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So, she’s been begging me for months to allow her to “guest post” on my journal.  And I’ve always told her that was fine – Lord knows I need the help – but she never followed through…until tonight.  So, friends, I bring you the most heartfelt and loving post to date on this journal…from the one who will always be my “best friend”.

I love you, Emily…you are truly the best friend a girl could ask for.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

For weeks now, I’ve been asking – no, begging! – Amanda for an update on everything wedding. Just this Monday, I sent Amanda a text message asking what she was up to – knowing she’s currently on Spring Break. Her response back was, “Invitations!” I “kindly” informed her invitations were worthy of an update! I know she’s been working extremely hard – both with the wedding AND, (almost) more importantly, her MAT program. So, I thought I’d help out with a “guest post”.

I won’t take up your time writing the itty-bitty updates she’s putting together for the wedding, but instead – I want to leave a message for the one person who “refuses” to read this Blog.

From Someone’s Wife, to another’s Soon-to-Be Husband:

Neil,

Being listed as an Emergency Contact brings you and I closer than we’d normally admit.  I’ve watched your relationship with Amanda grow – from coming to week-night softball practices, taking Amanda to fancy proms, trips to Knoxville and back, Friday night Date Nights, to THE Holiday Surprise . In just two short months, you will hold the hand of a woman who is truly remarkable. And, if it wasn’t for you – she wouldn’t be who she is today.

I remember our sophomore year in college, you sending me an instant message explaining how important she is to you. How you couldn’t picture a day without her. That she was worth fighting for.

I’ve wanted to share this with you for months, and was waiting until we traveled to Scotland. Unfortunately, life happened – and Scotland isn’t a destination I’ll be traveling to this summer. I cried for days, before telling the two of you I couldn’t be there. Please know that I refuse to turn away from the most important day of your life. You were there, standing not only by Eric, but for me – and I’m forever thankful for our friendship.

Leading up to our wedding, Eric and I kept expecting the world to freeze. We kept expecting the tough questions to be answered, and for something to “change”. Life changed – and, trust me, hearing “Husband and Wife” is pretty cool – but something always remains the same. Our marriage is only a few months old, but if I could share anything with you, it’s this:

Hold her. – Amanda plays a million roles every day. She’s a daughter, a mother, a friend and acquaintance, a teacher and a follower. Every piece of her represents something significant in her life, and when she’s not held close pieces start to fall out of place. Hold onto her tight. When the world starts to unscramble, she’ll need you.

Ask her questions. – Talk to her about her dreams, about her afternoon, about her day. Ask her what’s on her mind, where she wants to travel, what she wants to eat for dinner. Ask her every personal question possible. Stay up late and sleep in, and more importantly, listen to her answers. Asking questions will let her know you haven’t forgotten how important she is, and how you’ll do anything to make her happy.

Take adventures. – Skip town. Do things you wouldn’t normally do. Switch it up, and color outside the lines. One of the best parts about being married, it’s being able to say the phrase, “My husband loves to…” (Or, in your case, “My wife loves to…”!), and completing it with something you normally roll your eyes to. Each adventure gives you an opportunity to watch her laugh and fall in love all over again – which is the most important part.

And,

Embrace her imperfections. – My Dad once told me, “Our imperfections make us perfect” and I couldn’t agree more. Every line that’s out of place has a memory. You and Amanda define the word “balance”. Without differences, you couldn’t meet in the middle.

I couldn’t be more excited to watch the next two months unfold. Please know that I consider our friendship a gift. On June 10th – the place in her heart labeled “Best Friend” will no longer hold my name, but yours. And, I couldn’t imagine anyone in this world better for that spot than you.

Love,

Emily

(P.S. Who would have thought, in the time it took me to send this to Amanda – she’d have TWO updates! That’s more like it…)

Ha!  Like you honestly thought I was going to post my dress!!!  You’re insane!!!

There are OTHER THINGS brides wear, you know?!

Okay…get your head out of the gutter!!! Geesh!!

So, any bride who has a destination wedding knows that she has to have her airplane wear…duh!!  And that is exactly what Mama and Papa outfitted me with for Easter this year!!!  I now have a whole ensemble…of course, Neil thinks I’m missing a bootylicious bum and some gold chains, but I don’t care…I adore!

Aren’t you just in love?!  But wait – it gets better!!

Of COURSE there are matching pants!!!  Good thing we’re getting married after Easter – there’s no WAY I could get away with this much white otherwise!!!  Anyway, courtesy of Von Maur, I now have my airplane wear.  And it’s super cute…too bad Neil doesn’t have a matching Groom suit!!  How cute would THAT be?!  And another plus…it’s SUPER comfy!!  Which means I’ll be snoooozzzzin’ away on the plane!! Ahh, I cannot wait!  But now that just means I need to find some cute sneaks to go with it!  Pink Pumas, anyone?!  Yes. Please.

(Disclaimer…I’m not totally ghetto…the Bride Suit is just plain cotton, not velour!!!)

But of course, since a bride can’t get ready in just ANYTHING on the morning of her wedding, shirts just for the occasion were created.  Enter bride and bridesmaid day-of wear…

Don’t you just love them?!  V-Necks for the inevitable hair/makeup fiasco and in the most perfect colors ever!!  And as my Dad may comment…no, I didn’t spell HONOUR wrong!!! 🙂  And in case you’ve been living under a rock…Grande Dame of Honour = Matron of Honor.

Along with the bridal attire is the Bridal Trousseau…which Mom and I went shopping for last weekend!!  I won’t bore you with the pictures, but let’s just say we hit the jackpot with some pretty amazing deals…and some even better dresses!!!  I will be one stylin’ bride…watch out London and Paris…here comes America’s Next Top Model!!! 🙂

Don’t know what a “trousseau” is?!  Read below… (all courtesy of About.com)

    trous·seau, n. [French, from Old French, diminutive of trousse, bundle. See truss.] The possessions, such as clothing and linens, that a bride assembles for her marriage.

Throughout history, single young women all over the world have prepared for their change in marital status by accumulating a trousseau. A traditional trousseau — stored in a hope chest — included bridal accessories, jewelry, lingerie, toiletries and makeup, plus bed linens and bath towels for her new home.

From Victorian times till today, the trousseau also has consisted of brand-new outfits to see a woman through her wedding, honeymoon, and newlywed days.

Oftentimes the garments in a trousseau were hand-sewn by a a mother, aunt, grandmother, or the girl herself, if skilled with a needle. Wealthier families procured the skills of a professional seamstress to outfit the bride-to-be.

VICTORIAN TROUSSEAUS

Elaborate trousseaus were a sign of wealth and social standing during the Victorian era:

    “The society woman must have one or two velvet dresses which cannot cost less than $500 each. She must possess thousands of dollars worth of laces, in the shape of flounces, to loop up over the skirts of dresses… Walking dresses cost from $50 to $300; ball dresses are frequently imported from Paris at a cost of from $500 to $1,000… There must be traveling dresses in black silk, in pongee, in pique, that range in price from $75 to $175… Evening robes in Swiss muslin, robes in linen for the garden and croquet, dresses for horse races and yacht races, dresses for breakfast and for dinner, dresses for receptions and parties…” from “Lights and Shadows of New York” by James McCabe, 1872.

    “A visiting and reception dress was of maroon velvet, trimmed with wide bands of cocks’ feathers of the same shade. A second rich costume was of black brocaded silk and plain silk. .” — from “Miss Vanderbilt’s Trousseau,” Harper’s Bazar, December 15, 1877

THE TROUSSEAU IN LITERATURE

Literature carries many references to the trousseau. Symbolic of transition, a family’s financial status, domestic arts, leaving home, and virginity, trousseaus are mentioned in the works of Gustave Flaubert, Anton Chekhov, and Edith Wharton. Some excerpts:

    “Mademoiselle Rouault was busy with her trousseau. Part of it was ordered from Rouen; her night-dresses and night-caps she made herself, from patterns lent her by friends.” — from Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert

    “We had a fair here at Ascension,” said the mother; “we always buy materials at the fair, and then it keeps us busy with sewing till the next year’s fair comes around again. We never put things out to be made. My husband’s pay is not very ample, and we are not able to permit ourselves luxuries. So we have to make up everything ourselves.”

    “But who will ever wear such a number of things? There are only two of you?”

    “Oh… as though we were thinking of wearing them! They are not to be worn; they are for the trousseau!”

    “Ah, mamam,what are you saying?” said the daughter, and she crimsoned again. “Our visitor might suppose it was true. I don’t intend to be married. Never!”

    She said this, but at the very word “married” her eyes glowed. — “The Trousseau,” by Anton Chekhov

TROUSSEAUS TODAY

While beautiful cedar hope chests are still manufactured and sold, many who purchase this furniture item simply use it for everyday storage. Nonetheless, a woman preparing for a wedding, honeymoon, and new life certainly needs new things (as well as a place to store them).

For most brides, gifts for the home accumulate quickly at engagement, shower, and wedding parties, thanks to the generosity of friends and family. Cash gifts and items taken from one’s former home help to fill in the balance.

So what’s left to purchase for the modern trousseau? New clothes, vacation wear, sports gear, luggage.

What belongs in your own trousseau? Things that make sense for your lifestyle, and things that you love. Someone who wears austere all black is going to feel self-conscious in loud, frilly holiday wear. So select resort wear in subdued neutrals, if that’s your style. Remember, shopping for a trousseau shouldn’t call for an image makeover; you’re just collecting some new things you probably need anyway.

On the wedding night, if you normally sleep in a T-shirt or the altogether, you may feel silly encumbered in a long, flowing negligee. Yet a short, sexy, white-satin chemise can certainly help you feel like a bride on that special night. And that’s one instance when the groom will likely appreciate your new trousseau, too.

Love. It.  I am totally ready to be a BRIDE!!!! 🙂

And when I say that, I mean PROGRESS!!!

Oh, wow – how time really flies!!!  Has it really almost been a month already?!  Wow!!  Do you want to hear my apologies and excuses?!  No?  I didn’t think so!! So let’s get a move on…because I’ve got BIG THINGS to discuss with you all!!!

As Emily noted shortly after my 3-month post…I’m exhausted.  I am done with wedding.  Yes, I’m fully aware I will regret that come July 25th, but that’s how I feel right now!  I have been going 150% W-E-D-D-I-N-G since two December’s ago.  And now that we’re closing in on two months, it’s gotten even worse!!  Of course, with this week being spring break, I’ve been able to breathe and let W-E-D-D-I-N-G catch up with me!  For a while there, I truly felt like I had just forgotten about it and it wasn’t coming…sound familiar?

Anyway, Monday started with me doing MAJOR invitation work!  Finally, most* everything is printed (* refers to the fact that I ran out of paper…because a certain someone’s printer likes to eat massive amounts of it for lunch! Grrr).  But enough of it is printed that I can start cutting and assembling.  It’ll be a miracle if it all goes together as planned…considering I didn’t really try it out with the thick paper we’re using to begin with (lesson #1!).  Either way – I think they’ll turn out great…and besides, if I’m happy with them, who’s to say that everyone else won’t be either?!  I am the bride so I should be the only one that’s overly concerned with invitations…  Speaking of which…this is what invitations has done to this poor house…

That, my friends, is what used to be known as the dining room table – now ambushed by envelopes and boxes.  And what’s in those boxes, you ask?  Well, let’s just take a gander…

Well, there’s a little sneak-peak for ya!!  Oh, and my paper trimmer…truly the lifesaver of the entire invitation process!!!  But wait!!  There’s more!!

Pens!  Sticky Dots!  Ribbon!  Invitations!  Woo Hoo!!!

The chosen invitation storage spot!!   This poor room…it’s been an absolute disaster since about mid-October when I decided that DIY invitations were a GRAND idea!  But hey!  At least the grass is (slowly) starting to turn green!  🙂

And COOKIES!!  Because doing invitations wasn’t enough…I needed to BAKE while I was at it!! Yum!!  Too bad I won’t get to eat any! 😦 (Well, except for the one that’s missing!! Whoops!! 🙂 )

And once the invitations are out of my hands (tentative date…April 10), I will begin the official reveal!  Until then, just hold tight!  I will say…I’m pretty proud of how they turned out!!

Along with invitations, I have been trying my hardest to get Bridal Shower Thank You’s out.  (Speaking of…I promise to get a Bridal Shower update…once I have my Mom’s camera)  I can officially say that they are all FINITO and just waiting pretty little stamps because they go out to Mr. Postman.  Those were DIY, too, which I will say I was also proud of (aside from the poopie print job! 😦 )

Lesson #2 with invitations…exhaust ALL sources before deciding on the wording of your invitation.  I will admit, 135 invitations were printed with one wording example and 15 with a different wording example.  And I’ll be honest, I prefer the 15 to the 135…but I really didn’t want to go back and change it so oh well!!  🙂  I’m the BRIDE…remember?!

Something else that has been on my plate for a few weeks now…visas.  Scotland is supposed to be one of the easiest places to get married…but I will disagree with that one!  (No offense, Wendy…but you know what I mean!)  Anyway, Neil and I have to apply for visas before we can get married.  Nevermind the fact that you can visit the UK for 6 months without a visa whatsoever.  So in February, I applied for my visa.  I included all the documents they asked for and away it went.  Well, last Wednesday, I received UPS Express Envelope from the Visa Section of the British Consulate in Chicago.  Well, let’s just say that I didn’t fulfill the requirements they desired.  Of course, I had no idea about these requirements, but nonetheless, the tears came flowing.  And at 10:30pm Scotland time…I emailed Wendy in an absolute panic.  At that moment, we weren’t getting married.  It was all coming to a screeching halt and we were done.  Indy wedding…here we come.  But she calmed me down (can you believe how awesome she is?!  Writing me back at 10:30pm!!!  Love her!) and we came to a resolution.  Mom took a bunch of documents with her (because yes, I kindly asked her to come over while I panicked) and started calling person after person the following day.  She had much success and we were able to figure out what we needed to do.

Fast-forward to last night…I started working on a “Supporting Documents” page for Neil to include with his visa application.  This Supporting Documents page has 6 sections, each with at least 2 or 3 (sometimes SIX) exhibits.  The exhibits range from pay stubs and bank statements to reservation confirmations and even a letter from my parents!  He’s got quite the stack of papers ready to be sent to the Consulate.  Although, with all this said, let me just say this…and you can quote me…“I WISH IT WERE THAT HARD TO GET INTO THE UNITED STATES!!!!!” So for that, I thank you Mr. British Consulate!  So once I get a few more things nailed down, away they’ll go…and we’ll cross our fingers than another $130 doesn’t have to be spent!!

Do you see that mess?!  That’s what the British Consulate has caused me to do!!

Papers! Papers!  And a DIET COKE?!  Boy will Neil be glad when this is over with!!!

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything will turn out okay and that in the end, we’ll be official!  I think this time I have everything they want.

Stay tuned…fun stuff coming!! 🙂

Now this is just mean – but I’m ready for three months to be ZERO months!!!  I am sooo ready to marry my best friend – but that can’t happen just yet, so in the meantime, I’ll just go along with this whole “waiting game”.  No, I don’t like it, but I will.

So here we are, three months until I walk down the aisle, and I know that it’s crunch time!!  I have many of the details already in place, now it’s just time to put them together and make them work!

  • Grooms: If you are renting a tux, visit the formalwear shop to get measured.
    • Okay, I am going to MAKE Neil get this done this month!  We’ve been going back and forth with what we are actually doing, but it is just going to be a matter of sitting down and doing it!!
  • Brides: Make sure you have all the under-the-dress essentials and any special lingerie in time for your first wedding dress fitting.
    • I’ve decided what I’ll be wearing – it’s just a matter of getting it.  Of course, it won’t matter one way or another if I have it in time for my fitting since it won’t alter the look of the dress whatsoever.  So, I’ll consider this a check! 🙂
  • Brides: Confirm delivery of your wedding dress and schedule your dress fittings.
    • Well, delivery of the dress has already occurred!!  Of course, I’ve been in possession of it since JULY!!!  As far as dress fittings and concerned, I’ll be on it…soon!!
  • Send out your wedding bands to be engraved.
    • I don’t think we’re doing this…1) Because Neil’s band is such a hard metal and if he ever needed it sized, he’d have to get a whole new right – thus having to get it engraved again, and 2) Because I don’t really know what we’d engrave in them anyway!  So…check!!
  • Arrange for all insurance policies to include you and your future spouse: health, auto, homeowner’s, and life insurance.
    • I think we’re going to have to wait until I’m actually Mrs. Barnes before we can do the bulk of these!!  I’ll check into it, but I’m pretty sure!
  • Schedule any extra photography sessions you want.
    • If I were Southern, I’d probably do a bridal shot, and I have heard good things about the boudoir sessions…unfortunately, I just don’t see myself doing either of those!!  We will have the opportunity to do an “engagement” session a couple days before the wedding (it’s included in our package).  I think Wendy already has that locked down, so we’re good! 🙂
  • Grooms: Choose and buy any accessories you will need (shoes, shirt stays, cuff links, pocket squares).
    • The nice thing about where we’re getting the men’s formalwear – allll that stuff comes included!!!  Check! 🙂

So there you have it – a nice, short and sweet checklist!!!  We’ve done very well the past 15 months and I plan to continue that!!

Just a quick one for the day, but know that I’ll be back full-force with an update on my most amazing of all amazing-ness bridal shower!!!  My girls truly outdid themselves and I feel like the luckiest bride in the world!!!  Thank you to all who came out and joined us – I hope you had as much fun as I did!!! 🙂

Pictures (hopefully) tomorrow!!!!!