-man was worried that if he made me wait until the next day Jessica-monster would come out again. Smart man.

After his explanation of the two themes (the traditional one being paper for the first anniversary, and the modern being the clock), I decided to join the fun.

I gave him this box. And inside this box was:

A card…

Something for his paper…

And something for his time…

The first one was a new wallet (for his papers), since he’s still carrying the first wallet he ever got, and the second one, for his time was…

A video game. I know it seems weird as an anniversary gift, but my husband thought it was the perfect gift, and he was genuinely excited about it. Which made me feel a little better about myself. lol. The wallet won’t hold everything he likes to carry around, so we got a different one at Target, and I’ll have to return the first one.

Then I got to open my present, which included a beautiful engraved clock…

And a journal, with a sweet first entry by my husband. I love empty journals. So much potential. 🙂

And then I felt like an idiot for the way I had behaved.

After gifts we went to sleep, and the next day we went to Bravo! for lunch. We’ve never been, but it was delicious and I would definitely recommend it.

I got the cheese ravioloi with alfredo, tomatoe and pine-nut pesto sauce.

And yes… it was delicious.

Happy Anniversary B-man. Thanks for marrying me even though I can be a crazy person. I love you to the moon, around a few times, and back… forever. Which really isn’t long enough if you ask me.

Sorry. Thank you. I love you.

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My Semi-Vacation.

Last summer I attended two weddings…

The first being a friend’s, the second being:

MINE! And actually… I think I went to one more, but I don’t have photographic evidence, so maybe I’m making that up. Who knows!

I also attended two graduations. My little sister Becca graduated from HS last summer

And B-man graduated from Virginia Tech!

It was such a beautiful day!

After his graduation my husband and I traveled to Florida for a week of celebration. We stayed in a hotel room with my Dad (umm… we weren’t hitched yet), and we bought 5-day passes to Disney World.

Despite the rain…

We tried to have…

But really, you can only take so much rain.

We decided not to use the last day on our 5-day ticket because well… it was raining.

I would also like to point out that, in every picture of my husband wearing a rain poncho, he has managed to rip it. Except the first picture – because we had just bought him a new one… for the third time.

Any way, I tell you all of this to compare my entire summer of last year, to the last week of my life (the first week of this summer).

We’ve been to one wedding:

With plans to attend another wedding in July.

We also went on another rain-filled vacation. There are no pictures of this because I was kind of upset about it… so I just slept a lot. Sorry. But here’s a picture to represent all of the sleep I did!

Then we went to my best friend’s graduation from the University of Virginia!

I did a lot more, and intend on being a bit more specific about these events, but I was just surprised at how we managed to cram an entire summer’s worth of events into one week! Ah!

Between May 14th and May 24th I drove 1,954 miles. Yeah… that’s just a rough estimate made by using Google maps and inputting every leg of our trip. Maybe I need to get my oil changed. lol.

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The Inspirations!

I’m kind of a crazy person. And a copy-cat galore.

On occasion I can be creative, but usually I see other things and then recreate them. My wedding was no exception. I originally wanted an outdoor wedding. My ceremony was outdoors, but we did the reception inside for the A/C and because we needed a rain-back-up-plan. But, I wanted to share where some of my ideas started!

The first thing I did was google “Mormon Ring Ceremony.” What can I say? I was desperate! The only information I had was a paragraph from a book. Not a lot. But I needed more than just a description of what it was. I needed a guide. A serious planning guide. I’m kind of big on lists. After searching through tons and tons of websites and flipping through pages of google results, I landed on the Wedding Bee website. The I found Mrs. Avocado (now That Wife) – and her detailed blog of their ring ceremony was the best thing I could’ve asked for.

I loved everything about her ceremony. It was small and intimate. I used hers as the bones for what I wanted to do. There will be more about that in the post about the actual ceremony. I did take some decorating cues from her wedding though. The one big thing I was inpisred by was her Chandelier that she had hanging over their ceremony. It was so pretty and beautiful.

Photo By Kelli Nicole Photography

I ended up going a little more homemade, and didn’t have the time to burn the candles for the cool phantom-candle effect, but I think my version was perfect for us!

I had some ideas about the invitations. I drew up probably 10 different options. I looked at hundreds.

And we ended up doing this:

And this was the actual invite. My mom designed them. All of the borders and everything!

For the ceremony I had big plans. I wanted something like this:

Or this:

And I decided on this:

And even though our plans went back and forth and around the moon, my Mom pulled this off! It was funny, after the fact she said “hey… this was just like that drawing you sent. Because well… I sent the drawing to her just a month after I got engaged (a year before I got married)!!

My reception plans looked something like this:

But were changed because August in Virginia means *HIGH CHANCE OF RAIN*!

The last thing I wanted was a very small cake. I was an economical bride. I just needed something simple to cut with the hubs. Back when I was feeling the wild flowers I drew this design:

And what we got was… hmm… bigger.  It was only two teirs, but the wonderful woman who made it for us included tiers. I guess it made it more of a focal point, but I was kind of taken back when I saw it.

Now you see that cake topper? It is the exact same one my Mama had on her cake at her wedding! I actually saved hers, when she was going to throw it away. So we bought a new one off of ebay. It arrive in all of it’s 1990’s glory with those big white flowers!

In my Mom’s wedding, some one added PINK flowers to it, to make it fit with the color scheme. I actually had plans to just use the little statue, but I kind of got over ruled. One of the small problems of letting some one else plan your wedding – you’re not around for every little detail. That’s ok though. My Mama added the blue ribbon, and little flowers, and it looked beautiful, and it made me happy having just one more connection to my Mama.

So there are the majority of my wedding inspirations – the big ones. I did spend a fair amount of time on The Knot surfing through color organized pictures, and thousands of different ideas.

Tell me: What, or who was your wedding inspiration?

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Wedding Attire.

I’m not really a fancy dresser. A lot of that comes from my self loathing, hating my own body, ect – and part of it comes from my unwillingness to submit and try on clothes that are likely to fit me, instead of clothes I know won’t fit. It’s a struggle, considering I used to be a healthy size 12. Now I would love to wear a 12. Regardless. I have been trying to vamp up my wardrobe a little bit.

Today we are going to a friend’s wedding. She, my husband, and I have known each other for many years, considering we went to high school together. I needed to find something a little bit fancier than my normal fair – so I bought this dress at Target.

There were a million adorable white dresses, and a ton of black dresses. Both of which you can’t really wear to a wedding. So I begrudgingly tried this dress on and wow! I was really pleased with it. The dress fits nicely, the sleeves are modest and feminine, and now I just need to pick out the right shoes!

Congrats Heather & Patrick! B-man and I wish you a lifetime of happiness!

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Millions of peaches, peaches for free!

So today B-man and I drove four hours down to Buford GA to see one of our dear friends from high school get married! On the way down we stopped at this little restaurant:

We’re trying to branch out, but everything tasted like it was fresh out of a can – and that McDonald’s was a bit more appatizing. That is the second time “home cooking” turned out to be “canned then heated.” Hmmm… why can’t I be like Guy Ferri and find the good places??? Shame on Edna… whomever she may be. Any way, back to the wedding.


Heather made a beautiful bride, seriously.

The ceremony was short, sweet, simple, and beautiful.

I had never met the groom, and was kind of worried he might be a dud. Ya know, some times that happens. But, it turns out he really is the perfect match for Heather, and they are so beautifully in love. (No offense P-dog, I’d never met ya!)

The Wedding Cake was also beautiful (and delicious, I might add).

the Groom’s cake… a little nerdy!

But it was a beautiful reunion, definitely worth the trip.

I am so happy for you Heather, and B-man and I wish you both a life full of happiness, patience, kindness, and love. That second one there is what keeps everything together when the other three are missing! Have fun in Vegas chica!

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Decorating with out candles…

If you have ever been to a Mormon wedding in the cultural hall… you will know that there are no candles. There are fake candles, but no real ones. This can be a big stop for LDS brides, because candles set the mood, they give off a hint of elegance, and make every look 5 pounds slimmer. So, many brides go the route of those battery powered tea-lights. Ick! They do not offer enough light to be worth it, and at best they only take off one pound. Plus they can be unsightly unless your candle holder is tall, and closed. My mom had stocked up on these little devils, but thankfully we went a different route.

I was a (relatively) cheap bride. We spent less than $8000 on the whole wedding. While it was nothing you would see in any kind of wedding magazine, it was still beautiful. We did decide to do it at the local chapel, for two reasons. a) it was free. Free space, free chairs, free tables, free kitchen… the list goes on. b) At first I wanted to do it at home. But, after some number crunching, and the lack of a rain back-up-plan, I agreed to do it at the church. I wasn’t thrilled. I will be honest. I have seen many a cultural hall wedding where the basket-ball hoop is in the couple’s first dance pictures, and the carpeted brown/red walls overpower any other color present in the room. I did NOT want that.

Of course, thanks to my smart Mama (I had to get it from some where!) and he wedding crew, my cultural hall wedding was perfect and beautiful!

After the ceremony guests walked the short distance into the chapel. They were greeted by the guest book, and one of our engagement pictures.

The overhead lights were turned off before the party started, trust me!

The buffet would soon be full of food. We had delicious B-B-Que Pork, a long with other summer favorites, like water melon, potato salad, and coleslaw, among other things. I’m sure there were more vegetables, but I was starving, and I think I just ate the pork. Sadly the white dress required that I skip the watermelon.

The tables were set with brown linens, and eight chairs at each round table.

It was easy for us to find our seats, I mean… who could miss ’em!? I still have these seat ties, and I’m still trying to think of a good use for them. Any suggestions? lol.

The center pieces consisted of blue and white hydrangeas in watering cans of half of the tables, and a potted tall hydrangea on the other half.

Each table also had a reception schedule. We got this idea from another bride who had been married earlier in the summer, and it worked very well at her wedding. At mine… not so much. We took far too much time taking pictures (well… it was really fast, but still a little longer than we had hoped) and so we were always a bit off the schedule. A nice idea, but only if you can stick to it.

Each guest seat looked like this:

The little tins were from Ikea, and each one had a small brown bag full of blue and white M & M’s, my favorite candy. They also had a small glass the toasting that would happen later in the evening.

Each table also had mints and peanuts on it. We did serve dinner, but snacks are always welcome, right? We still have a ton of those mints in our house… I wonder how long those last? Nine months? Maybe it’s time to throw them out. Hmm…

We also thanked ourselves for coming! lol. No, the special part of this picture is the crystal glasses that B-man and I used for toasting. These belong to my grandparents, who used them at their 50th wedding anniversary.

We had a second backdrop in the reception hall, very similar to the one outdoors. The cieling was draped with gauzy floaty fabric, with icicle lights and white Chinese lanterns. We also petitioned the “dance floor” off with rope lights and more floaty fabric.

I’m going to have to stop here. Because if I share any more pictures… they won’t be “decor” related… and then I can’t use them later. lol.

Overall I think my Mama (and her crew) did a wonderful job of turning the indoor reception area into the starry night, tent covered event I had envisioned. To be honest, I’m sure my guests were thankful for the A/C, and much happier than an outdoor reception would’ve left them.

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Save The Date!

This was a haphazard project. I had already made the mistake of not telling every one I was getting married, and then accidental announcing it on Facebook (before I had figured out that “Reply All” is the default setting. Oops. Regardless, we needed to make things a bit more official, and hand out some more information. I only sent these to relatives, and maybe a few people who lived a far away. Every one else was just invited to the Facebook group.

So I threw this little number together:

Along the bottom was our wedding website. We didn’t have a color scheme yet, so I used some orange ribbon and sent them along with out Christmas cards, which were Orange and football themed. Plus it saved on postage. I know… I’m kind of cheap, but hey! We were also sending out graduation announcements and a ton of Christmas cards, so… yeah… stamps are expensive!

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My Outdoor Wedding.

Okay guys, I had big dreams. I drew lots of pictures. One of them was this precious depiction of what I wanted.

Sorry it looks so green. Pretend the green is white. Those bows are blue.

When I e-mailed this to my Mama, she said it looked pretty, but that she wasn’t sure we would be able to pull it off. Then we were through a few different stages. There was the Yellow, Black & White stage, then the Black & White stage, then… maybe we threw in some pink. Then, I stuck with my guns and said “I definitely want blue.” So we went with Blue & Brown. Hmm… I’m so glad we did!

And so we ended up with this:

My Mama is a visionary. And she is amazing. The trees, the flowing backdrop, the chairs with blue bows! It was perfect!

My Daddy built that backdrop, and from the top hangs a chandelier. When we purchased the thing, it looked like this (with out the fake candles) :

Then I made it look like this:

A little paint, some string, and some beads! Took me less than two hours with the help of my little sister Tess.

Speaking of Tess ( and all the other little kiddos who came), I wanted it to feel comfortable and relaxed, with a touch of class. Often times weddings can be boring for kids, and I’m sure mine was no different. But, to make things a little more interesting, we laid quilts out to represent the first “row” of chairs for kids to come up and sit on.

It didn’t catch on as much as I had hoped, but I’m sure that was because parents didn’t want their kids to be distracting. That’s okay, I really liked it – and I’m glad that my younger siblings were able to be up front and “in the action.”

The ceremony was short, but perfect for us. The sun was setting, my family was there, and I wouldn’t change a single thing. It fit us perfectly, and I loved it.

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The Patch Kids

I grew up with the unique oppertunity to move around the world and meet new people. I will forever be thankful for the people I met and the places I saw and the things I was able to do.

Considering B-man and I went to college in Germany, we were getting married in VA, and I have lived in 9 states and 2 countries in Europe (these numbers are not equal to the number of moves, which might be almost twice as much). A lot of moving. Trust me. With the advent of the internet (you know… like last year), I have been very lucky to keep in touch with people. Some times it is in the stalkerish way on Facebook, and some times it is a little more productive.

I don’t know if this number will surprise any one else, but including B-man and I, there were NINE people from Patch High School at our wedding.

Yes, one is my sister, and one is his brother, but they rest of them came of their own accord. There was Da Brother’s date, whom he knew from HS, my Maid of Honor, Chrissy, Jessica M. – who was first chair flute in Concert Band… she sat right in front of me. She also drove from North Carolina to see me! Then there is Sarah, who’s family also moved to VA, we were in show-choir together!

Then there is Paulo (Umm… the “o” is additional… I don’t think it’s on his birth certificate) and he and I were very good friends in HS. He came all the way from new Mexico! It was so good to see him because, aside from Jessica, I hadn’t seen him since graduation!

Sometimes it can be difficult to up and move, but lucky for me I have made some wonderful friends. Friends who are willing to travel across the country just to celebrate with B-man and I. I guess it was kind of a two-fer, since every one knew both the Bride and the Groom!

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Making Things Official

Making things legal was complicated. I was living in Tennessee at the time, B-man was living in Mid-Virginia, and we were getting married in Maryland. We had to sign it in front of a notary of some sort who would then sign off on it. Well, it was quite a hassle to find some one to sign it. Most of the Tennessee Government entities that I contacted said they would not sign out of state wedding papers. Hmm. We ended up doing it on campus for free. Then we just had to send a money order of like $50 and we were legal to marry!

This picture is our application with a picture of us. This picture is very special to me. It was taken on one of my trips home. I had stopped just to say hello to the B-man. He had a girlfriend at the time, but we were just friends. It’s the proof to me on rough days that we really are perfect for each other, because even when we weren’t “together” he made me exceptionally happy.

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The Wedding Budget

I am often surprised when people talk about how much money they spent on their wedding. Some times I am in pure shock. I was very blessed in that my parents paid for my wedding, but also that my mom is a very crafty, thrifty person.

When I started planning my wedding, I drew a couple of pictures, gave my mom a few suggestions, and let her run with it. She really is wedding planner extraordinare. The funny thing is, we went through many many phase of ideas, and the glorious part is, we landed back right where we had started. I would like to say “we” when talking about wedding planning, but I really don’t feel like I deserve very much credit at all. I picked out some colors, collected addresses, tried on dresses, posed for pictures, and wrote a million thank-you notes.

So here are some of the ways that “we” saved money:

  1. Fake Flowers: I’ll do you one better. Fake Flowers, from IKEA. My mom purchased the majority of the flowers for the decor and bouquets at IKEA. The funny thing, shortly after she bought all of them, they were marked down 75%…. so she took them back, and re-purchased them for the severely reduced price. This may seem like a TON of hassle, but it saved a lot of money.
  2. Use Your Resources: I am so blessed that so many people chipped in for my wedding. If people had not donated their time and talents, I probably would’ve gone with out, or had it on a much smaller scale. What am I talking about? Well, here is the list of PEOPLE who donated their time and talent:a) The Baker – She made our cake, and we only had to supply the ingredients.
    b) The DJ – who did an awesome job.
    c) The Photographers – I was lucky enough to have two amazing women who photographed my wedding (and our temple exit, and the rehearsal, and getting ready and my bridal portraits).
    d) The Seamstresses – The dresses that my bridesmaids wore were made by hand, and they were beautiful.
    e) The Florist – There was a group of women from the ward who spent an entire afternoon making (fake) floral arrangement for my wedding.
    f) The Decorators – So many people love me. So many people who don’t even know me.
    g) The Chefs – We did a BBQ dinner, with all homemade food. There were women at my house, cooking, for days in advance.
    h) The Clean-up Crew – after we left, the same people who had help set up, along with family, and friends, cleaned up everything so that the building would be ready for church. I was surprised, and touched by how many people stayed to help my parents.
  3. We cheated. I wanted an outdoor tented reception, but because of the fear of rain, we moved it inside. While my mom was ready to make a canopy for using inside the church, another beautiful bride lent us hers. We used plastic rolls of table covering to hide the red carpeted walls. It was perfect.
  4. My Daddy built the Pillar Decor that acted as our back drop outside, and another one for inside.
  5. I made the chandelier that hung out side during our ceremony. I was inspired by Jenna (Mrs. Avocado’s inspiring picture), and her beautiful chandelier from her ceremony. We bought mine on ebay, it was green. I painted it, and then bedazzled it.
  6. We did not have to rent anything. A lot of people think “I don’t want to have my wedding in the cultural hall” but by saving the money it would cost to rent another building (and tables, and white linens, and chairs…) you can put that money towards awesome decor. We did not rent a single one of the above listed items.
  7. We purchased linens, instead of renting. After paying to rent, and then clean the chair covers, and the table linens, you could’ve bought them! So my Mom did. I spoke with her on the phone today, and she said that they have already been used 6 or 7 times in other events!
  8. We borrowed my Grandma’s electric piano for the outdoors processional music.
  9. I asked a close family friend to sing my our favorite hymn (Come Thou Fount).
  10. Brandan’s Aunt played the piano for us, and she did so beautifully, despite me asking her last minute. She is such a talented woman. I aspire to be like her.
  11. I also asked a family friend to conduct our ceremony. Bishop had known me for seven years, and it was so special to have him there.
  12. We borrowed DJ equipment. We had speakers and a microphone for outside, and the stuff that the indoor DJ needed as well.
  13. We borrowed a car. Not for the driving away part – oh how I wish we had though. No. After out temple sealing my best friend lent us her car so B-man and I could drive home in peace and quiet, as a married couple, and reflect and talk. It was an hour+ drive, and my car has no AC. It was so nice to have that short quiet time together in the middle of the chaotic day. I can not thank her enough for trusting me.
  14. We bought my dress on Ebay. Even buying two dresses was still cheaper than most people spend!
    {A caveat about Ebay: Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. You’ll never know unless you take a chance. Plus, if you don’t get what you were expecting, Ebay (the company) and the seller (who depends on your ratings) will fix it. I know it can be scary to buy things online from strangers, but the benefits usually outweigh the minimal risks.}

The list could go on and on. The lesson to be learned? If you don’t have your heart set on something specific, see who’s talents you can pull from!

So, what is the magic number? It’s pretty impressive. My wedding cost:


Yup… my wedding and reception with a full meal, and 100+ people was only that much. Proof that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a big beautiful wedding. You just have to know people, and be willing to ask, and eventually return the favor.

I am forever indebted to those who so willingly helped my Mom plan my wedding while I was away at school, and for every one who donated their time and talent.

So tell me… how much was your wedding?

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