A Cruisin' We Will Go!

Mike and I definitely made the absolute best wedding purchase we have made throughout this entire process.... OUR HONEYMOON!  We have been researching honeymoon locations since we got engaged, and we both decided we wanted to go some place warm and all-inclusive.  I didn't want to have to worry about budgeting to pay for food after we got there.  Its so much easier to just pay for it all up front.  After much thought we chose what we thought was best for us.......
We are taking a Royal Caribbean Cruise!  We will be cruising for 7 nights on the Freedom of the Seas!  I can barely contain my excitement!  

Our cruise leaves 2 weeks after the wedding, giving us plenty of time to relax and then pack.
We will be staying in a balcony room, so hopefully we wont get too claustraphobic in our room.

  We are leaving out of Port Canaveral and sailing to 3 kick-a destinations..
CocoCay, Bahamas
 Charlotte Amelie, St. Thomas
and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten!

For 3 of our days, we will be crusing through the caribbean and staying on the boat.  I am actually really looking forward to this part of our trip.  I fully intend to take advantage of some of the activities the ship has to offer.
 Lounging by one of the pools for long periods of time!  I am committed to getting a really great tan and relaxing as much as possible.
 Trying to learn how to surf on the Flo Rider.  I am guessing I will fall and bust my face, but I have to at least try, right?
 Shopping on the Promenade.
 Seeing a show at this huge theater.
And eating lots of meals at the different restaurants and buffets!

Honestly, I think I am looking forward to our honeymoon more than our wedding at this point.  I can't wait to spend so much time with my future hubby just relaxing and enjoying ourselves.  I know how stressed we will be by that point, and who doesn't need a good vacation every now and then?

Happy Birthday!

Today is my future hubby's 28th birthday!  Happy Birthday, Mike! 

Today is also exactly 10 months from our wedding date!  Ahh... this is flying by so fast!  we've been engaged for 4 months already?!?!  Doesn't seem possible.  For my own sanity, so that I felt like I was actually on task and could take a breather, I decided to do a little run down of everything we have done and what all we still need to do. So much of this I am going to talk about in future posts too.

Checked off the list:
1. Venue-You all saw our venue search!  Done and done!
2. Dress-Oh yes, I have it and you will definitely be hearing about it soon (sorry though folks... no pictures of my dress will be gracing the blog until after the wedding.  Have to keep something a surprise :) ).
3. Decor
4. Cake!
5. Personal Flowers (all of the bouquets, bouts, corsages, etc.)
6. Photographer
7. Videographer!!!
8. DJ
9.  Groom and groomsmen ties

Still left to do:
1. Save the dates
2. Caterer-even though we have it narrowed down and should be booking VERY soon.
3. Bridesmaid everything
4. All of our paper products (Invitations, Programs, etc)
5. All of the little diy crafts I want to do.
6. Accessories for my dress.
7. Mike's suit
8.  Anything else I can think of that I am totally blanking on now.  

Ok.. well I feel a bit better about backing off wedding stuff for a while now.  We are starting to enter a time when there really isnt a lot left we can do.  Am I forgetting anything on my list? Anyone else feel there's not enough hours in the day to get everything you need to do done? 

Are you our venue? Yes you are!

If you have been following our venue hunt here and here, you know we first looked online and then we went to view The Central Center.  None of the venues were our venue though.  We wanted something unique, inexpensive, and us.  I wanted a venue that could stand on its own, but be inhanced by whatever decorations we chose to do.  I didn't want to worry about having to completely design a space, which I knew would be horribly expensive. 

Enter The Broadway

Oh my goodness, the moment I found it online, I was in love.  The pictures looked so classy and unique.  I knew instantly we had to go see it in person.  Plus, it is about half a mile from the church we are getting married in which means an incredibly short commute for guests!  Bonus!  So Mike and I made an appointment to go look the last week of May.  We were getting ready to go on a long vacation the next day, so we decided to go look at the location, take our vacation to think about it and then make a decision. 

We walked in the door and saw this!
Were those twinkle lights already attached to the exposed beams?!    I was already convinced this was the place for us before I was even completely inside.  Then I took a closer look around.  The exposed brick and hard black floors added to the urban but romantic feel of the space. 

The owner/coordinator had strips of fabric put up for a different event that I really liked.  It added even more texture to the space and really upped the romance factor.  I instantly invisioned what our wedding reception would look like in there.  Our Purple and Gray color scheme (more on that later) would definitely blend well.  I also wanted to use a large number of candles on the tables, and it was allowed at this venue. 

Luckily for me, Mike loved the space just as much as I did.  A couple of days after we got back from Chicago, we put down our deposit and had a venue! 

Granted there are some negatives we will have to deal with.  The space only holds about 130 people, which means we really are having to watch our guests list.  Second, while they supply table linens, I'm not a huge fan of what they offer.  I think we will have to end up renting some of those.  Also, the venue only has seating for 100 people, which means we will have to rent a few more chairs and tables.  All of these negatives though, pale in comparison to the positives of this venue!  Now, I just need to figure out all of the decorations we want to incorporate, and we will be set! 

Are you our venue? Part 2

Well, I am happy to report my macbook is officially back in business!  My wonderful fiance ordered me a new cord, and it is now charging as I type this!

When we last left our venue search, we had pretty much just been doing a bunch of online venue hunting.  We had shot down one because of price and one because of distance and lack of communication skills.  Others weren't even in the running longer than it took me to look at their website. 

I'll be honest and say I was beginning to get a little frustrated and worried we weren't going to find what we were looking for.  We wanted something unique and inexpensive.  Not easy to come by here in Tulsa.  Luckily, after scouring the internet for days and contacting multiple venues, we narrowed our search to two that we wanted to see in person.  We made appointments for the next week.

First, the place we did not choose: the Central Center at Centennial Park!  

This place holds a special place in my heart.  It is the site of probably my favorite wedding reception of all time, the Myers's (is that even proper grammar?  I'm a teacher! I should know this). 

I was so excited to go to this venue because I knew it would bring back wonderful memories!   It also had so many of the elements we were looking for in a venue. 
I love the high ceilings.  They make the room look so much bigger!  Plus, look at those beams!  Christmas lights would look so elegant hanging across those! The stage is a great place to put some things we may want out of the way a bit.  Potentially putting the dj there, or the wedding party is a great space saver.
 We loved how much light came into the room.  It just felt very open and big in general.  We could fit as many people as we needed to.
The outdoor area is beautiful and I loved the idea of putting bistro tables out there for guests to enjoy. 

With all of these positives, you'd think it would be a no brainer right?  But of course, it can't be that easy.  There were several negatives we had to consider as well...

1. After inquiring about decor, we learned my ideal design dream (to hang lights from the ceiling) was just that.... a dream.  We weren't allowed to place anything on the beams or the walls. 
2.  We are getting married in JULY!  After the insanely hot summer we just experienced, I knew the bistro table idea probably wouldn't pan out.  Its just too hot, even at 9 o'clock at night.
3. No open flames!  I have always dreamed of a candle lit, romantic reception.  That just couldn't be possible here.
and the biggest one of all....

4. I would always associate it with my friends wedding.  The moment I walked in, all I could do was reminisce about Ashley and James's wedding.  It was their venue, and while I loved it, I wanted to find "our" venue. 

So the search continued.... one more stop on our journey to find the perfect venue! 

Shedding for the Wedding

I am so sorry its taken so long for me to post again.  The life of a kindergarten teacher is a busy one.  haha.  Also, the cord to my MacBook is caput, which means I either have to go to the Apple store and buy a new one, order one from Amazon, or my fiance has to attempt to fix it.  Either way, my computer is out of commission and will be so until I have a way to charge it.  Mike's computer is great for typing and talking, but all of my lovely pictures are saved on the Mac, and I definitely don't want to talk about my amazing venue without pictures to back it up :)

Now on to a topic that I know is pretty common in the wedding world.  Yes, thats right.  I'm talking about prewedding weight loss.  Brides want to look their absolute most beautiful on their wedding day.  We view it as the most important day of our lives, and if it isn't the most important, it definitely is the most photographed.  Now unless you are naturally tiny with a killer metabolism, chances are you have thought about losing weight to look your best for the wedding.  Lord knows I have.  When trying on dresses (a story for another day), I don't know if I put a single one on without thinking about what I would look like in it 10 pounds lighter.  It sounds so vain, and is really embarrassing/sad to admit, but I wanted to be totally honest about our wedding journey, and this is honestly how I felt.

By the way... I in no way am saying you have to lose weight to be a beautiful bride!  I actually think the opposite. I think girls look so much more beautiful when they look the way God intended, curves and all.  I didn't want to send out the wrong impression that losing weight is something you have to do to be a beautiful bride, because its just not true.  Its just something I felt I needed to do.

Here's a little background on me.  I was naturally pretty thin in high school.  I was a dancer and that helped keep any unwanted weight off, while also helping me build muscle and look fit.  In college, I still was thin, but my weight would fluctuate.  It would go up when I was happy, but then some huge life event would happen (break ups, parents moving away, death of a friend) and it would drop 10 to 20 pounds. After college, nothing changed.  Same ol' up and down.  The only difference is, I had absolutely NO motivation to work out.  I don't like exercise.  I'll admit it.  I absolutely can not stand to run, the elliptical drives me insane, and I just couldn't make myself take the time out of my day to go to the gym.

When I met Mike, I got happier and happier as our relationship progressed... This means I got heavier and heavier!  My weight hit the highest it had ever been.  In February (long before we got engaged) I was looking at pictures of myself and I just started to cry.  How on earth had I let myself get so much bigger?  I could see roles where there previously had not been.  My jeans didn't fit as well, and my shirts were tight.  I decided I needed to fix it.  Luckily at the time, Weight Watchers began a promotional offer making it cheap and easy for me to sign up.  In March, I began counting points and keeping track of everything I ate.  I was literally amazed to see the bad things I was putting in my body.  One meal I ate literally came to 32 points!!  My daily allowance was only 29!  It was an eye opening experience to see how the food I was eating was affecting my weight and my health.

Since going on Weight Watchers, I have lost 19 pounds.  I am so close to my goal weight I can taste it ( only 7.5 more pounds to go!).  As I get closer to my goal though, I have been losing motivation.  My brain keeps telling me "You've already lost 19... You don't NEED to lose those last 7."  You would think that being engaged, and wanting to look great in my wedding dress would be motivation enough, but I'm just struggling.  I know that if I didn't lose a single pound, Mike would think I was the most beautiful girl in the world anyway. But I really want to do it for me.  I want to hit my goal weight (which incase you are wondering, is 100% in the healthy range for a person of my height... I don't want to look emaciated on our day.. haha), and be proud.  Not just that, i want to hit my goal weight, and stick with it well past our wedding day.  So I am recommitting to my weight loss plan and even adding in some exercise to go with it.  I know that these 7 pounds are going to be so much harder to lose than the first 19, but I am putting faith in myself that I can get where I want to be, get into healthy shape again, and hopefully look the way I always envisioned.

Are you our venue? Part 1

I am going to be honest and admit something that I know most brides do not want to admit.  The reception venue we chose was not my dream venue.  Don't get me wrong.  I love our reception venue , but I had originally had my heart set on a different location.

When we started looking, I began stalking weddingwire.com searching for venues.
I cannot praise this website enough.  It has been such a huge help in all of the wedding planning.  Brides can go here and find vendors for everything.  My favorite part is you can read reviews written by fellow brides to learn what vendors are good and which ones you should avoid.  It is the best website for preliminary research I can think of, and I have now used it for every aspect of planning.
We found several locations we both absolutely loved.  Dresser Mansion was gorgeous, but we had both been to weddings there and we were a bit worried about the layout. We wanted to have the wedding in a large room so guests weren't having to go to different places in the mansion for each big event (dinner, first dance, cake cutting, etc).  Plus, it was a bit out of our budget.  We had to scratch it off of our potential venue list. 

Next, we found what I considered my dream venue... Five Oaks Lodge. 
I loved the rustic feeling of the venue.  It had beautiful lighting, was spacious and I loved the lodge look.  I also loved that it sat out on a small lake/pond, so guests could enjoy time out on the patio if they wanted to.
When I closed my eyes, I could see our wedding held there.  Our first dance, cutting the cake, dancing with all of our friends.    It was perfect and everything I thought I wanted in a venue.  There was just one small problem.  Five Oaks is located in the Jenks/Glenpool area.  Mike and I are getting married at a church downtown, about 15 miles away.  We weren't sure if we wanted to make our guests drive that far.  We decided to make a test drive to see how far it was.  It look over 20 minutes to drive from the church to the lodge.  Not that long, but longer than we really wanted.  With so many great venues downtown that wouldn't require our guests so much travel time, we started to think it may not be the ideal venue for our wedding.  
I wasn't quite ready to give up hope we could make the venue work.  I decided to request information from the lodge to find out what their rules were for catering and what the price was to use their venue.  I submitted the request through their website and never heard back from the coordinator.  I then emailed them directly and still didn't hear back.  I called once, but no one answered.  After multiple times of trying to contact them with no response, I decided to take it as a sign it wasn't the right place.  Too far away and unresponsive.  Scratch it off the list too. 

After even more research and information requests from several venues, we narrowed it down to two.   It was time to actually vist the venues and make a decision.

A New Angel

For the last week, I have been following the story of an amazing family being faced by a terrible and heartbreaking situation.  24 days ago, the parents' 7 1/2 month old baby was diagnosed with a brain tumor.  He had surgery to remove it, only to have it return worse than before.  The family was forced with the decision to take him home, or to put him through chemo, prolonging his life by only weeks and putting him through a lot of pain.  They chose to take him home.  He passed away today.  24 days after finding out there perfect little baby had a tumor, he went to heaven.  I can't imagine the pain they are experiencing.  I ask that you all please pray for their continued faith, strength and comfort.  Please pray they are able to find peace at a time when it feels like their world is ending.  If you would like to read their story, please read Jamesie Beats the Tumor.  I truly believe you will be astounded by their faith and their love for this precious, precious little boy. 
Back to Top