Wedding Wednesday: The Wedding!

THE BIG DAY is here! Well, here on the blog.

You’ve read about my logistics and choices and decorating and all my little tips or treasures. And here we are, at the last Wedding Wednesday. Thank you for traveling along this journaling journey with me!

The day started with me getting soap in my eyes, which I haven’t done since I was…oh I don’t know…eight. Seriously. The one day in your life that you really don’t want bloodshot crazy eyes…haha. So I added liberal amounts of Bath and Body Works aromatherapy body wash directly to my eyeball and waited for unintended results. It felt a little too invigorating. My eyes weren’t red or terrible looking post-shower, thank goodness.

My dad booked a hotel room for my cousins and I to share the night before the wedding, so it was nice to have Katie, Emily and Victoria get ready with me in the morning. I don’t know any three girls that I love more, or who has less infectious enthusiasm. Note to Anxious Brides: surround yourself with people who are genuinely happy, amazing people. Actually, make that a note to all people, anxious or not, brides or not. Just try to spend time with my cousins if you can. But not too much, because they are mine.

We all headed over to Salon E to get my hair done by Ella, the owner. We’ve known Ella since we moved here when I was in the fourth grade and she’s always done our entire family’s hair. It was extra special to have her involved on my big day. Her daughter did my braid, which was lightning fast. I was seriously amazed at her skill. Not only did I love my hair, but it stayed put perfectly for more than ten hours. That’s unheard of, at least to me.  After my hair was in place, Katie, Emily, Victoria and I all went to my mom’s house and they did their hair.

My mom planned a Bridesmaids Brunch so that we could relax and eat something before all the wedding craziness started. We met up at the Octagon Café in Fountain Hills, just a few minutes from our venue. We had fun laughing and talking and eating delicious food.

Next, to the venue. Everyone was running around setting up. My dress, contacts, shoes and rings weren’t at the house yet and we had a few hours, so I walked around the house taking pictures of all the details. I know it’s weird, especially since I had an amazing photographer, but I wanted some of my very own pictures of the things I had worked so hard to design and make. I wanted there to be some photos of that day that I captured myself.

When it got closer to the time, I sat down and Shelbi, a friend and co-worker, did my makeup. While I sat, one of my mom’s friends, and mine, Salby, brought me a fluted blue glass, some sparkling water and some special crackers to enjoy. How amazing is that? I felt so pampered as I held that gorgeous blue cup in my hand and sipped between foundation and mascara applications.

Meanwhile, Dustin and the groomsmen were already looking dapper so they had some time to relax and have some fun.

After we girls were all made up, I decided to give the bridesmaids their gifts. I loved watching them read the cards and open the boxes. My mom arrived and I finally got to put on my dress and finish getting ready. At this point, my heart felt like it was boiling. I didn’t really care if something broke or if we didn’t look perfect. Logistics weren’t on my mind. But as a shy girl, about to walk through a crowd of hundreds of people staring at her…oh man.


Also, and this may seem silly, but, I’m a very private person about my relationship. I don’t kiss D in front of other people unless it’s absolutely necessary. And I don’t know how to articulate this in a good way, but I like having intimacy with just D. I don’t want other people involved in our intimacy. So while a wedding is very much a celebration of love and excitement and marriage, it’s also a little terrifying to have a fishbowl effect on one of the most intimate moments of our lives. I haven’t ever read another perspective that feels this way, and maybe I’m the only girl around who feels a little bit shy about the actual ceremony. But if you do feel the same way, you’re not alone. If I can do it, you can.

During the ceremony, one of the bridesmaids fainted. While we were praying actually. My flower girl noticed it happening and gracefully sidestepped towards her and lowered her down gently. A child did that. Amazing. Luckily, there were like seven nurses and doctors in attendance, including Dustin’s sister Jodi. I was pretty much done with the ceremony after that, haha. I was like “Um. I need to go check on her now.” But since that wasn’t really an option, we finished. And I was trying so hard not to cry but little tears kept squeezing out. Obviously, I couldn’t collapse into Dustin and sob during our I Do’s. But he held my hands and he radiated so much comfort that I practically felt him holding me. And describing it is hard, but oh well. Two hundred people watched that totally intimate moment so I can’t really be private about it now.

My bridesmaid was ok, thank goodness. Once I knew that, I went in the bathroom with my dad and bawled my eyes out. All the hard stuff was out of the way and my girl was ok. Whew. Once I was composed, Shelbi came in and re-did my makeup for me. My aunt came in and comforted me and was absolutely exactly what I needed.

We headed out for our family and couples portraits, walked around and talked to everyone, enjoyed the photobooth and I even got to eat like three bites of cold yet delicious alfredo. Everyone says you don’t get to eat on your wedding day and I thought “Oh no, not me. I’ll definitely eat” Haha, they were right. No such luck. We had our bouquet toss, made extra exciting by the fact that I was on the upper porch and all our girls were on the ground level.

When it was time to go, someone turned on the bubble machine we’d purchased and everyone blew bubbles as we ran past and hopped in the car.

The day was perfect. I mean, yes, there were bumps in the road. There were quite a few actually. But it didn’t matter, because we were married, my guests were full and happy and it was perfectly gorgeous. If I won the Mega Millions, there’s nothing I would have changed about our day. I’m proud of everything about it. I’m grateful that I have so many supportive loving people in my life who wanted to be involved, who gave so much of themselves and their time to help me. As you can tell, my mom did so much for the wedding. I really could not have done it without her. And if you’ve actually read this entire post, I’m impressed. Thank you again for coming along while I detailed every single bit of my wedding planning process.

Wedding Wednesday: The Rehearsal Dinner

Our rehearsal dinner was awesome. It is one of my favorite memories of the whole entire wedding process but it definitely wasn’t traditional.


I don’t remember how we heard of Friday Night Franks, but we decided to check it out with both sets of our parents. Basically, it’s in the middle of gorgeous mountains in Fort McDowell. It’s all outdoor, and it has a ton of firepits, horse drawn hayrides, a bus that drives off into the desert and parks in the starlight and entertainment. You get your stick to cook all of your own food, so there were hot dogs, bratwurst and s’mores. Each person could also get chips and drinks. I was so anxious at that point (being a naturally nervous person) that having a relaxed, fun, open environment was ideal. We invited all of our out-of-towners, family and the bridesmaids and groomsmen. It was an absolute blast. The Heiseys made amazing blue, green and yellow accented cookies and upon arrival, each guest got to choose a different colored cowboy hat to wear and take home.

One of the guests brought a pair of boots and all the guys got to try them on. The man that they fit was allowed to give me a kiss and keep the boots. It ended up being my brother! I thought that was a fun little tradition.

When most of the eating had ceased, we decided to go on the hayride and sing around campfire. I know it wasn’t the usual sit down plated meal that many people have, but it was perfect for us. I really can’t think of anything I enjoyed more than that rehearsal dinner.

Wedding Wednesday: Make A Timeline

Here’s my wedding day timeline, just in case it helps you! My entire schedule was insanely detailed and it really helped me stay on top of any anxiety I was having as the day drew nearer. I included phone numbers, who would be with me at each portion and about how long each little event would take.

Wedding Day Schedule

7:00 a.m. – Shower, Blow Dry, Pack Up
9:00 a.m. – Arrive at Salon E for updo
11:30 a.m. – Bridesmaid Brunch at Octagon Café
1:30 p.m. – Drive to Venue
1:45 p.m. – Walk Around & Help
2:30 p.m. – Shelbi Arrives & Starts Makeup
2:50 p.m. – Bridal Portraits
3:00 p.m. – First Look Pictures
3:20 p.m. – Bridal Party Pictures
3:45 p.m. – Immediate Family Pictures
4:00 p.m. – Julie Hides
4:00 Guests Begin Arriving /// Carl Begins Playing Piano ///
4:30 Ceremony
4:30 – Prelude Song: Arabesque No. 1 played — 1:30
4:31 – Dustin walks Cecilia down the aisle // Mark follows
4:32 Processional – Air (From Water Music) — 2:10 (play 2x or until end of walk)
4:34 Bridal Processional – Pachelbel Canon in D Major – 3:53
4:35 Welcome/Opening Prayer
4:38 Declaration of Intent
4:39 p.m. Giving of the Bride
4:40 p.m. Wedding Meditation
4:48 p.m. Exchange of Vows
4:51 p.m. Exchange of Rings
4:52 p.m. Pronouncement
4:53 p.m. Prayer of Dedication
4:54 p.m. Wedding Kiss
4:55 p.m. Presentation of…
4:56 Recessional – Couple’s Recessional – Wedding March — 1:09
4:57 p.m. Dismissal – Postlude – Ladyes Delight/Haste to the Wedding — 3:08
5:05 p.m. Family Pictures Begin
5:25 p.m. Dustin & Julie Go Away for five minutes
5:30 p.m. Someone Announces “Mrs. And Mr. Heisey”
6:10 p.m. Julie & Dustin Pictures – 6:26 p.m. Sunset
6:30 p.m. Back to eat & greet
6:35 p.m. Cake Cutting & Bouquet Toss
6:45 p.m. Dancing Starts
9:30 p.m. Dustin & Julie leave in Kirk’s Crown Victoria
10:15 p.m. Arrive at Gould Manor, switch cars, go to surprise hotel!

Wedding Wednesday: Documenting Your Day

I didn’t have a videographer at my wedding because one of my bridesmaids had access to around twenty Flip video cameras. My best friend was pretty close to the front, so she taped the official ceremony video. Everyone passed them around and taped the whole event and now I have countless videos of guests having fun and multiple views of the ceremony. I still haven’t gone through all of the videos, but when  I do, I plan to make a wedding video of our big day. I thought the Flips were a fun spin on the disposable cameras that some couples decide to hand out at weddings.

Wedding Wednesday: Welcoming Your Out of Town Guests

No one in our family lives here in Arizona, a sad fact that I still haven’t accepted despite moving here more than a decade ago. Not only does this make me sad on a basic level, but it meant that quite a few people had to travel to come watch us get married. The fact that people actually fly across the country, book hotel rooms, rent cars and pay for extra food for at least part of a day is a huge deal. I was surprised that people were actually willing to travel so far to celebrate with us, and I was extremely grateful and encouraged. Not only do people give you gifts at your wedding, but they make a significant time and expense sacrifice to come watch you marry your best friend!

I wanted to make sure that I acknowledged our travelers and welcomed them to Arizona. I decided to make welcome bags for each person who traveled to be with us, so off Mom and I went to complete the project.

First, we went to the Greater Phoenix Convention & Visitors Bureau to pick up brochures and pamphlets for each visitor. But once we got there, parked and went inside, we were told that we needed to order the brochures, for free, over the phone or e-mail. I just went to the site and they now have a simple link to fill out and submit. Much simpler.

Next, we went to Target and picked up some basic travel toiletries and snacks. After adding those to some brown paper bags we bought at Hobby Lobby, we made our printables. We layered a thank you print over a color coordinated cardstock sheet and glued one to the front of each bag. We printed directions to the rehearsal dinner and venue, general information, telephone numbers and airport/rental car information. All of our printables were blue, green and yellow and I used the same graphics from our Save the Dates. Mom clipped some of the papers with these adorable little blue and green clothespins. It was really cute.

We also decided to reserve a block of rooms for guests and that was an ordeal in and of itself. My main piece of advice: don’t trust the internet. Call every place that you’re interested in ahead of time and discuss your wedding, the reservations, timing and cost. We looked up several hotels that listed special reservation prices online, made through Priceline or a similar site. But when we got there, many of the managers refused to comply with the prices that the websites promised. So that was disappointing. Call first and make sure the price is right before you commit time to go look at the rooms, if that’s something you plan to do.

Were there any special accommodations or gifts you gave to your traveling guests?

Wedding Wednesday: DIY Favors

There are hundreds and hundreds of favor options for your wedding. From little boxes of mints to personalized mix cds for each guest, the favors are a fantastic way to personalize and thank your guests. I decided to give each guest some impatien seeds. My grandmother always had full hedges and rows and rows of impatiens lining her home before she passed away. I wanted to make sure that I included her in the wedding, both for me and my mom.

I bought tiny manila envelopes, blue polka dot ribbon, two stamps, a blue ink stamp pad and transparency sticker paper. First, I stamped each envelope with a thank you and a teensy little bug holding out a flower. Next, I hole punched the tops of each envelope and spooned some impatien seeds into them. I tied a ribbon through each hole and tied it off.

I used the transparency sticker paper to print little labels for the back of each envelope, with planting instructions and a dedication to my grandmother.

Voila! Little favors for each person to take and plant.

Wedding Wednesday: The Rings

When we were engaged, Dustin and I chose both of our rings together. He wanted to get a carbon inlayed band but at the time I told him that there was no way I wanted my husband to wear a mini-tire on his finger for the rest of our lives. At first he was slightly disappointed, but he was still happy to get a ring that matched mine.

Fast forward to our wedding day. I used a little jeweled box to keep our rings in and gave it to my cousin Katie, who was my maid of honor. Since she was supposed to present the rings to us, I took her aside and gave her the carbon ring that I purchased for Dustin.

D is so easygoing that there aren’t many things that he wants or prefers; he usually just goes with the flow. I thought that this would be a sweet way to give him something that he really wanted and I loved getting to surprise him in front of everyone. We both love his ring; it’s very masculine and it feels like the perfect band for him.

The picture above is special to me because I took it with my phone the night that Dustin proposed. When I got to my apartment, I wanted to Facebook the ring, so I grabbed a little Alice in Wonderland book on my computer and chose a page to display the ring. It’s amazing that a cell phone picture can mean so much.

Wedding Wednesday: The Dress

Everyone says that when you put on “the dress”, you just know. But I’m not a big believer in the idea of the perfect dress. This could be because I try to be realistic, and the idea of searching for one perfect thing instead of twenty workable wonderful things just sounds like a nightmare. But I realize that I seem to be exception not the rule. I knew what I wanted, generally speaking, in a dress before Mom and I went shopping. I wanted sleeves, but having been heavily reading wedding blogs for years because of photography, I knew that sleeves were unlikely and almost impossible to find. So I decided I’d probably get something sleeveless but add a cardigan.

My mom wasn’t pleased with the idea of a cardigan, especially since there were none to be found in the dead of winter when we were trying to prepare. Plus, the idea of my wearing a colored cardigan was even less ideal to her. Eventually, we found a simple white cardigan and lined it with the same silk that was used to make my dress. The pictures below are cell phone pics, hence their extra terrible quality. 🙂

The first and only place we went dress shopping was Strut, a plus size wedding dress boutique. We called ahead to make an appointment and on arrival, we were greeted by a very friendly staff and adorable mini cupcakes and water bottles. We walked around and looked at some dresses before I tried one on. The second dress that I wore made my mother tear up and pronounce that it was “the one”. I decided to take her word on it since the dress really was gorgeous.

Ann, the owner, brought us a gorgeous little hairpiece that looked gorgeous with the dress. However, at $75, it wasn’t in the budget. My crafty mom was pretty confident that she could make one that looked similar, so off we went, a dress ordered and even a hairstyle chosen! We headed to Michael’s next, where Mom grabbed two white flowers, a sprig of beads on a wire and a blank barrette. That woman amazes me, because she took three dollars of craft store flower and turned it into an amazing hairpiece that I still absolutely love.

Wedding Wednesday: DIY Photobooth

One thing that I always wanted for my wedding was a photobooth. But in order to hire one, I’d have to fork over at least half as much as I paid my photographer. One quarter of the budget went to photography, one quarter to decorations/music/favors/clothes, one quarter went to food and the last went to incidentals and the honeymoon. But as a girl with many cameras and literally hundreds of photobooth tutorials at my fingertips, I decided to make my own.

After I found this tutorial online, we got the PVC pipe from Home Depot and the fabric from Ikea. After I used an iron-on seam sealer, we built the PVC frame and hung the fabric.

I found props everywhere, but Michaels and Hobby Lobby provided most of them. From foam swords to wood heart cutouts to feather boas and crowns, we made sure to include plenty of fun options for people to play with. I just set up one of my digital cameras on a mini tripod on the table, clicked the self timer into place and let people document their craziness. I love the pictures from that day. Our photographer even jumped in at the end of the night to snap some for us since my camera battery had died and the flash was all over. If you do decide to make your own booth and your location is outdoors, make sure to include lighting in your budget and plan.

Wedding Wednesday: Decorating Your Venue

Decorating was my favorite part of wedding planning. I’ll admit that it was a bit difficult since it was a residence and I wanted a cohesive color scheme without a huge budget. When we first came to tour the house, I brought along my Flip camera and taped the entire walk-through. As my mom’s friend, Annie, explained some of the possibilities to us, I had them recorded. So when we went home, I knew what little corners might need something, or where that dining room table needed to go or how wide the front doors were. If you’re touring your venue and you have a lot of texture/flavor to infuse into your big day, I’d advise you to have someone tape the walk-through.

At this point in the blogging process, I can’t be positive that I haven’t covered some of these things before. But I’ll do a little explanation of the things we bought or made in order to decorate. Raiding after-Christmas sales was great for budgeting and for finding some really gorgeous pieces of decor that you might ordinarily think about using for a wedding. Target had tons of gorgeous vase fillers and I took home several blue beaded bouquets, swirled glitter sticks and flowers. I know those descriptions are terrible, but that’s really the only way I can explain it. Pictures help.

To me, an unevenly decorated table is a crime. I am obsessed with appropriate spacing and levels. A flat and sparse table is just…sadness. So I made sure that I collected table décor throughout our planning. I figured that there was so much space in our massive location that we could bring everything and space it out when we arrived. However, I ended up planning the placement of most of the things we bought before we went. I kept a notebook in my purse all the time, as I think I’ve mentioned before. So I had a page for the cake table and the candy table. When I bought a vase or a jar, I’d draw it onto our little blueprint on the appropriate page.

I scoured Goodwill for milk jugs circa farmhouse-in-Virginia-150-years-ago. I also found some at TJ Maxx. If they were white, we were set. However, I had to spraypaint many of them white. We tied a ribbon around a few, filled some with flowers, etc. They were a great little tie in to the wedding because in a residence, you obviously can’t redecorate a person’s home. Not that I wanted to, because it was one of the most beautifully curated homes I’ve ever been in. But a little vase tucked in a bathroom corner that matches the other ones throughout the house, porch backyard and photobooth is a great way to tie everything together.

I knew that there was a water feature that actually transitioned into a foot pond right in the middle of the venue, so I purchased some floating LED color changing balls to throw in at night.

The whole porch was lined with blue Christmas lights, which was absolutely perfect. I also knew that we would need additional lighting so I bought some blue and white paper lanterns to hang across the entire back of the home.

What are some of the creative ways you have to decorate your venue?