Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Layout make-over & brand new HB&SH blog!

You might have noticed that my blogging frequency this month has recently decreased from normal.  Did she go on vacation? Is that all she has to share about the wedding day? Is she done blogging? HECK NO!!! It's only just the beginning everyone....I am SO excited to finally officially announce my new HB&SH blog is up and running!

About half way through the wedding planning process, I kept coming up with tips & tricks I wanted to share with you in the health, beauty, and house projects areas.  Since my LL&K blog was alllll about planning our wedding, I decided to hold off on what I wanted to share outside of wedding talk and save it for a new blog I had been planning to start after the wedding when everything settled down.   Over the past month, I have been working hard on a blog geared towards my specialties: Health, Beauty & Sweet Homelife.  Where did I get that title from?

HBSH of course! I wanted my sister blog to this one to be a mega-blog combining anything and everything I had to talk about that didn't involve planning a wedding.  I was going to combine everything onto one blog, but decided to hold off on that so I could always link someone to my LL&K blog when they have specific wedding related questions.  So yup, you guessed it...I'm keeping this good 'ol blog you're staring at and updating it with any wedding info, updates, videos and PICTURES as I get them! BTW, pictures and video should be in any day now.  We are verrrrrry patiently and anxiously awaiting them and can't wait to share everything with you all.

In honor of the new blog, I have added a HB&SH picture button to this one, and also have linked this blog from the new one the same way.  You can find these buttons on the right side bar here:

Oh, that looks different you say? new HB&SH blog inspired me to completely re-do my LL&K layout and upgrade it with a new header, buttons and ways to follow me!  Go ahead, take a few scrolls and check it all out! :)

I'm very proud of my header handy work, and I've got to admit that I have really enjoyed piecing everything together exactly how I wanted it.  I've downloaded fonts, buttons, squiggly lines and researched exactly how to do some of my own web design.  Have specific questions on how I did it?  Send me an e-mail on my Contact Me page of my HB&SH blog!

Also, I've made it very easy for you to search my posts by subject, find me on facebook, and subscribe to my posts via e-mail! And, just for fun put a new button for you to view my new gallery online.  You can find all of this on my new handy left side bar! Check it out:

Since I decided to keep my LL&K blog so everything would be in one place for the wedding planning category, I also wanted to change the title from "LL& planning to be a MRS" to "LL&K...first miss now MRS."  I thought it was appropriate since my name has changed, and at the same time let's readers know I have already been through the wedding planning process.  For now, my posting on this blog will probably be minimal, until I get my hands on all of the pictures & video from the wedding...

Until then, I invite you to follow my new pride & joy:
Health, Beauty & Sweet Homelife.

Feel free to let me know your thoughts or comments below...
Happy Reading!

Friday, September 2, 2011

"You're my Soul Tattoo..."

Well, everyone it finally happened.

If you would have asked me five years ago if I thought I would EVER willingly get a tattoo permanently inked onto my body I would have bet money against it.  I've never been one who's into anything THAT permanent and had to triple-think something as removable as a piercing.  And, for the record I've only had my ears and my navel pierced before...don't get any crazy thoughts in your heads.

But then I met Mr. Hess.  A sweetheart in a bad boy's body complete with multiple tattoos and piercings.  You can imagine my first reaction when I found out about each one, with an "oh, great" kind of response.  At first I wasn't really into it, but I learned to look past it...learned the meanings behind them and actually became open to the idea of them.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to be getting a tattoo for every big event that happens in my life.  In fact, I plan for 2 to be my max.  So I guess from all of this you can guess how Mr. Hess and I spent one of the best days together...

His & Hers HBSH monogrammed tattoos!

Mr. Hess had been out of town for 5 days and I was eager to wake up and spend an entire two days with him.  We started the morning off with breakfast at home, which happens to be my favorite meal to cook.  After basically living out Bruno Mars "Lazy Song,"  we decided to make a fun date day & night out of it and headed over to Winter Park, one of our favorite spots in Orlando to walk around and spend the day.  As we pulled onto Park Ave. we were excited to use our Groupon to The Bistro, but unfortunately the restaurant wasn't open yet.  So we walked the Ave and found a nice little French spot called Paris Bistro.  Wine, crepes, pommes frites...I was in Heaven.  They had a great lunch special and we declared this as our official "cheat" day for the week.

Next up...why not a movie?  We drove over to Winter Park Village and saw My Idiot Brother (No, Clay I'm not talking about seeing you...j/k), which was decent, but to be honest all of the funny parts were in the previews.  Either way, we enjoyed spending time at the movies and went on for a drive.  During the drive it hit us....

Mr.: "HEY!  Want to get our monogram tattoos?!"
Me: "Ummm....OKAY!" Let's GO!

And we were off to Black Chapel Tattoo.  Neither of us have ever been to this place before, but for being relatively new it has done extremely well and they have already acquired a reputation of producing amazing work.  We walked in, showed them the monogram and were excited to get things rolling...

Of course, any good tattoo shop won't be available to fit you in RIGHT away, so we were told to come back in a few hours.  Alright...let this crazy, amazing day continue!  From there we heard Borders was going out of business and decided to go in and see what we could find.  Mr. Hess found a handful of biographies he's been wanting to read and I found a great cookbook to add to our newlywed cooking collection.  At the store, Mr. Hess's friend from Seattle called him and wanted to get together to catch up, and just like that we were off.  As we were pulling up to one of my favorite "wine-down" places, I joked that I am such a COOL WIFE today!  So laid back and ready for anything...I guess that's how I am when he goes out of town and gets home on my 2 days off!

Catching up was great, and before we knew it it was time to head to the tattoo shop.  I was nervous because obviously this was going to be my first tattoo...but I knew I'd be okay once we got going.  Well - shocker...I forgot my ID.  I actually had been going without it the entire day and at the most important time someone finally asked for it (dang changing purses!)  Since we were already there, signed the paper work and had the monogram drawn, we agreed that Mr. Hess should go ahead and get his done and come back the next day for mine.

Not even flinching...just another day in the life.

Of course, taking the pain came naturally for him.  He has 3 other tattoos so he knew exactly what to expect.  I was actually more nervous watching him than I was for mine!  I'm glad things worked out this way because originally I wanted to get HBSH on my wrist.  When we got to the shop, they wouldn't do it small enough for my liking to be on that small part of my body.  So...I needed a back up plan.  My hip? My side? My foot? I had no idea where I wanted it to go now.  Forgetting my ID was a blessing in disguise because I had another day to really think about it.

Today, we spent cleaning, organizing, cooking and finally went to get my tattoo.  By this point, I was really pumped up to get it done already and was 100% sure I wanted it, and where.   Here we are on the way to tattoo attempt #2:

I decided to put it on my right foot, and I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The guys at Black Chapel were great, and I would recommend anyone looking to check them out...

Like his shirt? I thought it was very appropriate.

Oh...did it hurt?! Umm...not really...JUST KIDDING it KILLED! Granted, the foot is a sensitive area and the closer I got to the edge of my foot the more I dug my nails into Mr. Hess's hand.  But, it only took about 10 minutes and eventually I somehow got used to it.

taking it like a pro....
...nope, not really. I'm a baby.

When I got home I couldn't wait to clean it off, lotion it up and take some pictures.  Mind you, there's some swelling going this isn't the final look of it, but just so you can see what I'm talking about here she is:

And the best part? I feel like our marriage is finally official.  Sounds weird, but it's true!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Changing your last name

So the wedding's over, the honeymoon's over and we're back to reality.  The first thing I wanted to do after all of the craziness was to make my new last name official!

In some states, you are able to apply and submit all of your information online to get your name changed, but in Florida it seems that you have to go into all of the actual offices to get your new name.  You can opt to try to figure out how to do everything through the mail, but for me that was more trouble that it was worth...

There is also a legal name changing kit you can purchase online.  As much as I was tempted to do this, Mr. Hess and I agreed that it was silly to pay extra for something that I can handle by myself.  The trade of for this agreement? He had to go to all of the name changing stops with me!  Just in case you're interested in taking the easy route, HERE's an example of a name change kit.  Not feeling that one? Simply google "name change kit" and you'll find several options to chose from.

As for the DIY's, it took a little bit of research, a few days off and a lot of patience to get the task done:

Naturally, the first thing I wanted to do after we got back from the honeymoon was to handle EVERTHING!  I woke up bright and early my first day off of work ready to find out exactly how I go about changing my name and realized an important factor to have with me wasn't in my hands yet.  If you get married - legally - you are required to purchase a marriage license before the ceremony and after your vows it gets sent off and turned into the right hands to notarize it and then return it to you as a marriage certificate.  This can have a turnaround up to 2 weeks after the wedding, and that can seem like a long time in transition mode, but finally she was in my hands.

Now that I had the marriage certificate in my possesion, I created the following TO-DO list to check off as a new MRS:
  • NEW Social Security Card - this is free, but requires you to come into your local office in person and fill out the appication.  To do this you need your marriage license, your old SS Card, a form of ID, and proof that your are a US Citizen (your birth certificate).  You can opt to mail the application in instead, but I didn't trust handing any form of my personal documents over to anyone...not to mention the extra time it would take to go through snail mail.  Also, if you are planning on changing your address, you need to provide the new one to this office.
  • NEW Driver's License - this is not free, but is has a small one-time fee of $25.  You must get your new SS Card before you do this in FL, OR have an official document from the SS Office with you saying your new card is on it's way.  Again, if you are planning on also changing your address, you need to provide the new one to the DMV WITH 2 documents with the address on it as proof.  Bring your old ID with you, and they will do you the pleasure of snapping the corner from it so that it's unusable.  DO NOT forget any of these things when you go to the DMV, or they will turn you away before if not after you wait in that crazy long line!
Once you have your new Social Security card and Driver's License, you can move onto notifying anyone else who needs to know of your new surname.  This can include:

  • Friends and family
  • Employers/payroll
  • Post office
  • Phone company and other utilities
  • Banks and other financial institutions
  • Credit card companies
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Voter registration

These tasks aren't necessarily as time consuming as the two main ones I mentioned, but that doesn't mean that they aren't as important.  When I was at the DMV, they asked me if I would like to update my voter registration right then and there, and I did - why not?!

After the DMV, we headed over to my Mr. Hess's bank and added me onto his bank account.  I've never been more excited to hand over an ID, (well, maybe this was second to getting ID'd  on my 21st birthday!) but regardless, it was so nice and shiny and said all of the right information I've been waiting for!  It's completely up to you and your spouse what you do with banking accounts, but for us it just made more sense for everything to be in one place.  For now, I am keeping my own account at my bank, but this will only be temporary.  Since my name has officially changed in the system at work, my paychecks will now say MRS. and just so there isn't any confusion I made a copy of my driver's license that says my maiden name to hand into the bank.  This way, they have it on file and note that it's really ME trying to access MY account.

Once that's done, don't forget to get your new name on these documents as well:
  • Passport - Do not do this before the wedding.  Your passport name must match the name on your ticket and all other travel documents! Although you will want to show it off, it's wayyy easier to take your honeymoon with your maiden name.
  • Mortgages and leases
  • Wills 
  • Insurance policies
  • E-mail address - if you wish to incorporate it.
  • Social Networking sites - just for FUN! I changed my last name the very next morning after the wedding! lol.
Now that I had my trustee TO-DO list together, it was time to actually get everything done! 

When the marriage certificate arrived, and my next day off came around I headed over to the Social Security office first.  In Florida, you have to change your SS Card before you do any other formalities.  Not sure exactly where to go?  You can find your closest SS Office near your area HERE.  So, off I went to the SS Office, planning to go to the DMV next and knock out everything I could in one day...but little did I know that's not quite how the system works.

The reason you go get your SS Card first is because you need it for everything else.  Once you apply for a new card, your new last name is changed into their system that night at midnight.  The lady that helped me at the SS Office told me to wait at least 24 hours before going over the the DMV, so I waited until the next day.  Luckily, before I drove over there something told me to give this DMV a call and see what their policy is for name changes.  I'm SO glad I did because although it takes 24 hours for your new name to be applied in the SS system, it takes a total of 48-72 hours to be applied to the system the DMV uses!  If I had gone the next day, I could have gotten all the way through the line and THEN have been told I was denied because the new name wouldn't have been "verified." Can you imagine?! That would have been awful.

Playing it on the safe side, I waited until my next day off which was 3 days later.  By this time I KNEW I had allowed enough time for my name to change in every system and we were good to go.  So...FINALLY....attempt 3 was a success and after a crazy day at the DMV I had a new license and a new address.  HALLELUJAH! Like I said before, these two things were the hardest of them all to get my new last name onto.  Now that I have them with me, it hasn't taken very long to change any of the other things on my list.

If you have any questions at all about changing your name, ask me & I will hopefully have an answer for you.  I'm not an expert on this, but at least I can say I've "been there & done that"...which is at least worth a blog post. Hope this helps!

Until next time,
Mrs. Presh <3

Monday, August 22, 2011

1 Month Anniversary!

Today, we have officially been MARRIED for one month!  The wedding went by in a blink of an eye, but the last month seemed to have gone by even faster...

For the last 30 days, Mr. Hess and I have embraced the married life, enjoyed setting up and organizing our home, and have finally gotten used to using the "husband" and "wife" terms in our every day vocabulary.  The last month has certainly been wonderful, but we have also endured some challenges quickly.  Mr. Hess went under the knife about two weeks ago for shoulder surgery and right when we got back from the honeymoon it was my new full time job to play Housewife, Personal Assistant & Nurse.

I loved all three of these roles.  In fact, I loved them a little too much.  A dream life for me would include being a full time housewife, mom & work for fun more than for money.  Of course it's a "dream"...but we are both really hoping that one day that will happen for us.  Being home with him for 3 days and nights really helped me expand my personal recipe book (in my mind, lol) and gave me an incentive to learn how to put actual meals from scratch together.  I spent 3 days organizing, cleaning, uploading honeymoon photos, making name it, I did it and yes, you can call me Susie Homemaker for it.  I've never known exactly what I've wanted to do as a career...and right now both of us are at a turning point in our lives where the sky is the limit.  We're both open minded and ready to take chances and even change zip codes or state license plates, if necessary.  Pretty crazy thoughts and discussions of endless possibilities have been going on over here.  But, don't get too excited - Mr. Hess is pretty much out of commission for at least 3 more months.  We'll still be doing what we're doing - settling in, and enjoying the married life here in Orlando for now.

To celebrate our 1 Month of being married together, Mr. Hess and I had a SUPER productive day!  First, let me preface some of the pampering part by letting you know something exciting:  

Tomorrow, we will be doing a "Rock the Dress" kind of photo-shoot together!  

My Bridal Bouquet, 2nd version: a little smaller (& cuter if you ask me!)

For a few more hours, we will get to re-live the wedding day and capture everything we didn't get to...

When the wedding day came around everything seemed to be perfect.  Of course there were a few things here and there that didn't go exactly like we wanted (there always will be)...but overall our wedding day was pretty much perfect to us except one thing: RAIN!  Right after the ceremony, it started storming and we weren't able to do any photos together outside.  This was a huge let down for both us and our photographer, because we had some fun shots in mind to try.  When Victoria (our wonderful photag) suggested we do a re-shoot we were all about it, and I can't believe the day is TOMORROW!

I'm not sure if I'm more excited about the photos we'll get for the shoot, or getting to get dolled up with my wedding day accessories and wear my wedding dress again!  All of those things seem pretty wonderful & certainly weren't expected.  After giving it a lot of thought, we decided I am going to do my own hair & make-up, scale down my bouquet to be a little smaller, easier to work with, and affordable, and provide Mr. Hess with a more fun & casual look than his rented grey tux he wore for the wedding day.  We wanted it to be obvious that this was a different day, since it was going to cost wayyyyyyy to much to try and re-create it.  This way, we are both looking forward to shooting some fun and more "us" shots, similar to our Engagement Photos, and won't be breaking our wallets (again!)

Getting the "bling" ready for our photos!

So, back to today - we started it off by both getting our hair done, and then headed over to the DMV, followed by the bank and...I am excited to announce I am OFFICIALLY a MRS. with a new last name and address and have the plastic to prove it! ;) 

To celebrate, we finished off the day with a trip to our fabulous florist, a pedicure and got our rings nice and shiny clean for the shoot tomorrow.  It's almost like I was getting ready for the wedding day all over again!

For a 1 Month Anniversary, it was very much an exciting "new life" day for me.  We've gotten a great start at a new life together and are celebrating by having more wedding photos done tomorrow...

That's a pretty perfect way to spend a day if you ask me! :)

Now time for some beauty sleep,
Mrs. Presh <3

Saturday, August 20, 2011


From the get go, Mr. Hess and I wanted to have some kind of photo booth at our wedding reception.  At first, we were going to hire a standard photo booth that allowed both the guest and the Bride & Groom to keep a copy of each picture and create a guest book that guests could write messages to us in.  This would be a great keepsake for both us, as well as our guests, since we opted against having wedding favors.  We were searching and searching for what company to work with, when BAM...when we least expected it - here comes... PHOTOMINGLE!!!!

Me and my wonderful parents!

What the heck am I talking about?! You've probably seen the picture of this before in Wedding Hint #9, but just keep you on my page here check out this video:

We actually heard this new "must have" from a Shannon at Big City Catering.  We met with her when we were choosing a caterer and immediately when she saw our contemporary and fun style she said "you're going to hate me for showing you this...but you HAVE to have it at your wedding!"  And...of course, the second she explained what it was and showed us their pamphlet we both fell in love.

Photomingle is basically an iPad version of a photo booth:  You take the picture (as many as you want) and see right away what it looks like, write a message on it and print it out.  Also, the background is set to your wedding colors and you pick what message shows up on the bottom of every photo.  The package we chose included printed out photos for guests to take home as well as an instant upload to Facebook!  It might sound a little complicated, but to get this automatic upload all I had to do was click a link from my e-mail inbox and sign into Facebook to accept the photo album the day before.  Towards the end of the wedding planning process, the budget was NOT forgiving, but we decided this was a MUST HAVE and worked our way around getting it there!

Pose, Shoot, Write, Print & Upload!!! HOW FUN!!!

Throughout the night, we had so many people come up to us and tell us how fun the photo booth was. To us, that was the greatest affirmation we could have heard on deciding against the favors and for this instead.  I'm SO glad we decided to do it!

Compared to a regular photo booth, the price was considerably higher...but if you ask me, it was well worth it.  No one had really seen it before, the look of it couldn't have complimented our venue better & everyone had so much fun with it.

And the best part?!  All of these photos were instantly uploaded to my facebook photo album page.  If someone wanted another copy of their photo or wanted it to be online, it was as easy as clicking on my profile page.  Something I really enjoyed doing the morning after the wedding was browsing through all of the photos - and some of our guests got reallllllly creative!

Oh, brother & sister relationships...

This is pretty good...
My beautiful (& hysterical) Bridesmaids!

There were SO many good ones & funny ones, but those are some I wanted to give some props to! :)

It's pretty clear this is one of the things Mr. Hess and I are SO GLAD we booked for our big day.  Even though the decision to book them was pretty last minute, their staff was completely accommodating and helpful every step of the way.  We would recommend Photomingle to anyone and everyone getting married, or even just having an event that calls for any kind of photo documentation ;)

Alright you twisted my's a few more:

Just in case you were worried...

Nice HBSH Monogram! :)

Silly bridesmaids.

Don't be surprised if this gem shows up at something else of ours down the road...

A night we'll always remember! <3

Until next time,
Mrs. Presh

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Guest Seating Chart Game

In the previous post I mentioned that I'd be letting a lot of "cats out of the bag" by sharing secret projects Mr. Hess and I had worked on hard for our wedding day...and here's a FUN one!

When it came to the seating chart for our guests, we really wanted to do something creative and interactive.  At first, we were going to just use our favorite movie quotes about love on each table, but then we conspired together and came up with a great scavenger hunt type of game for our guests to play during cocktail hour in order to find where exactly they were supposed to sit!

The seating chart looked like this, 
but before you get confused let me explain:

Each guest's name was listed in a group of ten under a popular quote from one of our favorite movies.  As a guest, you were to look for your name and then identify what movie the quote it was under is from.  We tried to match certain movies with certain personality types, or to people who would know what movie that particular quote came from.  The whole point of this was to give the guests something to do during cocktail hour, while Mr. Hess and I finish up our wedding photos.

It was finally the wedding week and we had to put this thing together.  I'm not going to lie...this project turned into a pretty big headache pretty quickly, but that's what I've always heard about seating charts - regardless.  So, why not make it fun?!  It was a Monday night when we started this puppy and it probably took about 5 good hours for 2 nights to finish it off.  Now, this time wasn't ALL on the craft part...but also on placement of our guests, which can take FOREVER!

Night 1: We get into the nitty gritty.  It was finally time to decide who sat where with who.  This can be a nightmare if you have a ton of guests who don't know each other, or if you have a large number, but thankfully our guests were extremely easy to work with and pair up.  At least half of the room knew each other, if not more than that, so once we paired people up it didn't take that long to place them at certain tables.  Since we had a sweetheart table for us, we decided to use the tables surrounding the dance floor for Bridal Party and our immediate families only.  After being a bridesmaid in a few weddings now, I have preferred to sit at a round table with my date and other members of the Bridal Party, rather than sitting at a head table...simply because you're sitting next to people in one straight line and you can't really talk to anyone but the 2 people next to you.  PLUS, OUR Bridal Party was the size of a kindergarten classroom, so adding dates to that and sitting everyone at one table just wasn't an option.

closeup of the chart - but overexposed so you can't see names!

We had 8 main tables for family and Bridal Party and the rest were filled with our wonderful friends.  I know people think placement of certain people or certain tables is for a reason, but honestly it's NOT!  I felt bad placing some friends in the corners of the room...but SOMEBODY has to sit there!  We tried to seat everyone as fairly as possible, and realized our reception was probably the type that people wouldn't be sitting in their seats for very long anyways, so we concentrated more on getting the game together than worrying about hurting people's feeling with something that's truly inevitable.

The first night we spent pairing people up, placing them at tables, and picking out our 20 favorite movies to use quotes from.  When Night 2 approached, it was all about putting it all down on our chart and making the game happen.  It was hard to pick just 20 movies, and agree on them with Mr. Hess because we are both HUGE movie buffs.  We finally decided on our bunch and here's some of my favorite highlights:

"Wawawewa...I Like You!"
"Slippery Little Suckers."
"Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner!"

Can you think of the movies any of those fabulous quotes came from?  Well, just in case you have no idea we made a CHEAT deck of cards with the corresponding movie to movie quote on each one.  (By the way, the first one was from Borat, the second was Pretty Woman & the third was Dirty Dancing...all of MY FAVS!!) We gave a copy of these movie to movie quote cheats to our wedding coordinator, as well as kept it hanging on the seating chart itself.

Here's an example of a movie quote that would be above the guest's name.

Flip the card over to see what movie it came from.
Here's the CHEAT cards we had hanging on the chart.

Once you found your movie, then it was time to look for your table!  Each movie was attached to the back of a picture of us found on each table.  We decided to use our Engagement Photos for all of the tables, except for our family tables, which my mom requested we use our Baby Photos for instead.  Since we had all of them scanned and out from our slide show, I thought it was a great idea and turned out absolutely adorable.

The front had our pictures and the back had the movie covers.

Pretty simple, once you get it - RIGHT?!

Find your name under a quote, think reallllllly hard about where that quote came from, (use the cheat sheet if you can't think of it), get the movie & look for the table with your movie on it! 

This was the title on the top of the chart...GOOD LUCK! :)

We thought this idea was genius and was a fun way to keep our guests entertained throughout cocktail hour.  At first, my parents thought it might be too confusing for guests, but Mr. Hess stood strong on making this happen and we figured out a way for them to cheat and ask the wedding coordinator as we were eventually all on board.  The only bad thing about this adventure is that Mr. Hess and I completely missed it! :( Of course, that's what it was designed for, but we were still kind of sad we didn't see all of the action and chaos throughout the game.

So there you have it!  Most people use table numbers or love quotes, but we decided to use a flipping scavenger movie quote hunt to seat our guests.  Go figure!  Now you can see why I barely did any posting in July...THIS was the kind of stuff we were working on!

From what we heard, the game was fun and definitely kept people busy.  I can't wait to see the video during cocktail hour - and how the guests perceived it.  As a guest, the last thing I want to do is sit there waiting on the Bride & Groom while looking at my watch thinking "when is this thing going to start?!" If you're getting married, I would totally suggest doing something fun and entertaining during cocktail hour, and just know that you're going to miss out on it.  Believe me, it might be a bit of a headache at first, but if you plan your time accordingly your guests will thank you in the end.

I guess that's it for now...
stay tuned for more wedding secrets coming soon!
Mrs. Presh

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Adding the Irish & Scottish "touch"

I had been debating back and forth on whether or not to post on the next subject before the wedding, and finally decided it would have to wait until after the big day was over.  There were so many special touches Mr. Hess and I put into our wedding, it was hard for me not to share them ALL with you before the wedding day, but I'm excited to say that I can finally share it allllllllll now, post by post!

First on the revealing list? Wedding Hint #8
What the heck was that thing?!

From day 1, I really wanted to incorporate the Irish heritage into our wedding. Since Mr. Hess's heritage is Irish & Scottish, he was totally on board with this idea.  Originally, we wanted to get married around St. Patricks Day and have different shades of green and white as our colors, green hydrangeas, Irish food...the whole 9.  But, timing for us & a wedding in March was impossible. Knowing this, we both agreed to incorporate little things here and there that represented both, but mostly the Irish heritage.  So I hopped onto the computer and started googling "Irish Wedding traditions" and found several ideas right away.

My DIY Handfasting Cord!

My favorite Irish touch at our wedding was the unity ceremony called Handfasting.  We really, really wanted a different way to unite our lives during the ceremony than the standard unity candle, or sand ceremony and when I found this I knew it was something we HAD to do.  First, I hopped online to try to find the perfect cord for us...and big surprise, I didn't find exactly what I wanted so I made my own!  It isn't that difficult to make your own cord...but unfortunately, I threw our cord together literally RIGHT BEFORE the ceremony rehearsal and didn't get to document putting it together like I wanted to.  ('ll see how fast the wedding week you took "off" of work goes and how many last minute projects to truly have!) For this reason, I don't have step-by-step pictures, but what I can tell you is what you would need to make a handfasting cord:

  • 3 cords - 3 different colors.
  • clear duct tape
  • ribbon
  • embellishments (optional)
  • scissors

When I first tried to put a cord together, I started with ribbon only - I picked out 3 different types of each color (pink, green and white) and I planned on braiding those together first to create my own cords.  After a few failed attempts, I decided to call that task quits and search for actual colored cords.  I found the 3 colored cords pictured at The Sewing Studio in Maitland.  You might be able to find similar ones a JoAnns or Michaels, but I'm not positive on that one.  Hanfasting cords have to be long enough to wrap around each persons wrist, so you should get anywhere between 4 - 6 feet of cording.  Knowing I had crosses at the bottom to hang, I opted for a yard and a half (or 4.5') and it turned out to be the perfect length.

Next, I put the 3 cords side by side and put a heavy book on top of them so I could braid it together.  This was not challenging, but tricky to keep the same look throughout the entire be sure to see how much length and width you're giving each part of the braid.  When I finished braiding, I took some clear duct tape and wrapped it around the two edges of the cord.  I knew I wanted to add dangling crosses to each side, so this is where I put part of the pink cord I didn't use through the loops of both crosses, dangled them on each end, and taped extra pink cording to the end of each side.  I got these beauties at Michaels in the beading department and thought they were the perfect addition!

Since taped on dangling crosses doesn't look the prettiest, this is where the ribbon comes in.  Cut two strips about 4 inches long of your ribbon of choice and wrap one around each tape gathering.  I used more clear duct tape to fasten the ribbon on the back of the cord, but ideally if I had more time I would have preferred to have sewn it instead.

VOILA!  Your very own easy to make DIY Handfasting cord:

Although, it's not tied right...because it's only me tied into it!

We knew our guests wouldn't really understand right away what exactly what we were doing tying ourselves together with this cord, so we decided to explain it in our ceremony program which read:

An ancient Celtic tradition practiced when a couple could not afford a formal ceremony, or when a priest could not be found, this involves literally tying the couple together by the wrist in a sign of unifying their lives.  A couple would traditionally only be bound for one year and a day, sparking the phrase "forever and a day," although we plan to be bound for life.

They will be wrapped by a cord of three ribbons: a green one representing him, a pink one representing her, and a white one representing Christ.  The pastor will form a unity symbol around their wrists with a cord, and then he will tie it in a knot to seal the unity.  This is also where the phrase "tie the knot" originated.

When we explained the idea of Handfasting to our Pastor, he loved what it represented but also saw it as a challenge when it came to tying the thing correctly!  Luckily, he practiced on the Groom & a groomsmen before the ceremony, so it went perfectly.

Another Irish tradition I had on the big day was incorporating things into my wedding day attire.  It is thought of to be good luck for the bride to wear blue on her wedding day, but I wasn't too sure about that we added blue a different way - in all of our bouquets!  In my bridal bouquet, as well as in all of the bridesmaids bouquets sat 2 blue pins: 1 representing me and 1 representing him, standing together.

This is the "back of the bouquet" where the pins faced the girl.

closeup of the pins...but that's not where they were in the bouquet.

Next? I found that it is also tradition for and Irish bride to wear her hair in a braid.  Since I wanted to wear my hair mostly down, I though this might be somewhat of a challenge.  It took me the LONGEST time to decide on a hairstyle...since I kept going back and forth on whether I wanted a flower, a broach, a headband or what...and how to incorporate a braid into it.  With the help of my bridesmaid Lauren & my hairstylist, I decided on using fresh lime green orchids to pull it half up. On that side of my hair that was back, we put 2 finely braided pieces that met in the middle at the flowers.  Not many people would probably notice this, but when pictures finally come back I'm sure it will be noticeable at least in a photo or two - and I knew it was it made me happy.  Once again, the braids represented 1 for me, 1 for him and the two of us standing together.

Here I am with 2 of my Irish bridesmaids - and...shamrock mints!

Last, we wanted to have the Scottish heritage represented as well, so the best way we thought of doing that was having a bagpiper!  He was great, and played during our guests arrival to the church ceremony, as well as on their way out to the reception.  He was in full Scottish garb, and we got a lot of compliments on him.  Honestly, I didn't get to see this...because I was at the church earlier than he was supposed to show up - but from what pictures I've seen, he looked great!  Unfortunately, I don't have any of my pictures back yet to share ours with you, but you get the idea:

Little by little, I'm starting to learn more about the Irish & Scottish culture and next on my list for of expanding my new heritage is to learn how to cook some of their famous dishes!  I'm sure Mr. Hess wouldn't complain...shepard's pie is one of his favorites and allllllllllmost made the appetizers list.  Keep on the lookout for more secret special touch posts coming your way!

Until next time,
Mrs. Presh


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