Today is the four-month mark! That might still seem like a ways away, but it doesn’t feel like it at all, now. It’s funny – five months felt like a lot more time! I’ve got a lot to tell, so get ready…

I didn’t post an update yet from our weekend in Charlotte, when we did several wedding-related things, which was two weekends ago. First we met with our florist to talk about some things in person that we have only been able to email about. We talked about ideas for bouquets when I met with her a couple months ago, and had been emailing changes and pictures back and forth. She knows all the flowers we are talking about using really well – how their sizes will complement each other, and what might not do very well in a bouquet, etc., so I feel good about the bouquets now! We didn’t get much time to discuss her proposal for centerpiece options or other decor because I had scheduled a walk-through for us at Alexander Homestead right afterward. My florist had not been to the venue yet, so I thought it would be good to get some visuals.

Here is the walk from the back of the main house/carriage house to the barn:

This is where guests will meander around during the cocktail hour!

This is a view of the backside of the carriage house, where my bridesmaids and I will finish getting ready!

While we were there, we also got a couple sketches of different options for the layout of tables inside the barn. Unfortunately, I found out A.H. only owns a few harvest (long) tables, and they always use them for certain things, like for the DJ and gift table, etc., I think. There is an additional fee to rent more of them. So I think we will end up having only a few of the long tables, which I’m a little sad about. I might use them for the head table if we seat the bridal party on both sides.

I also got to see a few linen samples in the light pink/peachy-pink color family from the vendor A.H. uses. However, I also (unfortunately) found out their linen prices are pretty steep. I will definitely not be renting tablecloths through A.H. for every table. I really liked one of the samples – a light peach – that they offer, so I might rent napkins instead of tablecloths in this color, if the price is a lot better, or just get tablecloths for the head tables in this color. A.H. offers a handful of basic colors at no extra charge, so I might use their ivory or champagne tablecloths and accent it with peach/pink napkins. Another option I might explore is working with a less expensive rental company in Charlotte.

So I haven’t really nailed down any of the details in terms of the look inside the barn yet, as you can tell! I am thankful, though, that the inside doesn’t need a TON of decor to make it match a sit-down dinner. Another barn I considered using back in October needed a whole lot to dress it up. It was cute, but it was just old and worn in a lot of places, and some of the details – like the bathrooms! – were really outdated. The barn at A.H. is still very new, though. There are no big eyesores I’ll have to figure out how to cover up!

This is the angle from the side entry, where I think we will have guests enter after the cocktail hour. From this perspective (above), the right and left-side walls are actually big, sliding barn doors! The right side opens up into the yard, and the left side opens up into a little atrium, which was just added on in December.

It was set up for a small ceremony the next day when we were there, but we will need to use it for additional seating because we have too many people for the main room only! Below is another view of the atrium.

Below: in the main room, facing the bar area

After the walk-through with our florist, Jon and I went to a caterer tasting in the main house at A.H. We were served their California salad, which was good and pretty basic – tossed greens with red and yellow peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, maybe some olives and onions? (which we don’t like, but I figure that’s pretty typical for a salad), and Italian dressing, I think. I’m pretty sure we’re going to go with that option for the salad because it seems like it would please the most people.

We also tried three different meats – chicken, steak and pork – and were served green beans almandine and potatoes au gratin. Jon LOVED the potatoes au gratin, and I thought they were really good too, so we’re definitely going to choose that for our starch! Also, definitely going with the chicken. It was good, and we weren’t very impressed with the steak or pork. I think we will do the green beans for the vegetable, too. We had amazing  cheesecake for dessert, but unfortunately that’s not park of the package.  Our wedding cake will have to do! Which I’m not worried about at all, because our cake lady makes delicious cake! 🙂

Saturday morning I showed Jon the church, which he hadn’t seen yet. We also saw what they use for the bride’s room and where the groomsmen usually get ready/hang out. It’s nothing fancy, but it will work as a place to start getting ready. A.H. has a good space in their carriage room, but we can’t start using it early enough in the day to get totally ready there. So the plan as of now is that I will start getting ready at the church, and then meet up with my bridesmaids to finish doing that with them at A.H.

After that, I went to J.Major’s to try on my dress! It fit really well for having had no alterations yet, and I’m happy with how the top looks with the skirt. Lula Kate made the dress for me with one of their bridesmaid dress tops in lieu of the regular top because I wanted something simpler. I’m having the neckline altered a bit before I go back for an actual fitting. My assignment before I go back in mid-May is to find my shoes so we can decide on the length next time! I also want to find some options for jewelry so I can try it on with the dress in the store. J.Major’s is going to get all the alterations done for me in less than 48 hours the next time I go home so that I don’t have to make two more trips, which is great! I’ve scheduled my bridal portraits for early June, so that should give us just enough time to fix any problems that might come up during the fitting.

That was it for that weekend! I finally put the finishing touches on our registry this past weekend, other than a few things we might add once we figure out what kind of space we’ll have in our apartment.

We also started working on the invitations this past weekend, which is a long process. We designed the text for the actual invitation, did some test prints, and took the kit to Kinko’s to make sure they will be able to print on all the different sizes of paper we have. My friend Kourtney, who’s getting married in May, used the same kind of invites I’m using and got them printed at Kinko’s. Knowing I would probably mess them up doing it myself at home, we decided to do this as well. Printing at Kinko’s is a great option at only 11 cents per sheet of paper. It looks like that will come in at only about $35 for everything for us! We also took 10 invitation sets into the post office to figure out how much extra postage we will need, and can you believe it’s almost twice as much as regular postage? Each invitation will need 85 cents of postage because of the extra weight! That confirmed our decision to do RSVPs by way of our website only, rather than by mail, which requires a courtesy stamp for each RSVP envelope. I think that will also make keeping track of the RSVPs easier on us as they come in. It seemed silly to me to think about saving just $50 somewhere at the beginning of this process, when you’re spending thousands on other things, but now that I know where that extra $50 could be used, it really does make a difference!

We also made a decision about the groomsmen’s ties! We decided to order the ones I posted pictures of in my last post. Four bow ties and five neckties!

Oh – and other big news – Jon got to cast my wedding ring last week!! The jeweler we are working with to make my custom ring has been so great. They just moved into a much bigger space at Five Points in Raleigh, and they asked Jon if he wanted to be there when my ring was cast – meaning the gold was liquefied, and then poured into the mold and hardened. So he went and got to push the button on the machine! So cool.

Did I ever mention we booked our honeymoon? We’re going to Turks & Caicos!!! That was a month ago or more that we did that, but I don’t think I ever said it!

So what are we working on now?

  • Finishing the design on the invitations and getting them printed
  • Finalizing the guest list and uploading it to our website for the RSVP system
  • Figuring out how we’re going to address the invitations – printing labels or calligraphy?
  • Jon is working on getting the suits to all the groomsmen, getting his suit tailored, and helping the guys figure out tailoring issues
  • I’m working on finding my shoes and jewelry and picking out a hairstyle and a veil length!
  • I’m going to start brainstorming about centerpieces and working on other decor details.
  • Picking out Jon’s ring.
  • Coordinating working on the song Ellie is going to sing at our wedding (“Thy Mercy,” by Caedmon’s Call). Jon’s friend Alex is going to play the guitar, and my bridesmaid Olivia is going to play the violin – somehow we have to get them together to practice it (they live in 3 different places), or give them recordings of each other playing/singing so they can practice on their own.

I could go on, but I think that’s enough for now! Wish us luck!