Cozy Wedding Quilt

I can’t throw out craft supplies. Especially if they’re from a project I love! That meant that 2 years after I got married in June 2011, I had a box of fabric still sitting in my closet. It had spare fabric from all sorts of projects: the toppers from our jam favours, the greens from the leaves in my handmade flowers, the extra bridesmaid dress fabric from Etsy, the giant swath of photobooth backdrop fabric. I’d been saving them, because I wanted to do something with them. Last summer, I decided it was time! Time to…. send them to someone else. I knew Quilts By Emily from her blog, (and of course, her Etsy shop full of cute quilts!) so I contacted her and asked if she would do a custom order. These things take time, and the finished quilt arrived just after Christmas!

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We had chatted via email about what pattern the quilt would be – I chose this one because it was bright and modern, and I thought it would let all the very different fabrics be showcased individually. I was a little scared of the peaches fabric being too close to the greens!

Emily kept the backing of the quilt a surprise, but I know from following her blog and shop that she always does something cool on the back.

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The back is crazy and amazing! And the peaches and green look fine together!

This is our cuddle-on-the-couch quilt, but I laid it out on our queen-sized bed so you can see how big it is. And, there was fabric left over! Emily sent it back with the quilt, so I need to find a simpler project for me to make with it. The only fabrics she bought to put into this were the white, and the blue for the binding. The blue is the same shade as the solid bridesmaid dress fabric, I didn’t have enough of it for her to do both the binding and the pluses.

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I’m so glad I paid a pro to do this – if I’d waited until I was confident enough with the sewing machine to do it myself… that day might never have come. Or I’d be 80 years old! It is such a great keepsake, and Cinnamon Buns loves it too. I kept it a surprise from him, and when he saw it he loved it. He liked that it is a really cool quilt, and that people looking at it might think only that, but we know why it is super-special.

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Have you re-used any of your wedding supplies or decor in your house?

Mrs Cinnamon Bun’s Holiday Gift Guide

As I said in my catching-up post, Cinnamon Buns has gone back to university. He started in September 2012 at the university in town. That year, we put a $100 limit on presents for each other, because hey, education ain’t free. In June of this year, we got the news that the program he was taking was basically cut, so we scrambled to get him in to a university on the coast. He’s out there now, and has a year and a half left. If university fees alone put us on a tight budget, think about paying university fees and two sets of rent + bills on what one  artist (me!) earns… it’ll be a quiet Christmas.

Financial restraints aside, I’ve always preferred to give thoughtful, handmade gifts. Handmade gifts give twice, to the recipient and the artist.

My List:

These are pipe-dream things, (A) they’re expensive, and (B) before I had a chance to produce a list this year, husband texted me to say ‘OMG found your Christmas present already!’.

Here’s something I’d like that’s from an actual store!
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It is a (plated) rose gold ring that looks like a sewing needle! I love crafts, and I love rose gold. What else can I say? Oh, that I love Anthropologie, so I’m not surprised it is from them.

My dream gift right now would be a membership in the BareNakedKnitSpot club (or, even better, the double membership!) Anne Hanson, an amazing knitwear pattern designer and her team scour the globe for interesting and beautiful undyed (thus BareNaked) yarns. Buy a membership, and every other month for a year you get gorgeous yarn and a pattern in the mail! I’ve got so much yarn in all colours of the rainbow, but I’d like to get closer to the sheep. And what I said about handmade gifts giving twice? I’ve lost count of how many gifts this gift gives. You, the knitter, get 6 presents, there’s six yarn producers, Anne herself, and the people you give the finished objects to!

The Husband:

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I knit him this hat (the pattern is Windschief), and I’m knitting him mittens to go with it. I think I’m going to use this pattern, so he can still text! Luckily I have a huge stash of yarn from better times, so this yarn was all paid for in the past.
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I’ve got one glove done, and am working on the mitten flap/cover.

The Parents:

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My dad had mentioned earlier in the year that it would be lovely to have a handknit scarf. So, I obliged! And, I’ve actually finished it in time to mail it to him, which I think is the most impressive part. This pattern is free on Ravelry.

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My mum is getting Countess in Limbo. I was browsing a bookstore the other day, and the author was doing a signing. I chatted with her for quite a while. I got mum this, not because she’s interested in Russia, but because she has just embarked on a journey into our family’s history, a bit like the author of this book did. I’m hoping to inspire her to write our journey down too.

Husband’s mum. What do you get a woman whose husband of 25+ years just passed away two months ago? The gift of family. Hubby and I are spending the holidays in Nova Scotia with her. Before this summer, when his step-dad was diagnosed, we hadn’t been to visit them since they moved in 2012. We always said ‘Next year! Flights are expensive right now. We’ll come next year.’ (The crazy thing about this large country and its airlines is that flights to England are cheaper than flying from here to the East Coast!) Christmas will be hubby’s fourth trip out there since the summer, and my third. Family first, friends!

Friends:

I wouldn’t say we officially give friends gifts… but I love baking, so whenever we visit friends during the holidays, we bring baking! I bring it to work too.

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Those are mini flourless chocolate tortes I brought to a work potluck last week.

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OK, so I ate these mince pies (made with my mum’s homemade mincemeat!) myself, but I’ll make more for giving away. I swear.

Catching up with Mrs Cinnamon Bun

I’m Mrs Cinnamon Bun, from the start of the Brunch generation of Bees. We had a book-themed green and teal wedding, with a tapas-style dinner. We got married in a (private) heritage building in Calgary, Alberta. There was lots of DIY in our wedding, including flowers made from book pages for all the bouquets and boutonnieres, and 14 pies that I made myself instead of cake! My recaps start here.

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THEN
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NOW

Married June 25th, 2011 – 2 years, 6 months on Christmas day!

The best thing that’s happened to us as a couple since we got married is: “Husband”, “Hubby”, “Husman”, “Wife”, Wifey”, and “Wifeyface” are now our most-used pet names for each other.
How blogging about my wedding shaped my wedding day: I really don’t know about this one… I’ve always been crafty, so I think I would have made all the things I made whether or not Weddingbee was in my life. Reading blogs about real weddings gave me great ideas, and made me feel that things like having pie instead of cake wasn’t quite as weird as some people thought.
Why I chose my icon and how my icon has become a part of my identity: I still love baking and eating cinnamon buns as much as I always did! I chose it because of a joke in a Demetri Martin routine that my then-fiance-now-husband loves. Basically Cinnamon Buns is both a thing, and a good nickname. Cotton Balls? No.
Your favorite post you ever published on Weddingbee, and why: I think all the ones I wrote about making 14 pies for the wedding. They’re useful (I search out my pastry post still when I’m making pies, because I haven’t printed it!) and not what “everyone” does.
Do you still blog/have you found another creative outlet for writing? I blogged for years and years before Weddingbee, mostly about my knitting – as I said above, I’ve always been crafty. I haven’t updated the knitting blog very much since then (I think I lost a lot of my knitter-readers when everything became ALL WEDDING ALL THE TIME for those 8 months) but I started a knitting podcast in April. Before you laugh, search the iTunes store for knitting podcast. There’s hundreds! And they are all fascinating, provided you’re a knitter. The podcast is satisfying the blogging bug for me at the moment.

Pop Quiz! In one sentence or less, answer the following:
•    The best thing about being married is: knowing that we’re always there for each other.
•    The worst thing about being married is: being apart for long periods of time.
•    The best thing we registered for was: the kettle with 6 buttons for different temperatures for different types of tea!
•    The worst thing we registered for was: Least-used are the salad servers…. I serve myself with my fork before I remember we’ve got other utensils.
•    When we fight, we make up by: We’re one of those sickening couples that doesn’t  fight. :)
•    The biggest challenge we’ve faced since getting married has been: not the fact that husband went back to university, but the fact that one year in, the university here in town cut his program, so now we’re long-distance while he finishes school in BC.
•    The way my SO and I reconnect when we both get busy is: at the moment, FaceTime calls!
•    When I have a disagreement with my in laws, we resolve it by: We’re all so easy-going, I can’t think of anything we’ve disagreed about!
•    If we could do our wedding all over again, the one thing we’d change is: we’ve connected with a lot of hubby’s step-family that we didn’t really know at the time we got married – I think we’d invite more family if we got a do-over. (Hubby’s step-dad was diagnosed with cancer, again, this summer, and passed away in October. Visit your family now! Don’t wait for sad circumstances to bring you together!)
•    In 5 years, I hope that we: Own a house, and a dog or two.

A Bee’s Life – Cinnamon Bun Edition

1) How did I find Weddingbee?

I’ve been reading wedding blogs since before I was engaged, but just for the articles, I swear. I found two wedding blogs kept popping up in searches I was doing for various craft projects and techniques – Once Wed and Weddingbee. I never subscribed to any of them at that point (what if Cinnamon Buns found out? We hadn’t talked about marriage! He might run away screaming!) but I kept coming back for the tutorials – Weddingbee was especially interesting because of all the authors and all their different styles of projects. When we actually got engaged, I was free to add Weddingbee to my Google Reader and not worry about whether Cinnamon Buns might walk in on me and see a webpage with a wedding dress on it!

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Checking my phone on our wedding morning. Checking Weddingbee? Probably.

2) My Application Story

I’ve kept a blog for a while, I started on LiveJournal just after high school, then I moved to blogger and just focused on making it a knitting blog, then I got my own domain and switched to WordPress… I’d always like the idea of keeping a diary, but I was bad at actually writing things down. I kept a diary my entire grade 8 year, but I fell more and more behind, so I’d make tiny notes in my dayplanner that would jog my memory as to what happened so I could write about it later. I finished my grade 8 diary the day before grade 9 started. Then diaries fell by the wayside for me. A few years later, I discovered the blog. I immediately knew I wanted one because typing is so much faster that writing, and I found it easier to type a little summary of my day or a funny moment than it was to write the thing out by hand. And being able to add pictures in? Awesome!

Very soon after getting engaged, I knew I wanted to blog about my wedding. I wanted to have that record of that crazy time in my life, making decisions that you don’t make every day, maybe making some craft projects that would inspire other people. I blogged about the planning so far over the summer, all the time imagining I was writing for Weddingbee already. It was hard, because my blog had been a knitting blog up until that point, and the knitters didn’t seem to be interested in wedding planning. At least, they left very few comments. (Fun fact – the same posts run on my blog and Weddingbee. On my blog all my wedding posts have received a total of 18 comments!). I persevered because I had also realized that if I didn’t get to be a Bee, I’d still blog the planning so we could look back on it.

When I was almost exactly 8 months out (I think I was about 10 days early, but I was tired of the email sitting in my ‘Drafts’ folder!)  I sent the email. It was just an email, no photos, no PowerPoints, no slideshows. Not even any pictures! I guess I thought that what they’re really going to be looking at is the blog, not the application.

Then two or three weeks later, I got the email saying I’d been accepted! The brunch generation had just been announced, which was awesome because breakfast is my favourite meal. I showed the icons to the Mr, and he started reciting a Demetri Martin comedy routine:

Cotton balls is an example of something I would buy, but would not want to have as a nickname.

This is my friend Leo, and this is Eric, and this over here is Cotton Balls.

Cinnamon buns on the other hand… yeah, I would buy those and have that as a nickname.

Excuse me, are you Cinnamon Buns?

You bet your sweet ass I am.

And so, we became the Cinnamon Buns. Quite appropriate, given how much we love to laugh.

ceremony0463) What it’s like blogging for Weddingbee/being a bee?

It’s been great blogging for Weddingbee! I won’t lie, comments were the highlight of my days when I had posts go up. And it was so great to be able to pose questions to you guys – if those posts had just stayed on my personal blog, I wouldn’t have had any suggestions or answers or feedback. Comments are awesome. :) Cinnamon Buns enjoyed my blogging here too; he has read every post of mine, and all the comments. When I was having trouble making decisions, if he couldn’t help me, he’d tell me to ask the hive!

It was also tough, trying to think of interesting things to write 3-4 times a week for 8 months. And yes, there were some times when I just felt too overwhelmed with work and actually planning the wedding to write blog posts. I always felt guilty about that though, and tried to come back from slumps with exciting posts, or at least some progress. Now I’m married and recaps are done, I’m trying to get my last few posts out before our first anniversary. Need to leave some blog space for the newbees!

bride inna car015I’ve met an awesome, awesome group of ladies here, and gotten to know so many new people! It’s been so great. My only regret: the Canada Post strike that prevented the bee charms that have been making the rounds getting to me on time. But it could have been worse, the strike could have been before our RSVP date!

Did I have an alternative wedding?

So, now that you’ve seen the recaps of our wedding (If you haven’t seen them, start with this post, and use the little left-pointing arrow where it says ‘More by Mrs Cinnamon Bun’) I have a question to pose to you, after this little anecdote.

After the wedding, starting the next day and ongoing into phone calls long after the wedding, Cinnamum has been saying that I could be a wedding planner. (This I knew). She said she saw me working not with ‘your regular bride’ but someone ‘like you, who wants an alternative wedding’. Now I am very flattered that Cinnamum thinks I could do this professionally (and I’m working on trying to get that started, I’ve always known that my chosen career would transition well into wedding/event planning) but I got very confused every time our wedding was referred to as ‘alternative’. I don’t see our wedding as alternative. Cinnamon Buns doesn’t see it that way either. Alternative is probably one of the last words I’d use to describe our wedding! I never asked mum about it, or said that I disagreed, because I was just happy that she enjoyed it all and didn’t think it was all a hot mess.

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Ok, not everyone has their picture taken in a bookstore, but that isn't crazy-crazy, is it?

Reasons why I don’t think we had an “alternative” wedding:

  • I wore a large white (well, ivory) dress
  • Cinnamon Buns wore a suit & tie
  • The building we were in was (once) a church!
  • We had coordinating rings
  • We had matching amounts of attendants in matching outfits
  • We fed our guests dinner
  • There were chairs, tables, and centrepieces at the reception
  • There was a bar
  • We did a ceremonial cutting of a dessert (Ok, it was a pie, not a cake)
  • We had a first dance with each other, then our respective parents
  • People toasted us with lovely speeches
  • There was music and dancing
  • We ended up married!!

Then I started trying to think of what I would call an alternative wedding. I wouldn’t classify a wedding as ‘alternative’ because they differ from the list I posted above… those just seemed to be the stereotypical ‘weddingy’ things we did at our wedding. The best example of ‘alternative’ I could come with was: a scuba wedding.

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We definitely didn’t do that. We didn’t make all our guests dress up as pirates (although BM K did when she married GM E, and it was awesome). I personally love the idea of a brunch wedding, but I could see how some would call that ‘alternative’ as so many people seem to get married and have a dinner reception. I wouldn’t call an Elvis wedding in Vegas ‘alternative’ – Elvis weddings in Vegas are an institution! (And I kinda want to do it even now that I’m married already!) I would call a wedding that had, say, fire eaters, burlesque dancers, and poi spinners both ‘alternative’ and ‘awesome’. I just can’t describe a secular, dinner-time-wedding-followed-by-dancing as alternative.

I thought it was just mum for a while, until I got an email from one of my high school girls who came who called it ‘quirky’. Ok, I can see where you’re coming from on quirky, I guess. I suppose it seems less quirky to me than most people because I’ve been soaking up wedding blog stuff for years now. And I assume the same goes for you guys reading this!

So… do you think the Cinnamon Bun wedding was ‘alternative’? Where is your line for ‘alternative’? Is there even a line any more, now that wedding blogs are so rampant, and showcase all types of weddings?

Cinnamon Sun Part 2 – Sloths!

Check out part 1 of the Cinnamon Sun adventure here!

After we left Oxygen, we headed back to San Jose for another night at the Brilla Sol before the volunteering part of our honeymoon began. The trip from San Jose to the Sloth Sanctuary on the Caribbean coast (near Cahuita) is about 4 hours. We used a service called Interbus to get out there. Interbus picks up from various hotels, and shuttle you where you want to go. They have a rough schedule, and you’re in a nice air-conditioned van that seats about 10. We also used Easy Ride to get back to San Jose from the Sloth Sanctuary later. Given the choice, I’d pick Easy Ride, as they were more flexible about where they’d pick you up and drop you off, and you don’t need to pre-pay. You can just pay your driver when he shows up!

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We went to the Sloth Sanctuary to volunteer. Yes, it was our honeymoon, but this sounded like such a unique experience that we knew we both wanted to do it. Here is a basic run-down of a day as a sloth sanctuary volunteer.

5:30am – Wake up to the sounds of howler monkeys outside your window.

6:00am – Head to the sloth cages. Grab a dustpan, brush, cloth, and bottle of vinegar/water and get to cleaning your section’s cages! They tried to have everyone have a set section, so you could bond better with the sloths. Obviously with people coming and going and days off you weren’t always on the same ones, but it was pretty close.

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7:00am – First feeding (for the sloths. You still haven’t had breakfast yet!) Count out leaves for everyone, then deliver to the cages.

8:00am – Human breakfast! We took turns cooking breakfast for the group, and ate on a beautiful dock outside.

8:30am – Enrichment time. This was an alternating schedule of volunteers. Each day one group would take some babies out to the jungle gym to learn how to climb, and another group would take some of the sloths out on the jungle trail to have a good sniff of everything.

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Cuddling baby Mirra

 

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Baby Mirra on the jungle gym.

 

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CB taking a bradypus (3 fingered) sloth for a walk.

 

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Arthur the choloepus (2 fingered sloth) going walkies.

10:00am – Project Time. There were a couple segments of project time each day. This was where you got to use your own skills to help the sanctuary. Good at SEO? Help with the website! You’re a writer? Write some blog posts! Want to work with your hands? Chop some paths! Once Cinnamon Buns told them that my job is all about organizing and scheduling…. we were made the volunteer Volunteer Coordinators. That part was almost a little too much like working, when I’d gone there to be on vacation, but once we had a scheduling system down, all was good. We did it together to make sure that neither of us missed out on any sloth time.

11:00am – Choppy choppy time. This was when we prepared the sloths’ food. We peeled and cut lots and lots of veggies at this time, and sorted pounds and pounds and pounds of leaves.

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Jojo sez: "Mmmm, cecropia leaves!"

12:00-1pm – Human lunch. Lunch (and dinner) were cooked for us by Sloth Sanctuary staff. We ate a lot of rice and beans, traditional Costa Rican cuisine.

1pm-2pm – More project time

2pm – Second sloth feeding. This time we just got to feed them, we didn’t clean the cages like we did in the mornings. At this feeding, the sloths got all the carrots, tubers, and beans we prepped earlier in the day. I always carried my camera with me when feeding, and we came home with about 1000+ photos from the trip, most of them of sloths.

3pm – Free time! Some days we’d all go out to Cahuita, the nearby town, most days we’d stay at the Sanctuary in our rooms or on the deck and read/write diary entries/Skype home/explore the grounds/whatever you wanted.

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Part of the Sloth Sanctuary's grounds.

We made friends with some creatures that we will never forget. I want to introduce you to:

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Billy, and his stuffed bunny.

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Cinnamon Buns and Jojo doing ‘Thriller’. (Jojo wouldn’t go to the bathroom in his cage, and has learned to climb into your arms/up your legs/jump on your head to be taken outside to go on the grass).

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Laylo coming over to say hi to me and be picked up.

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Laylo’s cage-mate Wall-e trying to decide if my shorts have enough claw-holds to climb. Laylo and Wall-e were two of the friendliest little guys – they’re the ones that would climb all over you while you’re trying to sweep their cage!

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Snaggletooth.

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The adorable Zoe.

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A wild bradypus sloth who came to visit after some females had been making their ‘I’m in heat!!’ calls.

Oh, and we met some awesome people, too. 😉

It was definitely a non-traditional thing to do on a honeymoon, but it was amazing. We got to spend much more time in Costa Rica than if we’d been staying at hotels and doing touristy things. We got to spend the so much time together, which was wonderful after our crazy work schedules. We learned all about these amazing creatures – neither of us really expected them to be so full of personality, but they’re all little furry individuals! It’s sad that so many have been injured or abandoned, and need this sort of care, but it was great to meet them. The Sanctuary did also release some sloths back in to the wild while we were there too. (Not counting sneaky Jasper who escaped after picking his lock with his claws!).

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Us, with Toby and Velcro.

This was more than just a honeymoon, it was the trip of a lifetime, mainly because of all the little furry friends we made.

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If you need more sloths (and who doesn’t?) have a look at this video CB cut together once we got home:

 

Would you ever consider volunteering on your honeymoon / a big vacation with your partner?

Cinnamon Sun – Costa Rica Part 1

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This photo taken with my camera by one of Oxygen's staff.

I just have to tell everyone, right now, that our honeymoon was amazing. It was a life-altering experience. I had the time of my life, and I had never felt that way before. And, I owe it all to youuuuu. Had I not been part of Weddingbee, I don’t know that I ever would have heard of Oxygen Jungle Villas (from Mrses Brooch and Lox). Maybe Costa Rica would never have been on our radar! But thanks to those two ladies it was, and now I’ll tell you all about it. We spent 3 weeks in Costa Rica, this first post will be about the first 4 days we spent at Oxygen and the surrounding area. This honeymoon happened the February after our June wedding.

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Flying from Calgary to Costa Rica was pretty easy – one change in Houston, which we made with enough time to eat dinner at the airport before heading onwards. We got in to San Jose at night, so we needed a hotel to stay at that night before we went to a smaller regional airport (San Jose Pavas) to take our little flight to the Pacific Coast. We didn’t want to spend lots of our trip driving, so we chose to fly from San Jose to Quepos on the Pacific coast, pick up a rental car in Quepos, then drive to Oxygen. Driving from San Jose to Oxygen is 3-4 hours I believe, while our flight was 25 minutes, and Quepos to Oxygen was about 45 minutes. That way we’d still have a car to explore with, but wouldn’t have to navigate San Jose or any major roads. We chose to stay at the Hotel Brilla Sol that first night in San Jose. It had been recommended by the place we were volunteering at later in the trip. It was cheap (but cash only!) and cheerful, and included a breakfast where we both gorged on fresh fruit. We ate a lot of fresh fruit on this trip.

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Breakfast on the terrace at Brilla Sol

The Brilla Sol is behind a big iron gate, which was a bit scary, but most businesses in this area seemed to be surrounded by fences, gates, barbed wire, or some combination of the above. The Brilla Sol was close to the main airport, but not so close to Pavas airport, so we spent a fair amount of time in a taxi during rush hour, both relieved we weren’t driving.

Once at Pavas airport, they weighed our luggage, our carry-ons, and us. Yes, the plane is that small. We had a bit too much luggage, but we’re both small people so I think the airline clerk was nice to us and didn’t charge us for being over on baggage. We had some great views of the country as we flew over it:

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At Quepos, the adventure began. We had arranged our rental car through Alamo, who had been recommended by Oxygen. There was a man with an Alamo truck at the Quepos ‘airport’ (really just a Quonset hut by a small airstrip). Hm, we hadn’t rented a truck. Turns out Alamo was all out of cars, but Elvis was here to drive us to Oxygen, and would drop off a car for us at the resort as soon as one was available.

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We were at Oxygen by 10:30am and it. was. amazing. Our room wasn’t ready, but the staff was very welcoming, so we basked poolside with fresh fruit smoothies until the room was ready. Really, we would have just put our stuff down in the room and come out to bask anyway, so it didn’t bother us in the least. As we had no car, we spent the day basking, lazing, and swimming. Not a bad way to spend the first full day of your honeymoon! And what a view!

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Now before you get too excited about the adventures we had once the intrepid Elvis brought us our car…. it never came. The lovely Oxygen staff kept phoning Alamo for us, and the answer was always ‘Soon!’ Soon never materialized, but it honestly didn’t phase us. We spent some much-needed down time in one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. We ate every meal at Oxygen, and every meal was amazing. The 5-course surprise dinner menu? Worth it, every time. The wine was also reasonable… we may have polished off a bottle every night we were there!

We did a little more than just lazing by the pool, though. We went on a mini-hike to a waterfall on Oxygen’s property:

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We saw some wildlife:

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That is a coati, a bit like a raccoon.

We hung out together in the shade of some lovely umbrellas:

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Umbrella by day

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Umbrella by night

And for a bit of adventure we went down to the village (Uvita) and went on a waterfall rappelling adventure! One of the staff at Oxygen recommended this trip to us and it was awesome. I overheard an older couple the morning before we went saying ‘$80 each is too much to walk down a river! Why would I do that?!’ Let me tell you, this is not walking down a river:

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The trip was run by Costa Canyoning, and I would recommend it over and over! I felt so safe, and it was tons of fun. The guides even had a waterproof camera, and we all got a DVD of photos at the end of the tour. We even had delicious beverages and homemade salsa after all our exertions! The funny part about this excursion was that it was Cinnamon Buns and I and 3 other tourists. The three others were from…. (wait for it)….. Calgary! Small world. If you go on this trip, leave everything at your hotel. EVERYTHING. You do have to swim at some points, plus the water pelting down – not a good combo for things in pockets. Luckily, we both managed to keep our glasses on our faces, although one of those glasses tie things might have made me feel a little more secure. We even left our wedding rings at the hotel, which I think was a good choice. I would have worried to much about losing them to enjoy the excursion!

After that adventure, we had a couple’s massage back at Oxygen, which was an excellent combination.

As our car never appeared we taxied back to Quepos airport. All in all, not having the car saved us money, as we only had to pay for the taxi back to Quepos ($80). I did have a moment of worry when the driver who picked us up at the resort stopped at the crossroads in town, got out, and his friend got in to drive us, but we got there! I’m a little sad we never got to tip Elvis, who was lots of fun on the drive to Oxygen – we assumed we’d be able to do it when he brought us our car.

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In short: I would recommend Oxygen Jungle Villas to anyone and everyone! They aren’t an all-inclusive but we feel that what we paid for everything (room, meals, drinks, massage) was very reasonable. More reasonable that a lot of all-inclusives I researched, even. It’s a beautiful location with a wonderful view that we just didn’t get tired of.

Next up: Slothymoon!

slothselfportrait

Sloth self-portrait

Double-Photo Christmas Cards

I got inspiration for my holiday cards this year from this post on Papertrey Ink’s blog. (Have I mentioned that would happily buy everything they sell, if I only had the money? Because I totally would.) I ordered the tri-fold card bases, and while those were in the mail (plus, ahem, some stamps) Cinnamon Buns and I went through the wedding photos and picked our favourites out. When the card bases arrived, we got to work.

Photo Christmas Card

You can switch up how you fold them up, we decided to go with this orientation.

Photo Christmas Card

We stuck a photo of us to the front with permanent glue dots (glue dots make this project so easy!)

Photo Christmas Card

People who weren’t at the wedding, or didn’t use the photobooth (shame!) get a silly photo of us inside, also stuck down with permanent glue dots.

Photo Christmas Card

Those who were there get our favourite picture of them from the photobooth, stuck down with temporary glue dots so they can take it out and frame it/magnet it to the fridge/whatever they want to do with it.

Photo Christmas Card

I used these two sentiments on the middle panel inside, with both ink colours shown above. The two faint red stamps in the upper left were some Colorbox pigment ink, the bright red and the greenish-blue (the two colours I ended up using) are Tim Holtz’s seasonal distress inks in the colours Festive Berries and Evergreen Bough.

Photo Christmas Card

We didn’t have a printer at our wedding, so people had their photos taken in the photobooth and never got to see them. I’d always planned to send out photobooth photos in the thank you cards, but I wanted to get the thank yous done and dusted and we didn’t have wedding photos back yet. So we revised that plan and decided to send out photobooth photos with our holiday cards this year. We’re also including a little business card-size insert with info on where to find all the photos (including the photobooth ones) online. I think all this completely makes up for the lack of printer at the actual wedding!

If you got married this year, are you milking the wedding-photo-gift possibilities this season? I know I am!

The Randomizer: Cinnamon Bun

 

The random number generator seemed to have a thing for family, which really, is what a wedding is all about. Here are 10 of our wedding photos chosen by the RNG.

The Wedding Randomizer

I love this photo because my beloved bouquets are in the front, and we look so relaxed. In actuallity, we weren’t relaxed at all because we’d just taken off our shoes (quite a production for me) and were doing our best not to get our dresses dirty. I’m actually boosting myself off the ground with my hands!

The Wedding Randomizer

 

This is the first family portrait we took – we were going to start with the largest group of my relatives, but had temporarily lost my dad. This is his sister (my aunt), her husband, and their two sons. In my head, my cousins are 10 and 12 because that was how old they were the last time I saw them before the wedding. They’re both in university now! That’s what happens when your family lives in England, and you’re in Canada.

The Wedding Randomizer

I think I actually shared this one in my details post. Our ceremony decor – Ikea rug, garden centre orchid, wire table and ‘joy’ Christmas ornament from Michaels, book paper runner by Mr CB.

The Wedding Randomizer

Us welcoming the same aunt and uncle to the reception!

The Wedding Randomizer

Groomsman E looking very dapper in our home.

The Wedding Randomizer

Various members of Cinamon Buns’ family – in this photo we’ve got his dad, step mum, two uncles and his mum.

The Wedding Randomizer

I have curly hair so I’m always amused when I get my hair styled and they blow it straight, then curl it. Then again, all I do on my own with it is put it in a pony tail, so I trust hairdressers.

The Wedding Randomizer

Cinnamon Buns dragged me over to the photobooth as soon as we’d finished dancing with our parents to show the guests how it’s done. I think it worked really well to have us run over there and ham it up while people were still hanging around the dance floor, it sort of broke the ice around the photobooth.

The Wedding Randomizer

Mum, in her lovely outfit, giving me a much needed hand.

The Wedding Randomizer

Cinnamon Buns and the groomhandles greeted all the guests before the ceremony, this is one of his cousins (well, technically his mum’s cousin’s son, but I don’t know what that makes him to CB. I say cousin, and call his dad CB’s uncle. Close enough!)

Cinnamon Fun – The Photobooth

I think photobooths at weddings are a great idea, and luckily for me, Cinnamon Buns agreed. We sourced some pieces, and made a few more to fill our tickle trunk of props. We didn’t want a plain white background, so we found this great green and white oversized houndstooth fabric at Fabricland and bought up all they had. In the days before the wedding, I got my mum to sew it into a big square-ish piece (the sewing machine makes me cry, I’m hoping we can get to couples’ therapy sometime soon) that our photographers could throw over their own backdrop frame. We didn’t have any printing capability, just our second shooter with her camera on a tripod. We had plans to get these photos to our guests later, which I’ll go into in another post.

Right after the parent dances Cinnamon Buns pulled me in to the booth so we could show our guests how it is done.

Photobooth fun

We tangoed!

Photobooth fun

And then the props came out.

One of my favourite thing about this style of booth (photographer-operated) was that we didn’t just get the posed shots because someone in the photo pressed a button – we also got process shots as people set up their shenanigans, or in our case, cracked ourselves up:

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

I love that our photographers left all the photobooth photos in for us to see, even the ones where someone is pointing at other people where to stand. It’s awesome to see things build up from the last photo.

Photobooth fun

My high school girls modelling some more hats (my mum put that feather headdress on when the DJ played YMCA! I have a photo, but she’d kill me if I put that on the internet. Needless to say – have a feather headdress!)

Photobooth fun

The boas were also a hit – they were 3 for the price of 1 when I bought the backdrop fabric the week before the wedding, so I got two in our wedding colours, and one subtle grey one, if a feather boa can be subtle. The dino and bee felt hats were on sale at Michaels one day. And I TOTALLY forgot to put the bee hat on that night. Sadface.

Photobooth fun

We were practicing our ‘Blue Steel’ for months beforehand. The green mask thing is very cool, it’s like a pair of glasses, it’s got arms that go over your ears. Of course, that meant that I had to take my glasses off, so this is the one shot where I’m actually (mostly) looking at the camera.

Photobooth fun

The good, the bad, and….

Photobooth fun

…the mustachioed?

Photobooth fun

It took me a few moments to realize that E is not holding a mustache up over his mustache, but holding the empty end of the stick to his face. Ha!

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

These perfectly-imperfect photos are the ones that capture the feeling of the photobooth the best.

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

Photobooth fun

I love this one just for the floating hat. Can you guess what they were setting up?

Photobooth fun

I’ll spare you the entire barrage of photos we have of them building this, that have captions like : “No no, M is this way!” “A goes last!” “Which one am I?”

 

If you’re on the fence about a photobooth…. do it. It was a great source of entertainment, and we got some great photos out of ours.

What’s your must-have photobooth prop?

All photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – Dance Party!

And then the dance party started!

Wedding Dance Par-tay

I danced with my mum.

Wedding Dance Par-tay

I danced with my high school girls. Note that I’m the only one still wearing shoes in this photo! I kept my shoes on all night, and my feet only hurt when we got back to the hotel.

Wedding Dance Par-tay

Yes, we did the Chicken Dance. A friend requested it, and as we had no ‘no play’ list, he got it! It was awesome, to tell you the truth. Everyone was laughing, and it gathered one of the biggest crowds of the night.

Wedding Dance Par-tay

This one might have been Ra Ra Rasputin….

Wedding Dance Par-tay

This has quickly become a tradition – the four of us stood on a table at J (in the pink)’s wedding and danced to Eye of the Tiger the way we used to in high school. C (beside me) got a mic from our DJ and explained to everyone what was about to happen. More awesomeness.

Wedding Dance Par-tay

You have no idea how excited I got when I heard those first few beats of YMCA over the speakers – I may have hopped up and down.

Wedding Dance Par-tay

Then things got a little crazy – notice the upside-down person in the background!

Wedding Dance Par-tay

There was a kickline….

Wedding Dance Par-tay

Some singing along… (most likely Spirit of the West’s “Home For a Rest” – it’s not a wedding reception in Canada until this is played!). I remember the moment I heard “Home For a Rest” start playing… I was talking to someone in the other room when I stopped mid-sentence and said ‘Excuse me, I can’t miss this song.’

Then Cinnamon Buns proved that he was the most awesome husband-of-6-hours ever:

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(guest photo above)

In the month or so before the wedding, I’d become mildly obsessed with the song “Captain Jack Sparrow” by Lonely Island. Mr CB was the first one to show me the video and I almost peed myself laughing. It didn’t help that my coworkers at the time were obsessed with YouTube (mostly Jack Sparrow and “Struttin’ That Ass” – both songs not safe for regular workplaces) so we watched it on repeat in the green room before the show. For some reason CB and I started saying ‘Giant squid!’ to each other randomly.

Cinnamon Buns knew all about this (that, and I’d bought it on iTunes and may have played it on repeat a few times) so he asked the DJ if he had it. The DJ didn’t, but ever-resourceful Cinnamon Buns pulled out his iPhone, bought it, and handed it to the DJ to plug in to the system. If I jumped up and down for YMCA, and interrupted a conversation for Spirit of the West, I screamed when I heard this one start playing. It was one of the last songs of the night, and CB and I danced to it (and sang along) the whole time. Some people (the few relatives still there that late, less You Tube-obsessed coworkers) had no idea what was going on, but the select (cool) few knew it. I heard a few ‘Is this… ohmigod it IS THIS IS AWESOME!!’s from people. This is one of my favourite memories of the night.

I have to say that our DJ did a good job of reading the crowd and playing great songs, which made up for some flubs earlier in the day. My music tastes run to the classic rock end of the spectrum (yes, what you might call ‘oldies’ or even ‘cheesy’) and I loved everything that was played. We just aren’t a going-out-to-the-clubs couple, and the good old songs that everyone knows means that more people will be out dancing. I don’t dance to look sexy – I spent most of the time I was on the dance floor (which was  A LOT of the reception, which was not what I was expecting) belting out the songs along with the speakers, spinning around so my dress flew out, shaking the dress with the music…. maybe I would go dancing more if I could wear my giant dress? It was great not being self-conscious of what my feet were doing.

Here are a few of the songs that Cinnamon Buns and I can remember being played:

  • YMCA – The Village People
  • Ra Ra Rasputin – Bony M
  • Eye of the Tiger – Survivor
  • Home for a Rest – Spirit of the West
  • Sweet Caroline (BAM BAM BAM!) – Neil Diamond
  • Don’t Stop Believing – Journey
  • The Chicken Dance!
  • Brown-Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

What song never fails to get you dancing?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – First Dances

We danced our first dance to Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours”. A few weeks before the wedding I’d gotten in my head that we needed dance lessons, so we contacted Dancing Till Dawn. I based the choice of teacher on which website mentioned ’emergency’ rehearsals, as we were only 3 weeks out. Dawn was a pleasure to work with, we ended up having a second lesson with her and both our sets of parents on the Thursday before the wedding as well. I wouldn’t call our first dance fully ‘choreographed’ – it was more like she gave us a few bits and told us how to string them together, and then we just went out and repeated them in whatever order Cinnamon Buns felt like until the song was over. We could move around the floor, do a spin, and a turn or two.

Parent Dances

But first, at Dawn’s suggestion, we faked everyone out like we were going to do the high school sway for the whole time.

Parent Dances

Then we danced properly! Well, Cinnamon Buns danced properly, and tried to lead me, but I was a bit flustered by dancing in a giant dress. File this one under ‘Wedding Tips a Stage Manager Should Know’ but try to find yourself a rehearsal skirt! It makes a huge difference in how close you can stand to your partner, and where their feet can go!

Parent Dances

I spent a lot of time looking at my feet (or trying to see them! Dress too big!) and Cinnamon Buns spent a lot of time telling me just to look at him.

Parent Dances

We spun! (I bite my bottom lip when I’m nervous.)

Parent Dances

See how far apart that dress keeps us?

Parent Dances

We could still lean in to kiss though, so that was ok.

As my dad is definitely not a dancer (I have to get it from somewhere!), and so all of us wouldn’t have to spend so much time being stared at by people, we did the father/daughter and mother/son dances at the same time. I think that made it way better for everyone’s nerves! We danced to The Beatles’ “In My Life”.

Parent Dances

Neither of us is looking at our feet (or my hem) in this photo. That’s pretty rare!

Parent Dances

Cinnamon Buns is a natural leader, so their dance went quite well. :)

It was lovely to do those dances, but there was also a feeling of relief knowing that all the ‘in-the-spotlight’ events were over for the night. One of the actors we’d invited asked me later what it felt like to be up in front of everyone, when I’m normally the one backstage, behind the scenery and he’s the one out in front of the people. I told him that I was very glad being stared at by people was his job, and not mine!

Are you an ‘in-the-spotlight’ person? If not, how do you plan to deal with it on your wedding day?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – Family Portraits

family portraits024

I know that family portraits are tediously boring to everyone but (and sometimes including!) family, so this is going to be short and sweet. We did photos with our parents earlier in the day (when we were photobombed by angry library man), but wanted to get a few photos of us with other family members – us and everyone who came from England from my side, us with Mr CB’s dad and uncles and family…. etc. We decided to do these on the same platform we’d been married on, for a nice backdrop. After all the speeches and lots of mingling, we opened one panel of the sliding wall, and our DOC friend did a great job of wrangling family in to place. Apart from misplacing my dad for a while (who knew he’d be chatting away with my high school girlies?), it all went quite smoothly. We did my side of the family first as I definitely have less relatives (8 in attendance, including my parents) in various combinations, then a group shot of both our families combined, then the various combinations of Cinnamon Buns’ relatives. We’d made a list of which shots we wanted, and given copies to the photographers and our DOC, which is what helped it all run so smoothly.

family portraits009

This is both our families combined. We have a regular (wand-less) version of this photo, but I love the waving of the ribbon wands!

Did your family portraits go smoothly? If you’re not married yet, have you made your list? If not, DO IT NOW!

 

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – PIE

I’ve spoken a lot about the homemade wedding pie in previous posts, and as I don’t want you to think I’m totally obsessed with pie (although it’s kinda true) I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves in this post.

Previous pie posts:

The first wedding decision we made.

The secret ingredient for perfect pastry.

Post-wedding logistics tips for making your own pies.

Recipes & baking tips.

Our baking and set-up day.

Wedding Pie

Wedding Pie

Wedding Pie

Wedding Pie

Wedding Pie

(guest photo above)

My creation

(guest photos above)

Top to bottom, left to right: Blueberry, Strawberry-Rhubarb, Saskatoonberry, Apple, Cherry, Apple-Blackberry

Wedding Pie

(guest photo above)

Mum’s chocolate tart.

Wedding Pie

(guest photo above)

Suggested serving. :)

Pie vs. cake, which is your favourite?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – An Appetizer Reception

After we were married, we walked down the aisle and out the door our guests came in. Then we went in another door of the building, into the ceremony side. Our venue was essentially two large empty rooms side-by-side, with a big sliding wall in the middle that you can open to connect the two of them. I just couldn’t figure out a plan for how to get the guests nicely into the other room, and eventually my mum suggested that as we’d already done our photos and everything, we just zip around and welcome the guests into the reception half of the building, like a receiving line. It worked so well! We opened two panels of the sliding wall, and everyone filed past and gave Cinnamon Buns and I a hug and some well-wishes, so we were certain we got to talk to everyone there at least once that night.

Wedding Reception

(guest photo above)

Above you can see what I mean about the sliding wall. The platform where we got married is to the far left in this photo, you can just see one of our orchids.

Wedding Reception

The guests’ first view of the reception room, complete with big orange wall covered in opera photos. That wall made a perfect backdrop for our bar and main food stations.

Wedding Reception

You can see the chairs where everyone had been sitting for the ceremony in this photo. And a food table right behind us! When everyone was through, we closed the big panels so our DOC (and some cousins for brute strength) could move all the chairs and get the ceremony room ready to become the dance floor.

Wedding Reception

One of the first surprises of the night was finding these little jingle bells everywhere – someone had taken the ‘with bells on’ RSVP cards literally, and put bells on all our tables. They’d obviously been in touch with the groomsmen (our MCs), because they announced that when people wanted us to kiss, they’d ring the bells. Oh darn. (Note – while reading over my shoulder just now, Cinnamon Buns informed me that the mystery bell-er was his mum!)

Wedding Reception

Being married and forced to kiss your new husband is a tough job.

Then we left some time before the speeches and such for guests to get drinks and food. We had the caterers pre-pour glasses of wine, so those who wanted wine could easily grab one as they came in to the room. We chose to have one red wine and one white wine, two types of beer, and a few hard alcohols for mixed drinks. As our venue was basically an empty hall, we bought all the alcohol and our caterers provided the bar unit, mix, bar accessories, and bartender.

Wedding Reception

The bridal party headed to the bar for some well-deserved drinks.

We decided to take a suggestion from a caterer we met with but ended up not hiring, and do a ‘bar by donation’. We instructed our stage manager friend we’d asked to DOC to put up a sign on the bar partway through the night that said ‘Bar By Donation – Help us honeymoon with the sloths!’. At that point people could feel free to donate (or not) as they drank. Mum had instructed family not to pay, but we did end up with a nice amount to give to the sloth sanctuary when we get there. The bar was a bit of a contentious point – my parents suggested just beer and wine so people ‘don’t get smashed’, and it being a host bar. I wanted at least some vodka and mix there because that’s what I generally drink. We ended up doing it our way, and it worked. I think the caterers got a hefty tip as well, because for a while there was a tip jar out near our jar.

Wedding Reception(guest photo above)

The food was delicious, and a huge success! Our whole vision for the reception was people mingling and chatting and moving around a lot. To encourage this, we had small 4-person cafe tables everywhere, and no seating plan. We reserved a larger table for our parents near the front of the room, but otherwise it was open season. We also did not have a sit-down plated meal. There were lots of appetizers on food tables all around the room, and the main cooking station at the back by the bar. The idea was that guests would wander around to all the food tables (“Where did you get those meatballs?” “Oh, they’re on the table on the left side over there!”), meeting people in line, chatting as they went by. There were enough seats for everyone in the room to sit down at once, so everyone also had a home base for purses/sweaters/drinks/sitting when their feet were tired. I think it worked very well – no one was sitting alone, people would pull up an extra chair to a table if needed. There was lots of chatting and wandering around, which made it very easy for us to mingle. Did my friend MJ suddenly become best friends with Cinnamon Buns’ cousins? No, people mainly sat with other people they knew, but I still don’t feel there was any awkwardness in the whole evening. Score 1 for the ‘tapas-style reception’ with no seating plan!’ (The ‘no seating plan’ was also a bone of contention with my parents.)

Wedding Reception

(guest photo above)

And here is proof that we even got to eat! I have a baby baked potato in my hand – delicious. That was part of the cooking station, as were some delicious fish cakes.

Wedding Reception

The lady with the clipboard was our awesome stage manager friend who we asked to be our Day-of-Coordinator. Can I just say how well-suited stage managers are for the job of a DOC? It’s like we’re trained for it. (Full disclosure: I am a stage manager, one of 3 stage managers in the bridal party, and one of 8 or 9 SMs in attendance at our wedding.)

Wedding Reception

People admired my ring, which I was all too ready to show off.

DSCF0133

(guest photo above)

People also admired my dress, which I was apparently also very eager to show off, even the under-layers! The big wide band I’m holding there is the horsehair hem of the satin layer. The horsehair encased at the bottom of it (you can see the bit I’m holding is a few inches wide and stiffer than the rest of the fabric) helps the bottom of the dress keep its shape. The wardrobe friend I got to alter the dress has made and altered wedding dresses for years, and said that that was a sign of the amazing quality of the dress, as was the fact that the tulle layers were hemmed as well, not just cut and left. She said it was one of the most well-made dresses she has ever seen, and said it was worth every penny paid for it, which was gratifying, even though the price still makes me choke a bit when I think about it. Watters, you impressed a lady who has seen it all! (My dress was Watters Lasara.)

Wedding Reception

The ‘groomhandles’ as Cinnamon Buns liked to call them were also our MCs. They took care of various announcements throughout the night as well as cueing people for speeches. My dad and Cinnamon Buns’ step-dad both spoke, and as we only had a 2-person bridal party each, they did joint speeches. Neither of my bridesmaids are big on public speaking (just like me! BFFs!) so they really wanted to go together. The groomsmen on the other hand, were a pretty good comedy double-act. Groomsman L ended his speech with an ancient Chinese proverb:

Baochí gundòng èr shí ji suì.

Which, roughly translated, means: ‘Keep rolling twenties.’ We (and our friends) are geeks. :)

Wedding Reception

We spent very little time at the head table, so there are actually very few photos of it. We used two long tables that ended up not being the same height, but managed to disguise it with a cunning pile of books where the two joined. I also made sure there was a jar to put my bouquet in, plus a couple fanned books. This was something I didn’t plan beforehand. I knew we had extra books, that ‘LOVE’ sign, and some candleholders, and threw it together the day before. The wall behind us could have had some decor on it… it normally holds photos of all the former chairs of the board for the building, but I didn’t want ‘the old dudes’ looking over our shoulders so we very carefully took them down and packed them away, making sure to take some cellphone photos first so we could put them back again. The bare hooks really bothered mum, but I knew we’d spend very little time at the head table (literally just the speeches) so we didn’t bother doing anything with the hooks.

Wedding Reception

We had put a small platform in this room for the speechifying to happen on, and at the last minute decided to buy another green shag rug from Ikea for that platform too, to tie it in. We took our turn on the rug – I wasn’t planning on saying anything in case I started crying again, so I let Cinnamon Buns thank everyone. When he was done I decided that I could say something funny and not cry, so I told everyone the ‘Always argue naked’ policeman story from earlier in the day. People laughed! I could be an actor yet! (No, I really really couldn’t.)

Wedding Reception

I’m not sure who is dipping who in this photo, but it sure looks awkward!

Wedding Reception

This bird’s eye view photo gives you an idea of the size of the tables, plus you can see both our types of centrepieces – the book piles with candle and the fanned-out books.

That’s what our reception looked like. Fun, informal, lots of standing, mingling, talking, moving, eating (small portions, but lots of them!), drinking. I think it was a success. I did have some doubts going in to it, because we’re bombarded with photos and writing about the ‘norm’ for weddings – escort cards and table numbers and seating charts and plated meals… but our reception had none of those things and was just as awesome as the weddings that do have all that.

Do you think we bucked the reception trend in a good way, or a bad way?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – The Details!

A quick little detailed interlude before I start talking about the reception, dancing, photobooth, and pie.

The details. Now there have been a number of posts recently out in weddingblogland about saying ‘no’ to the vintage typewriter/mason jars/hay bales/jam favours/whatevers, and talk that the plethora of wedding bloggers is maybe leading people to focus more on OMG THE DETAILS than the marriage. All very interesting posts, as are the ‘rebuttals’ (for lack of a better word). We did work hard to make sure there were nice details at our wedding, but we know that that isn’t the focus of the event. The important thing was that we got married. That was the highlight of both our days. But in the time leading up to the wedding, I had a lot of fun planning what things would look like. It’s not often I get to throw a party this big, and frankly, I like decorating. You should see our house at Christmas!

All that to say, yes the marriage is the important part. But the details were pretty, and some were even captured by our photographers. I would like to share them not to make you feel like you have to make jam for your guests or you won’t be married, but to inspire you like the photos of all sorts of weddings all over the blogosphere inspired me.

Wedding Details

Our ring book – it is gorgeous, and that’s why we picked it. It isn’t a special title (I think it is Mill on the Floss?), it didn’t co-ordinate with our wedding colours, but it is a gorgeous vintage book that is almost a work of art on its own. I’d bought lots of ribbon in our wedding colours, so it was super-quick to put together.

Wedding Details

The jam! Mum and I made jam favours because my mum has always made jam, and once I moved out I started making my own jam. It’s what we do. Bad puns are what Cinnamon Buns and I do, so the sign (and all the labels) are very appropriate too.

Wedding Details

Wedding Details

The paper flowers. I love a fiddly project to keep me occupied, and I did enjoy the process of making these. I think they really helped with the vintage book motif we had going.

Wedding Details

Some last-minute sprucing up of our ceremony area. Teal wire tables from Michaels, two ‘joy’ Christmas ornaments in our wedding colours that I’d picked up on clearance in January, two book-page runners, and two potted orchids. Oh, and don’t forget the apple green Hampen rug from Ikea that inspired the whole colour scheme!

Wedding Details

Wedding Details

Wedding Details(photo above by a guest)

Wedding Family Photo Display

(photo above by Uncle Peter)

The family wedding photographs were a huge hit! It was a fairly last-minute project and I thought we’d get just a few photos. We got almost 20! Some stayed in the frames they lived in, anything that we received digitally we printed and put in a dollar store frame with some scrapbook paper mats. People (not just our families!) had fun looking through them, and trying to spot people who were there in the room. We arranged them by date and they spanned from 1880 – 2005, with most decades in between (last photo above spans the ’40s-70s!). I ended up using just 2 types of ribbon on the namecards – even years were teal organza, odd years were apple green grosgrain. It was just random enough for my type-A brain. The two digital photo frames of Cinnamon Buns and I also provided the almost-obligatory embarrassing-photos-shown-at-your-wedding tradition without making people take time out from their conversations to watch a slideshow.

Wedding Details

Wedding Details

Wedding Details

Our venue had a beautiful wooden table that we used to display the ribbon wands, guest book, card bird cage, and the RSVP drawings we received back. This was all in the ceremony half of the room, so guests who arrived early had something to peruse while they waited.

Wedding Details

Ok, these two little guys were a splurge. I commissioned them in secret from Etsy seller dandelionland. When the package arrived I squirreled it away so I could surprise Cinnamon Buns with them on the wedding day. And then in all the hustle and bustle…. I forgot to get them out. One of the photos of me texting at the hair place is me giving him directions to where I hid the box, telling him to open it, and bring the contents to the venue. I’m happy they made it, and it makes me happy to see them now sitting on top of one of our bookcases.

What’s your stance on the detail debate?

Cinnamon Fun – Ring Warming and Wedding Ceremony

ceremony022

When planning our ceremony in the awesome empty, blank-slate of a room we had, there was no question about where we’d be standing. How beautiful is that organ? You can also see the balcony in the left-hand corner of this photo, it had beautiful book-paper bunting strung along it. The bunting was made by my mum, and looked great.

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The room also had some beautiful stained glass windows – the ones behind me in the photo above are south-facing, and at 5pm (our ceremony time) let in gorgeous light.

I’m not going to talk too much about the text of our wedding ceremony – we heavily modified Mrs Cherry Pie’s ceremony that she posted here. It was a fun thing for us both to work on, crafting just the right words to be married with, with such a helpful guideline – and figuring out where to put in all the stuff to make it legal in Alberta. What I mainly want to talk about is our ring warming, because it took a lot of Google searching for text, and in the end writing our own blurb about it to be included in our ceremony. I talked about our reasons for including this in our wedding in this post here, but it stemmed mainly from wanting to include all our guests in the ceremony, so they weren’t just a passive ‘audience’. The ‘Group Declaration of Support’ Mrs Cherry Pie wrote was also very helpful for this.

At the very beginning of the ceremony, right after our officiant welcomed everyone for being there, we wrote this for him to say:

Miss Cinnamon Bun and Cinnamon Buns have would like to have you, their treasured family and friends, take an active part in this ceremony. These rings, two unbroken bands, represent the commitment that they are about to make to each other. As this ceremony proceeds, the rings will be passed around. Miss Cinnamon Bun and Cinnamon Buns have asked that each of you take a moment to warm them by holding them and placing your best wishes, blessings, advice, or thoughts into the rings. By warming the rings both literally with the heat from your hands and figuratively with your blessings, wishes and thoughts, they will carry your love and support with them for the rest of their lives.

Then bridesmaid A passed the rings, tied to a gorgeous vintage book, off to my parents on the left side of the venue. She didn’t walk up the aisle with the book, it had been placed discretely on the stage, and watched by the groomsmen until the ceremony started.

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As the ceremony went on, the rings went around. We had 65 guests, and 2 pages of text, plus our vows to each other for them to go around the whole room. Every now and then during the ceremony, I saw our groomsmen look out to check where they were in the room. As they were passed off on the bride’s side, they would be coming back to our groomsmen.

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I am so impressed that we got a photo of someone actually holding the book and the rings! It wasn’t something I’d thought to ask for, or even tell the photographers about beforehand. I really do love this photo.

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The book made it back with perfect timing, and was passed up to us by a groomsman.

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“These rings, now warmed by those you love the most, will forever show the world you are one and carry with them the eternal love and blessings of your family and friends.”

 

ceremony067 I am so glad we chose to do the ring warming, and we had so many of our family and friends come up to us later and say that it made them feel so included and special, and that it was the perfect thing to include in our ceremony. They felt honoured to have been asked to handle our rings like that, and we felt honoured that everyone did.

We signed the paperwork during the ceremony – we had set up a little table off to the side of the stage where we were standing:

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We got one of Patrick’s uncles to read an Irish blessing (complete with lovely accent!) and we were married! And it felt so good to get off the little stage. I know people were still watching us, we were still the centre of attention, but it was nice to feel a little less ‘on display’. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we used the platform so everyone could see, but it was a little unnerving for a backstage person like me. We walked out to Elvis vs. JXL’s ‘A Little Less Conversation’ because we thought the lyrics were amusingly appropriate – enough talking, let’s party!

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Now, I have glossed over other parts of the ceremony, the rough idea of which can be found in Mrs Cherry Pie’s post. But I also want to share what happened when I was asked to repeat after our officiant for the legal-y bit. It should have gone something like this:

I, Miss Cinnamon Bun, do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I may not be joined in matrimony to CB

I call upon those persons present to witness that I, Miss Cinnamon Bun, do take thee, CB to be my lawful wedded husband.

Our officiant said the first little bit (up to about ‘impediment’), and paused for me to repeat after him. I couldn’t. At that point, everything got really super-real, and I choked up. I knew if I opened my mouth I’d just make awful crying noises, so I made a face at him and tried to control my breathing. Then I stuck my hand out behind me so Bridemaid K could hand me the hankie I’d given her to carry for me.

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Everybody ‘Awww-ed’. Everybody giggled, which made me giggle, which came out more like a sob/hiccup. Our officiant tried again, with less words: “I, Miss Cinnamon Bun, do solemnly declare…”

I still couldn’t do it, so I hiccuped again. I started worrying that people were thinking I was having last-minute second thoughts, so another hiccup/sob came out.

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He tried again: “I….” And that completely cracked everyone up, which helped me get back to normal, although I was very glad we’d chosen to have a mic at the ceremony, because there was no way I could have said that at full voice without even more hiccups and voice-cracking.

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I would also like to thank Bridesmaid K who very graciously accepted the wet hankie back when I needed both my hands to put Cinnamon Buns’ ring on.

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

 

Cinnamon Fun – Goin’ to the Decomissioned Church, and I’m Gonna Get Married

One of the surprises waiting for me on my wedding day was this sweet ride:

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(photo by my mum)

Now it had been the plan all along for Cinnamon Buns’ step-dad to drive my dad and I to the venue in his car. What I wasn’t expecting was ribbons and tulle! Apparently our mums were out in the parkade on the wedding day morning, giving the car a bit of flair.

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Cinnamon Buns’ step-dad also managed to take the great shot of me above, sitting in the car with door open, trying to figure out how to get myself out without messing up my ‘look’. It was extra-special that he drove dad and I to the ceremony because he was diagnosed with kidney cancer during the engagement, and with all the meds he was on at the time, not to mention the 5-pound tumor, he wasn’t feeling too perky. (The tumour has since been removed, yay! And his energy is slowly coming back.)

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One delicately-shod foot exits the car….

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….and I needed my dad to give me a good pull to get the rest of the way out!

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This photo sponsored by Canadian Blood Services – it’s in you to give. Don’t worry, we also have a portrait version of this photo without the Blood Services van, but it makes me giggle. I can’t really pretend I wasn’t getting out of a fancy car in an alley in the most expensive piece of clothing I’ll ever own, so why try?

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Beautiful sun doesn’t mean it isn’t windy, so I had to make sure to hold my veil down all the way in. I love love loved wearing my veil, I loved the style, but it just wanted to fly away with any little gust of wind!

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Mum took this photo, and I absolutely love it! Then she had to run and sit down, because the bride had arrived, and she had to be seated last before the processional could start.

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The dudes got into place.

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And then they waited for us ladies.

We’d chosen to walk down the aisle to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’. We had timed it in our rehearsal, and it worked perfectly for my two bridesmaids to walk down the aisle during the intro, then I would enter when the words to the song started. One of the few disappointments of the day was that our DJ was not nearly as awesome as some bridal forums made him out to be. According to the threads I read, if you wanted the best in Calgary, you wanted this guy. For me, he was late, which meant guests who arrived early were locked out because the groomsmen and our DOC friend thought it best if he was at least mostly set up before people came in (I agree). He didn’t have all the correct cables, which sent one of my bridesmaids running to work to grab a connector (luckily most of our bridal party has AV set up as a job requirement) he was plugging and unplugging things with speakers live during the reception, resulting in huge pops and bangs… a groomsdude sorted him out after that. The mix of music he played during the dancing was pretty much spot-on though, I will give him that, he can definitely read a crowd. (YMCA? Yes, please!)

But the processional song started early, when my mum walked down the aisle. Did it ruin my day? Or even my minute? No, but I do remember noticing and thinking ‘Well, not much to do about this right now!’

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So dad and I walked. I tried to remember not to walk too fast, I think I remembered to smile – I’m never at my best when people are staring at me, even if they are our nearest and dearest.

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And then all of a sudden I was standing on a riser facing the world’s most awesome man, in front of 65 of our family and friends.

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Did all your vendors live up to expectations?

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Cinnamon Fun – Wedding Photos, on Location

After we’d played around in the park, we decided to play in traffic:

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Ok, we’re not actually playing in traffic, but Vanson suggested we wait until the crosswalk changed, then go out and kiss in the middle of it while he took photos from the middle of the road! Luckily, it’s a very long light because the road the traffic is on is a main one, and the one we were crossing has very little traffic. In some of them though, it still looks like we’re about to be hit by a car!

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Luckily, there were some breaks in the traffic so we did get some without cars going by.

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Then we actually crossed the road to take some photos on the steps of the church. I’d say those are to send to the relatives who disapprove of us not getting married in a church…. but we’re lucky enough not to have anyone like that!

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It’s still fun to have that traditional-looking wedding photo though!

This church is kitty corner to the park we had previously been shooting in, and opposite the church is…. a bookstore! As we’d been denied (and shoo-ed off the premises) at the library, I wanted to go to the bookstore. First, Vanson sent us across the street to take photos outside the store, while Lisa went in and checked with the booksellers to see if was ok for us to come tramping through.

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I love the urban feel of this photo. Mum has said a few times about some of the photos ‘oh, it’s too bad that power pole is in there, can it be taken out?’ but the way I see it is that we got married in a city. Downtown in a city. There’s going to be power poles, wires, moving trucks, people on the park benches. It’s representative.

The bookstore people were much nicer than Mr Grumpy at the library, so we got a few fun photos in there:

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At this point, we’d had enough of photos, and it was only 3-ish, so we decided to head back home. We let Vanson and Lisa head off too, to see them later at the venue. The bookstore and the park are quite close to our house, so we all just walked back. On the short walk back home, the Funniest Wedding Memory Ever occurred.

Funniest Wedding Memory Ever:

We were just walking along home, all six of us looking very snazzy, and unmistakeably a bridal party. As we were walking, a police car coming towards us pulled over and rolled down his passenger-side window. We stopped, because he obviously wanted to talk to us. He said “I have one piece of advice for you.” Yes officer? “Always argue naked.” As he drove off, we all just about died laughing. I have to say thank you to CPS for providing us with such fun moments on our wedding day!

We got home, and all had some water and some granola bars, because it was well past lunch time and granola bars are not messy or drippy. Groomsman L took a few photos with his phone:

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Really not sure who he was phoning….

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Also really don’t know what I was so concerned about, but look at that hand! It’s a blur!

Then Groomsman E drove us girls back to the hotel, and felt no compunctions about pulling in to the ‘no parking zone’ in front of the hotel. He did after all have a bride in the car, and at the first sign of the white dress the valets didn’t seem to mind him being there. Once back in our room, the girls decided to go for Starbucks. I asked them to get me my favourite summer Starbucks drink, a pomegranate lemonade. I didn’t go with them because I was a little tired of wrangling the dress, and there’s only so much spotlight I can take. It was nice to have a few minutes alone in the room too. I used the time wisely… taking iPhone photos of myself in the mirror.

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And I also took the time to read my vows out loud to myself, hoping to stave off any crying fits later when I had to read them in front of 65 people. Reading out loud by myself helped, but (sneak peek) didn’t stop me crying.

When the girls got back I realized the mistake in my order. I’d ordered a hot-pink drink! And I was wearing a white dress. I solved the problem by putting my white shirt from earlier in the day on over the dress, and leaning very far over to sip from my straw. So far no photos have surfaced from that moment, which is probably for the best.

We’d left ourselves so much time in the schedule it was nice to have those downtime moments, like our time at home, and relaxing with my ladies in the hotel while the guys were doing last-minute fixes/greeting people at the venue.

What’s the best piece of advice you received on your wedding day? Do you argue naked? 😉

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Baking Pies
Rehearsal
Girls Getting Ready
Guys Getting Ready
First Look
Photos in the Park

Cinnamon Fun – Photos in the Park

Otherwise known as ‘how our family portraits got photobombed’.

After our first look, we wanted to do parent photos, and then get all the photos of the two of us and the bridal party. We were hoping to be able to take some photos inside the library, but our photographers let us know that they’d talked to the people at the library and they’d said no, we could not take photos inside the library. Fine, oh well. We did decide that the outside steps of the library would be a nice place for family photos though, so we got set up and took a photo of us two and my parents:

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Then we shuffled around and got Cinnamon Buns’ two sets of parents up beside us….

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And Angry Library Man told us to shoo! There was no one trying to exit or enter the building at the time, we would have been 3 more groupings of people, but no. So we went around the side of the building, and did group shots there.

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Symmetry. Our bridal party has it. Shorties. Our marriage has two!

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Then we really just got to play in the park, with two photographers trailing us. You know, the usual thing for a Saturday afternoon. 😉 Any time we got close enough to the road for people to see the big white dress, cars honked, which was fun. Another police car ‘BLOOP’-ed at us.  We separated for a brief time, and I got some photos with my ladies:

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Oh what’s that? You want a close-up of the paper bouquets I made? I suppose I can indulge us both:

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Worth every minute, every paper cut, every glued-together finger.

Then the guys looked dashing together:

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Still shorter than Groomsman E, even standing on a step!

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I sat on the ground a few times during the hour or so we were wandering around the park, and the dress did not suffer. I tried not to put too much weight onto the actual dress, so I wasn’t pressing it into the ground with my own body. In some shots I’m actually more hovering above the ground, supporting myself with my legs or arms. The advantage to a pouffy skirt is that you can’t tell where my legs are and what they’re doing! But the pouffy skirt needed wrangling every time, to look nice:

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(photo above by my uncle Peter)

I needed a small herd of people to help me out on my wedding day. Couldn’t do up my own shoes, couldn’t wrangle all of my dress at once… I could decide if I felt like I was 5 years old, and needed the help, or if I was a billionaire, and had hired all this help. I know I couldn’t have gotten through the day without it all though! And it was nice to be out on the dance floor and say ‘I need a water….’ and someone would run off with me actually asking the question. But I get ahead of myself.

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I swear that someone was hidden somewhere watching us and playing with these ground fountains. We were trying to get pictures with them, and they’d go really small. Then two steps away and OLD FAITHFUL ERUPTS! It was hilarious, and we kept trying to figure out where they were controlled from, because I’m sure there wasn’t a pattern to them.

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Then, as happens often in our group of friends, there was a sword fight.

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Although our sword fight was much less cool than the sword fight at Groomsman E & Bridemaid K’s wedding, because they had actual swords. And pirate costumes. And then the police came because someone reported that there were weapons being used in a public area.

The last two photos from our shoot in the park sum up the male half of our party perfectly:

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I would say that picture #2 is their natural state. :)

At that point, we had taken a lot of photos, but also had a lot of time left before the ceremony, so we decided to change locations for some more interesting backdrops! I hadn’t really planned this portion of the afternoon very much because I just wanted to take advantage of whatever we came across or whatever the photographers thought up.

Did any of your wedding photos get photobombed? I want to hear more!

Unless otherwise noted, all photos in this post are by Fotograffika.

The Cinnamon Bun Recaps:

Baking Pies
Rehearsal
Girls Getting Ready
Guys Getting Ready
First Look