Monday, September 29, 2014

Year Two

Is it really September? Would someone please just slow it all down, or give my life a Zach Morris “Timeout” – either of the two would suffice.

These past couple of months have truly been a blur. Full of tremendous highs, unbearable lows, sprinkled in with a few days of solace – a true rollercoaster in every sense of the word. 

While many people say, “Wow – I can’t believe we’ve been married two years!” Well I can. I feel like we’ve lived nine lives already. Our marriage began with a blood clot and year two commenced with the loss of our beloved Joanie.

And despite the twists and turns on this ride, there has always remained one constant: Kyle.

Now I hate when people gush about their significant other on Facebook, the sappy pictures of flowers and endless amounts of emoji’s (which I still don’t know how to use), takes everything in me not to comment “Just make sure to delete this when you breakup.” That is why I do not log onto The Book while intoxicated.

Obviously as you can tell from the blog, Kyle and I do not take ourselves nor our relationship too seriously. But in this moment, I do want to thank the man who this past month has brought me back to life, who has carried all of the loads I couldn’t possibly bear, and who has absolutely gone above and beyond to make sure I knew he was there for me.

Who runs out and picks up your Midol and tampons without flinching while you cry in the fetal position? Kyle Kelley. And he did so with a smile. Young guys out there – that is how a secure, confident man handles the situation. And if you do the same, you will have a long lasting relationship.

I leave you all with an exclusive look as we share our wedding vows for the first time, vows that keep getting deeper and take on new meaning year after year.





We said in sickness and in health and for better or worse—but the true key is having that unwavering faith that no matter what happens, as long as we have each other, things will always get better…

Thank you my love.

For everything. 















Friday, September 26, 2014

Groomsmen Gift Giveaway Winner

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. 

Congrats to our winner - MISSY CHARNEY! You are sure to enjoy these for your upcoming nuptials! Have a drink for me! xo

This giveaway winner was announced on September 26, 2014. It has now ended.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

So You Want to Write a Best Man Speech, Do Ya?

In college, David Chambliss could sell ice to Eskimos. Which is why him now being the Director of Development at The Ohio State University is so fitting. He is one of the funniest people I know, and I am lucky to call him a friend. But he also so happens to have extensive experience in the wedding department. Check out his tips on how to give your best Best Man Speech!
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We all know that weddings are about celebrating the bride and groom. But let's be honest, it's not the sappy vows or the cake cutting we look forward to - It's the open bar, the chance to dance like a fool for three hours without being judged, and hopefully, if we are really lucky, an epic Best Man Speech. 

I know a thing or two about these. Since my first post-college wedding in June of 2007, I have been to 29 weddings! Between high school friends, fraternity brothers and college friends, and co-workers, my last seven summers have been spent traveling the country to celebrate holy matrimony. And I'm proud to say all 29 marriages are still going strong - so consider me the good luck guest.

As a communication major in college and a self-proclaimed public speaker extraordinaire, I was stoked when one of my best friends, Dustin, asked me to officiate he and his wife's wedding in Seattle. On top of reading the typical mushy stuff about loving each other forever, they asked me to write my own personal words about them. A year later, I officiated another wedding, same format (albeit a Jewish wedding), but I got to hone my wedding speaking skills. Finally, after seeing 28 other best man speeches in the last decade, I got to give my own Best Man Speech! My best friend from college, Pat, asked me to be his Best Man, and lets just say I rolled 12 years of stories into an 8 minute roast for the ages.

There are three very important factors in giving a best man speech:

1) Know Your Audience

Fortunately for me, the three wedding speeches I have given were at marriages where I knew the bride and groom (as well most of their family and friends), so most jokes pleased the entire audience. However, it is crucial that you consider the audience that you are speaking to and know where to draw the lines and where you can cross them. The Maid of Honor Speech may be all sappy and teary-eyed, but if you're the Best Man, the gloves are off.

2) Practice Makes Perfect

 
So often I see Best Men try to "wing" their speech or tell a story that they decided would be funny 4 weeks ago and are just now retelling it. It's not so much the story, but the delivery that matters. Being able to keep the audience's attention when there is an open bar and food waiting for them is a feat on it's own.

And third, but most important:

3) Length Does Not Matter (haha), Content Does. 

 
Did you care that Titanic was three hours long? No. Have you ever been to an amazing party that was "too long"? No. Have you ever been on a great vacation that went "too long"? No. Why? Because when you enjoy something, lengthy doesn't matter. When I was preparing to give my Best Man Speech, everyone said, "David, you have to keep it under 3-4 minutes". Sure, this is nice if you're giving the invocation, but I have 10 years of history with this guy and 150 people expecting me to deliver something great, three minutes is just getting started. My best man speech was 8:42 seconds long, and not a single person complained about the length. Why? Because the content and flow were succinct. Each story had a message or a punchline, and everyone was on the edge of their seats waiting for what's next.

So, Best Men, remember, the wedding day is a time for the bride and groom to be celebrated, but if you take my advice, the only thing people will remember the next day is you. 





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!

xo

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...
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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...
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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




Thursday, September 11, 2014

"life is tough, so laugh hard"

In keeping with Melissa's statement that her mother's last wish would be for everyone to keep laughing, I leave you with you a quote from my grandpa the morning he attended a Fashion Police taping while vacationing with my parents in LA...







Monday, September 8, 2014

For Our Joanie

It all seems so surreal. Just last Monday we were celebrating the completion of our Emmy's special, and now this Monday we return from her remarkable memorial in NYC.

She made many people laugh and many people mad, yet my favorite moments of Joan Rivers was when she was being just that - Joan Rivers...

When her grandson Cooper would come to set and sit on her lap in between takes, or when she couldn't get through a joke because she was already laughing too hard. I think still to this day she hasn't pronounced Wilmer Valderrama's name right...

It was these little moments that made her human, but it was her talent that made her a legend. We will always love you. We will eternally miss you. But if there's anything that we can learn from your 60 year career - it's that just because you're down, doesn't mean you're out. 

Today I leave you with something Joan said to the audience during a Q&A session that stuck with me so much in that moment that I tweeted it out: 
Don't rest - you never did. Why stop up there? Keep 'em laughing Joanie...


Photo Credit: Charles William Bush


Thursday, September 4, 2014

Speak Now

Kyle and I are constantly on the search for good date night movies to watch at home. (Is it just me or do you feel like you have to live on ramen in order to afford movie tickets these days?) Anyways, I am sucker for romantic comedies, Kyle on the other hand is not, but the film Speak Now was a perfect combo for the both of us.
The film is the antithesis of I Guess I Do with a group of high school friends reuniting for a wedding, but as the night unfolds old offenses and newly mounting scandal plunge the group back into a pool of high-school drama. I feel like I have already been to a couple of those myself. Haven't we all?

The film was shot over the course of three days with all of the dialogue being improvised by the actors narrating the story as if it were the couple's wedding video.


Since it was such a great fit for the blog, I wanted all of you guys to be able to watch it as well! Click HERE and enter the exclusive promo code "iguessido" to purchase the film for $4.99. It is also available to rent on iTunes and GooglePlay. 

Speak Now will also be playing in Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina September 8-14 for the South Arts Southern Filmmaker’s Circuit

Here's a look at the trailer. Enjoy!


Speak Now Trailer from Noah Harald on Vimeo.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Labor Day


Amidst an emotional time at work, these fools were a pretty good distraction. If there's one thing I learned these past couple of days, it is to savor every moment...

Hope you all had a great Labor Day weekend and thank you to everyone who traveled across the country to be here with us! It was definitely one for the record books...