Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Wedding Season

The last post I completed ended with us getting ready for a wedding related activity. Since then we have had quite a few more events as a part of the wedding season!

The first event for us after my last post us was the Fiesta Dinner Party held on July 23rd. The Fiesta Dinner Party was a wedding shower co-hosted by members of the Gal Pals. The Gal Pals are a group of my mom's and dad's friends who have thrown multiple wedding and baby showers for each others children throughout the years. Our party was held at the Brandywine neighborhood club house. It was a Mexican themed party. I had not seen many of my mom's and dad's friends in several years. Many of them are parents of people we went to church and school with in the Hermitage area. We spent the evening socializing, eating, and opening presents. We received many wonderful presents from our registries which we are very grateful for. The Gal Pals did a great job!

us with most of the Gal Pals
Once the Gal Pal wedding shower was over we only had 6 days to the wedding. For the most part we had just about everything done that we could control. The chapel, ceremony, reception dinner, and other items had completed if even on paper a few weeks in advance. The only items left were things that had to wait until close to the main event. On the Monday leading up to the ceremony we had two major items to complete. The first one was picking up our marriage license. To pick up our license we had to drive downtown to the Howard Building. I think it is kind of ridiculous that there is only one location in a city the size of Nashville that you can get a marriage license. The actual process of getting the license was actually pretty smooth and quick. I figured we would be there for at least a hour but it only took 18 minutes. I timed it as I was expecting much worse. The license only cost approximately $40. It would have been $100 but since we completed premarital counseling with our wedding officiant we were able to save $60. After this surprisingly pain free process we drove over to Skinner Chapel where we would get married. We spent about a hour testing our cameras that we would shoot video of the wedding with to make sure they would work. It was a good thing we went because it helped us know which settings to use on the day of the wedding.

The next three days leading up to the wedding were spent completing the remaining to do items. Alethea's dress and my dress shirt were dry cleaned. We both had manicures and pedicures the day before the wedding. It was my first manicure. I am glad I got one since it did make my fingernails look much better. I thought it was interesting that the two gentlemen who performed our manicures were from Vietnam. They were surprised that we had actually been there. The last pre-wedding activity for me was an impromptu mini gathering at Buffalo Wild Wings in Hermitage the night before the wedding. It was kind of sort of my bachelor party. Both of my brothers, one of my brother's girlfriend, and my best man spent a few hours hanging out before calling it an evening.

Skinner Chapel 
Now for the main event. Our wedding took place sixty days after I proposed to Alethea on Friday, July 29th. The wedding and the related events were simple but we put in a lot effort organizing everything. I would have to agree with a book and some articles I read that suggested that your wedding day can be a blur especially the ceremony. Our wedding day was actually rather uneventful but to me it went by quickly. Probably the two things I was worried the most about were messing up the few lines that I had in the ceremony and that the matron of honor's husband Eric Johnston would not be able to make it to the wedding. For those that don't know Eric is in the Army and is currently deployed to Afghanistan. Neither one of those things occurred. Eric was a couple days late getting home but made it in plenty of time to attend the wedding. As far I know I didn't mess up my lines. At the time of writing this post I've only watched the complete video one time. The audio of us speaking is not that great so it isn't easy to hear what we were saying. I thought the ceremony went really well. Alethea did a great job selecting the decorations which included silk flowers, slip covers & some green plastic shrubbery to help cover the rails, and the wooden ledge. The weather co-operated for the most part. We knew when we selected the date that it was going to be hot. It was. Thankfully, it cooled down just a little bit from the upper 90's to the mid 90's. It was also sunny with some cloud cover which helped a little bit. Best of all it didn't rain which would have caused some inconveniences. I was relieved that everything went as smoothly as it did.

one of my favorite wedding pics
Our reception dinner went as smooth as our ceremony. We selected Nero's Grill in Green Hills based on a recommendation from the wedding coordinator at the Scarritt Bennett Center. Jenny from Nero's was great to work with throughout the whole process. She probably earned our business with a round of free drinks from the bar when Doug, Alethea, and I scouted out the restaurant before the wedding. The food and service we received was excellent in my opinion. We even danced a little after dinner if you call what we were doing dancing.

cutting our  wedding cake
The next night after our wedding we shuttled on down the road (I-65) to the Cool Springs Brewery in Franklin. Since our wedding ceremony was so small we decided to throw a little party for some friends in the Middle Tennessee area. The Cool Springs Brewery was a good fit for us. We had been there before after having been introduced to it by Alethea's dad and step mom. I had a great time seeing people who I haven't seen in years while meeting some spouses and getting to introduce my new wife to them as well.

The work wasn't done once the wedding weekend was over though. The next few days after the wedding were spent on follow up activities such as taking the presents all over to Alethea's grandmother so we could actually open them and returning the decorations. We also ventured out to the Providence shopping area in Mt. Juliet for our thank you cards. We ended up doing something a little different than what we anticipated but I think the cards turned out to be very nice. Once we selected them and picked up the necessary supplies we then had to consult the etiquette book on how to write them. The amusing part is that it took us a little over 3 hours to write the first thank you card! The good news is that in a little over a day we had written all the ones we could before our next event in Indiana.

pic used in our thank you cards
The final official event in the wedding season was a trip up to Indiana to celebrate with our extended family. A week after the wedding mom, dad, Doug, Alethea, and I drove the 6 plus hours up to Greentown, Indiana where we spent three nights. We decided pretty quickly when we were plotting out our wedding events that we wanted to have some type of gathering in Indiana where the majority of my relatives live. It made sense for us to travel to them versus asking so many people to drive down to Tennessee for a wedding and reception. We had our get together at the Half Moon Brewery in Kokomo. We invited relatives from both sides of the family and had a good turn out. I believe we had just over 50 people which was pretty good considering it was summer and somewhat of a short notice. It was great to introduce Alethea to family members she hasn't met and spend time with family members that I hadn't seen in at least 18 months. We even got to celebrate my grandmother LaRowe's 85th birthday the day after our party on Sunday. I'd probably be in trouble if I didn't say thanks to my mom and dad for picking up the tab for the Half Moon party. I know it wasn't cheap but it certainly was appreciated by Alethea and I!

from L to R, me, Colleen, Mom, Dad, Brian @ Half Moon Brewery in  Kokomo, IN
Next up for us is to finish up our thank you notes and plan out our honeymoon. We should be able to knock out our thank you notes in a day or so then we should be in full scale planning mode. We pretty much know what area of the world we want to go and have a rough idea of what countries but the rest is up in there. Ireland, the UK, Scandinavia, the Baltic States and Eastern Europe are all in the running. We considered rounding out our RTW world travels by going to South America which was the only other continent that we didn't go to other than Antarctica. Our plan at this time is to tour South America at a later date. We would like to spend several months down there and want to go somewhere where the traveling in general is somewhat easy. We also think we haven't built up the mental energy needed to travel through South America like we did in other parts of the world just yet.

This wraps this post up. I know it was a long one but we have been quite busy over the last several weeks. I am kind of glad that the activities are pretty much over. I am relieved but am also feeling a little down. It wasn't being the co-center of attention that I liked. What I liked was spending time with friends and family nearly every weekend for several weeks in a row. It was fun and we had a great time throughout. I know we'll have a lot of good memories to take with us as we start our new lives together. Thanks to everyone who played a part over the last few weeks!