Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ultimate Wedding Week- The Reception!

Well, today is gloom and doom here in Northern California. What better way to cheer me up than to talk about the reception since I am stuck on the sofa and can’t leave the house? It really was my favorite part about our wedding. I spent countless hours researching other destination weddings for inspiration, looked at numerous vendor sites and of course watched my fair share of wedding shows! My biggest challenge was figuring out ways to let our personalities stand out even though I knew I couldn't bring much to the venue. Most importantly though, I wanted everyone to have a blast since they traveled so far from home to be with us!

After the wedding we took a few more pictures before starting the real party. Every time I wonder what it would have been like to get married in a church (the hubs wanted the beach and I wanted a church) I look at the backdrop in our pictures and I know I made the right decision by listening to him! (shhhhh! do NOT tell him I said that) :)

We hired a DJ that played a CD I made with all of our favorite songs. I didn’t want to leave the music up to chance because both the hubs and I agreed that it would set the mood for the party. I am a country girl at heart so line dancing was a must for me. We lined danced to Tim McGraw’s It’s a business Doing Pleasure With You because Michael and I joke that if we had a country song it would most definitely be that song. I mean isn't that every couple's theme song??

Some of the other songs we chose were Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, Francesca Battistelli’s It’s Your Life, Gavin Degraw’s In Love With a Girl, Toby Keith’s Made In America (not really a dance song, but I had to throw it in there…).

Our first dance was to Marry Me by Train. It was playing randomly one day in a store while Michael and I were shopping for Christmas gifts. I looked over at him and he was looking at me all teary eyed. A few months later when I asked him what song we should have our first dance to he answered, without hesitation, Marry Me.

After our dance I got to live out every little girls fantasy of dancing with their original knight in shinning armor while wearing the big, white princess dress. While my dress wasn’t a princess dress, I still loved every moment of dancing with my dad. We danced to Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman because it is the epitome of our relationship. The hubs chose Simple Man (Acoustic version) by Shinedown. I don’t think the photo’s do their dance justice, but in the video you see the emotion and unwavering love between mother and son.

When we were done with the traditional aspects of the reception, we moved over to the buffet and dug right in. Considering we were not able to sample to food I was very, very happy. Everything Michael & I ate was absolutely delicious!

While eating I couldn’t help but cry tears of joy. Why you ask? It started pouring rain the minute we sat down to eat. It is an old wives tale that the harder it rains, the stronger the marriage. I looked at Michael and he said “It’s your uncle and our grandpa’s." Of course that made me tear up even more, but it is one of my favorite memories of the day.

Everyone watching us watch the rain...

Another great aspect of the reception was the open bar. We had the margaritas flowing (my favorite) and enough beer and other cocktails to last a lifetime. It was included in our package and I am so thankful for that. I am sure most people say this, but I really don’t think they saw us coming! 

Our best man came over before the toasts and asked if we could take shots of tequila instead of drink champagne for the “cheers” moments. Without hesitation, Michael & I said yes! A few shots of Patron later the dance floor was full and we danced into the early evening.

This table was set up to remember those that were with us in spirit. Notice the reflection of our cake topper over my uncle's shoulder...

At some point late into the evening we had to get back to the ship, but we didn’t let that stop us! The hubs and I took a few photos around the ship and then met up with our guests to continue the party in one of the ships main dinning halls. It really was the never-ending party and it was so much fun!

Our California reception was also a ton of fun, but it was in a completely different way. After the renewal we walked back to the house and started the party.

I had mentioned in a previous post that I only asked for a few things for the renewal. They were appetizer/ small bites for the food, a cake, I wanted the beach theme to be carried over and of course…a margarita machine!

I wanted another cake because the hubs has a sweet tooth and I wanted to be able to go back to our bakery in a year to reorder the top tier. I knew that I couldn’t do that from Cozumel, so I wanted the next best thing. In all honesty, I loved the cake from our CA reception more and I am so happy I had that on my list of wants. It was gorgeous and it tasted so good!

The margarita machine was a total hit and I am so thankful I was able to have the second reception to celebrate with our family & friends!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Ultimate Wedding Week- The Ceremony!

Here we are in week two of the Ultimate Wedding Week Party. Today is all about the ceremony…or in my case ceremonies!

When we got engaged we made two big decisions right away. The first decision was made after I randomly threw out the fact, the morning after we got engaged, that it would be fun to have a destination wedding. I figured Michael would never go for it because we both come from large families and all of his family was local. To my surprise, he was sold on the idea without me even having to talk it up! After we decided we wanted to get married on the beach someplace, we decided to get married on our 3 year anniversary. I secretly think Michael did that so he would never forget our anniversary…although he claims that wasn’t why...

Surprisingly enough, planning a wedding from another country was not that difficult! My biggest advice is find a local wedding planner that can help with all of the day to day stuff. We used Destination Weddings and ended up being paired with the best wedding coordinators alive. What made it even better is we were given a wedding coordinator in Florida to help deal with the cruise line AND a wedding coordinator in Cozumel to deal with the day of. I am so beyond thankful that I went with this company because I do not think my wedding would have been as flawless if I had gone elsewhere.

I walked down the aisle to the traditional Wedding march with my daddy by my side. We had asked two family members to read Why Marriage by Mari Nichols and part of the Third Letter in Immortal Beloved by Beethoven.

Michael and I chose not to see each other before the wedding (in Cozumel) because I wanted to have the memory of walking toward him for the first time while taking in his reaction. This was a personal decision we made and both of us are happy we did it that way.

We also wrote our own vows that we were able to say to each other in front of our friends and family. Looking back, this was my favorite part. Our ceremony was performed by the local judge and was very standard. This was the main part of our ceremony that made it our ceremony. Being the planner I am, I think I wrote mine out 4 or 5 times before I felt that they said everything I wanted them to say. Every time I watch our wedding video I get emotional hearing the promises we made to each other that day. It really was so special!

Oh, I almost forgot the best part! My dad was waiting for the judge to ask who gave me away because that is what my mom had rehearsed with him. The only problem was they do not do that in Mexico! My poor dad was so in the moment that he waited up there the entire ceremony! He instantly bumped my sister from her place and became my MOH. Looking back on it now I can’t help but laugh because it is classic him!

Here are a few of my favorite photos from the ceremony.

My handsome hubby and our best man!

Our theme was a sand dollar and starfish that overlapped. We used it everywhere...even the boutonnieres!

Here comes the bride...

Waiting to give me away...

Becoming officially official!

Listening to Michael say his vows.

"You may now kiss the bride."

Now presenting for the first time, Mr. & Mrs. Powell!!!

I am sure most of you could tell from my previous posts that the California wedding/reception was more casual and very laidback. We renewed our vows, exactly one month after taking them, for our family and friends. We did this because only one grandparent was able to attend our wedding and we did not want to take that moment away from them.

There were only a few things I truly wanted for our renewal and my MIL took care of the rest. She did a phenomenal job and both Michael and I were blown away with how beautiful it was.

We wanted Michael’s step-dad, Kenny, to be a part of the wedding like our parents were. Even though Kenny came into his life when he was a teenager, he plays a big part in it now.  We thought about different ways to include him, but nothing seemed right. Finally I thought about him presiding over the renewal. Michael loved the idea and so did Kenny. Shortly after being asked, he became ordained online and performed the ceremony for us. Even though we were legally married in Cozumel, he wanted to say that he married us. Looking back, this was probably the best decision ever. He was able to make it personal, something that we were not able to truly get in Cozumel because we were married by a stranger, and my dad was FINALLY able to say what he waited over a month to say…he and my mom gave me away.

Check out some of my favorite pictures form our renewal.

We renewed our vows on a Sunday during football season...Scorecenter was checked constantly!

It was very important to me that my uncle walked me down the aisle when we found out about his Cancer. While he was not physically there, he was most certainly there in spirit. I held out my arm while I walked because I knew nothing would stop him from keeping his word. :)

The reason we renewed our vows... :)

My dad after he said "I do... No wait! Her mother and I do!"

Exchanging our vows again.

Now it's time to party!!

What were my few “must haves” for the renewal you ask? Come back on Wednesday for the Reception addition of Wedding Week to find out! :)

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