Under 30 Days
Emily has been telling me for two months that it's particularly exciting when you reach the actual month of your wedding and can say, "I'm getting married this month!" Technically, that'll be on Tuesday; but today is an important day because today the countdown clock has officially dipped under 30 days. That means tomorrow is exactly one month from our wedding.
At one month out, here are some things that are going on:
-We're going to meet with the photographer probably this week to discuss times and poses and groupings, etc.
-The groomsmen's ties need to be settled. My guess is we're going to rent them with the tuxes, but Ben was hoping to buy some and the only problem with that is that the popular purple color for men this year is grape purple, not lavender purple. He's still pondering having silver ties, but we'll probably take care of that for sure over the next few days.
-We're still waiting on the house closing, but I've been pondering over paint chips and looking at pictures and we're ready to get the house set up as soon as we have keys. If anyone's interested, the colors are mainly linen browns, cream, slate blue, and a touch of fern green. We might have a hint of a dusty rose color around too. We'll see.
-Showers are all done (and boy, were they nice!).
-We're gearing up to call everyone who hasn't RSVP'd by the end of this week.
-Dress fittings for the girls will probably be Tuesday evening if we can get it set up.
-We'd like to discuss the ceremony with Dad this week.
-I have to pick out a bouquet.
-My ring needs resizing from a 6 to a 5.5.
-The shortbread cookies for the favors are going to be tested (maybe Monday morning).
There are lots of other things, but for now that's the main to-do list!
Thank You Notes...
...are going out today!
I feel very accomplished.
And I'd better go get some more because I still have three to go.
When I look back over the list of gifts our friends and family got for us, it's an amazing and humbling thing. All these things meant to make our house more comfortable are very special. As Elizabeth said last night, "You know how Mom and Dad are always saying 'we got that for our wedding'? Well, now you have things you can say that about to your kids. Isn't that neat?"
It certainly is.
We've been testing a few of the gifts out - the littler ones that aren't hard to put back in boxes so we can take them to the new house in a little while. Ben was over early today and tried out the French coffee press since he's been hoping for one for quite a while. He says the coffee was great. I thought it looked unsettlingly like muddy swamp water with all those coffee grounds floating freely in the water; but then, I'm a tea drinker. What do I know?
We also have discovered that our wooden salad bowl set looks really nice with our new dishes and place-mats, the new sheets go very nicely with the comforter, and many people apparently have the Magic Bullet mixer/blender the Turners got us and really like it. We're looking for an excuse to try that one out early too. Ben keeps feeling the new towels and wants to know if he moves into the house early if he gets to try those out first. I think that's definitely fair; otherwise he'll have to dry off with his shirt when he takes a shower and that'd be no fun.
The front room at my family's house that we call Grandma's Room is filled with boxes and packages and Ben and I sat in there the other night looking at it all and saying, "Can you believe everyone got together and gave us all these things?"
And in other news, twenty-nine years ago today Mom had her very first baby somewhere around 5:00 PM on Nana Tuckfield's birthday. I suppose that means I am now beginning my thirtieth year. It might be a little tough to top the twenty-ninth, but it has every potential of succeeding in that mission!
Wedding Preparations: Timeline
One of the things that's tough to get used to about planning a wedding is how constantly you're asked to make decisions about things that still seem an awfully long way away. Who plans an entire day a month in advance? Yet it's become apparent over the past two weeks that we really are going to need a nice neat schedule we can pass around so everyone can be in the loop with what's going to happen.
For instance, one of the first things the photographers began talking about was a "timeline for the day". "It helps us figure out what kind of shoot to do and how many hours we'll need," one told me. "You figure general rule of thumb is about 2 - 5 minutes per shot and work from there. I will say this for you: at least your bridal party and family are the same, so that should really cut down on time. I'm guessing it'll be about half an hour for the family, half an hour for the bride and groom portraits."
That's good. I wasn't cut out for three-hour photo shoots and I don't think Ben was either (though he might be more cut out for it than me thanks to Mom Turner's diligent training). Besides, it's going to practically be November. We found a potential outdoor location, but the downside of that is we're going to have to wear coats and hustle through photos; and even with that provision, we're going to want to keep exposures - and exposure - to a minimum. We're also still thinking about an indoor location that would allow us to get good photos if the weather is bad or if it otherwise just doesn't make sense to go outside. I've seen a lot of wedding photos taken outside in winter, so I know it's definitely feasible; but I'm not fond of the cold myself and most of my sisters aren't either (why is it that boys stay so much warmer than girls generally?).
At any rate, we need a timeline for a day that's still a little over a month in the future detailing who needs to go where and do what at what time. Tricky, to say the least. Ben and I have been talking it over a bit, Elizabeth and Mom and I have been talking about it a lot more, and one thing we've all figured out is that we're really glad the wedding's in the evening. It's going to make the day so much more relaxed, we think.
Putting Dad's Lean Manufacturing training to work, one of the projects this next week is to build a timeline to tell everyone what's going on and where they should be when so we can have good solid discussion on how it's going to work rather than dealing with fuzzy deadlines. We have grandparents to accommodate, family from out of town who'll be present, several vehicles to assign riders and drivers to, and specific photos to plan for (among many other things). I don't foresee us getting it really nailed down until next week, but what's really interesting is watching the outline of this day take shape. It's a month away, but we're starting put together an idea of how it's going to go. Mom already knows what to do for dinner, for instance (hey, it's right after Thanksgiving: what better day to have Turkey Barley Soup and bread? Okay, we'll add some meat for sandwiches and probably a nice salad, but for me...it's soup all the way.). Even with the way my family builds menus for our meals, we don't usually know one that far in advance. How strange!
Ben and I have two different theories about shopping. I go through the store trying to attract as little attention as possible from employees and touching hardly anything. My personality isn't normally very meek; but when I'm out shopping it is. I'm slow to ask questions, slow to object to problems...overall I'm not too adventurous when it comes to your average department store.
Ben, on the other hand, is the kind of guy is who curious about everything, asks questions as often as possible, pushes every button, and usually gets himself noticed by the staff.
Take shopping for a new mattress, for example. Ben laid on every single mattress in the store, both the plush and the firm side. It started to get kind of humorous because he diligently tried out every single one after I was done at four or five. He'd made up his mind, but he kept checking to make sure it was the right decision. Plus, I think he really does like to try everything out. He also turned on the drier we were looking at in the appliance section, got a demonstration of a Sleep Number bed done for him, and got the sales clerk to explain how the open-circle Dyson fans work. Shopping with him is definitely a different experience for me.
We did find a mattress, though. And happily, we apparently share preferences when it comes to how firm it is. That was kind of neat to find out. We also found a really good sale, which we also share enjoyment in. And last but not least, we found a bed to go with the mattress. Since the new house comes with the appliances, a few pieces of furniture are the only "big" items we need (and Craiglist, here we come when it's time for a couch!). A friend will be giving us a kitchen table, though we're not sure about chairs, and Ben already has a desk.
The people in our new house are busy moving today, so we are about to start getting everything ready. It's going to be a busy week.
Just Picture It...
The last big detail we have to get settled is a photographer.
Now, there are several solutions to having pictures taken during a big event. You can hire a really expensive photographer. You can hire a less-expensive photographer. You can ask friends. Or you can do nothing at all and hope everyone gets lots of snapshots.
Among the people we know, there are quite a few avid photographers and many of them are quite skilled. I have no doubts this will be a well-documented event! There are a few places, however, where it becomes quite an imposition to have a friend cover a wedding: 1.) formal portraits; and 2.) the ceremony.
My dad is actually an excellent photographer, to the point where he has been asked to photograph a friend's wedding. His advice on the subject: "Don't do it!" What happens is that the friend - who would normally be simply invited to the wedding - now has a responsibility everyone knows is a big one. It's a lot of work, and as a friend of mine who really is quite an excellent photographer herself says, "I've learned that you can either live life or photograph it." It becomes kind of difficult to enjoy or even really pay attention to an event when you're documenting it. It's one thing if you're documenting for fun; it's quite another if it's become your formal responsibility. We would like our guests to be able to be attentive during the ceremony; and we don't want to haul them out early so they can work hard just before it. It's just not a very hospitable thing of us to do.
So we would like to hire a photographer to cover certain aspects of our wedding, mainly the formal portraits and the ceremony. We've noticed that the reception photos are usually very well covered by enthusiastic friends who actually have a better chance than a formal photographer of getting lots of neat snaps; and Ben says for some reason he really finds the pre-ceremony preparation pictures a little unnerving. So while we might have limited coverage of the preparations, we really want the ceremony to be documented and we really would like the portraits of the bride and groom and the family/bridal party (same thing, in our case!).
In that pursuit, my task yesterday was to sort through the many, many photography sites online searching for someone who would be both within price range and within style. It was interesting going through that many sites because after viewing a lot of picture galleries, I started to get a feel for the fashionable poses currently in style and also for what the difference is between a good photographer and a gifted photographer. You know what I noticed the most? Gifted photographers have developed (no pun intended...) the ability to capture people with good expressions on their faces. Not only that, they balance the lighting so there is no glare, have a good feel for what to focus on, and set the pictures up so they are interesting and not just a basic snap of someone with a "cheese" smile on their face.
Another aspect of this type of photography is that it has a tendency to be totally unreal. Everything can be staged in such a way that you look at it and say, "Yeah right. Like he's ever really going to kiss her by bending her over at the waist while she's holding a bouquet of flowers just so." Or, "On such a busy day as a wedding, does a woman ever really naturally stand around staring with dreamy contemplation into her bouquet like that?" Or, "Yikes! Sand! She's getting that beautiful white dress all sandy!"
And then there's my favorite: "The entire bridal part is just spontaneously leaping joyously in the air at the same time?"
I understand why the photographer might like to create an air of spontaneity in photos that can have a tendency to get a little pompous and rigidly formal; but those jumping-in-the-air-photos give me the irresistible urge to giggle. Not in an "Oh, how neat!" way, but in a "My goodness...seriously?" way.
Benjamin and Leah told me last night that photographers do sit down with you and get a feel for what pictures you'd like and not like, so thankfully we have a chance to head the leaping pictures off at the pass, so to speak. And I found two companies who seem very promising and have our wedding day available. That is very exciting because I was a little touch worried we were going to have trouble finding someone this close to the day. I suppose having a Monday wedding has it's advantages...Monday evening is not a frequent night to get booked!
One Year Ago...
I forgot to post on the 19th about an important anniversary. This arrived in my email box one year ago this week.
This is Benjamin, Emily gave me your email address. It's not often that I write an email to someone I haven't met, but it's kind of exciting. I've had your email for a while now, and was just working up the courage to email ya. :-) Emily wasn't nagging me, but she did "remind" me about her friend Lauren.
I would like this email to be a point of contact, to get to know you. I'd love to share my testimony, about how Jesus delivered me from this world, and how I became a servant of Jesus. The strongest connection two people can make is a mutual love the Savior, loving Him more than our own soul. Some people have a difficult time understanding this, but it's true.
By the grace of God, I am what I am. 1 Cor 15:10
Yesterday we bought wedding rings.
Things happen fast!
I looked at the countdown today and realized, "Oh my...we only have about five weeks left!" Then I started thinking about what there is left to do and though, "Oh my...we don't have much time at all!"
Leah warned me about this. She said, "When you get to 40 days, all of a sudden everything goes really, really fast."
The good news is that there is a lot done. The slightly more intense news is when I started writing down things that were floating around in my head, there is quite a bit we're going to have to steadily keep getting done. We've been thinking lots of things out, but as with the church and the hall two weeks ago, we haven't gotten them firmly fastened in place yet. And crunch time is coming.
I learned a long time ago that the most effective way to conquer the mountain is just to reach for the nearest thing and take care of it rather than studying how big the mountain actually is. But every so often you have to make a reckoning on where you are and where you need to be, and that can be pretty surprising after not having looked at the whole thing in a while!
The part I'm not used to here is how distractable I am. Normally, projects and I get along very well together (for the aforementioned reasons). I see a thing that needs doing and do what I can to take care of it. Right now, doing that feels like trying to paint a picture with leather gloves on: I can't quite feel what I'm doing and the results are a little messier than usual. I think Ben sort of feels the same way, though it's kind of hard to quantify. His comment is, "There's just so much to get done and it's hard to concentrate on it."
Here's a sample of what we need to finish getting done this week:
- Pick out wedding bands
- Make some decisions on what we're going to get done when over the next three weeks
- Decide on some food details for the reception (which involves taste testing...that should be fun!)
- Go over the outline of the ceremony with Dad Tuckfield (we have vows written, but we want to discuss Bible passages)
- Enjoy another wedding shower on Sunday
- Get those last three addresses and put our three lingering invitations in the mail
Dad asked me Tuesday evening - as he drove me out at nearly midnight to put the stack of invitations in the post office box - what it felt like to be a few weeks away from getting married. "It's been too long now," he said. "I don't remember anymore."
The truth is, I'm not sure I have a fully coherent answer for him, but if I were to sum up it, it reminds me of when I'm running and I really, really want to keep going that last little bit I set the goal to make. I'm out of breath and my legs are tired and pretty much everything in my brain has shut down except the determination to keep going and get there...and I have that feeling that I really am going to make because I have just enough energy to get that far. It's always exciting to me when I can push myself like that running; and it feels about the same right now. Of course, I have a lot more oxygen going to my brain than that right now and I'm not quite so single minded. But it's close. As things come off that list, it's like one step at a time we're coming up on that goal.
There is one big difference between getting ready for a wedding and running a race, though: when you run a race, you concentrate on getting to the finish line. When you get ready for a wedding, you're focused on getting to the starting line. The wedding itself is only an official start to what is literally a new life for the people getting married. You're becoming a whole new entity than you've ever been before, starting from that time. I think that's really interesting and really neat and really something only God would've come up with in inventing this whole marriage idea.
A Productive Day
The invitations are going out now. That was a much longer days' work than I expected, partly because things were not quite as ready as I thought they were. We had most of the addresses collected and sorted, we had invitations waiting to be printed, and I figured all we had to do was run everything through the printer and we'd be good to go.
It was more complicated, of course. Aaron and Elizabeth did a lot of work lining everything up right so that everything printed within the right margins, but it turned out with one thing and another, printing the envelopes wasn't going to be a good idea. Which left putting clear labels on them, effectively ruling out finishing last night when we were printing. Plus, it was a trick just to sort out what to print. We did most of the invitations using this interesting experiment on RSVP-ing by website, but we did send a few with traditional response cards since there are a few people on our list who might have a harder time responding that way. This meant we had to print out two entirely different sets of invitations and maps as well as the response cards. It was a little tricky to get an accurate count that way and then keep everything in the correct piles, but Aaron's good at that sort of thing.
Today's mission was to finish up and get those invitations in the mail.
Normally on Tuesdays, Ben and I go visit Grandma Lila for lunch, but I appear to have a cold after the flu virus this weekend. At least there was 24 hours in between. But at any rate, it seemed a bad idea to take a cold virus into an assisted living home. They actually have a sign posted on the door that says, "Please do not visit if you are feeling ill!" So Ben and I decided that he would do that today without me. As it turned out, we ended up not seeing each other today for the first time since May. I hope it's not an experience we repeat any time soon, but at least we were very productive.
I got labels first thing this morning and went to Macomb Christian to give them the deposit. Elizabeth called while I was there and said she had just gotten a call from J.C. Penney. Apparently they were only going to hold the bridesmaid dresses for another two days. They'd given us a call on Thursday, but we were thinking of getting them Sunday and then everyone was so sick we'd forgotten. So I went and picked them up, then came home to work on the invitations. But when I opened the labels, I found someone had pulled a very ingenious trick on Office Max: someone had used all the labels, put all the empty sheets back in the box, and sealed it up again so it looked like it wasn't opened. Yikes! A con like that would've never even crossed my mind. I called and got the situation worked out, but that lost a bunch of time. Between that and picking up the dresses, there were no invitations out in today's post.
However, we did get the dresses and the shawls came in the mail, the invitations are all done, and Ben and Dad Turner got things arranged for the few tuxedo rentals we need. That sounds like it was an adventure - Men's Warehouse basically arranges things so that you think you're paying one thing, but you really pay another; and unless you turn right around and start saying, "No, the coupon says $40, not $30!" you just end up paying a lot more than expected. I'm glad Ben got that taken care of. I've been kind of leery of Men's Warehouse ever since August, when they contacted me with similar offers and it was so confusing I literally talked to three different people and got three totally different stories on how it all worked and what things actually cost. I have a tough time being assertive in those kinds of situations, but Ben's pretty good at it.
So. I'm off to go put the invitations in the post office box. Hey, it's not midnight yet, so it still is technically today. Which means I finally succeeded in my mission.
News and More News
Item 1: invitations are going to be later than planned. Why? Because the Tuckfield family had their once-every-fifteen-year entire-family flu epidemic over the weekend (and as a bonus, we included Ben in the general malaise). It was fast (if messy) but it definitely derailed our plans to print all the invitations and get them in the mail this morning! The new plan is to do them this evening after work and hopefully get them out tomorrow. So if your invitation is later than expected...don't worry, they really will go out.
Item 2: we heard from the real estate agent about our house today: it appears that some extra work was being done on the title to help the seller with her deceased father's estate (legal stuff that I think I'll have to have explained to me again before I really understand clearly), which is why closing has been put off. The work is almost done, however, and closing should be very soon. In the process, however, the tenants living in the house have found a new place to live and are expecting to be moved out by the first of November.
It's funny - at the beginning of last week I would've been overjoyed at this, but after the opportunity came up to live by Leah and Benjamin for a few months, now it's a little bittersweet. Until we start the process of moving in, of course. If the house is clear by the beginning of November, that'll allow us to get all our new things situated (what fun!), get things painted, and move Ben's stuff out of his parent's garage well before the wedding (they'll be happy about that!) so that when we get married we can just go home and not be in between homes for a while. I know that once we get going on the house I'll be really excited, but right at this moment part of me is just a touch sad that we won't be by Leah for a bit. Ah well. God has had this whole thing planned perfectly right from the beginning and it's very good.
Wedding Preparations: Showers
Ben wasn't so sure how things were going to go with wedding showers.
"I've only been to one shower," he said. "I think they're probably a girl thing."
After our first shower (can you believe we're having TWO? Kinda funny for two people who said, "No, we don't need a shower - we think we're good"), we both discovered something. It's a whole different experience having people give you a shower versus attending one. It's pretty amazing when everyone shows up with a pile of packages and says, "Here, you're going to need these things."
Ben's comment afterward was "Who knew can openers could be so much fun?"
He's really thrilled with that can opener. Personally, I'm thrilled with the whole beautiful collection of things. Because we're going to have a house. We're going to be married. We're going to need new dish towels. Seriously.
And that's why it turns out it's a lot more fun to be having a shower than going to one. Because the whole thing is part of celebrating a new life beginning. Anything that goes into that celebration becomes very special. We've seen that before with other weddings, when weeding the yard became part of that celebration too; but it's a whole new realization when it's your own wedding you're celebrating.
Just a tip for anyone in the future: it turns out one of the best gifts to get someone having a big event like a wedding or baby shower is a thank-you note kit. Mom Turner gave us a box of handmade cards, a book of stamps, and a sheet of address labels containing the address of everyone who'd been invited to the shower. I put the list Elizabeth made of the gifts and who'd given them into the box with the notes and it took me no time at all to get them all sent. Now I think I'm going to assemble something similar for our next shower and wedding, because boy...it felt so good to get that taken care of right away!
Wife of Benjamin and mother to two wonderful little girls who are getting bigger every day. Enjoys writing down thoughts and discussions we are having within the family and sharing them with whoever is interested in reading.
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