Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I love ink, yes I do!

Fun fact: I cheered from grades three to... senior year, so I can make anything into a cheer. (See how that rhymed!? Cheer material, right there.)

Anyway, let me reintroduce myself: I'm Miss Otter, tattoo lover.

Image via someecards

I have... a lot. Enough that if I try to count, I may forget one for a second. So let's just say I have a lot. Some visible, some not. The visible ones on the big day will include: my wrists, which are both the handwriting of my deceased best friend, "radiate love" on my arm, and potentially (depending on my choice of jewelry) the blackbird on my finger. I also have one behind each ear and one on my neck that my sneak out, but since I'm wearing my hair down, that's up in the air.

Mrs. Fox is also a tattoo advocate and was a tattooed bride. And I couldn't agree more with the words she shared about her own tattoos and why she chose not to cover them on the big day:
"The way I see it, if I didn’t like my tattoos and/or thought I should cover them up at the wedding? Well, shame on me, because I shouldn’t have gotten them in the first place. Now of course this is a personal decision, but in my mind? They are a part of me and a part of the way I “express myself”—it’s only natural that they will be out in proud display."
I got each of my tattoos for a reason. They each have a story. They each mean something to me - something I care about enough to permanently have it on my body. So for that reason, covering them was never a question. In fact, one tattoo (to be revealed here after the wedding) will be photographed as part of our must have shot list. It means that much.

Some have asked if I'll regret having them in my photos, and with that, I share this photo.

Image via B. Moore Events / Photography by Priscila Valentina

Her tattoo, while stunning, wasn't even the thing that caught my eye! It was her smile that caught my eye, then I noticed the tattoo. And I love it. I love that she didn't cover it and that it stands out. In fact, if you continue browsing those photos, you'll notice that wasn't the only one showing. And I don't think it takes away a single thing from the photos. She looks stunning, and the tattoos caught my eye after she did. I think that's what matters most.

Now, I know tattoos aren't for everyone, and that even some brides who love theirs still choose to cover them. If you have tattoos and are covering them, what made you decide to go that route?

Monday, November 26, 2012

The Otter's First Look

Like many bees before me, I want to talk about the (in)famous the first look. Not too long ago, Miss Blue Whale talked about why she ISN'T doing a first look. The very next day, Miss Gloves talked about why she IS doing a first look. One of the many great things about the bee is that we get to see all different kinds of weddings, points of view, and reasons why brides choose to include or not include certain plans or traditions in their wedding.

So, with that being said, yes - the Otters are doing a first look.

(And confession: this is one of the weddings that I interned at, so while you can't see me in the photos, I walked behind Elya as she left the building to see her groom..... and then I shamelessly stood with her family while they watched Brandon and Elya see each other for the first time that day. It was magical!)

The decision to do a first look was easy for me. There were three factors that I considered: that we wanted private moments throughout the day, that I'm an ugly crier, and more practically, for time efficiency. 

The private moment idea speaks for itself I think. While I love the photos of a groom seeing his bride walking down the aisle, I really don't think that anything can take away the magic of that moment. Walking down the aisle to marry the person you love is magic enough, and I know that it will still be special even if we have already spent time together that day. So tradition didn't stop us from considering a first look.

Ugly criers, raise your hands. *hands raised* I really don't want to walk down the aisle ugly crying. Does that make me vain? Probably. But I want to look how I feel - happy, excited, in love. Not like I can't stop sobbing! To help avoid those tears, and to allow time for makeup touch ups after I inevitably ugly cry after seeing Mr. O, a first look makes sense. 

And last but not least: I want to enjoy as much of our reception as possible! There are a few guests that I want photos with immediately following the ceremony, but considering the size of our group, Stacy has assured us that more than likely, we'll be able to get all of our photos done prior to the ceremony. This will allow us to get those shots with a few certain family members, and then head straight in to our reception without missing too much time with our guests!

So for us, the first look makes sense. We've even planned to have it be just us and our photographers, with everyone else arriving shortly after we've finished our first look and portraits. I can't wait! :) 

For those of you also doing a first look, what made you decide to do one? 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Absent Bee

Hive! I've missed you. HUGS! Hugs for you all!

Okay, now that we got that out of the way - I have news! You see, the reason I've been an absent bee is because I got a new job! Now, for those who may not have noticed yet, I suffer from a lovely combination of OCD and anxiety. Severe anxiety. So to say my nerves were frazzled after being offered the job (a dream job, really!) is putting it very mildly. I was a hot mess, bees. 

The first day was rough on my nerves, the second day was considerably better, and while I didn't feel 100% comfortable on the third, I didn't cry at all. (Yes, when I have an anxiety attack I start sobbing. It's horrible, trust me.) Because of the holiday weekend, I only worked three days my first week - but I'm excited about the job, I like the people, and I'm even getting used to being awake at six in the morning! 

So basically - all is well with the Otters. :) 

Now, I have to catch up on everything I missed. While I do that, you should read about the private moments I've planned for Mr. Otter and I on the big day so you're up to speed when I come back talking about first looks. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A private last dance

I have to admit, I've been reading the 'Bee for much longer than I've been engaged. When I was in college, and interning for a wedding venue, I spent so much time on wedding websites that it was no surprise that I had lots of ideas about what I wanted in my wedding. After talking about how we value quality time together and the idea of the sweetheart table, I remembered another important moment: our private last dance.

Elegant pink and black wedding 58

The first time I came across the private last dance was the lovely Mrs. FroYo. Then last year, right around the time my engagement happened, Mrs. Elephant and Mrs. Jaguar wrote about their last dances. I knew then that I had to remember to include a last dance in our wedding plans. Thankfully, I haven't forgotten. ;)

So our plan, assuming that the lovely Indiana weather cooperates (wishing and dreaming here, hive, because Indiana weather is crazy), is to do a sparkler send off. We'll have our DJ Brett ask guests to head outside to prepare the sparklers, and then our DOC Allison and her assistant will help usher guests out. As soon as most everyone is out and the doors start to close, Brett will start our last dance song. It's just over 5 minutes, so it should be plenty of time to hand out sparklers and get them lit. 

And since there was just a sparkler send off last weekend at our venue (!!!), we got to see a couple great photos of how it will turn out... weather permitting. 

Photo by Bobbi and Mike / shared on their blog (with lots more photos of our venue ;))

So what do you think about the private last dance? Do you plan on having one - or having another special moment for you and your new husband?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Two Sweethearts, One Table

I know, I know - I'm not clever. At least I try right!? ;) Today, we're talking sweetheart tables. Before I talk about the table, though, let me talk more about the decision making process.

Like many bees before me, when I started thinking about all the things you must know before you get married, I thought it would be beneficial for us to read Gary Chapman's The 5 Love Languages. I know how I give love to others, but when it came down to my preference in receiving love, I wasn't exactly sure how my results would come out. After reading the book and taking the assessment, both Mr. O and I scored the highest in quality time. Given how we enjoy spending our time, the results did make sense... which leads me to table talk.

Given that our preference is spending quality time together, we wanted to ensure that we had moments of our day built in that would give us that quality time - special moments for just the two of us to enjoy without any pressure. Since we're having a fairly small wedding, we plan to skip the receiving line and visit with our guests after we finish eating. We also considered that if we had a more traditional head table, we would be talking to some of our favorite people, but not necessarily each other.

So - a sweetheart table it will be! Not to mention... I love the look of a sweetheart table in photos!

Image via Style Me Pretty / Photography by Allie Lindsey Photography
This is my standout favorite, I've even started looking around for similar letters!

Image via Every Last Detail / Photography by K and K Photography
Another beautiful option, especially if we can't find any letters we love!

For practical reasons, we're going to have a four person round rather than a two. This will allow us room to display my boutique, have our Mr & Mrs letters, and ensure that I have plenty of room to not spill on my dress. ;) 

What do you think? For married bees that did a sweetheart table, did it work out well for you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Reintroducing our venue

Do you guys remember when I shared that we had finally found our dream venue? Well, since my photos weren't of top notch quality (since iPhone plus rain does not equal pretty pictures), I decided that before I can move forward with more of our planning details, I had to share photos that would do our venue some justice.

Photography by our venue coordinator, Megan \ Used with permission from the Mustard Seed Gardens Facebook page
This is the ceremony space, and depending upon the number of guests we have, we may choose to use a similar seating arrangement! It may be a tad difficult considering the way the gazebo is set up, however I'm confident that we'll figure out something great. :) 

Photography by our venue coordinator, Megan \ Used with permission from the Mustard Seed Gardens Facebook page

The barn is where we'll be holding the reception (and possibly the ceremony, depending on the weather), so I'm thrilled that these lights and paper lanterns are now included in our wedding package! The way the photo below is set up is very close to how we'll set up the venue for the big day. The only difference is that instead of a head table, we're going to have a sweetheart table (more about that coming up soon!). 

So now, with the much better quality photos - what do you think!? Can you see how we're planning to use minimal decor to pull off the rustic, romantic vibe we're going for?

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Now instead of later

As I write this post, there are only 160 days until our wedding day. According to my calculator (because I really, really can't do math), I have a little over 5 months left until the big day. When you factor in the upcoming holidays and birthdays, that number shrinks even further. In my rational mind, I realize that before I know it, our wedding day will be here.

But in the other part of my mind, the part that even I don't really understand sometimes, I just want to be freaking married already.

Yes, I want to walk down the aisle at our beautiful venue with my dad, wearing my wedding dress, surrounded by friends and family, and say those vows that promise so much. I want to exchange rings, and be announced as Mr. and Mrs. HisLastName. I want the gorgeous photos and the even-better memories that just can't be captured on film. But I would also be lying to the hive if I said there hadn't been a few days I just wanted to toss my hands up and say let's just go get married, already.

We've even discussed it. How could we make that work, both with vendors and with the family members that we have to have there? We've talked about different options, about how we could go about pushing the wedding up (or changing our vision for the wedding totally), but ultimately, we realized that most of this urgent desire to be married now, now, now comes down to my own impatience. We chose April for peonies (okay, Mr. O didn't care about the flowers ;)). We chose a spring month because I pass out when I get even the slightest bit hot. Essentially - all of our decisions were made for a reason. So why would we change all that just because I get impatient to be Mrs. Otter on occasion?

Well, we wouldn't. Or, we aren't, to be more accurate. But even as I'm planning the wedding, I'm researching homes. I'm looking at how to go about buying a home, what our credit needs to look like, and how to choose a school district. Oh, and the b-word. Yep, the Otters talk about babies. So while I'm planning for soon (the wedding), I'm also trying to plan for later. And while I love that we're organized and have plans, I also want us to enjoy this time. While we're just engaged and while it's still just the two of us.

Planning bees (or married bees!), what helped you to slow down and focus more on the now, and less on the later?

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Otter Invitations: Design Time

So if you'll remember where we left off, I had found a few bits and pieces to incorporate into our invitations, but nothing that I was completely in love with. With that in mind, I ventured on over to Pinterest, where I had been collecting ideas for... a really long time.

And just like that - there it was. The invitations that we would buy! They were unique, they had the wrap around labels, and while there were a few things, I didn't love, I thought I could work with designer to change it up a little to further customize them for us.

Photo via Impressed Inc. / Invitation design by a friend of the bride

But alas, these invitations weren't for sale. I even commented on the post, asking if the designer had an Etsy store or some other means of comment so that we could talk about these invitations. I wasn't the only commenter - many others felt the same way about these invitations, but as recently as a few weeks ago, there was no update made regarding the mystery designer behind the invitations.

So what's a girl to do!? Create our own, of course. When MOH Cubbie generously offered to do the design work for us, for free (!), I took her up on it and about an hour later we had a preliminary design. This also gave us the opportunity to change the things that I didn't love, like the "I do" "Me too" bubbles. Actually saying "I do" is a big deal to me, so I wanted that to be reflected on our invitations. Cubbie also made a graphic for us, the interlocked anchors with a heart, so we could incorporate those into our paper items. I was pretty set on having the black invitations with hot pink writing, like our almost-color palette for the wedding.

Cubbie and I chatted for about an hour, and then she sent this proof on over to me:

Personal image / Design by MOH Cubbie

Okay... so that looks very similar to what we were going for, but along with this, Cubbie had sent her own version of the invitation which customized it even further. A completely different color scheme, as well as some design changes that Mr. O especially fell in love with. Now, while I can't reveal the invitations until they're actually sent, let's just say that we didn't end up going with the proof you see here... ;)

Any guesses about how our invites may turn out?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Otter Invitations: The Inspiration

After sending our STDs, it was time to move on to the invitations. Early on, I had a few favorite bits and pieces from invitations but nothing that felt just right to purchase (or even create) as a full set. Everything was beautiful, but just not quite "us."

Photo via The Knot / Photography by Allyson Magda Photography / Invitation by Hello!Lucky
I love that these invitations featured the font Strangelove (a favorite font of mine) and the wrap around mailing labels.

Photo via Style Unveiled / Photography by KIM+PHIL Photography / Invitation by Paper Bloom
I love the RSVP cards from this invitation set! I would much rather send something fun like this (and leave space for a little note from friends and family) than send the "yes" or "no" options.

Regatta Wedding Invitations by Oscar & Emma
Regatta Wedding Invitations by Oscar & Emma From Minted Paper Goods via
This invitation grabbed my attention because of the anchor, something that I love and really wanted to incorporate into our wedding - especially the paper goods.

So while that left us with a lot of inspiration and bits and pieces to use, it really didn't leave us with a set idea of okay, let's work off of this design. Off to Pinterest I went, where I hoped to find something that would allow me to incorporate all these different pieces into one invitation. 

I did find something there... but first, what do you think of the few items we planned to incorporate?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Engagement Photos: The Inspiration

So now that we've officially booked the lovely and (obviously) talented Stacy for the wedding, we found ourselves in quite the predicament. We get a second engagement shoot included in our package. I was thrilled, kind of like a puppy about to get a bone. More pictures!? WHEN? WHERE? *Crazy eyes* Mr. Otter wasn't nearly as excited as I was, but no way was I going to miss a session with Stacy!

Plus, a second session means all new inspiration! So with that in mind, I started the hunt for some new (to us) ideas.

Photo by: Sweet Little Photographs on Sweet Little Photographs via \ Mr. Otter loves his ties, so if I put him in a tie, I'm sure his enthusiasm level will rise. ;)

Photo by: Sweet Little Photographs on Sweet Little Photographs via \ I love how radiant she looks, like she's truly happy!

Downtown LA engagement shoot palm trees pink balloons highway freeway LA traffic brown wedges
Photo by: Sweet Little Photographs on Inspired By This via \ I love the balloons!

Photo by: Stacy Able Photography \ There are those macaroons again! ;)

Photo by: Stacy Able Photography \ I love the colored hearts in the snow - what a fun way to add color!

Photo by: Stacy Able Photography \ And again with the red shoes - I love the pop of color in the snow!

So our plan are to get some bright colored balloons and wear outfits that have pops of color in them. While we're going for a "winter" theme, but with Indiana weather, you never know if you'll actually have winter weather or if there will be snow on the ground. 

For those of you who had a winter engagement shoot - what tips do you have? Any certain colors I should be on the lookout for when I inevitably go shopping for outfits?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Otters have a photographer!

To say that the Otter wedding has had some setbacks would be putting it mildly. Some have been small, like the shoes that were out of stock, some have been big, like me losing my primary job smack dab in the middle of wedding planning. So when just a few days ago, we found ourselves on the hunt for a photographer, I decided that this setback was going to be on the minor side of things.

Without a bit of hesitation, I immediately emailed someone that I knew would be a perfect fit for our day - the lovely Stacy Able.

I cannot sing Stacy's praises enough! When I interned at Deer Park Manor, I got to work with a ton of different vendors. Unfortunately, not all of them loved having interns following them around asking questions (and understandably so!) while they're trying to work. Stacy, on the other hand, was nice enough to tell us that we weren't bothering her at all. Though the day was long and hot, Stacy was consistently upbeat and just a fun person to be around. But enough about that, I'll let Stacy's photos speak for themselves!

All the following images are courtesy of Stacy Able Photography, unless otherwise noted.

And, while Stacy's work can more than speak for itself, just wow. Stacy does such a wonderful job of capturing the special (and hilarious) moments that happen throughout the day, and I'm so thankful that she was still available to capture our day! I also may have let out a piercing shriek when Stacy said she could make macaroons for us. 

Yep, there's going to be a ring shot like that in my future. ;)

What do you guys think!? Do you love her as much as I do?