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Mrs. Panther’s Final Farewell

January 28, 2014

Well, it’s been more than three years since my first post here on Weddingbee, and now, I think it’s finally time for me to say goodbye. I can’t believe you guys let me stay this long!

Wedding reception - sparkler send-off

This is going to sound cliché, but I can’t tell you all how much Weddingbee has meant to me. We all know the wedding planning process can be stressful, and when things got crazy for me, your sweet comments and support got me through. Blogging here reminded me how much I used to love writing, back when I was a dorky eight-year-old writing short stories about alien abductions. (Let’s not talk about that.) It taught me how much I love doing and documenting over-the-top DIY projects. It led me down a path that I’m still following today.

Not too much has changed for Mr. Panther and me in the two and a half years since our wedding. I’m still rocking the low side chignon for every formal occasion; Mr. Panther still looks good in a suit; etc.

Brad and Steph

In 2012, we bought a cute little house, and we haven’t stopped DIY-ing since. I’ve been recounting all our projects, decor and disasters on my lifestyle blog, Glitter and Goat Cheese. Please come over and follow along! It’s fun!

Glitter and Goat Cheese

So, I guess the only thing left to say is: thank you. Thank you for having me. Thank you for reading my posts. Thank you for commenting with words of encouragement. Thank you for sharing your stories with me.

I’ll miss you all so much!

Jungle Love: Dancin’ Time

January 27, 2014

After a beautiful ceremony, our cocktail hour passed in the blink of an eye. We took our big group family photos and then tried to chat with a few people, but before we knew it, it was time to start the reception.

Our wedding party and family walked in with the same order as the ceremony, then stood at the front.

Wedding Reception

Wedding reception

I was a little nervous walking in – I was kind of afraid I’d fall down the stairs. But luckily, I stayed on my feet.

Wedding reception

Next up was the part of the wedding that had me most terrified: our first dance. To give you a little background: I love music, but I really don’t like dancing. I mean, I’ll do a little booty shaking in the privacy of my own bathroom, or maybe after about 18 drinks. But generally, I hate to do it in front of anyone. In any situation. Needless to say, Mr. Panther and I didn’t rehearse any fancy routines or take any ballroom lessons. I just wanted us to do the middle school sway and then get off the floor as quickly as possible.

Wedding reception - First dance

It was nice, though. For our first dance, our band played “A Whole New World” from Aladdin. DON’T MAKE FUN OF US. We didn’t tell anyone what our first dance song was before the wedding, because I was sure that at least one person would ridicule us and then I’d have doubts right up until July 2nd. See, that song is special to us, because when we first started dating, we watched Aladdin together, and we both starting singing during “A Whole New World.” It turned out that we both knew every single word and both the male and female parts. Ha! It was so, so dorky, but it was a real connection moment for us. We both love that song, and it is a love ballad, so it seemed appropriate.

True to form, we sang it to each other during the first dance … except for when the female vocalist botched a few lyrics. Then we just cackled at each other.

Wedding reception - First dance

And of course, because we didn’t want to be out there alone, we were that mean couple who forces the wedding party to come out halfway through the song. I feel a little bad about it. I hope they didn’t mind!

Wedding reception - First dance

The toasts were next. Mr. Panther’s best man went first, and he asked us to stand up with him. His toast was fantastic – he quoted “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss.

Wedding reception - toast

My maid-of-honor was next. We’ve been best friends since we were 12, and she shared some stories from our younger (and wilder) days.

Wedding party - toast

I didn’t have a father-daughter dance planned, since my dad had passed away a few years earlier, but at one point, my uncle (who walked me down the aisle) asked me to dance, and I happily obliged.

Wedding reception

Meanwhile, Mr. Panther was cutting a rug with his grandmother.

Wedding reception

The dancing continued all through dinner, which absolutely thrilled me. I was so terrified that we’d have one of those receptions where nobody wanted to dance! Our band kicked butt, though, so that definitely helped. The alcohol content of our signature cocktail (the “Something Blue-garita”) didn’t hurt, either.

Soon after we ate, we did the cake cutting. No smashing – just eating.

Wedding reception - cake cutting

And perhaps a sweet little smooch. (And that’s the cheesiest thing I’ve ever written.)

Wedding reception - cake cutting

After the cake cutting, Mr. Panther took the dance floor with his mom. Those jerks practiced! I had no idea until I saw them twirling and dipping around out there. They totally showed our first dance up!

Wedding reception

I’ll forgive them someday. MAYBE.

At some point, our photographers stole us away and took us outside for a few shots under the stars. I’m so glad we made time for this – they’re some of my favorite pictures from the whole day.

Wedding reception - Getaway car

We got a few photos with our amazing getaway car (which was borrowed from Mr. Panther’s best man’s family), then headed to the lawn by the water.

Wedding photo under starry sky by water

Wedding photo under starry sky by water

By the time we got back inside, it was about time for the bouquet toss. I turned my back and tried to throw arbitrarily, but it was a straight shot to my friend Bianca.

Wedding reception - Bouquet toss

Wedding reception - Bouquet toss

Bianca’s serious boyfriend playfully gave me a hard time, but he proposed the next year, and now they’re married! So it WORKED!

So, at this point, Mr. Panther and I had been trying to make the rounds to each and every table for the past few hours. And it was starting to become clear that we weren’t going to make it. We had a big wedding, and it’s so hard to rush through when you’re chatting with people you haven’t seen in years. Our venue’s ballroom had two levels, and the second level held a few guest tables, the dessert table, and our photo booth. Mr. Panther and I never set foot up there. It still bums me out, but I can’t see how it could have been any different.

After the bouquet toss, people were starting to leave, and we knew the reception was almost over. We’d only danced a couple slow songs, and that was it! So, we made an executive decision: We decided to abandon the socializing and join our friends on the dance floor. And I’m so glad we did. You have to dance at your own wedding!

Wedding reception - dance floor

Wedding reception - dance floor

Eventually, one of those terrible dance circles formed. Dance circles are my nightmare, and you will never catch me in the middle of one, but other people like them, so hey, enjoy!

Look at this hottie!

Wedding reception - dance floor

Then, something happened. Mr. Panther decided to break dance. In his expensive wedding suit.

Wedding reception - dance floor

Yes, those are his legs you see in the air.

Wedding reception - dance floor

Oy.

Wedding reception - dance floor

Wedding reception - dance floor

I mean, he could have at least taken his jacket off! But oh, well.

Soon, it was time to go. *sob* We’d purchased 36″ sparklers from WeddingSparklersUSA.com, and everyone headed outside to light them while I attempted to mop the sweat off my face in the bathroom. When Mr. Panther and I went outside, everyone had their sparklers lit and were standing along the sides of the walkway. It was perfect – exactly how I’d imagined it. And we even got the sendoff photo of my dreams!

Wedding reception - sparkler send-off

It wasn’t easy to stuff my giant dress into such a tiny car, but I got it all in there! This photo was taken before Mr. Panther came around and got in on his side:

Wedding reception - getaway car

Mr. Panther and I drove off, but we actually just went in a few circles around the venue while we waited for everyone to get on the buses. We couldn’t take that little car all the way back to the hotel!

By the time we got back, almost everyone was gone. A few stragglers had missed what they thought was the last bus and started telling us about how they lived at our venue now and were staying forever. We laughed our heads off before we informed them that the bus would be back for one more pick-up. It was a good thing, because a few of the bridesmaids were still around, too! We dumped my suitcase on the bus with them, and then hopped in Mr. Panther’s mom’s sedan to ride to the hotel.

I don’t have any photos from the after party in the hotel bar, and it’s probably better that way. We were done being the bride and groom at that point, and just wanted to have some laid-back fun. I hadn’t seen my college friends in years, and we sat around singing our fight song and drinking cocktails, and it was wonderful. The perfect end to a perfect day.

So, that’s the Panther wedding!

Did you manage to greet all your guests at your wedding? How much dancing did you do?

Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

All photos by Raw Photo Design

Jungle Love: The Details

January 13, 2014

Well, here it is: the details post. The contents of this post are what consumed my life for the entire year before my wedding. I was obsessed – maybe even a little insane? But when I look at these pictures, all the insanity was worth it. Well, most of it, anyway.

Wedding Pergola with Hanging Peonies

The ceremony items were some of my favorites. I ordered the glass jars and vials for the pergola flowers from Specialty Bottle, and our florist hung them with wire.

Wedding Pergola with Hanging Flowers in Glass Vials

We also bought shepherd’s hooks and mason jars for the florist to line up along the aisle.

Shepherd's Hooks with Flowers in Mason Jar at Wedding Ceremony

Shepherd's Hooks with Flowers in Hanging Mason Jars at Wedding

I designed all the wedding stationery, including the programs. The starburst thingy on the front was meant to mimic the graphic on our save the dates, but I also incorporated the Memoriam Pro font from our wedding invitations.

Purple Wedding Programs

I printed all of our stationery with Catprint, using their lux cotton card stock. I opted to go with black and white on the inside of the programs to save a little moolah.

Wedding Programs

Most of the printing process went smoothly, but I screwed up the measurements for the programs, so the design from the front extended a bit onto the back. Sigh. Oh, well. We included a poem by Daniel Ladinsky, which I really love. (There’s been some controversy about this poem, but I don’t really care. In fact, I love it so much that I had the last line tattooed on my forearm a few months before the wedding. That didn’t go over real well with all of my family members, but again – oh, well.)

Wedding Program

My mother-in-law found beautiful sandalwood fans from Koyal Wholesale, modeled here by our videographer:

Sandalwood Wedding Fan

We had a few small tables set up for the cocktail hour, but we tried not to go overboard with decorations, since after all, it’s just an hour.

Mercury glass and flowers

The majority of the flower business happened inside, at the reception. As you may recall, Mr. Panther and I spent months collecting vintage silver and mercury glass from all over the place – Etsy, Ebay, little antique stores, HomeGoods, TJ Maxx and even a fellow bee. One of my favorite pieces was the giant silver champagne bucket that held the flowers at our entry table.

Wedding Flowers in Silver Champagne Bucket

Purple and Blue Seating Cards

Blue and Purple Place Cards

Our florist got so creative with the rest of our items. I couldn’t believe he got flowers into everything we gave him!

Flowers in Silver Candelabra

Wedding Flowers in Pillar Candle Holder

Flowers in Silver Creamer

Wedding Flowers in Candelabra

Wedding Flowers in Silver Footed Bowl

Wedding with Pink Peonies

Wedding Flowers in Mercury Glass Vase

He even found a place for some random mercury glass birds that I gave him.

Mercury Glass Birds in Wedding Flowers

I absolutely loved our flowers. They provided such a beautiful backdrop for everything, including our rings.

Wedding Rings with Flowers

I was pretty happy with how our table numbers came out, too. (You can read about how I made them here, here and here.)

Framed Wood Table Number with Floral Fabric

Framed Wood Table Number with Floral Fabric

Framed Wood Table Number with Floral Fabric

Framed Wood Table Number with Floral Fabric

Framed Wood Table Number with Floral Fabric

Our menus were placed on each plate. (Thankfully, these printed out correctly.)

Purple and Blue Floral Wedding Menu

Blue and Purple Floral Wedding Menu

And oh my sweet lord, our cake. The flowers were exactly how I imagined them. I didn’t even want to eat it – too pretty.

Wedding cake with peonies and Ann Wood bird cake topper

Our cake topper was made by the wonderful and talented Ann Wood. It was pricy, but we still have it on display in our living room!

Ann Wood bird cake topper

I have many, many, many more detail photos, but you have to draw the line somewhere, right? Ha. If only I’d done that during the planning process.

Did choosing wedding details make you a little insane, too?

Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

All photos by Raw Photo Design

Jungle Love: The Ceremony

January 1, 2014

When Mr. Panther and I were planning our wedding, we mostly focused on the reception. I guess a lot of people probably do that, right? So, I’ll admit that I was a little surprised, at the end of the day, when the ceremony ended up being my favorite part. It makes sense, though – getting married is kind of the whole point, no?

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

My grandfather officiated our ceremony, as he has for several members and friends of my family. He has a standard ceremony that he uses, but Mr. Panther and I wanted to personalize things a bit, so we put together our own. We gathered pieces from all over the place, including Weddingbee and other wedding blogs, but a lot of the big chunks were from a book called Wedding Ceremony Planner: The Essential Guide to the Most Important Part of Your Wedding Day. I highly recommend it! But in case any of you would like to borrow pieces from our ceremony, I’m including the whole thing in this post. Get ready: it’s going to be long.

Once my uncle and I reached the arbor, my grandpa began:

Panther Wedding - Ceremony

Welcome, family, friends and loved ones. We have gathered here today to celebrate the love that Miss Panther and Mr. Panther have for each other, as well as the love that each of you has given them throughout their lives. As family and friends, you are the ones who have taught Miss Panther and Mr. Panther how to love. Having shared this lesson with them, we are now gathered to support them as they start their married life together, surrounded by the people dearest and most important to them.

Who presents Miss Panther to be married to Mr. Panther?

My uncle responded, “I do.

At this point, I gave my bouquet to MOH Alisa and stepped forward to take Mr. Panther’s hands. My grandpa continued:

Miss Panther and Mr. Panther would like to recognize their parents on this occasion. They offer their profound gratitude for all the love and care their parents showed in raising them. Grace, Bill and Cheryl, the unconditional gift of support that you have continually offered has inspired Mr. Panther and Miss Panther to become who they are today, and they thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Without you, this day would not be possible.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

Miss and Mr. Panther would also like to take a moment to honor those who could not be with us today. [At this point, he talked a bit about my dad, who died in 2009. I didn’t write this part, so I don’t have it written down. All I know is that I somehow managed to get through without crying, which I thought was pretty impressive.] We also remember Mr. Panther’s grandparents, Gene and Mary, and Miss Panther’s grandmother, Ann. Although they are no longer with us physically, they are carried in our hearts.

Let us come together now, as families and friends, to witness, to support and to celebrate this union of Miss and Mr. Panther. Please join me in wishing them a healthy, loving and joyful marriage.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

Mr. Panther’s family priest stepped up first for a reading/prayer. We got it from Wedding Blessings: Prayers and Poems Celebrating Love, Marriage and Anniversaries.

Gracious God, bless Miss Panther and Mr. Panther as they stand before us today, ready to take a step that will change their lives forever.
May the individual strengths of each one join so that they may grow together in a strong marriage.
Endow them with courage to meet the challenges that will inevitably be theirs in the coming years.
Bless them with wisdom that sees beyond individual desires to the good of their relationship.
Provide for their material needs that they may always have something to share with others.
Grant them patience, compassion and understanding to deal with the disagreements that come along the way.
May they find contentment at any given time in their marriage by accepting themselves and each other just as they are.
Give them health and strength to fulfill their hopes and dreams for the future.
May the joy and love they feel today ripen and mature as they walk together down this new road they have chosen.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

Mr. Panther’s parents came up next, for a reading by Maude Meehan.

Your parents, we who love you, have looked on in joy, recognizing that in your desire to create a future together, you have discovered and fostered one another’s most endearing and enduring qualities.
The love we have for you is all embracing, joyful, to see you turn toward one another’s light.
Certain that you will tenderly support each other, aware that patience as much as passion will nourish and maintain the bond between you.
Certain also, that with care and courage, you will create a haven where each may grow and flourish, as do all things in nature, given light and warmth.
We who watched over your childhood innocence with the most profound longing to keep you from all hurt or harm, no longer yearn toward that gift, which is not ours to give, for we have learned that adversity brings its own gifts of strength and of compassion.
As you set out upon the path which we have traveled, we stand beside you with every confidence in your resilience and strength.
As we once cradled you in strong young arms, we hold you now, as strongly, sweetly, in our hearts.
How very proud of you we are. Know that you have our blessing, as you know you have our love.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

My mom came up for the last reading, from The Velveteen Rabbit. My grandfather prefaced it by saying, “Mr. and Miss Panther have chosen this next selection from ‘The Velveteen Rabbit,’ a book Miss Panther loved as a child. It gives the simplest view of how love changes a person who is lucky enough to receive it.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

“What is REAL?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

“I suppose you are real?” said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

“The Boy’s Uncle made me Real,” he said. “That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

After the readings, my grandpa got down to the real meat and potatoes.

Mr. and Miss Panther, demonstrate your love for yourselves and each other through caring and dedication. Stretch your love large enough to embrace whatever life brings you. Let it fill you, surround you, comfort and protect you.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore
Let your hearts be truly safe and at home with each other. Be generous in expressing your love. Be open to receiving love from each other. Be flexible and forgiving with each other.
Remember that your relationship is alive and ever-changing, and above all else, keep your love alive. Treat it as the precious blessing that it is.
Do not just be married or in love, but let your marriage be an active process of loving each other.

The vows came next. Mr. Panther and I wrote our own, a decision that we struggled with a bit. It was nerve-wracking, but I’m so glad we went for it. Later, most people told us that they were their favorite part of the ceremony.

I went first:

Mr. Panther, a friend of ours once said, when describing our relationship, that we were “so real.” It seemed like a strange compliment at the time, but when I really think about it, it’s so true.
Just like what my mom read from “The Velveteen Rabbit,” the way you have loved me has made me the most real, true version of myself. I’m more myself with you than I have ever been. I couldn’t hide any part of myself from you any more than I could hide my nose from the rest of my face.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore
And while I’ve been myself with you, you’ve taken note. You know me better than I know myself sometimes. I love the way you literally answer my questions before I even ask them, even if it is a little bit creepy. I love the way you save me half your queso, even when I say I don’t want my own because I’m on a diet. You know I just can’t resist. I love the way you laugh with me when I do something stupid, and remind me that it’s OK to be the doofus that I am, because you love me anyway.
You are the funniest, silliest, most creative and giving person I’ve ever known. You put other people’s happiness before your own every chance you get. You go out and get my girlfriends and me greasy food when we’re too lazy to get off the couch. Instead of making fun of me when I talk to our pets in ridiculous high-pitched voices, you join in. You work so hard every day to create something beautiful for our future.
I love you. I appreciate you. I will always love you and appreciate you. I will never take you for granted. You’re my soulmate and my best friend in the whole world, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.

I guess Mr. Panther liked them, because when I was done, he leaned forward to give me a kiss, and I shrieked, “Not yet!” Gotta love a good laugh during a serious occasion.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

When we’d all composed ourselves, Mr. Panther read his vows.

Miss Panther, you are my dream girl, my best friend, and my soulmate. While I won’t pretend to understand destiny or fate, it is obvious that we are designed to be to together.
I may have been young and immature when we first met, but I have never been more sure of any decision in my entire life. You are my end-all, my one and only. I will always remain faithful to you, and to our commitment; never needing any other love than yours, and never wanting to hold any other hand than the one I’m holding right now. Your caring eyes and beautiful smile will stay with me every minute we are apart, for the rest of our lives.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore
Even though at times you might be bringing home more “bacon” than me, I promise to always do my absolute best to help provide a comfortable life for us and for our future children and protect you from harm, never putting anyone or anything before you. I will happily share everything that is my own, and I look forward to growing old with you, to all of our new challenges and experiencing life with you by my side.
And though at times we may differ in views, tradition, outlook or opinion, I promise to respect you and always strive to keep a level head, be mindful of your perspective, and to work together to compromise.
You deserve the absolute best in life. I will not only be the man of your dreams, but your best friend, someone to confide in, and someone to lean on when you need strength. No matter what, I will stay with you and hold your hand with a smile on my face, never forgetting these words.
I love you, Miss Panther; today, and forever.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

After our vows, my grandpa read these:

Mr. Panther, do you choose Miss Panther as your wedded wife and lifelong partner, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for as long as you both shall live?

Mr. Panther: I do.

Miss Panther, do you take Mr. Panther as your wedded husband and lifelong partner, to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, for as long as you both shall live?

Me: I do.

My grandpa then asked us to present the rings, and said, “These rings are symbols of the love that joins you, spirit to spirit. They represent the oneness, eternity, and renewal inherent in the marriage union.
May these rings serve you and those who see them upon your fingers as reminders of the vows you have made here today.

As we placed the rings on each other fingers, we repeated the following words:

I give you this ring
As a sign that I choose you
To be my lover
My partner
And my best friend
Today, tomorrow and always.

And then, the best part:

Miss Panther and Mr. Panther, you have chosen one another and pledged to love each other for all the days of your lives. And so, by the power vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

And that was that! Bam! Married!

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

We walked back down the aisle to a string arrangement of “Got to Get You Into My Life” by The Beatles.

Wedding Ceremony at Inn at Longshore

It seems long in this post, but I think our ceremony was somewhere around half an hour total. And then it was time for the cocktail hour!

Did you put together your own ceremony, or let your officiant drive the ship?

Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

  • Pre-Wedding Chaos
  • Ready, Set, Rehearse!
  • The Rehearsal Dinner
  • Get Up and Get Pretty
  • All Dressed Up
  • The Males Get Prepped
  • The First Look
  • The Panthers Get Posin’
  • More Posin’, This Time With Friends
  • Down the Aisle We Go
  • All photos by Raw Photo Design

    Jungle Love: Down the Aisle We Go

    December 17, 2013

    After a lot of posing in the sun, we were all pretty hot and tired. We grabbed drinks at the outdoor bar, then my bridesmaids and I went back up to the bridal suite to fix our hair and makeup. Thank goodness my MOH is a makeup artist – I was looking ROUGH. And before I knew it, it was time to go back downstairs and get ready for the ceremony.

    Mr. Panther and his best man were already up at the altar with our officiant, my grandpa. The rest of the wedding party and I gathered behind a bunch of bushes, a ways back from the ceremony site, waiting for our turn. First, the parents went down. Mr. Panther’s parents took the lead.

    Panther Wedding - Ceremony Processional

    My mom was next, escorted by her boyfriend (who is now her husband!).

    Panther Wedding - Ceremony Procession

    We hired a string quartet for our ceremony, and they played all Beatles songs. I know – not the most original thing in the world – but I couldn’t imagine anything else. The prelude was “‘Til There Was You,” “When I’m Sixty-Four” and “She Loves You.” Our families walked down the aisle to “Your Mother Should Know,” and the wedding party processional song was “Here Comes the Sun.” And for me, “All You Need Is Love.” Our string quartet had the sheet music for some of the songs, but they were missing a few of the ones we wanted – so, Mr. Panther dusted off his music school skills and arranged them himself. NBD, y’all.

    We elected to have the groomsmen walk the bridesmaids down the aisle, since walking in heels in the grass can be treacherous. For the record, I got Solemates for the girls and myself, and they did not work. At all. It’s OK, though – nobody fell.

    Panther Wedding - Processional

    Panther Wedding - Processional

    Panther Wedding - Processional

    Panther Wedding - Processional

    Can I just say – our flower girls did such a good job that when I was walking down the aisle, I literally thought to myself, “Oh, the florist scattered flower petals in the aisle! That looks gorgeous!” He did not. My flower girls did it. Pros, I tell you.

    Panther Wedding - Flower Girls Walking Down the Aisle

    At this point, I was nervous, but mostly just because I thought I might trip over my dress. I was not nervous to get married. What are cold feet?!

    Panther Wedding - Bride Processional

    The tripping fear was valid, though. I had to walk veeeery carefully.

    Panther Wedding - Bride Processional

    Thank goodness for my uncle. He kept me upright, and looked so handsome doing it.

    Panther Wedding - Bride Processional

    I am so grateful for this next photo. I have absolutely no regrets about doing a first look, especially because Mr. Panther still looked like this when I walked down the aisle:

    Panther Wedding - Groom During Processional

    Awwwwww.

    Panther Wedding - Processional

    When we finally made it to our arbor-altar, my mom, aunt and future-MIL stepped in to fix my veil.

    Panther Wedding - Adjusting the Veil

    Panther Wedding - Bride Ceremony

    The sun had backed off a bit, and it had finally cooled down outside. Everything was perfect. It was time to get married.

    Panther Wedding - Ceremony

    Panther Wedding - Ceremony

    How did you choose the music for your processional?

    Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

  • Pre-Wedding Chaos
  • Ready, Set, Rehearse!
  • The Rehearsal Dinner
  • Get Up and Get Pretty
  • All Dressed Up
  • The Males Get Prepped
  • The First Look
  • The Panthers Get Posin’
  • More Posin’, This Time With Friends
  • All photos by Raw Photo Design

    Jungle Love: More Posin’, This Time With Friends

    December 15, 2013

    After Mr. Panther and I strutted our stuff for the camera and I sweat off all my makeup, it was time for the rest of the wedding party to join in on the fun. Ladies first!

    Panther Wedding - Bridesmaids

    I love how our bouquets came out. I had initially wanted more pastel-y colors, but looking back, I love the bright pinks and yellows with the turquoise dresses.

    Panther Wedding - Bridesmaids with turquoise dresses and peony bouquets

    Didn’t I have the most beautiful bridesmaids?! Insanity.

    We grabbed one more shot – this time, a traditional one – before Mr. Panther and the boys joined us.

    Panther Wedding - Traditional Bridesmaids Photo

    Panther Wedding - Group Wedding Party

    Did I ever talk about where our groomsmen got their suits? We looked at rentals, but we couldn’t find any slim-fit options. I think there may be more now, but back then, it was slim pickins. (Get it? Har har har.) So, a family friend who worked at a rental shop found some slim-fit suits that we could custom-order for a great price. The guys all got black slim-fit suits at a discount, and we got these awesome pictures! Win-win.

    Panther Wedding - Groomsmen in black suits

    The black skinny ties are Alfani from Macy’s, and they came with silver tie bars.

    When we were done with the traditional shots, we walked toward the water for some more interesting backgrounds. Eric and Amber found this spot between a fence and a big-ass tree, and we all attempted to look cool.

    Panther Wedding - Wedding Party by Fence

    Some of our wedding party members are a lot better at looking cool than we are, but I still really like the smiling version, too.

    Panther Wedding - Wedding Party by Fence

    Next, we got some of my favorite photos of the day down at the sailboat dock. It wasn’t easy to walk out there in heels – I swear, I nearly fell into the water multiple times – but somehow, we made it!

    Panther Wedding - Wedding Party on Dock

    And, the too-cool-for-smiling version:

    Panther Wedding - Wedding Party on Dock

    Lordy, it was hot and sunny out there. Luckily, a few of the groomsmen got to take their jackets off for this shot:

    Panther Wedding - Groomsmen on Dock

    Next, we stumbled off the dock and back up to the main lawn to find our little flower girls.

    Panther Wedding - Bride Groom and Flower Girls in Purple Dresses

    I mean, those dresses. They were perfect. PERFECT. And the girls looked so beautiful!

    Panther Wedding - Flower Girl in Purple Dress

    Before we let the wedding party take a break (and get a drink), we grabbed a photo with the whole gang.

    Panther Wedding - Wedding Party with Black Suits, Turquoise Dresses and Purple Flower Girl Dresses

    Some of our family members had showed up by then, so we took some photos with them, too. We wanted to do whatever we could to save time during the cocktail hour – we wanted drinks and hors d’oeuvres, thank you very much.

    Mr. Panther’s family (his grandparents and parents) was first:

    Panther Wedding - Family Photo

    Panther Wedding - Family Photo

    Then, mine – this one is my uncle and aunt, my mom, and my cousin and his then-girlfriend.

    Panther Wedding - Family Photo

    After that, we had a little bit of time to grab our own drinks before it was time for … dun, dun, dun … the ceremony!

    What photos will you take before your ceremony to avoid using up valuable cocktail hour time?

    Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

  • Pre-Wedding Chaos
  • Ready, Set, Rehearse!
  • The Rehearsal Dinner
  • Get Up and Get Pretty
  • All Dressed Up
  • The Males Get Prepped
  • The First Look
  • The Panthers Get Posin’
  • All photos by Raw Photo Design

    Jungle Love: The Panthers Get Posin’

    November 24, 2013

    It’s funny – you spend months and months of time planning what you and your future-husband will look like in your wedding photos. We agonize over every little detail, and we go through countless fittings and trials to make sure the look will be executed to perfection. But how many of us actually practice posing? Sometimes, I wish I had. I love how our wedding portraits came out, but damn, am I awkward. Thank goodness Raw Photo Design realized that the pictures would come out better if they avoided my face.

    Wedding Portrait - Amsale Dahlia

    Kidding, kidding! There are plenty of photos with our faces in them. But seriously, that one is one of our very favorites from the entire day. So is this next one.

    Wedding Portraits - Gold Glitter Jimmy Choo Clue

    We spent a lot of time on that beautiful rock wall.

    Wedding Portraits - Rock Wall

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    And we had to grab some shots on the rocky beach, which was one of my favorite things about the Inn at Longshore.

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia - Rocky Beach - Inn at Longshore

    By the way, have I mentioned how hot and sunny it was on our wedding day?! I really shouldn’t complain – we were SO lucky to have sunshine – but I could barely keep my eyes open … as you can see below.

    Wedding Portraits - Inn at Longshore - Rocky Beach

    But again, I can’t complain, because we got photos in which the sky looks like this:

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    Hopefully, you can’t tell how sweaty I was.

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    We grabbed a couple individual pictures, too. Doesn’t Mr. Panther look handsome?

    Wedding Portrait - Groom - Slim-Fit Suit

    And then there was me, trying not to squint and failing miserably.

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    Wedding Portraits - Low Side Chignon - Lace Veil - Hair Flowers

    Our photographers also made sure to get some cheesy smile-at-the-camera shots, just in case any family members wanted them.

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    Gotta have the prom pose!

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    We look kind of like secret agents in this one:

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    This last one is probably the most accurate. We look what we were: happy.

    Wedding Portraits - Amsale Dahlia

    How will you prepare for your wedding portraits? Married ladies, did you feel as awkward as I did?

    Miss any of the Panther recaps? Get caught up!

  • Pre-Wedding Chaos
  • Ready, Set, Rehearse!
  • The Rehearsal Dinner
  • Get Up and Get Pretty
  • All Dressed Up
  • The Males Get Prepped
  • The First Look
  • All photos by Raw Photo Design