Friday, July 29, 2011

Sweet Home Owosso?

After our wedding in October Drew and I are planning to live in Owosso, MI, where I currently live/work. So until our job searches allow us to move somewhere a little more happening, it'll be small town digs for us.

Even though the humidity was at about 2000% last night, I had the urge to take pictures, so I went to two of the best photo-op spots in town: Woodard Station and Curwood Castle Park. Woodard Station is a former factory that has been re-outfitted into loft condos (mostly for Baker College students) and some commercial spaces (the salon where I get my hair cut is here, as is Owosso's fanciest restaurant, the Wrought Iron Grill).

Curwood Castle was the home of an author who lived in Owosso. Trust me, it sounds way cooler (and larger) than it actually looks. But there were loads of pretty flowers in the park at Curwood Castle, so I had plenty to look at and take pictures of. Regal it's not, but Curwood sure makes for some great photos.

As much as Drew and I would prefer to live somewhere a bit nicer (like Midland), we're okay with spending the beginning of our marriage in Owosso. While it is an incredibly small town, it's not without some charm, as evidenced by my pictures. Also we know we have to live where we can work versus choosing someplace with such luxuries as a mall or Starbucks.

So if you ever have the chance to visit us while we're living in Owosso, feel free to drop in and we'll grab a beer at the WIG (that's the Wrought Iron Grill, to those in the know) or window shop at Wal-Mart. If you're looking for anything more exciting... well, we'll let you know when we get to upgrade to a bigger town.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Feeling Ruffled

My Michigan wedding shower is quickly approaching, which means another occasion calling for a new dress. Earlier this summer I went shopping with Drew to find enough dresses to last me through all of the weddings (read my recaps here and here), showers, and rehearsals on the calendar for May through October.

Luckily I had a few dresses on hand already, but a few weeks ago I realized I needed one more dress to wear to my wedding shower (because heaven forbid I wear the same thing more than once!). I had a coupon for Old Navy, so I picked up a cute little yellow sundress that will be perfect for the August heat.

But I wanted to add a little something extra so my dress wasn't just ho-hum, and I've been feeling especially crafty lately, so I decided to make a ruffled belt using these instructions from Heart of Light (via 100 Layer Cake). Plus, I can't say no to the Pinterest Challenge!

On Monday I headed to Joann Fabrics after work to purchase the necessary supplies. I decided to go with darker fabrics to stand out against the yellow dress. I picked up two different shades of navy fabric, plus a gray tulle for extra texture and contrast. The use of University of Michigan colors was completely unintentional, by the way (go Illini!).

Making the belt was super simple, and the entire project took me about 1.5 episodes of "Friends" from start to finish. Then I tried on the belt with my dress to look at the end result.

And another look at the entire outfit (plus my unmade bed):
Super simple and super cute, right? And as excited as I am to wear my new handmade ruffled belt to my wedding shower, I'm even more excited to see everyone who's attending (especially everyone from out of state)! Plus, you know, presents and stuff.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

They're He-ere!

Our invitations arrived in the mail yesterday, so this morning I headed over to my apartment's office to pick up the package. I can't wait to get these out in the mail, especially since that's the last of the "big" tasks we have left to do before the wedding (still on the list: making programs, reception tasting, finding my shoes, deciding on favors, etc.).

This isn't the best picture, but it gets the point across. I think our invitations came out really well, and since we ordered them through David's Bridal, the colors match our bridesmaids dresses perfectly!

Now all that's left to do is address the envelopes and put them in the mail. Only 81 days left to go!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Wedding Recap #2

Last weekend Drew and I drove to the Chicago area for my cousin's wedding which was our second wedding of the summer! We stayed at a gorgeous hotel, saw lots of family (or in Drew's case, met my family), and had a great time celebrating with the happy couple and getting pumped for the next Thomas wedding - ours!

Just like I did after Troy and Kelley's wedding in May, I'm going to recap my cousin's wedding and take note of what I especially liked about it and what I learned for my own wedding (which, by the way, is officially less than 3 months away!).

The Wedding/Reception
The ceremony took place at my cousin Marie's family church in Naperville, IL. This was the first time I was in their church for anything other than Christmas Eve mass, so the place felt so huge! The wedding ceremony was kind of long, but was really beautiful. Marie and Drew (yes she married a Drew too!) looked so happy and absolutely in love. Marie and her bridesmaids looked stunning as well.

The wedding and reception were nothing flashy or over the top, but everything was still so beautiful and exciting. This was a good reminder that weddings don't have to be outrageous to be fun. Sometimes keeping the details simple and personal make for the most memorable weddings.

What I Liked
Okay, I'm a little biased, but what I liked best about this wedding was seeing my entire family  and enjoying the awesome reception! I was so happy (my) Drew got to meet my dad's family because we all have so much fun at wedding receptions and aren't afraid to make fools of ourselves on the dance floor! Drew told me he's even more excited for our wedding now after seeing how much my family gets into everything. We all had a great time last weekend, and the party will continue in October for sure.

What I Learned
Mostly what I learned from this wedding is that I have a fun, loving, awesome family. Which is a pretty good take-away, if you ask me!

As far as more practical I-want-to-steal-this-for-my-own-wedding ideas, Drew and I both really like how this reception had place cards for each couple or family as opposed to each individual. This would save time and resources, and really just makes more sense anyways (at least to us).

This wedding also caused us to revisit the idea of having favors for our guests. We nixed favors almost immediately when we started planning our wedding, but for some reason warmed up to the idea after my cousin's reception. Maybe it's because the blue and green jelly beans we received are an easy and cute favor to give out (and matched their color scheme). Or maybe it's just because we really like eating candy and figure other people might like it too, especially after all the dancing that will surely take place at our reception. So if you're a guest at our wedding, you may just get a little treat bag for yourself. Or maybe not. We're still debating.

Also, for anyone who may have missed it, check out my last post on where to find all the practical information about our wedding (hotels, directions, etc).

Friday, July 8, 2011

Our Wedding Website

This weekend Drew and I discovered that, because I share links to these posts on my Facebook and Twitter, many of our friends and family are not aware of our other wedding website (the "official" one).

I'm so happy and surprised to hear that so many people are actually reading what I share here, but for more practical information about our wedding (hotel info, directions, etc.) be sure you visit our wedding website. The website address is also on our save the date magnet for your convenience.

In other news, be sure to check back in a few days for my second Wedding Recap!

Friday, July 1, 2011

99 Days To Go!

Today is a milestone in our engagement: we finally reached double-digits in our countdown! Only 99 days to go until we are finally married!

Getting to this point has felt like an eternity, and I'm so happy we're so close to our wedding date. It's hard to believe that our countdown started at over 270 days when we got engaged way back in January. Do we really only have about three months left before the wedding?!

Through wedding planning, pre-marriage counseling, and just talking about our future together, I've learned a lot over the past 188 days. So to mark the momentous occasion of reaching less than 100 days until our wedding, here are some of the lessons I've learned along the way:

1. People really do care. I know, duh, right? Of course I have people in my life who care about me. But planning a wedding isn't something I could have or would have wanted to do alone. After all, like I've said before, this wedding isn't for me. It's for me and Drew, for us. 

Sure I've set up a lot of our appointments and have spent way more of my free time finding inspiration and such (and writing this blog), but Drew has been so tremendously helpful in planning our wedding. He has opinions and concerns about the decor, the invitations, and our vendors and shares his input and attends appointments with me. My future mother-in-law has served as a stand-in to appointments (like the wedding cake fiasco) that Drew wasn't able to attend and is helping plan my wedding shower. My mom and older sister drove eight hours to Michigan to help me find my wedding dress. 

The best part? I didn't even have to ask for most of the help I've received; my family (present and future) care about me enough to actually want to help out. (Thank you, by the way, to everyone who has helped us with wedding plans).

2. There's still time. Again, obvious. Especially after I just raved about our countdown reaching double digits. But this is a reminder I have given myself constantly throughout the entire wedding planning process, and it's been a huge help in maintaining my sanity and not stressing out. Yes, there's still a lot of planning to be done and contracts to sign and supplies to purchase. But we still have 99 days left to complete our to-do list. Thank goodness!

3. Engagement is wonderful. Oh, how I love this lesson. Drew and I are only going to be engaged once, so taking time to enjoy this period of our relationship and prepare ourselves for what lies ahead is important to us. The engagement isn't just a timeline for accomplishing the tasks of planning a wedding, although it certainly serves that purpose too. This is a time for us to learn more about each other and our relationship. We're going to be married, and that's huge.

I have a lot of other thoughts on being engaged, but this article from Relevant Magazine does a much better job of summarizing my feelings than I care to type right now.

4. Finances are tricky. Drew and I took the plunge and combined our finances a few months ago, way ahead of the wedding. Partly because Drew's internship pays peanuts, and partly so we have time to adjust to sharing a bank account before we feel like we have to share a bank account.

I'll admit I was hesitant about sharing funds at first, and instead I wanted to maintain separate accounts for at least minor purchases and "fun" money. Once we started talking about money more (thanks to our church's pre-marital counseling class) we realized my plan probably wasn't the best route for us to take. We're both pretty responsible with our spending habits and respect each other enough not to make any ridiculous purchases without discussing things first. With that in mind, we decided combining our finances will be best for us (although not necessarily the right path for everyone in every relationship to take).

Still, I'm caught off guard every now and then when I log in to my online banking and see expenses listed that I didn't make. And seeing twice as many gas purchases popping up sure takes some getting used to. But merging our finances during our engagement has worked out well for us so far, and now we have one less adjustment to get used to after we're married which is a nice feeling. 

5. I am so excited for marriage. Even though there's times that wedding planning has been a huge pain in the butt, I've never once felt nervous or hesitant about getting married. Drew and I are so right for each other and so in love that we constantly talk about how much fun we're going to have once we're married. And having spent most of our relationship long distance (whether 1 hour apart or 20), we're especially looking forward to living together and seeing each other every day instead of once a week.

I'm excited for what the future holds, and the lessons still waiting for me during the next 99 days.