Prayers Please

I am touched by how many of you sent emails of concern for my husband.... and that any of you are still here since its been AGES since I posted anything.

My husband is fine but a part of the search and rescue team. As of yet, there is no good news to report, meaning there are 9 families who are facing potential loss of a member. For lack of a better phrase, this did hit awfully close to home. And your thoughts and prayers were very welcome.

I will be back soon to finish wedding recaps and begin blogging about life as a newlywed military wife. In the mean time, go hug your significant other and make sure they know exactly how much you love them because you really never know.

[Note: I did not make this video, as far as I can tell my husband is not in it, I just found it on Youtube and thought it a nice tribute to the most underfunded and overextended of our armed forces.]

Eternal Father, Lord of hosts,
Watch o'er the men who guard our coasts.
Protect them from the raging seas
And give them light and life and peace.
Grant them from thy great throne above
The shield and shelter of thy love.
— (1955) CWO George H. Jenks, Jr., USCG
I'll be back soon with happier news and more cheerful topics.


Our dancin' song!

Remember when I asked you what you might dance down the aisle to?

I couldn't remember the name or artist for this song at the time but THIS is the song that, a few months ago, we would have been dancing down the aisle to. (My mother is yet again saying thanks that I hadn't seen this video before the wedding.) It just came on and I quickly jotted down the info to share! (Michael Franti/Spearhead singing "Say Hey (I Love you)"


What would your song be if you would have danced down the aisle?


I was a BLUSHing bride

I've received lots of inquiries as to my dress and the color, so I thought I'd fill everyone in.

First of all, just in case you have missed it the zillion and four times I've said it before, these are my opinions and my experiences. I am a unique individual (just like everyone else) and things that work great for me my be a disaster to someone else. That being said....

I am not a fan of the stark white wedding dress. I think there are very few people that it really looks good on, and I think details of the dress can get lost in the blinding white.

[Side note: This is especially true if you have a photog who tends towards "blown out" photos. There is one photog whos work I love to see, but I wouldn't have wanted for my photos because while the images are magazine beauty edgy, so many details get lost. I can't count how many of the blog posts that I ooh and ahhh over the photos, and then realize not a single one showed the grooms face or details on the dress. (This photo is from a Flickr discussion group, NOT the photog I was talking about. Just an example of a detail-free dress.)
And didn't most of us put waaaay too much time effort (and dare I say money?) into choosing our dresses!? Anyway, thats just a thought for any of you who are still choosing a photog - don't just think the photos are cool and beautiful, make sure they capture the images and feelings you want from your wedding.] ..... {stepping off soapbox now}

Anyway... what was I talking about? Ahh... my being anti-pink and how I ended up in a blush dress.

So I am not a big fan of stark white in general, and none of the white dresses I tried on did anything for me. Most of which (like the one below) ended up in the "ewww and unflattering" dress post.

That being said, everyone's skin type and coloring are different so even if after reading this you think "no way am I wearing white!" I still recommend you try a few on just in case.

So I was in the hunt for an off-white dress. But for me, this was like being armed with a credit card and hunting with a blindfold on. I would say that I didn't want white and they would stick me in a white dress saying it came in ivory too. Great - can I see it in ivory? uhhh - no, just imagine! Ha. Some of the ivories and champagnes were beautiful and soft and really brought to life the details of the dress. But some looked dingy and made the lace look like it was from your great grandmothers coffee table doilies! So, I was not up for imagining.

When I tried on what would become my dress, the sales woman told me it came in white, ivory, and blush. Blush?! Do I look like a PINK girl to you!??! I don't think so!!! I'll take this amazing ivory I am wearing thank you very much!! .....store girl looks a bit sheepish as she explains to me that I am wearing the blush.... Wow, glad I wore my mint flavored shoes today!

My dress was a beautiful glowing ivory. It looked radiant and light without so much as a hint of pink.

Who would have thought that come April 4th, I was literally a blushing bride.


Why Walk When You Can Dance?

I am sure most of you have seen this already as is has been extremely prolific on facebook, but just in case you haven't... take two minutes to watch and laugh..

...and then tell me what you think!
  • For those already married, would you have done this?
  • For those still planning, are you considering it or just think its a fun video?
  • For everyone, IF you were to do this, what song would you use!?
For my answers, IF I had seen this first, IN A HEARTBEAT!! (This is all under the assumption I could convince Adam to go for it.)

Funny story: I sent this to my mother... who may or may not read this blog...hmm... if so, Hi Mom! Her response was "I'm glad you didn't see this before the wedding!" Our priest, however, reposted this on his facebook page thinking it was a great idea and that he might have the choir and acolytes process into Sunday service like this! (Note, my mother is in the choir. :) ).

As for the song, I'm not sure. My first thought was some Jimmy Buffet, but that isn't quite "dancy". Redneck Yatch Club is fitting of our crew, but itsn't "lovely" at all. My best idea thus far would be Wynnona's Burning Love from Lilo and Stitch. Of course (as you'll hear about later in recaps), if we did "Mustang Sally" we could have had our priest singing!

Ok - And you???


Capricious Creativity: Barefoot Sandals - DIY "How to"

Remember when I decided to make the "shoes" for myself and my bridesmaids? Well, I made the demo set's and then mailed them all around the country to my girls so they could figure out which ones they wanted for their fabulous feet.

UPDATE: I actually wrote this ages ago (like October!) and for some reason, never posted it! Whoopsidaisies!

A few months later... I've got everyone's choice... and only 1 set of measurements. I had a couple of girls tell me "my foot's a size 9". ummm... Great. I can go BUY them shoes, but I can't make them!!! Click HERE to be reminded of how surprising it is that I have figured out how to make these in the first place.

Well, I have to start somewhere, so one set of measurements it is! Thus began my Saturday... and now begins my first attempt at how to DIY!!

Note: This makes the grand total of TWO pairs of these I have made. There may be better ways to do this, and I know there are better ways to photograph and explain this... but you aren't on Martha's blog, you're on mine... so bear with me! If you have any questions for clarification - just ask! (All photos courtesy of me!)

Start with a fixed end, a la use a crimping bead. See how it looks like I'm using fishing wire? Its actually not, I used "stretch magic" because I wanted these to have a little give to 'em.

Continue adding beads in whatever pattern you like until you have a large loop that is twice the circumference of the ankle this is being fitted for. Add a clasp to the other end and you've essentially made a big ol necklace. Its the next step that makes it a shoe!
(Contrary to the picture, this doesn't have to be done need an apple keyboard. Though in my house, you are never that far from an apple keyboard. ) :)

Next up, you are beading a single line with a toe loop at the end. I always started with the toe loop because its just easier that way.
Notice JUST below the big dark blue bead is a crimping bead. When I had enough tiny white beads for the toe loop, I crimped it off so that it was done and I didn't have to worry about it anymore. Plus, then I can put it on my foot and figure out how long the top part is/needs to be. Hint: Always use little bitty beads for the toe loop - much higher comfort quotient!
Continue beading the straight line that will run up the top of your foot until you have the desired length. (I think this length is the most crucial to get right.) Just because I thought it looked nice, somewhere in the middle of each top line, I added a much larger bead to stand out. End this line wiht a crimping bead - DON'T CRIMP IT YET - just string it on.

So now you have a big 'ol loop, and a small loop at the end of the straight line of beads. Put the loop on your ankle with the clasp towards the back. Find the beads that will be at the front of your ankle. This is where the top line will intersect and be hooked to the loop. Lightly stretch the beads apart so you have space take the tail end of the straight line, loop it around, and back through the crimping bead.
Now crimp that bead and everything should be connected!

And this is what the finished product will look like.


Ok - so my instructions sound confusing when typed! Just take it step by step and it really is pretty simple.

UPDATE: So as it turns out, its a zillion times easier to make one with the foot actually there with you. This ended up being the only pair I made by measurements. The remaining four I made within a month of the wedding, and the last pair being finished after the rehearsal dinner. While I had originally given them several options of style choices, I realized that I needed the foot in front of me, and this was the simplest style. So while each one was unique in beading etc, they were all this style. Rae captured such a cute shot of them all and it was even featured on Weddingbee.com's Gallery Photo of the Day!

Anyone else find that the actual DIY is much more simple than explaining it?!


Why Everyone Should Have a Photobooth

Almost every wedding blog has one thing in common.. they've all talked about or posted photos from a photobooth. Seriously. For all you brides-to-be stalking other planning blogs, find ONE that hasn't done a post with one. I dare ya!

I know its a trend, but with everyone doing photobooths, or faux-tobooths, we were hooked. There was such a wide variety of types, some whimsical, some vintage, but they were all fun, and the pictures are priceless.

(Unless otherwise noted, all photos were clipped from Weddingbee. Click on the photo for its blog-post-link.)

All you really need is a camera, a tripod, and maybe a sheet with a fun print.
Oh, and props, cause everyone loves funny hats and mustaches.

Below, Mrs Cookie went with a traditional rented photobooth, and even provided colorful paper to attach the photo strips to!

Mrs Avacado even thought to bring in a dry erase board for people to include messages!

We knew our reception was going to be a party. We knew that people tend to be silly when happy (and drinking) and we REALLY wanted to encourage this and capture it on film. I've shown you before what can happen with our family friends at weddings. So, true to form, our friends, and our families friends were all drinking and laughing and having a great time... and we caught it all on "film".
(And by "we" I mean our uber wonderful photogs.
Rae and Wes set up the background, provided the props, and snapped the shots! )

I think some of these may end up being among our favorite photos. And as you can tell, it was a hit with the entire crowd, not just us "kids".
They captured the feel of the party and the wide variety of personalities regardless of the ages. It was worth every penny, and in the near future I'll do a full post on our photobooth photos.

A few weeks ago, my husband came across these and we think they would be a great addition to anyone's photobooth props!

And one last idea that I found on weddinbee by way of Martha Stewart,

How fun is that? Use the chalkboard for messages and backdrop!

So, there you have it. Photobooths are just plain fun and you end up with pictures to look at and laugh with for years to come. I highly recommend it!
Anyone else planning the booth route?


Wedding Day Drinking

So its been such a long time I'm almost hesitant to post! I've got lots of fun stories of being a military wife and newlywed, mini-moon and hikes and rafting and camping, and arguing over curtains. But since this is my wedding blog, I'll stick to that for now.

I don't have the digital files from my photog yet, (We have to choose the ones for our album first....hmmm..... I think I'll start post-it noting the ones I like best right now!.... No, wait... I am blogging FINALLY. I will not be distracted..... oooh... shiny thing!) :)

I thought I'd bring up a topic that I never read about and put ZERO thought into before the wedding. We planned the meal, we choose wine and champagne that fit the feel (and budget!), and special ordered beer. We had thought it all through.... with one small snafu... I hadn't given a moment's worth of thought to what I would be drinking.

When we arrived at the party and finished the sword arch, one of my parent's friends came over, gave me a great big hug, and asked me what I wanted to drink because she was going to get it for me. Gotta love the South. ;-) I was caught off guard (not expecting this question quite so early... and for some reason I envisioned going to the bar myself - HA!), and asked for a glass of the red wine. I thought some version of this would be me:She LAUGHED (loudly) and said absolutely not with my pretty white dress. Huh. Not the reaction I expected (I guess even at your wedding when asking for an alcoholic drink I am still "John and Mary's kid" and my requests will get laughed at as such). She brought me a glass of white wine, which I am really not a fan of.

I sipped on it just as long as she was talking to me. All the while thinking "OK - I'm not aloud to have red wine... and she does a have point, I am my father's daughter thus, I will end up wearing it. I don't fancy white wine. I will be a diabetic before the night is over if I drink champagne all night. People are obviously going to keep my hand full of whatever I am drinking so mixed drinks are OUT OF THE QUESTION. So what the hell am I going to drink?!" At which point my oh-so-wonderful-brand-new-husband walked up with one of our specialty beers! (Kona Brew Company) PERFECT! I quickly snagged it from him and said thanks! And then I was pulled into another "Congrats - It was beautiful!" conversation, and someone quickly got him a new beer. :) All was right with the reception world.

Like the propped up pinky? I figured it was a dressy event and here I was drinking beer, so I'd fancy it up a bit. =)

Of course, later on, when everyone had been drinking a bit, the eel came out and became the limbo stick. So, beer in hand....

Everyone thought it was funny that the bride was drinking beer all night (except for the toasts), but that was just fine by me. I had a good time, wasn't stressing about each sip, and wasn't getting wasted. Just good friends, fun music, a fabulous new husband, and a night to remember.

Has anyone else put any thought into it? What will you be drinking?


Not so nervous

I suppose its a very common thing to be nervous before a wedding. After all, you are saying "I do until death do us part." (Well, those weren't our words as we "wrote/plagiarize/personalized" our own vows.... but I'll get into that later.) And there are plenty of examples where that doesn't hold true or you don't know the other person as well as you thought. And of course, there is also the fact that its going to be all eyes on you for most of the afternoon / night. Leading many to outwardly or inwardly feel like this:
But for me, I am pretty comfortable in my own skin. Would I like for that skin to be a bit more toned or tan? Sure. But, overall, I'm a pretty happy camper with myself. And all my friends and family and family-friends know me pretty well. So we've got the "center of attention" fear covered.

As far as the nervousness due to details and things going wrong, I had a wedding coordinator that I trusted. I had done all my planning and decisions, it was her job to pull it all off. I am sure some things went wrong, its just bound to happen. I only knew of one snafu and when someone came to me with it, I tossed up my hands and said "not my problem go find the wedding coordinator". Part of that level of comfort and relaxation was because I trusted her so, and part of it was that I knew the wedding would still happen if the programs got lost, or if the centerpieces were goofed or whatever else. As much effort went into those details, there were still that, details. Small details that many would overlook anyway, and while beautiful and full of heart, wouldn't affect the outcome of the day.

I am by NO means a perfectionist. (If you click forward to 3:48 you'll see Charlotte's freakout about a perfect wedding.)

Long shot, reach for the stars and don't stop 'til you get there drive and stubbornness - sure, thats me. As long as it isn't work related, close enough is fine by me. Its a shade or two off? Who'll notice? We are 10 programs short? No one here bites (besides me), they can share! The words weren't perfect? Am I getting graded on this? When small things go off plan my first response tends to be something along the lines of "So?" or "Oh well" or "there was a strict plan?" My mother actually sat me down for a serious talk a few days before the wedding. Her "we need to talk" mode freaked me out more than anything. She very calmly let me know that while she didn't yet know specifics, things would indeed go wrong. Falling short of perfection shouldn't ruin my day. It just might rain and there is nothing we can do about it, etc. At this point I felt like I was in the twilight zone. I kept looking behind me wondering if she was really talking to me. I suppose my mom was afraid of me having a freakout like Charlotte did in the above video, but that is soo not me. I sat there wondering if the speech was for me or for her. I reminded her that we chose the venue in a good part because of the really good rain back up plan and the stress-free manner in which it could be implemented if need be. At one point she said she had looked at the weather report and was sorry, but it might rain. My reaction was, "Why, is it your fault? Cause if it is - THEN I'd be pissed!" To say that I am flexible is an understatement... you'd think that would make wedding planning easier. Oh, the irony! Anyway... back to my nerves, or lack thereof.

And then there is the kicker cause for truly being nervous, saying "I do." [Again, not our actual words... but for another post.] Was I nervous for it? Honestly, no. I was lucky enough not to loose sight of the marriage for the wedding. This wasn't a decision that I was nervous about. I couldn't even begin to count how many people asked if I was nervous. When I said "nope" it never failed that I got that look that said "Yeah, right. Every bride is nervous." It actually really began to annoy me. I kept wanting to respond with a "You obviously don't know me, or us, and you should feel free to keep your cynical face to yourself. "

This is my WEDDING! I was excited for it. This was the moment when before God, beloved friends, and all kinds of family, we would officially start our lives together. And then after, there was going to be one hell of a party! What could be better?

This is me, dancing to some wonderfully cheesy sing-a-long, a la "Heaven on Earth" or "Livin on a Prayer". Nervous, notsomuch. If anything I kept having to be scolded and reminded to be serious. We were having a damn good time and this was just the beginning.


Almost Dress Regret

Remember how I said I had almost dress regret? I thought I'd elaborate a little.

So this was the strapless version of my dress. It was young and fun and funky and sparkly but not too heavy or traditional. But... it was strapless. And for me, that's a deal breaker. I am not a fan of the way it tends to make me look like a line backer or the fact that I like to dance and jump and I would be the one to come popping out of my dress. Of all the dresses I tried on I always felt "bridal" in any dress with an of the shoulder neckline. And Casablanca being the great company that it is, I could change the neckline!! woohoo! perfect! Ordered and done. Unfortunately, I have never tried one of their off the shoulder neckline dresses so until my dress arrived, I had no idea that my arms would be somewhat restricted in their movement.
Yup, that's about as high as my arms could go.

And all of a sudden I went from feeling bridal and beautiful to restricted and maybe too traditional for my tastes. After all, we were getting married on the beach and traditional is rarely a word that joins my name in a sentence. Next thing I knew I was very jealous of the swishy cool look to Maggie Sottero's Mary (though the skirt was waaay too much for me).

And I was loving the modern uber sparkle of Mrs Green Tea's "Zelda"

And more than anything, I kept thinking the beautiful neckline of Mrs Cherry Pie's dress would have been much more dance friendly.

Oh, and the "why didn't I think of making the back a V style?!"
I had started looking through craigslist and ebay to see if anything popped up for an inexpensive alternative to my dress. At this point I knew my dress was not the most "me" dress. And since I'd only be wearing it once - shouldn't it be the epitome of "me"? But then again, I'm only wearing it once, Adam was going to think I was beautiful in anything, I've already bought it and it is a beautiful WOW-worthy dress.

Knowing that potentially switching dresses would also mean trying to sell my current dress while finishing up wedding preparations and then being uber stressed with finding another dress with in such a short time span. So I decided that my dress was pretty and it wasn't worth the last minute effort to replace it. But I continued to think about it and drool over other dresses that were more "me". And then it was the rehearsal and I spent the day in a light flowy airy dress I love.... and have no good pictures of unfortunately!
It was airy and light and beachy and pale colored and once or twice I thought "why dont i just get married in this!?"

And then it was the morning of our wedding. My dress was just beautiful and glowing!
I'm sure I would have been glowing in a potato sack, but I felt bridal so I was happy. I know everyone compliments the bride, but EVERYONE.. ALL DAY... kept saying that my dress was amazing and unique and BEAUTIFUL etc. I normally don't care too much about what other people think, but WOW! This many compliments and high praise - I was a very happy bride and VERY happy with my dress choice. Now, I am soo glad I didn't change my dress. Hence - the ALMOST dress regret. Now, I love it again and am debating whether or not to keep it or sell it or donate it.


Title Fun

So many of the blogs I've read recap their weddings with a constant title:

That Bride's "That Wedding"
Mrs Lovebug's "One Lucky Day"
Mrs Shortcake's "Old Fashion Love"

So I thought I'd reach out for some creative suggestions.
Keywords being beachy, tropical, stars, relaxed, party, celebration, destintion wedding, hometown.

My current idea is "Hometown Destination Wedding".


And because every post should have a great photo:



Not to be completely Grey's Anatomy... but SERIOUSLY?!?!? SERIOUSLY?!?!?!?

So I've told yall before about my love of Top Gun. Let me reiterate by pointing out that I still have the VHS tape because I love the commercials at the beginning!! I still say this is the best pepsi commercial ever!

Anyway, I'm watching Top Gun on Bravo right now while making dinner and cleaning up and a few things struck me. 1 - when did we become such prudes?? When Maverick and Goose walk into the bar (just before the serenade) a la:

Maverick say's "Even you could get laid in a place like this." To which, Goose replies "I'd be happy to find a girl to talk dirty to me." Really? Is that THAT bad? Oh no, Bravo edited it to "Even you could have a good time in a place like this." To which, Goose replies "I'd be happy to find a girl to talk to me." Seriously??? "Get Laid" and "dirty" are too extreme for TV!?!??!?!

Oh, and it gets worse. Much worse. Maverick is in class and get's the note from Charlotte, and then he's pulling up to her house. Smooth transition right? Sure except they deleted the ENTIRE volleyball scene!!!

I rolled my eyes at the word edits, but at this point, I walked away from my cooking and rewound the "video" (thank heavens for DVR... oy I wish I had tivo.... but I digress..) and sure enough - they really did take out the ENTIRE volleyball scene. So, not only are you deprived of that fun, but if you had never seen this, or don't have it memorized like I do, then it leaves you with, "Why is he late? He keeps talking about needing a shower... Why?" I think its a travesty. GRRR to all the uber conservatives that think "talk dirty" is suddenly unfit for tv!

Oh, and just to make this somewhat wedding related.... (since this still is my wedding planning blog and all). As many mistakes and uber faux paus are made in "Top Gun", it is still a favorite of almost every Naval Aviator I know. Add alcohol and you have the proof!

Take 3 Naval Aviators (including the one in the middle not in uniform), one ex-military old fart (yup - thats my dad!), 2 good friends of the bride, plus LOTS of Jamie and Gingers and VOILA!

Yes, this is the wedding after party and they are all hammered singing "That lovin feeling." This is why you have an after party. :-D Ok, back to wedding day recaps!!

Random Wedding Dress Thought

So its been a lazy Sunday for me. I've been cleaning and organizing, singing to the radio, and watching movies on TV. Luck would have it, "My Fair Lady" was on. As much as I like the movie, I really wasn't watching much as I was writing thank you notes. I looked up and watched a bit when a random thought struck me:
With "vintage" being the most popular wedding theme and style right now, I am surprised I haven't read about a bride somewhere wearing Audrey Hepburn's "My Fair Lady" dress.

Since she tends to be the epitome of fashion and everyone wants to be her, I can hardly believe it. Granted, maybe tone down the bling a bit, but I'm still a bit surprised.


Video Dabbles and Our Cross Country Drive

Believe it or not, this is a wedding related post. I know I am stalling on the photos of the wedding day... now that I've work all the way up to it, I am leaving you hanging for a bit until I can get more photos from my wonderful wonderful photog.

But in the mean time, I thought I'd fill you in on something I've been working on. For anyone who doesn't remember, I am not a big fan of wedding videography. I do like the idea of having a video of the wedding, but I don't feel the need to make this my film debut and pay thousands of dollars to look like something hollywood produced.

So I had the bright idea of handing my parents video camera to my cousin Molly and have her capture the day. Unfortunately, we had a snafu in that the video camera broke. Oops. But - my dad's point and shoot digital camera has a huge memory card and video capability. See her below the yellow arrow? Yup, thats my sweetheart videographer cousin.With that fantastica camera catching moments... I knew I was going to need to know how to edit some video. So I pulled up iMovie and started working with a few video clips and photos from oru cross country move. This was the outcome! (Obviously I still have a few kinks to work out.)

Anyone else learn new software for their wedding photos or videos?


Rehearsal Rewind: Bridal Luncheon

I am a bad bride. I skipped right over the bridal luncheon that my God-mother threw for me the morning of the rehearsal... so pardon the rewind!

The restaurant at the hotel had some great private spaces, and thanks to my godmother, we claimed one of them! I also figured this was a good time to dispense the gifts for my bridesmaids and readers. Since mom and I got their first, I stuck their presents on all their chairs for them to open quietly as they like instead of shower "oohs and ahhs" style. I DIYed earrings, necklaces, and "shoes" for my girls, picture framed photos of me and the girls, and my mom sewed some beautiful fabric into shawls that matched the girls dresses. I really didn't want to give gifts at a big gathering to be reviewed by everyone present. They all appreciated the gifts, and appreciated not having to be on stage while opening.

They even made up a beautiful (shimmery!!) menu just for us.

Aren't we cute? :)

The whole gang after a very tasty and fun meal.
It was relaxing, tasty, fun, and filled with laughs. It was a great way to start the rehearsal day.


Rehearsal Dinner and Welcome Party

Now that we've practiced walking in a straight line, its on to dinner and party time!
Since a large portion of our guests were traveling in from out of town, holding a traditional rehearsal dinner where all OOT guests get invited wasn't exactly in budget. But at the same time, these people had just traveled all the way to Florida and we wanted to see and spend time with them. These are our friends and family and for a few days, we get to bring them all together... even if that means they will share all their embarrassing stories about us.... and they did. :)

So this meant we had two options, hold a backyard BBQ or a Welcome Party after the rehearsal dinner. I loved the idea of a BBQ. My parents live in a condo building that has a BBQ area and giant lawn on top of the parking garage. Perfect for some paper plates, beer in buckets, and frisbee tossing! Unfortunately, notsomuch with anyone else jumping on board this idea train. Everyone thought it would be alot of work to toss a BBQ themed dinner party. Well, on that point, I agree. But no one seemed to get that I was REALLY talking about a honest to goodness paper plate BBQ. Everyone wondered about centerpieces and who would serve the food etc. Oy.

So a small rehearsal dinner followed by a Welcome Party for all it was! When it came to deciding where to hold it, we tossed around a few ideas, but when we found out that one of our favorite resturants was perfect location and affordable, we were sold. A few minutes on Vistaprint later, we had a rehearsal dinner invite... a little photoshopping later, and we had Welcome Party version that we printed on our inkjet and stuff into the welcome bags.
For anyone who's going to be in the Panama City area around meal time, I HIGHLY recommend the BoatYard.

Just a clip of the view from the top deck, and as you can tell from the lighting, it was about to be a great sunset too. See the tall buildings just left in the distance? Yup, that's the Bay Point Marriott. Told ya it was close by!

Groomsman/violinist Dan and his girlfriend enjoying a drink and the sunset before we sit down for dinner.

Adam is from Amish country in Pennsylvania. But do you know what's nearby?
His parents brought 30 GIANT dark chocolate bars personalized for us with them.... that must have been an interesting conversation with the TSA. :)

The whole gang seated and ready for toasts and food. All I have to say for people who think "open seating" at their wedding is a good idea.... NOTSOMUCH! This was only 25 rather intelligent very friendly people and it took 10 minutes for everyone to figure out where to sit. YEESH!

And the toasts began! Knowing our family and friends, I was pretty sure this was going to turn into a roast. Much to my surprise, there were a few slightly embarrassing stories that came out, but all in all, they were all sweet and endearing.

Remember the Eel lure from the bachelorette party? Much to everyone's entertainment, it has joined our rehearsal dinner.

My eldest bro and Dad. You'd think they go to the same barber right?

Behold, your future, Adam. :)
They have such similar mannerisms and smiles its almost creepy.
Unfortunately, after this, we began the welcome party and started having so much fun, no one thought to be taking pictures! Darn us all for having so much fun meeting, talking and drinking!
Everyone who had made it in town in time was there and having a good time. We really got to hang out with a drink in hand catching up on each other's lives. We were the common factor with everyone, but it was all about visiting with THEM and finding out what had been going on in their lives. Our good friend and chef baked mini key lime pies, amazing cupcakes and other delectable desserts for everyone to nosh on. They were delicious!

Finally, it was getting late and knowing that we were going to have a full day and long night partying into the wee hours of the morning, I wanted a full night's sleep. So we called it a night and headed off to sleep.