Posts in the 'Recaps' Category

{Happy Anniversary} Our Wedding Ceremony

2 years ago today, we walked the aisle, we made the promises, we raised the glasses, we danced the dance, we shed the tears, we joined our lives.

In the 2 years since, life has been beautifully messy and real. It’s held soaring highs and the darkest lows. But every night I go to sleep, and every day I wake up next to my best friend, my partner in life and in business, my husband – the love of my life. We are a family, every day. And that’s the best gift ever.

I couldn’t love anyone more.

For our anniversary, we’ve decided to share the full video of our wedding ceremony, but for one week only.

The ceremony is original, written alongside our officiant, yogi and friend, Billy. There are snippets heavily influenced by, or even borrowed directly from, other bridal bloggers who shared their ceremonies online… but the bulk of it is highly personalized and crafted carefully with just the right balance of heart, soul, hippie granola, and universal community for our particular love story. I still get the chills whenever I hear it.

Billy wrote the song for us that he performed to seal off the ceremony space (learn more here). We included group blessing, ring warming and wine box ceremony. and made vows to the world, as well as each other. We stomped the glass. We laughed, we cried… it was a dream. It was absolute heaven.

(Read more about our wedding here.)

Happy Anniversary, my love. I’d do it all over again. and again. and again.

Thank you for taking such good care of me. Thank you for nurturing me, challenging me, inspiring me and empowering me to be better every day, and to keep growing and evolving and expanding in everything I do… and thank you for pushing yourself to do the same. Thank you for being such a good dad to Paco, a good brother to our siblings, a good son to our respective parents, a good citizen of this earth.

Thank you for forgiving me when I’m not my best, and for continuing to always look for the best in me, even when I’m too tired or broken to look for myself. Thank you for caring for me with such patience and understanding and love, every single day. For making me feel safe. For making me laugh.

Thank you for celebrating me when I succeed, as heartily as you celebrate your own good news. Thank you for sharing in my struggles and showing me I’m never alone in them. Thank you for loving me unconditionally, for that is how I love you.

I know this year has been particularly hard at times, and particularly beautiful at others. Let us learn from both, and move forward into our 3rd year together with the insight of the past and with inspiration for the future. I can’t wait to see where this year takes us!

Thank you for being you. I love you so so very much. My love, my light, my prince, my king, my Cazador, my husband.

Here’s to a lifetime of anniversaries to come.

Our Wedding Ceremony from The Broke-Ass Bride on Vimeo.

Video by Digital Princess Productions ♥ Officiant: Billy Gill ♥ Dress: Deborah Lindquist ♥ Suit: Everything’s Jake Vintage ♥ Bouquet: Emplume ♥ Florals: La Vie en Rose ♥ Coordination: Sharlene Griffith ♥ Processional: Trevor Hall “To Zion” ♥ Bride’s Processional: Jump, Little Children – “Mother’s Eyes” (first 1:25. I entered at 30) ♥ DJ: The Flashdance ♥ Photography: Dan Chen

We’re off to Disneyland this afternoon for some fun love in the sun before I have my surgery tomorrow. I can’t think of a better way to head into an operation than still aglow from the magic of the mouse and the music of our marriage… can you? :)

A Night To Remember…If Only I Could

WARNING: PG-13 Rating (at least)! This is a real life Bachelor Party Experience. Do not continue to read if you are easily offended by testosterone driven stupidity or crude immaturity.

When a man is smart enough to commit his entire life to an amazing woman, she (hopefully) forgives him for being unbelievably dumb for one last night… This is the story of that night.

A momentary sliver of morning light slaps my pupils in the face (What? It’s possible!) and I see a glimpse of a room. A room I don’t recall ever entering. My eyes open again, and as I my pupils begin to dilate,e the only thought that goes through my mind is, “Where the heck am I?”

All of a sudden an image flashes through my mind:


And it hits me like a wad of dollar bills: I’M IN CHICAGO. LUCKY’S BACHELOR PARTY WAS LAST NIGHT! The bachelor party that I have been planning all summer because I proudly hold the title of Best Man at my Brother-In-law’s Wedding (that’s Dana’s bro yo!) I must be at Lucky’s BFFs Michelle & Todd’s house… but how? I think we began here but I don’t remember coming back?

As I stumble down the stairs to the first floor living room I am met by an expression of shock and horror…


Is it a travesty or could it be the after math of one of the funnest bachelor parties to hit Chicago? If only I could remember…

“Oh my gosh!” I think.”I better let my wife know I survived”. But as reach for my phone to dial BAB’s number, I suddenly remember my pledge to take lots of pictures. The phone. The phone is the answer. As I click to the camera app I know in my heart of hearts that the only way to truly know how I got here, is to start at the beginning.


Hot Doug’s, of course! I went down with Dana’s fam to eat at our favorite place on earth… Hot Doug’s. To begin to speak of this magical place of hot dog wonderment is to begin a whole other post. Let’s leave it at that. There we met up with fellow groomsman/Bro-in-law Hooter*. After hot dog merriment Dana, Hooter and I went to Todd & Michelle’s house, where we began to create the magical land of Porno-copia.

A land where animals fly…

And people of all backgrounds get together for a laugh.

Once we finished decorating, Dana taking off with her sister, and Hooter and I headed over to pick up the Bachelor himself. After sharing a cocktail with him and my future sister-in-law, we headed back to Pornocopia, and were greeted by the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Matt, Steve, John, Tim, Todd & Michelle had gotten the party started. Yeah I said Michelle, we’re a 21st Century Bachelor party! And Michelle brings the party stronger than any fella I know… except maybe Hooter, but lucky us… we were harnessing both of their party powers tonight.

I know we wanted to start the party with something classy so what did we do? Oh yeah…

A game of Flippy Cup anyone?Don’t mind if we do!

I think next we played pin the tail on the donkey. Wait No, it was…

Now this may not make sense but, (ahem) I feel like someone came over to give dance lessons (y’know, dance lessons)… but strangely, the next photo I have is us at the show Bye Bye Liver: The Drinking Play. Man oh man was that a mistake. I should have listened to James at Firefly Events. He and wife Nadine know everything there is when it comes to planning a bachelor party, and he told me to go to Point Break Live, but nooooo…. I had to go rogue. While there was no stopping The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from having a good time, the box office manager of Bye Bye Liver certainly tried. I’ll save the details of what happened for a post entitled, “What Not To Do When Representing a Business” but let’s just say the most entertaining part of Bye Bye Liver is when the Box Office Manager starts threatening you when you go to the bathroom. But enough about the ego of an idiot, let’s get back to party. After the show I think we went to a ranch…


Wait that’s not a ranch! It’s Lucky riding the mechanical bull at Hogs and Honeys.  It was a party fo’ sho’.  Bachelor’s and Bachelorettes were riding bulls, shots we’re being poured down peoples throats by waitresses on tables, and Hooter and Michelle were dancing on the bar making it rain!

Then Todd lead the charge to another bar in Bucktown… but before I knew it, we must have passed out back at Todd & Michelle’s.

It was an exhausting night for our bachelor

Based off this pic and where I found my toothbrush I’m guessing this brings us back to where we are the next morning. I honestly can’t believe I don’t hurt more all over but based off of the half eaten burrito on the breakfast table I’m guessing we stopped for food on the way home. I just hope Lucky had as good a time at the party as I think he did. Oh wait there’s one more pic on this camera from the end of the night…

Oh yeah, BACHELOR PARTY SUCCESS!

*Nickname inspired by Hooter the elephant in the radical badical Michael Jackson short, Captain EO. Hooter!

We’re “Wedding Graduates”!

A Practical Wedding was one of my most beloved daily reads when I was engaged. Meg started her blog just a few months before me, and we were both wed within months of each other… so in many ways I viewed her as a sister during the process. Her down-to-earth authenticity kept me honest and sane when I would get bogged down in the details, or fall prey to equating dollars-out with happiness-in.

Like me, she’s still at it (with a gorgeously redesigned site, no less) and leading the Team Practical cause like the bad-ass fairy godmother of wisdom that she’s always been.

Today, she’s featured us as Wedding Graduates… and my heart palpitates with happiness! Go, check out our story and pics, and make Meg your new best friend. She’s a good’un, she is.

Click over for the full post!

And to those of you who came over from APW today – welcome! There’s cold ones in the fridge, and my sofa is hella cozy. We hope you enjoy your stay, and come back often!

Thanks, Meg! We lurve ya, sister!

Three Hundred Sixty Five Days Ago Today…

…I got to wear my favorite dress. And was surrounded by my favorite people.

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I said “I do” and gave my heart, my soul, my most intimate and vulnerable self over to my most favoritest person in the whole world, joining our lives together forever.

I laughed and cried, toasted and danced, laughed and cried some more.

One year ago today, I went from bride to wife.

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One year ago today, a family was born.

And together, we began a new life.

The Big Day www.TheBrokeAssBride.com from Digital Princess Productions on Vimeo

In the past year we’ve known joy and pain, struggle and success, more laughter and more tears. Our vows have been tested and reaffirmed. We have learned that marriage is an effort as much as it is a blessing…. an intention we renew each day when we say good morning and each evening when we kiss goodnight.

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Today, at the same time we did one year ago, we will say our vows again…. to remind each other and ourselves of the promises we made and the gift we give each other every day.

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And we will celebrate. For our past, and for our future. Because today, like this day last year, begins another new chapter in our lives, as it is also the first day of life working for ourselves, pursuing new dreams together as a team full-time. The beginning of freedom and fearlessness, of ambition and tenacity, of nurturing and growth, of baby steps and big leaps.


Thank you for being a such a big part of the past year and of our lives. Your support and friendship gives us more joy and satisfaction than you’ll ever know. We are so excited for the future with you, continuing to share our lives and giving you our best to you as we move forward into this new day. So that you all can have a day that is to you as personal and meaningful as ours was one year ago today…. and carry that moment over into a life equally as rich, no matter what your budget.

So here’s to my partner. My best friend. My love. My light. My husband. My Cazador.

Here’s to our family.

And here’s to marriage. To the end of our first year, the beginning of our second, and to countless more May 24ths.

And here’s to you. And to the future.

Cheers!

(photos by Chennergy, video by Digital Princess Productions)

{Wedding Music Radness Recap} Part 2: The Reception

(Hey you. Yes, you! Before you read this, go here and read all about our ceremony music so you’re up to speed. Aight? Cool.)

Its grand entrance time, yo! And we always knew we wanted Jump Around play as our reception entrance music. I mean come on. It’s only one of the most legendary party beats ever. But, the Bungalow Club had accidentally miscommunicated the DJ set-up situation and so The Flashdance wasn’t able to play during cocktail hour or dinner as we planned. And you know what? It didn’t even matter one bit! The Bungalow Club put on a great, eclectic music mix, Michael got to relax and enjoy the dinner and toasts… and we brought the hype ourselves!

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It is my pleasure to introduce, Mr. and Mrs. Broke-Ass!

The first dance song was an elusive mistress.  It took us forevah to find the right jam for that moment, but when we did, awww yeah… Brace yourselves, my inner hippie is breaking out, and I’m about to get real with y’all. Bob Marley is my guardian angel. No, I swear, he is. (insert ganja joke here) But he is! There have been too many coincidental moments in which I’m experiencing some emotional distress, and like magic, Bob’s comforting voice finds its way to me. Whether by way of the radio, or mall muzak, in a film, or on my alarm clock… there Bob is: lifting my spirits with his messages of hope and empowerment. And Three Little Birds is one of our favorite all-time songs, so it was poi-fect! We moved upstairs to the dancefloor, and Michael took over the music. When our guests circled around us and all spontaneously sang along while we danced, it was like a moment out of a dream.
Bob Marley – “Three Little Birds”

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It was all somehow to intimate even though we were surrounded.

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we didn't have any set dancemoves, but he made sure to spin me, which he knows I love.

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I love how intimate this picture is.

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Hunter must have said something really sweet, cuz I'm blushin!

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We sang to each other too.

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...and made up some silly and sweet new moves.

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And ended with a glorious dip kiss, just like I always imagined!

I made the final call on our father/daughter dance song the day of the wedding, after hemming and hawing between two I adored for different reasons for months. I kept the song choice from my father so he’d be surprised and experience it all in the moment. My dance with my dad was absolutely and unforgettably magical, and now I can’t see a daddy-daughter dance without getting weepy and verklempt. This was a song my mom turned me onto, and it absolutely feels like my daddy and me.
Loudon Wainwright III – “My Daughter”

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I can barely look at these photos without getting misty

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My daddy has the smiliest eyes

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I periodically just clung to him while we danced, like a baby monkey.

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This one kills me. My heart could burst looking at his expression.

Hunter had a challenge in choosing a tune for the mother-son dance tunes. His mother was a dancer and loved to move, so he wanted a song that would allow them to have fun on the dance floor together… so he chose Shall We Dance from The King & I, which he and his mom used to sing together all the time. Penelope and Hunter tore up the dance floor in a fast-paced and riveting waltz, that ended with her dramatically spinning out and gracefully collapsing in a dramatic curtsey before she handed him off to me. These are some of my favorite photos from the night!
**TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES with audio player**
You can listen to Shall we Dance, here

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She was a speed machine - just look at that hair go!

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You can see where Hunter gets his acting talent here!

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... and Hunter gives a grand bow to her after the collapse!

Aaaaaaand, we didn’t even pick special songs for anything else!  Weaving our diverse and random tastes in tune-age into our big day made it feel like home, and helped usher our guests into just the right mood for the kind of party we had planned. And now, whenever we hear Three Little Birds or Melt with You, its never quite the same… in all the right ways.

Stay tuned for a future post sharing some of the jams that got away – songs we loved, but nixed for one reason or another.

What songs are you picking for your big moments?

all photos by Dan Chen of Chennergy

A Music Manifesto (with a wedding recap on the side), part I.

The right music makes everything better, amIright?  It stirs the senses, attaches itself to and evokes memories, provokes our emotions, and laces itself into the soundtracks of our lives in inextricable and powerful ways. Our taste in music says a lot about who we are, where we’ve been, and reveals layers of our personalities that aren’t always immediately discernible. Or at least, I thinks so. I’m that girl who can’t wait for the ceremony to start because I’m curious to hear what song she picked to enter with. I’m so fascinated by what music people select for different portions of their weddings, and even moreso by the pressure to conform to the ‘wedxpectations’ (booyah, just made that up!) that so many couples experience (including us!).

Pachabel’s Canon in D. The Wedding March. At last. I’ll be. Ave Maria. Butterfly Kisses. Rainbow Connection. Unforgettable. (you get the point). How many times have you heard these at weddings? How many cocktail hours and dinners filled with Sinatra and the rest of the rat pack, Michael Buble, and Earth, Wind and Fire have you attended?

Now, I’m not trying to beef on you if you have some attachment to one of these songs or artists… I’ve got nothin’ but love. They’re beautiful songs performed by some of the greatest artists of our time. If you have a connection with it – use it! But even so, these choices are fairly common (and therefore, somewhat predictable) choices. And far too many couples fall back onto choosing music that doesn’t rock their personal socks, or show off their unique taste, because they feel pressure to stay inside that box. I have friends who regret their processional choice because of the pressure of “tradition”… But, I’m blowing the lid right off that box and hitting shuffle on this mix, yo! BOOOOOM goes the dynamite. People, use music you LOVE. There’s nothing like the sense memory of your wedding jam playing while you’re in the toilet paper aisle at Target. You will dance. You will tear up. You will go home and make out. It’s. Awesome.

Your music also sets a mood. Consider the energy you want your wedding to radiate. Elegant and sophisticated? Fun and funky? Down home country? Big band glam? The music you play can clue your guests in on what kind of event to expect, so use it!

Picking our music was a major challenge for us, for shizzle. We wanted to underscore our day with music that both held meaning to us as a couple, and showed off our diverse and random tastes in tuneage. And remember how Hunter had issues with having a ceremony in a place that many other people had married? He felt the same way about music selections for the wedding. I fell in love with plenty of songs that got quickly vetoed because he was very particular (and in the end, he was right). Plus, the closest thing we’d had to “our song” over the 6.5 years of our relationship that far, was deemed too sad (and worse, morbid)* by our families. We gave it some more thought, and we saw their point. We wanted to feel jolly and happy, not like we were harshing everyone’s (including our own) merry mellow! And so we decided that we wanted cheerful, even upbeat music to celebrate each moment with positive and joyful energy.

And that’s just what we did.

The Ceremony

♥ During the pre-game, while our guests filtered in and procured their fine ceremony cocktails, we had the one and only Michael from The Flashdance spinning beats. We suggested to Michael a very groovy, sunny, raggae sort of vibe to play with, and given his exquisite taste, the party was already started before we even arrived. Then, it was time to get down to business!

Fun in the sun...

♥ For the wedding party processional, we chose a song by one of our very favorite musicians, Trevor Hall. We love how stirring and meditative it feels, and how the lyrics are so appropriate to the business we had come to do. We even printed the lyrics on the back of our programs, so the guests would get the full experience of the song and its message. The timing worked out just right, so the final bridesmaid took her place just as the song ended… and it kicked our wedding with the perfect mood and energy.
Trevor Hall “To Zion

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Lyrics:
To Zion, I’ll fly on…
To Zion, I’ll fly on…

Up with the sunrise
breeze through the wind chimes
open my eyes as the images rush my mind
Shine, oh baby you’re just in time
the water’s in the kettle, the stars have just aligned
Yes within the hour, oh I see the power
never new the street could bloom so many flowers
Yes I water the roots as I lace up my boots
strap on my parachute, and float on back to…

To Zion…I Fly On

...and the fairies danced down the isle.

Swallow the ocean
drink of it’s potion
the wheels are turning and burning, set it in motion
Fire, fire, well baby I’m up in flames
these melodies are telling me to see it all the same
yes, I am I
you are you
you are me
we are we,
family on the road to unity
Plant a seed, watch it sprout
watch it grow, watch it bloom
get in tune, sun and moon
as we finally break through..

To Zion…I Fly On

Polish the mirror
so we can see clearer
push back the clouds
and reflect love superior.
Within the lotus,
it all comes in focus
this love, it ain’t hopeless
its no hocus pocus.

♥ Picking my entrance song was balls hard, people. I really wanted a different song for this part, but I only had like 30-40 seconds of processional and its near impossible to find music that can feel “complete” within that time. I had a few strong contenders, but nothing really sang to me, and I was getting pretty stressed about it. I didn’t want to compromise on this one, you know? It was my big moment! The reveal! The first look! Then I remembered the instrumental intro to one of my very favorite songs of all time, and it timed out perfectly! With its dreamlike tempo and airy strings, it feels like an underwater ballet… like time slows down when it plays. And that’s exactly how I wanted to feel as I glided down the aisle.

Jump, Little Children – “Mother’s Eyes” (the first 1:25 were my processional, and I entered at 0:30) but listen to the rest – its an epic song!)

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In our own underwater ballet.

♥ Our officiant/friend Billy knows us incredibly well. He’s also insanely talented (like mega ultra uber good) singer/songwriter, so we asked if he could write us a special jam, and then perform it after the recessional while circling the guest seating, to set the right mood for the ceremony and seal off the sacred space in which we were about to marry. It was incredibly special and powerful, and Billy was adorable, singing to us and interacting with the guests with the same goofy warmth that makes him one of our very best friends. As we always say: warm and sweet, thoughtful and silly is the way we love our Billy Gilly :)
You Got Love, written and performed by Billy Gill

Billy’s Song from Digital Princess Productions on Vimeo.

♥ The recessional was the one easy pick of the whole shebang. I’ll Melt with You has been one of our favorite, meaningful jams for many years (who can resist Modern English?) and we knew from day uno that we wanted to kick off our marriage with that hot-ass crescendo toward the end. It just feels like the beginning of something sooooo freaking good, don’t it?
Modern English – “Melt with You” (we started it at 3:17)

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Stay tuned for Part II – The Reception Jams!

What songs are you using for your ceremony? I love hearing people’s picks!

*that song was: I Will Follow You (Death Cab for Cutie)

Your Wedding Can Be A Launchpad For Your Life

I have lots of strong feelings about weddings. I don’t believe they should result in debt. I do believe they should be a celebration of your personalities, and sing with details that say something about your love. And generally, I don’t believe there are rights or wrongs in weddings, because really… who are we to judge what’s right for you, or the next couple?

But today, a really bad-ass post by my friend Emily at Eco-Chic Weddings (& Good with Style) reminded me that one of my strongest feelings about weddings is something I’ve not posted much about… yet.  I kept telling myself I’d do it when I hit the ceremony part of our recaps, but who am I kidding yo? You and I both know those recaps are taking their sweet-ass time and I am bored of waiting. (sorry about that, they will come. sometime) So, in the spirit of continuing where Emily left off….

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Holy crap, we're getting married!

Your wedding isn’t just one day. It’s no carriage gonna turn into a pumpkin at midnight, people. It is the beginning of your life as a married person. As a couple. As a team. It’s kinda like, your wedding is like the ultimate new years eve. Out with the old… and in with the new – resolutions vows and all.  Heck, there’s even usually champagne toasts and kissing involved just like new years! It is not about expense. It is not about purchases, or timelines, or gratuity envelopes. It is not even about beautiful dresses and photographers and music. It is about you, your partner, and your love. It’s the beginning of a new phase of life, but now you’ve got a buddy who wants to be there every day with you. PS – how freaking rad is that?!

It goes lightyears beyond what kind of partner you want to be to your mate. If you haven’t already, now is the time to decide how you want to approach life together, as a unit. Whether you’ve been together for 5 minutes or 5 years, it’s up to you to decide what the next 5 minutes or 5 years or 5 decades will be like (beyond the to have and to hold business). This can be so fun (and it doesn’t cost a single dollar)! Look back at your relationship, and think about what elements you can infuse into your wedding design and your ceremony, as reminders to yourselves and to communicate to your posse, the kind of life you’re creating together.  So…. eff tradition and let your unorthodox light shine, if old-school ceremony doesn’t suit your style. Or revel in the ritual of convention and history, if that’s what makes your heart sing. There is no right or wrong, as long as you’re being true to you. So be straight up with yourselves and don’t compromise. This is a rare moment in our adult lives, in which you really get to set yourself up for the future you dream!

When we wrote our ceremony, we were hellbent on making it extremely personally unique, and wanted to really use it to set up the life we want to forge together. If we were going to make a solemn, lifelong vow to each other, we decided it was best to put everything into words and actions that personally embody our priorities as  a couple.  And it went beyond the vows to each other. We invented symbolic gestures to replace ones that didn’t resonate with us, or we borrowed inspiration from others and made it our own.  The internet is rich with cool people who’ve designed personal and rad weddings, and we made good use of their legacies.

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My daddy, imbuing our rings with his love.

At the top of the ceremony, we invited our guests to join in a group blessing, to commit to support and protect our relationship – and then continued their involvement with a ring warming ceremony. We wrote personal statements to each other, and customized our vows completely, looking boldly at our strengths and shortcomings, weaving in ways to keep us strong, grounded and connected. We also dedicated a section of the ceremony to making vows to the universe – pledging to be conscious caretakers our earth and her people, and to lead by example in an effort to help others find a way to greener, kinder lives.  Later, our guests showered us with compliments about our ceremony. Many said they’d never been to such an unique or personal wedding, and they absolutely loved learning about us through the event. The best compliment we heard all night? “It was so YOU!”

The same can (and should) apply to your design. Let your spirits sing, yo! Some of your guests may never have met you before, or perhaps the last time they saw you, you were rocking pampers. You’ve invited this specific group to witness your marriage, so what do you want your wedding to say about you, and how can you include your guests?  Have fun with it, and see how many ways you can infuse what makes you YOU into the day.

And please, lets not underestimate the valuable life lessons hidden in the wedding planning process. If you’re self-planning, there are some bad-ass skills that you’ll acquire that can easily be applied to your life in ways that you’ll never imagine! From budgeting and negotiation, to creativity and design, to research and logistics, don’t just abandon all those useful talents you’ve been building up once you reach the end of that aisle!  Use them to make your life better, easier, more fulfilling, and sweeter, every day!

Every couple has a different personality. A different set of priorities, or personal doctrines, by which they lead their lives. So why should your wedding be a one-size fits all, fill in the blanks script or design?  Let your wedding day serve as a reflection of and  launchpad for your life, and live its lessons every day, for as long as you both shall live.

And, just because I’m feeling hella guilty about our recaps being so slow… here’s a taste of our ceremony – the repeated vows that we handcrafted together: DH-1302
I Dana, take you Hunter, to be my lawfully wedded husband. To love you without reservation and to demonstrate that love in action, as well as word. To turn to you and not on you in times of trial; and to practice honest and thoughtful communication, especially when its most difficult to do so. To challenge and inspire you to be all that I believe you can, and to welcome the same from you with an open heart. To make passion a priority, and faithfully work to entice and attract you through the years. I vow to trust in your love and put apology and forgiveness above ego. To take ownership of my health and to care for yours; to celebrate your joys and share your sorrows as long as we both shall live. From my hand to your heart, I thee wed.

How will you use your wedding as a launchpad for your life? What life lessons will you take with you?

(update: I changed the title to “can be” after (the ever-astute) Liene brought it to my attention that it might insinuate that everyone is waiting for a wedding to come along before they start their life. Oh no! My true point is that a wedding is an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities, and consciously decide how you’d like to step into the next phase of life. And that the vows one makes and lessons one learns in the process should never become secondary to things like flowers and invitation wording. They should live on long after that day, and always! The best part of life is that every day, we have the chance to change it, and ourselves, for the better – married or not!)

The Ride Of Our Lives: A Pre-Ceremony Pitstop

When we left off…. I was just arriving at the ceremony site, along with the ladies of my bridal party. We took off our shoes before ascending the stairs, as was tradition at the Shumei Center, in whose Hollywood garden we had our ceremony.

I knew the time had come, and all I wanted was to peer out the upstairs window at the guests gathering, but I was quarantined upstairs so as to avoid being spotted by Hunter. We hid out in a spare room, and waited, all a-buzz with bridal delight.

Ta-Dizzle!

Ta-Dizzle!

Our dear friends own a company specializing in tea, accessories, and gourmet goods called Algabar (in whose former shop I worked for years) which also offers marvelous tea-inspired catering as Fete du The. As a wedding gift to us, they offered to serve a ceremony refreshment, and we loved the idea!

They served our favorite tea cocktail that they had invented, The Mrs. Palmer: a lavender-infused lemonade blended with earl grey and lavender tea, (with an option to spike with vodka), and sweetened with lavender syrup. As soon as we got upstairs, I was all… “someone get this bride a drink!” Just one… to take the edge off. Hey, I may be an actress – but standing in front of everyone without a character to hide behind, is still intimidating. And, I was about to get freaking married!

wetting my wedding whistle

wetting my wedding whistle

Our friends served the drinks in mason jars that I BrideShared with a bride I met on the indiebride kvetch forum, at a table off to the side of the ceremony seating. The guests later gushed about how much they loved and appreciated the tasty drinks.

Then of course, thanks to my drink and the nerves, I had to pee. Now, I am posting this out of love for you readers, and because I keeps it real. But you gotta know, it probably will happen to you. And you’ll need help. That’s what your maid of honor is for. That’s what sisters are for. So, ladies and gentleman (that’s you, dad)… I give you, The Broke-Ass Bride at her very finest!

It happens to the best of us...

It happens to the best of us...

I just had to post this picture because MaPo took it and I love it. (and in the hopes it will help you forget the previous photo)

Feels like a fairy tale.

Feels like a fairy tale.

Headpiece and earrings by TS Tiara

Next thing I knew, Sharlene our intrepid DOC, was upstairs telling the ladies it was time to line up for the processional. I quickly rallied the troops for some last-minute wall pushups to get strong and make ourselves feel ultra bad-ass.

for last minute toning...

for last minute toning...

And it was time to go! I took a moment to be alone upstairs after the girls left, to breathe, to give myself a moment. I gave myself a “be present” pep talk and felt a HUGE smile creep across my face. I was nervous, but mostly just excited and calm and steady and ready.

I could hear the processional music beginning, and I knew that everyone was lined up downstairs, ready to walk that aisle before me. That my father was waiting to walk with me on that path. That the garden would be full of my favorite faces and most beloved friends and family. I knew at the end of that aisle stood my husband.

The Ride Of Our Lives: A Cinderella Story, Part II

(Missed part 1? Get up to speed – we’ll wait!)

It had been a year since I first tried on my dress, an ill-fitting runway sample that still made me feel like some bridal angel from heaven. I spent hours daydreaming about it over the year, sneaking peeks at the sample in Deborah‘s studio during my work-trade hours, or using it as motivation to sweat my back fat off. Putting it on was the holy grail of my pre-ceremony prep, and I was dizzily giddy with glee when the time came to step into that swathe of frothy, creamy, lacy confection.

Even though Deborah (my fairy godmother/dress designer) was there to help me change, I didn’t want my mom or maid of honor to miss out on their part in the dressing honor. So I invited them up to get me started….

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My mom and MOH as Cinderella's little birdies

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Make. Me. PRETTY!

I have a tendency to let adrenaline and excitement overwhelm and keep me from really being present in a moment, so as often as possible throughout the day, I’d try to quiet down and let the moments really sink in, instead of merely washing over me.

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Feelin' it.

But, on the real, it was hard to keep from bursting the seams of my joy every minute.

Deb stepped in to lace me up….

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My sister is looking so perplexed!

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I just kept looking down at the gown, in awe of it all.

Then it was time to tie my sash…

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My paparazzi moment.

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Like a perfect present.

We almost forgot my garter! A few years back, Hunter caught the garter at my sister Kim’s wedding, so we thought it would be fun to use it as a “something borrowed”

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Momma, your leg smells like bride!

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How does it look?

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Fashion tape time! Ah, how innocent I was, how badly it let me down.

Got some sassy glitter to decorate my decolletage!

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My girls need some glitter!

I took a last look before running out the door…

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Is my halo on straight?

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Back fat check! All clear!

…..and it was time to roll! We all piled into a van and headed towards the ceremony site, feeling high on happiness and full of joyous anticipation. My vows in hand, I looked down at the words I was getting ready to utter, and remembered to switch my engagement ring over to my right hand, as something different would soon be taking its place. I was off to be married. I was on my way to the arms of my husband.