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During the wedding planning process I was fortunate enough to cross paths with some excellent vendors. Most of them I sought out myself, but one very important one came to me.

I was contacted by Canditto to see if I would be interested in their photo-sharing kiosk at my wedding. Intrigued, I asked for more details.

Here’s the scoop: Canditto is an unobtrusive small kiosk that looks similar to the photo machines at your local CVS. Guests simply insert their memory card and all photos they took in the last eight (or six…this feature is customizable) hours will be uploaded onto the machine. At the end of the night, your kind and handy kiosk attendant (I had one of the founders, Rush, and he was most awesome) hands you a USB with all of the uploaded images on it.

Michael and I walked away with almost 500 candids from the day. Talk about instant gratification! We spent a good portion of the following day reliving our wedding and couldn’t have been happier about it. Canditto is the reason I’ve been able to share so many pictures with you while waiting for our professional images.

Canditto is currently only available in New England, but come Spring 2009 they will have a version that can be sent via FedEx anywhere in the country.

Canditto isn’t just for weddings, either. They’d be great for birthday parties, graduations, office get togethers or any event you’d love to have pictures from immediately.

As a special bonus, book your Canditto before Decemeber 31, 2008 and mention this post to receive 10% off.

Contact Canditto with any questions on their contact page.

As you know, the details of the day were very important to me. I don’t have pictures yet of the programs,  but you remember the favor tags, right? All of the paper goods were designed to match the red and purple falling leaves invitations and when all was said and done, they rocked.

One thing I wouldn’t compromise on was the ceremony music. When we were looking for a church, it was very important to me that we find one that allowed us to pick our own, and not regulate us only to the organist. Once we found the church, the difficult process of picking music began.

Here’s what it ended up being:

Lighting of the unity candle/seating of Mike’s mom (since my mom walked me down the aisle): Canon in D (I was at first totally against using this song for anything since it’s always used, but then I realized, it’s always used for a reason. It’s beautiful!)

Bridesmaid Processional: Instrumental version of U2’s All I Want is You. (If you click on it, it will redirect you to a new page where you can hear the song.)

Bridal Processional: This one was a no brainer. The closest thing Michael and I have to “our song” is this one. I won’t get into the story behind it, but whenever I hear it, I think of him. This instrumental version still brings tears to my eyes and walking towards him with it playing was just so perfect. U2’s With Or Without You.

Recessional: You guys picked it! Natalie Cole’s This Will Be (an everlasting love). So after our kiss we turn around as husband and wife, everyone claps, and we expect the recessional to begin playing. It doesn’t. The sextant apparently did not know how to work a CD player. So there we are, standing in front of the church, smiling at everyone…and it’s starting to get a liiitle uncomfortable. Nervous laughter. Where’s the music? The Reverend whispers, “give her a minute”, so we keep standing there. FINALLY the music starts and it’s awesome. People loved it!

So you saw my wedding shoes yesterday, but remember how I wanted the girls to wear purple shoes? Here they are! They looked awesome with the red dresses, but I guess they weren’t super comfy. To make up for that, part of their gifts at the rehearsal dinner included purple flip flops, so they had something to change into for dancing.

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Flowers:

This is the one thing I wasn’t super crazy about. Actually, I think my mom was more stressed out about what the flowers would look like than I was! Until the morning before the wedding, when the florist called me and said, I hate to do this to you, but can you stop in? The hydrangeas aren’t quite right…

So I did. And they were more blue than purple. But you know what? They still looked gorgeous so I didn’t care! Nice of her to call, though.

These were the flowers from the pews.

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A bridesmaid bouquet:

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One big theme throughout the wedding was the goal of making it personal. Our vows, our toasts…and the father/daughter dance. I am so lucky to have a musical family. My mom and sister decided they wanted to sing the Eva Cassidy version of “Time After Time” and had my father compose and instrumental for them. The first time they suggested it, my mom put the song on in the car and began to sing.

And I began to cry.

Hearing them on the wedding day and feeling like one big connected family was one of the most special parts of the entire wedding to me. We all cried…again!

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And later, my sister rocked the house with a fabulous and bluesy version of At Last. I am so very lucky.

So that concludes the wedding wrap-up. I hope you’ve enjoyed the journey, I know I have. I’ll post some pro-pics when they come in but I suppose it’s time to find something else to talk about, eh?

Back to shoes? The fact that dinner was a bowl of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and a glass of wine and the thought of getting back into my gym routine is making me majorly annoyed?

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You’ll just have to wait and see.

Happy weekend!

I was going to do a details post today, but quite honestly, I’m tired of uploading pictures! I’ll finish the week off with them tomorrow, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share the lessons that I learned while planning a wedding, since so many brides had shared their advice with me.

1. Book the big stuff early. True, looking for a venue stressed me out, but booking all the big guys — venue, caterer, photographer, DJ — early on, not only assured me availability, but it allowed me to basically kick back and relax for a few months without worrying about things too much.

2. Friday is an awesome day to get married. When we first booked our date, a few people scoffed at the idea of  Friday wedding. “People won’t come to the ceremony,” they said. “People won’t get off work,” the chastized. Wrong. Almost 100% of our guests came to the ceremony and luckily for us, there was this handy little tool called a save-the-date magnet that not only allowed people to look at our smiling faces for six months (you’re welcome), but clearly reminded them to take off a specific Friday in October. We received zero complaints and know what else? A Friday wedding is cheaper than a Saturday wedding. Way cheaper. It also allowed guests to make an entire weekend out of it!

3. The little things you stress about — the font on the invitiation envelopes, the ribbon on the favors, the centerpieces — will all come together and in the end, the only one who cares if your seating cards are printed or handwritten is YOU.

4. You will fit in your wedding dress. Trust me. All that anxiety before each fitting? Pointless. Unless your bridal diet consists only of pints of ice cream and boxes of donuts for every meal, the dress will fit. And you will feel more beautiful in it than any other day of your life. And when it gets dirty (because it will), it won’t even matter, because the smile on your face will outshine the dress all night.

5. When it comes to vendors, be kind, be gracious, but be firm. Get everything in writing and if you make any changes to even the most basic proposal, be sure you discuss all potential extra costs with them. Read over your contracts five times, then let someone else read over them. Know all the clauses. Make copies of EVERYTHING — including each check you write and piece of paper you sign. Keep it in a binder and have it to reference each time you talk to a vendor. Unexpected $400 thrown at you for a catering tent? Check the contract. Not there? I didn’t think so.

6. If you can afford it, do a hair and makeup trial. The goal of your wedding day is to look like yourself, only slightly more bride-y. If I hadn’t done the hair trial, I wouldn’t have known to tell the stylist on my wedding day that I wanted more height, tighter curls and pieces pinned away from my face. The trial saved me aggravation so when the wedding came, I could just sit back with my mimosa and relax.

7. Fake eyelashes are so worth it. They only feel weird until the glue dries. Promise.

8. Write your significant other a card. Michael and I chose not to give each other gifts, but we each took the time the write down the words we were feeling that very morning. His card was delivered to the house by a bridesmaid, and I was fortunate enough to have the card given to me in the limo just moments before walking down the aisle.

9. After your first kiss, turn around and really look at all the people who came to share in your marriage. I saw no one until that moment I turned and faced the pews and I was suddenly overwhelmed with all the people there who love and support us. That is your last moment of the day where people won’t be coming up to talk to you and congratulate you, so soak it in.

10. Some time before the wedding, thank the people who mean the most to you. We chose to do this at the rehearsal dinner and I’m so glad I took the time to write a speech for each bridesmaid and my family. I forgot to print a copy of each and include it in their gifts, but I will be sending them the words I spoke that day as a reminder of how much I love them.

11. The choice to see each other before the ceremony is a very personal one. We chose not to — partially because we really didn’t have the time and mostly because we both like the tradition of the first look being as I came down the aisle. As I’ve shared with you, our ceremony was beyond emotional. I’m not sure I would have had the same reaction had I seen Michael before, so for us, the decision was perfect.

12. Make the first kiss last as long as you want. It’s your first kiss as husband and wife you will never have that moment again. We kept going in for more!

13. Eat. At. Your. Reception. I SWORE I was going to eat all the delicious appetizers I had been drooling over for months and I couldn’t stop talking about the ginger mashed sweet potatoes. Then we got there and started talking to all of our guests and when all was said and done, I had three appetizers and a bite and a half of my chicken. People kept raving about the food, though, so at least it was good!

14. Take a moment to sit down and look around the room. Look at the decor you worked so hard on. Look at your family and friends joined together in happiness and laughter. Look at your beautiful bridesmaids tearing up the dance floor. Look at your new husband shoving green beans into his mouth as fast as he can before he has to talk to someone else. The night — as everyone always says — will be over in a blink of an eye. Breathe it in.

15. Try not to feel guilty if you don’t get to talk to everyone. Remember, it is your wedding day and you’re supposed to have fun. People won’t hold it against you if you spend the last two hours glued to the dance floor. If they want to talk to you, they’ll find you. I promise. But be sure to at least stop by all the tables (or do a receiving line) to properly thank everyone for coming.

16. Steal a minute away with your new husband. Michael and I had a few minutes alone in the bridal suite (before the videographer found us) where we just sat next to each other holding hands and thinking wow, this is our wedding.

17. Dance. Dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. Then dance some more. And even though you told the DJ no participation songs, make sure he still plays Shout! People love that one.

16. Drink water. I know this seems obvious, but I did not drink enough. It’s not that I was drinking alcohol (I wasn’t), but with all that dancing and the excitement of the day, it’s very easy to get dehydrated. Michael and I were so dehydrated afterwards it seriously took us four days to recover. At one restaurant on our mini-moon the waitress, after filling our water glasses again, was like, thirsty much?

17. Relish in the love. We’re so crazy about each other right now I swear, people are probably getting sick of us. It’s ok. You’re MARRIED!

18. Things will go wrong. Accepting that things will go wrong is the first step. For me, I had no idea if we would have ceremony music, my train was dirty before even leaving the hotel, I dropped the UNITY CANDLE on my dress, and because I didn’t drink enough water, I got massively car sick on the way to the hotel we were spending the night in, made Michael pull over as soon as we got to the parking lot, jumped out and threw up in the bushes — all while still in my wedding dress. How’s that for sexy? Luckily, he is a good man, and rubbed my back saying it was OK. Nothing a little tooth brushing couldn’t fix.

19. After the wedding, recap all the way to New Hampshire, all through the trip and all the way back home with your spanking new shiny husband. It was the best day of your lives and trust me, your friends aren’t going to want to keep talking about it long after it’s over. That’s what he’s for.

Wednesday, October 22nd

The Wednesday before my wedding I took a half day from work. Which basically means I did my best to finish up my work week while simultaneously thinking omigod…wedding, wedding, wedding!

I headed off to the pedicure you all recommended and let me just tell you, I was 99% in heaven the whole time. Bubbles, wine, a thrown in parafin wax treatment just for being a bride. I may have even texted a few of you saying yessss, you were right!

Until the lady slipped while pumicing my heel and scratched my ankle. Like, really scratched my ankle. As in, I still have a really ugly scab on it.

Meh.

Afterwards, I ran home to finish last minute things and wait for the arrival of two wonderful bridesmaids.

Thursday, October 23rd

I woke up bright and early and rolled over to face Michael. This is the last morning we’ll see each other before we’re husband and wife, I thought. Just then he opened his eyes and smiled at me. “Good morning, my almost wife,” he said.

Love.

Unfortunately, there was no time to swoon, as I had to wake my poor, jet lagged, west-coast bridesmaid and load up the car with 800 pounds of votives, votive holders, pillar candles, hurricane glasses, rose petals, and more odds and ends. We arrived at the venue for 9 a.m. and while it was a beautiful day, it was COLD.

(OK this was actually taken the morning OF the wedding, but it looked the same the day before!)

We walked into the venue, arms full of stuff — and walked into a construction zone. Boards and paint cans filled the lobby, a table saw whirred somewhere in the background and my heart? Officially jumped out of my chest, ran across the street and threw itself into the ocean.

As I stood there, momentarily paralyzed, the venue coordinator assured me that they were just doing some work on the outside of the building and it would be perfect by the next day. Deep breath. OK.

More bridesmaids began to arrive and we headed off for our manicures before heading back to the hotel to get ready. I walked into the hotel room, saw my dress hanging on the closet and realized that the wedding had really arrived.

Wow.

At four on the dot, we arrived at the church to begin the rehearsal. Even as we walked our way through, it didn’t feel real. Like oh yeah, we’re doing this wedding thing. Some day. What DID feel real was the fact that we still had no music. Still, you ask? Yes, still. You see, on Tuesday I had received a call from the Reverend saying that when they went to practice playing the CD of our music, it had somehow slipped off the tray and fell INTO the CD player.

Yeah, I don’t get it either.

I had supplied them with a backup CD in case something happened, but as of the time of our rehearsal, they still weren’t sure if the CD player would work. They actually had a tech guy there during our rehearsal pulling apart the system and saying that he would return by 6:30 a.m. the DAY OF OUR WEDDING to keep working on it.

I wish I had a picture of my face when he said that.

Pretty bridesmaids at the church.

We left the church and headed to dinner, which was one of my favorite parts of the whole weekend. The food was delicious, the company was outstanding, and the speeches? They were so heartfelt and moving. I made it through all of mine without a tear (mostly laughs!) until I got to the ones I had written for my parents.

Then I started to choke up.

By far my favorite part of the rehearsal was during my dad’s speech. He began to talk about how when my sister and I were little, we used to sing songs in harmony. One song in particular: Going to the Chapel of Love. Suddenly, my dad pulled out a little harmonica, hummed the first bar, and began to sing.

“Going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married…”

And everyone — all 45 guests — joined in. Suddenly the room was full of song and as my sister and I joined in for the harmony, I felt so very loved.

As we said our goodbyes to everyone at the end, I headed over to Michael for one last embrace as an engaged couple.

“Are you ready?” he asked me?

“Absolutely,” I replied.

That night, I lay in the hotel bed next to my sister and tossed and turned, unable to sleep. It wasn’t really the idea of getting married that was keeping me awake. It was one nagging question.

Would we have music at the ceremony?

I haven’t shared too much of my DIY stuff with you, but I thought last night’s project was worth sharing.

Michael’s grandmother came over last night to help me assemble our favors — leaf-shaped maple sugar candies. At first I asked her just to give her a project to do, since she had been asking to help for so long. But in the end, I’m so glad she came over, because even with two people this took two hours!

Two packages of baggies, one hole punch, a spool of ribbon, favor tags and 22 boxes (11 pounds) of maple sugar leaves.

Which resulted in 133 baggies in a box…

…and on the table when the box got full.

It was a lot of work, but oh, do I love them. (That stain on the table is from me at a very young age. It’s ink. Sorry, mom.)

Front of the tag:

Back of the tag:

I ran out ribbon with 12 to go so it looks like I’m running errands during the day. Which is fine because I need new textured stockings for the rehearsal dinner, now that it’s FREEZING.

Three days, people. Three. Days.

Hi there. It’s Monday the 20th. As in, the week of my wedding. As in, four days from now I will be leaving at this very moment to head to the salon. On my wedding day.

Everyone keeps asking me, “are you ready? Are you excited?”

Well, yes. I’m basically ready. It’s just tying up lose ends right now. And YES, I’m excited, although it really still feels like I’m planning for a wedding still months away. How did we get to four days? So what’s left?

Tonight: assembling favors with Michael’s grandmother.

Tuesday: Pre-wedding massage (on the house because our massage therapist ROCKS.)

Wednesday: Leave work at noon, get a PEDICURE (oh yes, you convinced me), finish any last minute cleaning around the house and start to greet some of my bridesmaids, as two arrive!

Thursday: Drop off stuff at venue, drop off welcome packets at hotels, manicures with even more bridesmaids, family arrives, rehearse, eat, go back to the hotel and freak out to my sister that OMIGOD I’m getting married TOMORROW.

I also have to convince my brain to do some actual work in the 2.5 days I’m here, although that will be very, very hard.

So, my rehearsal dinner dress? The super cute black and white one I wore to Clink’s wedding? The one that I paid a lot for and was excited I’d have another place to wear it? Does. Not. Fit.

Sure, it’s a blessing (because what they say about losing weight without even trying right before your wedding is totally true), but it’s also a curse. Because that is the dress I planned on wearing. And I cannot go spend money on another dress, nor do I have the time to go shop for one. So I’m going to have to play around with is and see if with a cute red sweater and adjusting the belt I can make it work. Tim Gunn will be proud. I hope.

Also, randomly, as you know I’m a big fan of drug store hair products. They’ve never done me wrong and I prefer to spend my extra dollars on shoes and grande soy chais. I had to go return the ion hair dryer (that WAS making my hair flat), so I decided to stop in CVS and see if they had any new mousse.

I picked up the Weightless Body Extra Hold Mousse from TRESemme. Yesterday I decided to give it a try and let me just tell you, I’m hooked. My hair? Is BIG. And this is rare.

OK, done with my product placement now.

Off to make tea, as my office is FREEZING.

I have a confession:

I’ve never had a pedicure.

Manicures, yes, but the tootsies? Not once.

I used to have a thing about feet. I didn’t want to talk about them, look at them, hear about them. Perhaps this is why I have chosen to cover mine up in the cutest adornments possible, so they’re no longer feet, but works of art.

(OK, that might be a little bit of a stretch.)

I still don’t love feet, but I’m much more tolerant of them now. However, the idea of someone with their face eye-level with them kind of give me the willies.

And also, since I’ve  never had a pedicure, I’m nervous that my feet are not nice enough to be in someone’s face! Do I have to self-pedi before I can professionally pedi? Do you see the vicious circle here? Am I completely insane?

(Don’t answer that.)

My wedding shoes are open toe. I kind of want a bazillion pictures of the shoes alone, the shoes on my feet, the shoes on my feet standing next the girls with shoes on their feet (duh) and on and on. But hi, they’re OPEN TOE. So, um, my toes will be exposed and captured on film for eternity. Gah.

Help me. Help me get over this pedicure panic. Is there a protocal? Foot pampering etiquette? Should I bring flip flops? Do I need to prep?

Gee, I’m college educated. You think I could find something more productive to worry about, like the state of this country.

Or how I am ever going to avoid dairy for the entire week.

– Project Runway. If you DVR’d it, turn away now because the winner will be revealed. Personally, I thought Leanne’s collection was gorgeous, if a little…petal-y. The colors and shapes really appealed to me and while I could have gone either way between her and Korto, I’m super glad it wasn’t Kenley who took home the prize. Her voice gets under my skin.

– I slept through the night! Many, many hours straight. This hasn’t happened in a least a week, maybe more. Maybe it was because I finished a project before bed (two hours of writing and folding seating cards) or because Michael is being such a love lately. His excitement about the wedding makes my heart melt.

– How did I not know so many of you were on Twitter? I mean, I thought I was hip. With it. (Duka, duka, duka) (Oh come on, you know what that’s from!) But apparently having a blog does not make you up to date in the land of Internets. (Side note: one of my best friends slash coworker slash blogger said “Internets” at a staff meeting. Aside fro me, everyone looked at her like she was crazy. Clearly, not everyone speakers Blogger. )

After yesterday’s post there was massive tweeting going on. I feel so loved. And also, HI to those of you who delurked! It’s so awesome to hear from you.

– I had a minor wedding freak out at work yesterday. I received an email from the Reverend which I read to say…your personal vows are too anecdotal. I think you should rewrite them.

Panicked, frustrated and hurt (I LOVE my personal vows), I wrote back to him. But while I waited and waited and WAITED to hear from him, I freaked. And went on Twitter and described said freak out. Then was promptly contacted by Jess, who has also written her own vows and totally got why I was upset. She (as well as the multiple friends I emailed in my panic) talked me off the ledge and when the Reverend got back to me saying he didn’t want me to change it, he was just confused whether I wanted him to read it first, then I would recite it. Ohhhhh.

Oops.

But I’m entitled to a freak out this close, right?

– I have become a weather.com and accuweather.com stalker. So far, this is working in my favor.

– Umm…tomorrow is a week. Like, a WEEK. Cross your fingers that peak foliage continues to hold out down by the ocean. If it does, it’s going to be gorgeous.

Some of you have noticed the new link over there on the left indicating that I finally caved and joined Twitter.  Because if reading once daily about the inner workings of my crazy brain isn’t enough, you can now see almost hourly updates of what I’m thinking about.

You’ve been warned. Sometimes it resembles something along the lines of “Hungry. Would like chocolate. Or mashed potatoes. And a new pair of shoes.”

Seriously.

Speaking of potatoes, we had dinner at Michael’s mom’s house last night and she called beforehand to ask what kind of potatoes we wanted — mashed or roasted.

I debated telling her that I only eat my potatoes in the form of tots.

What, no?

Can you tell I’m not sleeping? I’m not, really. I mean, I sleep for an hour or two, then wake up, then sleep, then wake up —  usually from 3:30 – 5:30 a.m. with no sleep in sight, only to crash for a few hours until the alarm angrily wakes me up.

Only nine more days of this no sleeping thing. I hope!

Maybe I should go make something caffeinated…

Of course this can change in a heartbeat. It is New England, after all. But hey, for now, I’ll take it!

I don’t know why it’s so tiny, but that says mostly sunny, high of 55 degrees.

Do you know what happens 10 days before your wedding? You start buying really random things. A hole punch. Two taper candles. Four red and four purple umbrellas. You’ll also spend the weekend prior assembling three-quarters of your programs, only to have your fiance notice a typo that you hadn’t seen the 40 times you read through it. You will then end up pulling out ribbons, discarding inserts and quite possibly having a good cry, only to start over from scratch the next day.

Ten days. Six and a half days of work. And then it’s wedding time.

Holy. Crap.

Ask me anything!

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Alltop, all the cool kids (and me)