Monday, August 30, 2010


This past weekend we helped celebrate Kristian's grandmothers 90th birthday!!! On Saturday night we went to his grandmother's house where the whole family gathered for dinner and drinks. All of the aunts and uncles were in attendance and I finally got to meet the one uncle, whose a brain surgeon btw, that I still had left to meet. He unfortunately couldn't make it to our wedding though his wife (my FIL's sister did come to the wedding). It was a great night and K's grandmother seemed to really enjoy herself. She's actually in amazing shape physically and mentally for a 90 year old.

I have to say that part of the evening was a tad awkward for us. See Kristian's cousin and his wife were also at the party. They also recently got married back in July. We weren't able to attend the wedding so this was my first time meeting them both.

We ran into K's mom outside when we first arrived and she mentioned that it turned out that his cousins wedding pictures didn't come out well at all. Apparently they had a friend of the family take the photos. Not sure if the photographer was a professional or just someone with a fancy camera but regardless most of their pictures came out blurry and out of focus. Needless to say they were very upset. And I can't blame them, I would have been devastated!

After hearing this I made a point to not talk too much about our wedding and definitely not our pictures. This worked out fine until one of Kristian's other aunts arrived (she went to both of our weddings) and immediately started gushing about how fabulous she thought our pictures are and how they should be in a magazine etc. etc. Right in front of K's cousin. She made no mention of their wedding despite having just gone to it. I just thanked her, said we liked the pictures as well and tried to change the subject.

She then sits down and takes out her camera to start taking pictures of everyone. She took one of me and Kristian and again starts going on and on about how were so photogenic and look so good together etc. She really didn't say anything to Kristian's cousin but did take their picture as well.

Then during dinner they were all asking about our honeymoon in St. Lucia and saying how they've heard so many wonderful things about it. Kristian's cousins wife started talking about their upcoming belated honeymoon to Jamaica which no one seemed all that interested in. Again cue the awkwardness.

Towards the end of the night the cousin's wife asked us if we lived close by (they live out of state and don't make it down to the area very often). We said we lived about 30 minutes away and she was like "oh you must come over a lot, you must be the favorite grand-child". Uhhh. How do you respond to that?! We just kind of laughed it off and didn't say much.

It was really nice to hear all the compliments about our wedding and our photos but I just felt incredibly uncomfortable and bad for his cousins. And maybe they didn't notice or didn't care but I still felt bad about the whole situation. Fortunately these aren't cousins that we will see very often since they live several states away.

Have any of you been in a similar situation where your wedding was being compared to another couples right in front of both of you? How did you handle it?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wed-cap: The Rehearsal Dinner

After we finished up with the rehearsal at the venue we headed over to The Fish Market restaurant for the rehearsal dinner. The place is definitely nicer than the name implies! Kristian's parents very generously offered to host the dinner which saved us a lot of money.

We had around 50 people at the R.D. which is admittedly more than I really wanted. I had wanted to have a smaller, more intimate rehearsal dinner with just the people that were actually a part of the wedding ceremony and their dates/spouses. My mother in law invited a few of her friends that were coming in from out of town for the wedding as well as Kristian's whole extended family that was invited to the wedding. Granted it was more than I wanted but since she was the one planning and paying for the event I pretty much just let her have free reign over everything including the guest list. Ultimately I enjoyed having everyone there, it was nice to be able to talk to everyone the night before since I knew we wouldn't have as much time at the reception to do so.

The food was great (though I didn't eat much due to nerves) and the drinks were flowing. My mother in law did a great job with all the decorations and setup. Kristian's uncle was kind enough to be the official photographer for the night and took over 200 pictures of the dinner. Below are just a few of my favorites.

My MIL blew up one of the pictures of us from our engagement party and framed the R.D. invitation. The flowers are extras from the flowers they used for our reception arrangements.

She had cute little shell shaped bottle openers and candy as favors for everyone.

Kristian and his mom


After the drinks started to kick in.

We had the entire upstairs room to ourselves. The restaurant is located on King Street which is a very busy, popular street in Old Town Alexandria VA. The street is lined with cute little shops and bars and those windows gave us a great view of all the action on the street that night.

The view of the other side of the room.

Chatting with my MOH Krista and our reader Ashley and their husbands.

We had a head table which included all the bridesmaid and groomsmen and their dates. This was a similar setup to what we did at the reception.

Kristian and his groomsmen

Me and my AOII girls.

This is a picture of me giving Kristian's sister her bridesmaid gift. I gave all the girls little makeup bags full of items they may need the next day like hairspray, gum, bobby pins etc. I also gave them each a black and white damask clutch.

My bridesmaids Kelli and Colleen holding up their makeup bags. Each had a button with their first initial on the front.

I don't have any pictures of it but Kristian gave all the boys Swiss Army Knives which he knew they would all use and appreciate.

We gave our parents picture frames that had our wedding invitation wording engraved on one side and space for a wedding picture on the other.

Kristian's dad gave a very touching speech welcoming me and my family into his and telling Kristian how proud he is of him etc. His dad is a really great speaker.

This picture makes me laugh. The lady facing the camera is my mom. The lady she is talking to is a friend of my MIL. Check out the almost identical outfits. They could be twins!!

Me and Kelli...she is the girl whose baby shower I went to last weekend. She was like 5 1/2 months pregnant at the wedding.


We were given bead necklaces to wear for the night.
My mother in law did a really fantastic job putting the whole dinner together. I couldn't have been happier with how everything turned out. I just wish I hadn't been so anxious that I could have enjoyed all the amazing food.
After the dinner we went back to the hotel where I proceeded to get very little sleep.
What did/will you do for your rehearsal dinner?

The How We Met Story

So after my post yesterday I got a few requests to give more details on how Kristian and I met. Well you ask and you shall receive! I've written about how we met before but here's the story again for those that have recently joined the party I like to call my blog.

I wish I could say we had some movie worthy meet-cute type of story but that's not the case. Though how many people actually have that nowadays?? Kristian and I met the same way most people meet what I like to call the 21st century version of meeting in a bar. Surprisingly it does work.

But it wasn't an easy or pain-free process. At least not for me. See I had been doing the whole online dating thing for a while. About 3 years on and off. What can I say, it was like shopping for a boyfriend from the comforts of my house while wearing pajama's.

I had had a few relationships here and there thanks to the Internet but obviously nothing that stuck. Well in August of 2008 I signed back up for match for like the billionth time after taking a few month hiatus. It was easy to get burned out on match, especially after a series of ridiculous dates. Shortly after re-activating my account I got an email from Kristian. Honestly I don't totally remember what it said. But I do remember thinking he was cute in his pictures and let's be real that's the main thing people look at anyway.

I must say I came very close to not writing him back....but only because he was geographically undesirable and lived about 45 minutes away...thankfully I said what the hell and did respond, much to his delight. We wrote back and forth a few times before finally setting up a date. I was/am not a fan of talking on the phone especially to strangers so we hadn't spoken on the phone prior to meeting.

When I walked into the restaurant for our first date I definitely thought he was cute though I admit it wasn't love at first sight for me quite like it was for him (his words not mine!). But then again I was horribly cynical and jaded back then. We had a fantastic date and the rest as they say is history. I left for the beach the next day with my family for a week but we texted everyday until I returned home and had our second date and we've been together ever since.

The "cute" part of our story I guess could be the fact that Kristian claims he emailed me via match earlier in the year around January but I never responded. I think it's because I was sort of dating someone else at the time. He said he was very disappointed because I was the one girl he wanted to hear back from (obviously). So when he saw me online again in August he couldn't wait to contact me and was super excited when this time I did in fact respond. I was the third girl he met from the site (he was like the 300th guy I had met) and I guess for him third time was the charm.

It's true what they say about timing, because if we had met back in January it probably wouldn't have worked because I was still not 100% over my ex at the time. By August I free of that mess and ready to move on and what do you know, THAT's when I met my husband.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2 years ago today....

- I put on my new little grey dress that I had never worn before.

- I nervously drove to a restaurant I had never been to before.

- I walked into the bar area of said restaurant and spotted a handsome man waiting for me.

- I had an amazing dinner and fantastic conversation with said handsome man and was even asked the question "So what are your thoughts on marriage?"

- I was walked to my car after said dinner with said handsome man and gave him a big hug and told him to keep in touch while I was at the beach for the upcoming week.

- I drove home giddy and excited.

- I went on my very last first date.

- I met the man I now call my husband.

- My life forever changed.

Monday, August 23, 2010

It's Shower Time

This past weekend I attended a Baby Shower/30th Birthday Party for one of my oldest friends and bridesmaid Kelli who will be welcoming her first child (a son) in about a month. She also turned 30 this weekend so there was a lot to celebrate!!

Baby showers are definitely more fun than wedding showers in my opinion, primarily because the gifts are way cuter. Let's be honest a blender and a toaster oven aren't very exciting gifts to watch being opened.

I was able to see some of my sorority sisters and friends from high school that I haven't seen in a while. The great thing about Kelli is that since we were on the dance team together in high school and a part of the same sorority in college we know the same people from both of those parts of our lives.

The shower was held at Kelli's townhouse and hosted by her older sister. She did a great job with all the food and the setup.

Our sorority sister Candace made this AWESOME ECU themed diaper wreath. I've seen diaper cakes before but never a diaper wreath and with all the baby stuff attached I thought it was such a fabulous gift/decorative piece. Candace already promised when I have a kid she's going to make a wreath for my shower that is half ECU and half VA Tech to cover both Kristian and my school.

Me with the mother to rubbing the belly contagious?? Isn't Kelli the cutest pregnant lady? All of my pregnant friends including Kristen (who gave birth a month ago) and Krista (whose due in Oct.) all look adorable pregnant. I just hope I'm as cute whenever I get knocked up.

AOII girls.

These were some of my gifts to Kelli. Her son can't have enough ECU pirate gear. There were more than a few gifts that I had to ask my friend whose a mother "What the hell is that for?"It's amazing all the crap you need when you have a baby.

The shower was great and I'm SOOO excited to meet her little boy (name is still TBD). I told her she'll have to give me a lesson on how to change a diaper. Yes I'm 30 years old and have never changed a diaper. My kids are so screwed.

On a separate note Kristian and I celebrated our 3 month anniversary on Sunday!!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Wed-cap: The Rehearsal

Well I'm doing things a bit in reverse. Now that I've basically recapped the wedding itself I'm now going to do a few quick recaps of the Rehearsal and Rehearsal dinner. I didn't recap these sooner because I was waiting for the pictures from the Rehearsal dinner that Kristian's uncle took. I finally got those a few weeks ago but up first the Rehearsal itself.

Here I am in the hotel before heading out for the Rehearsal.

We were of course running a bit late and with rush hour traffic on a Friday thrown in I was one of the last to arrive. Though honestly I was relieved most everyone was already there so that we could jump right in. We only had an hour at the venue without being charged an additional fee so I was pretty relentless about moving things along.

Even though our pastor hadn't arrived yet we got started with the run threw in our Plan A location. Since we didn't know if it would rain or not we had to do a quick run threw in each of our 3 potential ceremony spots. Fortunately most of our wedding party had been in weddings before so we didn't need to go over much more than where to stand and how to enter and leave the ceremony.

My mother and mother in law discussing the line-up. My other older brother is the one in the striped shirt.

Here I am with my oldest brother practicing my walk down the aisle in our Plan A location in the garden. You can tell by my face that this whole wedding thing is starting to hit me.

After we finished the run threw in the garden we moved to the terrace which was our Plan B location and also ended up being the site of a lot of our post-wedding pictures. This is where the ceremony would have happened if it rained in the morning, making the ground too muddy for a garden ceremony.

Practicing our walk "up" the aisle for Plan B.

After we finished outside we did a practice run inside. I don't have any pictures of us practicing inside but considering that's where the ceremony ended up taking place I think you've seen how that turned out :)

I should point out that our pastor didn't arrive until the very end of the rehearsal. He got caught in horrible traffic and what should have been an hour trip turned into a 3 hour commute. Once he arrived I quickly showed him all three potential ceremony locations and where/how he would enter, stand and leave. Pretty basic stuff.

After hearing some horror stories from other brides about their ceremonies not going according to plan because they weren't able to do a full run through at the rehearsal I realize how lucky we got. We didn't have the pastor there, we didn't practice with music (our DJ couldn't come), we didn't have the readers practice because I geniusly forgot to bring their readings, but despite all this the ceremony went off without a hitch. Without having seen our video yet, as far as I know everyone entered and exited correctly, the music was timed perfectly and the readers did a great job. Things definitely could have turned out much worse!

I love this pre-wedding picture of us. Also, I must point out that I'm holding a vintage Prada clutch that Kristian bought me for Christmas two years ago. He was so proud of this purchase and has admitted wishing it wasn't weird for a dude to carry a purse because he would totally rock it.

**Photos by bridesmaid Kelli

Monday, August 16, 2010

Wed-cap: Wedding Album

When it came time to put together our wedding album we decided it would be more economical to create one ourselves rather than buy one from our photographer. With all the many photo websites out there I decided to go with Shutterfly which is also the site we used to create a personal wedding website with all of our wedding pictures uploaded for our guests to view and order prints from.

Since all the photos were already uploaded on Shutterfly it made the most sense to create a photobook on that site. It was very user friendly, once you upload all the pictures you want you have the option of having the site create pages using the layouts they think are best however you can change any of the layouts and pictures as you see fit. Having the site make the initial layouts made it much easier for me to design each page and customize it rather than trying to visualize each page from scratch.

The pricing was also very reasonable especially when compared to a professional, photographers album which can easily range in the $500 or more category. I was able to order a full 12x12 hard cover album with 100 pages for around $140. I ordered the album during one of their 30% off sales and got free shipping. I was also able to order a smaller, identical album for my mom which she loved.

I was so excited when it arrived (in less than a week after ordering). The quality was great and it looked even better in person. The whole process took me about a week to create, I spent several hours each evening on it but had a lot of fun choosing the pictures and figuring out the layouts.

My mother in law also made a wedding album of our pictures using Shutterfly. Hers is a bit different with the pictures and layouts she chose and most notably in that she wrote captions for all the pictures which I did not do. I'm not good at that kind of thing but it's nice to have an album out there with everyone's names listed so that in 30 years we can remember who everybody is!

Below is a link to the whole album for anyone that is interested in checking it out. I have to say I'm pretty proud of it.

Since the album is 100 pages long and I know not everyone will be interested in looking at the whole thing below is a collage of some of my most favorite photos from the day.

Did/Will you create your own wedding album? Which site did/will you use?

**All photos in the album and collage are courtesy of Bruce Best Photography **

Friday, August 13, 2010

Marriage- Expectations vs. Reality

As I'm sure most people do, I went into marriage with a few desires and expectations for how I envisioned our first year of marriage to be. I think a lot of couples plan to spend their first year of marriage doing things like traveling the world or buying a new house or making babies. Now that I'm almost three months into this whole marriage thing I can say it's not totally as I expected. I'm not gonna lie there have been a few disappointments.

Last year at this time I had imagined that our first summer together as newlyweds would be full of fun little adventures. Since we wouldn't be devoting so much time to planning and money to saving for the wedding we would be free to do things like take little weekend trips to the beach or other cool spots we had never been to before. We would go to some fun outdoor concerts or wineries and have a date night at least once a week. I also thought we would be looking for a new, larger place to live.

Well, unfortunately, none of those things have really happened. What I didn't know or expect last year was that despite not having a wedding to save for we would still be on a very tight budget due to Kristian having a new 100% commission only type of job. Without a steady paycheck it makes it very hard to have a set budget or feel the freedom to splurge. So we haven't been on any weekend trips, or to any concerts and instead of looking to move somewhere larger we might actually have to downsize to save some money.

I must admit it's been frustrating and disappointing. It doesn't help to see constant updates and pictures on Facebook of other married couples my age taking fancy trips or buying new cars. Yeah I have a bit of green-eyed monsteritis at times.

But then I take a breath, kick my own ass and remind myself of what I do have which is a fantastic husband who loves me more than words can say, who tells me how beautiful I am daily, who puts up with my horrible taste in reality t.v. and obsession with celebrity gossip, who does the gross chores that I don't want to do like taking out the garbage and cleaning the litter boxes, who cooks for me almost every night and who goes out in the pouring rain to get me the mac n cheese that I'm craving.

And then I remember that I'm pretty damn lucky because despite not having these various material things that I so covet I have the one thing that I've really always wanted and prayed for and that's a wonderful, loving husband.

The fact is we have (hopefully) very long lives ahead of us in which to do all these things- take amazing trips and buy a house, it doesn't all need to be done the first 3 months we're married. I waited 28 years to find Kristian I don't need everything to happen immediately, if it did what would we have to look forward to?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Wed-cap: The end of the night Part 2

In my last post I left off with us leaving the venue in my brother's car. He drove us the 5 miles back to the Hotel and dropped off me, Kristian, my mom and her friend who were also staying at our hotel. As we were walking into the hotel we noticed another couple who had just gotten married that night checking in...the chick in the wedding dress was a dead giveaway. We high fived and congratulated the other couple before heading inside. As we made our way to the elevators we saw the tail end of another wedding finishing up in their ballroom. I guess May 22nd was a popular wedding date.

I had stayed in our hotel room the night before with my bridesmaid Colleen. Kristian had stayed at our condo Friday night and gotten dressed with his groomsmen at another hotel down the street so this was his first time seeing the room. Kristian being the romantic that he is did carry me across the threshold which was a very sweet moment.

Our room was very nice and modern and the bed was hands down the most comfortable hotel bed I've ever slept in. It was also one of the few hotel beds where I wasn't afraid to lay on the comforter!

Below is a picture of what the King bed hotel rooms look like...this isn't our room I swiped the picture from Trip Advisor.

The hotel very graciously left us a bottle of champagne (free of charge) since they knew we were staying there for our wedding. They actually left it in the room Friday night and Colleen and I debated drinking it but decided to save it for the wedding night. By the time we got back on the wedding night we weren't much in the mood for drinking so we decided to save the bottle to drink on our one year anniversary.

Once we got back to the room we laid on the bed and just talked and laughed and went over the events of the day. Kristian also helped me remove the bazillion bobby pins in my hair. We just couldn't get over the fact that we were finally, really married. I wanted to just hang out in my dress for a while and savor the last few minutes of being a bride. I'm not gonna lie taking the dress off was a bit sad for me as it signaled the end to such an amazing day.

I don't think I need, nor want to go into details of what happened can use your imagination...or rather don't because that's creepy. I must admit even after some sexy time I was still really wired and couldn't sleep, so what else is a girl to do when she can't sleep on her wedding night??? Update her status on Facebook of course! Yes I'm one of THOSE girls. Oh well, we are living in a digital world and I'm a digital girl. To be honest, I couldn't WAIT to change my status to married and update my name.

Below are more pictures of our actual room which is where I got ready the day of the wedding. I was glad that the room was so pretty because it made a great backdrop for the getting ready pictures.

*LOOOOVE this picture*

*Having this huge mirror on the wall came in quite handy while getting ready*

Where did/will you spend your wedding night?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Wed-cap: The end of the night Part 1

In THIS post I talked about our sparkler exit out of the reception. Here are a few pics to refresh your memory

What I failed to mention in that post was that we didn't actually leave right after our sparkler exit. In fact Kristian and I were two of the last to leave that night. When it came to our exit we cheated a bit. We saw some of the older guests and those who had a long drive ahead of them starting to leave around 10:15 or so and not wanting to have a lot of people miss the sparkler send off we decided to go ahead and do it early. More people were able to enjoy the sparklers and we were able to get the cute pictures.

After we were done with our "exit" we told the group to feel free to go back inside and continue to dance and drink for a while which many of them did. Over the next 30 minutes more people slowly started to file out and we had plenty of time to say our goodbyes to all the guests rather than just rushing out and into a waiting car. This gave us the best of both worlds...a fun "exit" and also the opportunity to say goodbye to our guests.

At the end we were left with our parents, my brother, a few groomsmen who were handling taking home the leftover booze and food and our 3 Day of Coordinators who were helping the caterers with clean up. We had to help figure out who was taking what home.

Tip- decide in advance who will be taking home all the leftover decor items like flowers, candles, favors, alcohol (if you provided it). It makes things much easier at the end of the night. Also, make sure there is enough room in those peoples cars for these items. We had to break up the big ceremony arrangement into smaller sets because nobody had room in their car for the large piece as a whole.

Even though we had a limo bring both the guys and girls to the venue before the wedding we chose not to spend the money to reserve the limo for 8 hours to be there to take us home. It just didn't make sense. Most of our wedding party was able to ride home with their date/spouse who had arrived separate or via taxi if they were drunk. And since the hotel we were staying was only 5 miles away it didn't seem necessary to have some fancy ride.

Instead Kristian and I actually caught a ride with my older brother after the wedding. We, along with my mom and her BFF piled into my brother's not exactly large BMW. It was so cramped with the 6 of us plus all our shit that I had to sit on Kristian's lap...not that I minded that part :) It was a cheap and easy transportation option.

The story of the rest of our night (the PG version) is to be continued....

**Did/Will you leave before your guests and what is your mode of transportation?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lions and Tigers and Panda Bears...Oh My!

This weekend we decided to take advantage of the fact that we only live about 30 minutes outside of D.C. and check out the National Zoo. The weather was actually beautiful for early August and since the zoo is free we figured it would be fun to play tourists for the day.

*At the entrance of the zoo, I was nice and bought Kristian some pink cotton candy which is what he's holding*

*The Pandas are definitely my favorite. Fortunately they were out front and center. Both were just chilling on the grass and eating. I apologize for the crotch shot*

*Toucan Sam*

*Funky Monkey*

*Meerkat! I want one!*

*Halpert is definitely related to these*

*Nice ass shot of the gorilla, I think he was feeling shy*

*Gorilla baby!!!*

*Slow and steady wins the race*

*This is his don't eff with me face*

*A lion 3some, the male is obviously worn out*

*This pond was full of the same type of turtles that we have. We even watched a turtle fight which let me tell you gets vicious!*


Despite getting stuck in traffic and a little lost both on our way to and from the zoo we had a really nice time. I definitely recommend checking out the zoo if you're ever in D.C.