Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Wedding Central- 25 Days and Counting!

It has been dubbed "Wedding Central" in my house the past few days. It all started on the 12th of May (aka- 1 month out!) The head count was due to our location so they could begin planning for food and drink expenses (I'm not sure how that works since they did not require a food count...hmmm...) Because of this deadline we spent the few days prior to the 12th tracking down the people that had not RSVP'd. Once the 12th rolled around, we were left with only 3 couples that we could not get in touch with, but we pretty much know they cannot come. So what comes after a finalized guest list you might ask... SEATING ARRANGEMENT!

First: The Layout. The location has three adjoining rooms. To accommodate all of the people that we have we must use all three. For 6 days now, we have been desperately trying to figure out how to get as many people as possible into the main room.
Problem #1: What are the dimensions? You would assume that a location that is acclaimed as The Knot's top wedding locations would have exact dimensions of their main dining room. In this case, that assumption would be false. We received THREE sets of dimensions from them. After going there today and measuring it ourselves, which one was correct? NONE!
Problem #2: We wanted to put the dance floor in the main room. In discussions about layout with the event coordinator we were told that with a dance floor and a head table seating 14 we would only be able to fit 8 ten top tables in the main room. That is only 80 of our guests. They said they could squeeze in 10 tables. That is 100 guests. Leaving 70 of friends out of the main room and therefore out of a good view. (At least based on our memory of the layout of the location). This leads to Problem #3.
Problem #3: Who to give a lesser view? I didn't like any of the options we discussed. I had invited these people to the wedding to enjoy it, not be stuck in some back room corner. Even if some of them were coworkers of my parents, I still didn't like any of the options.

SOLUTION!- Finally, after agonizing over this layout for days, Austin and I drove to the location to measure it ourselves. After measuring it, looking at the layout of the rooms, and talking to the event coordinator; we found a solution! We are putting the dance floor in the middle room where it can still be seen by all in the main room. This allows us to fit 13 tables into the main room. WIN! Plus, the rooms are much more open than we thought, so there is actually only going to be about half a table without a view of the head table. This is the kids table... kids that don't really care about the head table, but they are right next to the dance floor. WIN #2!

In addition to the actual layout of the tables, we were working on the seating arrangement itself. This has been a lot of "who sits next to whom" and "wouldn't this person go better there"... but FINALLY, it is done. Everybody has a place and everybody in their place!

Project #2 (in the midst of the seating arrangement headache) was bridesmaid and groomsmen gifts. I already had one portion of my bridesmaid's gifts. The other portion consisted of a lot of searching online and not finding what I wanted for a price I liked. Therefore I decided to go to Michaels and make it myself. Great idea... right? Right, except that after I bought what I needed at Michaels. I found the main piece of this project at Wal-Mart for three dollars cheaper per person. Win/Fail. So I bought that, but now I have to find time to go back to Michaels and return what I had originally purchased...FUN...not. Austin finally decided what he wanted for his groomsmen and ordered it. Then I was jealous... I like his better. :P

Project #3- Table decorations. There were many things that had to be accomplished to officially check this project off the list.
1. Cut 36 8ft. pieces of yellow ribbon to criss-cross the table
2. Cut 160 5ft. pieces of pink ribbon to go around the chairs with the yellow chair sashes.
3. Cut 35 8 ft. pieces of white shimmer tulle for chair sashes for the head table, parents table, and grandparents table.
4. Cut 35 5ft. pieces of yellow ribbon to go around the chairs with the white shimmer tulle chair sashes.
5. Cut the 168 pink fake roses and 84 yellow fake roses off of their bouquet bases (with wire cutters)
6. Arrange 18 bouquets of the fake roses for centerpieces.
7. Pull of the leaves and baby's breath from 205 roses to go on the back of each chair.
8. Fill 18 vases with 40 frosted rocks each and put the bouquets in the center.
9. Fill 7 more vases with rocks for the bridesmaids bouquets as centerpieces for the head table.
10. Create two bouquets for either side of engagement picture
11. Cut 27 5ft. pieces of white shimmer tulle, twist and tie in a circle to go around the vases and candles in the center of the table.
12. Wrap pink ribbon around the tulle circles.
13. Print Table # cards and attach to circles of tulle.
14. Box it all up to be ready to transport to location
15. Breathe a sigh of relief that it is finished!

Project #4: Programs
1. Figure out design and wording for programs
2. Make it fit onto the cardstock we ordered and had pre-scored for easy folding.
3. Print 200 programs front and back (Austin's job)
4. Fold 200 programs.
5. Seal closed with a "N" monogram sticker
6. In calligraphy write "Austin and Kelsey" on each program
7. Box 'em up!

Project #5: Place Cards
1. Print place cards- this requires typing each person's name individually. There are four place cards on a page. Once again, this is Austin's job.
2. Punch out ALL the place cards... which took forever!
3. Sort the place cards into three stacks- one for those that want lasagna, one for chicken alfredo, and one for steak.
4. Stamp the place cards. This step requires a little bit of explanation- In order for the servers to easily know which dish each guest has ordered, the location asked that we indicate on the place cards in some sort of code. They suggested colored dots. My mom and I didn't like this, so we thought of a better idea. In gold ink, we were going to stamp one of three different sayings on the place cards. For lasagna, we were going to stamp "Mr. and Mrs.", for chicken alfredo "Happily Ever After", and for steak a picture of two rings. Perfect! I went and bought the stamps and the ink a few weeks ago. The night we were working on this, I had the cards all sorted and ready to stamp. I unwrapped the ink pad for the VERY FIRST TIME and found it was completely DRY! I was not happy. I know that this is not the end of the world, and I have plenty of time to go to the store and get more ink... the issue was that I was ready to stamp RIGHT THEN! So I was frustrated.
5. Go buy new ink. I actually opened it in the store to ensure that I wasn't going to get it home and find this one dry as well.
6. Stamp the Place Cards.
7. Sort into table placements.
8. Paper clip and label each table with a post-it note for easy identification later.

Other small projects include:
Decorating the mail box for the cards
Deciding on beverages to offer
Grow out my nails (I use Nailtiques to help prevent flaking or breaking)
Get a nice tan
Write thank you cards from Bridal shower before the next bridal shower this Sunday.

That has been my life over the past six days. Mixed in there was a little bit of golfing and some reading! As insane as all of that sounds writing down, I actually am really enjoying it. Austin and I joked about opening up a wedding planning business. He could do all of the logistics and phone calls and I'll do all the decorating and crafty stuff. I thought it was a great idea! This kind of thing is right up my alley. Now I really need to go to bed as we have an early tee time for golf tomorrow. Goodnight from Wedding Central!

Monday, May 10, 2010

A Longing

Austin has been gone since Friday afternoon. This is the first time that I have gone more than a day without seeing him for almost a year! I know that I am incredibly blessed by this. As he was leaving, I was acutely aware of how longit was going to be before I saw him again, and the pain was intense. When he left, my heart went with him as it belongs to him. At first, I felt sorry for myself, but then I thought more about it. I have a friend who will see her soon-to-be-husband for the first time in over 4 months, the week before they get married. Then she will get to spend a week with him before he deploys for a year! I am so blessed that I get to have Austin by my side every single day!

This thought process led me to another: Do I long after God the way that I am longing after Austin? Do I eagerly anticipate some time alone with God the way that I carry my phone around the house with me so that as soon as it rings I can pick up and talk to the one that I love?

Today I am 33 days away from marrying Austin. I say this because we are counting down by reading Psalms backwards. Today when I was reading Psalm 33 in my quiet time, a passage hit me. (Think little light bulb moment... the *ding* then a chorus singing *ahhh*)

Psalm 33:20-22-

"We wait in hope for the Lord, he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love be with us, Lord, even as we put our hope in you."

As I read that, I couldn't help but question myself. Have I been waiting in hope for the Lord? Have I been putting my trust in His name?

That led me to another one of my favorite passages in Scripture:

Isaiah 40:29-31-

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope [other versions say wait upon] in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

I thank God for allowing this weekend of separation that I might be reminded of His promises to me if I simply put my hope in Him. Don't get me wrong, it is perfectly alright to miss the one that you love (in fact I would be worried if you didn't!) The key is to use that longing to lead you right back to God. Everything in our relationships with others, especially with our significant other, is supposed to point us back to the one who created us, who loves us most of all.

Austin comes back today and I cannot wait for his car to pull in the driveway. I will eagerly run to him and be wrapped up in his embrace. I only hope that I will remember to wait on the Lord with such eager anticipation!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Old Has Gone, The New Is Rapidly Approaching

Well, I figured this would be as good a post as any to start off my blog as I am feeling very nostalgic after the events of this weekend.

1. My fiance and I graduated college yesterday. It is extremely hard to believe that I am a college graduate. It feels like it was only yesterday that I left the realm of high school behind me for the local Okaloosa-Walton College. And even less than that when I left the safety and known world of my parents house for the unknown and partially terrifying world of Florida State University. I am a small town girl so the thought of moving to Tallahassee, a "big city" (yes I know I'm lame for thinking that) where I knew only a couple of people in the ENTIRE city was absolutely terrifying! But I moved and God has done amazing things during my two years here. One of those things is putting me in the Navigator community. Another is allowing me to meet, get to know, and fall in love with my amazing fiance, Austin. After 18 years of nonstop school, I finally reached the end of this road, the road to my Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. I graduated yesterday Summa Cum Laude. Austin also graduated with a Bachelor's of Science in Economics. His grad school road is starting almost immediately, in August as he pursues his Applied Master's in Economics. (I am so proud of him!)

2. I am moving home tomorrow for the last month and a half before the wedding. Tonight is the last night that I will live in Tallahassee as a single woman. I can't believe it. Again, I feel like I just got here as a nervous junior in college who had never dated anyone. In the two years I was here, God brought a man into my life and we are getting married! God has blessed my life so greatly that I can't even begin to thank Him for everything that he has done (and unfortunately I sometimes forget to even try). I am excited to move home, but also am very sad to be leaving Tallahassee even for a season. I have come to love it here: the community, the city, the parks, FSU... all of it (well, not the crazy drivers- haha).

3. Austin and my families were in town. It was a great time of celebration and bonding as the families had spent little or no time together. Sadly, the last of the family will be gone as of tomorrow morning. It was wonderful to have them here and I can't wait to see them in a few short weeks for our wedding!

Life is about to change drastically. It is all for the better and I am so excited about what lies ahead, but I have my fears as well. Fears about finding a job as a teacher. Fears about being a good teacher. Fears about my skills of running a house. Fears about being a good wife. All things that I know will take time to learn. All things that only God can bring about. I repeat to myself

Philippians 4:6-7:
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus"
I love that verse and it rings true every time I think about it. I am not a person that likes change, and I have a lot of it coming all at once. As I said, the changes are all great things and I am excited about each of them, but it is still change. I know that through it all, I will learn and grow and become closer to God and my family. I cannot wait to see what this next season of life holds!