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Guest Lists

Man, making lists is HARD. Why does no one ever tell you this?


The invite list started at a modest 50 invites, and swelled to a surprising 97 invites sent before it was all said and done. Once they were out though, it didn’t matter, we were just so excited to have them out and complete!


As th response cards started coming in, we were both excited and bummed: so many nos. Some unexpected yesses. It was seriously like a game every time one of our response cards showed back up in our mail box!

And then we got one of these:

empty RSVP


Now you tell me – what the heck am I supposed to do with this?


Now I am working on my wedding shower invite lists. We are having one in Atlanta, and one in Orlando. It’s strange: determining who to invite, who wouldn’t even be interested. Who would be hurt by not getting an invite. Who would be creeped out.


I am realizing that I don’t have a lot of close friends in Orlando. My Atlanta invite list is wayyyy longer than my Orlando list. And with each name I’m stressed. Is making a guest list supposed to stress you that bad?


Invitations are out!



Woohoo!!! Guess who’s happy? THIS GIRL.





We got a little carried away with the whimsical sea theme, but I’m still pretty pleased.


I remember when I first started looking at invitations last July, and how tough it was to communicate, much less create, a vision for what we wanted. At the only time, my only requirement was no hibiscus images – for some reason, several of the stationers I spoke with thought that hibiscus blossoms most accurately represents a destination wedding.


After deciding to tackle the invitations ourselves, I was equal parts thrilled and nervous – what if our invitations turned into a “bigger mess than a pile of coat hangers?” (I got that phrase from Lori on Say Yes to the Dress!) So you can imagine it was a big relief to see a finished product that represented our wedding in a cute but still nicely stylized way. I have to hand it to D – he really did pitch in. We were covered in those little rubber glue “booger things plus little bits of blue paper and ink, but we did it!!!


By the way – hand-writing each one SEEMS like a great idea until you account to handwriting both the outer envelopes AND the response addresses. My left hand got a workout!!


We’re still in the process of getting these out,, so hopefully they will be arriving at their new homes over the next few weeks. And if the address looks a little slanted, please be kind. They were addressed with love… by a person higher than a kite on Elmer’s Rubber Cement ūüôā

Dress Woes

Ok, I’ve been working at a frantic pace at work… working in events for a living means that sometimes working on my own big event takes a back seat. Having recently started a new job, I’ve accepted that it will be this way for a little while, until things die down. So when I get those moments of zen to focus on my own wedding, I get excited.


So imagine how pissy I was when that zen was ruined a little bit by Alfred Angelo.


Some back story: My wedding dress came in last month, and in gush of excitement, I rushed over to the store with a bridesmaid and friend to pick it up. I could not wait to see it again!
Good thing was, it fit perfectly! Bad thing was, it was stained. Not terrible life-altering stains, but little spots in a few places. The kind that, once seen, cannot be unseen. I stood there in my dress, in the shop, unsure of what to do. Fortunately the store manager took charge and offered to rush order me a new dress. I explained that rushing wasn’t neccessary, but she insisted. I was grateful for the time and attention she was taking to get this right, so I accepted.


Two days ago, I got a phone call: new dress is ready! So after a long exhausting week of intense work stuff, I headed back to AA (ha! get it? AA! Or is that a bad joke?) for my moment of zen.


The consultant brought the dress out for me to inspect, and I was sure it was going to be fine, but gave it a once-over, just to be on the safe side.


What I found was: hair. and dirt. Like my dress had been drug across a dirty floor. When I say hair, I mean HAIR: sticking to the chiffon, woven into the fabric, peeking at me from under the train. It was everywhere. The dirt was loose granules that fell right off when I shook it. I was a little surprised, but didn’t think much of it until I noticed the privacy panel in the back (which was missing from the original dress) was odd-looking, like it had been touched by too many dirty hands. And there was a light pink stain, almost the color of pink lemonade. So weird.


So I finally asked, “Did someone try on my dress?”, wondering if maybe there was a bride of similar size that had come in and wanted to try on the style. The consultant looked at my like I was insane.
When I mentioned the hair and the dirt, I got another odd look, and then that patient, tired, expressionless mask came across her face, which tells me that she thinks I’m overreacting. Then she told me that there’s lots of hair in the back and the dress could have picked up hair, and she inspected the dres herself. Now I feel like an a-hole for saying anything. Even though as she’s saying the words, she’s picking a knot of hair out of th dress fabric. I showed here the stains. I felt bad… why was I apologetic???

She told me that since I wasn’t going to be satisfied with the dress, or be convinced that no one had worn it I should just order a new one. So I’m left feeling like an awkward need bride. How crazy is it to have to order a third dress???? That is out of control. I don’t even know what to do. I told her that if they could remove that stains, I’d be fine with that, so for a second time, I left AA without a dress.


I’m really bummed, and feeling a little like people would think I’m being a bridezilla. Not once did I yell, raise my voice, or was rude, yet I felt like I was inconveniencing the consultant by pointing out that something was wrong with the order. I just don’t want a dress that already looks like it’s been through some things… I want the dress that I marry D in to be PERFECT. And I sure as hell don’t want it to have some stranger’s hair follicles knotted into the bodice.


Am I being crazy???


Project Wedding

There’s this website I stumbled upon – It appeared to me in a moment of weakness, and I relied upon it for a few days to guide me through a fog of making wedding to-do lists and getting organized.


Now that stupid site is my nemesis. Or it would be if I was not to chicken to face it head on.


¬†I haven’t logged into the website in weeks, but every few days, I get a countdown reminder (“You have 355 days left until the big day!”) along with links to helpful articles like, whether to include pets in your wedding or not, choosing bridesmaids, and my personal favorite – how to pee while wearing your wedding dress, Ironically, the last article was only one I actually read.


These emails make me crazy and also stress me a teeny bit because I haven’t done much planning lately. I finally got the invitations sorted, but since we’re going DIY with those there’s still lots of cutting, gluing, folding and addressing to be done. Not to mention having a “come to Jesus” meeting with ourselves over the guest list. Each time my phone pings to alert me of a new message from those harpies over at I shrink a little, knowing all that we still have left to do.


I’m not a slacker (completely), and I’m organized. To be honest, I think I’m just a little lonely in the process. I need someone to put their boot up my butt and get me moving. I want to obsess over every little detail and not bore the mess out of people. I wonder if my past behavior as planner, organizer, answer-giver has made people so confident that I know just what to do that they don’t offer assistance. And I really don’t want to ask. So, as horrid as she is, is my regular boot up the butt to keep me on task. And I really don’t think she and I can stay friends for much longer. There’s only so much “You have 312 days until your wedding!” emails you can take before your wedding sanity survival instincts kick in and you go feral. Cut to the next scene where you’re crouched in the corner surrounded by shreds of your planning binder, clutching samples of chiffon bridesmaid dresses in one hand and your bed, bath and beyond gift registry in the other while muttering “the color is called ‘Beyond the Sea’ not ‘teal’!


Which just reminded me that we need to update our registry. Effing projectwedding!!!

**Exhales slowly**


Wow. Adding to the things that no one tells you about: giant-mega bridal shows can be a little like stepping into a reality show called “Jersey-licious Gets Married”. Yep, I just made that name up.

I got a bit over-excited right after the BFE proposed, and began looking up all things wedding: locations, dresses, invitations, bridal shows. Something about bridal shows really intrigued me, and just seemed to embody the typical wedding experience. So within a week or two I’d selected two shows to go to. One was a small show only a few weeks away, and the other was over two months away. The second one was the big’un, the grand mc-daddy of all bridal shows. The Orlando Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show. I was wriggling in anticipation. Everything I’d ever need for my wedding would be found at this magical place! So two months later, off we went, to this ginormous bridal show.


As we walked in, I repeated my list to my BFF /maid of honor/ ride-or-die partner: engagement photographer. invitations. favors. transportation. We were gonna hit this show like gang busters and beat the system!!! Yeah baby, yeah!


Wow. Um, wow. First of all, yall know I’m the Queen of free, right? When we get to registration (and P.S. this show was not free) there was NO FREE SWAG BAG. Even the first bridal show I’d gone to, which was TINY, had adorable little bags they gave out, and I used to collect invitation samples, business cards and the like. Knowing that a little show like the first one had bags – a show which was small enough to be held in the bar at a golf course, no less – I figured the mc-daddy show would have a bag. Which I’d been counting on so that I’d have a place to store all my bridal show stuff which I knew I’d get. If I wanted a bag, I’d have to pay $10 for it! Really? Yall have met me. So, uh, NO. I was irritated and I was already starting at a negative.

We passed through the bridal expo’s fashion runway show. It was surreal seeing dress after dress on the runway, broken up by the occasional flower girl, junior bridesmaid or ring bearer. After the first few they all started to look alike. The haze of white dresses made me grateful that I’d already selected my dress. It’s easy to see how people get overwhelmed by the process of picking a dress. I was in a daze just looking at them and I didn’t even need to pick anything out! The runway ballroom was flanked by breakout rooms devoted to wedding dress attire of all types. Now I realized these were amazing deals, and like all amazing deals, brings out the feral instincts in the masses. I saw women scrambling over each other to grab at racks of $20 flower girl dresses like bat-shit-crazy Black Friday shoppers fighting over the last trampoline at Wal-Mart. I saw one lady scurrying out of the show with THREE FLOWER GIRL dresses. Three? Really? What are you doing, planning ahead to your next wedding (the though invokes memories of me saying “may it be the first of many!” at someone else’s shower a few years ago… long story)?? Maybe pulling a Miley Cyrus and having three weddings? Or are you gonna sell those on the flower girl dress black market? Really? What the heck?!?


We passed the dress mobs and headed to the main event: the tradeshow. Most of my excitement still intact (event though I didn’t get to get one of the cute little “bride” t-shirts because I didn’t want to pay for that either… I’m telling you, NOTHING WAS FREE AT THIS SHOW) so I was curious to see what we’d find.


Ultimately we found… nothing. As in, nada. No ideas regarding invites, transportation or anything else. Apart from the useless flyers I had thrust into my hands and was too awkward to decline, I got one (1) free sample of wedding cake. I took it because I was hungry and they weren’t serving anything in the way of snacks or beverages – at least the first little show I went to had an open bar and food – and I think¬† my taking a sample pissed off the cake vendor once she realized my wedding package with Disney Cruise Lines includes a cake. I also received two (2) cute little Groom Mickey/ Wedding¬† Minnie pens from the Disney Fairytale Weddings guy. I think that one was a pity gift.


I did meet possibly the creepiest couple ever to run a photography studio. Actually they weren’t fully creepy – the dude was a weirdo and the woman was an asshole. We walk over to their booth to see what they had to offer. He didn’t have a full portfolio of photos to show (warning bell #1 went off in my head). Warning bell #2 went off when after hearing that we were looking for engagement photos only, and not wedding photography, he told me he’d do my wedding photos for free if I paid for his cruise! Pay for the cruise of a photographer I don’t know, whose work I haven’t seen, at the cost even higher than what the Disney photographers already on board would cost? I was ready to walk away after strike #2, but there was a cool little wheel you could spin to win stuff. I won a free boudoir session! As I’m getting excited about this the woman a-hole looks my physique up and down and says “you can spin again if you want”. WTF?! Yeah, strike #3. I didn’t even wait for the full measure of that insult to set in. I looked her in the eye, thanked them for their time and walked away. I took their brochure so that I could remember what photography company to NEVER use.


The next stop was the invitations people. One invitations guy told me they could customize my beach -themed invites with stamps of hibiscus flowers and seashells. Another told me they could do custom invites for the low, low price of $600 for my 50 invites. I was starting to think that my little wedding wasn’t big enough business for these people… and I started looking at the other attendees. Tons of perky, young, thin girls wandering about, usually wearing a “bride” short made by their bridesmaids and trailed by their bridesmaid sorority-posse all wearing matching “team britney/staci/bailee” shirts, also made by the bridesmaids. We passed booths for huge decor companies, photobooths (that was a fun stop), event production, impersonators (there was a REALLY bad MJ impersonator), event management companies, major floral, companies devoted to backdrops, and DJs. Sandals resort even had a booth! How can my wedding really stand out amongst this kind stuff? Even the Things Remembered guy didn’t offer us free stuff or any informational brochures once he learned the scope and size of my event. They were all looking for brides that were throwing knockdown, kick-ass mega weddings and parties for 500. It was hard not to feel a little pitiful. And then, just in case I was doubting just how inconsequential our wedding was to these people, we got to what I refer to as the Vegas section of the show.


It started first with the invitation vendors: AS I was talking to one, I noticed some of their custom work. And I mean CUSTOM! Invitations on handmade¬† paper created by homeless Indonesian orphans, featuring peacock feathers and delivered with jumbo cupcakes. I KID YOU NOT. The only thing I’m exaggerating about is the Indonesian children, but only because I can’t prove that fact for sure. The rest? Totally true.


Next to the orphan children’s sweatshop invites was the other boudoir session people. Now, I’m not a prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I don’t think most people want their boudoir photos blown up as samples and used as advertisting at tradeshows where everyone can see your… goods. Part of me was hoping they were only models, but does that make a difference? Essentially it was a booth decorated with nothing but pictures of… you know.


Then there was the fist pumping crowd! Across from each other: a couple of event production companies, and one DJ group. One had a corner booth with models wearing scanty hot pink and black outfits that matched the hot pink and black booth decor. They were giving out information while people milled about their cocktail tables and sampled stuff. Big hair, fake tans and boobs and small clothes. Yep, we’d entered the Jersey-licious portion of our tour!



It pretty much continued like that for the rest of the afternoon. Booths with strobing and flashing lighting that would simultaneously blind you and think you’d just been transported back to the worst night club you ever visited during your college years; booths with pumping music that made it so hard to hear that the people manning the booth didn’t bother to chat but just handed you their fliers while they convulsed in time to the music. I knew we were finished when we made it back to the wedding cake booth and all of her samples were gone. So I gathered up all my wedding goods in my arms and we headed back to the car.


The Perfect Wedding Guide Bridal Show was a bit of a bust. I was majorly disappointed, and on top of that, I’ve been getting emails from their vendors ever since. Mind you, this how was on July 1st. I just opened my spam folder to 6 different emails from one very persistent wedding dress shop, not to mention the emails I keep getting saying “it was great to see you at the show!” when I didn’t visit their booth. Well, at least I can say I did it! I visited a major wedding show and survived! I also learned a few things:


1 -Bring your own swag bag and cocktails. Actually bring a swag bag full of flasks for cocktails.

2 -If a stationer suggests using clip art of hibiscus flowers on your wedding invites… walk away.

3 -Apparently big girls are banned from boudoir photos

4 -Fist pump while walking through the DJ section

5 -DO NOT make eye contact with the impersonators.

6 -Never stand between a bridezilla and an amazing flower girl dress sale.

7 -It’s ok to laugh and then walk away when a stationer tells you he can create your invites for the “low low” price of $600 for 50 cards.

8 -If you steal a vendor’s cake samples, LIE and tell her you’re having a magnificent 250 person wedding so you don’t get the evil eye.

9 -Always travel with a large posse. People give you a wide berth when you’re with a gaggle of girls, especially if you’re all dressed alike and wearing ribbons. The free swag flows faster because they think you’re wedding is much more important.

10 -Next time, we’re making t-shirts!! And maybe tutus??


Wanna see our seaside wedding ceremony site?

Save the Dates!

Ok, what I really wanted to title this was “I Got STDs!” but I knew that if I did¬†Dustyn was going to kill me for posting a blog with that title. I jokingly posted it on FB, and this is what happened:


For the record, we do not have any “STDs”. What we have are our Save the Dates!! They’re so stinking cute I just had to share.

This is the front of our STD Save the Date postcard that went out earlier this week and last. I’m a little in love with it. Granted, I don’t think we look like that at all!¬†Our cartoon avatar selves are¬†super cute, though.

So wedding plans are sailing ahead (bad pun) slowly but surely! We just completed our move into our new place, which I call the¬†¬†The McGillilendon Household¬†(that’s McLendon & Gilliland Combined). It’s our cozy new condo that we’re renting together. Now that all of our stuff is out of the old place and into the new, we can start focusing on some of the more wedding-themed tasks, like… wedding music!!! A survey is coming soon. ūüôā

In the meantime, our Target wedding registry is up and running! We are new to this whole register for gifts thing, so bear with us… You can also just search for it by using either one of our names.

 Aw, shoot! I just remembered that I still owe yall my review of the Jersey Shore Bridal Show Extravaganza. I will get cracking on this, I promise!!! I swear!

Happy Tuesday everyone!


Dress? …check.

Bridesmaids? …check.

Ring? …check.

Fiance??? …check check check!


…wedding and cruise booked????? …double, Triple, QUADRUPLE check!!!


I just received our reservation confirmation for the wedding cruise! If getting a dress made it real, then booking the cruise makes it really real. Like, really REALLY real. Like “pee my pants in excitement, how are we going to wait a WHOLE YEAR, omg we’re really doing this” kinda real.

This could be us! Only like… not.

Now that this piece is done, I think I can unclench the buttcheeks a little bit and relax. We’ve got a year to plan one of the most amazing days of our lives together, and I know that it’s going to be wonderful.

This too could be us too!! Only like, not.

I know I promised the story of my Jersey-Shore-meets – the -Bridal-Show-Extravaganza blog post, and it’s coming soon, I promise! Just needed to share this momentous information with you guys… it was too much to keep inside. I want to shout it from the rooftops! Me and my honeybee are getting hitched!!!!!!!!!!

The Flower Girl

Ok seriously? We have the cutest flower girl in the world.


Meet Amanda – one of Dustyn’s nieces (he has two nieces and a nephew). Amanda’s going to be out flower girl!!


Just like the bridesmaids, I wanted to send her something to “invite” her to be a part of our wedding, to make her feel special. So I created this:

Granted, there’s more of the table top in the picture than invite. Clearly I’m a terrible photographer t, but you get the idea. ūüôā

Since she’s the flower girl (and only 6) I opted¬†for adding as many flowers to the invite as I possibly could. I MIGHT have gone a bit overboard. Maybe. But I still kinda like it. Hopefully she did too ūüôā

I went dress shopping again! This time, it turned out much better.

My mom, sisters and BFF¬†gathered in Orlando two weekends ago to help me shop for a wedding dress and to select bridesmaid dresses. I arranged for bridal appointments over a motnh in advance – if you’re unfamiliar with my slightly OCD ways, check out this post:¬†to play a little catch up.

The shop I selected – Alfred Angelo in Altamonte¬†Springs¬†– was ah-mazing!!! The consultants were so friendly, the environment was pleasant and welcoming. I complete 180 from my disastrous David’s Bridal experience. I even checked out the bathrooms: spotless.


My appointment was blocked for 2 hours, but within the first hour and a half I’d found my dress!¬† I won’t be posting pics here… if you want to see it you’ll just have to come to the wedding!

Once I found “the dress” I felt like this. Ok, sort of like this only with a¬†FEW more pounds :p

With the dress selected and ordered (big thanks to my mom and dad for helping me out with the 60% down paymenton it – yikes!!) I was ready to look at bridesmaid gowns. We had an “interesting” experience with the dresses… there were comparisons to traffic cones and cupcakes, but it was kinda cool to just sit back and let my bridesmaid twirl around in front of me and show me Alfred’s collection of bridesmaid crazy:

This is a rather sedate pose after she’d originally come out and shown us how she could “shake it like a salt shaker” in her gown! I think it scared the poo boyfriend of the girl in the dressing room next to us. He looked truly traumatized.

This one reminded me of “Little Miss Sunshine”. Remember those? “Little Miss Tacky”, “Mr. Happy”, and the like? More like Little Miss Hot Mess!

After a lot of modelling, we finally found “the one”:

Obviously, this isn’t the color, but just the style. So cute!!

More to come soon – I want to share our 2nd bridal show experience with yall. Think “bridal show meets the jersey shore”. True. Story.

Next 2 items on the list: Booking the cruise and Save the Date invites. Things are slowly coming together!!!