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. 

IMG_6224

IMG_6223

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.

IMG_6227

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).

IMG_6858

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

IMG_6859

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.

Brad

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!

IMG_6273

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.

IMG_6274

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).

IMG_6176

IMG_6175

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.

image5

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.

image4

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.

image6

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..

image1

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

image2

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.

image3

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…

021616-277.jpg

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!”

warning-mirror

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.

282124_683939807442_3408642_n

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.  

Photographed!

Mr. Prince Charming is not a fan of being photographed.

One afternoon he said, “I would love to have photos of us on the walls in the house someday soon.”  I ran with that statement and scheduled our engagement photos.  He was entirely exasperated with the process, but loves that we have quality photos of our mugs to hang wherever, whenever.

Much to his dismay, I even planned outfits.

We hired one of my favorite people who happens to be quite adept with a camera, Tina of Selah Vida Photography.  Tina has been photographing me for the last 7 years, at least.  Nearly all of my most cherished photos were captured by her lens.

For instance, the time that we had a family food fight…

296207_186622131413068_1725219657_n

The aftermath

307120_186622061413075_1762164728_n

My adorable parents

294659_186622144746400_583418287_n

My nephew and nieces – baby girl was SO confused!  She just wanted to eat!

If you’ve never done a family food fight and caught it on film, I highly recommend making it happen.  It’s SO fun.

And that controversial trash the dress session was compliments of Tina as well.

As expected, Tina delivered.  Considering Mr. PC and I are extremely awkward, she did an insanely great job of making us look amazing.

Without further ado, a sampling of our engagement photos..

 13

I live for that smile!

21

27

30

56

39

45

9

So there we are!  I love each of these photos and am so glad we have them to remember this part of our lives!

S.W.A.K.

Mr. Prince Charming and I decided that our wedding gifts to one another would be love letters.  We both strongly identify with “words of affirmation” as our love language.  Not only is this an obvious choice in regard to our love languages, but it’s also a super budget friendly idea!  This endeavor was $14.95 for me, but could easily be a freebie if you have paper at home.

While fiddling around in a boutique store a few days ago, I came across a book that perfectly fits the mission.

9781452142678_350

Image via Letters to My

Inside the book are twelve sheets that fold up and seal along with prompts for writing, and a set of stickers to seal each letter.  The book is self-described as a “paper time capsule”.

9781452142678.pt05

Image via Letters to My

I’m really, really thrilled I found this little book!  It’s a perfect way to celebrate my favorite guy in the best way!  Now to finish writing the letters…

Are you and your spouse exchanging wedding gifts?

 

A Fabulous Welcome

Like pretty much every DIY project I’ve committed to during wedding planning, this one is superfluous.  It’s a nice-to-have.

I’ve been carefully assembling welcome goodies for our guests.

We’re all staying in Las Vegas for the same length of time, but the day of the wedding is the only day we’ll all be together.  Knowing that I wanted to put together a box of treats and good to have things to make their stay in Vegas a little better.

Here are the contents:

IMG_6109

Each welcome box will be a gable box filled to the brim with treats and convenience items.

Each box cost about $15 to assemble.

Inside each box will be:

  • An “oops, ouch, uh oh!” bag
  • A small first aid kit
  • A small packet of Kleenex
  • 2 reusable ‘water’ bottles
  • 2 salted caramel peanut butter truffles
  • 4 honey dark chocolate mints
  • A bag of chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels
  • a 1,000,000 dollar bar of chocolate

All wrapped up with gold ribbon and a “Welcome to Las Vegas” label.

IMG_6034

The items fit perfectly in the boxes!  Right now I have the contents all separated into gallon sized bags, and the gable boxes fold flat, so they’ll all be easy to travel with (though we may end up shipping them – TBD).

IMG_6033

These little bags are literally for oops, ouch, and uh oh moments.

Here are the contents (minus the first aid kit – it didn’t fit in the bag):

IMG_6032

  • Tums
  • Pepto
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen
  • Shout wipes
  • Lens wipes

Not pictured are the paper details – a Las Vegas map, a wedding day timeline, a Tiara and Prince Charming timeline, and personal letters from each of us to each of our guests.

My hope is that our guests will have a snack if they’re between meals, a dose of Tylenol if they have a headache, and a bandaid if they find their shoes aren’t quite comfortable.  They’ll also know that we love them so dearly, and are honored to have them present for this very special day in our lives.

Did you do welcome bags?  It’s not too late – am I missing anything important?