Category Archives: Relationships

Real Wedding Recap: Noah & Jill, I

This past Sunday, our dear friends Noah and Jill tied the knot.  These two are so special to Dr. Groomy and I, and we were so excited to be invited to celebrate with them.  [Back story:  Noah, Dr. Groomy and I all attended college together at UW-Madison.  Dr. Groomy and Noah were very good friends, but as can sometimes happen, they drifted apart a little after college.  Last year, at the wedding of another set of wonderful friends, Andy and Amanda, in the Dominican Republic, we were able to reconnect with Noah and his lovely girlfriend, Jill.]  Over the last year, we have become incredibly close with them, and I cannot tell you how much we value their friendship.  It has been wonderful getting to know and celebrate them as a couple, and it all culminated in their big wedding weekend in Chicago!

I took over 90 photos this weekend, so this recap is going to be in three parts.  Let’s get started with Saturday evening and the rehearsal dinner!

We arrived in Chicago via train around 4:30pm and immediately headed over to the wedding hotel, The Ambassador East.  It was a lovely hotel, with beautifully appointed rooms.  Many of our friends were there already and it was wonderful to see everyone.  Once we checked in and headed up to our room, we were delighted to find we had received an Out-of-Town Gift Bag!

Noah & Jill's Wedding 001
The bag contained the following treats:

Noah & Jill's Wedding 002 Left to right:  Two water bottles, some BBQ & Original Jay’s Potato Chips, Garrett’s Popcorn (holy yum, that stuff is one of my favorite Chicago staples), and two boxes of Fannie May chocolates.

Jill also included a welcome note for all of the guests, as well as a second page with plenty of information on how to get around the city.

Noah & Jill's Wedding 003 
Getting an OOT bag was such a nice gesture and it definitely confirmed my plans to do some for our wedding!

After freshening up and changing, it was time to head over to the rehearsal dinner, hosted by the groom’s parents.  The rehearsal dinner was held at Sapori Trattoria, a lovely little Italian restaurant near the hotel.  The party was held in the back room, and all of the out-of-town guests were invited.

Noah & Jill's Wedding 004

Noah & Jill's Wedding 007(Our Table)

The food was DELICIOUS and you could just feel the excitement in the air.  Behold, the happy couple:

Noah & Jill's Wedding 006

After the rehearsal dinner, we went out with the bride and groom to a bar down the street.  Needless to say, it was a late night, but a great way to start out the celebrations!

Once we got back to our hotel room, I stepped out of the bathroom to see this:

Noah & Jill's Wedding 010 
Um, that would be Dr. Groomy’s version of closing the curtains after a night of drinking.  He didn’t realize there were blackout curtains behind the white panels!  Hilarious.

Stay tuned for part II of the celebrations tomorrow!

Past Real Wedding Recaps:
Charity & AJ
Nikki & JT

*All photos by me.  Please do not use without my express written consent and permission.



Filed under Inspiration, Rehearsal, Relationships

The Downside of STDs

Or, “How Sending Save-The-Dates Can Create Major Guest List Drama.”

Save-The-Dates are very popular in wedding culture.  One quick Google search for “Save The Dates” yields 21,800,000 hits.  I’m not quite sure when they became popular, but it’s clear from the millions of ideas and etiquette surrounding them, they are one wedding trend that is here to stay.

Save-The-Dates are great because they allow your out-of-town and extremely busy guests to plan ahead to attend your wedding.  They’re almost certainly not necessary, but they are definitely a fun project to include in your wedding plans if you can. 

We sent our Save-The-Dates around the 7 month mark.  We didn’t send them to everyone on our eventual final guest list, mostly because some of the guests we weren’t sure we would end up inviting.  The cardinal rule of thumb with STDs is that anyone who gets one should receive a formal invite as well.  We kept that in mind, and if we weren’t sure yet about inviting a particular guest, we didn’t send one. 

That being said, most of our guests and family members did receive them.  Imagine my shock and surprise then, when I learned that a certain family member* who I am not very close to had called my father to question why her adult children were not invited to the wedding.  Um, last I checked, we hadn’t sent invites yet…so how do you know they’re not invited?

Said family member assumed that because her children had not received a Save-The-Date, they were not going to be invited.  Now, I am not here to argue the semantics…or even to debate the fact if they are going to be invited or not.  I am simply here to share my experience and thoughts on this, as it has turned into a sticky family situation.  With that, here is an open letter to wedding guests:

Dear Guests,

It is not appropriate to question a bride and groom—or their parents—regarding the guest list.  This is never appropriate.  EVER.  Regardless of whether so and so got a Save-The-Date or an invitation or not.  Although it is a gathering of many family members and friends in one place, a wedding is NOT a family reunion.  It is  a celebration of the couple, and their love and commitment to each other.  Yes, there is a ceremony, and it is the most important part of the day.  However, when all is said and done, a wedding, in essence, is a party, and the hosts will invite who they see fit.  If that means they will not be inviting children, so be it. If that means they will not be inviting distant cousins, so be it.  Would you call your best friend to complain that your little children are not invited to her adult cocktail and dinner party?  No.  Let me repeat:  THIS IS A PARTY, not a family reunion.  So, no—everyone does NOT get to be invited.  And I am—truly, I am!—sorry if you, as a guest, have your feelings hurt, because someone close to you who you feel should be invited, is not.  If you feel it’s too egregious an error, then by all means, please don’t attend the wedding or party you were invited to.  But it is NEVER, EVER OK TO ASSUME that someone is not invited based on a Save-The-Date.  Why?  Because assuming makes an “ass” out of “u” and “me.”  And assuming creates so much more drama than is ever necessary for a wedding.  This is a happy time in the bride and groom’s life, and it is not a time for you to be making them feel bad about who they choose to—and can afford to—invite.  But the most important reason not to assume?  Because a Save-The-Date is not an invitation.  It is an indication of invitation.  That doesn’t mean other people aren’t going to be invited.  Either way, it is not your place to question the bride and groom.  Certainly, there are merits to your arguments, I’m sure.  And certainly, there are instances when a bride and groom may, in fact, have made a mistake in not inviting someone.  But these instances are rare, and they are not for you to question.  Please, please, please…don’t be that guest who causes the bride sleepless nights because she is in a fit about the family dynamics surrounding who is invited and who is not.  Be a bigger person than that, and understand that there are many factors that go into planning a wedding and deciding who should attend.  If you are lucky enough that the bride and groom want you there, be gracious and kind and supportive.  Because that’s why YOU’RE invited—to bear witness to the commitment they will make to each other, not judge them for who they didn’t invite.

Little Miss Wedding Planner

Hmm, maybe I need a copy of this book!

So, my dear friends, if you are experiencing or have experienced guest list drama because you’ve sent Save-The-Dates, please know that you’re not alone.  I’m told that this is a rite of passage for most brides, and that we all deal with this at one point or another.  So I am hear to tell you to hang in there.  This too shall pass.  And your wedding will still be wonderful and you will still be surrounded by those who love you and want to support your relationship. 

Have you had guest list or family drama?  Share your story in the comments!

*Said Family Member doesn’t actually know about the existence of this blog, so this entry falls on deaf ears, anyway.


Filed under Relationships, Stationery, Worries

Ring Conundrum: Epilogue

She said yes!


(See the first part of the story here and here).


Filed under Jewelry, Just For Fun, Relationships

Ring Conundrum: Finale!

So, remember the Ring Conundrum I posted about previously?   I’m back to give you the finale to the story!  A quick recap:  N is going to ask D to marry him, but wants it to be a complete surprise…yet he also wants her to love whatever ring she wears, because she is very particular about her jewelry selections.  N had four options he was considering in pursuit of the perfect engagement ring. If you’ll remember, they were:

Option A:  Buy a solitaire diamond.  This way she can still pick a different setting at a later time, but gets to have the sentimental value of always wearing the diamond he picked for her.
Option B: Buy a fake ring and take her shopping later.  Obvious pro of this is that she can then choose the ring she really wants.
Option C:  Buy her a birthstone ring, which he can use to propose and then she can wear on her right hand once they return and go shopping for the “real” ring.  A big con of this?  If he buys her a nice birthstone ring, it will cut into the budget for the actual ring—remember, he’s on  a set budget and isn’t moving from there.
Option D:  Pick the ring and setting all by himself, knowing that he knows her quite well and wants the opportunity to choose something beautiful for her.

Most of you who commented were on board with Option D…and I am happy to say that N reconsidered his original plan and decided to do what we thought he should:  he bought D a beautiful ring, shown here without the center stone, to propose to her with. 


They leave for their cruise in just a few days, and he plans to ask her then!  He’s already received approval from her parents (he took them out for dinner when she was at work last week), and he’s very excited (albeit extremely nervous) to propose.  Stay tuned for the epilogue of this story, after their cruise—when we find out if she said yes!

*As noted on the first post, I had permission to share this story from appropriate parties involved.


Filed under Jewelry, Relationships

A Dress for My Little Lady (Take One)

So I’ve talked about my dress…and I’ve talked about my mom’s dress…and I’ve talked about the bridesmaid dressesbut I haven’t really talked about our flower girl!

This is my dear sweet goddaughter Cassidy:

Cass 1 
I can remember clear as a bell the day she was born, during the summer between my junior and senior year of college.  Cass is my cousin Erin’s daughter, and I spent every Friday of that senior year taking care of her for the day while Erin and her husband Frank were at work.  I’ve watched her grow up from a teeny-tiny little baby to a super-cute and sassy 5-soon-to-be-6-year-old.  Evidence:

Cass & Chase
(With her little brother, Chase.  Something tells me he doesn’t want to pose for the picture, haha!)

She’s an absolute doll, and we’re best buds whenever we’re together.  I knew when Brad and I got engaged that there would be no question who our flower girl was!  (Coincidentally, Brad also has a godson the same age, who will be our ring bearer—more on him at a later date.  It worked out perfectly that both of our godchildren will be in our wedding!)

If you’ll remember, our color palette is black, ivory, gold and red. 

The bridesmaids are wearing gold, but I thought it would be really cute and tie things together if Cass wore a red dress.  The primary criteria for the dress are that I’d like it to be inexpensive, match the formality of the wedding and red.  I have been looking all over the ‘net and I always peruse the girls’ section whenever I go shopping, but until last week, I hadn’t found anything that tripped my trigger.  Until this:

Flower Girl

I found this adorable flower girl dress at, and immediately ordered it in two sizes.  The best part?  At a cost of $37.99, it was a steal!

I received the dress in the mail a few days later, and sadly, it was not the right color.  I should have known, since despite its lovely red color in the picture, the description red “Flower Girl Dress in Burgundy.”  And burgundy it was!  Behold:



Alas, so cute, but just not the color I was looking for.  So for now, the dresses are on their way back to Overstock and it’s back to the drawing board for me. Stay tuned!

Are you having little ones in your wedding?  Where did you get their attire from?  If you have any suggestions for me, by all means, please share!

*All photos by me or Cass’ mom Erin, unless otherwise noted.  And yes, that is my office…and about 1/3 of the files I deal with on a daily basis.  Crazy, right?!


Filed under Dress & Attire, Relationships

Ring Conundrum

I was recently let in on a little secret:  one of my best friend’s little brothers is about to get engaged!  He is taking his girlfriend on a cruise this month and he will be popping the question to here while on board the ship.  However, he’s having a bit of trouble deciding what to do about the ring.

The backstory:  N & D have been dating for a few years, and they’ve been very open in their discussions regarding marriage.  D is very particular about the jewelry she wears, and N wants to let her be involved in picking out the ring.  He has a very specific budget he is sticking to, so he wants to let it be her choice whether she puts more into the size of the diamond, the setting, etc.  However, he does NOT want her to know that they are getting engaged—he wants it to be a total surprise.  His current solution is to buy a cheap-o fake ring to propose to her with and then let her go ring shopping with him when they get back from the cruise.

ring shopping(Note:  This is obviously not N&D.  Image from here) 

So where is this conundrum I speak of? Well, my friend K (N is her little brother) brought up this point to him:  “When I get engaged, I am going to feel so sentimental over that moment and that story…that I will feel tied to whatever ring he proposes with.  So I think you should at least consider getting her a real ring because she may love it just because of the sentimental value surrounding it.”  N realized K had a good point and became confused about what to do.  Now, he’s considering these options:

Option A:  Buy a solitaire diamond.  This way she can still pick a different setting at a later time, but gets to have the sentimental value of always wearing the diamond he picked for her.
Option B: Buy a fake ring and take her shopping later.  Obvious pro of this is that she can then choose the ring she really wants.
Option C:  Buy her a birthstone ring, which he can use to propose and then she can wear on her right hand once they return and go shopping for the “real” ring.  A big con of this?  If he buys her a nice birthstone ring, it will cut into the budget for the actual ring—remember, he’s on  a set budget and isn’t moving from there. Option D:  Pick the ring and setting all by himself, knowing that he knows her quite well and wants the opportunity to choose something beautiful for her. 

I’m inclined towards Option D, as that’s what Dr. Groomy did for me.  And he picked out a gorgeous ring that I absolutely LOVE and definitely would have chosen for myself. 

(I love it so much I used it for my blog header!  Photo by Sarah Immel Photography)

So friends, I turn to you.  How did your fiancé pick out your ring?  If you were in N’s position, what would you do?

*Note:  I received permission from said parties to share this story.  Wanna know how it ends?  Stay tuned!


Filed under Jewelry, Relationships

The Wedding Meeting

Awhile back, I read this post by Miss Pug on Weddingbee, and I felt like she was reading my mind.  In a nutshell, Dr. Groomy is, shall we say, less than involved with the wedding planning.  And honestly, I don’t mind one bit!

Sure, I get stressed out thinking about stuff sometimes, which can lead to me wistfully wishing he was one of those grooms who was super involved.  In a situation like that, I usually calm myself down, kick my own arse and remind myself that the fact of the matter is, he’s just not one of those grooms.  And I am super into wedding planning (hello, evidence this blog!), so I truly don’t mind being the one “in charge” of the plans.  Of course, I still want him involved in some decisions, so we’ve found a happy way to do that:  The Wedding Meeting.

Once a week, or every two weeks or so, depending on how busy we are and what decisions need to be made, we have a Wedding Meeting.  Basically, I make a list of everything I want to talk to/ask him/decide upon that has to do with the wedding, and we knock it all out in about an hour (sometimes less, we’re that efficient!).  This system works great for us—Dr. Groomy gets to have input on the wedding without feeling like he is doing a bunch of frou-frou planning, and I get to have his input but also free reign to make specific decisions on my own.  It has worked out really well for us throughout the course of our planning!

The system’s not perfect, of course, and there are still times I feel overwhelmed and wish I had more help from him (like, ahem, when I ask him to do something for the wedding and it doesn’t get done…for like a month!  Annoying).  But truth be told, I think procrastination tends to be pretty typical guy behavior, and even more so when it comes to wedding planning (if your fiancé isn’t like that, I don’t wanna know!).  For us, this works. 

Is your fiancé big-time involved in your planning?  How do you guys handle the duties and responsibilities?

P.S.  I am working on our Save the Dates this week and hope to have a post on this later on in the week.  I am suffering from a bit of writer’s block right now, so if you have any posts you’d like to see, please leave a comment and let me know!

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Filed under Relationships