Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Twilight Images = My Dream Come True

OK, so I know in one of my earlier posts I mentioned that we had potentially selected our photographer.  Scratch that!  I can now say, for a fact, we have selected a photographer and it's not the photographer I thought I was going to use. 

Let me start from the beginning....

From the moment one of my best friends booked Melody Smith of Twilight Images, I was hooked.  Their engagement pictures were phenomenal.  I could literally feel the emotion in the pictures of Dana and Jeremy.  Allen and I set up a meeting with Melody, and everything went really well.  It was just very early on in our search for vendors and we weren't exactly sure how the money was going to pan out.  We started to compare her with some other photographers and thought we were going to end up going with someone else.  Now, don't get me wrong, it had nothing to do with the quality of Melody's work.  Anyone that knows her knows she's top notch.  It really came down to finances. 

Weird how things happened from there...

I met with the other photographer, had every intention with signing with said photographer.  Gave my parents the contract, they were on board, and ready to turn the signed contract in with a deposit.  Timing ended up not working out for a couple of weeks for me to get together with them for transfer of the contract and money to me.  In that time frame was Dana's fabulous wedding, where I ended up meeting Melody in person.  I swear, it was like meeting a rockstar and being star struck.  She was awesome!  Here's where the real catalyst for my change of heart came....she posted teaser pictures of Dana and Jeremy's wedding on Facebook that same night.  O.  M.  G.  They are the most gorgeous pictures I've ever seen.  From that moment, I knew I had to have her. 

Here we are, two weeks after Dana's wedding, the contract is turned in and the deposit is paid.

It's official - Melody Smith is my photographer! 

Seriously, check her out.  She's ridiculous, her work is unlike anything I've seen before, and I can't believe she's mine all mine on June 11, 2011!!!!

We like to party, we like, we like to party!

So I may have mentioned in an earlier post that two of my girlfriends in my close "circle of friends" got engaged a couple weeks prior to me.  Several of our other friends in our "circle friends" are in our bridal parties and four of them decided to host an engagement party in our honor! 

If this was a precursor to how fun our weddings will be, holy moly! 

The party was hosted by four of my lovely bridesmaids, Doodle, Laura, Christina, and Kari.  It was a backyard barbeque with hamburgers, hot dogs, dips, dessert, and most importantly lots of booze!  All of the decorations were done in black and yellow (Yay Randolph-Macon!).  They had cute little streamers and bows along the picket fence, we each had wine goblets and beer steins with our monograms on them, and a capital initial that corresponded with our new last name that was accompanied by a glass dish of candles and river rocks.  It was so sweet!  I'm literally getting teary-eyed thinking about how much love and thought went into this shindig...

The party was "officially" kicked off with a toast from the hosts (with the most, haha, I had to) to the engaged couples.  From there, food was eaten, beverages were downed, and yard games were played.  The night was filled with catching up with friends, Allen's groomsmen talking about when Allen and I first met, and how much fun our weddings are going to be. 

To the hosts:  I cannot thank you all enough for throwing us such a wonderful party.  Everyone in attendance had a fabulous time, and it makes me even more excited for the wedding(s)!  You are the best friends an engaged lady could ask for. ;)

Some pictures from the party below...

Me and Bridesmaid LLB.  She gave Allen and I a very thoughtful gift: a certificate to Wawa (where we got engaged!)

Me and Matt, a good friend!

Me and my main squeeze (after much wine and loaded coronas) <3

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Are Facebook and the same thing?

369 days ago I received this message in my Facebook Inbox:

Allen Estes August 14, 2009 at 3:26pm Just looking for someone. What elem. School did you go to if you don't mind me asking

That's right.  After fifteen years of living our separate lives in the same city ten miles from each other, Allen found me on Facebook. 

It's funny how things turn out.  I would have never guessed this outcome fifteen years ago, but I'm happy it's happening this way! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Bridesmaid/Bride in Training

I know it's only been 12 hours since the end of my dear friend Dana's wedding reception, but I wanted to blog about it while it's still vivid in my memory.

Yesterday, August 7, 2010, I had the honor of being a bridesmaid in the wedding of a college friend.  This was the first wedding I've been a part of since being engaged, so I knew I'd be paying close attention to how Dana did things and to the things that most guests's eyes look past, the details.

I want to start by saying this was one of the best wedding experiences I've ever had in my life.  Throughout the last year, Dana has been the three C's that most brides never are - calm, cool, and collected.  This was probably the number one reason this past weekend was a blast.  From day one, Dana was such an easy bride to work with.  She let us pick out our own dresses (within limits - black taffeta from J.Crew), only requested our presence at one shower, reveled in having a laid back bachelorette party, and let us do our hair however we pleased.  This made my experience as a bridesmaid so enjoyable!

Now, to recap the day of the wedding and the details.  We arrived at the salon at 9:00 A.M.  Mind you, this is a salon none of us had been to before.  Dana and her fabulous MOH and sister Tara had to re-schedule our appointments and location to this salon because of a somewhat disastrous bridal portrait hair experience.  Word of advice, do not go to Salon del Sol on Parham road!  For the most part, we were happy with our hair, minus a couple of re-do's that were done.  Dana did have a mild moment of "oh sh!t" with her hair, but it was quickly overcome and turned out beautiful!

Afterward we headed to a local Mexican restaurant that I swear had the best margaritas I've ever had!  In true fashion, Dana insisted that she pay for the lunch and even backed up her insistence with the fact that she had "documentation" of her wanting to pay in an e-mail previously sent to the bridesmaids.  Too cute.  We had a blast just relaxing, eating Mexican, and sipping margaritas.  As a surprise, the wait staff brought out chocolate flan and sang "Happy Wedding Day" to the tune of "Happy Birthday".  It was precious, and made her feel really special.

From lunch we headed to the venue, the Country Club of Petersburg, but not without a quick pitstop at Martin's for two bottles of champagne.  We got dressed, did our makeup, and watched Dana in her preparation.  We all cried when we saw the finished product.  She was truly stunning!

After getting ready, Jeremy (Dana's new husband) and Dana did a "first look".  I wish I had pictures to show you off this.  Before going to see Jeremy, Dana was slightly on edge.  When she came back, I could simply see a calm in her facial expression and the way she was carrying herself.  She told me that she completely recommends it to anyone, rather than waiting to see your husband at the end of the aisle.  They were able to sneak away and spend a few moments together without anyone else.

Soon after the first look it was time for us to get ready to start the ceremony.  We lined up, walked down the aisle, and at this point I was fine, no tears.  The minute the MOH walked down the aisle with tears streaming down her face, I couldn't contain it.  Thank goodness for the tissues in my pocket!  And then Dana was walked down the aisle by both of her parents, one on each arm.  And again, the waterworks.  The ceremony was the perfect length, and was extremely touching.  The best part, when Dana was saying her vows and you could hear the emotion in her voice and the tears coming through her words.  Simply beautiful!

It was time for the reception!  The main ballroom was gorgeous, with black chair covers and pink chair ties surrounding tables with white linens and gorgeous flower arrangements of pinks, greens, peaches, and oranges.  They had a band, which was great!  The food was outstanding, heavy hors-d'oeuvres in stations.  Most notably the dips, stuffed mushrooms, pasta station, and caprese skewers were amazing!  The stations also allowed for good movement throughout the venue, and there always seemed to be something unique going on in each room.  We took advantage of the outdoor patio, sitting around tables, reminiscing about college and catching up with old friends.  The dance floor was continuously going with the tunes of the band blaring.  One of my fondest memories of the evening was on the dance floor when the groom sang "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" to the bride.  The crowd was wild

At the end of the night, we sent the couple off with a sparkler exit at the entrance of the of the country club.  It was a beautiful exit!  But guess what?  It was staged, they faked us out!  They came back in for I'd like to refer to as a wedding encore.  More dancing and mingling occured, while mini cheeseburger sliders and hotdogs were passed around.  So much fun!

A note to the bride and groomDana and Jeremy, thank you for allowing me to be a part of your wedding festivities.  It was an honor, and I am so thrilled for the both of you.  The love you two have for one another is so blatant, and I hope it stays that way for the rest of your lives.  Best wishes to you both!