My name is Jady a.k.a G8R.Girl and thought it was about time that I create an account and bio and introduce myself to everyone. So, I have been stalking this site for about 2 -3 months now(like, major and possibly-a-criminal-offense level of
stalking) and have absolutely fallen in love with all the girls on here. I have never in my life come across anything like this and just had to be a part of it in some way.
FI and I have been together 2 years but met for the first time through my childhood best friend and his college best friend about 15years ago. We barely remember that meeting but our lives, unbeknownst to us, have intersected several times throughtout those the years. Whenever I think that I wish we had gotten together sooner I remind myself that I was not the person I am now and that we were just getting ready for each other. We were evolving to become the best people we could be for each other and we get to continue to evolve and become better people but now we get to do it together. He really is just the greatest and I absolutely adore him. It took me a long time to find him and he was definitely worth the wait :)
Halloween '08 Gator Baketball game_My deer in headlights look
In Paris at the top of the Arc de Triomphe
Jason and I got engaged at the beautiful and educational Giraffe Ranch about an hour outside of Tampa, FL on a gorgeous and perfect Florida afternoon (Sat March 27, 2010). www.girafferanch.com
After a delicious breakfast at a favorite local eatery (Pinky's) Jason took me on a mystery outing. I was absolutely convinced they were going to look at puppies until we drove up to a farm and...I saw an ostrich! Then I spotted a a few zebras along with some other wild animals and was forced to re-evaluate my guess. I did not yet know the place was called Giraffe Ranch and so I screamed my head off asking Jason if there were giraffes there (my favorite animal ever!). We entered the ranch and met up with the owners/tour guides who explained to me that we were the only customers on this particular tour as they didn't officially open to the public until April.
Jason, charmer that he is, had somehow convinced the owners to open up their animal sanctuary/farm weeks early. Just for us! Believe it or not, I still didn't suspect the plan ( generally think of myself as a smart cookie but this was definitely one of my denser moments). It's not unusual for Jason to come up with fun things for us to do. Since I am gone so much of the time, for work, Jason really goes the extra mile to make our time together special...
After a tour of the grounds and getting to feed warthogs, pet the zebras and feel a giraffe breathe on us the owners, Lex and Elena, stopped the open air vehicle with the excuse of having to tend to an animal. Left on our own with all the wonderful animals wandering around and ocassionally venturing up to the jeep Jason said some really lovely things (Jady=still clueless) and then got on one knee. I finally put all the pieces together and happily said yes! (He had to ask twice becuase I got a little frazzled but there was definitely a yes). Lex and Elena rejoined us with some celebratory Coronas and sent us on our way with an ostrich egg which is a symbol of fertility (but that part is for another time and a different forum)...
We are excitedly awaiting the wedding and the honeymoon but are most excited and happy about the marriage...
Now...can someone please finish planning this wedding for me? And maybe donate a huge amount of money to my budget? anyone?? ;)
Following the engagement I knew I had limited time to do things so in 2 days I researched and booked a venue, bought diy invites from Michael's, jewelry, favor boxes and my dress! Yup, one trip to the store and I was done. Thank god!!!
That was one giant stress off my shoulders. I do find myself occasionally looking at dresses but only a little and I do really love my dress. It was NOT AT ALL what I had in mind (A-Line with very little embellishment) but the consultant asked me
to try it on and I didn't want to be rude...Yay, for my people pleasing tendencies!!!
It is especially important to me because my mom unexpectedly offered to pay for it. She is retired and on a very limited budget so it was just such a sweet and generous thing for her to do. I have my first fitting on June 4th so I will post better pics of me in it then but for now, courtesy of my phone, here it is...
If you can believe it this is the professional pic of my dress...
I tried searching online and saw so many beautiful things but I rarely wear jewelry and felt uncomfortable ordering without getting to try it on first. Most everywhere that was suggested to me (Nordstrom's, Saks, Dillards) was just way out of my
budget so my mom and I went to...Sears! Not the fanciest place to go but I love the set and I love the price even more. On sale for $30 total for the earrings, necklace and bracelet!
I wasn't really loving the necklace that matched these earrings and I also couldn't find a good alternative so my brilliant mother made me buy 2 pairs of the earrings and we went to the watch repair dept and they took off one of the dangly pieces and made it into a pendant (for free!) yippee!
Renaissance Marriott at International Plaza in Tampa, FL
So my venue is probably the thing that is giving me the most issues. Both the ceremony and reception will be held here as most of our guests are from oot and we wanted it to be easy and convenient. Also, I just didn't have the time to research and book 2 different venues and I will earn a ton of Marriott points having it there. It is a gorgeous hotel but it is very brightly colored and so it doesn't really provide a neutral backdrop for what I originally had in mind. So, in order not to compete with the bright mediterranean colors I will be using ivory flowers and candles. Technically, I don't really have a theme or even a color scheme because of the bright colors, which is kind of a bummer, but hopefully it will still come out beautifully. I will be using the hotel provided floor length white/ivory linens to save money. (I would have loved chiavari chairs and fancy linens but it is just not in our budget)
Here are some pics of the exterior and interior and chairs
This is the ceiling fixtures which we will have dimmed and rely more on candles for the lighting in the room
This is a pretty good shot of the carpeting and the chairs(which won't be covered)
These are the doors I would go through to get to the ceremony space
I think the chairs will go around this fountain somehow and we will stand under that wood arbor thingy in the background.
This is the hotel whic is attached to the mall.
We have a block of rooms reserved there for $119/night which is a great price for this chain of hotels and this area. With the booking we got one free night for us the night of the wedding and a discount on any other days I stay there.
While there are some things I wish could be different overall I am very happy with the venue. They have been super nice and responsive and have thrown in quite a few freebies. They have waived the $1,000 ceremony fee, the cake cutting fee (bringing a cake from the outside), added in a champagne toast, will distribute welcome bags at no charge and are giving me extra earned points on the total amount I spend.
Jason did a fabulous job of picking my ring. I still have to get it resized though. They said 4-8 weeks and that's like a 1/3 of my engagement time! I will send it in next week after my bff comes to visit and gets to see it. NOT looking
forward to being without it...but I am looking forward to not having to wear the ring snuggie anymore.
This is the e-ring and wedding band we'll order This is the pic I took
Hoping my photog does a better job at this than me!
This is our Save the Date...
The invite is from Michael's. I got them for 40% off with one of their awesome coupons! The black part is actually a filigree style cut out that the ivory part get inserted into (or under). The thank you cards (envelopes included) I found at Marshall's. They are not a perfect match but close enough for me and they were $3 for a pack of 20!! (got 2 boxes). I also got the programs that match the invites but will turn them on their sides and use it for signage (table #'s, bar signs, etc...)I couldn't get a good picture but wil post when I make them.
These are some of my inspiration pics. I wish I was getting married during peoniy season because they are my favorite and my fmil grows them in her yard so they would have been free! :( She has over 700 blooms in her yard right now...I will prob
end up with hydrangeas and/or roses but these represent the general look that I like. Unfortunately, I've been collecting pics for a while so I' don't know who to credit. Most everything I have is probably from the Knot, Martha Stewart or
Instead of a sparkly brooch on my flowers I will be using this giraffe pin instead. It is not exactly what I was looking for but the closest I could get. It's a tribute to where we got engaged and where we plan on honeymooning...South Africa!!!(crossing fingers and toes)
I haven't looked into bout's a whole lot yet but this is what I'm liking so far. As a surpise I plan on attaching a very small locket with pics of his deceased (and beloved) grandparents to the boutonniere so he can have them close to him all day.
I will try to flesh this out a little more with travel details/itinerary etc when I have more time but for now here are just a handful of pictures that I really liked.
This picture was taken during our "Sundowner". During every evening game drive the ranger and scout would let us out of the jeep in a safe area and we would have cocktails to watch the sunset. The star at the top is actually the planet Jupiter.
This is me and Jason about to indulge in our Sundowners :)
This is on of my fav's of DH. We were looking at penguins in the wild and he didn't know I was behind a rock watching him walk. He was either contemplating the wonderful marriage we are embarking on or the college football game he was missing... ;)
This was just outside one of the B&B's we stayed at in Hermanus. We got to wake up to this view every morning...
The boat says Shark Fever. This is right before we got on the boat to go Cage Diving with Great White Sharks...