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The search has begun for guest hotels!!  We haven’t exactly set a price point, but we’re looking at several options (and several price ranges) for our guests to choose from.  So far, we have about 14 people confirmed for attendance, but there are still several responses yet to be returned.  We’re extremely surprised at the number, especially this early in the game, but we’d like to get some accommodations nailed down so when the time comes, everyone coming will have a few options.  Take a look, and let me know what you think…

The Best Western Scores Hotel…it’s not at all what you think of when you think of Best Western, but it’s nice nonetheless.  We’ve heard good things about this hotel from people who have traveled to St. Andrews.  And my new trusty companion, TripAdvisor has a traveler rating of 3.5 (thanks, Am!!)

Exterior of The Scores Hotel

Exterior of The Scores Hotel

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Next is the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel.  We looked at this hotel during our initial search of a reception venue and we were definitely impressed.  I would suggest that this hotel is about one notch down from The Old Course Hotel.  They are self-described as “a sand wedge from the 18th hole”.  The accommodations are much more expensive as compared to The Scores Hotel, but they deal more with luxury than efficiency!

Entrance to the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel

Entrance to the Macdonald Rusacks Hotel

Macdonald Rusacks Hotel Exterior

Macdonald Rusacks Hotel Exterior

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Some more economical options include two different Ogston’s Hotels: North Street and PilmourWendy describes them as “quite a lively place” so it may be an option for the younger crowd.  Both of these hotels have mixed reviews from TripAdvisor, but like I said, it’s more economical – and when you’re saving money, you really can’t complain!!

Exterior of Ogston's on North Street

Exterior of Ogston's on North Street

Exterior of Ogston's on Pilmour

Exterior of Ogston's on Pilmour

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On a non-wedding note…

…Today was the wonderful Humane Society of Indianapolis Mutt Strut!!  I volunteered for this amazing event last year, and HSI was able to raise $340,400 with over 5,500 human participants and 4,000 dogs!!!  It is amazing to witness that many dogs in one area…and this year was no different!!

It’s very clear that more people were in attendance this year than last, including the newly added family member: Lilly!!  Her and mom were such troopers!!  In fact, they all were troopers and we’re very proud of each of them!!!  Kindiebelle held the pack together by always waiting for the stragglers, while Raikkon ‘strutted his stuff’ while walking on the track wall.  Maggie relaxed on the track and Lilly sprawled out in the grass.  Our little pups also made several new friends, including a couple 160-pound Great Danes (one of which almost sat on Maggie!!).

All in all, today was a success.  My mom kept saying over and over how she can’t believe that all these dogs were together in such a small area and you never heard any of them fighting or being aggressive.  Ellen said she felt like all 4,000+ dogs took on a pack-persona when they were together.  It’s so wonderful to see Pit Bulls greeting Toy Fox Terriers, and not having to worry.  I am so happy that the Humane Society of Indianapolis puts on this event every year – and I can’t wait to get my dad and the girls out there next year!!!

A beautiful Great Dane and puppy Great Dane!

A beautiful Great Dane and puppy Great Dane!

I absolutely love Greyhounds!

I absolutely love Greyhounds!

Nearly every one of these people has at least one dog.

Nearly every one of these people has at least one dog.

You just can't grasp how many dogs there are until you actually see it!

You just can't grasp how many dogs there are until you actually see it!

Ahhh...finally done!!

Ahhh...finally done!!

Our new Great Dane friends.

Our new Great Dane friends.

Another decision made, another deposit paid.

Yeah, so we aren’t following the fancy Wedding Channel checklist to a T, but we are making decisions that we know won’t change in a year!!  This time – it’s how we roll!!!

While The Old Course Hotel and St. Andrews Cathedral aren’t millions of miles away from each other, we still knew that we would want something to tote us around afterwards during pictures.  The girls and I will be getting our hair and makeup done at the Hotel beforehand, and Dad, Mom, Amy and I will take our beautiful little buggie over to the Cathedral for the wedding.  Then afterwards, Neil and I will be escorted around the town of St. Andrews to find the best photography locations as everyone in the town “cheers for us on the way past.” (Thanks, Wendy!!)  There wasn’t much deliberation in regards to the selection.  There were several options to choose from, but we knew what we wanted as soon as we saw it!!  That is why we chose to go with the beautiful 1936 Rolls Royce Landaulette from Baincraig Wedding Cars!!!  We especially loved the option to have it as a convertible if the weather permits!!  Oh yay!!  I’m just so excited!!rolls-royce-landaulette

…and we’ve already received our first wedding present!!! 🙂  Yeah, I couldn’t believe it, either – but there are some very efficient people in this world!!

Anyway, yesterday – after a long day of yard work with my Mama – we went inside for lunch and to rest a bit.  As we were resting, I was just nonchalantly glancing through the JC Penney sale flyer.  A crock-pot caught my eye and I said to my mom, “I really want a crock-pot.”  My mom quickly responded with, “Go get in my trunk.  There’s one in there.  Your first wedding present.”  At first, I didn’t know what she was talking about.  I thought she was taking her old crock-pot to Goodwill or something, but nope – she really had received Neil and I’s first wedding present!!  It was from the wonderful Susan, Grandma Ann’s daughter.  We haven’t even registered for gifts yet, but that was definitely going to be on the list.  Of course, Neil doesn’t think I’m ever going to use it, but I promise…I’m going to learn and I’ll be the greatest cook known to man…you just wait!!  In the meantime…our first wedding present:

crock-pot

Well…I did it!!  Today I made two appointments for Saturday, May 9th.  For those of you who aren’t following…that’s WEDDING DRESS TRY-ON TIME!!!  It’s starting to feel real – I have the appointments booked, and in exactly 3 weeks, I will be trying on wedding dresses…and hopefully finding the one.  It’s going to be such an overwhelming feeling when I try on that first dress – just like it was for Miss Carrico!!  It’ll be so real then…like I’m really a bride!!  My sister keeps saying it, and I’m with her – I can’t believe I’m getting married!!!  I still feel like a little 6th grader watching my sister graduate high school!!!  It’s just all so surreal!!

Of course, there’s always the nay-sayers in the wedding planning process…like my mom for instance!!  Today, she asked me if it was really necessary to visit 5 places to try on dresses…well, first of all, we aren’t going to five places, and second of all – of course it’s necessary!!  Emily had 3 places planned that she wanted to go to, but we ended up visiting five before she found the one!!!  So I’m just trying to keep my options open…and plus, every place doesn’t offer every designer and I have several designers I am interested in.  So far, the two chosen shops are Nancy’s Bridal Boutique and Posie Patch Bridal Superstore.  Unfortunately, the two times I have been to Posie Patch have been negative experiences – but I firmly believe that both situations could have been avoided.  For one, Emily didn’t have an appointment and it was ridiculously crowded…hopefully making an appointment will give us more one-on-one assistance.  Secondly, my sister’s issue was that they wouldn’t take her measurements without her first making a deposit.  Well, since she lives in Florida and wouldn’t be back to Indy before the wedding, she needed measurements done while we were there just in case she didn’t find anything else.  Fortunately for her, she found the same dress at a more accommodating boutique in Florida.  I hope we don’t have these issues at Posie Patch because I really love the Maggie Sottero line, but we’ll see!!  It’s always a gamble when you’re dealing with other brides and wedding stuff!!  I would also like to visit Bliss Boutique Bridal & Tux in Brownsburg.  They have a dress that my sister and I are both in love with (for her) and a designer that I couldn’t find anywhere else – Jim Hjelm – so that’ll benefit both my sister and I.

Some more nay-sayers of the day were the two assistants at Posie Patch and Nancy’s.  They both assumed that since our wedding isn’t until next June, that I had “plenty of time” to search for a dress.  Sorry, but that’s not quite the case!!!  I refuse to find a dress without my sister or Mom, and since my sister lives in Florida, there are only certain times she can be in Indiana.  So really, this is as late as we could go without being too late!!  I just wish people would understand our situation!!!  It’d make life so much easier!!  And plus, there’s less than 420 days before our wedding!!!  Do you know what has to be accomplished in that time?!  Let’s just look at the rundown…we still have to announce our engagement in the newspaper, get engagement photos taken, create an official wedding website, decide on floral arrangements, decide on music for the ceremony (and what instruments we’re using…that’s a constant battle with Mr. Barnes!!), finalize a menu for the reception, book our honeymoon (I guess it first helps to decide where we’re going!!), book our tickets to Scotland, discuss with our minister the flow of the ceremony, register for gifts, have a bridal shower, decide on wedding invitations, figure out what Neil is wearing for the wedding, decide on wedding rings, decide on a cake design – and that’s not even half of it!!  We haven’t even started to think about the Indianapolis reception!!  There’s so much to do – and between the full-time Master’s program, planning this one bride’s bridal/bachelorette party, and building a house, I’m not sure there’s enough hours in the day…and they say I have plenty of time!!!