And it was Everything.. We Steal a Moment

Brad and I opted out of having a first look.

We both loved the idea of a first look, but it seemed almost superfluous to my groom who had already seen my dress and knew we had an already packed timeline to keep up with.

On our wedding day, though, I needed a second with my man.

Brad is my comfort zone.  His voice is the calm to my storm.  Being around him is where I feel safest.

I checked with Ashley – how were we doing on time?  She reminded me that time didn’t matter – the wedding waits for the bride.  So, I asked her to bring my almost-husband to me.

All photos copyright Gin and Sake Productions.

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Brad kept his eyes closed, and I grabbed his hand.

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And being there with my minutes-away-from-marrying-me-almost-husband, I melted into a giddy happiness.

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These might be my absolute favorite photos.  But I reserve the right to change my mind at any time!

I’m glad I had a rushed request to bring Brad to me because that moment was the last moment we had together where it was just us until many hours later.  Our introverted hearts needed that moment of quiet.

Brad headed back to his place next to the minister, and Danielle and I prepared to do our walk!

Previously recapped on And It Was Everything…

 

 

And it was Everything.. We Dress

As I was selecting photos for this post, I got a little lost in the memories.  The champagne my brother sent to my mom and me.  The moments before the wedding when Ashley and I tied a charm to my bouquet and added the infamous bees to the arrangement.

I remember feeling really zen – in a countable number of minutes I’d walk toward Brad and commit to be his partner in life and love.  I was happy.  A blissful sort of happy that is so hard to describe in words.  As you read through this post, you’ll hear about how my emotions fluctuated, but this little zen feeling I had never left.  Becoming THE BRIDE was a very big reflection for me, and in those real moments I found myself being very human, and very content.

I was surprised at how quickly hair and make up went – we had plenty of time to eat, reflect, and chat before we had to get dressed.

Danielle and I posed together one last time in our goofy bridal shirts, styled our dresses for their photo ops, and then got dressed.

All photos courtesy of Gin and Sake Productions.

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Danielle’s waterfall twist in her hair was so adorable!

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Florence, the beauty pictured above, deserved her own showcase.  Danielle bought us hangers for our dresses to make sure they’d have their moment in the spotlight.

I’ve always loved dress photos, and this one is no different.  I love seeing this work of art that was painstakingly selected and then molded to be the dress I needed it to be as I became the bride.

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What we overlooked – Danielle’s bejeweled collar on her dress did not lend itself to photographing well with the hanger!  Oops!!

And because life is just never too serious, my pantyhose and I photobombed Florence..

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We all had a good giggle about that one.

At this point I needed the laugh.  It was time to get dressed and go get married.  Holy crap.  This is really real.

Being my introverted self, I needed some minutes to myself.  I needed to breathe in my own space.  I needed a minute to clear my head.  Somewhere in the madness (there were at least 7 people in the room with me), I managed to get enough ‘me time’ to feel relaxed and the perfect level of “whelmed”.  Admittedly these moments were spent hiking up my pantyhose, and pretending to be occupied in the bathroom.

So, I got dressed.  And my heart rate kicked up a notch again.  Holy crap.  I’m getting married!!  In this place!  To Brad!  

I’d asked Ashley earlier in our communications if she minded fastening me into my dress.  I knew my mother would sob her way through it (she started crying hours before the wedding), and I knew Danielle would be busy getting into her own dress.  I also thought that Ashley would know her way around the construction of the dress.

It was a good choice – she understood exactly where it needed to be tighter, and where it needed to give.  She made demands – Kari, raise your arms now – and when she finished cinching the inner corset, I was comfortable, but secure.  Perfect.

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Ashley and I will forever be friends.  Thank you, you brilliant lady, for being so spectacular.

While Ashley was working on my corset, Danielle got dressed.  She swooped in at the end to make sure the zipper was just so.

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You can tell our emotions here.  Danielle was so blissfully happy to be witnessing this day, and to be by my side for the entire event.  Me, though, I was feeling my emotions doing a slow crescendo.  I felt warm and beautiful and ready to be Brad’s wife.  But I was also having last minute panic thoughts about my dress and my shoes and ugh, my pantyhose.

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I don’t know why I was worried at all.  Danielle made sure every inch of me was perfection.  She is absolutely my ride or die.  I don’t think I would’ve made it through the day without her by my side.

Soon, though, I was THE BRIDE.  I was ready.  I just needed a quick lipstick touch up.

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I love this picture.  It’s so remarkable how a photo can capture an emotion.  A dreamy, but solid moment of readiness.

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And somehow, I was THE BRIDE.  I was done being transformed.  This was the complete package I’d worked so hard to bring to fruition.  Hair, make up, dress, jewelry…and most importantly, the unabashed desire to marry my favorite man.

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At this point we were late.. pretty significantly late.  At least 10 minutes.  So, Ashley, in all of her amazing on-top-of-things-ness, reminded me that it was time.  So, we stole one last photo..

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I gathered my emotions and let them set fire to my soul.  It was time to do this!!

Except.  And I wish there was a photo of this, but I remembered something very, very important.  Panic surged through me.  This moment couldn’t be sacrificed no matter how late I was.

I told Ashley that I needed Brad.

I needed to see Brad.  Right now.  We needed to have a moment together.  I needed his voice.

To be continued…

Missed a recap?  Catch up here!

 

 

 

 

And it was Everything.. We get Pretty(er)

The morning of the wedding I had a very unique emotion flowing through me.  I was happy, on the best vacation I’d ever been on, woke up in a place I was completely enamored by, and woke up next to my very favorite human – my almost husband.  It was a unique kind of happiness.

I had to round up all of the ladies who were attending the wedding because one of my gifts for them was to have their hair and makeup done.

During planning I had hair and makeup sticker shock, and thought about finding and in-room stylist for Danielle and me.  After a few conversations with people I respect and love, we opted to make this one a splurge.  Why spend tons of money on hair and makeup?  Because memories.  Because looking back on that day, I remember the joy everyone experienced sitting in those chairs feeling pampered, and that when our photos were taken we all felt as beautiful as ever.

And let’s be honest – We partied a lot in Vegas, so having professionals responsible for making sure we looked our best was a GREAT decision.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t share one of the most meaningful parts of the experience – a gift from my brother.

When we arrived at Cristophe Salon we were greeted by a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries.  This gift from my brother, his girlfriend, and her family.  This was the first round of tears I cried that day.

My brother has lived a really tough life, and made a series of poor decisions.  Today, though, he’s better.  He’s happier.  He’s living a life that we’ve always dreamed of for him, and him reaching out and being present in his own way on that day was so, so big.

*All photos personal or taken by a member of the party unless otherwise noted

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I was quickly ushered to a chair where my hair was expertly dealt with.

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While I was getting my hair worked on, Danielle was having her makeup done, and my mom was in another chair having her hair done.

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Danielle’s make up was flawless.  It helps that she’s already as perfect as they come.

We swapped chairs, and her hair was managed while my make up was applied.

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Somewhere else in the salon, Brad’s grandmother and his mom were around getting their hair worked on..

In a matter of a couple of hours, all five of us were in flawless condition.

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This may be one of my favorite selfies because I managed to get Danielle in the background!

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But here’s a better look at her beauty!  And her shirt that says, “Bride’s Woe”.

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My mom is a real simple lady – so she skipped the make up part of the day, and just got her hair done.  She loved it!

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Brad’s mom had her hair and make up done – and she looked SO amazing!!  She’s already a beauty to begin with, so not at all surprised that she looked so fantastic.

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I failed to get a picture of Grandma after her hair and make up were done – oops!  You’ll see how fabulous she looked soon, though!  She had a great time at the salon, though!

While we were at the salon, I took a few minutes to try on the gift Danielle gave me that morning..  A set of Tiffany pearl earrings and pearl necklace.

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Such beautiful treasures for one of the greatest memories I’ll ever have.

After we were all pretty, we went back to the Cosmopolitan and prepared to get dressed!!

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Photo by Gin & Sake Productions

Things were looking beautiful and feeling fab!  Next up – we get dressed!

Missed a recap?  Catch up here:

We make it to Las Vegas
We take care of last minute things

And it was Everything..Getting things done!

Once we made it to Las Vegas, we had a few  immediate to-do list items to manage.

My mom needed a dress to wear, so we planned to rent her dress from Rent the Runway, and I promised to go along with her.  After that Brad and I had to get our marriage license!  We arrived on Valentine’s Day, so Brad and I set aside some time for an evening date as well.

I’ll share the details of my mom’s rental experience in another post.

So, marriage license details!

Part of our wedding contract with the Cosmopolitan was a trip to and from the courthouse in a limo to obtain our marriage license.  This was a really nice treat!  It was simple to book the limo, and having the transportation available to us was really great.  It’s about a 25 minute ride away from the strip.  Not being stressed about the legal portion of the trip was a major bonus for us.  Heads up – if you’re getting married in Las Vegas, you’ll save yourself some time if you fill out the info on the Clark County Clerk’s website.  We bypassed several other couples in line because we filled out the online form.  We were in the courthouse for no more than 10 minutes. 

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Yes, this blurry pic is the best of the bunch.  Brad tolerated my selfie insistence for about three seconds before he stopped cooperating.  He obviously doesn’t read wedding blogs because he had no idea why I wanted to take a picture with our blank marriage license.

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That night we went to dinner at Rao’s at Caesar’s Palace for our Valentine’s Day date.  It was good, and quiet (could be that we got there at 5 PM – we’re basically senior citizens).  We also walked all over Vegas looking for my spray tan place.  We later realized walking was probably not the safest option, so we caught an Uber on the way back to the strip. By the way, my spray tan was perfect.

We made it back up to our room to enjoy this view (photo cred to Brad who took this panorama from our terrace).

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Monday’s view was similar, except with a mountain view…

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I’m still fawning over that view.  Brad and I spent quite a bit of time on our terrace basking in the beauty.  We are from Kansas, after all.  We don’t have mountains or really anything fun to look at unless you like wheat fields and cows.

Monday’s to-do list began with our rehearsal with Ashley.  This was the first time we saw where we would be getting married.  Brad was instantly enamored.  Maybe even a little shell shocked.  He knew this was happening, but seeing it made it so real.  The wedding suite at the Cosmopolitan is insanely beautiful.

Next we had to tackle renting Brad’s tuxedo.  The tux rental experience was the only negative experience we encountered during our wedding adventure.

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Brad and I took the cab ride of our lives to the tuxedo place – and by “ride of our lives” I mean we nearly rear ended a large moving truck because our driver wasn’t paying attention.

We were told that we would have a selection of tuxedos at this place and this is why we chose it because Brad decided on wearing a gray tux.  But nope.  They had one style of tuxedo – black, two button.  In fact, his tuxedo was so generic we probably could’ve saved the money and had him wear his suit instead.  Additionally, the tuxedo’s dye rubbed off on my dress!!  More on that later.

That evening we welcomed my best friend, Danielle, to Las Vegas!

True to Danielle form, she arrived with gifts in tow – one of which was a selfie stick!

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Danielle and I have a deep love for one another, and I can’t wait to share her toast with you in a later post.  It was the most beautiful toast in history.

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In addition to the selfie stick, Danielle gifted us these beautiful champagne flutes and a bottle of champagne – 2004 Vueve Clicquot Brut Rose.  We wrote the date on the cork and celebrated our last evening as an engaged couple!

Next up – the wedding day!!  Mission one – get prett(ier).

Everything previously shared…

We Get to Las Vegas!

 

 

 

 

And it was Everything.. Getting to Las Vegas

 

The days leading up to our departure for Las Vegas went by so quickly.  From wrapping up work projects to remembering all the little wedding items I needed to pack, my brain was at max capacity.

There were a few important to-do items, though – packing my dress, getting my nails done, and getting on that plane!!

Many of these photos are remnants of my snapchat story, so I hope you like snaps!

I had my nails done at a salon close to home.  The popularity and resilience of shellac allows for the modern bride to go to her fave salon days in advance of her wedding to knock out that to-do list item.  Brad said, “So you’ll need to redo them the day of the wedding, right?  There’s no way your polish will last that long!”  Surprise, my dear!  Shellac for the win!!

Also, let’s be real – I’m showing you my nails because I love them so much. They really aren’t important aside from making me really happy (and these are my own nails – it’s one of the few genetic lotteries I won).

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Later that night, I decided to pack my dress.  I packed my dress as late as my anxiety would let me.  I wanted to make sure it would make it there unscathed, and with as few semi-permanent wrinkles as possible.

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What was a giant poof ball of a dress was later turned into this pillow-shaped, saran-wrapped rectangle-ish ball that fit perfectly into my carry-on.

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Yes, I saran wrapped my dress.  My thought was this was a direct flight to Las Vegas and the chances of me being the only bride were fairly slim, so I wasn’t hopeful that there would be room in the plane’s coat closet for my dress.  Secondly, I wanted a safe, easy way to transport her without feeling encumbered by the size and weight of her.  I felt a little silly and a lot over the top wrapping her up, but as it turns out, it was a brilliant move!  I took the hanger and dress bag along so once we arrived at The Cosmopolitan, I unpacked her and she was ready to go!

The rest of my life, though, that was so much more difficult to pack.

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This picture emulates the state of my affairs until about 15 minutes before we left for the airport.  For two days I just couldn’t get my poop in a group enough to get it all in my suitcase.

And when we got to Vegas, it showed.  I had one pair of pants, 7 dresses for 2 nights of shows (WHY Kari?!), 5 pairs of shoes – super casual Birkenstock sandals and 4 pairs of heels, but I didn’t forget a single wedding related item!  So, you know where my priorities were..  #bridebrain

So with my poorly packed suitcases full of party attire and wedding thingamabobs, we headed to the airport.

Brad and I took a selfie on the plane to mark the occasion..

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Unrelated: he prefers the window seat and I prefer the aisle seat, so major travel win!

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This snap overlay (filter?) was perfect (10 useless points if you remember why)!

While Brad snoozed and looked at the mountains, I put together our welcome boxes.  I’d considered shipping them to Ashley to assemble, but with our crew all staying in separate hotels, I opted to assemble them on the plane to distribute as we exited the airport.

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Once we landed, I handed off the welcome boxes, and our crew left for our hotels..

The welcome boxes were very well received – we had one guest who was ill when we arrived, and the welcome box contents kept them going until they recovered!

Now, the fun begins!!

And it was everything..

Mr. Prince Charming, who goes by Brad (and will moving forward as I recap our wedding..), and I had the most perfect wedding we could’ve dreamed!

We arrived in Las Vegas with our families and were checked in to a suite that overlooked the Bellagio fountains.  Brad, my humble husband, was instantly enamored.

On Tuesday, February 16, 2016, as the sun set for the evening, Brad and I exchanged vows and began our journey as husband and wife.

And it was everything.  My husband is everything.

I’ll be gathering our non-pro photos to supplement recaps, so in the mean time, here’s a peek at our amazing day…

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P.S. Our photographer, Brandon of Gin & Sake Productions, returned our wedding photos two days after our wedding!  Insane service!

Real Talk – Body Image

This is my last post before our wedding day.  It’s arguably the most important post I’ll author.

I want to talk about body image.

In recent years we’ve been inundated with this idea of “all bodies are perfect as they are” message.  Cue the collective eyeroll, right?  No matter how loud the message is, the media still has clear favorites, and women are judged constantly based on how they look.  Sadly, these judgments often don’t make their way to the judged because it’s far easier to criticize someone when you take away their voice (hey cowards of the world, I’m talking to you!*).

These judgments transcend to even the most happy of events – weddings.  Arguably, even more so are women judged when they are planning a wedding.  From their dress choice to their shoes and hairstyle.  Every choice is a free-for-all judge fest waiting to happen.

From companies campaigning “real bodies” (think aerie) and avoiding photoshopping their models to the social media explosion of “body positive”, the world is making an effort to change.  An effort to say, “hey, you be you, girl!”

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Image via Look Through My Lens

As a woman, I’ve spent nearly every single day of my life thinking about how I look.  My journey to bride has been no exception.

At some point during our engagement I zeroed in on weight loss – I felt as though I’d never feel pretty on our wedding day if I didn’t lose at least 20 pounds.  I spent a number of weeks, months even, focusing in on my strategy for losing weight.  In my bridal mind, “sweating for the wedding” was just another box to check on the wedding to-do list.

I’m no stranger to weight loss.  A few years ago I lost a significant amount of weight, and really felt as though I was as beautiful as ever.  So the idea of losing weight to feel prettier is a norm for me.

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Personal photo – me at one of my lowest weights

WAS a norm for me.

One evening I noticed Mr. PC noticing me.  Not because I was talking to him, but because he was noticing every movement my body was making.  It occurred to me – my weight is not what makes me beautiful.

Rather, it is my features and the way that I carry this body I own that makes me beautiful.  It is not the circumference of my waist or thighs that indicates my beauty.  It’s my personality, posture, and character that make me beautiful in the eyes of my beloved.

So, I set aside the notion of weight loss as a to-do item for my journey to bride.  I’ve challenged myself to focus on the positive aspects especially when I’m wearing my wedding dress.  Sure, ignoring the parts I don’t like about my reflection feels a bit like sweeping it under the rug, but this is a new perspective for me.  I’m hoping it’s less avoidance and more acceptance.  Accepting that I am who I am, and not making excuses for my beautiful body.  As flawed as it is, I love so many things about my reflection..  I also love the way Mr. PC thinks my body is flawless.

Rather than focusing on changing my body, I’m focusing on improving my overall self.  Starting with improving the way I see myself when I look in the mirror.

This is truly the most positive I’ve felt about my body image in my lifetime.  I hope that the positivity I feel toward myself continues to grow.

*I, too, have been one of those cowards.