Finally! Our wedding photos finally came in the mail this past weekend, and I can't wait to share them with you. Although it's going to be hard to do, I'm going to try my best to narrow down the 1000+ photos to just some of my favorites.
Because there are so many photos and uploading each of them seems to take forever, I'm going to do this over a couple of posts. So part one will be all about getting ready and setting things up. Part two will have photos from our First Look - something I recommend to everyone! Part three will be all about our ceremony. Our portraits will make up the fourth installation of these wedding posts. And then we'll wrap it up with a fifth post all about our reception. And to break things up, I'll try to include details about the who/what/why/hows of the day.
First thing you need to know about our wedding is that we cash-flowed the entire thing. Before we got married, actually before we even were engaged, we took a finance course which taught us the benefits of living a debt free life. Because we had a limited budget, we knew early on that we needed to decide the type of wedding we wanted. What did we settle on? Outdoor ceremony with indoor reception. Surrounded by close family & friends. Simple and down to earth. Nothing to fancy. Fun.
So now that you know what we were aiming for, let's dive right in!
We had our wedding on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Seriously - we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather. It wasn't too hot nor too cold. And it was bright and sunny. We chose to have both our ceremony and our reception at the Winter Park Farmer's Market (read more about choosing our venue here).
Our friends and family were HUGE helps. While I was busy getting my hair done and getting ready, they were all working behind the scenes setting everything up. My father-in-law, brother-in-law and one of the groomsmen worked to get the toasting glasses (which were gifted to us by my in-laws; purchased from Party City). My matron of honor's mother and father came down just to help with the setup - they are pros seeing as their two daughters were both married in the past 2 years and they did it all on their own too. A friend from the hubby's church offered to be a "day of" coordinator for us. And we asked some of the youth from the church's youth group to come out and help as well. Everyone was amazing - and we are still so grateful for all of their help.
My niece played the part of Flower Girl. Isn't she adorable?
Both the girls and guys in the wedding party got ready in the bathrooms at the venue. We chose this option because it was easier. One, I didn't want to have to worry about getting in my dress and then jumping in a car - wrinkles would have been horrible! Plus, because we only had one venue that our photographer was required to show up to, we got a discount on our photos. Speaking of which, I should probably mention that all of the photos were taken by the amazing Fat Catz Photography.
I absolutely love my dress! I wanted something that was simple and classic. The dress is from David's Bridal, but has since been discontinued. From the moment I saw that dress on the racks, I just knew it was the one. I always thought that sounded silly, but it's the honest truth. I also got my veil at David's for a steal - it was only $15 on clearance!
My jewelry was my something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. The earrings were a new purchase (I think I paid $10 at Tuesday Morning of all places for them) and they also have a little bit of blue on them. The necklace I borrowed from my mom. And the bracelet belongs to my Grandma, so it was both old and borrowed.
The hunt for the perfect shoe was tough. I'm not normally picky about shoes. Honestly, I would have walked down the aisle in flip flops. But, in order to avoid spending more money on alterations to have my dress hemmed, I had to wear heels. My problem? Finding the right shade. My dress is technically "ivory" but it's so light of an ivory it's hard to tell. But if you held up white shoes to the dress, they looked too white. And if you held up true ivory shoes to the dress, they were too dark. At one point I even looked for teal shoes - but couldn't find any that I like or didn't have to be dyed. Luckily I found the right shoes - they are Liz Claiborne Massey Sandals in ivory from DSW.
Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. And we found these on sale at Michaels, along with the ribbon used to wrap the stems. One of my friends from high school put together my bouquet. And my bridesmaid put together her bouquet as well as the rest of the flowers for the wedding party.
Isn't he handsome??
For the boys, we told them they could wear whatever black suit they owned. Considering it costs around $150 to rent one for a day, where you could purchase one for twice that amount and wear it whenever you needed to for special occasions. And at our age, if a man doesn't have a suit already, it's about time he got one, don't you think? We were very lucky and grateful that Dan's oldest brother bought him a suit as his wedding gift to us.
The only thing that I was pretty particular on was the shirt the boys wore. It was a specific color - our wedding color. Other than that, they wore black shoes and whatever black tie they owned. One of our groomsmen even wore his Air Force uniform for our wedding (how he managed to get out of all the getting ready shots, I have no idea!). We tried to make it as easy and cheap on everyone in our party as possible.
Getting ready in the bathroom of the venue turned out to be a little hectic. Because there were no other bathrooms on site, everyone else who was helping to set up the venue needed to come in and get ready as well. Plus, my cousin and his family (you saw their wedding here) who had drove down from Georgia that morning had to get out of their driving clothes and into something more appropriate for the wedding. It was a little odd getting dressed with my loud, redneck cousin in there at the same time, but you know what, I wouldn't have had it any other way. He made me laugh and relax, and for that I am so very thankful that they made the trip down to Florida (and drove back that same night!) to be a part of our special day.
For the girls, their outfits were pretty simple as well. All they had to do was find a black dress. I figured it was cheaper than making them go buy a bridesmaids dress from a bridal shop that they'd probably only wear once. And they could wear any pair of black shoes.
I don't know how it started, but all of us ended up getting braids in our hair. Even my niece and mother-in-law. I think the only person who had their hair done that morning that didn't get a braid was my mom; but I think her hair was a little too short for one. An amazing woman named Patti, who is a friend of my aunt, came to my parent's house and did all of our hair before we went to the venue. She was literally a god-send. Without going into details, she helped me get through a really rough morning. I seriously don't think I would have had the wedding I did without her and her words of wisdom.
The earrings the girls are wearing were made by my mom; the beads were found at JoAnns. And the black flowers in my hair (yes, there were flowers, but everyone seems to miss them the first time around) were from H&M. And to save money, I chose to do my own makeup for the wedding. My bridesmaids did my eye makeup, but I did the rest.
So that pretty much wraps up getting ready for our wedding. Because we had gotten to the venue a little late, we were a little rushed to get photos done before the ceremony started. But before we could even think about getting all of the wedding party portraits done, the hubby and I had to have our First Look. But I'll save those photos for Part Two :)