Monday, September 22, 2014

Groomsmen Gift Giveaway

With all of this talk about Best Men and Groomsmen, I thought it would be a great time to reward them with what they enjoy and do best - drinking!

Our friends at Marylin's Keepsakes are giving you all a chance to win a set of 4 Custom Old Fashioned Drinking Jars! Whether it be for your boyfriend, husband, or for one of the many groomsmen in your bridal party - they are sure to love these. My dad has some from their wedding that are always chilled in our freezer. 

Entering is easy - just comment on the blog post below for your chance to WIN!

Giveaway ends and the winner will be announced on this Friday, September 26th. So be sure to ENTER NOW. 

Best of luck UnBrides!


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sports & Weddings : In that Order

I know you all have been dying for another "From the Groom" installment. Well ladies and gentleman he's taken a break from watching golf and Bar Rescue to write a post for you all. Take it away Kyle...
Who the hell schedules a wedding during football season?! Kickoff is Right in the Middle of the Ceremony! It’s game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final!! Don’t they know that’s Final Four weekend?! Do we have to go, it’s not like we’re really that close, right?!

If you are a fairly passionate sports fan whether it be football, basketball, or any other sport of your choice that takes place on weekend days, I’m sure you’ve either screamed in rage or thought to yourself one or more of those previous statements when your buddies’ save the date came in the mail (or more realistically when your wife/girlfriend told you the date of the wedding for the 10th time and it finally stuck in your mind, ‘Shit! That’s the day of the big game!’)

Coming from the Midwest, I would say a majority of the people fit into the fairly passionate sports fan category. Thus, when getting married, selecting a wedding date that falls anywhere during football season or around any other major sporting event, can be a highly risky move. You will undoubtedly piss off a number of friends by making them miss the game or even worse they will just not show up and choose the game over you. Ouch.

I’ve had these thoughts myself and have been to a number of weddings on weekends in the fall that caused me to miss all of or part of some fairly big games.

My first experience with this came way back at my own sisters wedding when she scheduled her wedding the same day as the Ohio State/Michigan game. Yes, seriously, the wedding was right in the middle of the big game! Now, I was younger at the time and this is when pagers were around, so the groomsmen and myself, the junior groomsman, would constantly be looking at this little pager for score updates the entire ceremony and play the old school telephone game down the line to tell each other the score. We made the best of the situation and kept our cheers in check for the most part.

I’ve also been to a wedding when the game to decide who was going to the national championship was on that night, but the bride had instructed the reception hall not to turn on the TV’s in the bar! In the words of Keyshawn Johnson, ‘C’mon man!’ But being that we are passionate fans, we ended up sweet talking (see: bribing) the bartenders into turning one of the TVs on – cut to 45 minutes later, a pissed off bride walking into the bar to 50 plus people gathered around one screen and no one on the dance floor. Everyone’s response: ‘Shoulda thought of that before ya picked the date!’

For our wedding date, we got lucky because although the Buckeyes were playing on the day of our wedding, it was an early game and being on the West Coast early games come on at 9am. So we were able to tell all of our friends where the nearest Buckeye Bars were to catch the game before going to the wedding later that afternoon. I even got to watch nearly the entire game that morning while getting ready with all the groomsmen. Beer, Ohio State football (they won too!), and a wedding all in one day – that’s a trifecta right there!

So no matter when you are planning to have your wedding (but especially if its going to be during football season) just try to be aware of when your hometown team or other big game events will be taking place. I’m not saying you have to only try to schedule your big day on the Buckeyes bye week or the weekend after the NBA Finals, but just be warned that you may be receiving some backlash from your friends like ‘What the hell bro?!’ Or worse, seeing half of the crowd (“supposedly” your closest family and friends) glued to their smart phones, in the middle of the ceremony, watching the game winning 4th quarter drive.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 

Photo Courtesy: Sporting News


Monday, September 15, 2014

Kim & Dan : Manda Wakeman Photography

Meet the adorably cute couple Kim and Dan. While their picturesque Cleveland wedding may have gone off without a hitch, it was the road leading up to it that was rocky -- from a Rehearsal Dinner Wreck to some Chippendales (no, not the shirtless kind). Enjoy Kim's I Guess I Do story in her own words below...

Hi, I'm Kim – a dog lover, an optimist, and a romantic. A Cleveland enthusiast. I work in Marketing. I love Taylor Swift almost as much as I love the color pink. And I believe in fairytales. (Yes, they really exist).

In fact, about 4 years ago, I met my prince - Dan. Our first date was at Starbucks in the very trendy Warehouse District in downtown Cleveland. Several fun and exciting dates came in the weeks to follow all around the city. And so our love story began… 

Four years later, Dan and I live in a beautiful home - with the most amazingly cute dog, Diesel. Oh, and a fearless cat named Oliver. A cute little family I’d say. Then one day, we went for our daily walk. As we stopped by a charming little creek, I notice Diesel all of a sudden has a jewelry box tied to his neck. When I looked up, Dan says "It's a love story, baby just say yes!".

Dan (and Diesel) had just proposed to me! (with lyrics from my favorite Taylor Swift song nonetheless). And in a blink of an eye, we were engaged! And so our love story continued… 

We spent the next year planning what was the BEST day of our lives! Armed with an absolutely gorgeous venue in our hometown of Cleveland, a breathtaking Cinderella dress, and the most handsome Groom I’ve ever seen, we had a pretty damn awesome wedding. Most of our guests described the day as something out of a storybook. A day filled with romance, elegance, and love. A modern day fairytale if you will.

And so, on June 6, 2014, our love story continued… 

A Storybook Venue
We hosted both our wedding ceremony and wedding reception at the beautiful historic Tudor Arms Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. When we saw the venue for the first time, we were speechless. Completely speechless. It was gorgeous. Stunning in fact.

Built in 1931, The Tudor Arms retains all of the classic charm from its era. Embellished with Old World architecture and stunning 35-foot ceilings, tall glass windows, and beautiful murals, this venue is breathtaking. It has two unique ballrooms along with an exquisite sitting room in between decorated with over sized 1920s furniture and a cozy fireplace.

Quite frankly, it was perfect. We could host all of our guests comfortably in one single venue. And a beautiful one at that. We signed a contract immediately and in the blink of an eye, we had a wedding date and a wedding venue. Wow, that was easy. 

‘Chippendales’ Stamps 
So we had a bride, a groom, a wedding date, and a venue. Now we needed to invite the guests! Easy, right? Not so much.

I’ll admit after hours and hours of addressing, stuffing, sealing, and stamping all the invitations, I was one happy gal to get them done. FINALLY, I could send these invitations!

I call my Mom to share the excitement and this is how the convo went…

Me: SOOOO excited to take these to the post office. They are stamped and ready to go. It took me a whole month to get all these together!

Mom: That’s fantastic, but you do know postage went up last week, right?

Me: Ummm….no.

Total fail. I had the wrong postage! Oops. 

The post office offers us a solution to add a 4 cent stamp to each envelope and make up the difference. There was one, and only one, option for a 4-cent stamp…the “Chippendales” stamp. Yes, I said Chippendales.

Seriously? A Chippendales stamp? On a wedding invitation? After my mini-meltdown (Dramatic, I know, but I was caught in the moment), Dan got me to laugh the whole thing off and we went with it. And Guess what? No one noticed. No one cared. Moral of the story? Move on. Don’t sweat the small stuff. 

Oh, The Hoop! 
So, how many gals does it take to put the Brides dress on? In our case….it took two bridesmaids, a Matron of Honor, a frantic phone call to the Seamstress, and a YouTube video.

Okay, I’ll admit, I didn’t have the most practical dress (but who does?) This princess-like ball gown had nine layers of tulle. Yep, nine layers. It also had a hoop skirt underneath. Which none of us could figure out how to put on correctly – well, without me tripping over it at least.

If I wanted to make it down the aisle without face-planting, we needed a fix. No worries, the gals are on it. Robyn is on the phone with Olga, the seamstress. Ang is on YouTube searching for ‘how to tie a hoop skirt’ videos. Kacia is trying to remember how the heck we had put it all together during the final fitting. Oh, and I’m standing there in nothing but a thong. (Awkward.)

After several attempts, we finally figure it out and get everything on pretty well. I was now confident I could walk down the aisle without face-planting it. YES! We were off! Just in time for the ceremony to begin… 

The Ceremony’s “Surprise” Guest 
Our dog, Diesel, is our world. So we were bummed that we couldn’t have him there with us for the wedding. Little did we know that our officiant (Dan’s sister, Terri) had a little surprise for us.

As Terri began the ceremony with her opening remarks, she said someone ‘important’ was missing and we couldn’t begin without him. We knew she was talking about Diesel. Everyone starts whispering and turning their heads, expecting Diesel to come barreling through the door and down the aisle to us. 

Then the Father of the Groom pulls out this poster of Diesel and places it at the alter right next to us. They propped up this portrait of Diesel so he could “sit” next to us during the ceremony! It was so cute! It was definitely a hot topic of conversation the rest of the night. 

Rehearsal Dinner Nightmare
Every couple has one thing that goes wrong. Just expect it. Here’s ours…

Excited to show off Cleveland, we decided to host our rehearsal dinner in historic Little Italy. What better place for a home cooked meal, right? So we booked a private banquet room at Maxi’s in Little Italy for our group of 25 out of town guests. We even selected a customized dinner and drink menu in advance. This was going to be one fantastic dinner!

Except…when we arrived, the hostess told us the room was not ready yet. Ekkkk! They had booked another party in the banquet room just before ours. They said not to worry - the other group was wrapping up and asked us to wait just a few minutes. Okay, we can handle that.

So there we were....25 of us, all dressed up, standing outside on the curb of Maxi’s waiting to get into the banquet room. After 20 minutes of waiting, we were anxious. After 30 minutes, we were frustrated. After 45 minutes, we realized the other party wasn't even done with their dinner yet. We were fed up, frustrated, and embarrassed. Not to mention hungry. Clearly, we weren't getting into the banquet room any time soon. Time for Plan B!

Luckily, my fabulous bridesmaids and my amazing husband took charge and got us in across the street at Gusto where they took us in, sat us, and made a delicious meal in no time. The Accordion player even played for us to provide upbeat entertainment. They saved the day for us and our wedding weekend was back on track! 

Our Love Story Continues
All in all, we had quite the awesome wedding experience and it was beyond anything we could have ever imagined. We couldn’t be happier. Were there frustrating, awkward, and funny I Guess I Do moments along the way? Absolutely. Was it all worth it? Absolutely. Best part of it all? I got to marry my best friend. 

Photographer: Manda Wakeman  Ceremony, Reception, and Overnight Accommodations: Tudor Arms Hotel  Dress: Allure Romance via Catan’s Bridal  DJ: Herby Loftin aka DJ Smoov  Florist: Roses for Weddings  Cake: Wild Flour Bakery  Hair and Makeup: Ladies and Gentleman Legacy Village  Invitations and Stationary: Wedding Paper Divas