Thursday, July 19, 2012


So we left for our honeymoon the Monday after the wedding and went to Aruba.  We were originally thinking Barbados, but it was so difficult to fly in and out of from the airport closest to Lake George.  Also, summer is hurricane season in the Caribbean, but Aruba lies just outside that area so we wouldn't have to worry about a hurricane blowing up on us.  The fact that we could skip all-inclusive and get some culture in Aruba, while also being able to drink water from the tap also aided in our decision to choose Aruba instead.

The view that greeted us from our balcony

We landed in Aruba in the afternoon so we had enough time to kind of wander around the hotel and the beach area to check it out before heading to dinner.  We found a tapas place for a pretty good first dinner.  After we finished eating we walked through the rest of the shops and restaurants to scout out where the rest of our meals would come from.

We spent the first two full days in Aruba just laying out by the water.  It was so nice to finally not have anything to do, that I wasn't in a rush to do much exploring.  We did learn pretty quickly that it's windy in Aruba.  Not sure if that's the case all the time, but I had read that there could be some pop up weather due to it being hurricane season in most of the Caribbean, so maybe the wind was a product of that.

The first day we chose to lay on the beach, and that wasn't the best idea we've ever had.  Every time a wind gust picked up we would just get railed with sand which hurt like a bitch.  We learned our lesson and spent the rest of the time claiming chairs by the pool where the hotel blocked some of the wind, there was no sand, and the ocean was still next to us when we needed to cool down.

The only other thing I noticed and thought was a little strange was the complete lack of waves, even with the wind.  Seriously, waves were just non-existent.  The water was definitely a little colder than I was expecting considering we were almost in South America while in Aruba, but not cold enough to keep me out.  In fact, it felt nice to hop into the water while the sun was beating down on us all day.

See?  No waves.
 On Thursday Mike and I decided to take a trip out to De Palm Island for an all-inclusive 8 hour all you can eat, drink, and snorkel trip.  We hopped on the bus, took the ferry, and spent all morning and afternoon laying on the beach on the island and snorkeling.  I had only been snorkeling once in Mexico, and it was horrible, so I was really looking forward to seeing what Aruba had to offer.  It was amazing.  Mike and I were in the water three different times for at least half an hour each time.  The place even offered food you could buy for the fish.  We didn't buy any, but enough people did that we got to experience the swarm of fish suddenly surrounding us.

Loved our underwater camera

There was also a small water park on the island so we spent some time hanging out there.  I'm not a big water slide person, so I just sat in the shallow end catching some sun while staying cool while Mike did work alongside the rest of the 8 year old kids there, haha!  We also found a ping pong table going unused, and went to town.  I'd never really played before, and Mike is a master at the game, so we were just playing for fun.....until I realized that I was pretty good for a first timer.  I'm pretty dead set on buying a ping pong table for our place now.

At the water park

Friday we decided to explore the downtown area of Aruba.  We hopped in a cab which dropped us off and grabbed lunch at a place he suggested.  That was where we discovered papaya hot sauce.  I've got to admit, I'm not a big fan of spicy things, but holy cow is this stuff good.  Mike hightailed it to a grocery store to buy a bottle to bring home immediately.  We picked up a couple of souvenirs before heading back to the hotel.

Saturday was our last day so we spent that sitting by the pool and hanging out in the ocean enjoying our last day of zero responsibility.  By Sunday afternoon we were on a plane headed back to NY with a 17 hour drive from there to St. Louis looming ahead of us.  As much fun as the honeymoon was (and relaxing), it was good to be back in the states, and especially to see Bauer again!  He however was much less excited to see us.  While Mike got some attention he literally refused to come see me the entire night after we got back.  Guess he was kind of pissed, haha.  By the next day he was back to giving me hugs and cuddling up after getting over his anger at being ditched, even if he got to spend the entire week with his best friend Nash.

I would definitely recommend Aruba, and not going all-inclusive (um, liquor is so cheap at Duty Free there!) so you can experience everything the island has to offer.  As long as you can tolerate the wind unlike one woman we heard saying she would never go back.  Here's some more pictures from the honeymoon.....

There were lizards all over the place down there. I think they're so cute!
In downtown

So sad that places like this need Pizza Huts to please tourists - Branch out people!
Not terribly afraid of people
Saw these guys all over the rocky areas
Sunset from the balcony

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Wedding Day!

 I woke up on the morning of June 30, 2012 and immediately started crying.  I'm already typically an emotional wreck, and realizing it was my wedding day took a toll the second I turned off my alarm.  Having to stop myself from turning into a blubbering idiot was an overriding theme of the day.  My hair and makeup girl showed up at 9 am followed closely by my bridesmaids and my wedding day officially got going.

Everyone talks about nerves and such on your wedding day, but I wasn't feeling it.  I was just really excited.  Then, I was getting my hair and makeup done around 1:30 that afternoon.  Most of my bridesmaids were taking care of making sure the reception area was set up and I was in the room with just one bridesmaid and the girl doing my hair and makeup.  It was quiet in the room for the first time when suddenly it hit.  My stomach started to tie itself in knots, and my heart started racing.  No cold feet for me, but I started to panic about whether Mike would like the dress, my hair, and my makeup.  I mean, I couldn't look like shit on the most important day of my life!  Thankfully the girls calmed me down and the day resumed.

Of course just after my hair and makeup finishes a couple of the ushers came by to take my stuff up to the room Mike and I would share that night and bring Mike's note and present to me, and pick up my note and presents for him.  While my note was written on lined notebook paper, because that's all I had access to the night before, Mike had to one-up me (so typical, haha).  They handed me our iPad, which Mike had recorded a video on the night before as his "note".  I cried my eyes out listening to what he had to say, and work on a bridesmaids hair had to come to a halt for a makeup fix.

Later I was dressed and ready to go and it was wedding time.  It felt like an eternity that I was hidden in a room while everyone else walked down the aisle.  Finally it was time, and off I went.  He'll probably kill me for saying this, but Mike made me cry when he started to tear up as I got to him.  Thankfully I held it together enough to get through most of the ceremony, up until vow time.  I'd started to tear up listening to Mike say his, but when it was my turn I literally had to pause halfway through for a moment because I was on the verge of a total breakdown.  I made it through better than I expected, which was awesome, but I don't think I heard a single thing our officiant said.  I was too busy grinning like an idiot at Mike and forcing myself to hold the tears in.

We were then officially married and got to spend the rest of the night celebrating with our closest friends and family.  Unfortunately last minute a few couldn't make the trip for the wedding.  One guy couldn't get clearance by his doctor to travel after hitting a deer on his motorcycle the previous month and flying a nice 100 yards down the road.  One of Mike's groomsmen also couldn't make it because his wife gave birth the night before.  Thankfully one of our ushers stepped up and filled in.

Towards the end of the night something really awesome happened.  Turned out there were fireworks over Lake George that night.  It was unexpected and I found out about it only the night before.  My dad joked that he spared no expense for the wedding, but it was amazing to be able to enjoy those before the party ended.

For the record, I highly recommend using music from the Vitamin String Quartet for pre-ceremony, ceremony, cocktail hour, and dinner music.  We received so many comments on how awesome it was to listen to.  If you don't know, VSQ does orchestral versions of modern mostly rock songs.  People had a blast trying to pick out what all the songs were.  Since Mike and I don't agree on music most of the time this was a great choice for us.  We chose mostly 90's to early 00's music from bands like Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Coheed and Cambria, etc.

Our music lineup (all Vitamin String Quartet covers) went like this:
Parents and groom entrance for ceremony - "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac
Wedding Party entrance - "Soul to Squeeze" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
My entrance - "Beautiful Day" by U2
Recessional - "Today" by Smashing Pumpkins

When we made our entrance to the reception we wanted to choose something that would typically be played at a hockey game for a team's entrance, because let's be honest, hockey runs our lives.  We chose AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" the real version.  Our first dance was to "Stuck on You" by Failure.  Not exactly first dance material, but it's our song and our wedding, so we did what we wanted, decent first dance be damned, haha.  People spent all night saying how "us" the music selection was.

We haven't gotten any of our professional photos or video yet, but received so many amazing pictures from friends and family.  I figured I'd throw some of those in here and put up some of my favorite shots from the photographers later on when I get them.  Before I do I just wanted to throw out a big thank you to everyone who sent either of us messages wishing us good luck and congrats.  It means so much to us to see all the support from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike.  I'm the happiest I've ever been right now and looking forward to what the future for us holds.  Thanks again!

Sign outside of our reception room

Reception room - view of Lake George and surrounding mountains out windows
Close up of table settings (annoyed that ribbon came off my favor box)
Just pronounced husband and wife
First kiss!
Wedding Party (3 guys on left were ushers)
Love this photo of ring bearer and flower girls
First dance
Double Dutch ropes

Friday, July 13, 2012

Wedding Week

It's official, I'm a married woman!  Before I get into the wedding itself, there were so many other things to talk about.  Due to the fact that about 90% of our guests were from out of town, we ended up not just having a wedding day, but a wedding week!  It was awesome to spend so much time with our friends and family.

Mike, his parents, Bauer, and I hopped in the car early Saturday morning on June 23 and made the 17 hour drive from St. Louis to Lake George.  We all stayed with my parents, and while everyone was happy to see each other, I don't think anyone was happier than Nash, my parents' dog, who hadn't seen his best friend Bauer in two months!

On Sunday I took my last opportunity to relax.  I wasn't going to have a day without something to do until a week and two days from then.  I probably could have gotten some things done that day, and it probably would have made my life a little bit easier that week, but I saw a break and took it!

On Monday Mike's best man and an usher-turned-groomsman got into town.  First thing was first though, we had to get our marriage license.  After we finished that we picked them up at the airport, and spent the day giving them a little tour of Lake George.

Tuesday Mike played some golf with the guys and then we did the last minute running around taking care of final payments for vendors and such.  Then we went out for a nice dinner at one of our favorite spots in Lake George, George's.  It was an early night for us then because we had a really full next few days.

I spent all morning Wednesday baking four Gooey Butter Cakes, because I had decided at some point before the stress had kicked in that it was a good idea to give out homemade Gooey Butter Cake as favors to the guests at the wedding, along with the mini champagne bottles we had ordered.  Then I had to run down to the airport to pick up one of my bridesmaids and then pick up my wedding dress.  Due to my bridesmaids dresses not getting in until the previous Friday, my two out of town bridesmaids couldn't have their dresses shipped to them and get fitted in time.  After picking up my bridesmaid I had to run to the dress shop to get her dress along with the dress of the bridesmaid arriving the next morning.  We headed straight to the seamstress's house for a fitting a mere three days before the wedding.  From there we headed straight to a local park where Mike and I were holding a meet and greet barbecue for all the guests who were in town already.  Fours hours mingling in the park was followed up with some Martha's Ice Cream for those from St. Louis who had never had flavored soft serve before.  We spent the rest of the night hanging out with friends in Lake George.

Thursday was another busy one.  It was bachelor/bachelorette party day and Mike had a mini golf tournament set up for the guys in the morning.  I had to meet my other out of town bridesmaid early that morning so I could get her to a fitting only two days before the wedding for her dress.  I was in serious doubt that the dresses would be done on time, and fit well.  When that was over I had to head back home and make four more Gooey Butter Cakes.  In the afternoon my maid of honor picked me up and all my bridesmaids and I spent the afternoon laying by the lake.  Then it was time for the bachelor/bachelorette parties!  Mike and his group stayed in Lake George while the ladies and I went to Saratoga for the night.  After dinner we ended up at a drag show where I was pulled on stage, but thankfully didn't get too embarrassed.  After the show we continued to bar hop until our ride came.  On the way back I let Mike know we were headed home, and he insisted on all of the girls meeting the guys out.  Not a typical end to the whole separate bachelor/bachelorette parties, but it was a really fun end to the night.

On Friday the girls all came over and helped me slice up, box up, and attach ribbons and seals to the cake favor boxes while Mike went on an hour steamboat ride with his side of the family.  After that was done Mike and I had to pack up bags for the next two nights because we'd been staying with my parents up to this point.  Then we had to get all of the favors, centerpiece parts, seating charts, etc. up to the wedding location.  After checking in to separate rooms at the hotel, Mike and I met up with everyone for rehearsal and then dinner afterwards.  After dinner ended we decided to meet up with everyone in town and hang out the rest of the night with them.  We ended up finishing our night off at an arcade taking over skee-ball.

 After exchanging our won tickets for really ridiculous things we didn't need Mike and I said our goodnights and headed back to the hotel.  It was really strange to have him walking me to my door only to leave to head to his own room.  I mean, we've been living together for 6 years, so this was a new thing for us.  The second the door closed I started to cry.  It finally kind of hit that I was going to be married the next day.  I spent the next few hours struggling to fall asleep, and eventually gave up and watched a late night playing of Super Troopers on Comedy Central.

And that's how I spent my week leading up to the wedding.  It was busy.  It was stressful.  It was fun.  It was probably the best week of my life.  Check back in a day or two for a blog about the wedding, complete with pictures some of the guests took!  Still just dying in anticipation for the pro photos and wedding video.