Getting Ready: The details

When our pros arrived to start documenting, everything was lined up and ready to go for said detail shots. Brides, I highly recommend having all of your accessories, dresses, any paper goods you want shot, etc. neatly arranged for when your photographers arrive. Make a list a few days prior, then take a few minutes to set up that morning. It makes the process go so smoothly and much more efficiently.

Our dresses were all lined up after the steaming extravaganza.

The bridesmaids’ dresses were Vera Wang, and my dress was a slightly-modified (and slightly butchered/poorly altered) Christos. (I’ll save my alterations/dress failure for another time.)

I had a lovely hair flower headband from sweetpea & fawn to wear during the reception.

These 40-year-old pearl earrings were a gift from my father to my mother on their wedding day, she wore them on their wedding day, and graciously let me borrow them for our wedding day.

She also lent me a strand of pearls that were an anniversary present from my father, as shown here with the earrings and one of the bridesmaids’ hair flowers that we sewed the night before.

Wednesday was kind enough to let me borrow some of her mice to use as my something blue, and of course she got some catnip treats as a thank-you.

I was lucky enough to be able to have my grandmother’s hanky around for any potential crying episodes.

The beloved love flats…

My lovely garters from Julianne Smith

…and some probably-wedding-inappropriate underwear for the day.

Lastly, I had laid out our invitation suite, complete with freshly-written envelopes. (Later on you’ll see india ink stains on my right hand. Probably not a very good idea to use a dip pen on the morning of our wedding, but it also wouldn’t be very Lauren not to be covered in some sort of ink, paint, or other art mess.)

And there you have it, the getting-ready detail bits for the ladies’ suite! Next up? We get dressed, of course!

*All photographs from Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love.

Need to do some catching up in the recap department?

Getting Ready: The morning begins

getting ready

After the rehearsal dinner was finished, most people would have gone to bed, right? Beauty rest and all that? Well, Laura, JP and I went back to the house to construct the Smilebooth backdrop. (Thankfully I’d already pre-cut and measured the streamers, so all we had to do was throw.) At about 10 minutes to midnight, we realized something. JP was in the house, and we had to get him to the boys’ room at the hotel STAT. Groom turning into a pumpkin at midnight, the whole not-seeing-before-wedding thing and all that. (Yes, I do realize that we did a first look, but we had to keep some traditions alive, right?) I may or may not have broken several traffic laws to get him to the hotel by the stroke of midnight, but by golly if we didn’t shove him through those doors two minutes prior. With that out of the way, Laura and I went back home, called it quits on projects at 2 am, then slept like rocks. The next morning, we woke up at the butt crack of dawn, I ran in circles and tried to finish more projects while Laura chased me around. My stress level was clearly on the rise.

“YOU NEED TO SHOWER. Go. It’s 10:00 and we need to be at the hotel ASAP. Just breathe.”

So I did. I showered, and somehow, from some unknown place, a total calm washed over me. All of those usual Lauren stressed attributes? Totally gone. It is really hard to explain, as it is a feeling I’ve never felt before, save for that day. It honestly felt magical. I was filled with joy and on cloud nine. I was going to enjoy this day to the fullest. I was going to be a sponge, a rock, and the furthest thing from stressed. I hadn’t a care in the world, was surrounded by the people I loved, and it was our wedding day. Powerful stuff.

Laura and I loaded up my car, made complete fools out of ourselves while rocking out to some incredibly loud music, and safely arrived at the hotel. We unloaded everything into the suite with the rest of my bridesmaids. Shortly thereafter, Luke, my wonderful hair guy and great friend, arrived for hair-a-palooza 2k10. After a preliminary flat-ironing of my hair, he grabbed my camera while I wrote cards to my parents and we waited for our photographers and videographer to arrive.

getting ready

I started off alright…

…but then cry number one hit while I was writing the note to my father.

getting ready

I can proudly say that I only cried three times on our wedding day, and all three were brief and love-induced. No upset, no whine, no five-minute bawl, just an outpouring of emotion. I had figured I would be a teary mess the entire day. So, with one down, I finished writing my notes.

While I was writing, my mom, JP’s mom, and Laura were steaming my veil. My “Let’s just stick it in the shower and steam it up!” trick didn’t really work out too well. Thankfully mom had the foresight to bring along the handy-dandy steamer.

getting ready

The girls’ dresses also waited patiently for their chance at a quick steam.

getting ready

Meanwhile, poor Kristen had to use the minibar mirror because I bogarted all of the makeup counter space in the bathroom. Jerk bride.

getting ready

I’m pretty sure at this point a really embarrassing or inappropriate song came on the shuffle, and Laura was an awesome MOH to run over and save my butt.

getting ready

The ladies kept steaming away…

getting ready

I swear they steamed my veil for a good hour or more. (Too bad it would only get smushed later!) Around this time, Mr. Odom, our videographer, and two of our photogs, Amber and Reagan, knocked on the door, and it was serious showtime!

How did you spend the early part of your wedding morning? Relaxing or trying to finish up last minute things?

*All photos in this post made by Luke, edited/processed by me.

Need to do some catching up in the recap department?

Out with a bang.

After I was freed, we thought it would be a good time to hand out gifts and cards to our bridal party.

First, they opened the cards. In a crazy last-minute push, I made custom cards for each person. JP and I had previously agreed to just use blank cards given the ridiculous amount of stuff we had left to do. Of course I didn’t follow orders, and in a crazy last-minute go, I churned out a set of inside joke and illustrated fold-over cards, complete with pink liners for the girls and blue for the guys.

For those interested, here are the fronts of the drawn-at-2-am cards.

As they began opening the presents, I made creepy faces while looking over shoulders.

The girls got pearl studs, pearl necklaces, and some silly heart sunglasses to wear the next day.

The guys were gifted Chucks, colored socks, and some Wayfarer-esque sunglasses.

They were a hit. (And thankfully all fit!)

Before the night could come to a close, there had to be one more bout of mischief. In lieu of the traditional breaking of plates on a Polterabend, we were going to break apart a piñata!

Full disclosure: I was a bit over-eager on the piñata-bashing. See the tear around the neck? About a minute before, I had forgotten to wait until Mr. Miller was set up… and totally one-blow decapitated the poor donkey. (Is it a donkey? Or burro? Or horse?) We put the poor guy’s head back on, and got ready to do it again.

I was a bit gentle with it at first, seeing as how I killed it before. JP, however, seems to be going for blood.

After not doing much damage, we stood it back up and went at it again.

And I took the head off… again.

JP impaled it, and I Manolo-ed it.

…but then impaled it.

Picked it up, dumped out the candy…

…and the poor piñata…

…was kaput.

(I fully expected this piñata head to end up in my bed that night, a la the Godfather.)

We cleaned up the candy together, in true Polterabend style, while everbody watched and laughed at my inability to keep my dang skirt down. Classy and forgetful lady. (Though I will mention that we should get a few bonus points. We “donated” allllll of the candy to the kidlets that were in the other two-thirds of the restaurant. Nobody wants a sugar rush bride, right?)

After the dinner was over, we packed up and left. Lots of fun was had by all, lots of embarrassing (but good-humored!) stories were told, fun presents were handed out, and I think it was the best and most perfect rehearsal dinner we could have hoped for.

How did you end your rehearsal dinner? Out with a wired bang, or a quiet and sleepy one?

*All photos by Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love.

Off the grid.

Today, we move. (Well, first, we whine, get McDonald’s breakfast, pack some more, THEN, then. At nine we move.) We move after less than three hours of sleep, following an entirely too stressful (and quite random) day and night. Such is life though, no?

We will be moving across the street from our 500-square-foot studio shoebox to a palacial 900-square-foot apartment. With walls. And a 9-foot-long sink counter. And an office. And, well, the holy grail, or so I hope.

Quite excited. What, however, does this have to do with me being off the grid?


Homeslices at AT&T can’t come flip the switch on our DSL until then. Full disclosure: I almost cried when I found that out. No joke. There, I said it, I am pathetically dependent on the internet. (Plus, it’s how I help contribute to kitty’s food budget.)

That means that I will be incommunicado via my delightful contact form up there. If you still want to reach me, and please do, use the email I check via my Blackberry: LRIDDLE @ GMAIL.COM

Or, hit me up on Twitter: @fiftyfootbride

Or, if it’s a dire emergency, contact good ol’ Colleen and make her give you my phone number. I prefer texts, as I’m a paranoid weirdo who screens calls. (I have a really freaky phone number, so I get A LOT of junk. Like, kids calling Santa, pimps who think they are calling their out-of-line-hoes, and drunk teenagers. It’s a laugh.)

So, beyond some (hopefully) tiny internet leeching, (shh, no speakies), I will be off the grid.

UNTIL THEN, my dears. Wish us luck. We’re gonna need it.


There is a German tradition of having a Polterabend the night before a wedding. Polterabend literally translates to “rumbling evening,” and it’s basically a big ball of mischief and shenanigans. We knew it was coming, but weren’t exactly sure what we were in for. After the toasts, JP’s father called JP’s brother, Maurice, over to help him start the evening’s festivities. While André explained the concept of a Polterabend to those unfamiliar, he also pulled out what he’d been hinting around about for months–

The handcuffs. Maurice handcuffed us together, and André explained that this was to simulate the trials and tribulations of marriage, working together, and being bound to one another.

Symbolism aside, we’d have to be handcuffed together until somebody said the safety word. This was a pre-determined (and unknown to everyone except André) word that would have to be said while everybody told stories about us.

However, before the mass storytelling, everybody needed to get something to eat, and naturally JP and I had to go first– handcuffs and all.

Let me just say that moving around, much less getting food and eating, is pretty difficult to do while handcuffed together. (But pretty hilarious too, I might add.) I got the better end of the deal, as my right hand was free.

After everybody got food and was seated, the stories began.

There was lots of laughing, embarrassed face-covering by yours truly, and great tales of us as a couple. And high-fiving, apparently.

Mom talked about how I always reminded her of Bridget Jones, and then began to do the “Bridget, what your baaad boyfriend do?” scene from the Thai prison. It was amusing. (And also relevant at the time, but sadly I can’t totally remember the context. Bah!)

After loads and loads of stories had been told with no safety word said, JP and I began to wonder what in the world the word was, and how we were going to figure it out.

Then, Best Man Joe to the rescue! Telling a story about the James Bond tuxes, he said it– James Bond. That was our safety word. Thank you, Mr. Bond.

Then, when we thought we’d be handed over a key, we got a policeman’s hat full of candy. The key was hidden somewhere, and we had to find it. I suggested that we use the cupcake skirt to dump the candy out and sift through the lot.

There were some kittens (!!!) in there, and I got distracted. After sifting through all of the candy, we found no key. Candy back into the hat.

While JP was clearly distracted by the kitties (those devils), I decided to look under the hat, and there the key was– adhered to the bottom. Those tricksy hobbits.

JP unlocked us, and I was free at last!

For a few seconds, at least. JP seized the opportunity to handcuff me to… me. I struggled and lost.

After some whining and prodding, he finally un-did me. Nice guy, that JP.

My father devilishly looked on,

and I seized an opportunity to be a ham and put the hat on.

Next up? Presents, cards, and more rumbling fun!

*All photographs by Matt Miller of Our Labor of Love.