Monday, November 17, 2014

Wedding Bales: Rehearsing It All

The Friday morning before the big day was a pretty crazy busy one, you know all the prepping and stuff. Stepdaughter K and I woke up fairly early and, after a family breakfast, we headed off to the nail salon. We wanted a chance to spend some time together before all our friends and family arrived, and this was a perfect chance to do so. While K and I were getting our nails done, Mr. Farmer and stepson R were doing a bit of last minute shopping. Something we completely forgot to tell the kids about was the dress code The Florian Gardens has. 

You see The Florian Gardens has a pretty strict time frame for when you can host your rehearsal, especially on a Friday, which has become a pretty popular day to get married. We could wear whatever we wanted except jeans. Thankfully, because we were aware of this beforehand (read those contracts folks) we were able to let all of our bridal party know so they could dress accordingly. However, we neglected to let the kids know so we both ended up doing some last minute shopping before the rehearsal, to make sure the children were outfitted appropriately. Hey, you can't win them all. 

Anyways, after Mr. Farmer and R got R's outfit all situated they were the welcoming committee for our arriving bridal party members. K and I were running a tad bit late, kind of a theme for me it seems, so we had very little time to get ready for the rehearsal when we got back. With a little help from K I was able to throw myself together and be presentable enough.

Mr. Farmer and I needed to be at The Florian Gardens early enough to go over some final details and unload the decorations that we brought, so we wouldn't have to worry about it on the day. It was also the first time that we were able to see our venue, in person, set up for a wedding. I don't have any photos of that. We did not want to disrupt the staff while they were trying to get everything set for the wedding taking place after our rehearsal. We stayed outside the majority of the time and I was perfectly fine with that, especially when it looked like this:

So with everyone all ready to go and everyone accounted for we were able to get the show on the road.

Our wonderful, amazing, I can't say enough good things about her, wedding coordinator, Collette, gave us a run down of how everything was supposed to work. That lovely bouquet you see me carrying is from all the bows and ribbons on the gifts at my bridal shower. Apparently, for every one you break that's how many children you are supposed to have. I was pretty skilled and I didn't break any, but I am also kind of superstitious. I guess it's considered good luck to carry it with you on your rehearsal, so carry it with I did. A huge thanks to Fluff for putting it together for me.

Mr. Farmer: Ok you ready?

Miss. Barn: What is R wearing, did you really pick that out by yourself?

I might have been slightly distracted......

We worked our rehearsal backwards just for time sake. After everyone was in their appropriate place, we started at "Mr. Farmer you may kiss your bride", you can see we had different ideas.....

"Pleasure doing business with you"

R was a little shocked that we did not kiss each other and K looks incredibly confused. She later confided in me that she was really concerned our kiss wasn't going to be good enough. Collette is trying to hold it together and everyone else you can't see, is busting a gut and clapping. Anything for a good laugh!

We practiced our recessional next:

Flowergirl K and ring-bearer J refused to hold hands on the first go around. Clearly, J looks less than impressed....

MOH Fluff and Best Man N in what might be some of the only photographic evidence that he does in fact smile.

Sister in law T and Brother Barn looking ever the odd couple with their gigantic height difference, followed by the rest of our wonderful bridal party.

Mama and Papa Barn

Mr. and Mrs. Farmer

Once everyone has recessed, we went back through and did our processional. It was a quick rehearsal and I am sure most everyone was glad because at this point, everyone was getting excited to go check out the Go-Kart track and get checked into the hotel. A quick run through was exactly what I needed. 

I will say this, I would go into your rehearsal having an idea of how you want it to go, especially if you have special places for different people. Since we had R and K, we wanted them to exit right before and right after us and it made the traditional lineup a tad complex with our flower girl and ring bearer. It could have also been because we had such a large bridal party, I haven't decided yet.

It was at about this point that I started to have a mini melt down. So many people were asking me so many questions and I couldn't quite answer them fast enough before another one was shot my way. Most often it was the same question being asked by different people. Mr. Farmer knowing how stressed out I was becoming pulled me aside and gave me a little pep talk. We had a few hours between our rehearsal and our rehearsal dinner so in order to relax and regroup, I left with Mama Barn to accompany her to her hair appointment, and Mr. Farmer stuck around the hotel to entertain our guests. 

Wedding planning is overwhelming. Spending that additional alone time with my mom was exactly what I needed in order to get my head and my thoughts back in order. It helped that our hair stylist was the and was a total dream to work with. It was the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with my mama and to get away from the craziness of "being the bride". I came back completely relaxed and ready to tackle the rehearsal dinner with a much calmer demeanor. 

Did anyone else struggle with fielding a lot of questions? Did you separate your rehearsal and your rehearsal dinner by a few hours? Please tell me I am not the only one who got a little stressed out during the rehearsal.

*all photos personal

Missed a recap? Catch up here:

Wedding Bales: Let's Get The Party Started

Wedding Bales: Special Cargo

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Wedding Bales: Food & Friends

We hosted our rehearsal dinner at the restaurant in the other hotel from our hotel block. In the welcome letters I crafted, I invited everyone who was checking in on Friday to our dinner. We did not want it to be a very formal affair and we wanted our guests to stop in, have a bite to eat, and say hello.

 Mr. Farmer and I decided to rent a limo bus to transport our bridal party from The Hotel Metropolis to Johnnie's Italian Steakhouse. It wasn't more than a 10 minute trip but we wanted to make it as easy as possible. It's the little things!

Mr. Farmer and I rocking our rehearsal dinner outfits. Living on the farm doesn't allow us the chance to dress up often, so we completely took advantage of the opportunity to get nice and cleaned up. We all loaded up into the limo bus and away we went.

After arriving at the Holiday Inn our friends and family headed to the reserved room, while Mr. Farmer and I attended to the gifts we needed to bring in. We had selected a cocktail type rehearsal dinner with the idea that everyone invited could come and go as they pleased, and we'd be able to mingle with guests.  As such, the room was set up that way, without traditional table and chairs to seat everyone. Upon entering the hotel I was completely blindsided by family members who were very upset and confused about the lack of tables and chairs in the room. They didn't understand the concept of the cocktail style reception. After some frantic panicking, and a very upset Mrs. Barn, we ended up having the event coordinator bring in some extra tables and chairs, and all was right with the world again.
 It sounds minor, but it was stressful that people were so upset about the lack of tables. I had told everyone I thought I needed to about what kind of dinner it was going to be.  Unfortunately, I guess I missed a few key players. Our poor event coordinator for the evening was caught right in the middle of the commotion, and I felt so bad for her. Guests started yelling at her when I wasn't around, and it caused quite the emotional fiasco. A word of advice from Mrs. Barn: Make sure that everyone knows what is going on if you decide to do something outside of the norm for your family functions.
With the table and chair fiasco over with we were finally able to move forward with our rehearsal dinner. We had a fully hosted bar and various different appetizers. We served proscuitto wrapped shrimp with chimichurri, arancini, mini beef sliders, crab cakes, classic shrimp cocktail, caprese salad skewers, deviled eggs, and Johnny's Italian bread with sausage. I feel like we had one other option but I cannot think for the life of me what it was. We also had an assorted dessert display. 

These are the only photos that I have of our food setup because I was a horrible blogger and forgot to bring a camera. All our guests raved about the food and I have to say I was pretty blown away. We tried to select things that were also kid friendly, since we had so many, and the children were the first to say how delicious all the selections were. Win for team Barn (and yay for happy parents)! After everyone ate their fill and had a few cocktails we handed out gifts.

We didn't really discuss what we were gifting our attendants and that's because I wanted it to be a bit of a surprise. I know a few of my gals read the 'bee. The first gift each girl received was a pair of shoes. In blog post that never made the Weddingbee cut, I discussed how I got suckered into one of those side advertisements and found a pair of shoes that I thought were just way too fun. When I showed them to everyone they all agreed, we HAVE to wear those- no matter how silly and tacky they might be, we have to rock them. I gave them the chance to turn them down, however they all voted unanimously, "we want the crazy shoes".

These are no longer available from the website in which I purchased them from, but for those who wanted to know it was AMI Clubwear. Those tricky ads I tell ya! They were on mega clearance so I made sure to tell each girl if they threw them in the trash the next day, my heart wouldn't be broken. I am happy to report nobody has done so. I also gifted each of my ladies a bracelet that I made following Mrs. Rucksack's tutorial (hey girl hey). I made mine slightly different, by using two different sized ribbons (sewed together) and changing it up a tad. I attached a card with a fun quote and that was gift number two. It was also a great way to do something "wedding related" in the earlier months of our engagement. 

The final gift I gave each of my girls was yet another find from Weddingbee. I happened to be perusing the boards when I came across a thread that was kind of intriguing. It was a Diamond Candle ring revel thread. Ummm, say what? Diamond Candle - must find out what this is! So I did a little digging and found out you get a ring inside each candle that is worth either $10, $100, $1,000, or $5,000. Needless to say, I thought hey what an awesome idea so those were added to the list. Knowing that I was going to gift these to my girls, I signed up for their mailing list and only purchased them when there was a promotion going on so that I could be as thrifty as possible. Having a large bridal party can get expensive!

One of the final gifts each bridesmaid received was a Victoria's Secret lotion. I know it might sound silly or insignificant but I include one in just about to my friends, so I knew I couldn't break tradition now. I also spent some serious time composing each of them a heartfelt message. I wanted them to know just how much I appreciated their love and support. Mr. Farmer did the same thing for his groomsmen and all of them commented on how awesome it was to receive such a well written card. Mr. Farmer gifted each of his groomsmen a set of custom suspenders and a bottle of alcohol, which was incredibly well received.

Fun story time. While Mr. Farmer and I were packing up each gift, we realized that we were one pair of suspenders short. Stupid Mrs. Barn didn't even think to count the suspenders when I received them, to make sure they were all there. Sadly, it was such short notice that Irene was unable to accommodate an additional pair and quickly issued a refund. I frantically ran around town trying to find a gray pair of suspenders without luck. So unfortunately, usher D rocked some black ones. I was a tad bummed we weren't able to match but I totally blame myself for the oversight.

Mr. Farmer gave best man N an extra special gift of an engraved pocket watch. I was pretty surprised because he picked it out all by himself and it was pretty awesome. I later found out from N's girlfriend that N couldn't even read the card because he started to get teary eyed. He waited until he got back to his hotel room to finish reading what Mr. Farmer wrote. Mr. Farmer, I tell you what, just a sentimental teddy bear!

I gifted maid of honor K and matron of honor Fluff something a little different as well. I really wanted Fluff to know how much I appreciated all the help she provided me and how much I value our friendship. I gifted her a few things above and beyond everyone else. Fluff also received:

A Coach weekender pack and tote and a pair of Kate Spade shoes. Mr. Farmer being a huge sweetheart also gifted Fluff something special because he wanted her to know just how much he appreciated everything she did for me. He told her it was a "thank you for keeping her (Mrs. Barn) sane". Say it with me now, "awwww". Mr. Farmer gifted her a custom painted wine glass. with the phrase Girl's Best Friend on it.

K received a pair of Kate Spade shoes as well as a beautiful figurine from Mr. Farmer. I had an extra special gift that I wanted to give her but I waited until the morning of the wedding. When it came to our parents we really struggled with what to give them so we finally decided on a beautiful photo frame. We put an invitation in it with the promise of a formal wedding portrait to follow.

Up next, I reveal one of the biggest gifts of all. A special gift to Mr. Farmer....

Did anyone else have any unnecessary mis-communications? What did you gift your attendants? Did you do something special for your maid/matron of honor and best man?

Missed a recap? Catch up here:

Let's Get this Party Started
Special Cargo
We Rehearse it All

Monday, November 10, 2014

Inquiring Minds Want to Know: Barn After Answers

So in an effort to try something a little different and help out fellow blogger Miss. Border Collie we decided to have a little fun and each answer some “Inquiring Minds Want to Know” questions.  While she was, as she says, complaining to me about her lack of writing material, this idea popped into my head and we decided – let’s go for it! So without further ado here are my After the Wedding answers……read Miss. Border Collie’s Before the Wedding answers here.

1.       What is/was your biggest priority about (or for?) the event?  (Ex: Catering, photography)

My biggest priority was making sure people were well fed and having fun. I know it sounds simple and most people wouldn’t think our menu was anything special (ok a lot of people) but our guests L-O-V-E-D it (the ones that actually said anything to us). Most of our guests are pretty simple people and don’t have a palette for fine dining, that’s just who are families are.  Mr. Farmer tells me all the time, “Meat and potatoes” babe when I ask him what he wants me to cook for our **evening meal. His best man N (who is a total cowboy) INSISTED we have corn.  Apparently you don’t marry a farmer and have a bunch of farmers at a wedding without serving corn, it’s sac-religious.  You just don’t do it, so we served corn. The farmers were happy which means I was happy.

2.       What is/was your biggest concern for the day? (Ex: rain, nobody dancing, guests being bored)

My biggest concern was that everyone was going to hate everything. I was so worried people weren’t going to see the love we have for each other in our ceremony. I was worried people were going to hate the food. I was worried people were going to hate our venue. I was worried people were going to complain about the drive. I was worried for absolutely no freaking reason whatsoever. Not a single person complained about anything and to be honest, I really would be surprised to hear if anyone complained to a bride about her wedding.

3.       What DIY Project do you / did you care about the most?

I like to think I am a pretty crafty person however Mama Barn puts me to shame on her worst days. Because of that I would have to say that our invitations were the one project that I cared about most. Mama Barn really helped by putting a lot of time and effort into helping me figure out what exactly we should do. I would say specifically the envelope liners were my favorite only because so many people commented to me on how awesome they were, and she did them solely herself. As much as I hated the total process of designing and trying to actually decide what to do I really loved how they came out. There are definitely some changes that I would make but the fact that I did this with my mom is what I really love about it. Since Mama Barn is a six hour drive away it was really important to the both of us that she was involved as much as possible and this was the perfect opportunity for a mom’s special touch.

4.       What is / was your worst wedding related nightmare?

The wedding nightmare I had constantly was that all of a sudden it was wedding day and I never had anything ready. The one time my dress wasn’t there. Another time the hotel called to tell me that they didn’t have any rooms for our guests and everyone had to sleep in their cars (horrifying)!  Once there was another wedding going on at our venue and we had to get married in the parking lot of the hotel. Thankfully these were all silly nightmares and nothing even close happened.

5.       Do you think you are going to eat/ Did you actually eat?

I am happy to report that I did eat at our wedding however not much. I did have a lot of food off of stepson R’s plate because we ended up sharing a lot of our food. He liked my roasted potatoes and I liked his fried potato goodness that he was served -I don’t know what they were actually but they were damn good whatever it was. When you are the bride you can eat whatever you want. I justified eating all the fried goodness thinking “well at least I am consuming calories”. It may have been a slight stretch, but at least I was eating!

6.       What is the picture you think you have to have/ What is your favorite picture?

I haven’t started my recaps yet but I will share one of my favorite photos. This was one that when I look at I get insanely happy and I immediately get teary-eyed. When I think back it wasn’t a picture that I thought would have been my favorite only because it’s not a photo of Mr. Farmer and me. Without further ado:

Photo personal – Mrs. Barn and stepdaughter K

7.       What is your biggest fear about what could go wrong vs what was the worst thing that happened at your wedding?

I don’t think I can really think of anything horrifying that went wrong at our wedding. It was all a bunch of really small miscommunications, that nobody would really notice, but if I had to pick one that really bothered me the most it was that my paternal grandparents were not seated in the front row at our ceremony. I didn’t even realize it until I got my pictures and I will say that I was INCREDIBLY disappointed. My poor grandmother and grandfather were seated in an aisle seat like 4 or 5 rows back and it made me so sad. Had I realized that they were sitting there I would have stopped the ceremony and moved them myself to their place of honor. The only thing that I can think of it that they sat themselves or sat with whomever they walked in with. I don’t know what happened but that would be the biggest thing that went wrong.

8.       What are you looking forward to the most / What was your favorite memory?

I would say my favorite memory is of a very special thing that happened during our dinner. I would love to share it but I don’t want to ruin it until I get to my recaps. I will just say that there was not a dry eye in the place and it was a shock of a lifetime for Mr. Farmer and me. I get goose bumps when I think about it and I can’t wait to share it with you guys, but it really does deserve a post of its own. You will know what I mean when you see it, I promise! Stepson R says, “When Mrs. Barn makes a promise, she keeps it so you know she is telling the truth. She’s never let me down”.

9.       What do you think your guests will enjoy the most/ What did your guests mention the most?

Our guests loved a lot of different things about our wedding weekend but I would say that our guests raved about our venue the most. They could not believe that we found such a beautiful place in the middle of a metropolitan city. I am sure some of you would say that Eau Claire, Wisconsin is far from a metropolis but to our friends and family it was. I think just about every guest commented on how beautiful everything was. I saw a LOT of family photos going on after the wedding ceremony was over. It seems that since it was such a pretty place that it was a good time to do it, and I am glad that I have those memories.  I always smile to myself thinking of all those photos in frames that were taken on the day of our wedding and it’s heartwarming.

10.   What do you plan on doing after the wedding is over/ What did you do afterwards?

Once the wedding was over, everyone else headed to the hotel bar to start an after party. Groomsman G and his wonderful wife stuck around and helped Mr. Farmer and I clean up. We had to get everything out of the venue so there was a lot of packing that needed to be done.  Since we knew that we would have to do this, we didn’t have a lot of extra décor that I would have loved to have. I am so incredibly thankful to them for their help. After we packed up, Mr. Farmer and I stopped in the hotel bar for a quick goodnight and retired to the honeymoon suite.

Bonus – depending on how brave you might be: 

11.   Do you intend on donning lingerie for the evening/ Did you use it or crash afterwards?

I didn’t wear any special lingerie per say except for my garter, veil, “something blue” panties, and my “Bride” robe. I wanted to be comfortable under my dress and didn’t want to worry about having to change either. We were so incredibly tired after all the excitement of the day that I knew I wasn’t going to have a lot of energy left afterwards. One of my favorite memories of the entire wedding though was when Mr. Farmer ever so delicately helped me out of my wedding dress and gently removed the bobby pins one by one from my hair. It was such a sweet and loving gesture that I will always remember.

**Mr. Farmer and I have had large debates about what we call meal time. I call it breakfast, lunch and dinner. He calls is breakfast, dinner, and supper. I get lectured quite frequently from his friends that I am in farm country and everyone else calls it “dinner not lunch”. Apparently city folk say lunch and dinner and country folk say dinner and supper.  Who cares, let’s eat!

 Do you think your answers would change much before and after you get married? Pick a question and answer, inquiring minds want to know what you would say!