Sunday, July 25, 2010

Miller Time: Family Photos

Want to catch up? . I ran errands, we rehearsed, we ate pizza, the girls got beautiful, the boys looked sharp, somehow I managed to actually get into my dress, we had our first look, and got our model on.

When I left off, we had just finished our photos at Promontory Point and I needed to make a decision about where to head next. On one hand, I could choose to be late to family photos and go to our second photo location. On the other hand, I could just suck it up and go make the most of family photos. Like the good daughter I am, I chose to go back to the hotel for family photos.


So back to the hotel we went! There isn't much to say about the family photos, except that it was quick and dirty.

Even though I remember it being somewhat of a wash, I was surprised to see that we did get a couple family portraits that I love. Here is my favorite one: it is me, my mom, my grandfather, and my mom's sister. These are my VIPs so I was excited we had a chance to snap a picture together before the whole group showed up.

Here is a shot of everyone.

Since family photos took WAY less time than I originally planned for, we made the decision to go to a second photo location on our way to Volo. A few months ago, I spotted this cute little fire station just a few blocks from the hotel and squirreled it away in my mind as a possible photo location.

These last three are my favorites.The firemen were so kind to us and even rolled down the red door for us to use as a backdrop. I'm so glad we had a chance to take these pictures! I just love them.

Next - we get to Volo and finally get some time to chill.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Miller Time: Bridal Party Photos

Hmm. Okay. Where were we? Ah yes. I ran errands, we rehearsed, we ate pizza, the girls got beautiful, the boys looked sharp, somehow I managed to actually get into my dress, and then we had our first look!

So now it was time for us all to load into a limo and take pictures! Group photos were on the schedule from 2 to 4 in the afternoon and the plan was to try and hit up two locations. If the weather was pleasant, we planned to go to Promontory Point and the Canal Street Bridge. If you remember, way back when we checked out Promontory Point (click to see my blog post about it) as a possible wedding venue. The area is so beautiful and we really fell in love with the spot. SO we were very excited to still be able to take advantage of how beautiful it is!  If the weather was rainy or just excruciatingly hot, the plan was to go to Union Station and the rooftop bar at theWitt hotel.

Deciding on these photo locations was probably the single most stressful decision I had to make in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I couldn't just make a decision and be done with it. No. I had to labor over each and every option. Weigh the pros and cons. Stress out. Looking back, I really wish I hadn't wasted all those hours freaking myself out. On the day of, I was so excited to be with Neill that nothing else really seemed to matter. I just sort of stopped caring about the pictures I had put so much planning into. I guess that's how it should be, though. That's why we hire photographers. Who wants to stress out over photos on their wedding day? Not me.

Anyways, the last thing I'll say before I just show you the goodies is that THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT. THE RAINY, 95 DEGREE , 80% HUMIDITY WEATHER THAT WAS PREDICTED FOR WEEKS NEVER SHOWED UP.  I truly count this as my  WEDDING DAY MIRACLE. It was our personal wedding gift from the weather gods. I really just can't say enough what a blessing it was. Stepping outside and feeling the fresh, cool air - I felt SO lucky. Disaster diverted.

Anyways. I know if any of you out there hate the hot humid weather as much as me, you understand the utter wave of relief I felt. Those of you sickos who actually like being a sweaty mess just won't get it.

See the pictures after the jump!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Miller Time: The First Look

Have you fallen behind on the recap train? Read all about what happened before our first look:  I ran errands, we rehearsed, we ate pizza, the girls got beautiful, the boys looked sharp, and somehow I managed to actually get into my dress.  

Once I was finally dressed, I grabbed my bouquet and hightailed it to the room Neill was waiting for me in. I'm pretty sure I was all shaky and giddy walking over to him. I've gotta admit - it was pretty awesome :) Once I saw him, it was like nothing else that day mattered. I hate myself for sounding so corny, but its true. I sort of just stopped caring about whether or not we were going to have awesome pictures or if our families would have fun at the reception or if the cake was going to taste good or if it was going to rain. We were together and that was what mattered. Thinking about it now gets me all happy inside.(And if you know me, you know that's hard to do with my heart of coal and what not)

Neill waiting patiently for me

Here I come! Look at Neill' super happy goofy grin :)


so happy!

After our first look, we took just a few pictures together around the hotel. I love how deliriously happy we both look in this picture. These are real smiles :)

loverz for life

We even got some artsy fartsy shots

Then, it was time to grab the bridal party and head for the hills! Check back to see what shenanigans we got ourselves into.

[photos by Alix Klingenberg]

Friday, July 16, 2010

Miller Time: Putting On The Dress

A little behind on what happened? Catch up! I ran errands, we rehearsed, we ate pizza, the girls got beautiful, and the boys looked sharp.   

So there I am. Just tra-la-la-ing along. Having a good time. Not concerned about the time one bit because I knew these ladies are looking out for me and really - how long could it take to get into a wedding dress anyways? That is - until someone mentions that it is almost 1:45.

Say what?!?

1:45 is when Neill and I scheduled our first look! And I just SPRINTED. I went into attack mode. My mission was to go get my man and I was full throttle ahead.  And it wasn't until that moment that I realized that I didn't just have to easy peasy slip my dress on. I had to put my underthings on, I had to get my earring in, my bracelet on, my dress on, the sash tied, my shoes, and spritz on the magic. oh geez.

Did I mention my dress had buttons? Lots of tight buttons. Hmm. This might be more difficult than I originally thought. It was of course at this exact moment that I realized my bridesmaids weren't dressed either. On that note - where were my bridesmaids? I later found out that had gone down to check out of the hotel, but at the time I felt a little . . . stressed. Here it was crunch time and where had they gone? Thankfully, they soon reappeared.

This was probably the most stressful point of the day. I really don't like rushing. But, because I was so excited I think the stress just felt like more adrenaline.

Anyways, if it hadn't been for those blasted buttons I probably would have been right on time. But, I had three people trying to button me up and it still took forever! At least it made for some beautiful "getting into the dress" shots!

Finally, I slipped on my earrings and I was ready to go.

I don't even think I took a minute to check out the final package. All I wanted to do was go see Neill!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Miller Time: The Boys Looking Sharp

A little behind? Catch up! I ran errands, we rehearsed, we ate pizza, and the girls got beautiful.  

While us ladies were up (relatively) early to get our beauty on, I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea what Neill and his crew did all morning. All I know is that sometime around 11:30 Neill texted me saying someone along the lines of "What's going on? We're going to start getting dressed." Well okay then!

I absolutely loved loved loved the color of their ties! I ordered them from Jenny Yoo to match the bridesmaid dresses (Silk Shuntung in the mist blue, if you're curious).  I was a bit worried it would all look too matchy matchy, but I ended up really loving how it looked! We actually got a bunch of compliments on them too :) I hope the guys liked them too, because they were part of our gift to them.

After our coordinator, Morgan, helped them with the boutonnieres they even had some time to goof around! I love this picture :) Don't they look so handsome in their gray suits? Plus, they are showing off the other half of our gift to Neill's groomsman - black converse!

Then, all Neill had to do was wait for his blushing bride to appear for our first look. Did I leave him waiting long? You'll have to keep reading to find out!

[all photos by alix klingenberg]

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Miller Time: The Girls Getting Ready

A little behind? Catch up on what happened before this! I ran errands, we rehearsed, and we ate pizza. 

I know the last few posts have been really text heavy, but now that we are entering "pro pics" territory I'm going to try and let the pictures do most of the talking! 

Anyhoo, the morning of our wedding was slow and relaxed. Everything just sort of rolled along. I  hung out with my bridesmaids, Heather Massa (hair & makeup), and Alix Klingenberg (photographer). Others were in and out - my mom and MIL both came for hair and makeup so I got to spend time with each of them. Plus, the wonderful Morgan of Luxe Events was around. I also got the pleasure of meeting my niece for the very first time! If no one has said it before, I'll say it now - holding a baby on your wedding day is good luck! But even with all the people around,  it was very chill. At least, I was feeling relaxed and if others weren't, they had the good sense not to tell me.

 happy bride!

Grace getting her makeup did

You always read that it is SOOOO important to eat on your wedding day. And I agree. I mean - really, I think its important to eat everyday. but whatever. and I can say that I don't think I've ever "lost my appetite" before this, but that morning nothing sounded appetizing. I wasn't expecting that. During planning I thought I might want a sandwich from the corner bakery around the corner and I even asked Cathy to come with a list of lunch possibilities, but that morning I couldn't excited about eating anything. But don't worry - with much encouragement from my loving ladies, I managed to choke down some french fries and half a PB&J. Ahh room service.

  feed me a fry!

 mother and daughter 

 look at that poof! oh man i loved my hair!

For those of you interested in the time line - it went like this - Heather came at 9ish and the beautification started. Alix came at noon and the modeling started. To take my mind of things, I had the movie Date Night playing in the background and I just trusted that others would keep me on track. Really - I don't think I checked the time once!

Come back soon to find out what the boys were up to all morning and whether my laid back attitude was a good idea!

[All photos by Alix Klingenberg]

Friday, July 9, 2010

Miller Time: The Rehearsal Dinner

Want to read what happened first?
I ran errands and then we rehearsed

After finally getting my hands on the cupcakes for our rehearsal dinner, it was time to head back to the hotel and RELAX. I knew that there was a ton of family that I should have been talking to, but I seriously needed some time to breathe. So, that is what I did. I sat on the couch in my humongous sitting room area and let the time go by. At around 5:30 I started to get ready so that I could be in the lobby by 6:00. I didn't quite know where anyone else was at this point, but I figured I'd see them soon enough since our rehearsal dinner was scheduled for 6:30 at Gino's East Pizzeria

Since it is only two blocks away from the hotel, the informal plan was for people to meet in the lobby and walk over together. Once I got down to the lobby it was family central! My dad was there, my aunts and uncles, cousins, and all of neill's family too! It was sort of just a big cluster of people and I just didn't know what to do with myself! Part of me felt like I should be introducing people, but I was already so overwhelmed that I just sort of sat back and let people do their thing. Because it was a relatively large group (~40 people), it was too difficult to organize everyone leaving at once. So people starting started to trickle out and I waited. Unfortunately, Neill left with his family and I stayed behind at the hotel. I didn't like being separated :( 

After what seemed like forever, I finally started to leave and after making it a block I realized I left the freaking cupcakes sitting in my hotel room!!!!! Arg. This is why a bride should not be in charge of making sure the dessert arrives! If I had been smart, I would have asked someone else to go get them. People will do stuff for a bride that they won't normally do. Might as well take advantage of it! But instead, I ran back to pick them up. Minutes later, there I was - walking down the street with three boxes of cupcakes towering in my hands and late to my own rehearsal dinner. Ooops. At least I had yummy yummy yummy delicious deep dish pizza to look forward too!

nom nom nom

We picked Gino's East because we wanted something (a) casual, (b) near the hotel, and (c) delicious. This happens to be Neill's favorite pizza place so it worked out perfectly! I really couldn't recommend Gino's East more. They have their events down to a science so we didn't have to worry about anything. Somehow even the seating worked out! For some reason it never crossed my mind to think about how the tables were going to be arranged. Luckily for us, it worked out perfectly. There were three long tables and my family sat at one, neill's family sat at another, and all the youngings filled up the third. Whew. Glad my nonplanning worked out!

 Neill with his co-bestmen at Gino's

Unfortunately, I was SO exhausted and overwhelmed that I couldn't really enjoy the party. It's not that I had a bad time, I just didn't have a fabulous time. I feel like a real bridal brat for saying that, but hey - it's the truth. I just wanted to be in bed. ha. I didn't even have much of an appetite (which NEVER happens to me) so I just had one or two small squares of thin crust. Pizza fail. I was happy though that people seemed to like the cupcakes!

The only picture I could find of Neill and I at the rehearsal dinner

The highlight of the rehearsal dinner for me was getting to make our mark on Gino's East. You make have noticed in some of the pictures above that there is writing all over the walls. That's because Gino's East lets you tag as much as you want! I should have remembered to bring a sharpe with me, but our super friendly waiter kindly loaned us his.

 Neill and I signing our names

 Close up of what we wrote

 After all of that hubub it was time to head back to the hotel. For some reason I ended up walking home alone - I swear I have no memory of how that happened! I must have just been really ready to get going :) No worries though - people soon congregated in my room. Look how tired Neill and I both look!

Neill with two of his brothers

Me with my two 'maids

After the most unflattering pictures ever were taken, it was time to call it a night! I had trouble sleeping on Thursday night, so my aunt gave me an ativan to take so that I could be well rested. Let me tell you - that stuff is the BOMB. It didn't make me loopy or drowsy, it just made me feel like I didn't have a care in the world! And with that, I drifted off into ativan dreams of ponies and unicorns. 

Coming up next - getting ready to get hitched!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Miller Time: The Rehearsal

Want to catch up? Before this, we ran last minute errands.

The rehearsal was scheduled for 2:30 on Friday. This was supposed to give us plenty of time to get our errands done in the morning, rehearse before Volo had to set up for dinner service, then get back to the hotel to rest and change before the rehearsal dinner. Because Volo is a pretty nontraditional space to have a ceremony, we wanted to honor that and not do the whole big processional. Just Neill's two best man, my two ladies, and us. No ushers. No flower girls. No Grandparents. No parents. Just us. To be honest, this was in part because I just wanted to keep it simple and stress-free. People come. People sit down. I didn't want to have to orchestrate some huge processional in our little tiny courtyard. It just didn't fit. So anyways - this meant that the only people at the rehearsal were the bridal party (all four of them), neill, myself, our wedding coordinator, and Volo's event coordinator. Great. This should be easy . . . right?

bhahahaha how naive I was.

First thing upon arrival, Morgan (one of the wedding coordinators) informs me that Kathleen (the other wedding coordinator, not present) has the flu and will not be able to work our wedding. Gulp. This whole process we have always met with both of them and each one was going to do specific tasks the day of the wedding. For example, it was going to be Kathleen who accompanied us during pictures to keep us on time and transport the huge balloons. The fact that we were down a man worried me juuuust a little. Morgan did a wonderful job assuring me that things would be just fine, but I swear I saw a little fear in her eyes!

Plus - and I'm an awful person for saying this and I really really really love Morgan and Kathleen buuuuuut - I sort of don't believe the whole flu story. I have absolutely no reason to believe that they would lie. They were not flaky one bit throughout planning, but Kathleen had just gotten married two weeks prior and I just had this little inkling that maybe she was away on her honeymoon or just holed up with her new hubby and refusing to come out. Anyways - I don't begrudge her one bit. I'm just glad that Morgan was around! She always struck me as the more "let's get down to business" one of the duo anyhow.

After that hurdle, we had to unload all of the stuff. What stuff you ask? Every little detail that went into our wedding. Bird figurines, decorative stones, signs, gust book, pens, mason jars, little blue eggs, a card box, a cake topper, a cake stand (that ended up being too small - whoops!), the favors, lanterns, the ketubah, the easel for the ketubah, and the mamma of all things - the huppah! It was a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff that would later have to be repacked up and transported home.

Then, we tackled the huppah. Namely - where it would go. During our two walk throughs at Volo we had always talked with the owner rather vaguely about the huppah going "over there", while pointing to a pretty corner of the courtyard. The idea was that we'd angle the huppah so that the most number of people could get a good view. But, when we actually had the huppah in position it was clear that this plan was not going to work out. The corner was just too small! Can you hear the bridal meltdown brewing? I felt a bit mislead by the people at Volo who had given us the impression they had done this a million times, but I was most upset that our bridal party wouldn't be able to stand up with us during the ceremony. I had always pictured each one of them standing by a huppah pole, symbolically holding the huppah up. But, there was just no way that all four of them would be able to fit.

The images in my head, from a practical wedding

This is when bridal meltdown #2 started. I was hot and sweaty. I was being told that there was just no way that my two best friends in the whole world could stand with me on my wedding day and I just couldn't hold back the tears. Through the whole planning process I always imagined having them right next me. I didn't expect to have to make that compromise. So I cried. And sulked. And then gave up. I remember excusing myself to try and pull myself together and Grace came to help me out. She asked me what I really wanted. I could tell that if I told her that I wanted her up there with me, she would have fought with the coordinators to make that happen. But, I just didn't have the energy. Writing this now, it still makes me a little sad. I wish I hadn't just trusted that everything would fit. I wish I had taken the time to measure the space. I wish that I had  just a bit more energy to invest in trying out different huppah arrangements that day. But, I think mainly I have these wishes because on the actual day of our wedding the huppah ended up getting set up in a less than ideal way. We'll talk about that later, though.

During the rehearsal we also figured out how to work our ipod with Volo's sound system and coordinated with Morgan on when to play our before ceremony mix and the processional song. Neill also tested out some angels for his flip cams, which he used to film the ceremony. By this time, however, I was already stressed out and angry and so I'm pretty sure I said more than one but less than ten mean things to him. Sorry, hunny!

Our rehearsal ended up running late and we didn't get out of there till around 4. It could have been worse - but with all of the different things we had to do it was pretty overwhelming. Unfortunately, after that I still had one more errand to run - I had to pick up the cupcakes for the rehearsal dinner. Why oh why didn't I ask someone else to do this? Who knows. I thought it would be no big deal. But when I was standing in the slowest moving line ever at the Alliance Bakery that had NO air conditioning and all I wanted to do was scream at the top of my lungs IM GETTING MARRIED TOMORROW GIVE ME MY MOTHERFUCKING CUPCAKES SO I CAN GET OUT OF THIS MOTHERFUCKING  PLACE AND GET THE MOTHERFUCKING SHOW ON THE ROAD it started to seem like a big deal. 

Thankfully, I had (what was supposed to be) a fun night ahead of me! Check back to read about the rehearsal dinner.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Miller Time: Last Minute Errands

The Friday before the wedding was a strange mix of excitement, disbelief, and stress. On one hand, I was completely excited that our wedding was coming up SO SOON but, on the other hand, I was still worried about a few things. What was on my mind? I was nervous about the weather. As I mentioned previously (here and here), the forecast was not looking good. Every weather site I checked predicted thunderstorms, humidity, and temperatures in the mid 90s. The last thing I wanted was be a sweaty rained on mess on my wedding day!

Anyhoo, Friday started out bright and early. I had started packing for the wedding weekend on Wednesday and so by Friday morning I was all ready to go. My maid of honor, Grace, picked me up around 9:30 and I loaded my wedding dress, veil, clothes for the brunch and rehearsal dinner,  jewelry, shoes, toiletries, snacks, and lots of umbrellas into the car. We drove to the Allerton Hotel to check in and drop everything off. We wanted to get there early because the Blackhawks were set to have a parade only a few blocks away from our hotel to celebrate their Stanley Cup win just a few hours later. While I was excited that Chicago won, I was worried that all the added people downtown would put a serious kink in our plans! I mean really - who wants to get stuck in that traffic?

 look at that crowd!

While I had previously cleared it with the Allerton that I would check in early, when we got there the front desk informed me that it would not be possible. In fact, according to them - someone was currently staying in my room. Cue bridal meltdown number one of the day. What did she mean I couldn't check in? I just confirmed it! No I cannot wait. And NO I don't want to leave you with my wedding dress to keep behind the desk until the room is ready. I was seriously about to lose it. The tears were coming. I had to walk away from the desk and speak loudly about how incompetent the staff were. I have to add, that the lady giving me all this grief was named Princess. For some reason, this made me even angrier. Thankfully, before things came to blows (and they would have come to blows. Although I bet Princess fights dirty) my amazing contact at the Allerton appeared and the situation was quickly remedied.

Once I saw the size of my room, I figured that the few moments are stress were totally worth it! The room was huge! When you walked in there was a large sitting area with couches. Then, through a door was a bedroom and bathroom. They really hooked me up!

After dropping everything off in the bridal suite, we headed to Party City to get my balloons blown up. Since catching a few pictures of the big round balloon around the wedding blogosphere, I knew I wanted to use them as props in our photos.

What I didn't quite realize was just how big a 36 inch balloon is relative to the space in a car. Ooops! Thankfully, the day before my wedding coordinators, Luxe Events, had suggested I come up with a good plan on how to transport those babies. We fit some of the balloons in my maid of honor's car and the rest went into my bridesmaid's car. If those two ladies hadn't been willing to drive around with their back window completely filled with balloons, I don't know what I would have done!

At this point, the awful traffic we were expecting never materialized (wedding miracle #1) and so we had time to stop at my maid of honor's house and lounge for a bit. It was nice to just be able to relax :) After the quick stop, we headed over to get our nails done. Erica and Miriam met us there too! I got talked into trying a no-chip manicure, which I would seriously recommend! I was very skeptical, but it did last for quite a long time and it was worth the extra ten bucks.

After our nails dried, it was time to run over to Volo for our 2:30 rehearsal. Check back soon to read about bridal meltdown #2 and the actual rehearsal dinner!