Highway to Happiness: Up With the Sun

Wedding Recaps

The downside to having a morning wedding means there’s no chance to sleep in at all. I’d set the alarm on my phone for 7:30 a.m. and resisted the urge to hit the snooze button. Roadie didn’t have to be up for another hour (benefits of being a low-maintenance groom) so I stumbled off to “my side” of the cottage to get into the shower.

About the only thing still  on my mind as I took my time getting ready this morning was whether we were all systems go as planned or if we were using the rain plan. Thankfully the weather had rained itself out the night before and the ground may have still been a bit soggy, but the sky was pretty and blue and before long I could see signs of movement in front of the Gathering Hall.

Probably no one is surprised that I decided to DIY my hair and makeup for the day. While I don’t claim to be expert at either, over the past couple of years I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with my makeup skills to the point where I trusted my own hand over someone else’s. My supplies are a mix of drugstore and department store, but for big events I swear by Clinique’s Redness Solutions foundation line to balance out my wonky skin-tone and reduce the effects of the flushing my skin springs on me at random times (stress, surprise, sunlight, Tuesday, you get the general idea). With a layer of primer and pressed powder beneath and above it also stays put for 12-hour stints, so I cannot recommend it more highly.


Image via Clinique.com


I brought my makeup mirror from home and laid out my folding makeup bag along the edge of the bed--made for a great getting-ready corner.

I brought my makeup mirror from home and laid out my folding makeup bag along the edge of the bed–made for a great getting-ready corner.

As for my hair, earlier that year I’d tried out the Curly Girl method (no sulfate- or silicone-based products, to put it simply) and was really loving the natural curls that emerged. They’re still a little unpredictable depending on weather, etc., but I figured I’d roll with whatever my hair decided to do (very much emboldened by Mrs. Armadillo tress treatment). Since the more I mess with my hair, the less I’m happy with it, a couple of combs pulling up the sides and I was good to go.

Meanwhile, the photographers had arrived early in the hopes of getting some detail shots out of the way.

After a year and a half of waiting, it was just about time for the dress's debut.

After a year and a half of waiting, it was just about time for the dress’s debut.

My shoes for during and after the wedding.

My shoes for during and after the wedding.

I spy a pair of bees and a little car brad along for the ride.

I spy a pair of bees and a little car brad along for the ride.


Getting ready was the other time I wondered if being alone would feel lonely–nope! I’d put together a playlist of fun pop songs to listen to while I got ready and I could dance around the room or just relax, depending on what I felt like doing, and not having to talk or be “on” yet was nice, knowing that we’d be the center of attention soon enough. Unlike the day before, I woke with nary a butterfly in sight, I was calm and collected, and truly looking forward to whatever the day would bring.

But first, it might be a good idea to get dressed…



The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: Last Minute Edits

Wedding Recaps

We made use of the time in the car to and from the dinner to try and figure out what was up with the ceremony play lists. Turns out everything played fine except the five songs I edited. Crap!

Thankfully I had the necessary files on my laptop, so once we got back to our room and changed into pjs, I set about figuring out why they wouldn’t play.

(If you have no interest in iPod DJ-ing your wedding or editing song files, you can feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.)

Now, I’d used Audacity to edit the songs in question. These included our processional, unity ceremony, recessional, and two reception songs. Some were edited to trim opening monologues from live recordings, others for length or timing issues. All were purchased from iTunes so I had to first convert the songs to AIFF format (which actually involved burning the songs to a disc and importing them in that format into iTunes) before I could even begin to edit them in Audacity. I then saved the edited versions as AIFF and had no problem playing them from the playlists on my iPod as long as I used iTunes.

This song had a full minute monologue at the beginning of the song--that had to go!

This song had a full minute monologue at the beginning of the song–that had to go!

What I found out after doing a bit of digging (very little, thank goodness), was that in order to play the edited AIFF files through anything other than an iTunes-equipped computer–like, say, the AV system being used for our ceremony–you need to convert them to MP3 (has to do with compression and bitrates and stuff I don’t generally care about on a day to day basis, but weddings seem to make us care about the strangest things, don’t they?). Thank goodness HLP’s wifi is top notch, since it required downloading a plugin for Audacity to get that part done.

Once I’d figured this out and converted the first song, I went out to my car to make sure it was going to work on any given speaker set.

My victory dance was short-lived, however, when I realized I’d locked myself out of our cottage. In the rain. In my jammies.


And since Roadie was in the little groom’s room, I got to take in the atmosphere on the covered porch for a little bit and just hope no one decided to stop by for a visit.

Soon enough, though, I was back inside, edited the remaining four files, copied them over to both iPods (redundancy is our friend) and went back out to the car to check them one more time on each device. This time I remembered to bring a key. (Though, in my defense, I really thought I’d unlocked the door the first time, but Roadie found there was a trick to getting them truly unlocked that I’m still not certain about.)

With that squared away and both iPods charging for the night, there was only one last thing to do: write our vows.

We really did leave them until the last minute, though not intentionally, we just always thought we had more time. Still, it was kind of nice to sit in the living room of our cottage, each with our own thoughts and note cards, penning those very important words for the next morning.



The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:


Highway to Happiness: Scenes From a Restaurant

Wedding Recaps

The choice of rehearsal dinner venue was a no-brainer for us.

Back when the Road Trips first met we were four states away from each other, so weekend visits were a bit deal. That first weekend together we started with a casual dinner out–nothing like a table of food between each other as a hedge against awkward silences–and since we were getting married the same weekend of our first date, it seemed only natural to revisit the site of that first date: La Fiesta Mexican Restaurant.

Our first date was had right under that mural on the divider wall. | All photos courtesy of Friend-ficiant L

Our first date was had right under that mural on the divider wall. | All photos courtesy of Friend-ficiant L

After going back to the room for a moment to collect ourselves, it was a caravan back to town for dinner. The downside to starting the rehearsal at 4pm meant that we were heading back into Tallahassee during the “rush hour” traffic on a Friday night. The light rain had also turned into a bit of a deluge, so any time we gained by finishing the rehearsal early was balanced out by the cautious speed during the commute.

The Road Trips with Roadie's family.

The Road Trips with Roadie’s family.

But inside the tortillas were warm and the margaritas (for those who indulged) were cold (and two-for-one). Since our group was fairly small (12 people, total) we’d called ahead a few weeks prior to give them a heads-up but true reservations weren’t necessary. By the time we arrived there was already chips, salsa, and queso on the table and people were well into their first round of beverages, so we just slipped into our seats let the tension roll off of our shoulders.

I wasn't kidding when I said we were truly the sit around and talk sort--we must have spent 3 hours at dinner.

With no bridal party to gift or speeches to give, it was a low-key evening spent watching our families blending together and chatting about I-don’t-even-know-what but everyone was happy and smiling and trading stories and jokes. About the only contention that night came when we informed the server that Roadie and I were handling the check–both Mama Leadfoot and Dr Aunt looked at us like we’d lost our minds but we explained that we invited them all to dinner, we’d planned on picking up the tab, and that’s what we were going to do.

Of course, the upside to revisiting the scene of our first date is that, like so many Mexican restaurants, the menu is truly economical so the budget wasn’t exactly stretched by this, even after leaving a generous tip. After that it was back to the Plantation for a few last minute to-dos before the last sleep as a Miss!



The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:


Highway to Happiness: Rehearsal with a Chance of Rain

Wedding Recaps

One of the many questions I fielded from the DoC the day before had been whether we wanted to rehearse with the music or not.

Maybe it’s just me, but I was definitely in the “with music” department, since I wanted to make sure everyone (namely the DoC, who was in charge of pressing play) was comfortable with the music cues, etc. We didn’t have a lot of them, but better safe than sorry.

Oh, how I’m glad we made that call!


Waiting for the DoC to been done with the AV dude. | All photos courtesy of Friend-ficiant L's husband

Waiting for the DoC to been done with the AV dude. | All photos courtesy of Friend-ficiant L’s husband

Because of the two simultaneous events, the AV unit we were using was a rental they had arranged for (which, hey, since we didn’t have to do it ourselves, however they worked it out was fine with me) and it was still being set up as we were starting the rehearsal. It took some doing to get my iPod to work that evening (turns out the battery was running low–at least that was an easy fix) but I had thought ahead and also burned all of the playlists onto Roadie’s iPod and had CDs burned of each playlist as a back-up to that, plus both of our laptops in the cottage that could have run the playlists. But then Roadie’s iPod wasn’t wanting to play some of the songs.


No clue what Friend-ficiant L said that was so funny–we were all a bit punchy by this point.

They fiddled around with everything they could for a good long while, meanwhile the weather was getting more ominous, so I make the call to leave the music alone for now, I’d figure out what was going on with it that night, and let’s get going before the bottom drops out, yes? After all, we’d done the seating of the families for their cues and I knew where in the song to begin our walk, so let’s get on to the ceremony!

Practicing our line-up.

Practicing our line-up.

The preliminaries accomplished, Friend-ficiant L began to read through the ceremony script and surprised the hell out of me as she proceeded to get choked up reading the opening remarks. Considering our group is more the cynical, sarcastic bunch, certainly not tear-jerker sentimentalists, color me stunned with L about to lose it just practicing. As one of our biggest supporters from the day we all met, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised–it just cemented the fact that no one else would have been a better officiant for our wedding.

It looks like I'm trying to push Roadie away but I was really trying to get us centered in front of the steps.

It looks like I’m trying to push Roadie away but I was really trying to get us centered in front of the steps.

The rehearsal also gave us a chance to get a good run-through of our wine blending ceremony. The original plan was to test the wines in advance to make sure we were not going to be making vinegar of the unity pour, but that plan kept getting delayed. Instead, I took the wine guy’s suggestion on faith. That suggestion was to blend Chardonnay and Pinot Noir together since they are the same varietals used in Champagne, just not 50/50. Since I’m not a big fan of heavy oak notes in Chardonnay, this was my first try of an Unoaked Chardonnay–something I’ve seen more and more of in the shops, so I’m obviously not alone in this taste preference–and it’s pretty much my new favorite thing.

But I digress.

We did have a back-up plan, though. Since the wines we were using for brunch the next day were both muscadine-based, they’d definitely blend well so we could always grab a bottle of each if the rehearsal blending didn’t go so well. Happily, that back-up plan wasn’t needed since the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay blended just fine on their own. We also decided that I would pour the red and Roadie the white, slimming the chances of red wine splashing on my dress that much more.

We decided to have the readers form a circle around us.

We decided to have the readers form a circle around us.

The sky had been spitting a bit during the first half of the rehearsal, but by the time we got to the handfasting part–which L was most concerned about–it was starting to steadily drizzle. We moved the rest of the rehearsal up on the covered porch and all thoughts of practicing in the Church were forgotten as we wilted in the humidity.

And we're done!

And we’re done!

Music mishaps aside, the rehearsal actually went pretty well. Not only that, we found ourselves ahead of schedule, giving everyone a chance to freshen up if they wanted before heading back into Tallahassee for the rehearsal dinner.


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps:

Highway to Happiness: A Moment of Calm

Wedding Recaps

Friday morning arrived with grey-tinged clouds overhead, but there was nothing we could do but hope whatever it was moved on quickly.

And speaking of getting a move on, I had a cake to frost and then some pampering to get to!

This was one of those times I thought it would be a bit of a downer to have skipped having bridesmaids. I had opened the door to having others join me for my mani/pedi appointment but everyone was either already occupied or already had their own appointments made. Turned out that the alone time was a blessing, not a curse, and that I enjoyed not feeling like I had to constantly answer questions about the wedding or anything else aside from what color I wanted on my fingers and toes, and what I wanted to drink.

I decided to keep things simple and just went for a soft pink polish. | All pictures by Pink Shutterbug Photography (but cropped by me)

I decided to keep things simple and just went for a soft pink polish. | All pictures by Pink Shutterbug Photography (but cropped by me)

I had opted for gel-polish nails for the wedding and, on the recommendation of Mrs. Bicycle, went to one of her favorite local salons: Royal Nails. They’ve got quite a nice set-up and the gel polish really does look nice once it’s finished. I’d done a trial-run two weeks before and I’m so glad I did as it had the added benefit of keeping my nails from breaking right before the wedding.

Before heading home it was time to pick up our delectable cupcakes from Lucy & Leo’s. I think ours was the only order not decorated in FSU’s Garnet & Gold and every flat surface in the shop was covered in pre-orders for folks celebrating the big FSU vs. Miami game on Saturday; I was never so happy to be getting out of town on a game weekend as I was today!

Roadie's keepsake box, finished in the nick of time!

Roadie’s keepsake box, finished in the nick of time!

And what was Roadie doing while I was enjoying a bit of peace and quiet? Finishing his project list by putting together the box for the handfasting cord!

He’d run into a couple of snags (and a lot of delays–mostly in the form of late hours at work–but also finding out that the stain+polyurethane products do not make life easier) so this project came right down to the wire. Roadie’s also a bit of a perfectionist and has said more than once he can see the flaws in it and wants to remake it, but I think it’s fabulous (but, then, I’m obviously biased, and was just thrilled it gone done in time). He also realized he didn’t own a brown belt and thought he’d need one (spoiler: he didn’t, but he has one now!), so he ran out for that last errand while I played a bit of Trunk Tetris to get as much of the decorations and supplies loaded up. Everything but the aisle decorations and dessert stands fit into my car, so mission: accomplished!

The goal was for our little convoy of two to leave no later than 2pm, putting us at the venue at 3pm–an hour should be enough to unload the supplies and settle into our room before the rehearsal at 4 o’clock, right?


The Road Trip Wedding Recaps: