Category Archives: Wedding

Always A Bridesmaid…

…just once a bride.

2016 was the year of weddings for my husband and I. With a total of 9 weddings attended, only 2 we were not in the bridal party. I will admit, it was crazy at times but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

The first rule as a bridesmaid is to set your pride aside. Your best friend is getting married and there is a slim chance she will have the  opportunity to do it again so make sure she feels like a star. It’s not your day, it’s hers. Secondly, try your best to say “yes”. She needs you with her as much as possible and wants your approval and support, not to mention a killer looking squad. Lastly, SET YOUR PRIDE ASIDE. Yeah, I know I already said it but that’s how important it is. Trust me, in the long run, you’ll be glad you did. Knowing I was a hairdresser, all of my friends asked me to first, be a bridesmaid. Then I was asked if I could do the hair. So of course, I had to say yes.

The Guthries

To kick off the 2016 madness, we flew to a beautiful destination wedding for our friends Dave And Cyntia. We stayed at the Paradisus resort in Punta Cana and had an all-inclusive week of luxury. Most of our time was spent on the beach, but we did have an excursion where we were taken to a “floating island”. A man-made spot where we could get a massage, swim with sharks, kayak, or just soak up the sun.

Throughout the resort were signs featuring information about the Mangroves and how there was a tour you could take. My Husband was begging to take this tour from the moment he stepped on the resort so once Sarah and Joel arrived, we got to it. It wasn’t much of a “tour” since we didn’t have a tour guide so we just walked through a pathway of mangroves. And saw a family of turtles. Destination weddings are a wicked vacation because you’re surrounded by an awesome group of friends, amazing food and drinks, and located in some of the most beautiful places on the planet.

The Blumers

Fast forward 3 weeks and a road trip to Pittsburgh and we are celebrating Sarah and Joel Blumer. I came up a week before to spend some quality time with Sarah and help her with anything, from cleaning her house to doing her hair for her big day. I remember my first bridesmaid task: within a few minutes of arriving, Sarah asked me “Hey, can you take this blanket upstairs for me?” Of course I said yes, this was my first official job as MOH! Being assigned MOH, my main task was to have pink hair, so the first day I was there, we colored my hair pink to have it prepped for the wedding. I got to help make the DIY gem wall and assist with the “May the Fourteenth Be With You” marque sign, although it was all Joel really.

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The night before the wedding, Sarah and I stayed at Hotel Monaco in downtown Pittsburgh. All Sarah wanted to do was take a big bath and then go to sleep. Nothing too crazy happened except her other BFF Allie arrived at midnight, after Sarah passed out. Allie and I snuck out and walked to the nearest corner store for snacks and treated ourselves to the complimentary bottle of champagne the hotel provided.

My husband Brandon was also in the wedding and we got lucky enough to walk down the aisle together. The Blumer wedding wins for most creativeness, everything was thoroughly picked out by the bride and groom: completely unique, but perfectly Sarah and Joel. Hundreds of hours of DIY work and crafting went into it and it was worth it. I loved every single second spent at their wedding and I know for a fact they did too! I was honored to be Matron of Honor. The wedding was at the Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh, PA.

The McIvers

Three weeks later, we are back to Texas and back to blonde to attend a classic, glamorous wedding between my baby brother, Andrew, and his gorgeous wife, Lauren. The bridal party spent a week in Las Vegas during the Super Bowl so we didn’t have to deal with any casualties the week of the wedding. I can’t say too much about that except “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

My parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at their home and did a super cute Italian theme and ended the night with fireworks. I saved about $40 by carefully removing the nails I wore to Sarah’s wedding and re-gluing them for Lauren’s wedding. Talk about a “McIver”. On the morning of the wedding, both the mother of the bride and I got to do all of the bridesmaids hair and each others.  The McIver wedding wins for most classic look. They were married at Boulder Springs in New Braunfels, TX.  The bridal party all matched in charcoal, chandeliers hanging throughout, drapery, and a full candlelit reception, it was breathtaking.

The Smiths

In October I had the honor of being a bridesmaid for my bestie Lauryn. The bridesmaids spent a few nights downtown San Antonio at the Menger Hotel, San Antonio’s most haunted hotel! Sadly there were no ghost encounters. We had a great party at a piano bar and then woke up the next morning to all have a relaxing spa treatment. The night before the wedding, we blew off some steam by going to Top Golf and hitting some balls for a few hours.

The day of the wedding, I got to do Lauryn’s hair as well as some of the other bridesmaids. Lauryn and Brad had a beautiful, rustic country wedding at Enchanted Springs Ranch in Boerne, TX. I put my dancing skills to the test with the Grand March. A good chunk of the wedding family was Czechoslovakian and it’s tradition to do the Grand March at your wedding. My husband and I made friends with the bartender, and every time we went for shots, which was about 8 times, she snuck one with us.

The Valencias

To seal 2016 was the woodland wedding at the La Escondida Celebration Center in Helotes, TX featuring the lovely Mikhala and Lorenzo Valencia. Talk about creative and unique. I loved being part of this wedding! We had a space themed bachelorette party and all the girls wore GLITTER ROOTS! We had an Alien named Billy who came with us and even managed to show up at the wedding.

I loved the color pallet they used; the bride is an artist if you can’t tell. She worked hard to make sure everything came out perfectly. The night before the wedding, she stayed up until 4AM working on personalized artwork to gift to the parents. The bridesmaids made our own floral arrangements, and again I got to do all of the hair. Love won between these two, and they conquered all obstacles to get there. Highlight of this wedding was the saxophone player playing Careless Whisper. Almost everyone was out on the dance floor shaking their booty!

And yes, I wore my unicorn mask to every single wedding. It was worth it.

Woah! We’re Halfway There

People say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. So far, it’s been more of an adjustment at times, but I wouldn’t call it difficult. Coming down from the high that we were on from our wedding (especially after planning every last detail for over a year and having so many friends and family come to our city) wasn’t the easiest thing, but we were excited and eager start our lives together as husband and wife.  Even when we got back from our two week European honeymoon, it somehow feels like our honeymoon never ended.

It’s definitely not all rainbows and butterflies. Sometimes I forget that I’m legally bound to anther person and that I shouldn’t keep all of my feeling bottled up like I’m so accustomed to doing. Joel is so great about knowing when any tiny little thing is wrong with me and making me talk about it. Communication has always been key for us. It’s why we never really “fight”.

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Today marks our first six months of marriage! Pretty cool that we’re halfway to our first year as The Blumers, huh? Since getting hitched, the question I get asked the most is when we plan to have kids. “Cool your damn jets” is what I want to say to my mom when she pressures me into making a baby before her next visit to Pittsburgh (November 2017). We did not get married for the sole purpose of reproducing, we got married because we want to be together and if we add a few more to our family, then that’s cool too, but it’s just us for now. We don’t actually plan on having children until we are both in our thirties. Joel’s about to be 29, but I’m still 26 so we have some time to ourselves. The thing is, our marriage itself is kind of our baby. Think about it: it needs tender, loving care and we give annoying month to month updates on Facebook. I should copyright that metaphor.

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Two big things we have added to our lives since getting married: a budget and kittens! I think that a lot of newlyweds and couples in general, argue about money. With a weekly budget and a nerdy husband who loves Excel spreadsheets, we can happily stick with it! We’re only a little obsessed with our kittens, Sweet Dee and Peter Nincompoop.

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It didn’t take us long to settle into our roles as being a boring old married couple. We’re total homebodies who spent the entire weekend binge watching Workaholics and old seasons of Project Runway. We spend a lot of time together at home in order to save our money so we can continue to travel together. We’ll be in NYC for Thanksgiving and have at least two more big trips planned for next year.

And for anyone who thinks it’s weird that we don’t fart in front of each other, know that we do have burping contests and Joel popped a pimple on my face for me last night.

Our Wedding Ceremony

20 minutes before I was about to marry my BFF in front of most of our friends and family, the wedding coordinator of the venue brought me some bad news. “First of all,” she said “it’s raining, so the ceremony will have to be moved inside and most of the guests will have to stand. Secondly, your cake is leaning significantly to the left. I’m so sorry!” This moment sticks out in my mind because I remember so vividly everyone staring at me waiting to gauge my reaction and thinking to myself “alright Sarah, here’s your chance to be the scary bridezilla of everyone’s nightmares and yell at someone!” Just thinking that made me laugh out loud. I can’t even explain to you how much I didn’t care about things going wrong on our wedding day! I welcomed the rain- everyone knows it’s good luck! The leaning tower of cake could fall over for all I cared! As long as Joel was waiting for me at the end of that aisle, the world as I knew it could come crumbling down and I’d still be the happiest gal there.

5 minutes before I was to marry my BFF, my cousin and sister cornered me in the bathroom of the bridal chamber. Annie closed the door behind her (I think she just had to pee) while Christina grabbed me by the shoulders, looked me dead in the eyes, and with utmost seriousness asked: “ARE YOU SURE YOU WANT TO DO THIS?!” Now,  anyone with any amount of doubt might have been mad at this question, but to Christina’s defense I think this is the best question you can ask a bride in the minutes before she links arms with her dad to be given away forever. It was in that moment that I just smiled with tears in my eyes and said “I’ve never been more sure of anything”.

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As soon as I turned the corner with my dad, Joel and I locked eyes and didn’t break contact for the entirety of the ceremony. Have you ever had 15 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact? Towards the end, your eyes start to cross a little, it’s really cute. Anyway, as soon as my Pop handed me over with the key to my chastity belt (ha!) Joel and I gave each other the best high five the world has ever seen.

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We had chosen the scripture for our ceremony with Pastor Lynn while we did our premarital counseling in the months leading up to our wedding. I think there was some Genesis in there and you can never go wrong with a little 1st Corinthians. My best friend, Allie, read I Carry Your Heart by EE Cummings and gave me the sweetest little kiss on my shoulder as she walked back to her bridesmaid spot.

I usually can’t talk no good when I’m crying, but we said our vows with conviction. I remember being so sniffly that at one point, tissue-less, I wiped my nose with my hair extensions. Then, with shaky hands, we put on our rings. And then…. just like that….

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We sealed it all with a big ole smooch!

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When Joel and I walked away as husband and wife, he whispered to me to take mental pictures of the night because before we knew it, it’d be over. I’m so glad I listened to him because almost 6 months later, it feels like it was yesterday.

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The Perfect Score

Ever notice how the music in a movie can make or break the whole thing? I guess that’s the whole reason why there is an Oscar category for Best Score. The score is important! I, personally, like to listen to music in my car or when I’m going to bed and imagine different scenarios for the song I’m jammin’. With a year long engagement, I had plenty of time to pick the perfect songs for the special moments of our wedding.

Looking back at our year of wedding planning, the part that I remember best and most fondly is putting together a playlist. I would get home from Ohio on Friday evenings, we’d pour beers and get a pizza, and listen to songs. The more beers we drank, the more we danced around the living room. We’ve been to so many weddings where the music doesn’t flow right, so the dance floor is mostly empty. We wanted to micro manage our DJ by picking all of the songs he would play, not just the special ones.

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ceremony start/entrance song: Don’t Worry Baby by The Beach Boys (Funny thing is I had originally wanted God Only Knows but changed my mind when it was the intro song to Big Love- HBO’s show about polygamy).

ceremony exit song: You Shook Me All Night Long by ACDC (Played right when we were pronounced man and wifey.

cocktail hour/dinnertime had an eclectic mix of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, David Bowie, Mutemath, Iggy Azalea, Ingrid Michaelson and more.

our first dance song: Leaving On A Jet Plane by Peter, Paul and Mary  (A good choice considering we had spent half of our time together in a long distance relationship! I was driving home from Target when it came on in my car and I cried so hard listening to it and knew it was perfect!)

dance with dad: Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver (One of our favorite songs ever! It was between this or something by the Doobie Brothers.)

cake cutting: Somebody To Love by Queen (Something to love: cake)

bouquet toss: Single Ladies by Beyonce  Bad Girls by MIA (Because I wanted to be original. Also, I threw my bouquet at my best friend and she almost threw it right back to me.)

The rest of the dance music had  a mix of songs by Taylor Swift, Drake, Bruno Mars, Chicago, and other bands who make you wanna shake ya tail feather (Nelly?). Though we asked for no line dancing, The Wobble was played and I now have a funny video of a bunch of people doing a line dance they don’t know.

The last two songs that were played were Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen and Come Sail Away by Styx. At the end of the last song, Joel and I stood in the middle of the dance floor where he lifted me up and slowly twirled me around like a ballerina. It may sound cheesy, but I had the best view of all the smiling faces of our friends and family and I was so happy and so grateful for everyone who made our night so perfect.

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DJ Kevin of Black Well Soundz

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I can’t wait to put on our wedding clothes, drink beer and eat pizza, while we listen to our wedding playlist again. Sounds like the perfect Friday night. Score!

A Few Of Our Favorite Things

HOW TO PERSONALIZE YOUR WEDDING, PART 1:

One of the things Joel and I talked about when we were planning the fun little details of our wedding, was our intention to make our day totally unique to us. We added a ton of personalized touches everywhere. In a later post, I will share more of the DIY side of our wedding, but for now, here’s how we incorporated a few of our favorite things…. From the obvious to the hidden, these silly concepts really gave our wedding that Joel and Sarah punch we were aiming for.

MEAN GIRLS– I knew we were going to have a sweetheart table, so I thought it’d be funny to have a custom garland sign made to let everyone else know that they can’t sit with us. Also loving how the aqua blue letters pop against the gold sequin table cloth (both purchased on Etsy).

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IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY IN PHILADELPHIA- If you didn’t already know that we were adding tidbits from Sunny, you probably missed them. First of all, we had our rings engraved with an Always Sunny quote that totally pertains to marriage. Secondly-we didn’t plan this- when my Matron of Honor gave her speech, she nervously dry heaved just like Sweet Dee!

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GAME OF THRONES- This is probably my favorite personalized thing we did for our wedding… Our friend Nick, a talented music teacher (and blogger!),  greeted our guests with the sweet sounds of acoustic versions of the Game Of Thrones theme song and The Rains Of Castamere (also from GOT). Nick also played some Bowie and Queen and he grew an epic year long beard just for us! Joel and I didn’t get to hear Nick’s playing at the wedding, but I got a preview of it at our book club the week beforehand. Thanks again, Nick!

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HARRY POTTER- I’ve been an HP fan for a longggg time, but we didn’t really have a big Harry Potter thing planned… We did, however, refer to the bridal room- where I hid from Joel before the ceremony and all of my girls kept their belongings- as The Chamber Of Secrets. Whatever, I’m counting it.

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LEGO- Joel LOVES Legos! He had a Lego themed birthday party when he turned 27! When he showed me that you can order personalized Lego cake toppers on Etsy, I was alllll about that.

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STAR WARS- The last and certainly the most obvious of our favorite things: Star Wars! It was everywhere! Joel handmade a giant marquee sign that says “May The Four(teen)th Be With You”. He worked so hard on it and we love how it turned out! We had Storm Trooper masks floating around on the dance floor (thanks, Christina!) and my oldest friend, Kat, wore a custom made Star Wars dress. Lastly, our 3 ft tall “pet” Storm Trooper, Jermaine, guarded the bar throughout the night.

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Bridesmaids

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The thing about bridesmaids is… I had 9. Yeah, I ah, I did slightly over commit to the whole bridesmaids thing. Turns out I am probably more comfortable with 6. It’s a lot, a lot of estrogen to deal with.

Just kidding. Even though we had a big bridal party, we could have easily added 3 more people to each side. I have 3 sisters, a cousin who is practically a sister, 2 sisters-in-law, and best friends who I needed to be with me, so a big bridal party was pretty inevitable for us. I mean, I totally get why couples getting married completely opt our of having bridesmaids/groomsmen, but I needed to be able to have multiple people worship the ground as I walked on it on my wedding day. Plus, go big or go home, ya know?

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The morning of our wedding was a big help each other/ hang out sesh. I curled Christina’s hair and Jess did my makeup. The girls helped each other put on eyelashes, zip up dresses, and buckle shoes, all the while sharing one bottle of pink champagne that we had to drink very slowly so it could make an appearance in the pictures (“just drink the vodka I got you, ladies”).

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I love that having your bridesmaids pick their own dresses is, like, a thing. With a big bridal party, I knew I wouldn’t like the look of one dress on all of the girls. WHAT WOMAN ACTUALLY WANTS TO WEAR THE SAME EXACT THING AS 8 OTHERS ANYWAY?! I did not send my Bride Tribe a swatch of a color or anything like that either, but simply asked that they wear something in the Blush Pink family and just have fun with it (with the exception of my maid/matron of honor, who both wore gold). For the sake of photos, I wanted as many different lengths and textures as possible, but mostly I wanted them to be themselves!

There were maxi dresses, mini dresses, tea length dresses, and a jumpsuit. There was vintage silk, crochet, sequins, chiffon, and feathers. Rachel wore pearls, Amy wore her everyday David Yurman, Allie wore hoops, Laura and Jess wore dainty gold, and Christina borrowed a statement necklace from yours truly. Annie wore clogs, Rebekah wore flats, and Bessie wore glittery stripper heels. I cannot even tell  you how much I loved how each and every one of these women looked. They are all so ridiculously beautiful inside and out.

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I really want say a big fat thank you to my bridesmaids. YOU B-WORDS ARE THE B-EST.

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Photos by Leann Christine Photography

Dat Dress Doe

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I remember wedding dress shopping like it was yesterday… I made an appointment to try on dresses almost immediately after Joel and I got engaged (I may or may not have been watching the crap out of Say Yes To The Dress and Instagram stalking my potential bridal shop for months before). We hadn’t even set a date yet, but I figured I’d go try on a few dresses and get a feel for what I wanted our wedding to be. I’d always pictured myself wearing something fitted with long lace sleeves and possibly an open back? The dress I’d been imagining was giving me Fall Wedding vibes, but with a lot of succulents and cactus everywhere. My secret Pinterest board was a hot mess.

If I can give any bride a piece of advice when it comes to wedding dress shopping it’s this: GO TO A SMALL BRIDAL SHOP! Wedding dress boutiques are where you will not only be treated like the GD queen that you are, but they’re really not that much more expensive than buying a dress “off the rack”. I went to Glitter and Grit, an amazing by-appointment-only shop down the street from us, and was shocked (in a good way) to see their dress selection was nothing short of amazing and I never, NOT ONCE, felt pressured into making a purchase that day.

My entourage and I all took turns picking dresses for me to try on and I loved each one more than the next. I distinctly recall seeing this Nicole Miller number with lace cut outs and saying “oh I’m definitely trying on that slutty dress”. When I put it on, however, it wasn’t slutty at all. It was classy and flattering and so ME. I bought it that day. Wow. That was easy!

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Soon after buying my dress, all of our other wedding plans and visions were quickly falling into place and becoming clearer by the day. Date? Set! Venue? Booked! Bridesmaids? Chosen! Save the Dates? SENT.

IT. WAS. HAPPENING.  With the help of Jen Rocket (local seamstress extraordinaire) and Spanx, my dress fit like a glove.

Something magical happened when I put on my wedding dress on the day of our wedding. I knew I would never look or feel as beautiful as I did that day so I was trying my best to own it.

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Joel had no idea what I was going to look like before I walked down the aisle because I’m way too superstitious to do any “first look” garbage. He was pleasantly surprised… “VERRRRRRR NICE!”

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I completed my wedding look with knock off Valentino Rockstuds (thanks, Ebay!) and a simple, gold OMG necklace (thanks, Laura!). I kept it pretty simple, with my hair down and flowy, and let my dress do the talking.

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all photos by Leann Christine Photography

 

There are quite a few more wedding posts lined up for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!