Monday, April 23, 2012

Heating Up For The Kettle Wedding: A Pre-Wedding Dinner

On our last stop before official wedding recaps, we have our rehearsal dinner. We decided not to call it that because it was on a different day than the rehearsal and also in a different city. We called it a pre-wedding dinner.

Our schedule the week of the wedding was: Wednesday get married, Thursday rehearse for wedding, Friday have rehearsal dinner, and Saturday have wedding. It worked for us. It made everyone else think Mr. Kettle and I were crazy, but it worked for us.

The pre-wedding dinner was scheduled for a certain time. I'm honestly still not sure what time that dinner started. All I know is that as Mr. Kettle and I were getting ready, we kept getting calls from people asking where we were.

That tells us we were qutie behind schedule. I don't know how we got the wrong time, but there was nothing we could do about it at that point. We loaded up the car with our wedding thank you gifts for our parents and wedding party. There were thirty five bags. I'm not joking.

We got a separate gift for each parent, one for each host/hostess, the bridesmaids/men, the groomsmen, the maids of honor, the best men, the junior bridesmaids, the flower girls, and the ring bearers. That's thirty-five people.

At the party, when we finally arrived, the place was packed. The slight feeling of being overwhelmed that happened at our engagement party doubled. There were maybe only 20 more people at this function, but I think it's proximity to the wedding made us more anxious.

Mr. Kettle and I agreed that we were soooo glad we were already married. We greeted everyone while slowly making our way to the back of the room. They brought us food and we dined on really delicious caribbean food. The restaurant we were at is actually owned by friends of Mr. Kettle's family, so they took good care of us.

In movies, the rehearsal dinner is all about speeches and giving gifts to the wedding party and other loveliness. In our real life, there was mostly a lot of shouting because there were so many people there. At least 1/3 of our guest list, including wedding party, was at this pre-wedding dinner.

When we handed out our gifts to our wedding party, we had to track people down in a crowd of over one hundred people. That was interesting. I'll wrap this up with the only picture I have from the evening. It shows our cakes (yes, plural) along with some of the wall decorations, which were in honor of our honeymoon to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Personal Photo: Those cakes were pretty tasty!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Heating Up For The Kettle Wedding: A Wedding Rehearsal

I'm skipping a step here because we got married before we had our wedding rehearsal. Long story, and if you don't already know it, I'll explain when I start my recaps of our actual wedding day.

Yet again, I have no pictures to accompany my story, and I feel bad about that. But who wants to see a bunch of pictures with people standing around and cracking the occasional side joke? Certainly not me. So I'll stick with the highlights.

Our day-of-coordinator wasn't at the rehearsal. On her drive down to Joliet, she got into a Pretty bad car accident and was taken to the hospital. She spent the rest of the weekend trying to cope on an large amount of painkillers. That was... interesting.

With such a large party, people trickled in slowly instead of on time and that made everyone feel like everything was taking forever. But in the abscence of the coordinator, Momma Kettle and my pastor stepped it up and ran the rehearsal very well.

Momma Kettle stressed how important it was that everyone aim to be ready by 1:00 PM on Saturday so that we would be on time to begin taking pictures with the photographer promptly at 2:00 PM. I watched everyone's eyes glaze over and was grateful a lot of them were spending Friday night at Joliet to reduce tardiness.

There were some issues with the venue staff and my mom set them straight. She wasn't a full blown Momzilla, but she got things put right when they were wrong. She quickly got a reputation amongst Chris' friends who didn't know her well as a regulator. My mom is awesome at handling people who aren't putting forth their best effort.

After we practiced getting up and down the aisle, Mr. Kettle and I began waltzing in the back of the ballroom because we were bored and we tend to break into dance. When the flower girls, ring bearers, and jr. bridesmaids followed after us, they wanted to dance to. So while my pastor gave extra instructions to the adult members of the wedding party, we waltzed our hearts out along with 6 children from our families. That was actually one of my favorite memories from the days right before the wedding.

Since we were already married, Mr. Kettle and I were wearing our wedding bands. That caught a couple of people's eyes. We explained to anyone who asked that we had gotten married the day before. No one seemed outright mad, just very confused. We didn't tell anybody beforehand except my maid of honor and our officiants. But everyone was still very excited for Saturday.

We left the rehearsal with an idea of how to get up and down the aisle, which was really the most important part right?

How was your wedding rehearsal? Did you make any lasting memories from the event?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Heating Up For The Kettle Wedding: A Bachelor/Bachelorette Party

Mr. Kettle always wanted a joint bachelor/bachelorette party, so our maids of honor and best men made it happen.I will tell you now that there were no photos taken by me. I know our friends like to party, and I didn't want any evidence of anything left around afterward.

The men's night started with all the guys meeting at my apartment and getting whisked away in a stretch SUV to a strip club of the best man's choosing. From what I heard, they had a lot of fun. Hardly anyone did anything that they're ladies would resent. And the ones that did had ladies that set the limits a little too strictly. Nuff said, moving on.

The women's night started with all the gals meeting downtown at what was supposed to be a male revue. But the club owners sold the club a couple days before the event and so there was no revue. We thanked our lucky stars we didn't purchase advance tickets and went to a bar down the street. We danced and laughed and had a good time. I played beer pong for the first time with a very handsome man who did an amazing job of walking the line of appropriate behavior toward the bride at a bachelorette party.

We were all supposed to meet up at Sound Bar. I'll skip the drama that ensued and focus on those of us inside the party. The maids of honor/best men got bottle service. My mother also got bottle service, so we ended up with several bottles for everyone to share. One of the best things about having a big group in a club like that is that you have those drinks and you have seats. Being able to take a load off and sit down occasionally it priceless.

I know you caught in the last paragraph that my mother got bottle service. She didn't send money, she was there with us. My mother likes to dance and she's so much fun to be around. We invited her and my father to the party, but my dad didn't come. My mom definitely came and hung out all night. There was one point where the people who had been there since the beginning had basically danced themselves out, but my mom, along with only two more of my friends, were still dancing. I was impressed and felt like I had big fun grown-up shoes to fill one day.

We were set to party all night, but I got tired pretty early. Instead of staying out until the club closed, we left around 2:00 am. Neither Mr. Kettle nor I drove, so my mother gave us a ride home. We were glad we had a joint party because we love nothing more than hanging with all our friends, having a great time.

The bachelor/bachelorette party was the weekend before the wedding, so once that was past, we were in crunch time. It didn't help that we were now having two weddings. Getting that chance to unwind and just party so close to the wedding as a big group was a great idea Mr. Kettle had.

Did you even consider combining your bachelor and bachelorette parties? Is there photo evidence of the evening? Was your mom there?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Heating Up For The Kettle Wedding: A Bridal Shower

After our amazing engagement party, the next official party we had was the bridal shower. Like so many other aspects of this wedding, the shower was larger than one would expect. There were 50 invited women. There ended up being 55 in attendance. I arrived horribly late, just like I was for the engagement party. I marveled at how gorgeous the decorations were as well as how many presents there were.
Personal Photo: Decorations/Favors for each hour of the day.

Personal Photo: More decorations/favors.

Personal Photo: An obscene amount of gifts, mostly from Victoria's Secret. They covered the whole table! If giving gifts measured love, I was feeling the love.

In my defense, I was coming off a 3-day (night) work shift and had only had 3 hours of sleep in between getting off work and getting to the shower. But I arrived and went to each table snapping pictures and saying hello.

I sat down to eat and finally got to have some sangria out of the special bridal shower glass my mother purchased probably 2 weeks before I was even engaged. The food was amazing. We were at one of my favorite restaurants, Buca di Beppo. Lots of laughter and chatting happened all around.
Personal Photo: I wish I'd taken a better photo, but you can see the "Sho" of Bridal Shower if you look hard.

Then a delivery arrived that made everyone ooh and aah. Mr. Kettle's entire family took pride that they raised him right. My whole family cooed that I'd found a great man.
Personal Photo: Mr. Kettle had them delivered during the party. He's such a sweetheart!

After we ate, it was time to start the games. There was the game I'd been dying to play: Toilet Paper Wedding Dress.
Personal Photo: These women got outrageous with their designs. This one had an 8 foot train.

Personal Photo: They were weaving a crown with ribbon. There were lots of non-toilet paper items ending up in these dresses.

Personal Photo: Me posing with the lovely models. I wish I could remember who I chose as the winner. But I was impressed with these dresses. Off the shoulder, two tier skirts, halter tops, belted waists, they weren't playing!

There was Who Knows Miss Kettle Best. That game was very interesting because no one knew everything. I started to feel as if I'd compartmentalized my life. People I'd gone to dinner with knew my favorite foods and wine. People I'd known as a child knew what super hero I'd be. Hardly anyone knew my actual height. I resolved to have more well-rounded discussions with people.

My mom brought her dance instructor to teach us all a dance. It was far too complicated for our group that had been drinking sangria, but it was fun.

Then it was time to open the presents. There were so many! It took forever. My mother and bridesmaids came up with a clever theme for the party. The decorations and invitations and everything went with it. The theme was around times of the day. Each guest got a time from : Breakfast Time, Lunch Time, Dinner Time, Cocktail Time, Exercise Time, Bath Time, Bed Time.
Personal Photo: One of the nicer lingerie sets I got. I figured I could show this one on the internet. It got much worse (or ahem, better) from there.

Personal Photo: I got excited when I got a gift that wasn't lingerie. 

No one told me, but apparently, every time is time for lingerie. I joked a lot about how I couldn't believe all these women were cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner in lingerie. My closet it still full of things we haven't used yet. I used to have half a naughty drawer that really just held random stuff I picked up at a friend's bachelorette party back in 2010. But now, we have two full drawers of naughty stuff. That's not even including the lingerie.

After the gifts, the party wound down. We gave out favors and cleaned up and moved on with our day. All the bridesmaids came back to my parents' house and we had a snack of the leftovers. Mr. Kettle met us there and was promptly embarrassed by me showing him some of my gifts in front of my father. I wanted to tell him that we were getting married and the whole world knew what we would be doing as a married couple, but instead, I just laughed and ate more pasta.

How did your bridal shower go? Did your guests go lingerie crazy? Have you used all your gifts yet?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Charmed, I'm Sure

One last detail before I launch into my pre-wedding parties. I've got to recap my bridal shower, bachelorette party, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, and of course, both my weddings. But before that... Charms!

I got my bee charms in the mail from Mrs. Seal. She sent them to me in December. I was not as punctual getting my charms to Miss Warbler (I'm Sorry!). I opened the package with delight.

Personal Photo: A sweet note from one bride to another.

Personal Photo: My bees peeking through their gauzy bag.
But there were other charms too! Following the lead of other bees before me, I went to Etsy and asked a seller to make a Kettle especially for me. Sweet and Savory Trinkets saved the day.

Making a kettle in miniature version is no small task. Apparently, the handle gave her some trouble, but she managed it. Finding a hardworking seller who will try their darndest to get you exactly what you want is apparently commonplace on Etsy. If you're looking for another route to what you want outside a physical store, I highly recommend Etsy.

After I sent her a pic of my moniker for Weddingbee, she sent me back a picture of the charm she'd created. It was perfection. I purchased it and an additional charm for one of my bridesmaids, BM Law, who loves red velvet cake.
Personal Photo: A perfect kettle!

Personal Photo: a sweet red velvet cupcake!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Doing The D-I-Y: Flower Girl Baskets

After finally finishing the ring bearer pillows, I wanted to get the matching flower girl baskets done. I scoured for the perfect baskets, purchased them, and then watched them on my kitchen counter for months before I finally found the motivation to decorate them.

Personal Photo: searching through what felt like endless options.

Personal Photo: Narrowing it down and moving baskets around to get a group shot of my options.

Personal Photo: Making a selection!

Personal Photo: Loading up all the supplies. Feeling overwhelmed.
My glue gun and I got real friendly that night I finally got it together. I took me a couple hours, but it was worth it. And now for a montage. Everybody likes a montage. Even Rocky had a montage! (Anyone get that reference? America! F*#k yeah? Moving on)

Personal Photo: Step 1) Gather your supplies. In my case, it was just the matching ribbons from the ring bearer pillows and my trusty glue gun. Make sure you have plenty of glue sticks on hand.

Personal Photo: Step 2) Cut tulle and glue to bottom of basket. In the photograph, you could see where it was doubled up, but in real life, it looked uniform. Don't use too much glue here, or your fingers will be burned when you press down the tulle into the glue.

Personal Photo: Step 3) Glue ribbon along edge of basket. First, I glue the edge closest to the rim. Then I went back along the bottom edge and glued it into the nooks and crannies so the ribbon hugged all the curves of the basket. Otherwise, the ribbon's end will stick out and will look the opposite of neat.

Personal Photo: Step 3) I wound ribbon around the basket handle to create a criss-crossing look. Do this with as many different ribbons as you'd like. Make sure you leave a length of ribbon on either end if you want to have hanging ribbon from the basket.
Personal Photo: Step 4) Wind end of ribbon around the rim of the basket. This only works if the weaving of the basket winds like the ribbon. cut the ends hanging from either side so they are even. Go back over the ribbon and glue down the parts that the eye won't see to secure the ribbon.

Personal Photo: These are bits of ribbon I cut into short pieces to make a decoration on the basket.

Personal Photo: Step 5) Glue cut pieces together at angles to look like flower petals. Start with a simple cross, then add other pieces at 45 degree angles. Be liberal with the glue gun because you don't want to have to repeat any of these little pieces.

Personal Photo: Step 6) Attach your "flower" to the side of the basket. I put one on each side of each basket. That was a lot of little pieces to glue. A lot of pieces. Also, at this point, you can trim the hanging ribbon into a shape if you'd like.

Personal Photo: Step 7) Admire your work.

Personal Photo: Here are the baskets with the pillows. They ended up matching perfectly!

Wedding Image showing flower girl baskets in action

Monday, April 9, 2012

Raise Your Glass

One of my favorite details from the wedding was our set we purchased from Things Remembered. My mother and I headed over there to pick out champagne flutes and ended up buying a whole set.

There were champagne glasses, cake cutters, picture frames, and a Christmas tree ornament in the set. It was the Christmas tree ornament that really sold me because I love Christmas. I look forward to decorating our first tree as a married couple and getting that ornament out.

Because of our purchase, we got our monogram made for free. We slapped that monogram on everything! It appeared on our STDs, on our wedding day, and especially etched onto all our purchased items. See for yourself!

Image via Things Remembered with a sample monogram

Wedding Image showing our wedding program featuring our monogram.

Wedding Image showing our monogram on our sweetheart table at the reception.

Wedding Image showing our champagne flutes with our monogram.

Wedding Image showing us toasting with our champagne flutes!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Doing The D-I-Y: Ring Bearer Pillows

Okay hive, if you've kept up with my posts and managed to separate me out in your head from all the other fabulous bee bloggers, you know I've mentioned these darn ring bearer pillows a number of times. As we approached the wedding, and I was feeling heavy levels of resentment, this is one of the only wedding projects I managed to actually do myself.

I'd given sewing the pillows a couple of tries. I don't know why I insisted on doing it all by hand, but I did. This post will only be a step-by-step instruction manual for someone who already knows how to sew pillows by hand.
Personal Photo: Gather supplies. This was several spools of ribbon to be chosen for decorating later.

Personal Photo: Can't forget pillow stuffing.

Personal Photo: Needle, thread that perfectly matches your fabric, fabric glue, and rings for attaching anything you'd like.

Personal Photo: Step 1) Trace pattern onto fabric for exact pillow shape. I made two because I had two ring bearers. If you're decorating with ribbon, select choices and cut to a length that is just longer than the width of one side.

Personal Photo: Step 2) Pin decorative ribbon in such a way that the stitches of the pillow will secure it in place. Believe me, this is much easier than trying to sew the ribbon into place later, make sure the pins are secure and are holding the ribbon symmetrically and evenly.

Personal Photo: Step 3) Invert fabric and pin around the perimeter, making sure the decorative ribbons are secure in the right spot. Begin sewing the pillow, leaving about 3 inches not sewn together on one side. Take care to make sure the corners are reinforced.

Personal Photo: Step 4) Cute excess fabric off the sides of the pillow. Check over each seam to make sure they are secure as you don't want puckering when you flip your fabric right side out. This part will be sooo much easier if you just use a machine to do your sewing.

Personal Photo: Step 5) Accept help from your cat so she doesn't steal your thread. I made sure she didn't eat any thread, since I learned here on Weddingbee that can cause disastrous results.

Personal Photo: Step 6) Stuff your pillow. If you are making more than one pillow, stuff them all so you are sure they're the same amount of fluffy. Try not to pull on the open edges where your stitches began. Having to re-sew those later will be a pain.

Personal Photo: Step 7) Attach rings. This is just a sample I tried, but you can see the rings more clearly here. I stitched around the rings through the ribbon and the pillow. Tight, close loops around it will hold it in place. You can put the rings right next to each other or further apart.

Personal Photo: Step 7B) I wanted to add some curl to one of my decorative ribbons, so I found a bottle with the perfect size for the curls and went for it. Cut the length of ribbon you want, wrap around the bottle, and secure with a rubber band. I left mine for a couple weeks to ensure it would stay curled. It's still curled now 8 weeks after the wedding.

Personal Photo: Step 8) Add curled ribbon to the rings you've sewn onto the pillow. Arrange as you'd like. You can even add in another stitch to make sure they stay in place.

Personal Photo: Step 9) Admire your completed pillows. Also, plot for matching flower girl baskets.

Wedding Image showing Ring Bearers in action