Monday, March 25, 2013

The Otter bridal shower!

Less than one month until the wedding, and today in Indiana, there is (roughly) 6 inches of snow on the ground. Really, Indiana? To say I've started freaking out a little about the weather is an understatement. I know I can't control it, and I maintain that I'm fine either way, but really - this weather dilemma is starting to stress me out.

Moving on to the fun stuff - my bridal shower was this weekend! I can't believe that it has already come and gone; after all, it feels like the bachelorette party was just a weekend ago - not a full month (and a little extra) ago.

My two aunts hosted the shower for me and it was really a fun time. :)

They had two games planned, one was matching famous couples (which was totally skewed, I swear, because my whole table failed totally!) and the second was one I haven't seen before: guess what's in the bag. My aunt accumulated items from her kitchen and stored them overnight in a tin with perfume to make it harder to determine what the items were by just smelling them. Seriously, y'all!? I don't cook, so to say I failed at this game is an understatement.

Another quick game was find the groom! It was especially hilarious seeing who everyone else got. BM Blondesquared got Jon Bon Jovi and had no clue who he was, which was especially funny because my Aunt K is obsessed with him.

As soon as games ended, we dug in to the AMAZING food (it went fast!) and opened some gifts. I still maintain that opening gifts in front of a group is strange. I don't mind attention typically, but when I'm opening gifts I feel like the pressure is on! It was sweet of everyone to think of us. :)

As most of you know, my best friend Kir passed away in high school. A got me these sweet duckies to add to my collection and I couldn't have been any more surprised! They're perfect, and one of the few duck varieties that I don't yet own.

After gifts, we mingled, ate more food, and proceeded to have a giant photo session. I mean, there was a blank wall, and between myself and BM Blondesquared, there was no way we were passing it up! Here are a few of my favorites:

{ these girls keep me sane, I swear! }

{ BM Blondesquared }

{ BM jbay }

{ jenzo - pow pow pow! }

{ traditional cousins/BFF pose }

{ all the ladies }

{ my momma and her coworkers }

{ momma }

{ momma, FMIL, and FSIL }

{ momma, cousin/BFF R, and Aunt K }

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gifts for the Guys

I'm almost positive that none of Mr. O's guys read the blog. But just to be sure...

Personal creation / What a flattering photo this is... we were talking about an ex-girlfriend, hence the finger-in-mouth situation you see here.

Moving on...

I have to be honest: we wanted to get the Otter dudes something that they would all use, including the dads. For personal reasons, we didn't think alcohol was appropriate for the entire group, so that cut out a semi-traditional gift of flasks or glasses and their favorite alcohol. After that idea, we pretty much were drawing a blank. What would all the guys use pretty frequently? Maybe we could replace something they already had with something nicer? But what...

We spent weeks trying to figure out a gift for the guys. WEEKS. It was that difficult for us to come up with something. Everything we saw was nice, but just didn't seem right for the entire group. It really stumped us, as you can tell.

And then: lightbulb.

One night when the future Mr. and I were searching Etsy for parent gifts, we came across their wedding section. Displayed on their front page were knives. Engraved knives, ensuring that each guy wouldn't get their nice new knife stolen at work. Just like that, we knew we had found the perfect gift for all of our favorite guys.

For anyone thinking of ordering these knives - we give them two very excited thumbs up! They arrived to us within the same week of ordering, all of them were engraved correctly, and each knife came nicely packaged, ready for us to give out to the guys.

We're thinking of getting the groomsmen something else in addition to their knives (as we did for the fathers), but we haven't quite decided what would be a good fit. Do you have any suggestions on what worked for your guys?

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Getaway

Hive, for those of you lucky enough to never have encountered Indiana weather, let me explain - we can experience a different season every day. I mean that very literally. One day it's snowing, the next is sunny and warm (but windy). That was last week, for anyone who was wondering. ;)

The point is that we really have no idea what weather we're going to get on our wedding day. While most records show it hasn't rained in Indiana for 10+ years, I've still got a rain plan, and I've still got ideas dependent on the weather.

One idea (as I'm sure you all guessed from my not-so-clever title) is the getaway. Our venue is PERFECT (in my obviously biased opinion) for a getaway because of the nice, long path leading up to the barn doors. At the end of the path is the parking area, so assuming it's planned out right, we can just have a car waiting there to go to the hotel.

Isn't that such a great backdrop!?

If I was the only one making a getaway and had the cooperation of the weather, I would definitely want people throwing glitter at me. Upon consideration, I immediately shunned the idea despite the gorgeous photo I was able to find:

Image via Inspired by This / Photo by Jessica Claire

As beautiful as that looks, Mr. O hates glitter. He hates it being around him because it inevitably ends up getting ON him, where he can never remove it. He calls it a lot of not polite names as well, but I'll just keep those to myself. Also, I have a feeling that I would later regret having glitter all over my dress and veil. 

So since there are two of us getting married, and only one of us that likes glitter, it seemed smarter to move on to a better idea all around: the sparkler exit.

Image via Inspired by This / Photo by Amy and Stuart

Of course I realize that if the weather doesn't cooperate, our getaway will most likely be under an umbrella trying to carry my dress, which is fine, too. But if not - sparklers it is!

For those of you that did sparklers, where did you buy them? Help an Otter out!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Get your Instagram on!

Hive, let's chat about something very near and dear to my heart. Social media. Or more specifically, Instagram and Twitter, as that's all I really use. Keep that in mind moving forward...

Remember how I discussed the unplugged ceremony? I even used the classic that has made its way throughout the Weddingbee world. It's that infamous photo where all you see are cameras and cell phones. Just seeing it makes me cringe:

Image via Offbeat Bride / Photo by Aurora-Photography

Let me start by referring to my previous post: to make it short, I had lots of concerns regarding people going to snap a photo and then staying on their phones. That hasn't changed. I still have all of those concerns, and maybe even more so since I've decided to ....gulp.... encourage guests take photos.

Now, I want to take a giant step backward before everyone gets all up in arms here. By "encourage," I mean there will be a designated wedding hashtag, and that I'm going to share that not only with our guests prior to the ceremony, but again at their dinner tables.

Photo by Taylor Lord / Edited by Miss Otter to just include hashtag sign :)

So yes, I've switched sides, however, here is where I want to refer to Miss Lemur's post on why she is having a plugged in ceremony. (And yes, she references my original post; bee love! :)) Her point about being the cell phone police is spot on, and especially resonated with me because, honestly, if someone is going to take a photo, I'd much rather they take a good one than take a crappy one because they're trying to hide their phone.

Like Miss Lemur, I also want the casual photos that Stacy won't have time to get because she's focused on what we're doing as the bride and groom. Our guests will capture things that we may not see, or they may get a photo of us doing something especially ridiculous, and I want to see it all!

And... in case you haven't already learned as much, I'm very impatient. This whole less-than-50-days thing? It's killing me! Talk about being so close yet so far at the same time. But I know myself, and I'm fully aware that we got such an amazing photographer that she's going to be super busy throughout wedding season and definitely doesn't need me emailing her all the time while waiting on our photos. ;)

Last but not least? Mrs. Mink said she totally regretted her unplugged ceremony and while I'm still waiting to read that post, I have a feeling I may end up regretting mine as well when I don't have any photos to look at!

So if you chose to have a "plugged in" ceremony, what was the outcome? Did you see lots of cell phones in your photos?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Warning: Bachelorette party photos ahead...

Hive! I'm back! I've been lurking during my absence, but I'm happy to report that I'm back and ready to update you all on what's been going on during my absence. :)

For a few quick updates... We're under 50 days. 50 days. That is unreal to us. It seems as though we've been planning forever (since November of 2011), and while that's actually a relatively short amount of time, hitting 100 days was a shock, so hitting 50 just seems unreal! As far as the planning goes - we're done, totally, which is great! We've just got final meetings here and there over the next month or so to make sure we're all on the same page. I'm also happy to report that we only owe payment to FOUR vendors. I'm really thrilled about that part because, as anyone who has planned a wedding big OR small, it's nice to be done paying everyone!

That's just a quick update, but now it's time for the fun stuff. :)

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to have all of my best friends in one place to celebrate my bachelorette party! MOH Cubbie did a great job of planning the night (and she managed to sneak in a few surprises!) and we had a fantastic time. Get ready - I had a hard time choosing favorite photos. ;) (And ps: yes, these photos are ALL safe for work!)

First, MOH Cubbie surprised me with a great theme - Sex and the City! You see, I had requested that everyone wear black so I could wear white but I had no idea what her plan was, so my first surprise was the invitation when it arrived in the mail...
(Design by MOH Cubbie - Etsy store coming soon!)

Now, before I tell you about the night, let me tell you a cautionary tale. We had planned to have dinner at Old Spaghetti Factory because it was just one block from the hotel the girls and I would be staying at that evening. (The bar was about half a block, so short walks all around yay!) Unfortunately, when we called to make our reservation, we were told it was already full for the night. To say I freaked out a little would be minor; I was panicked! Thankfully, it wasn't a huge amount of people, so we found a similar restaurant  and they took our party without a hitch.

Photos! Photos galore!

We started the evening with some delicious drinks!

(And of course I used one of those drinks for a theme-matching photo!)

(With my family; from L to R we have Momma Otter, cute cousin R, Aunt K, and the mammy)

(The full wedding party, all in one place! From L to R; BM Blondesquared, FSIL T, BM J, myself, BM Jen, and MOH Cubbie)

Then it was time for my next surprise...

(I think this was MOH Cubbie's face of "I know you're about to lose your $H!T in public")

 (At this point, I demanded that BM Blondesquared stop taking photos of me :))

You guys, the surprise was amazing - so thoughtful and sweet of everyone! MOH Cubbie had gathered photos and letters from everyone that had been invited and put them together in the book for me. I lost it immediately and proceeded to get even more worked up when I got to the pages made my momma Otter and the mammy. 

(The mammy using her cupcake wrap as a tiara, I joined in!)

After dinner (and a very chilly walk to the car - snow and 21 degrees!), we headed downtown to our hotel for the evening. I have to tell you, I've never appreciated a valet more! We were freezing, and had a lot of stuff, so it was nice to just let someone else handle things while we ran inside. Let the shenanigans begin!

 (As you can tell, we weren't that good at being serious for the Bridesmaids cover pose...)

At the hotel, we had a few games to play, and almost immediately, I started dancing. For anyone who knows me well, they will tell you this is the one and only reason I enjoy going out - I love to dance and sing and act like I'm really good at it. I'm not. ;) 

Another tip: choose your bar wisely! We went to a bar in Indy called Bartini's, but it's attached to Cadillac Ranch. After one shot at Bartini's, we went over to Cadillac Ranch because I'm a huge country fan. They played a great variety of country and other popular music, so it worked out great for all of us!

I also managed to run into another bride at one point during the evening...

(A new favorite photo of MOH Cubbie + I :))

All of us together, towards the beginning of the evening. ;)

The before and after, courtesy of MOH Cubbie + BM Blondesquared!

That night at the hotel, we ordered pizza around 3AM. Only Cubbie, Blondesquared, and I made it long enough to eat it but hive, let me tell you - it was probably the best pizza I've ever had. 

The next morning came all too soon, but before we took Cubs back to the airport, we went to Roy's for quesadillas and their legendary long islands. Yum! 

This post has gotten so long with all the photos! But hopefully you all can see what a great time we had out together. :)

What's your favorite memory from YOUR bachelorette party? I can't wait to read them all!