a cousin’s wedding in nashville

A few weeks ago we met most of my immediate and extended family in Nashville for my cousin Kelley’s wedding. It was the first time my extended family got to meet Harper and my sister’s daughter Avery.

Our first stop was the Nashville zoo where we met my Aunt Lynn and cousin Sara and her kids. The girls loved it! Such a pretty and natural zoo.

Nashville Zoo

Me and my cousin Sara are both due a few weeks apart!

Pregnant cousins

My sister and her husband and daughter, Avery.

Nashville Zoo

The girls are checking out the giraffes!

Nashville Zoo

My dad and brother

Nashville Zoo

Me and my niece

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Grandpa and his granddaughters!

Nashville Zoo with Grandpa

Nashville Zoo with cousins

Checking out the camels

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Needless to say, the girls were tuckered out!

Crashed after the zoo

The girls played on the playground for a while before we went to the rehearsal dinner.

Playground

Hanging out with Avery

Evening walk

The next day we walked around Centennial Park with the girls in matching shirts – oh the cuteness!

Nashville park

Nashville park

Hanging out with Avery

Hanging out with Avery

Hanging out with Avery

Avery

The girls with Gramoo Julie!

The girls with Gramoo

Hanging out with Avery

Later that evening we put on our dresses and went to the wedding! The girls had fun and were pretty well behaved – luckily the ceremony was short!

At the wedding

The gorgeous bride and her father (Uncle Jim)!

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Then we took a few more pics before heading to the reception.

Nashville Zoo

Harper was so excited to get dolled up in her dress, bracelet, necklace and sparkly shoes!

Nashville Zoo

Lisa and her mini-me!

Nashville Zoo

Nashville Zoo

Hanging out with Avery

Then the real fun began – the girls tore up the dance floor!

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

We did some spinning and Avery and her daddy did some dancing too!

Dancing at the wedding

Dancing at the wedding

Where’s Avie?

Dancing at the wedding

Here I am!

Dancing at the wedding

OMG I’m having so much fun!!

Dancing at the wedding

The girls got to meet Great-Grandmother for the first time!

Grandmother and her granddaughters and great granddaughters

Here’s my dad with his six siblings and parents – the whole crew!

Grandparents, aunts and uncles

Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

The next morning the whole family met for breakfast.

Grandmother and her granddaughters and great granddaughters

Grandpa and Gramoo graciously offered to rush through their dinner so they could take the girls back to the hotel for bed so we could stay and enjoy the reception. And when we left, we got back to the hotel and I realized I left my phone at the reception! I blame the pregnancy brain! Luckily, my Uncle Jim grabbed it and brought it to me the next morning!

It was a fantastic weekend seeing family I hadn’t seen in years! We had a late flight back that night and got home around 1am. The next day was Harper’s 2nd birthday! So we took the day off and had a fun family day – stay tuned for pictures!

for you, the sun will be shining

Yay! Finally, the wedding day has arrived! After a year of planning, Lisa and Branden were ready to tie the knot!

After a fitful night’s sleep (what bride doesn’t experience that?), the bride and her entourage arrived at the hotel. We had a stylist come to my hotel room to do our hair, and she did a great job.

Kelly Wedding

Wedding Details

After we finished our hair and makeup, we hung out and had a little lunch. Meanwhile, the boys were at Lisa and Branden’s apartment playing video games and eating pizza.

The robes that Lisa gave us were perfect to wear that morning as we were getting ready.

Kelly Wedding

And then the flowers arrived! They were beyond gorgeous. Straight out of a magazine.

Kelly Wedding

Lisa booked a big yellow school bus to transport us to and from the wedding and she called one last time to confirm.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Time to get in the dress! All ready to go! Quite beautiful if I do say so myself!

Kelly Wedding

The flower in her hair and her necklace were great Etsy finds.

Kelly Wedding

As planned, the school bus was waiting for us in front of the hotel to take us to Lisa and Branden’s apartment where they would see each other for the first time on their rooftop deck overlooking the Manhattan skyline. What better place for a first look?

Kelly Wedding

Luckily, the rain held off! The cloudy overcast was better for pictures and it was still clear enough to see across to Manhattan.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The boys were positioned on the rooftop deck. Branden was standing on the far end, awaiting his bride. The photographers were poised and ready. Family was anxiously standing to the side. Time for the girls to bring in the bride! We walked ahead of Lisa as she prepared for her big moment.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

And the moment was wonderfully special. Lisa was much calmer after seeing Branden. She finally started to relax.

Kelly Wedding

Time for pictures!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

And a toast!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Then we all loaded onto the bus and headed to the Brooklyn Historical Society. Unfortunately I was too busy being a Matron of Honor to get any pictures of the ceremony. But Lisa’s friend took some good ones. The ceremony was personal and lovely. The venue was the perfect setting – the dark wood bookshelves added drama, but made it cozy. I can’t wait to see the pictures from the photographers.

After the ceremony, I had the honor of signing their marriage license as a witness. We spent some time at the library taking pictures and then headed to the cocktail hour to eat some yummy hors d’oeuvres and mingle with guests.

Once guests took their seats, the wedding party was introduced to Phoenix’s “1901” – which made my husband very happy.

Kelly Wedding

The couple went right into their first dance to “Songbird” sung by Rosie Thomas

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Time for the Best Man and Matron of Honor speeches.

Kelly Wedding

I hope mine went over ok. I don’t really remember much, except that I was nervous.

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The tables at Bubby’s turned out great – with flowers from the florist and table # flags made by yours truly.

Kelly Wedding

The menu was delicious (designed by me) – and the food was pretty good too! Actually the food was spectacular! I had the fried chicken.

Kelly Wedding

Instead of wedding cake, Lisa and Branden had wedding pies – Apple pie and Peanut Butter pie (Bubby’s is known for its pies after all.) They had cupcakes too!

Kelly Wedding

The bride definitely enjoyed her fried chicken. I love that she stuck her napkin in her dress! Ha!

Kelly Wedding

The beers were served in wide mouth Ball jars. And I think my brother quite enjoyed them.

Kelly Wedding

Because this is what happened. He broke out his “Tom Haverford” face.

Kelly Wedding

After dinner, Lisa danced with our Dad to “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel.

Kelly Wedding

And Branden danced with his mom to “In My Life” by The Beatles.

Kelly Wedding

Then the dance party could really begin. Branden’s nephew Joe really brought the moves. He was hilarious.

Kelly Wedding

The girls tore it up to Katy Perry’s “Firework”!

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

Kelly Wedding

The end of the party came way too quickly, so we headed to an afterparty at a nearby bar.

Kelly Wedding

Brothers-in-law… Weird.

Kelly Wedding

Of course the boys couldn’t end the night without taking a shot of something.

Kelly Wedding

The night was absolutely fabulous and quite memorable. It flew by for me, so I can imagine it was quite a whirlwind for Lisa and Branden. At least they got to relive the memories on their honeymoon in Turks and Caicos. And Drew and I had plenty of time to relive it as well, while we dealt with flight issues the following day. But we made it home!

See the rest of my pictures from the wedding on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Songbird” by Fleetwood Mac

going to the chapel and we’re gonna get married

On the way to New York for the 4th time since August, it occurred to me that my entire immediate family was going to be in the same city for the first time since my wedding 4 years ago – and that’s pretty special to me. Not only was my sister getting married, but I got to see my mom, dad and brother all in the same weekend. AND a few of my aunts, uncles and a cousin whom I rarely see!!

I had looked forward to this weekend for so long, and after some delays at the airport in Austin we arrived in NY late, missing dinner with the bride and groom. 😦

We kicked off the festivities with a little girl time at the nail salon and then the rehearsal at the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Lisa gathered and instructed the troops.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The men were very attentive to the bride.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The girls needed little direction.

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

All lined up!

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Practicing the official hand-off

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

The bride is all business

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Done! Easy! We walked through everything twice – that’s all it took. Off to dinner at Bacchus Bistro!

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Gifts

Here’s a close-up of the rehearsal bouquet Lisa’s friend Carey made out of the ribbons from her shower gifts. Carey made the ribbons INTO flowers! AND she made the base in papier-mâché out of the leftover wrapping paper! I’ve never seen such a perfectly arranged ribbon bouquet!

Rehearsal Bouquet

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad and brother

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Me and the bride

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad and his fiancée, Julie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride and her mother (and my mother!)

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Me and the hubs

Kelly Wedding Rehearsal

Branden and his family visiting

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Everyone is mesmerized by the bride

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The happy couple, in anticipation…

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride and her bridesmaid, Jessica

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The best man and his fiancée Leslie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

The bride with her bridesmaid, Katie

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

My dad giving a very heartfelt and touching speech

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

After dinner, the bride and groom presented their wedding party with presents. The girls got lovely robes and the boys got jerseys for their favorite teams.

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

Rehearsal Dinner at Bacchus

After dinner we went back to the hotel and visited with more family. We were hoping the rain would hold out for the big day…

See all of my pictures from the rehearsal on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Going To The Chapel” by the Crystals

you can stand under my umbrella

Just a short week after uprooting my life in Chicago and moving to Austin, I had to hop a plane to New York for Lisa’s bachelorette party. This party has been planned for a long time and it is sort of amazing to me how much my life has changed in between the last time I was there (March) and now. In just one month. What a whirlwind.

I’ve been to New York many times in the last 8+ years since my sister has lived there, but this was my shortest trip. Arrived Friday afternoon, left Sunday morning.

On Saturday, the weather was crummy. Totally not reflective of a fun party day, but we’d rather get rain now than on the wedding day! We started the day with her bestie Katie at a spa where we got pedicures and facials. Then Katie graciously hosted a few of us at her apartment for some wine tasting and hors d’oeuvres.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Katie’s apartment, on 42nd street, has a fantastic view of Manhattan – even on a cloudy, rainy day.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa’s ready to party!

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Lisa and her friends Allison, Jess, and Katie.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Then we headed to Koreatown for karaoke! A bunch more joined us in our private room and Lisa kicked off the night with Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”. Belt it out Lisa!

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Good thing the receiver was labeled.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

There was some Lady Gaga…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

A rockin’ Bohemian Rhapsody…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Umbrella…ella…ella… Very appropriate for the night’s weather.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Of course, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

And a very “touching” solo from the Bride…

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Most songs ended up as a group singing effort.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

Then Lisa and Katie took a trip down memory lane and performed a rousing duet to Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion’s duet “Tell Him.”

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

I don’t know who was Barbra and who was Celine. But it was entertaining.

Karoake

Then the sisters did a Sonny and Cher number. I got you babe.

Lisa's Bachelorette Party

The night ended with a few of us jumping over to a bar in Manhattan – I have no idea where or what it was called, but it was cool. Then we dashed for a cab in the POURING rain and before I knew it, I was on a plane back to Texas! Now I’m gearing up for the BIG DANCE – the wedding is on May 14!!!

See the rest of my pictures from the bachelorette party on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

you’re just a product of loveliness

As my sister’s Matron of Honor, I had the wonderful privilege of planning her bridal shower. Luckily, I could assume I would be her Matron of Honor before she even asked because the minute I found out that BK popped the big question, I immediately started plans for the shower. I just couldn’t help myself.

The idea for a theme came to me instantly and it was perfect. When you have a perfect theme in mind, it’s hard not to get too themey, so hopefully I didn’t go overboard.

The shower was in Brooklyn, where ALL of their wedding planning has been based. Her bridesmaid Jess graciously hosted us at her home and it was the perfect setting. I think all the girls enjoyed themselves, and I know Lisa did. But I don’t know if they had as much fun attending as I had planning the whole thing!

My planning all started with the theme: Pride and Prejudice

This theme was perfect in multiple ways. The book is Lisa’s favorite and is published by Penguin – her employer since she’s lived in New York. Lisa’s always loved books and works with them everyday, so why not have a book theme? PLUS Jane Austen is classic feminine, romantic literature, and you gotta have LOVE center stage when it comes to weddings. Pride and Prejudice is beautiful, yet smart—just like my sister.

First, I started with designing and mailing the invitations.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I also had a little fun in Photoshop turning a picture of Lisa into a Jane Austen book cover. It provided for a few good laughs at the shower.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Here are some of the details of the decor and gifts. (Etsy was very helpful in this department.)

The letterpress card I gave Lisa (from Pearl & Marmalade):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

A Christmas ornament to adorn her gift (from Brookish Handmade Goods):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Another card that all the girls signed as a guestbook (A Jane Austen quote AND bunting!) from A Darling Day:

Lisa's Bridal Shower

And as part of the centerpiece, a framed print of a Pride and Prejudice quote (also from Brookish):

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I printed a bunch of pictures of Lisa and BK, mixed in some pictures from the movie and some quotes from the book, and strung them on a clothesline across Jess’s fireplace and above her sofa.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

My mom took care of the food and put together a lovely spread of roasted shrimp, bruschetta, arugula salad, fruit salad, and two types of quiches.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

The gorgeous coconut cake was courtesy of Katie, one of Lisa’s bridesmaids and long-time friend.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

After mingling and eating, it was time for a game! I put together a little quiz about Lisa with some movie quotes mixed in for fun. The movie quotes ended up being a bit harder than I thought!

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Katie was the winner of the prize – a copy of Pride and Prejudice, a mug bearing a P&P quote (from Caffe Tempo), and some English tea.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Then it was time for some gifts!

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

As Lisa opened each gift, her friend would ask her a question that BK had to answer and she had to guess what BK’s answer was. Some were quite funny.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Part of my gift to Lisa was a personalized copy of Pride and Prejudice. Penguin.com lets you upload a picture and customize a note to be added inside the front cover of some of their classic books.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

We ended the day with Katie’s coconut cake and a group shot.

Lisa's Bridal Shower

Lisa's Bridal Shower

I had so much fun putting everything together and spending the day with Lisa and her friends. It was a quick trip to New York, but I’ll be back again in a few weeks for Lisa’s bachelorette party, and then a few weeks after that for the wedding! It’s coming fast!

See the rest of my pictures from the shower on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “The Way You Make Me Feel” by Michael Jackson

well i’m shameless when it comes to loving you

Wedding day!!! It was a gorgeous September day for Kari and Brett to tie the knot.

The bridesmaids started the day by gathering in the bridal apartment to get all dolled up.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The bridal apartment was pretty sweet. It had every amenity imaginable. We had a great time hanging out and getting ready together.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

It wouldn’t be a wedding day without a tiny hiccup. And Kari’s came in the form of an unraveled hem at the bottom of her dress. No worries! The Mother of the Bride quickly hemmed it up and it was smooth sailing from then on.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

We walked up to the main Bed & Breakfast and took some pictures and waited for the Father of the Bride to greet his daughter. It was a very sweet moment.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

After a few more pictures and some anxious waiting, we made our way up to the hill for the ceremony. This is where I had to set my camera down and get in place to walk up the aisle and witness the lovely ceremony!

After the ceremony, the bridal party stayed up on the hill for more pictures, including a few around the hay bales and in the orchard while the wedding guests enjoyed the cocktail hour. When we first arrived at the reception I quickly snapped some shots of some of the details.

The table number cards were labeled with different seasons and years that were significant in Kari and Brett’s relationship. I made them!

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The bride hand-stamped each and every placecard.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The centerpieces were made up of wildflowers that we picked the day before.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Kari gave each of the bridesmaids beautiful pearl earrings and necklaces to wear and cute little clutch purses. For her wedding favors, she had many friends and family make homemade candies and chocolates and gave each guest a bag to fill.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Then it was time for introductions! Drew and I did the Carlton dance. It was a last minute decision, but we didn’t look awkward at all… It just, you know, didn’t get photographed. But the bride and groom entered to a boisterous applause!

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Then Steve gave a touching speech to kick off the evening.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The bride and groom cut the cake and were very polite about it.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

I was lucky enough to sit at the head table with the Bride and Groom, Best Man, Matron of Honor, and these two serious gentlemen.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The Best Man gave a pretty hilarious speech. Although it seemed to embarrass the bride just a bit.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

And Annie’s (the Matron of Honor) speech was heartfelt and showed how close she and Kari are as cousins and how many memories they have together.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The Bride and Groom danced their first dance to “Shameless” by Garth Brooks – a song the two have enjoyed together since they were teenagers.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Steve danced with his daugther to Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. And yes, I did have to look up the proper spelling his name.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

The groom danced with his mom to Rascal Flatt’s “My Wish”.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Later in the evening, we felt it was appropriate to take a few “sexy face” shots. It only took a few tries, but I think we nailed it.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Lots of dancing followed. And Drew got a chance to dance with his sister.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

We ended the night by circling around the newlyweds and belting out “Friends in Low Places” as they danced and high-fived everyone.

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

Bridgeland Wedding - 9/5/10

To cap off a perfect evening, the groom ran and slid across the dance floor on his knees. But not to be outdone by her new husband, Kari kicked off her shoes and did a knee-slide of her own. In her dress. On a dance floor of spilled beer. It was awesome. Unfortunately, I didn’t react fast enough to get it on camera. So it will just have to live on in our minds along with the other great memories we made that night.

Bright and early the next morning, the newlyweds were off to Peru to hike the Inca Trail!

See the rest of my pictures from the wedding on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “Shameless” by Garth Brooks

i still remember how you looked that afternoon

Labor Day weekend was a weekend we had been looking forward to for a long time – it was finally Kari and Brett’s wedding weekend! I had been pretty busy leading up to the weekend finishing a couple things I had the honor of making for the big day – some table number cards and a photo slideshow that we played at the rehearsal dinner. Drew and I were so honored to play a part in their wedding – we were both in the wedding party and even got to walk down the aisle together!

First things first, us girls had to get our nails done! Grandma and the Mother-of-the-Bride joined the bride and a couple of the bridesmaids for mani/pedi’s.

Pre-wedding Mani's & Pedi's

Wait. Is that Grandma double-fisting the mimosas? ‘Atta girl Milly!

Pre-wedding Mani's & Pedi's

Later that day, the girls finished up the placecards and then Barb (the MOTB) hosted a dinner at her house. It was a relaxing visit before the craziness of the wedding day!

Pre-wedding visit

Mother-of-the-Bride and Mother-of-the-Groom

Pre-wedding jitters for the bride and groom? Nah. These kiddos were ready.

Bride and Groom

The next morning the girls and mothers (and Father-of-the-Groom) headed out to a wildflower field to pick flowers for the centerpieces. We got a good truckload of flowers and Kari’s aunt and her mom’s friend put them together later that day using canning jars from Grandma.

That afternoon, it was rehearsal time! We all gathered at the pavilion where the reception was to be held and all walked together up the hill to the ceremony location. It was a wide grassy hill with a great view over the pavilion – with some hay bales thrown in for visual interest. It was a perfect, picturesque spot for a ceremony.

Bridgeland Wedding Rehearsal

Bridgeland Wedding Rehearsal

Rehearsing the hand-off

Bridgeland Wedding Rehearsal

Bridgeland Wedding Rehearsal

After the rehearsal, we gathered for the rehearsal dinner, where the Father-of-the-Groom gave a funny, yet touching speech and the Bride and Groom introduced the wedding party and thanked everyone.

Rehearsal Dinner

Then it was time for the slideshow. No matter how many times I had watched it while I put it together, I still got goosebumps watching it that night. Those videos always get me.

After dinner, we snapped a photo of all the girls and then headed to a nearby bar to visit with all the family and friends that were in town.

Rehearsal Dinner

Pre-wedding Party

Pre-wedding Party

Pre-wedding Party

At the end of the night, the bride and groom parted ways, both hoping for a good night’s sleep. And the rest of us (or maybe just me) were too excited to sleep!

See the rest of my pre-wedding and rehearsal pictures on Flickr.

*Blog post title is a lyric from the song “I Still Remember” by Bloc Party