Thursday, June 30, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: We Rehearse!

I haven't yet introduced you to our officiant, Annemarie Juhlian, but she was one of the best calls that we made when planning our wedding. I facetiously told you about how we found her before the wedding, but I should mention that the gist of that story is totally true. My mom really wanted to have someone slightly more official than a friend officiate our wedding, but Mr. EB was very strongly opposed to any sort of religious officiant. I really had no idea what to do, so I started googling "wedding officiants" and "IslandWood" and her name was the first to pop up.

I really liked the idea of someone who had already officiated a wedding at IslandWood (they don't do many weddings there, so I wasn't sure if I'd be able to find someone who had or not), but mainly I wanted someone who was familiar with the island. After meeting with Annemarie and deciding that she would be perfect for the type of ceremony that we wanted, she had us complete several "homework assignments" so that she could get to know us a little bit better and craft our ceremony for us. The homework we did was actually a lot of fun - a lot of the questions Mr. EB and I completed separately, and after we sent off our answers to her we talked about them and why we answered the way we did. It was a lot of fun to talk about how we would describe our relationship to someone else, or what parts of each other we love the best.

One of the only pictures I could find from our rehearsal! Apparently we were all busy, you know, rehearsing. *Guest photo

On Saturday morning (with the generator on, but the main power still needing to be fixed), Annemarie led our rehearsal, and just that act made our decision to have her officiate our wedding completely and utterly worth it. I didn't have to try and think about how we were going to stand on the stage (as you'll see later, the way we decorated the stage made getting on and off a little bit precarious!), I didn't have to worry about how we were going to process in or recess out, and most importantly I didn't have to yell at anyone to get them to pay attention! Annemarie was the perfect mix of class and sophisticated drill sergeant as she made sure everyone knew where they needed to go and what they would be doing during the ceremony. 

So do you want my number one tip for a successful rehearsal? Have someone else run it! Whether your officiant, your day-of-coordinator, your best friend who loves to be in charge, just make sure it's not you! And also? If you want pictures of it later, make sure to ask someone specifically to take pictures. Don't just assume it'll happen, because then you'll end up like me with precisely one photo of your rehearsal.

Meanwhile, my aunts had started setting up the ceremony decor, which I can't wait to show you next - we wanted to bring the Northwest feel into our indoor ceremony, and boy did we ever!

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: The Calm Couldn't Last Forever

Finally it was the morning of our wedding! The day dawned bright and clear - amazingly beautiful weather for a Northwest wedding in February.

Since we had a welcome dinner the night before and no real time to rehearse, we planned our rehearsal for Saturday morning, after which my girls and I would start getting ready. Clearly that meant that Mr. EB and I would be seeing each other in the morning before the wedding. Luckily neither of us had been set on not seeing each other until I came down the aisle. But we also decided to stay together the night before the wedding - which honestly, was more my choice than Mr. EB's. 

I think if Mr. EB had it entirely his way we probably would have stayed apart the night before (even though we would still have seen each other the next morning). But I know myself. I am not a good sleeper under the best of circumstances, and between my nerves and everything else flying through my head (plus being in a strange place), it certainly made for not the best of circumstances! I sleep MUCH better when I know that Mr. EB is close, and I wanted that feeling the night before our wedding. I am a lucky girl in that Mr. EB totally gave in on this one and let me have what I needed. He also told me later that he was really happy how it worked out.

Now, I have to point out that overall, the week leading up to the wedding had been really calm. Sure there were minor issues here and there, but everything had just gone so smoothly! And other than a couple people missing a ferry the night before and being slightly later to dinner, no major hiccups had happened during the Welcome Dinner either. And it wasn't even raining! So you see where I'm going, right? Clearly, something had to happen that would disrupt things (at least slightly). And that disruption came in the form of a very large tree, falling and blocking the main road to IslandWood (the way that I had given anyone who asked for directions, including our hair and makeup team and all of our guests who weren't staying at IslandWood). Oh, and did I mention that it also knocked out power to IslandWood? Oh yeah, it totally did.

It happened when I was in our cabin taking a shower after breakfast and before our rehearsal. All of a sudden everything went dark and truly my first thought was how in the hell did I manage to trip a circuit breaker when I'm in the shower?? Luckily the generator came on almost immediately. I actually thought it was the main power back on and that there had just been a little blip in the power (not at all unheard of on the island).

So when I showed up for our rehearsal, I was a little surprised that our officiant was just walking in as well (I was a couple minutes late and she had made a point to mention that she was always early, to make sure that she could deal with any potential surprises). It turned out that when the power went out and the generator came on it caused the main gate to shut and lock her out for a short period of time! Fortunately, just before she was about to leave her car, climb the gate and hike up the driveway to get to our rehearsal the gate opened back up. But yes, I was now slightly nervous for what might happen later.

And then we got a phone call from the hair and makeup team (good friends of Bridesmaid K and Co-MOH S), asking how to get to IslandWood given that there was a giant tree in the way. Thankfully S and K took charge immediately and got them alternate directions, and I didn't even know about that problem until after they showed up and started making us pretty!

So with the lights on (for the time being), and all members of the wedding party present, it was finally time to rehearse...

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to the best dad a girl could ask for! You've taught me a lot of lessons over the years, and instilled in me a great passion for learning. There's nothing I enjoy more than sitting your front porch, enjoying an Oregon pinot and discussing what's going on with my work or your classes or whatever the latest book is you've been reading.

And to my new father in law who has welcomed me as one of the family since the first day I met him. I'm so happy to have another wonderful father in my life!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Bonfire Time!

This was one of the things that I was anticipating the most during our wedding weekend (you know, other than the wedding itself of course!):

One of the places that IslandWood had that we could take advantage of was the Friendship Circle (which I talked about more previously). They built up a huge fire in the middle and had all the necessary supplies for hot chocolate, coffee, and of course, s'mores.

It was pretty cold out there, so we were all bundled up (and some of our smaller guests fell asleep), but for the rest of us the entertainment came in the form of a slideshow from my sister, Co-MOH E, and lots of stories about Mr. EB and myself, which caused me to laugh, cry and make just about every facial expression in between.

I liked to dress up a lot as a child. This gave sister and Co-MOH E a LOT of fodder to work with as she put together the slide show!

Best Man W and Mr. EB's sister and groomswoman B said a few words on behalf of Mr. EB.

My girls, including Co-MOH S, Bridesmaid K and Bridesmaid N, added some of their favorite stories about me.

More of our family and friends told stories, and all of our parents got up to say a few words of welcome and thanks to everyone for coming to celebrate with us. I also got up to say thank you, which I'm so glad I did as I forgot to do it the next night! I wish I could remember some of the stories people told with more clarity, but my memories of the bonfire consist mainly of the feelings that I had that night - love for Mr. EB and our family and friends, and a whole lotta laughter!

Because who doesn't need a little Captain Morgan at a bonfire?
*Guest photo

And with that, the day before had come to an end and our wedding day was almost here!

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Welcoming our Guests

All along we knew that we weren't going to have a traditional rehearsal dinner. In the spirit of our wedding weekend, we wanted to include all of our guests who had traveled to be with us, and I really wanted to make sure that any in-town guests who wanted to come to dinner were welcome as well. This could have meant that we ended up with essentially two reception dinners, but instead the Welcome Dinner stayed very close to the casual, welcome to the Northwest vibe that I really wanted (and a lot of guests ended up not being able to make it, so the dinner was much smaller than it could have ended up being!).

*Guest photo

We started with a reception in the Welcome Center as people slowly trickled in from the lodges or elsewhere on the island.

After spending some time mingling, we headed to the Dining Hall for dinner. You'll hear me gush about this throughout all of my recaps, but I have to pause for a minute and talk about the food. It was SO good. All of it, at every meal, was excellent.

The staff at IslandWood works really hard to create meals from local and sustainable ingredients, and they worked with us to build a weekend of meals that showcased Northwest cuisine, but also made use of what was in season. For our welcome dinner we had boeuf bourguignon, whole roasted chicken, winter root vegetables, green salad, wild rice and freshly baked bread with herbed butter. And my god, the bread was fabulous. So good!

I have to say, my mom was a much better hostess than I was for the dinner portion of the evening. I did get a chance to talk to just about everyone who was there at the reception, but by the time dinner was served, I was starving!

In case you can't tell, that would be me sitting at a table by myself in the background as my mom made sure to talk to everyone (here she's chatting with Mr. EB's best man). We purposely didn't have any sort of seating arrangement for the Welcome Dinner. However, it didn't dawn on me that everyone would just grab seats as they got food meaning there probably wouldn't be seats for Mr. EB and myself, as we got our food last after going over a few last minute things with our coordinator. So I just grabbed a seat off to the side, which actually turned out quite nice to have a few minutes to myself! And don't worry, Mr. EB and several other friends joined us shortly thereafter!

*Guest photo

After dinner we brought out the dessert, which was specially planned to pay homage to my mom's family - our family's "35th Anniversary Cake."

This cake was first made by my mom for my grandparents' 35th wedding anniversary, back in 1976. Since then this cake has been made for other anniversaries, birthdays, First Communions, graduations, and yes, even weddings. We decided to go in a different direction for our wedding cake, but I really wanted to have this served during our weekend and it was an excellent way to end dinner. 

Now that we were all full and ready to talk some more, we moved to the Friendship Circle for a bonfire, s'mores and plenty of embarrassing and sentimental moments!

*Unless noted, all photos are by the fabulously talented Persimmon Images.

Want to catch up?

We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: Gathering the Family

After my more dramatic-than-intended morning, I headed to my parents' house where we were hosting our extended family during the in-between time when people were arriving from the airport or after spending the morning in Seattle, but before we could head over to IslandWood.

My dad had the wine flowing, my mom had lots of food spread out and everyone was remarking on the fact that in the middle of February in the Northwest there wasn't a drop of rain in sight! 

That's right, the earlier forecast that had called for SNOW had been totally and utterly wrong. It was certainly cold, don't get me wrong, but the gorgeous blue sky that greeted us on Friday morning stayed with us for the entire weekend. I still have no idea how we managed to get such a gorgeous weekend in the middle of winter, but it was so nice to have the threat of rain (or heave forbid, snow!) taken off my plate.

Even the mountains (Mt. Baker and Mt. Ranier) were out that weekend! I was so happy that the Northwest put on such a great show given that we had a lot of guests who had never been to Seattle before.

My mom was the one who wanted to make sure that the extended family had somewhere to go on Friday as so many were arriving earlier in the week or earlier that day, but wouldn't be able to check into IslandWood until 4:00 that afternoon. 

If you are able to do something like this, I highly recommend it as for us the purpose of the weekend really was to be able to see people. It worked out fantastically for me as I had a chance to see a lot of my family either at the Bridesmaid Luncheon the day before or at my parents' house on Friday afternoon. So even before we got to IslandWood, I felt much more relaxed about making sure I saw the people I wanted to. 

I've talked about it before, but it's always made me sad to go to a wedding and barely see the bride and groom and I was determined that that wouldn't happen to us (of course it did with respect to seeing some of our guests, but there's only so much you can do no matter how hard you try!).

By 4pm we were all headed over to our home-away-from-home for the weekend and it was time to get ready for the Welcome Dinner and the first of many delicious meals from the crew at IslandWood!

Need to catch up?

We get our license to wed.
We bottle and seal our wedding wine.
We finish our projects one week out.
The bridesmaids lunch.
I make gifts for my girls.
I break down the morning before.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Weekend in the Woods: The Morning Before

Friday morning did not go as I had planned. I was really looking forward to the morning before the wedding. Friday afternoon would be spent greeting all of our extended family that had come in, getting settled at IslandWood and ready for the Welcome Dinner that night, but the morning was supposed to be a time for me to relax and prepare the weekend ahead.

See, a couple of weeks before my mom had noticed that her chiropractor's office was offering a great discount on massages for new clients and she asked if I'd like a massage the day before the wedding. I took her up on this immediately as there are very few things that relax me as much as a good massage. And getting to spend an entire hour focusing on my own relaxation sounded like an excellent way to prepare for a weekend full of people. As a sidenote, I should mention that I am definitely an introvert. I love my family and friends and I knew that for our wedding I wanted to spend as much time with them as possible, but I also know myself and my need for alone time. Which was one of the main reasons why I was so looking forward to the massage and how the time to myself would help me get through the rest of the weekend. Of course, as I alluded to earlier, things are never that easy.

I got off the ferry and arrived at the office about ten minutes early for my appointment. Only to discover that they had double booked their massage therapist and that the next open appointment wasn't until 3pm. Exactly when we would be entertaining approximately 40 family members at my parents' house and getting ready to head to IslandWood. All I could think was how much I'd been looking forward to that hour alone before the whirlwind of the weekend and now it wasn't going to happen.

So what did I do? Calmly figure out a solution? Um, no. I cried. I did manage to get myself out to the parking lot and on the phone with my mom before I started crying, but cry I did. I'm not very proud of how I handled myself in that moment, but I'm so happy I called my mom instead of just leaving and heading to their house. My mom appears to have some sort of mom super power which I hope kicks in for me when I have kids. But she called the office, did her magic, got the other appointment all squared away and I was on the massage table for my hour of relaxation. Which I needed even more after my slight breakdown in the parking lot. 

I'm so glad that I was able to get that massage as the time by myself was exactly what I needed (well, minus the drama at the beginning!). But for me, it was the perfect way to spend some time alone with my thoughts, think about what the weekend meant to me, and prepare myself to spend the next three days with friends and family. I highly suggest taking some time for yourself if you can manage it!

Next up, we head to IslandWood for the official start of our wedding weekend at the Welcome Dinner!
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