The Dress: Part Two

I felt confident returning to the bridal shop once we set a date for the wedding. Now I could give the consultant some direction regarding my dress. Of course I didn’t know what style I wanted, but at least I had a season (summertime) to work with.

During my second trip I had a couple favorites from my first appointment I tried on again. They were nice, but that was the problem. Just nice. Not spectacular or amazing; and none gave me that “feeling” brides get on wedding shows.

The consultant brought a few more options but nothing felt right. So far this appointment was a bust. Was I going to leave empty-handed again? Two appointments seemed acceptable, but the prospect of a third felt disappointing. I know now the number of appointments isn’t important. What matters is a bride is satisfied with her dress. But I didn’t believe this at the time. I had to learn it on my own, as I’m sure many other brides do.

The consultant had another idea before my appointment ended. She suggested a trumpet style gown — fitted in the body and flared at the bottom. It was a style I hated but would at least try. She brought out the dress and my first impression was it looked like mummy wrappings. I wasn’t hopeful.

I slipped on the dress and stepped onto the platform. I loved it.

It fit my shape well and I loved the flare. I knew it would spin and flow gracefully behind me wherever I walked. It had a short train and straps (two of my must-haves) and I liked the warm, ivory color. Perfect for a summer wedding.

Suddenly the noise of people talking and bustling around dissipated. I saw myself in the mirror and knew. This was the dress. I said so out loud, surprising my mom and the consultant. My appointment ended with hugs, smiles, lots of pictures and ringing the store’s bell to signify my choice. I felt like a bride.



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Setting the Date

The day had arrived. No, not the wedding! We had (finally) set the date.

We didn’t have an epiphany and our decision wasn’t accompanied by fanfare. My fiance and I decided on our wedding date while driving home from viewing a possible venue. Maybe it was the serene Southern Oregon scenery which helped us decide. Or maybe we were influenced by a twinge of panic and the overwhelming desire to just pick a day. Any day. The former sounds more romantic. The latter is how it actually happened.

We picked our day with practicality in mind. It was between holidays in the summer, so traveling would be easy for out-of-town guests. After we announced our wedding date, many people asked if it had special meaning or significance. Remembering our drive home and conversation in the car, we explained the day had no special meaning. We simply picked a day that worked.

Some people were unhappy our date wasn’t “special,” which upset us. If anyone else had a similar reaction, we politely explained while the day had no previous significance, it would in the future because it was our wedding day. What began as a normal, run-of-the-mill day would forever remain special in our hearts.

My advice to you? Choose whatever day you want for your wedding. If it falls on an already special day (such as your first date), that’s great. If not, that’s great too. You’ll cherish your wedding day for years — decades — with your best friend by your side. And that is more special than a number on the calendar.






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Tasty Table Decorations

The first thing I bought for my wedding? M&M’s.

Purple and gold M&M’s, to be exact.

It was Thanksgiving weekend. I don’t know how it happened, but my mom and I landed on the M&M’s website. They were discounting bulk orders for a Black Friday special. We looked at the wedding M&M’s (only for fun, of course) and how to customize them. You can use stock photos from the M&M’s website database, upload your own, and write your own messages. And the candies were available in every color of the rainbow, including my wedding colors.

We tried different combinations of texts and pictures until we finally arrived at the perfect product.

I was hooked. I wanted to place an order and get the lower price, but there was a problem. My fiance was out of town for Thanksgiving visiting family. I wanted him to see our candy creation and didn’t want to buy something for the wedding without getting his thoughts too. After all, the day is about the both of us, not just me.

My mom suggested I call or text him because the Black Friday deal only lasted through midnight. I texted him, explaining the M&M’s, the colors, the words and pictures, and the great price. He loved it!

I got back on the website and placed the order. A week or so later, a couple pounds of M&M’s landed on our doorstep. And without a date for the wedding (yes, still no date) the candy found a cozy home in our freezer until we would eventually prepare them for the big day.



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The Wedding Show of a Lifetime

When a bride-to-be doesn’t know how to plan a wedding, or the availability of local vendors, her first stop should be the annual Southern Oregon Wedding Show. And that’s exactly where I went.

With  my mom and maid of honor at my side, we entered the world of all things bridal. The Medford Armory’s transformation amazed me. Twinkle lights sparkled from the ceiling. Three or four rows of dozens of vendors filled the room and led the way to a stage for a fashion show later in the day. Already overwhelmed at the prospect of planning my wedding, now I really felt like I knew nothing. Fortunately for me, every booth was manned (or wo-manned) by someone knowledgeable and friendly.

I took my first uncertain steps into unknown wedding territory. Flowers, music, catering, wine and cider (yes, there were free samples!), venue staging and a fashion show. I was in over my head. Every few seconds someone handed me another brochure and I wrote my contact info on a clipboard or entered a contest. Overwhelmed is an understatement.

We eventually made it through each vendor and every booth. I found people I instantly connected with and knew I wanted to use for my wedding. Each vendor I initially liked, and later booked, was a great choice and helped me in a different, unexpected way. But more on that later. Whether you’re a wedding newbie or a wedding planning genius, the Southern Oregon Wedding Show should be your first stop.

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The Dress: Part One

A few weeks passed since our engagement. Our first order of business was telling our friends and family. For a few days my phone received a record-breaking number of texts. After that, we were clueless what to do next. We didn’t have a venue or date – didn’t even know the month we wanted it in. We bounced back and forth between all four seasons, listing the pros and cons of each. That got us nowhere.

But that didn’t deter me from taking what I believed was the next logical step: my first wedding dress appointment. I think all of two or three weeks passed before I scheduled an appointment at the bridal shop. For dress shopping, I recommend starting early. I didn’t know it at the time, but beginning my wedding dress search almost a year before the actual wedding date was a good idea. I didn’t stress over the time it took to order the dress, alter and fit it. I had plenty of time and that equaled peace of mind.

My second recommendation? Have multiple appointments. If you don’t find “the one” the first time, don’t settle. This valuable advice was shared with me and it led to a great final decision.

My first appointment I had no idea what I wanted, a common theme throughout my wedding journey. I tried on a variety of styles. Ballgown, strapless, A-line, trumpet, mermaid. You name it; I wore it. My mom documented each dress with multiple pictures so we could review them later. This was also extremely helpful. Dresses I liked during the appointment failed to impress a few days later.

I left the shop empty-handed the first time. But my patience would be rewarded later.



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She Said Yes! Now What?

One night my boyfriend and I returned home from a night out with friends. During the drive home we decided to watch an episode of “Gilmore Girls” and then go to bed. I’m a huge fan of the show and it felt like I had waited a lifetime for my boyfriend to join me so we could start the episode. He finally arrived but approached me slowly, almost cautiously. My eagerness to watch TV all but evaporated as he pulled a small black box from behind his back and dropped to one knee.


Is this really happening?


The reality hit me like a ton of bricks when he asked me to marry him. Elated and shocked, of course I said yes! He slipped the ring on my finger and just like that, it was done. The Proposal – the moment all us girls dream of – was over. It was everything I had hoped for: simple, elegant and sweet.


My boyfriend fiance joined me on the couch and then it was silent. I looked at him and asked “What now?” He shrugged and I furrowed my brow. Hmm…no one ever tells the story of what happens in the minutes after the proposal.


After the initial shock wore off, we reveled in the moment and everything it represented. We were starting a new chapter in our life together. We excitedly rattled off ideas for our wedding – colors, themes, possible dates, etc. Our first decision was our colors: dark purple and gold. But we were wedding planning novices and didn’t know what to do next. We figured (hoped) it would all follow a logical progression, and we knew we’d have to ask around for advice.


I had no clue how to plan a wedding. I’d never bought flowers, booked a venue or called caterers. This blog is for any other wedding novices out there. Follow along on my journey from wedding amateur to blushing bride. Learn from my experiences as you’re traveling on your own road to the altar.

By the way, we never watched that episode of “Gilmore Girls.” We watched repeats of “Family Feud” instead. I mean, who doesn’t love Steve Harvey?




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