Archive for the ‘Love’ Category

Shall we dance?

We’ve been taking ballroom dance lessons in preparation for our first dance. It’s also doubled as premarital counseling, so we’re feeling extra prepared for the big event.


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Dear family, thanks.

Dear family,

I love you.

To all of my uncles and cousins and aunts and friends and fiances of groomsmen, thanks for celebrating with us at our shower. It really meant the world to us, and we couldn’t be part of a better family.

Patrick always teases me about how I call everyone a cousin. Second cousins, children of second cousins, third cousins, tenth cousins – all cousins. I refer to my mom’s cousin’s wives as “my cousin so-and-so” and I refer to all of my great aunts as “my Aunt so-and-so.” And then I’m stuck explaining the dynamics of having a family as marvelous and Irish as ours. Yes – Irish – that means everyone is somebody’s cousin, and we’re all related and that means we’d do anything for each other. Because what’s the most important thing in your life if not family? And that is how it goes. And that’s how our family has always worked.

I was glad that Patrick was finally able to meet my extended family, and he was finally able to see why I go on and on about family events, why I love all of them so much and why saying “cousin” is just so. much. easier.

I wanted to reach out to all of you – my family – particularly those who took part in arranging the most lovely wedding shower for Patrick and me. It was a little strange being back near my old neck of the woods with Patrick, it felt like the merging of two lifetimes.

I like that this family has always been close-knit and ever loving. I hadn’t seen so many of you in so many years that my heart filled with joy to see your smiling faces. I’m grateful for the way you welcomed Patrick with hugs and handshakes and Irish smiles. And it felt like home.

I was so impressed with the attention that was put into every detail. The font of our cake mirrored our save-the-date card. And the color was absolutely perfect. This cake was delicious, by the way, and Patrick and I were able to take the top layer home with us to Orlando. I have to admit I ate most of it myself.

The favors were adorable! Honeydew-scented Yankee candles wrapped with lace and bows. Not only did it keep with the color scheme, but they smelled delicious and made for perfect little keepsakes to remember the day.

And then there were gifts. Oh so many gifts!

After the event was over, I told Patrick we should get married more often. We REALLY cleaned up at this thing! Thanks again for the generosity and thoughtfulness that went into the planning and purchasing of gifts. I’m so very grateful. And thanks for all the lime green wrapping paper, that makes me smile.

One of the most beautiful and artistically made gifts was this gift from my cousin Beth. Who, for the record, is actually my mom’s cousin. Though only Patrick cares about making that distinction. It’s a full set of four bath towels, four hand towels and four wash cloths. You’d never guess, right? BECAUSE IT LOOKS GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT.

The topper is engraved with our names and wedding date, and it will most certainly be on display at the wedding. Thanks, Beth. And thanks for helping so much with the planning process. All of your effort will be forever remembered among the many happy memories from that day.

To my Aunt Sally – Mastermind, Shower Planner Extraordinaire – Thanks for putting in all of the time and effort to throw us such a great shower. Your generosity is unparalleled. I’m touched that you’d put in so much planning to honor our wedding. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And yes, of course you’re my favorite.

So here’s to family: ever growing, ever changing, ever loving, perfect-just-the-way-you-are family.




Thank you to Jennifer Keane and Beth Matijevic for capturing these beautiful photos.

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Wedding Countdown Ticker

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My vendors and me: A love story

One of the reasons I’m feeling so pleased with my wedding planning thus far is that we’ve chosen vendors who will all come through for us no matter what. We can say with utmost confidence that if anything were to happen: flat tire, sudden case of the flu, etc., any one of these people would do whatever necessary to make my wedding day go smoothly. I’m not just part of some assembly line to them, and while it was hard to find them, I’m glad I searched so thoroughly.

Dorothy Gotlib Photography

Young yet skillful, Dorothy Gotlib’s photos are beautiful and classic. We were willing to splurge on photos knowing that they’d be the piece of our wedding day we could hold onto forever.

The moment I knew it was love: When I found out that she had taken all the photos on display in the event coordinator’s office at the Michigan Union – photos I had admired during my meetings with said coordinator.

First Class Entertainment

Roger Hinchcliff is everything we could want in a DJ. Actually, we’d considered getting a band because the thought of some dude MCing our wedding seemed tacky and lame. Skits and inflatable instruments are most certainly not our style. He is professional and thorough in his planning, and his website allows you to actually create playlists for your big night. He even through in a lighting package.

The moment I knew it was love: When he told me that he refuses to use a fog machine in any of his events for fear of tarnishing his reputation.

Gwen’s Cake Decorating

Gwen is exactly what I was looking for in a cake baker. She has more than 25 years of experience as a cake decorator, and it shines in the beauty of her cakes. Not to mention our cake tasting was the closest I’ve ever been to heaven. Her reasonable prices were also a plus!

The moment I knew it was love: When I tasted her secret-recipe-made-fresh-daily-from-scratch butter cream frosting. Um, YES PLEASE!

I LOVE wedding planning!


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Wedding planning marathon

Our trip was a success!

Ceremony venue: Check!

Reception venue: Check!

Photographer: Check!

Cake baker: Check!

DJ: Check!

Date: GASP! [Drum roll please] CHECK!

MAY 22, 2010. 464 days to go. :)

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My take on the Ann Arbor trip

Whitney and I made the long awaited trek upward to Ann Arbor. It is here that we are going to be married and this February trip is the beginning of our planning.

We arrived Saturday afternoon after an absurdly early plane flight from Orlando (our pleasantly humid home) and were quickly swept away by my father to the Middleastern Grocery store. A dozen stuffed grape leaves later we finally made it home to the aging house up in which I grew in which I grew up. My saintly mother’s arms awaited us with hugs.

The only thing that seemed to change in my parents’ home was some new artwork of my father’s adorning the walls and his dent in the far left side of the couch seemed deeper.

The following night Whitney’s mama Terry arrived from a long, snowy and salty drive from Bloomington, IN. She was brave enough to come stay for a couple of days and visit the many vendors and venues we had planned out. I say brave because few make it out of my father’s presence without significant emotional scarring. I’ll say now, she held her own and actually thought he was funny. That’s a first.

Over the course of the next two days Whitney, her mother, my mother and I drove around Ann Arbor visiting several ballrooms, ceremony sites, photographers and (our favorite) cake makers. My greatest fear was not that I wouldn’t find something to suit our ceremony and reception (I’m relatively impartial) but that Whitney wouldn’t find that dream location. I was so proud of her though – even after several misfires she remained happy and calm. Successfully trusting in the process of life (thank you Louise Hay).

The only bad part of our whole journey was the 80 degree temperature difference from Orlando to Ann Arbor, but judging by our Facebook profile pictures we even had some fun with that.

I think we pretty much got what we came for: a ceremony venue, a reception venue, a photographer, a cake baker, a candle stick maker, a good dose of my father’s harsh humor, a tuna fish sandwich from my mom, frostbite, a cold, a reminder of why we moved to Florida and three pairs of really cool shoes that I had left behind.


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Dressed in white

This weekend I had my “try on” appointment at the bridal salon, not to be confused with an actual fitting. It was a great day. The gown was wonderful, and it looks even better than all the photos I had been looking at for the past six months (which just shows that the length of time it took for my dress to be made is longer than some engagements!). My grandmother happily went along with me and was just as in awe of the dress as I was. She even bought me a lovely jewelry set to match my gown.

Because the dress is a surprise for my handsome hubby-to-be, I can’t go into any details on this post. But while I was standing on the pedastal in my fitting room surrounded on all sides by mirrors, I thought about Patrick and how lucky I am to be marrying him. I looked at myself while wearing the most beautiful dress I’ve ever put on and felt as though I was in the middle of a fairy tale – I’ve definitely got the prince!


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