Saturday, April 27, 2013


Hive, you are the best! Thank you for each and every one of the sweet comments on my post about what went wrong on the wedding day. I know that other people have much, more more to complain about than I do, so I really appreciate just laying it out there and getting a sweet response from all of you! I've started a list of recaps that I plan to write (eeek!), but I wanted to talk about a couple more things before we get photos and really start recapping.

If you've been around the 'Bee for a while, you've probably seen these acronyms before. The Post Wedding Chop is something many great bees before me have participated in. Typically, these lovely ladies grow their hair out for the wedding, and then chop it off after. Some chops have been just a few inches (like Mrs. Mink's), some chops have been new bangs (like Mrs. Wallaby's), and some chops have been accidental manglings of gorgeous hair (I'm sorry, Mrs. Cola!). But whatever chop it was, it was post wedding.

I've been growing my hair out for a long, long time. I chopped it one time, and it just never grew back. But finally, it started growing. Hooray! For the wedding, I knew I wanted to leave it down and curled, and with thin hair, we thought we may have to use extensions. Thankfully, my hair proved to be enough, and my hair came out like this for the big day:

Photo by Stacy Able Photography / Our first kiss as Mr. + Mrs.!

Surprisingly, I did have a few friends ask about my post wedding hair plans. Would I go auburn like I always say I want to? Finally allow someone to trim it? Perhaps I would even get really crazy and get some bangs??? Here is my post wedding hair:

Personal image / Photo blurred for coworker privacy

So it's the same. No PWC here! Not even a post wedding trim. I want to keep growing it out, and nobody is touching it. The end!

And for that Post Wedding Depression, well Hive, I do not have it. Instead, I'm relishing being able to use the word husband, ordering furniture (we got a dining room table set!), and working on getting all of our wedding items put away. I do have a few ideas on how to keep the wedding love in my life, but we'll talk about those later. ;)

Did you get a PWC or suffer from PWD? Tell me your stories, Hive!

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Neither are weddings. So in the interest of being totally honest and candid, I'm getting the what went wrong out of the way right now - and then I'm not looking back.

I believe that all brides want their day to be amazing. Not perfect, because I think most brides realize that there's no way the entire day can go perfect. It just can't. But it can be amazing, beautiful, and more than you ever imagined it could be. We were blessed enough to have a day like that. Thankfully, there were only a few things that truly disappointed me on our wedding day. (Okay, and one the morning after, so I cheated a little on my list, but oh well!)

I'm not including this in my wedding recaps because honestly, I don't want to remember these things. I want to remember our beautiful day, and let these things go. So I'm getting them out, and then I'm going to do my best to let them go. And as a quick disclaimer: I was never drunk, so these are real feelings. I did have a few drinks, but after having a whole glass of wine (!) spilled on my dress, I strayed away from the alcohol.

Photo by Stacy Able Photography / Our Otters! You'll see more of them...

First and most importantly, there is one thing we probably won't be able to easily forget but we do want to move on from. We had some very important people that we had reserved seats for in the front row (because they are that important to us) that didn't show up. To be fair, the person missing on my side did come to the reception, but [he/she] wasn't present at the ceremony, which was the most important part of the day to us. It was truly heartbreaking to realize that for whatever reason, [he/she] just didn't get there in time. For Mr. O, there were a few seats reserved for his family members. I can't speak on his behalf, but I do know that he had to be calmed down before walking down the aisle because he was so upset at their last minute cancelation. (And I thought it was those pre-ceremony jitters when I saw him in the waiting area, wrong!)

Second, I was pretty disappointed that at a few points during the day, it became the [other people that weren't the bride and groom] show. There were a few moments where I honestly felt like it didn't matter if I was present or not, which was really sad. I honestly believe that a lot of this did come from the alcohol consumption. While I was enjoying wine, I didn't enjoy how strong the mixed drinks were so I strayed away from them for most of the evening. To be blunt: I wasn't on that level of drunk. Unfortunately, a few of the guest photos absolutely capture these moments because all you can see is my dress in the background where I'm trying to participate, but I clearly can't get in. (I don't know if Mr. O ever felt this way, this one is all me!)

And lastly, the morning after, the only wedding party members and close friends of ours to attend breakfast was the best man and SIL. Two other members of the wedding party talked to us in advance about not attending, so that was fine. I'm cutting this down just to say that yes, there were some hungover people. There were also some who weren't hungover. Regardless, they didn't show up. And it was pretty disheartening to me because I still felt like that was part of the celebration!

So that's it - those are my main gripes. There were a few tiny things that weren't fantastic, but they weren't even worth mentioning in comparison to the big things. And like I said, we had a beautiful, amazing, more-than-we-could-ever-dream-of day. But with any big day, there are bound to be some bumps in the road, and those were our bumps.

For those of you who have already had your wedding, what were your bumps? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'm back, and I have a husband now!

Hive! I have a HUSBAND now. How crazy is that!? First, the good stuff - the photos!

(All personal photos, unless otherwise noted.)

My dad's welcome toast - which I clearly couldn't hold it together for.

With our amazing photographer, Stacy.

Father/daughter dance.

One of my little girls breakin' it down on the dance floor.

Photo by Stacy Able Photography / This is what we're calling our "magic" photo, which was actually various people running around us with sparklers and us trying really hard to stand still and not laugh. :)

Pitch Perfect happened. No, we did not plan this, but yes, it was awesome.

While I'm waiting on our professional photos, I have a few posts for you. I have one coming soon that will just talk about the bad - the few things that went awry, and a few tips for those of you still planning. It will be pretty short, because I'm happy to say that we were blessed with an amazing day from beginning to end. I don't have words to describe how genuinely happy we were throughout the day. Mr. O says it was an absolute celebration, and I agree. We loved it, and we loved having our family and friends there with us to celebrate!

See you soon!

Mrs. Otter ;)

Friday, April 19, 2013

My Last Post as a Miss!

Hive, it's time! Time for me to write one last post as a Miss... because TODAY is the big day! It's finally, finally showtime. 16 months of planning, a lot of dollars spent, a lot of highs and lows, and here we finally are.

Yesterday was, for the most part, very laid back. We spent a good portion of the day at the nail salon, enjoying mimosas, inappropriate conversations, and lots of laughs. (I mean, obviously lots of laughs if the conversation sways towards inappropriate. ;))

All photos personal / At the nail salon

After the salon, we encountered the hectic and very, very stressful part of the day - trying to pack my car not only for the wedding but also for Chicago. Unfortunately, the weather really wasn't in our favor the past few days, and several inches of rain rendered most of our main roads closed. As in, instead of five routes to the venue, we were down to one. It was a road I hadn't ever heard of, so trust me when I say that I was pretty skeptical while driving on it.

Thankfully, it was open and we arrived at the venue! Hooray! Even though the weather was horrible (spitting snow, sleet, and cold rain plus winds at 25mph), everyone hung in there and rehearsed both inside the reception space and outside at the actual ceremony site.

We left the venue to head to dinner (I'll recap that later, promise!) where we gave our parents their gifts and generally just enjoyed each others company. The main roads were all finally opening back up, so thankfully our guests shouldn't encounter the same problem today. I transported my dress in to my car, and we were off to the hotel for the night where I gave my lovely ladies their gifts.

Then it was off to bed for us.

Now we're up getting breakfast and preparing for hair and makeup to start soon. EEEK, hive, I can't tell you what I'm feeling right now - I'm not sure there's a word for it. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, happy, sunshine-y (yes, I made that a word), and so much more. There is so much love in my heart, I can't believe that I marry Mr. O today!

Mr. O - see you at the end of the aisle! ;) Hive - see you on the other side!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Wedding Festivities Have Begun!

That's right, hive, the Otter wedding festivities have officially kicked off!

Last night, Mr. O and I picked up the lovely MOH Cubs from the airport and went straight to our favorite place - Roy's! - for some of their legendary breadsticks and Long Islands.

All photos personal.

Let's just say "some" means "a few" and we were pretty excited to find a giant comb on the way back to the car, and even more excited to go shopping in the $5 movie bins.

Today, awake and refreshed, we had some errands to run. With Mr. O, we made our first visit to the florist to drop off two very important items for my bouquet, and to get a glimpse of what would hopefully be peonies. Thankfully, we got them!

After checking out the flowers and handing over the special bouquet items, we grabbed lunch and stopped by an art supply store to get markers for the seating chart and guest book. MOH Cubs and I dropped Mr. O off at home and our "errands" became more of... shopping because we needed new yoga pants for our nail appointments tomorrow. ;)

When we got home, I went to work on putting the seating chart on the window we rented. Thankfully, it didn't take too long and it turned out okay. Not my favorite thing, but it looks pretty so it will do!

The bottom left corner says that if you don't see your name (what I felt was a nice way of saying "If you didn't RSVP"...), please take a seat at table 13. The right corner is:

Fun fact: You can get this as a download from my lovely friend Aubs!

Tonight is Thursday so, obviously BM Blondesquared and I will be watching The Vampire Diaries as usual. BM Jen also arrives tonight, so everyone will officially be "in town" once she gets to our apartment!

Then - showtime! Tomorrow we'll be at the nail salon for most of the day, from 9:30 until 4, and then we'll come home and get freshened up (and changed) for the rehearsal. Dinner will follow the rehearsal, then it's off to the hotel for the ladies where I'll give them their gifts, finally! That's the last thing before bed, and when we wake up, it's wedding day! (!!!!!)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A surprise wedding shower!

Hive, my heart feels so incredibly full. My wonderful boss + coworkers kept a secret for AN ENTIRE WEEK and managed to throw me a surprise shower on Tuesday. I cried, of course. I also tried to back into Mr. O, but he shoved me forward where I hid by my boss lady until I could pull myself together. I am so happy and blessed to work somewhere so amazing.

And of course, my boss did a wonderful job of gathering all my favorite things. Not only did we have Chic fil A for lunch (om nom nom), but we also had cake AND cupcakes (yes, those count as different things) and part of our gift was my favorite wine.

I truly have nothing else to say - just a big, big thank you to my coworkers and boss for planning something so wonderful for me. I am NOT a surprise person but this truly made me so incredibly happy! Plus, it was a great way to spend my last day of work before the wedding!

A card everyone signed for me, so thoughtful!

Let's just say there was some talk of how much wine can fit in that.

I was obsessed with the ampersand paper - DIY project for after the wedding.

Thanking my wonderful boss for such a great surprise!

Boss lady + super sneaky party planner


HIVE! YOU WILL NOT BELIEVE WHAT I AM ABOUT TO TELL YOU, BUT I'M TELLING YOU ANYWAY! And I'm going to stop yelling at you now, I just wanted to make sure I had your attention. ;)

I'm not sure where here on the 'Bee I've mentioned that we weren't going to take a honeymoon. I know I've said it on other bee's posts, and I've definitely said it on the boards, but I'm not sure I ever actually blogged about it. We decided long ago that since we were only paying for a portion of the wedding, we would skip our honeymoon in order to save up for a home.

While totally practical, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit bummed that we were going to be skipping the honeymoon trip. Of course we can always go on a vacation later, but in my eyes, that just wasn't the same as a honeymoon. It would be a vacation. ....Hopefully that makes sense to someone other than myself. Anyway, this would come up whenever I was upset about planning. It would take over whatever current concern I had, and I would stew over the fact that we weren't going on a trip.

BUT, then the unthinkable happened - my FIL's surprised us with a mini-moon! EEEEEEK! Where are we going? Well you might recognize this:
Photo via Instagram user @nandobastos

Or, maybe this:
Photo via Instagram user @kaypee2point0

Orrrr, perhaps this one?
Photo via Instagram user @allaboutemm

Yes, we're going to Chicago! After an early breakfast to say goodbye to our OOT family and friends, we'll be making the three hour trip to Chicago for a couple days of sight seeing and relaxation. I've never been to Chicago, so I'm absolutely thrilled to go! And of course, I'm incredibly grateful for my FIL's for being so kind as to send us on a little mini-moon.

We'll have most of the day Sunday and all day Monday to go to all the best Chicago places. So where to, hive? I already have Sprinkles and Zara, two of my favorites that don't exist on Indiana, on the list, but those aren't exactly Chicago tourist things. So where should the Otters go!?

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Last Minute Project

By last minute, I mean, before my deadline. Yes, hive, I did it! At one week to go, I successfully completed everything I needed to complete! (!!!!!) The only thing I have left to do now is call about balloons. That's it! Everything is ready for Saturday, and now I'm just hoping that the weather stays on our side and the temperature (right now mid-50's) continues to rise. (It was 43, so we've already gotten 10 extra degrees!)

But enough about that - more about my last minute project.

My inspiration was a pin I'm sure you've all seen:
Photo (and palette) via Etsy seller lovinmyboys

Now as pretty as this is (and I think it's really pretty, hence why it became one of my projects), I just wasn't willing to pay $100 for something that I wasn't sure I would ever find another use for. Our photo frames? Sure! I'll pay for that set. But this board, I wasn't so sure about. Instead, I asked Daddy Otter to create a palette for me!

The first one he made, I actually couldn't find the photo, so we ended up with this:
Personal photo // me with Daddy Otter and pup sister Zoey

Obviously, this was super cute! I loved what Daddy Otter came up with. Eventually, though, I found the photo and though I told him the original was fine, he made me another one. (Yes, I win in the great dad department!) 

When it arrived, I decided to sort of replicate the original but sort of not because I couldn't actually find the pin at that particular moment. Oops! But I still think it turned out pretty good:

Personal photo // the finished product!

Now, looking at it, I notice immediately that there are some imperfections. Let's just say I didn't get the stenciling thing down until I did our last name, and I overcorrected a little on the left side of the heart. BUT - it's a small touch of DIY, it was done by my deadline, and it's going to look great!

The plan is to put big, big balloons on it and stand it near the road to help direct people into the venue. Of course, we'll also be taking photos with it! ;)

So, what do you think!? Last minute project, but I think I did okay!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A Marriage License: we haz it!

Under two weeks to go and another item checked off the checklist! We officially have obtained our marriage license. :D

As some of you may know if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, we actually got our marriage license a couple of weeks ago. I got out of work early and realized that it would be a perfect time to go get our license all taken care of. One thing you must know is that I have some *ahem* connections, if you will, with our county clerk's office. That connection is the one and only Momma Otter!

She warned me early in the day that going to get our marriage license would probably result in some frustration because they had been super busy that day. Thankfully because of our connection, Momma Otter just brought us back to her desk and filled everything out for us there.

(personal photo // our official marriage license and Momma Otter!)

Filling out all the paperwork was pretty funny though, because it turns out Momma Otter didn't remember where she was born. ;) Oops! We got everything filled out, though, and without the wait in line it only took us a few minutes. 

There may also have been some thoughts of just running upstairs and getting married right then and there, too. Suffice it to say that along with the RSVP dramz, there have been a few other "WTF" moments that made us think maybe we should've eloped after all...

(personal photo // texting with Mr. O)

But of course, we aren't eloping. It's just a nice thought when things get crazy. ;)

Now for some advice: what did you do with your marriage license? The pretty version, to be more specific. Momma Otter suggested putting it on some parchment paper, one of her coworkers suggested framing it. We haven't decided so tell me - what did you do with your marriage license?

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Checklists GALORE!

Two weeks, hive. Two weeks is what we've got until one of the biggest days of our lives. Mr. O and I are on the downward slide towards the wedding day and I couldn't be any happier about it!

(personal photo)

Right now, my life (as well as Mr. O's) is filled with checklists. I have lists for everything from emails to return, calls to make, items to finish before next Saturday, and things that still haven't been started for one reason or another.

But, like many Bees before me, I've also set the week rule. One week from today, I'm handing everything over to our DOC, Alison, and letting it go. If things aren't finished by next Saturday, then I'm not doing them. I think that's the best method to ensure that instead of running around like a crazy lady, we just enjoy our last few days before the wedding.

The one exception to this rule is our photo frames. We're having a memorial table at the wedding for our family members + my best friend, Kir, since they can't be physically with us. We got these beautiful frames:

(photo + frames by ThePaintedLdy)

...but unfortunately, I don't have all the photos I need yet and the frames haven't actually arrived yet. Thankfully, this is an easy task, so we'll get it done and taken care of as quick as we can.

What did you do in the last two weeks leading up to your big day? Did you have a cut off date to finish things by?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

RSVP Dramz.

Oh, weddings. While intended to be days full of love and celebration, weddings bring out the crazy in people. It seems that even the most sane of people go totally off the rails in the months leading up to a wedding. While I’ve touched on the crazy before (and no, I’m not linking, I want to pretend these things never happened!), today I’m talking about those things. Yes, the RSVPs.

Let me tell you something about RSVPs – I never knew they were so complicated! I thought you receive an invitation, you look at your calendar, perhaps take a few other steps like talking to your place of employment and family members, and then you respond if you will or will not be attending. Oh, hive, let’s all laugh together at how wrong I was!

Personal photo / You see! I was excited to send these!

You see, I sent out our invitations in February with a RSVP date of March 1. (We also announced our date way back in November of 2011, so this was the more formal invitation.) The reason behind this was simple: first, we have OOT guests that would need to travel and second: I personally like to plan really far in advance. So to me, I would rather get your invite now than later so I can plan accordingly. That’s just me, but I know I can’t be the only Type A crazy, so out they went!

I used a ton of precautions, you guys! I used a black light pen to note who the RSVP card belonged to. I wrote in the number of seats reserved myself, so there was no confusion on who did and did not have a plus one. In instances where I knew that someone may be neglect to respond, I included a personal note about how excited I was to hear back from them. We also gave people the option to email rather than mail something back, so they didn’t even have to leave their couch to RSVP. And yet…

March 1 rolls around and I realize that, try as I had, I did not have all of our RSVPs back. I extended the deadline until the 15th and split the list of individuals to call between myself and Mr. O’s parents, since I don’t know most of his family members. And yet, on March 15, we still had people that didn’t respond. No email, Facebook post, or phone call was enough, these folks just weren’t responding, no matter what method we used. Oh well, I said, tossing my hands up in frustration. I guess they aren’t coming, I exclaimed as I put them down as a no in my RSVP spreadsheet.

It wasn’t that people couldn’t make it that bothered me – it was that they wouldn’t RSVP! My feelings (probably) won’t be hurt, but just let me know one way or another! Despite these claims, there are people we still haven’t heard back from.

Did anyone else have people who just… never responded? Or was I the only one to be that lucky?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bride Brain: I haz it.

Dearest Hive,

I come to you today confused. I have suddenly – very suddenly, if I may say so myself – become one of those brides with the infamous “Bride Brain.” I don’t know when it happened, but suddenly, I have it.

In trying to come to terms with what I’ve now identified as the classic bride brain, I began Googling what exactly bride brain is. I mean, if you read the Urban Dictionary version, it basically says that you’re wedding obsessed and crashing your car by staring at your ring. While it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that some brides do, in fact, exhibit these symptoms, that’s definitely not the kind of bride brain I’m experiencing. Instead, I have the can’t-define-it-because-it’s-multiple-symptoms bride brain.

First of all, hive, I’m having full on wedding nightmares. They’re nuclear meltdowns that seem to revolve more around Mr. O not wanting to get married rather than the actual event itself. Oh and all these meltdowns take place in completely normal circumstances. In my most recent dream, I was at a recent work function when I got a phone call letting me know that Mr. O was no longer interested in the whole marriage thing. That particular night, poor Mr. O woke me up from that nightmare to find me sobbing inconsolably. That is very, very unusual. Typically I’m so knocked out that I don’t remember my dreams, much less start sobbing so loud that I wake the Mr. up.

In addition to those nightmares, which are just so joyous – I’ve started pushing things off, with my deadline looming, of course. My goal and solemn promise is that ALL of my wedding to do list will be finished by April 13th. That includes everything from final payments (only one left!) to wrapping gifts to framing photos, and everything in between. With exactly one week left until the wedding, there will be nothing on my check list. To make sure I’ll actually stick to that rule, I’m not doing anything after the one week mark unless it is critical. That means that if it isn’t done, it isn’t done, and so be it. *wipes hands* If I allow myself to continue coming up with things to do, I’ll never stop! So at one week to go, I’m officially handing everything off to our lovely DOC, Alison, and letting her take it from there.

The final symptom (or rather, I hope it’s the final symptom!), is my complete impatience. Now, by nature I’m not very patient, so it’s really no surprise that as the date looms closer, I’m slowly losing not only my sanity but also my semi-patient attitude. Instead, I want this wedding to be here now. We’ve been planning, saving, and paying for so long (16 months!), and our time is finally getting so close, but we’ve still got a couple of weeks to wait. Sigh.

I know I’m not the only one with bride brain, so tell me, what were/are your symptoms? Any way to make this craziness go away!?