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.


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


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.


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..


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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..


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


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


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.


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.


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.



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


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


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!


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.


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.


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!!


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