283.5

Me: So we finally did a real guest count.

Jenna: What did you end up with?

Me: 283.5

Jenna: How do you have half a person?

Me: Well, namely I just don’t plan on feeding your infant the fancy chicken.

Jenna: Fair enough.

Rob and I finally sat down and made an excel sheet with all our guests. We went through the O.G. guest list that I made before we were even engaged, Rob’s Mom’s Rolodex in her head (which was both impressive and terrifying, the number of people committed to sheer memory), and my mother’s address book and we came out on the other end with 283.5.

With the magical too large for words guest count in mind, we started e-mailing caterers. Looking for caterers is reminding me of those old school word problems we had to do in grade school – you know, the ones that would “help” you later in life, that you later deemed a sick form of torture?

Word problem one: L.A.’s mom likes her red meat so well done that it’s black, but Rob likes his red meat to bleed on the plate. At what temperature should the meat be cooked?

Word problem two: If you have 283.5 guests and 150 want chicken and the remainder want beef, then how many vegetarian entrees should you order?

Word problem three: Does anyone actually eat salad at weddings? Really? I mean, it’s salad.

The big advice I keep getting for finding the caterer is to ask lots of questions so you know what’s going on. Be wary of mysterious add on costs like where they charge you for the forks or that extra pad of butter or breathing.

So, now we’re scheduling tastings and I’m thinking of my lots of questions to ask:

  1. Will you feed us?
  2. Please?
  3. Also these 283.5 people?
  4. I’m not sure if I counted Rob and myself in the 283.5 people. Will you possibly feed 285.5 people?
  5. Cherry on top?

I know I want to ask is about having a buffet – we know that’s what we want with so many people, but the venue for the reception is long and skinny. It’d be nice if we could have two buffet stations, lest all the people run for one side like

Plus, 283.5 would take for-eh-ver to feed at just one station.

Another thing I want to ask about is flexibility – my sister is a vegetarian, and so are a few others attending. I don’t want to delegate them to the land of you only get salad but a lot of the buffets I’ve seen have only two main course options for the buffet. I.E. if you get chicken and beef, Maid of Honor kind of only gets salad.

My last big question: will you feed kids? Because that stuffed chicken sounds amazing to me, but Boo is more about the “does it come with chicken fingers and does it come with ranch and ketchup” kind of life? Caterers don’t really list their kid friendly options on their websites.

REAL TALK though. What are some other real questions I should ask to caterers? Leave me comments about your experience with your caterer too – what did you like, what did you not like, did anyone eat the salad? And most importantly – do I get a to go box at the end of the night?

Happy Wedding Planning!

Signature

 

 

I get super excited when I get real life mail.

These are the cold, hard facts.

Fact One. My wedding is basically one year away. One year. That’s 365 days. I was so sure I had all this time to plan and now I only have a year. According to the wedding checklists you can find everywhere, 12 months to go is when you have to get shit done.

Fact Two. Shit’s not done.

Fact Three. While I am excited to be getting married, I have not been very excited to be planning right now.

Conversation with myself (in the vein of the Awkward Yeti, which is awesome.)

Heart: We’re getting married!

Brain: We need to plan the wedding so we can get married.

Heart: LET’S HAVE A PARTY.

Brain: We have to plan the party.

Heart: LET’S HAVE BOOZE.

Brain: We have to order the booze and pay for the booze.

Heart: LET’S GET MORE BOOZE SO WE FORGET THAT WE HAVE TO PAY FOR THE BOOZE!

Brain: You’re not going to call the caterer, are you?

Heart: WEDDING THEMED MARTINIS.

0506_ProductiveHeartSo, when I stumbled upon The Bride Box, it seemed like the perfect thing to kick me back into my wedding pants (Which are TOTALLY a thing, by the way). The Bride Box is a monthly subscription box for brides – each month is a different variety of items, for pampering, favors, wedding tips, ideas, etc. Plus, since Jenna got mad at me and forbade me from buying anything else bridal after I stumbled blindly into Target’s dollar section, complete with Bridal Shower paraphernalia…I figured this counted as a free pass. The Bride Box graciously sent me a “Best of” box to get a feel for what normally goes on in their wedding march playing brains.

IMG_3649

Disclaimer: I LOVE subscription boxes. I’ve never been a regular subscriber to anything, because groceries, but I’ve tried out a boxes from POPsugar, RocksBox, and a few others because magical Christmas boxes that come in the mail.

I even thought of doing a video blog of me opening up the box, but then got terribly self conscious. #MyFaceHasRestingSadFace. So, in the spirit of wedding magical Christmas subscription box – here’s my [written] take on The Bride Box.

item one: bride themed workout tank from Bachette.com.

IMG_3656

It’s kind of ironic that this is the first thing I pulled out of the box. When I was thinking of making the vlog, I honestly thought how sad is it that I have nothing that says “I’M A BRIDE WITH A BRIDE BOX.” I mean, yes, there is the shiny thing on my finger, which I love, but it’s not like I walk around with a giant neon sign that says engaged (that’d be awesome) and I haven’t gotten around to ordering my does this ring make me look engaged mug yet. Rob says I don’t need it. I say Rob is wrong. I even debated pulling out my first communion veil, because veil, or putting a sign around my neck labeling me “Bride.”

IMG_3648

 

So, the bride themed tank? Absolutely a win for me. You’re only engaged once, you should be allowed to rock a shirt that says it.

item two: soap. smelly soap. smelly soap with things in it from Zaaina.com

IMG_3654

I feel like a lot of people would find use in this. It’s obviously handmade, it smells delicious, and I know a lot of people who live and die by Lush. I’m sure they would love this – me however…handmade soap is not really my thing, although I would love another bath bomb to try someday. I think this is something a lot of people would like, but it’s not for me. Update the day after: my mother read the blog and asked for the soap. It’s now residing in the downstairs bathroom.

item three: mr and mrs o wine stopper from CraftySmiths.com.

IMG_3651

Bride Box asked me a number of questions before sending me out my box – what my wedding colors were, my future last name, the big day, etc. I was still surprised to find something that was personalized in my box. I have a few other wine stoppers in the house – maybe we’ll use this one for a bottle of wedding wine? Downside being that I can never find one when I need it…I may or may not have Saran wrapped a cork back on a wine bottle before. #Classy.

item four: mrs. pillowcase from Z Create Design.

IMG_3658

I really liked this when I first opened it. I love the simplicity of it, it’s kitschy enough to make me smile, and it totally matches with the quilt currently on our bed. I’m a little disappointed they only sent me “Mrs” since it’s so obviously in need of being a pair, but I suppose it’s for the purpose of you getting the other one to complete your set. They did include a discount code, and I’ll definitely check out getting the “Mr” pillow to match. Update the day after. The “Mr” pillowcase is only $10 on their website (see link above)! Aaaand purchased.

item five: confetti popper from Posh and Sparkle.

IMG_3650

Thought one is everybody loves confetti. Thought two is that I would be scorned if these showed up at my church for the wedding. Bubbles, you can get away with, but confetti? No way. Don’t even get me started on if I can use sparklers as we leave the church. This confetti is super cute, but unfortunately won’t fly at our wedding.

item six: eye primer “Thank Me Later” from Elizabeth Mott.

IMG_3655

I’m not a huge make up wearer, but according to Amazon reviews, this stuff seems to be pretty good. If I ever find out what “eye shadow primer” is for, I’ll let you know how this works!

item seven: print from Susan Newberry Designs.

IMG_3657

A cute print – perfect size for gift giving. I could see this being something that I put with an engagement gift for a friend. There are also a lot of cute prints on this Etsy Site – I personally loved some of her canvases like this one with the song lyrics from your first dance on it.

item eight: bottle opener from Kate Aspen.

IMG_3653

We’re pretty set on giving succulents as wedding favors, because succulents don’t suck, but this is a cute idea and very useful. Case in point: cold beer in my hand is definitely open. High five, practicality! Also, if you check out the website for Kate Aspen, there are TONS of ideas and things to find – I may have wasted a few hours of my life just clicking around. The Kate Aspen Blog is also full of fun weddings, ideas and tips. Totally worth the click.

Final Thoughts

Overall, I really liked most of what came in my Bride Box, and I think I’ll find purpose for the ones that weren’t quite me – my mom would love the soap, and I’m sure the seven year old will have a field day with the confetti popper. The best thing about the Bride Box was that it was so fun to go through – everything relates back to wedding, wedding, wedding and that made me more exciting that our big day is getting closer. Bonus that I’ll be actually be able to use a lot of the items! I also really loved that a lot of the items were from Etsy – a great place to find unique buys and support small businesses! Plus, there are tons of discount codes for anything you really loved!

TheBrideBox Box Logo Final5

I would definitely recommend this to future brides – as a fun reminder that this is your big day, like it was for me – or as a gift to an engaged friend (of which I have a few right now!)!

You can check The Bride Box out at their website or on Instagram – a monthly box is only $35, and you can use the code REFERFRIENDS and mention my e-mail (LAthegirl.6@gmail.com) to get $5 off your first box!

Signature

 

 

 

This post includes gifted products and/or affiliate links. However, all words and opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting Finding LA, our partnerships, and maybe possibly helping to buy another flower for my upcoming nuptials.

Point and Shoot

So, two three weekends ago, since it’s already May, the familia headed out to Knoxville, TN to visit my big sister and MOH in her final days of schooling. She just finished grad school, and says that she is officially done with schooling, at least for awhile.

Big sis rockin’ that artsy fartsy life. #MFA #knoxville #familytime #sisters

A photo posted by Laura Anne (@la_thegirl) on

Since over the past few years, she’s been a combination of a talented artist and starving college student (re: starving artist), she offered to me and Rob to make our wedding materials – the invitations, the save the dates, the RSVP cards, etc.

The good news was that she was more than willing to make these things for us. The bad news was that we were going out to Knoxville to see her, and presumably talk a little bit about Save the Dates – which I wanted a photo of us on – and we hadn’t taken engagement photos yet. Seeing as taking engagement photos were the last things on my mind, all of a sudden it became “we should probably do these rather quickly so I have something to show Jade so she can make me things for the wedding for free.”

We had a standing date (which I think I’ve had for at least two years) with my friend Caitlin (Bridesmaid Meghan’s little sister) to take photos – I was planning on taking family photos with her, since she’d taken photos of Delan back when he was five for me. Caitlin happened to be out of town the week before we left though, just my luck. Thankfully, Rob has a friend from high school, Jessica, that does photography on the side, and she and I managed to finagle out a time where we could take some photos.

The fun of this? No time to plan. I assume people take time to plan these things out. I took about fifteen minutes, including time between changing pants where I may have been laying on my bed and texting.

High five, self.

things I have learned about engagement photos

1. If you thought getting dressed was hard before, it’s even harder now.

1b. If you thought getting your 7 year old to get dressed in what you’ve picked out for him was hard before as opposed to whatever is the first thing he sees, it’s even harder now.

Engagement Photos

 

Engagement Photos by lathegirl featuring mens casual button down shirts

Delan: Can I wear my boots?

Me: No, it’s not snowing.

Delan: Can I wear my soccer shorts?

Me: No, it’s too cold out.

Delan: Can I wear my cape?

Rob: Can I wear a cape?

Me: …

Rob: I love you.

Delan: I LOVE MY CAPE.

2. Acting natural is hard.

Jessica told us to be calm and be ourselves, and we ended up with this beauty.

One of my biggest pet peeves is how my face looks in photos when I’m not prepared for the photo. I tend to have one eye open more than the other, and then my lips do this sad thing that’s not resting bitch face, but is definitely something. Like I can’t control all my muscles at the same time, so I end up being the person that ruins a candid shot because my face couldn’t behave. I like to call it resting sloth face. 

 

This is also why I’ve been pretty adamant about doing vlogs over blogs, obviously my online writing version of hoes over broes. I just can’t get my face to behave itself. *Sidenote. I have a really good idea for a wedding vlog. SOB.*

3. But really, be natural.

Looking at the photos later, I could tell exactly when I felt one hundred percent comfortable, and when I wasn’t. This is a prime time to not stress because you can totally see that in the photos. Or at least I can totally see that in the photos. It really makes you understand why photographers are constantly telling you to just be natural. Sorry, Jessica, I tried, I swear!

Sidenote. I scrunch my neck in photos when I stress. I’m a turtle, guys.

View More: http://jessicalindphotography.pass.us/rob-and-laura

4. Take your time.

We still have almost a year before our wedding and after getting these photos done, I realize now I’m really going to try to slow myself down and cherish the time Rob and I have being engaged. I realized this as I rushed to put outfits together, to put make up on my face, to curl my hair…and then, in the midst of all this rushing, to set off the fire alarm because of curling said hair.

Slow the eff down, people.

5. The best thing to think about during all this is that you aren’t doing all this.

I actually tweeted the day or two before we went to take photos about Rob’s and my nose predicament. He’s German, I’m German, our noses are uber German.

So, when it came time to take the photos, and Jessica told us to kiss…

Rob: what’s wrong?

Me: I just realized that I won.

Rob: what?

Me: Your nose is first.

Rob: I hate you.

The first photo Jessica posted online for us to see is this adorable “look how in love we are because I love him so much I’m smiling as we kiss” photo. And I’m a terrible person, because the reason I’m smiling is that my German nose hid behind Rob’s German nose for the photo.

View More: http://jessicalindphotography.pass.us/rob-and-laura

…I love you, baby.

Signature

 

 

 

Most of the stuff we wore was just hanging out in my closet – but here’s a sum up of what we were wearing, or something similar!

 

Some of the things I used were items we wear all the time – except Delan’s Converses, which were new for the photos…it’s been less than a month and they aren’t so new anymore. #BoysLikeMud

Where in the world is L.A. going to put the wedding?

Wedding planning websites are the devil. The absolute devil. If you’re signed up on theknot.com, or weddingwire.com, or i-am-taking-all-of-your-free-time-by-showing-you-flowers-and-other-wedding-things.com, then you can basically kiss your soul good-bye since you’ve signed it away to plan a wedding.

Seriously.

When Rob and I first got engaged, I signed up for the Knot, and all of a sudden, it was a Thursday three weeks later and I’m not sure if I had showered or eaten. Important questions: Where did my time go and where are my pants?

The Pros of this situation: I had broad strokes as to where I wanted to get married. Location, location, location. Also a pro? The fact that I was singing the Carmen San Diego theme song about my wedding. High Five, Rockapella.

Option One: The Cheney Place

Jenna and her husband Dave were married at a popular Grand Rapids wedding location, The Goei Center. I loved the vibe of it; the old wooden floors, the exposed ceilings, the warehouse feel. This was the first place I searched for on the Knot, and right underneath that was The Cheney Place.

First thought?  Dick Cheney.

Second thought? Dick Cheney that time he shot that guy.

Obviously, they get this reaction a lot.
Obviously, they get this reaction a lot.

Third thought? Wow, there’s a record player called a Cheney. Wow, this place likes record players. Wow, this place is my soul laid out in an old warehouse.

We took a tour of the place and I loved it. There was a teal upright piano on one floor and a bunch of disco balls mating over the dance floor. The space was huge and even though I hadn’t decided if I wanted to get married in a church, I loved that we could have everything stay in the one building. Ceremony downstairs, cocktail hour upstairs, then reception in the same space, because they can do that.

PROS: Loved the space and it’s flexibility, the decor.

CONS: Cost was on the higher end, every Saturday from now until the nuclear apocalypse was booked, booked, booked.

 

Option Two: Eberhard Center, GVSU Downtown Campus

Rob is finishing up his degree at Grand Valley State University, so the fact that his school has a building right next to the Blue Bridge, where we got engaged, made it an easy spot to add to our list. Plus, it offered a discount due to Rob being basically an alumni. The Eberhard Center offered lots of space, including a lobby area with some amazing views of the Grand River and the Blue Bridge. The big downside to me of this place was that it felt like an office building. Eberhard has tons of photos online of the wedding receptions they’ve had, but when we toured, they had a conference going on and it was hard to picture anything else there. Another tic in the cons pile was that you have to use their catering.

PROS: Amazing location, great views, big space, [basically] alumni discount.

CONS: No choice in catering, office building vibe.

 

Option Three: Grand Rapids Public Museum.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum was another place that fell on our radar for location. It was right downtown, also next to the Blue Bridge (basically next door to option two). We actually decided on a whim to check this place out, and their coordinator, Liz, actually managed to squeeze us in a short tour between other appointments. High five to the last-minute!

This place had a long and skinny room that they used for receptions – it’s the whole first floor basically, which made for an oddly laid out plan, but Liz talked us through the different ways that they’d laid out tables for prior weddings. It was on the higher end price wise too, which made me hesitate to even look at it. When we were on our tour though, we found out all sorts of perks to having our reception there. First, you’re renting the entire first floor – exhibits and all, which includes “Streets of Old Grand Rapids,” a re-creation of Grand Rapids back in the 1890’s. One of the stores in that exhibit happens to be a printmaking a shop – which is not only what my sister does, but what’s she doing to print our invitations.

GRPM_ExhibitsPortraits_0021_jpg_pagespeed_ce_eUsnBefP7P

Second, you get the carousel all night long. Third, you get the carousel all night long.

PROS: Location, Crazy coincidental printmaking connection, Carousel, Carousel, Carousel.

CONS: Higher price, room layout.

 

The Final Decision?

I felt a little bit like the person on the dating game (Can I register for that? Is it unreasonable to register for a dating board game when you’re getting married?) picking out my venue…

…but we finally decided on [drumroll, please] The Grand Rapids Public Museum.

IMG_3196

The funky long skinny rectangle space was something we could deal with – and we were shown lots of options on our first visit, but I definitely wanted more options for catering than we could get from Eberhard, and we did not want to wait until the end of 2017 to get married. So, on my birthday, we dropped off our contract and are officially set for the venue. I’m not sure if it’s a positive yet, but since GRPM does have a list of caterers that they prefer, we have less caterers to look into – so hopefully less hunting for the perfect caterer!

High Fives to everyone that figured out the whale emoji on my birthday post – the big whale skeleton is one of my favorite parts about the museum. More high fives to if you recognized the stained glass on my instagram – that’ll be behind the wedding party on our big day!

Tell me about your wedding reception venue – why did you love it [or hate it]?

Signature

 

The 500 hats of L.A.

Sometimes in the midst of everything, I stop and realize that I do a lot of things. Obviously, most of the writing done on here is wedding related, but I’m constantly wearing more hats than Dr. Suess had.

That statement is a lie. The man had a lot of hats. I mean, have you ever read The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins?

But I’m rocking the Mom hat, the fiancé hat, the full time working hat, the wedding planner hat, the blogger hat. I suppose you could also add a daughter hat and a soccer playing hat and a choir hat and a “I spend too much time on my phone” hat that Rob and Delan both think I need to not wear.

Being a mom is one of the greatest things though. So, as I was starting anew with this blog (It’ll be two months on FindingLA.net this week!), I decided I wanted to dedicate more posts about Mom-ming so hard. There’s a lot of great parenting blogs out there which I LOVE reading because sometimes when I’m struggle boating, it’s nice to remember that we are not alone. This is in reference, to Moms, not aliens.

Well, a few weeks ago, Mom life dictated that it was Book Character Day at school. Delan was pushing to be Ash from Pokémon, because all seven year old boys have a love affair with Pokémon, but I vetoed that right off the bat. I feel like that although there are Pokémon books now, it didn’t start that way, and I really wanted Delan to think outside the Pokeball. Plus, we had just gone to the Pokémon Symphony and dressed up as characters.

Delan as Ash  Family Pokemon

P.S. We totally won a costume contest, so high five on my last minute costumes!

P.P.S. Additional high five to that sewing tape for the “I don’t want to get out the sewing machine” moments!

I threw a few ideas out there that were from books that Delan has read. He’s been getting into chapter books like Captain Underpants and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but we (or maybe just I) still love reading these!

(Click the images to add these to your collection, because honestly, you need them all. #Classics)

He was NOT a fan of Captain Underpants, for obvious reasons, though I’m sure that we could have made it work with some tan pants and a shirt. He also didn’t “feel like wearing a bowtie today because it’s not picture day today.” so The Cat in the Hat was out of the running.

Dear Delan, with me as your mother, every day is kind of picture day. Love, Mommy

The final decision?

IMG_3102 IMG_3103

Meet Harold, of Purple Crayon Fame. We dressed in all white since even though Harold is in blue on the cover, we knew him to look like this for the rest of the book:

And since OF COURSE HE DID, Delan brought a purple crayon to school. My favorite part of the day?

Delan: So, Mommy, what are you wearing today?

Me: I have to wear work clothes.

Delan: They should be purple, because then I’m Harold, and you’re my purple crayon.

Harold and the Purple CrayonPlease, hold your “aww’s”.

Here are some basic “Character Day” costumes that we thought of – all incredibly easy to put together but still fun! Hopefully we’ll have a few more ideas by this time next year – although how great would it be if there were TONS of kids dressed up as Waldo? Where’s Waldo?! OVER THERE IN THE IRONIC BOX, BECAUSE HE’S EVERYWHERE.

Favorite Character Day!

 

Favorite Character Day! by lathegirl featuring a lidded box
Did you have this dress up day for your kids? Let me know in the comments!
Signature

Here are the flowers brought by the April Showers

This week, my mother and I set up a consultation for flowers. Mom was originally like, “we can do it ourselves!” but pretty soon after switched to “we found this lady who can give us ideas!” which finally turned into “let’s meet this lady because your auntie wants to have nice flowers at your wedding.”

And I was just like…whatever, I’m getting succulents.

So, we headed to Artisan Flowers, to meet with the appropriately named owner, Daisy. She’d asked me to bring along all the information about the wedding that I’d had so far, so I printed out some pictures and assumed I was prepared. I mean:

Church. Check.

Reception venue. Check.

I like all the pink things. Check.

Hashtag. Check, even though probably not applicable to flowers unless we change it to #BeOtterMineNowFeaturingFlowers.

I honestly thought that when it came to the flowers, you looked at all the flowers, pointed and shouted out I want that one similar to that episode of Boy Meets World where Lonnie wants to date Eric (High Five if you got this reference!), and then they put all the flowers together and they went to the places that you needed the flowers to go.

Yeah. I was not prepared.

Her: what color are your bridesmaid dresses?

Me: Umm, pink. Pinks!

Her: Which pinks?

Me: ALL THE PINKS.

Her: I need swatches of the pinks.

Me: HOW IN THE HELL DO I GET SWATCHES IS THAT SOMETHING YOU HIT ME WITH WHEN I DON’T COME PREPARED?!

Sidenote: I know what a swatch is. Sidenote to the sidenote: I’ve ordered my swatches, so high five to BHLDN for offering them on their site for free! Here’s my current line up of ALL OF THE PINKS.

Since we didn’t have swatches at the time, we headed to the website for BHLDN so I could show Daisy my colors. She looked at them, looked at me, told me that it COULD look different in person and that we needed these swatches because colors are bitches. And just like that, after a long and loving relationship, the color wheel and I were fighting.

In the meanwhile, Daisy was asking me lots more questions.

What color are your linens?

White?

Not white, white is too cold. Think of another color! How about your chairs?

Shit, I guess we need chairs. Not white chairs!

We’ll come back to the chairs. How many centerpieces?

Umm…10?

Are you sure? How many guests?

Lots.

How many people in the wedding party? Ring Bearer? Flower girl?

Lots.

Delan actually got involved at this point –

Daisy: Would you like flowers for the flower girl?

Me: I mean, she’ll be like six at the time so…

Daisy: We can do something age appropriate.

Delan: I should pick the flowers because Peyton’s my girlfriend and boyfriends should pick out the flowers for their girlfriends.

Ugh. Young love.

Anyway, Daisy progressed with her inquisition of what do I have planned for my wedding, and we eventually ended our consultation with her having a lot of notes and promising me that they would turn out wonderfully. She kept bringing out different flowers in a color scheme that would hopefully match all of the dresses or swatches or both. She even found me a little fuzzy green friend man who can absolutely sit with my succulents. Because all this talk, and all I really want still is my succulents. By the way, my favorite succulent is apparently called like “Lamb’s Ear” or something like that.

Flowers

Moral of the story is similar to Delan being a boy scout: always be prepared. Addendum: if you think you’re prepared, maybe prepare some more. My friend Dana and her now fiancé took Rob and me out to dinner right after we got engaged, and gave us a bottle of wine and a binder called:

How to plan your wedding when you don’t really know at all what’s going on and when I say ‘don’t really know’ I mean it’s like you’re playing baseball but you’re standing at the pitcher’s mound with a hockey stick because what even the blankity is happening wedding planning binder

After being so overwhelmed trying to pick out flowers, I think I might utilize this guy a whole lot more.

What kind of flowers did you have for your wedding – and how hard was it deciding what you wanted? I’d love to see what other people did! Post your pictures on my Facebook page!

Signature

 

 

April Showers bring May Flowers

April feels like the fastest month of the year to me – I have a plethora of friends and family birthdays, including my own on the 9th, my mom’s on the 23rd, and my best friend Jenna’s oldest (my flower girl!) on the 29th. My parents’ 1st 32nd wedding anniversary fell on the 5th (and yes, you read that correctly), and Rob’s and my 1 year anniversary was on the 17th (and yes, I acknowledge that we’ll only be celebrating that day one more time before our big day!).

Happy Anniversary

All in all, it feels like a year went by in the span of a few weeks. Add on top of that, a visit down to Knoxville, TN, where my big sister and MOH, Jade, was finishing up grad school and BASICALLY, April was yesterday, guys. April is gone.

Let me highlight reel you.

My birthday was a blur. Rob, Delan, and I made a stop in the morning to drop off the deposit for the reception hall. Here’s a clue to where it’s going to be for all the Grand Rapidians out there:

Whale

After that, we headed out to Jenna’s house – I was promised cupcakes and movies for a chill birthday, and was incredibly surprised to find a best friend in a box! Tierney drove out from Detroit to surprise me, and we had a little birthday soirée complete with a lot of my favorite people. Jenna even put together a birthday highlight reel at my belated and Grapefruit Mimosa tipsy request.

I’m debating asking her if I can steal the glasses she used for the Mimosas – they’d be best if they were pink, of course. The best part of this was when we started talking about the bachelorette party. Tierney pitched an idea a few weeks ago.

the nineties.

I was all sorts of on board because Daria and plaid and those weird necklaces that are like tattoos and those weird shirts that get super stretchy until you take them off* and BOYZ II MEN, guys. Then, I thought of it — a Clueless themed bachelorette party. THIS COULD BE EPIC. We watched Clueless then because duh!

I realized the best thing about being engaged and having a birthday is you can ask for all sorts of wedding related things! It’s not quite “wedding registry” status (which I can’t wait to do even though Rob refuses to give me the scanning gun. Hello, have you seen me play laser tag? As I recall, I was excellent by being very button happy. Perfect for registering.) but it was still great to get gifts that are hard-core bitches folks, I’m planning a wedding-please step at least three feet away from the bride-do not feed the aggressive female.

One of my favorites was from Rob – granted I helped him along with this one. I’ve always been a huge fan of journals and memory books and scrapbooks and such and such, so when I saw this on Amazon, I knew it was for me (Click the image for its Amazon details – it’s under $10!)

I love this book. It reminds me of a baby book, just the wedding edition, so instead of first word, you have first swear word because your first choice caterer wasn’t available. The fill in the blanks aren’t too overwhelming that we might leave it to the wayside, and even just reading through, Rob and I were cracking up at when we first started dating and how our friendship and relationship has progressed. Because look how far we’ve come.

Rob and Laura One Year

He surprised me by getting me a newlywed cookbook too – it’s probabla form of resistance to the fact that Burger King basically has a booth with our names on it. It’s also proof that we’re basically almost newly wedded. Newly wedders. Mawwiage. We even tried cooking a meal together, and apart from WHY THE HELL DOES THE SALT NEED TO BE KOSHER, our goat cheese stuffed chicken with fancy meat on the outside turned out delicious.

Re: Food. Made by me us. That is edible.

Next up in our engaged lives is flower arranging, because that needs to happen. Then, we’re going to start setting up tastings with caterers to find who can cook Rob the best steak. Or maybe wrap the steak in bacon.

Let me know if you have any suggestions for how to find a good caterer for us. All I know is that I get to eat lots of food. Don’t worry, guys. I’m prepared. I’m a year older, and we signed up for Planet Fitness. Bring on the bacon.

Signature

 

 

 

*In case you didn’t know…those weird tiny shirts that expand to fit – they have a name. They’re called popcorn shirts. Here’s one that you can actually buy.

Wanted: Enthusiastic Females who will deal with me possibly going wedding crazy

Now, there are some people that know from the second you get engaged that they’ll be standing up with you. Best friends, life long friends, 427 second snapchat story friends, 1st grade coloring table friends, friends that snapchat lyrics from musicals with you, friends that inside joke poultry with you, friends that you spend every other second texting because hi, connected at the hip and have mysterious ESP skills during Pictionary games.

Sidenote: I LOVE Pictionary. Adding it to the things everyone should own/things that should be on my registry list.

Now granted, these things might not describe your friend group because I definitely went descriptive in telling you about mine. This past week, Rob and I officially asked our people to be our people that stand up with us for a very long time in possibly uncomfortable shoes (unless we get ballet flats for the girls. Has anyone invested in these folding shoes before??) because we love you guys.

Most of my girls knew (technically since 1996, 2004, and 2010) that they would be in my bridal party once Rob and I got engaged, but I still wanted to do something to officially ask them. Once again delving to the Pinterest gods, I decided to make them gift boxes to do the asking.

I put in a few life and/or wedding essentials that I managed to find in our wedding colors because i love wedding colors



I thought about doing a gift that would be something they’d use for the wedding – I’ve had some friends give jewelry that you wear on the wedding day, but being the kind of person that would somehow lose that thing way, way, way before the wedding, I decided against it. Then of course, I added booze. Because weddings and booze. The end result was very much me, including photos that sum up my relationships with these girls…Meghan’s featured us treating celery like cigars during a Bloody Mary night, for example. PERFECTION.

IMG_2864 Bridesmaid gifts

Add twine and photos and stickers and love in every package complete with a overly cute so absolutely perfect card about holding up my dress while I pee because priorities…poof. You’ve got Bridesmaids. After the fact, I found all sorts of things I would’ve added in (If you’ve never looked at Rifle Paper, you need to ASAP)…so to all future brides – you’re welcome.

Rob took a different approach. I’ve been pinning things for him as I go along – potential suits (and dream suits), groomsmen gifts, boutouneir-a-ma-jiggers. Just things that if he so desires to put input in he can. I found a pin which seems to be the popular thing for groomsmen: icing your wedding party.

Iced

I suggested it to Rob and he was all for it – so he and I put together gift bags for some of his guys (most of whom play on our rec league soccer team together), then before our soccer game, BAM.

WELCOME TO OUR WEDDING, BITCHES.

I got down on one knee, now it's your turn. And by "I," I mean Rob. 😁 #groomsmen #iced #weddingblog

A video posted by Laura Anne (@la_thegirl) on

Don’t worry. I had one of my bridesmaids, Jenna, on hand to record the whole thing. Oh, and high five to the fiance, who when we went to get the Smirnoffs:

Me: I can’t believe you picked out the pink Smirnoffs. They’re the wedding colors. I LOVE WEDDING COLORS.

Rob: That’s why I picked them.

Me: I love you even more.

Brownie points, fiance. So many brownie points.

Bridal party proposals are definitely a newer thing – let me know if you did something unique to ask your girls. OR, if you have a term for asking them – since apparently the men have “broposals.”

*Eyeroll comma puns*

Signature

 

 

 

P.S. Of course, I ran into these awesome things AFTER the fact. I love EOS bundles. I love them in my wedding colors. I love finding out I could’ve bought these and saved monies. *Insert sob here*

It’s a numbers game.

Before Rob and I were even engaged (I always link to that “this is where my blog our life begins” moment here), my mom actually gave away that she knew he was proposing. I just didn’t notice it until after the fact.

I came home from work one day, without time to even take off my shoes (my one pair of actual comfy work heels wedges, believe it or not!), when my mom suddenly asked me, “So how many people would you have at your wedding if you and Rob get married?”

Now, Rob and I had talked about marriage before, so this wasn’t too out of the ordinary…little did I know that Rob had sat down with my parents to ask permission to marry me only a day or two before!

(Nice work, Mom, with the timing!)

I kind of shrugged the question off. I hadn’t really thought about how daunting a guest list could be. I assumed we’d invite the people we’d invite and they would come, and we’d have a wedding.

Simple, right?

Mom: So how many people would you have at your wedding if you and Rob get married?

Me: I’m not sure. 200?

Mom: Oh no. Maybe 100. I bet only 100.

Me: Mom. You’re Filipino.

My mother and father met because they were pen pals – yes, you read that correctly. They wrote letters for three years before even meeting for the first time. Nicholas Sparks, eat your heart out. My five foot tall mom is originally from the Philippines, while my six foot tall dad has about a German a nose as you can find anywhere.

Check out all this height discrepancy!
Check out all this height discrepancy!

This meant that my sister and I grew up in a Multi-Racial household – I loosely translate that to eating rice every night for dinner growing up, but only eating it with American cheese melted on the top. This also meant that we spent a good portion of our adolescence immersed in a Filipino-American culture. Grand Rapids has a huge Filipino community (95% of them work in the same location – they’re all nurses, including my mom) and lots of weekends growing up were spent going to parties featuring Puto, Pancit, and lots and lots of eggrolls(I’ve somewhat successfully cooked Pancit myself once in my life.). I’ve known a lot of these people since we first came to Michigan twenty some odd years ago (Mom met one of her friends at a Walmart, no joke) and consider them to be like a second family.

Thus when Mom said that she thought we’d only have 100 people at a wedding…I kind of laughed. She can’t be serious. Does she mean 100 Filipinos?

I busted out my journal – I carry a blank book everywhere I go and have since I was 11 and Jordi Labanda Notebooks have been my weapon of choice since 2004 – and we started compiling a first draft guest list for if Rob and I were to get married… which we were; I just didn’t know yet.

Journal

By the way, having a blank book during wedding planning? Best Idea Ever. It’s crazy helpful for whenever I have an idea that I know I’ll forget later – like if we can register for Settlers of Catan (the overwhelming answer is yes), or that Jem’s cover of Maybe I’m Amazed is a great first wedding song (thanks, season 2 of the OC), or when I hear about a great photographer from someone that I need to remember to tell Rob about later.

Within a half hour, I’d filled an entire page with names, numbers, and dollar signs. Poor Rob came home in the middle of this, and I made him sit down and try and think of all his family members and friends that would be invited to our nuptials too.

First Draft End Result? 274.

Approximate percentage of list that has Filipino blood? 47%.

Mom (now): So when we pick the caterer, do we just want them to cook the food, or should we make eggrolls too?

Always. Bring. The Eggrolls.

We haven’t sat down to try and make a guest list since we’ve been officially official on the engagement – but now obviously we have to consider budget and venue and church and all sorts of fun things I didn’t think about the first time around. This should be fun.

Are you a big wedding or small wedding kind of person? How did you decide how many people to invite to your wedding?? Let me know in the comments – maybe take a guess at how many people will be on our guest list by next May!

Signature

If I quote Beyonce, I assume you know I’m talking about the Ring.

If you haven’t heard the song, or sung the song, or done the dance, or OMG, that time Beyonce almost fell down in the Superbowl-

Granted, that’s a different song(which I secretly love). But really guys. If you like it, then you shoulda put a ring on it. 

And then one day, months ago, Jenna and I were sitting at her house on her couch holding her various children (I believe it was only two children back then, if you follow her blog and you should) and she asked me:

So, if/when Rob asks you to marry him and he comes to ask me for help with the ring, what kind of ring do you want?

And I was all…

I honestly have no idea about rings. I’ve had lots of friends get engaged and then married and they show up with all this news and I’m like SHOW ME THE RING because it’s what you’re supposed to do. And then they show you and you oooh and ahhh and you either like it or you don’t because sometimes, rings are ugly or not your style but you say you love it anyway.

Well, I’m sitting there wondering like how the hell am I supposed to tell my best friend what to tell my boyfriend about what ring to get me in case he decides to not be my boyfriend anymore and be my fiancé because hi, he bought me the ring that I told my best friend to tell him to get me.

Get it?

I digress.

Here are things I’ve learned about engagement rings:

1.God bless the various engagement rings and photos and guides online which I’ll be honest, I didn’t use to find what I wanted, but just to give it a name. Halo ring with a cushion cut diamond, by the way. I totally just asked Rob what kind of cut my diamond is, btw, because I forgot.

2. In case, you need extra help picking out a ring though, I definitely took a test on BuzzFeed because all my questions to life are answered there.

3. I finally found what I wanted by finding a photo of a ring, finding the ring’s name, then searching that name until that night downtown where Rob proposed. Trying to find what works for you? Just wanting to look at pretty things to make the world seem like a better place? Search Engagement Rings on Pinterest and I’ll see you in a few hours.

4. Go try rings on. Hover for thirty seconds in any mall jewelry store and they’ll come take care of you like bees flocking to honey. Because do you know your ring size? I thought I did. I was measured for a ring back in high school and assumed that my fingers would not be any different between then and now. Surprise. They are.

5. When your significant other proposes to you, THAT RING IS FOR YOU. By the time I overcame the fact that he was proposing and then remembered that I should say yes, I realized…

FullSizeRender 3

Holy Crap. There’s a ring.  That ring is for me. THAT RING IS THE SHINIEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN SINCE THE TIME THAT MY DAD RAN OUT OF SARAN WRAP AND WRAPPED OUR ENTIRE SCHOOL LUNCH INCLUDING THE BANANA IN ALUMINUM FOIL.

IMG_7587

Some of these things I really wish I had paid more attention to (re: ring size. And for emphasis. Ring Size.) because when I first wore my ring, it was definitely too big, and I was terrified that I would lose it to it sliding off, or getting caught in a rubber glove at work, or getting my left hand ring finger bitten off by a small dog/crocodile/dinosaur.

Don’t worry. I still have all my fingers AND my ring. Which by the way. I love. Yay, research!

#thatmomentwhen your BFF sees your engagement ring ❤️💍 #blogging #blogger #EngagedLife #weddingblog

A video posted by Laura Anne (@la_thegirl) on

Hashtag I like love being engaged.

Signature